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After a struggle getting into a save on FM21 following unfinished business on FM20 with Lugano (lost due to a dead laptop), this will be my first attempt at an FM22 save.


The masterplan for a save was to go back to central Europe, having enjoyed Switzerland in FM20, and to try to rule Austria, but a lack of ideas about the best club, and wanting to get back into a save with limited goals has led me to the newly added lands of Latvia.




For this save there is Latvia, obviously, along with neighbouring countries, plus Poland (to give a bridge towards Germany, Finland, Sweden and Norway as they curve round the Baltic, and then some of the big nations.
A medium database has been bolstered by internationals, and players are continental competitions in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America to give a pool of players who might be willing to travel to the joys of Latvia.


The Team


Metta are predicted to finish bottom of the seven team league in the first season, so there is not much expectation, ideal to start off with after a bit of time away.  One of three teams in the league from Riga, along with Riga FC (favourites for the league), and FK RFS (predicted 2nd in the league) there is scope for a couple of good local rivalries to develop, and competition for the young players of Riga.


Riga is central in the country, taking into account the chunk of the circle taken up by the water, so is likely to be a hub for football in the country, and attract the best players.  With Metta third in the pecking order in the city, it could take a while to claim some of those best players.


The aims of the save

I was tempted to go youth only, or set some restrictions, but really I want to make sure I get back into the game, and enjoy the save.  So the aim is to improve Metta, however possible, to become the strongest team in Riga, which will probably mean being the strongest team in Latvia.


Words of encouragement



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Starting at the beginning

With Latvia being a new league to the game, the first job is to take a look at the league set up, and what the aims for the season are.


A nice young team, only in existence since 2006, with a huge fanbase of 118 season ticket holders packing out at least one section of the 10,461 capacity stadium.

It is interesting that Riga and RFS are listed as local rivals, but neither game is a derby, so hopefully that can develop over time due to a competitive balance.  The focus will be to start to challenge those two teams, and while it is unlikely to start with due to those being way ahead of Metta at the minute, there is a chance to try and redress the balance after a few seasons.


The club facilities are interesting, with the stadium being quite old, but having been renovated in the future (the Latvian season runs from March to October, so the game start date is in February 2021.
The training set up is not good, but there is hope that the intakes will be reasonable, at least for the Latvian league, and the club have a desire to improve this.


The League

Welcome to the Optibet Virsliga


Seven teams fighting it out for glory.

And it looks like everyone is in line for a participation award.


It seems like there are four tiers to the league at this point.  The other two Riga teams fighting for the title, Liepaja and Valmiera in a battle for third, with Spartaks pretty much just playing for fun in 5th.  What would be a huge relegation battle between BFC Daugavpils and Metta isn't as there is no relegation at this stage.


The media dream team is made up of 5 players from Riga (light blue), two from RFS (GK and dark blue), two from Liepaja (red), and two from Valmiera, so there is a clear separation of talent.  At least the key players list has to show options from each team and gives an idea about who might be rated at the club.


League Rules


Playing each team four time gives plenty of scope for getting to know the opposition, and build rivalries, even if they are just from the Metta side.


Key rules for the squad building stage are there has to be 3 Latvian trained players in the starting 11, so there is a need to develop talent, or pick up the castoffs from other sides, and players have to be registered to the squad to play.


Only 30 players can be registered, so the disciplinary rules might be influential later in the season and the yellow card bans get tighter as they progress.  And 14 of the squad have to be trained in Latvia, as well as needing the paltry single U22 player.

There is a slight change for the second season on the horizon


An increase to ten teams, with no mention yet of relegation.  That will mean there is a huge increase in fixtures in the second season.


There is no mention of what European options are available on the league page, but there are hints at the prizes on offer


Four European spots available, with the winner getting to the first qualifying stage of the Champions League, and three teams getting to join the qualifying stages of the new Europa Challenge Cup.

With the shading of the league places being 1, 2, then 3-6, it looks like there is going to be a playoff for a European spot.  So if Metta can beat out BFC for 6th there may be a chance at Europe.


There is a Latvian Cup, and the winner may get a European place, but the league rules don't show it.  But there are a huge amount of rounds for such a small league



Only 8 teams are listed as being in the cup, but the 4th round in which Metta enters will contain 16 teams.  Having got to the cup page from the competitions, the board expect a win in the 4th round so hopefully the draw teams the Virsliga teams separate, and progress is manageable.

A small league, with no risk of relegation to start with, and lots of opportunities to qualify for Europe means there is scope for progress as the European money will be a big boost for the club.

Next up is a look at the state of the club

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Reviewing the club

First thing to note is that Metta are professional, despite being predicted last, so there is plenty of time for training, and the ability to tie good prospects down for the future, meaning building is manageable as players won't just leave and have the chance to develop.


The finances are listed as okay to start, and the projection reckons debt won't appear in the first season.  

But there isn't a huge amount so getting upgrades may be harder, and there will be a need to try and cut any deadwood to save money and avoid the need to sell before being ready.


Having no debt is good as there isn't an extra drain on the finances and means all the money the club earns goes on the club and not things from the past.


While looking at the finances it makes sense to look at the big outgoing of wages.

The headline figure is that there are 60 players at the club (there are four squads which will be covered later), but only one goalkeeper currently.

Most of those players are young, so the youth revolution is underway already, and every player is under the advised maximum, with plenty of room too, meaning there are likely to be no contracts that are a huge drain on resources.  It will be interesting when it gets to looking at the squad to see the breakdown of these in comparison to the staff assessments of the team.




An unusual picture in the staffing ranks.

In the coaching team there is a Head Performance Analyst that the board don't want, and one coach too many, but no Head of Youth Development.  That will need to be looked at early, to ensure the best for the club in terms of intakes, although a quick look at the Development Centre shows an intake review, so there is a bit of time to fix this.

No recruitment team will make it hard to find new players early on, so there is a need to get hiring options.

The medical centre is quiet, so there is a need to find some support for the lonely Physio and ensure that there is scope for keeping the players on the pitch.



This is the staff at the club (senior level).

I set my manager attributes to be at the level of experience for the league, so it is good to know that the staff at the club are more qualified.  From the overview there is some quality in the coaching, especially Biezals as GK coach.  And all the wages are low, so there no money being wasted.  With most of the contracts expiring at the end of the first season it will be a good chance to evaluate performances and work out if there improvements to be made.

At this point though there are no members of staff who can be trusted to judge the quality of players at the club.




The early club vision gives a nice overview of the plans for the club.  Don't finish bottom of the league (so beat BFC), and develop the youth system.

The second one of these is something that gives hope that there will be a willingness to upgrade Youth Recruitment and Junior Coaching in the first instance.



The club is in a reasonable position, with room for improvement, and a desire to improve the youth system.

There are staffing holes, but this can be rectified fairly easily, and set Metta up for the season


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Introducing Metta


Hopefully things will go better for Metta than the reveal of Meta.  But if Zuckerberg wants to snoop on some potential players for the side then that would be helpful.


There are three squads of players, and with the judging ability and potential stats of the staff being poor, it will require a bit of time to sort through the options at the club, but this will give a good overview of the positions available to begin with and any areas that are clearly lacking

First Team


Straight away this confuses me, as the wages list showed one GK, who was a first choice on £0, so clearly Sorokins, but there is Pirktins in the squad too, and there are options in the other squads too.  All of them are on Amateur contracts, so that isn't why they didn't show up.  But on the plus side, there is more than on GK.

Obvious stand out things from this are

1) One of the three best players is out on loan, and can't be recalled.  Riga are not paying any of his wages either.  The incoming loan also has no wage contribution which is good, but shows up as a lesser player.

2) The two remaining best players at the club, Ozolins and Kluskins are both midfielders, although filling different roles, so there is a solid centre to the team.

3) Everyone in the squad (pretty much) has the ability to reach the standard of the best players, so there is room for growth

4) Apart from Kluskins, everyone is 21 or under.  This could be good or bad depending on how they cope with the rigours of first team football.

5) There is a lack of depth at DL, DC, wide midfield positions, and ST that means piecing together a formation at this point is difficult

6) Only 3 out of 17 players have a single figure Determination attribute, and there are a range of positive personalities in the squad.

7) The upper level of valuations for some players either match or exceed those of the supposed best players at the club.  Assuming there is some accuracy to these, this means they may be better than the star rating gives them credit for

8) All three Star players are in midfield positions, meaning there will need to be a 3 man midfield to ensure they all meet their playing time aims.


B Team


There is more depth in the B Team, but most of the players are strictly Amateur which makes it hard to tell how good they are via value.  The oldest player in this squad is 19, so it is one for the future really, but some will have to be moved into the first team squad to ensure there are enough players in the team.

Interestingly both Fgn players are Japanese.  Not sure if there is a reason for this, there are no affiliate clubs at the minute, but it is interesting to see, especially if more come through intakes.

The B Team are listed as being in a Reserve league, so they may play in the cup competition which would be good to see.


Under 18s


Apart from Klava in goal all of these players are 15-16, so it is likely this is a recent youth intake.

There are a couple of players with high valuations limits, which clearly points to them being good options, but not all of them look good in terms of star ratings.

Quite a heavily weighted team in terms of defenders, with few central midfielders.  Hopefully that isn't detrimental to the team in terms of development if it leads to defeats.


This is the view for the Youth Candidates tab, which means it is likely the intake comes at the end of the league season, or during the off season.

They have been brought through by the U18s Manager, who wasn't covered in the staff review earlier.  He is the only member of staff at the club outside of the first team.

Nikita Pirktins has gone straight into the first team.  Ronalds Pirktins is in the U18s along with Solovjovs.

Not sure why the rest of the intake are not visible, or why if these players are signed that they still show in the report, but it does show hope for the future once more



There is a lot of youth at the club, but there is a positional imbalance in the first team that needs looking at,

This will need to happen before building a tactical plan, but there will need to be three central midfield roles to ensure the Star players get their playing time.

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Intra-squad game

As always, the intra-squad game was organised, with the picking of roughly equal teams handed over to the coaches. 

Having looked at the player options, the first formation drafted was a 4-1-4-1, getting the DM-MC-MC combination that was required, and set up to counter attack, assuming the team will be one of the weaker ones in the league.

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For two even teams, it wasn't really that even.  But the Second XI took the lead relatively early, and so were able to sit back on their lead a bit, and soak up the pressure.  Both teams ended up quite narrow, possibly due to the use of Wide Midfielder roles, which keeps a nice compact defensive shape, but may need work.  But a game between matching formations is never the best to watch, especially as both sides set out as Cautious.



The big problem was the loss of two players.  Especially as Zelenkovs is one of the stronger players at the club, and expecting Star level playing time.  And with a minimum of three weeks out, plus time to regain full fitness and avoid reinjury it is going to be interesting to try and keep him happy.  The loss of Gomi hurts a little less as he wasn't likely to start, but it is the sort of injury that will come back again if not managed, so some care will need to be taken with him too.


So that is one game down, and one fairly dull 1-1 draw with neither side really shining.

The four remaining friendlies are all lower league teams, so will be a chance to get some fitness, test out combinations, but probably won't help with checking the formation for usefulness against the stronger teams that will be faced in the league.  The fixtures were pre-arranged, but I am not going to make changes and get some tougher fixtures, instead hoping that getting some familiarity with the roles, and each other will lead to a positive start to the season.

Mixed in with some set piece routines, and a bit of training, and Metta should be ready for the start of the season


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Early Pre-Season

After the dull game that was the intra-squad game, there was a chance to delve into some proper fixtures, and a chance to design some set pieces to try and make an impact. In exciting news for @Jimbokav1971 the first team GKs are set to take all free kicks (with both fullbacks back, and both wide midfielders back if required as cover) and penalties.
In the Beta I dabbled with bringing the GK up for corners, but as the short option to try and get a free player that wouldn't be marked.  Unfortunately a wide player (FB or WM on that side would always come short too if not needed back and intercept any short corners) meant the GK would just run up, watch the corner, and run back, with a few times the poor cross resulting in the opposition having an easy run towards an open goal).  If I can work out a routine that would create this unmarked player opportunity then I will revisit it.

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Having originally set up as a Fluid Counter-Attack 4-1-4-1, on a Cautious mentality, there have been a couple of tweaks through the games so far, resulting in the tactic shown.  The first set up has both WMs on support, and both MCs as BBMs on support too, which left the ST quite isolated and resulted in lots of lost possession.  The Balanced and the WMs to Attack helped things out, but the middle of the park wasn't ideal, so first stage was to move one BBM to a CM, on attack to offer more, and it worked nicely, so a double CM option is going to be tried to see if it can get the best of both worlds, but utilising a support option to try and avoid having a huge gap between the back and front fives.


The Grobinas game started on Cautious, and saw the move to Balanced, and the tweak to the WMs in the second half.

The Dinamo Riga game started with those tweaks, and added the MC changes too.

The Kangaroos game kept those changes, but with a team solely made up from the B and U18s teams due to a couple of injuries, and a growing number of players who were at a high risk of injury.

So the changes have worked against weaker teams.  The challenge is to avoid overstretching the team against the stronger teams in the league, and leaving the back line open to being overpowered.  If that starts to happen then the CM-A can drop to a CM-S, or the ML can drop to WM-S to try and keep some balance in the team.

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All three games have resulted in some decent stats, especially compared to the opposition, but the increase in xG is the best sign that the tactical tweaks have worked.


Unfortunately the injuries have continued, with two more knocks being picked up, and leaving the team without the two star midfielders for a large chunk of preseason.  Fortunately everyone is back before the start of the league campaign, but they won't have had the fitness work which could catch up to them later in the season.


In transfer news, a couple of teams made moves for some of the Amateur players in the Metta squad.  So every Amateur player was offered a Full Time contract, to avoid losing players who may be useful (it is too early to tell), that was for £100 per week (the minimum available offer), for as long as possible, with the longest optional extension, meaning that Metta gets to control what happens with them.

Unfortunately Sorokins wanted £350 each week, plus fees for playing, which didn't work, so he stayed as an Amateur before being drawn to Ventspils to play for £200 each week, so star of the previous intake Nikita Pirktins is our remaining GK for the season


Aside from the awful personality (which may benefit Metta if he doesn't want to move on to greener pastures), he has some decent stats to build from, especially as he is only 15, and will get a lot of minutes through the season



I know @Jimbokav1971 is looking at the attributes, or the lack of attribute contributions for penalties, so this is Pirktins' starting stats for set pieces, with his Composure, First Touch, and Passing being low too.


It is a small sample size so far, and all friendlies, but he has managed two assists already.

Against Dinamo Riga, it was a free kick, just outside the area and fairly central that crashed against the bar, left the GK stranded and the ST was able to pounce on the rebound for an easy goal.  Against Kangaroos, Pirtkins picked the ball up in his area, strolled to just outside the D, and launched a long ball that split the DCs, landed just outside the opposition D, and was smashed home by the onrushing ST


If I could work out how to get Gyazo Gif to record, without the highlight playing before I am ready I would add these up to help illustrate the high quality skills.


There are two more friendlies to go, including against Ventspils, techincally lower league but having been one of the biggest Latvian sides, who have stolen the affections of Sorokins.  There won't be any planned tactical tweaks, and there will be rotation of players to avoid too much injury risk at this stage before it is time to look at the start of the league

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End of Preseason


On 18/11/2021 at 20:16, scousevasey said:

There are two more friendlies to go, including against Ventspils, techincally lower league but having been one of the biggest Latvian sides, who have stolen the affections of Sorokins.  There won't be any planned tactical tweaks, and there will be rotation of players to avoid too much injury risk at this stage before it is time to look at the start of the league

The Ventspils game saw a pretty much first choice line up head onto the pitch, minus the players coming back from injury, and it was a strong performance, helped by the early opener meaning Ventspils pushed up and were left slightly exposed.  For the trip to Auda, after a short turnaround, with only a week until the opening of the league season it was a fully rotated side that were selected.  But the B Team had a game on the same day, so there were only 13 available B Team/U18s available, and three of them were GKs.  No first teamers were selected to the bench, as any injury risk was too much at this stage, and so a team that maxed out with 3 silver stars did well, holding Auda for most of the game, and getting an equal xG from the match.


Final season preparations

That means it is time to tick round to the league season.  And with only six other teams to face, it is a chance to build some rivalries early on.

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Opening up with one of the two big Riga teams, and a tough balance to the schedule with the top predicted teams first before facing the other expected cellar dwellers.  That means morale could be dropping by the time a winnable game appears.

And BFC Daugavpils have shortened their odds, leaving Metta clear at the bottom of the list.  So avoiding the bottom spot may be a bigger challenge than expected.

Due to the small scouting team, and lack of quality within the team, there is no point scouting the other Latvian teams for a comparison.  Maybe once games against them have been played it will be easier.  But for now, the valuations will be the best way to see the level of opposition quality.  This is the top five players when sorted by valuation for each team















The stand out figures are at the top, with Riga having four players whose ceiling is over £1m, and RFS joining them with two.  That is boosted with Riga having their first ranked player on loan from Belgium, but is still a huge gap.  When delving into it, the ranking actually starts with the floor, with the top BFC player having a smaller window than those below him on the list.

So it might be better to look at the floor valuations, which may be skewed by the higher knowledge of the Metta players, but the Metta valuations start to look good compared to BFC, and four of the five Spartaks players, with the only one with a much higher floor being out on loan and not appearing this season.

Maybe the odds from the bookies are too long, and there is hope of getting a top 5 berth by the end of the season.


Not much is expected from the first game, with both a Metta win, and a draw being long odds.

The long list of unavailable players are all options on trial, who were agent recommendations during the deadline day frenzy.  There is no rush to sign anyone, although a DL wouldn't go amiss, and there is not a huge amount of funds available having slightly exceeded the wage budget locking up the Amateur players to deals to avoid them all leaving on a free.


All of the incoming players were signed before the save began (on the 8th of February), with the players leaving all being Amateurs.  Aside from Sorokins who was in the first team squad, the rest were in the B or U18 sides, so not likely to force their way into the team this season, and losing them is unlikely to be a big issues



Next up is the league kicking off, and a first chance to see if the side will sink or swim


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League fixtures, round one

Six other teams in the league, so it makes sense to update each round of fixtures this year, as it gives a nice guide to how the season is going having faced everyone once, and being able to build up a picture of what is shaping up


Before looking at the wider schedule this was the first game of the season.  Down a goal inside 30 seconds.  Down a player just over half an hour into the game.  And yet at 80 minutes it was even on the scoreboard.  Every emotion in this game, from frustration, to hope, to resignation, to questioning existence, and finally a feeling of regret.  All against a local rival.


The tough opening to the season was as tough as expected, with the loss to RFS, before salvaging a draw against Liepaja.

The issue with the squad at the minute is depth.  So the player sent off against RFS is Birka, the only 'proper' DL in the squad, with those in the B/U18s being very poor.  One DR can play DL at a pinch, but there are three fullbacks to cover two positions.  Meaning that tiredness builds to be a problem at times, especially as another red card crops up at DL against Spartaks, just after bringing on the fullback on the bench due the short turnaround between games at that point of April.

The point against Liepaja was a good point, with their high prediction, and after going two down to Valimiera the goal with time remaining did bring a glimmer of hope.

A good win against Riga is slightly spoiled by being virtue of a bug, where a Riga player was injured after 11 minutes, so went off, but wasn't replaced meaning they were down to 10 men for 80 minutes.  Riga did make some changes later on, so it wasn't a lack of available players.  Already 1-0 down we fought back to 2-1 up, nearly threw it away gifting them an equaliser, before claiming a relatively late winner and holding on.

Against BFC it was our turn to score early, and for the opposition to get the red card, but fitness caught up to some players who were playing their second game in four days, some of whom were late selections due to players picking up knocks, so not everyone was fit.  This was two dropped points against our expected rivals for the bottom places in the table.

As mentioned, another red card at DL, while 1-0 down ruined any hopes of a comeback, but the side did well to avoid losing heavily.  The team to play Spartaks was rotated due to fitness, so some of the stronger players had made it onto the field at this stage, having rested during the first half, and were facing tiring Spartaks players, but the numerical disadvantage meant there was always an option missing, and no joy came in front of goal.


The stats don't look great, with the goals being average, but we are outperforming our xG, and are struggling to manufacture shots through the games.  This is probably to do with facing stronger teams, and setting up to nullify them, with the 4 in the midfield not always getting up to support despite three of them having Attacking mentalities.

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Some slightly odd octagons at this stage.  possibly due to the small six game sample, possibly shaped by the sheer number of games which had a player off the pitch for some time.  But there is a need to improve up front without leaving the defensive side too short. as the expectation is that Metta will be overloaded, so that is the first thing to manage, and seems to be happening compared to the average.


Currently Metta are matching the expectation to avoid finishing bottom.  But not above the expected team of BFC, with Valmiera struggling and only picking up points against Metta.  Tied on points with BFC, and only below them by virtue of one goal in terms of goal difference, the two games with red cards being key here, there is a platform to build on for the next round of six games.

A bit of a split starting to appear with Spartaks being four points clear of both BFC and Metta already, it could become a three way battle at the bottom of the table very quickly, and with Valmiera expected to much stronger, the assumption is they find a way to turn things around during the next run, and move upwards.


A slight change in the order of fixtures this time round, and slightly less congestion too which is beneficial.

The plan is to pick a strong team against Liepaja, and aim for a point, rotate a bit against RFS due to the four day gap before Valmiera, and try to take something from the second game, hopefully extending their poor run.

There is then a week of recovery before facing Riga, but again a short turn around before Spartaks, so there will be some rotation again, trying to be fresh for the weaker side and get a point (if not more) against Spartaks.

With a reasonable gap before BFC there will then be a focus on picking up the full set of points against the rivals for position, and coming away with two wins, one or two draws, and two or three losses from this run.

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13 hours ago, Sheriff7 said:

I believe  Valmiera will have better results next so you must start collecting points.Great win against giants(and very rich)  Riga fc.:thup:

I think Valmiera will go one of two ways. Either their confidence and morale is shot, and they bumble along at the bottom for the whole season, or they rebound, and perform like expected for the reminder of the season. I think, like you, it is more likely they rebound.

I think there are three tiers in the league, so splitting the teams up in those, and going with the idea that any points against Riga and RFS are a bonus (including shock wins), that we should look to beat BFC, and then pick up draws elsewhere. 
I think an average of a point per game, roughly will be enough to stay ahead of BFC for the season, as long as that includes them dropping points to us. If we continue to draw with BFC then there will need to be more points from elsewhere

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  • 3 weeks later...

League fixtures, round 2

After a slight delay in getting round to playing these games, they are finally complete

On 27/11/2021 at 19:41, scousevasey said:

A slight change in the order of fixtures this time round, and slightly less congestion too which is beneficial.

The plan is to pick a strong team against Liepaja, and aim for a point, rotate a bit against RFS due to the four day gap before Valmiera, and try to take something from the second game, hopefully extending their poor run.

There is then a week of recovery before facing Riga, but again a short turn around before Spartaks, so there will be some rotation again, trying to be fresh for the weaker side and get a point (if not more) against Spartaks.

With a reasonable gap before BFC there will then be a focus on picking up the full set of points against the rivals for position, and coming away with two wins, one or two draws, and two or three losses from this run.

So this was the plan, and the way to do this was with some tweaking to formations and roles as the round of fixtures went on


One big issues that was cropping up was that the STC was being isolated in the 4-1-4-1, so there was a decision to move to the secondary formation of a 4-3-3, basically moving both the MR and ML to the AM level.

Throughout the games with the 4-3-3 there was a bit of tinkering with roles, with those of the front three changing and becoming fixed


The idea here is to give a second attacking player near to the STC who is no longer an AF after a huge number of offside decisions given away.  They are now less isolated.

The right of the two MCs is on a Mez-Support role and can be seen taking advantage of the space left by the AMR staying wide, bursting into the box and either creating chances, or slotting home.

The other MC and the DM position have been mixing and matching based on who is picked, and what formation the opposition are playing.

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These role combinations are the main two, rotating where the playmaker sits in the side.  if Ozolins is not fit, then the second string DM (Cudars) works best as a BWM/DM role so the playmaker role pushes up.  There have been a couple of injuries in this run that have led to changes, as well as trying to balance squad rotation and a desire to win.


Starting from the earliest, Yamamoto and Puzirevskis were bench or rotation options, which took away from some of the rotation that was planned, especially as their tried to regain fitness, but were not the biggest losses.  Nurdaliev is not in the main match squads often so wasn't a miss.

Kluskins was a big loss, as he works well at MC with Zelenkovs and Vapne, giving a bit of flexibility and depth, allowing a bit of rotation between the three when they are all fit without a drop off.

Musah picked up his knock before the final match of the run against BFC, meaning a new DC partnership was let loose for the game.  There needs to be more rotation between the three best DCs, but there hasn't really been the chance to while the front six are so up in the air

Grinsbergs was making the AML (IF) slot his own, and losing him for such a long time will be a big blow, as while there are plenty of options to step in there is nobody at the same level as him.  With it being a long term injury, and the summer transfer window due to open soon  this will become a priority.



Not quite reaching the target of two wins, but there were some positive draws in this set, especially against the big two Riga sides.

The lack of threat against Liepaga led to the change of formation, and there was some tinkering with roles early on, while facing three stronger sides in a row and playing out dull 0-0 draws.  These are games that Metta would expect to lose, even taking into account the poor form of Valmiera, so to pick up points is a real positive, and everything then clicked against Spartaks with an early goal, and a dominant performance throughout.

With the break before playing BFC things were looking up, but the absence of Musah at the back mean things were shakier, and despite taking the lead, BFC were on top for most of the game, and were able to take the win.  This is the most annoying result of these fixtures, as with Liepaja doing so well the loss was expected, and the inability to close out the BFC side is a real shame.  While they are outperforming expectations, they are a team that Metta should be able to challenge.


Managing to win against BFC would have put Metta in 4th, and a draw would have seen them sat in 5th, but the loss sends them tumbling to the bottom of the table.

The advantage is that everything is very close for the bottom few clubs, and if BFC stumble in the next set of fixtures then there is a chance the come back to the pack at the bottom.

If Metta can meet their aim of the previous round of fixtures, two wins, and a couple of draws, then they will be right around mid table, so hope is not lost.  They just need to find a way to compensate for the loss of Grinsbergs, and keep finding the net.


Going forward


Some good news is that there are some building blocks at the club, and apart from Vientiess they are all starting players.  It has even led to a delay to a fixture which moves a game against league leaders Liepaja to the end of the first half of the season, and spreads out the game load for the next batch of fixtures.


Three games before the summer break, and then three afterwards.  And all of them have at least a week between them, allowing a bit more recovery time, and allowing the best players to thrive.  The aim will be to pick up at least a win and a draw in the first batch of fixtures, and then try and push on for two wins in early August, as well as progressing in the cup.  Obviously this is contingent on finding a suitable way to cover the AML position for Grinsbergs, as that will be a big loss.

With very little available in the wage budget there is not likely to be much going in on the transfer window, but areas of focus will be AML, STC for someone who is consistent, and at fullback to help with cover.  There is also a rough plan to try and ease the wage budget concerns by moving a couple of fringe players on, who seem unlikely to make it to the first team, especially those who are on relatively high wages for their playing time.


It is likely there will be a mid run update in terms of any transfer moves, but it depends on how much time is available

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The Summer Time Transfer Window (early)

Metta have made it through the next three league games, with a few things happening in terms of transfers, which are not huge in terms of the first team.


First up, Metta lead the league in developing youngsters.  Since this, a large number of players have become homegrown, as they get to be old enough, meaning next year is likely to be even higher.  It is a bit of a swindle, as six of those players are still at Metta, but there are a couple who have made the first team elsewhere




Five players leave as soon as the transfer window opens, but they all go to lower league teams, and were all on Amateur contracts in the B/U18 teams.  So no major losses, as the best players were moved to the Main squad at the start of the season, but also no help in getting relief from the tight wage situation.  One player has been signed, technically an AMR, but at 6'4" he is going to train to fill the STC-TM slot that is currently being used to help provide some cover there due to the injuries and poor form going around.




Games against RFS and Liepaja close together are tough as they are the top two, with Valmiera in 4th going into this round of fixtures, so a couple of easy friendlies were scheduled for the gaps to try and boost morale, find some goals and help secure some points.

A good draw against RFS started this batch of games off, before the international fixtures which had led to the Liepaja game moving.  That meant the side against Krimulda was made up of fringe players plus some triallists, and it was the triallists who scored the goals.  Sen is a Belarussian ST, who can also help out at AMR-Winger for us but won't sign for the pittance on offer which is a shame.

The Valmiera game was a shocker, conceding in the first 5 minutes, going two down in the first 20.  After a rousing rant at half time, the momentum graph showed we dominated the second half, but just couldn't score, with Puzirevskis racking up his 11th goalless game in a row, which was notable enough for the media.  That kept him in the side for the game against Limbazi, and he did manage a goal, but was unable to keep that going in the league fixture.

A tough defensive performance in the first half kept Liepaja at bay, and it stayed tight before Musah netted from a wide free kick.  As Liepaja pushed forward, replacement DR Novikovs hit a screamer from outside of the area to make it 2-0.  A late goal, with a looming five minutes of additional time meant it was a nervous finish but Liepaja couldn't create a chance and the win was secured.


Having 4 points from the fixtures against the top two is a great return.  With Riga still struggling and then the teams who are meant to be fighting out at the bottom with Metta looming, this could be the start of a run to ensure that there is no bottom of the table finish.

Two more lower division teams lined up before then, allowing any new signings to become acclimatised, and to try and get fringe players up to speed, and players returning from injury back to match fitness before the tough trip across the city.


That run of three (or four) games has led to Valmieira jumping up to 3rd, meaning we have claimed four points from games against the top sides, and have the lower three left in this round.  That is the good news.  The bad is that Spartaks are rounding into form, destroying BFC 5-0 while Metta scraped past Liepaja to move them into 6th on goal difference.  The silver lining to that is that BFC are coming back to earth after their good start, and have lost three on the bounce.

Spartaks have to face Liepaja and Valmiera before the game against Metta, and BFC face RFS and Valmiera before facing Metta, meaning they both have a harder run of fixtures.  At this point, with a good win, and hopefully a morale boost from the friendlies, the aim has to be 6-7 points from the three games, and moving up to 5th in the league before the final round of fixtures.


Youth Intake


Looking at the distribution of players, it is very central heavy, and the MC position is already crowded, but as none of them look to be any good it won't make much difference.  There is currently no HoYD in place as the only people interested in the role are dreadful, so this report comes from the U18s manager.  He has a JPA of 6, and JPP of 8 (much better than any interested HoYD candidate), so he could be wrong, but the intake doesn't look great at this stage.

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League fixtures, round three

This seems like it is the beginning of the end at Metta



The pressure is building both from the board and the press.

The board request came after the game against Riga, which was the fourth (of six) in this round of fixtures, with the two weakest teams left to face, and the press decided to pile on.

Somehow, the board were able to agree that the team is young, so more time was needed, and didn't set a points target for the next few fixtures.


This round of fixtures ended with the fourth round of the cup, which is where Metta, and the rest of the top tier joined the fray.  While the board expectation from the start of the season was to win a round and reach the quarter finals, being draw against Riga in the only all top tier clash means the target is harsh.


It is fair to say results were not good.

The friendlies that were put in place make everything look rosier, but in the six league games it reads

Draw - Loss - Win - Loss - Loss - Draw.  And while a draw and the win were against the top two teams, that doesn't mean much when only one point is picked up against the closest rivals for league position.

Allied with an expected loss in the cup, and things are looking bad.  But it is not all doom and gloom.  Apart from conceding three against Valmiera, most games are tight, so defensively the team are doing well.  And the highlights show chances being created, but unfortunately they end one of two ways.  Either the ball is worked down either wing, and played into the box, cleared behind for a corner.  When the corner heads into the box the resulting header sails over the bar without troubling the goalkeeper.  Or the ball is played through centrally, and a shot is manufactured, but goes sailing wide, again not troubling the goalkeeper.

Over the last few games this has been the total attacking output - Shots on target/Shots - xG

Riga (cup) - 4/9 - 0.74

Spartaks - 3/9 - 0.54

BFC - 0/6 - 0.68

Riga (league) - 5/11 - 0.47

While the Latvian league is not the best in the world, there should be a better performance here, either in working the GK, or managing to convert some chances.


The loss to Riga in the cup brought another summons to see the board, and this time there was no way to avoid a target.  Originally they wanted 7 points in 4 games, but were willing to negotiate down a bit, resulting in the following promise


Four points.  A win and a draw.  or squeaking out four draws in five games.  That is five of the six remaining league games.


So facing the top five, and leaving Spartaks to last one more.  Three of those five are away too which doesn't bode well.


The league isn't yet gone though, as Spartaks are playing poorly too, and have just managed to scrape a couple more draws than Metta.  The seven points to BFC is probably a bridge too far, and with there being a logjam from third to fifth there will be a fight for the final European playoff spot.  Two of those spots have gone, possibly linked to the cup starting, which guarantees the winner a place in Europe.

So with five games to save the season at Metta, it is time to change things up a bit


Ozolins drops back to make a back five, but plays as a Libero to try and bring play forwards a bit.  Vapne and Zelenkovs stop sqaubbling over who gets to be a Mezzala, as they both get the chance, with Kluskins sweeping up behind them.  And in a bit to avoid a ST being isolated, two are paired together, with the hope that somehow one of them can work out how to hit the target.

Hopefully there will be some way to keep the defensive solidarity, and manage to sneak a goal, to turn the 1-0 losses into draws, and the draws into wins.



Five games to save the season.  Six to finish it.  Which one will it be...

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Youth Intake

I have survived long enough to see the youth intake, but the screen for the intake is not showing properly


Both the Pirktins have been at the club since the previous intake, so it is unclear why they are showing up, but only one player joins them as an elite prospect


Six top prospects to go along with Bite as an elite one, but not a huge amount of PCA at this stage.  The plan is to sign them all to future prospect deals to allow time to assess them and make further decisions in the off season.




Getting through the rest of the options, and the staff don't see much going on.  But as they are generally rubbish judges of character the plan is to give everyone a chance.  What is interesting is that a different player is deemed the star graduate after the game against the U18s


He is one of the top three by PCA, which may explain it, but he was only in the top prospects group originally.

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The U18s team had some of the fringe first teamers available, albeit only for 45 minutes, but they took advantage of their older peers going into the break 2-0 up, continuing to control the game throughout.

Star performer Timofejevs seemed to be everywhere and showing up in every highlight so may well be another one to pay attention to

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The end of the line, or the end of the season?

One more round of fixtures.

Six games

A minimum of five points just to be able to see out the end of the season

A situation so bad that the youth intake was received, quickly summarised, but no players were really looked at in depth, because if there were only a few games left with Metta then what was the point.

And the round of fixtures played out in stages, with different narratives surrounding them as they went.


First up the top two.  And the 5-3-2 formation was having issues, being played in both games (despite the screenshot showing otherwise).  The Libero and the BWM kept getting the the way of each other in possession.  Which meant that not only was there one passing option missing, but when the ball was lost they were easy to bypass.

Against RFS things started well, with Lusins putting us 1-0, but that brought about the dreaded league table update.  RFS equalised, Grinsbergs had a goal chalked off for offside.  RFS were awarded a penalty, which was saved, but the rebound was slotted home, and when RFS snuck a third just before the break the game was pretty much over.

Liepaja were a second tough game in a row, and there was a move partway through the game to move Ozolins back to DM from his Libero role that wasn't working, and while Metta were defensively sound for a while the gap in quality shone through.

Target 5 points - 0 points earned

This brought out the press, whispering that a firing was on the line before each of the next games.  But the games do start to get easier at this stage.

And it is time for a tactical tweak to try and avoid the issues of the 5-3-2.  While it may seem that it is rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic there were a couple of things in play to shape this


Moved the CB-Libero to DM-Regista to get the best out of Ozolins (not shown as he was injured for the final game of the season.  Moved the MC-BWM to AMC-AM to try and add an extra attacking threat.  Scoring goals had been the problem all season, so throwing more resources at the problem seemed the only option.  And draws were no longer enough with only three games to earn five points, there had to be a least one win.  The other thing at play was a promise, made to Zelenkovs to play him as a Mezzala when extending his contract, as well as a desire to get the best players on the pitch, which were Korotkovs, Musah, Ozolins, Vapne, Zelenkovs, Kluskins, and Grinsbergs, all in positions where they could make a difference.

This change meant that with possession, both WBs ended up relatively far forward, as each game started on Positive mentality, moving to Attacking when required, with five other options available for passes.  The movement of the AFs to get open when possession was won left space for the Mezzala on their side to run into, and caused plenty of opportunities for shots.


Valmiera were third in the league going in, but this was over in the first fifteen minutes, despite a bit of a nervy finish.  Pirktins scored his first goal of the season, despite being on penalties and all free kicks since the start of the season.  Granted, Metta haven't earnt many penalties, but to get to the 21st games of the season for an opening goal is a bit of a wait.  But it was worth it, as he registered as the youngest league scorer on record.

Mood boosted it was time for the derby against Riga.  This time around Riga scored early, in the 10th minute, and life was tough to get chances.  Lusins levelled near to the hour, before Riga scored with 15 minutes to go, kicking off a hectic last quarter of an hour.  Firstly Riga opened up  the 2-1 lead, but within 3 minutes it was back level with Lusins netting his second.  In the 82nd minute a tiring Kipsts at DL went in too hard on the Riga AMR and saw red, leaving an undercooked DC in Pirktins to come on at DL, and the removal of the AMC to try and force a result.  Grinsbergs left it late, but managed to scramble the ball into the net, winning the tie, and saving his manager from the chop.

Target 5 points - 6 points earned

Unfortunately there was no immediate congratulations from the board, and instead attention turned to facing cellar dwelling rivals BFC.  As the board expected Metta to avoid finishing bottom this was a proverbial relegation six-pointer, just without the relegation element.


Despite being down to one available DL in Birka, who struggled to see out this game, and BFC taking the lead before the quarter hour mark, two goals either side of half time made the difference here, with Kluskins striking from outside the box.  Having moved to Attacking when down to Riga, this was employed as soon as BFC scored, and stuck with once winning, aiming to score another and ease the pressure.  A massive win, for all sorts of reasons


Nearly double the target, board back on side, and things looking rosy once more.


So much so, the board offered to extend Asambani's contract, having been on the verge of ripping it up.  Originally offered one year on £500 per week, Asambani wanted a bit more security, hoping for a second year.  When the board refused that first up, he offered to take a pay cut for the second year, and that secured the deal.

This means there is a bit more of a window to develop some of those younger players, embed ideas, and ensure that players are tempted to sign, knowing the manager is looking to stick around a bit.


All of that leaves one game to play, and even more excitingly due to some odd quirks of scheduling the league table opens up to look interesting.


Liepaja faced off against Riga in the cup final, with Liepaja managing to complete the double, but it meant a slight fixture rejig for the run-in, and Metta were the beneficiaries.

On the 26th, Riga and Spartaks faced off in their penultimate game and played each other to a 2-2 draw.

On the 27th Valmiera and RFS played out the same result to end their season

The 28th saw the final two league fixtures


Two games, between the bottom four.  Four points between them, with Metta able to finish anywhere from 4th through to 7th in the final game.  How are Metta the beneficiaries?  Well Spartaks played two days earlier, so are tired to begin with, and either have to rotate and play weaker players, or play tired, meaning the gap between facing BFC and Spartaks gives Metta the advantage.  And that fitness divide is mirrored in the other fixture with 4th placed Riga being tired too, opening the door for a shock result from BFC.

Do Metta have the wherewithal to secure a win and sneak into the European place?

Will they scrape a draw, guarnteeing they don't finish bottom, narrowly meeting the expectations of the board?

Or will the team from earlier in the season show up, and leave them to sink without a trace, leaving Asambani to wonder which three teams are being added to the league for next season?

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46 minutes ago, Sheriff7 said:

Great comeback in league!:applause:Huge game against Spartaks.

There is a massive gap in the league which has helped. Riga should be well clear too, but I think Inhave found the reason for that.

Liepaja have doubled our point total, which is 24 games is huge. I think that Leipaja, and to a lesser extent RFS dominating has meant everyone else is scrapping for points against each other, and any win becomes valuable as it is against rivals.  It will be interesting to see if the same drama happens when the league is 10 strong next season

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The final game

Everything* on the line (*not quite everything, but this was the tagline for Terrific Thursday as the broadcasters tried to get a large audience for the two final games, being simulcast for fans who wanted to flick between the two.



Excitement in the Metta camp, as a convincing performance against a tired Spartaks side meant they secured their highest ever league finish.

Cinajevs came in for the injured Ozolins and started things off, although with 40 minutes of the game having passed at that point it started to look as though Metta were going to be frustrated.  Grinsbergs continued his good run, before the fresh legs of Vientiess off the bench made the result look beyond doubt.  While Vientiess hasn't played much he has been a regular on the bench, making a few sub appearances, but the key element was that as the Metta players started to tire, there were fresh legs on the bench, whereas the Spartaks manager chose not to rotate, with some players tired from the off, and the players that came off the bench were also tired after their exploits two days earlier.

A second goal of the season from GK Pirktins, this time from a free kick made it a glorious day for the Metta fans, which not even a late goal from Spartaks could ruin.

After the Vientiess goal, most Metta fans turned their attentions to the Riga vs BFC game, with whispers going around the stands from those streaming the game on their phones


BFC took an early 3-0 lead, before Riga managed to pull back to 3-2 down, with 35 minutes to go.  Tensions was high, but the energy spent two days earlier was costly, and as Riga searched for an equaliser BFC were able to put the icing on the cake in injury time.


That means that as the season draws to a close, despite the odds being against them Metta are going to be in Europe next season.

It was close, with only seven points separating third through to seventh in the table, and only the top two teams having a positive goal difference.  Riga have underperformed on the season, as have Spartaks, with Liepaja being a bit of a surprise.



The final run of fixtures is in start contrast to the rest of the season.  Metta only managed 7 wins, with four of those coming in the final four games of the season.  What is interesting is where Metta picked up their points

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Against the three teams topping the table, Metta managed a win against Liepaja (left most column), and Valmiera, as well as four draws.  These points are really bonus points considering the supposed gap between the teams at the start of the season, with the win against Liepaja being particularly big considering it is one of four losses for them all season, similarly for the draw.  Being responsible for a third of the draws that RFS managed too is quite a scalp

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Against the teams below Metta (from left to right Riga, BFC, Spartaks - league order), BFC stands out as the weakest with only four points from 12, the same as against champions Liepaja.  As the closest rivals in terms of odds at the start of the season this is a clear area to improve on, but could be to do with the counter attacking formations not quite working against equal levels of opposition.  Riga's poor form covered both ends of the season, and both Riga and Spartaks were the most profitable opposition with 7 points from 12 against them.


Next up is the end of season review, and a look into why Riga might have struggled so much

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Latvia in Europe

Lativa gets four places on European competition, with the league winner going into the early stages of the Champions League, and then a place on offer via the cup going into the Conference League along with two other sides.  For the season just gone the double winning season of Liepaja meant the fourth place goes to Metta.

But with Latvia running a calendar based season, it won't be until the second half of the season that the European journey kicks off, and gives a reasonable chance to look at how Latvian teams fared in Europe during the second half of the recently completed 2021 season


In order of 2021 league finishing positions



A clear loss to the Icelandic side, who themselves went out in the next round to Turkish opposition



A good win at home, but the trip to Slovakia was a bit too much, with Zilina also going out in the next round, this time to Bulgarian opposition



Our first progress, squeaking past the Albanian side Laci on penalties, before succumbing to their Slovenian opposition, who were defeated by Kobenhaven in the third round of qualification


Not in Europe


The champions from last season, with a big drop off in the league


Lots of European fixtures here, shaped by the top tier entry.

An away win in Albania was enough to have progress, before being overwhelmed by Legia of Poland, who made it to the Europa League group stage.  But by being in the Champions League qualifying they step down to the Europa League qualifying, and were demolished by Swiss side Young Boys who joined Legia in the Europa group stages.

That loss sent Riga into the final chance saloon of the Conference League qualifying round, but by virtue of having won a round early on, this was winner takes all, and identical results against their Irish opposition meant that Riga were in the group stage.  it is fair to say it isn't going well for them on the pitch, but the financial benefits will be huge, and the loss of that income for next season will be interesting as Riga may have to shed some contracts.


Now the league fixtures are done, it will be interesting to see if Riga are able to maintain fitness, and sneak some points


It does mean that between July and August, Riga have played 22 competitive fixtures, which compared to the 25 for Metta (one cup fixture) in the whole season is a huge increase, and there will be an impact on their players through the regular games.  What is significant visually is that after closing out August with three consecutive wins, against Linfield in Europe, and Metta in the cup, Riga only picked up four points from their final six league games, and that is combined with three European losses.  A tough start to September, facing the top two league sides three times (one in the cup), as well as starting their European group stage trials has dented their progress.

BFC Daugavpils

Not in Europe


Not in Europe



This shouldn't derail the season for Metta next time round, as looking at the sides who were in the Conference League qualifying this season, the Latvian league struggles to make an impact, but the longer the progress the harder things will be, especially if there are big losses.  The focus of the European adventure will have to be about money, and enjoying the experience.

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Metta Season in review

First up, following the season review news item is transfers


Grinsbergs, Kluskins and Lusins were key parts of the Metta team this season, with Cudars backing up Ozolins at DM and playing an important role when needed.  All of these were signed before the save kicked off, so don't technically count, and the one player signed went into the U18s so doesn't show up.


All of these also went before the save started, and looking at their stats the loss of Krollis is a big one with 16 goals from midfield.  All the players who left from the B Team are not shown, but were on Amateur contracts and picked up by lower division sides.


Guliaks went out on loan in the mid-season window and was able to make appearances but not cement a key role.  There is one other player at the club out on loan, who shows up in the whole squad view, but clearly it was agreed too early for the review


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Nice to see the board are understanding of the tough draw in the cup, and that despite the issues in the league they are now happy with how things are going.


The biggest win comes on the final day of the season, with the best game coming from the opposite end of the season.  Zelenkovs best goal possibly deserved a win, especially with BFC going down to 10 men early on, but it was tough early on in the season.  Hopefully the latest tactic can build a stronger attack for next time around


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Finances are not great, but in a league with very little prize money, and no broadcast revenue, it is always going to be tight.  £3,333 in merchandise sales, with £333 of that coming from Zuckerberg fans who thought he had bought the side.  Of the biggest selling shirts, it is the four best midfielders, plus Grinsbergs who played in midfield and up front.  Kluskins is yet to sign a new deal, which is a shame if he goes, but part of the problem when finances are so tight.  Ozolins was after a move in the mid season window, but settled down once it closed, and it will be interesting to see if he gets upset again once the January window opens again


The best 11 is built around a 4-3-3 foration which means that there isn't room for the four big midfielders.  Rekis is a surprise entrant due to his low number of appearances, and Kirkils makes it out of the fullback logjam where there was no clear starter to make the team, but aside from that it is the strongest team available


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Pirktins makes a clear grab for stardom with his award, cemented by his average rating.  When the top goalscorer is at a rate of 1 in 4, things are not going well up front, with the players performing poorly generally with the highest PotM awards being 2 shows how often Metta were outclassed

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Most of these records on the left should be broken, and if they are not it means the season isn't going well.  The records for age will be broken too, with 29 years old being very young for an oldest player, but highlights the young age of the Metta squad at the start.  There are no plans to buy old players, but if Kluskins stick around he will break his age record, and in a few seasons there may some players who continue to play for the club as they age.  It would be nice to get Pirktins to have both the oldest and youngest goalscorers, but that might be a stretch.


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The analytics show that defensively Metta were strong, inviting opponents onto them and holding them at bay which is supported by the PotM lead for Musah at DC and the highest average of Pirktins in goal.  The attack were clinical when they had chances, despite it seeming every shot being blazed over the bar, so if the change in tactics result in a higher attacking output it should see Metta become more prolific



Looking forward, it is fair to say the board haven't got the highest expectations.  After needing to avoid finishing bottom of a seven team league, the addition of extra teams, and therefore extra fixtures mean the board don't expect to do anything and want to just finish the season.  Hopefully that means being fired is out of the question, but it will depend on how the team perform on the pitch.



The squad ordered by appearances shows which players were leaned on.  There was a solid core especially at GK, DC, and DM.  Lots of rotation, mainly linked to fitness (or suspensions) at both DL and DR.  The midfielders rotated more due to the number of players available, with Zelenkovs picking up games at MC and STC during the season to try and fit the strongest players on to the pitch.  Kluskins comes in lower down the list than might be expected due to missing a couple of months through injury.

Muritala is an interesting figure, having been on a fixed loan out, and being judged by the staff to be one of the strongest players in the squad. He managed 4(2) appearances on loan, all in the second half of the season.  When looking at his form report, he wasn't registered for the league for most of the season, only being registered during the summer window, and removed from the list at the end of the transfer window, but has been playing in Europe.  Getting him back will be important, as he should be a direct replacement for Lusins.


Only 12 players found the net this season.

Musah and Korotkovs scored theirs from set pieces, as did GK Pirktins.  The goals are relatively well shared out by those who scored, but there is a need to increase this for next season with someone getting to double figures being vital


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In my save for fm 21 with FK Ventspils (really where are they in your save?) we had huge difference from third place team(25+) every season .Riga fc gave as huge fight every season for league title until the last game.

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14 hours ago, Sheriff7 said:

In my save for fm 21 with FK Ventspils (really where are they in your save?) we had huge difference from third place team(25+) every season .Riga fc gave as huge fight every season for league title until the last game.

Not on the game at the minute, but I think there was some irregularity that removed them from the top tier for the 2021 season. 

For the 2022 (2nd) season the league goes up to 10 teams, so i expect them to be back in the mix. 

If Ventspils come back I would expect them to be challenging near the top too, and the board don't expect much from Metta, so it will be interesting to see the media predictions and odds for the season

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2022 Season Preview

It is still early January, and the transfer window has just opened, but the season has officially ticked over, so it is time to start looking at what is to come in 2022.

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Three teams added to the league along with the jeopardy of relegation.  Looking at the early season odds there are tiers within the league with RFS odds on to win the leage, Riga, Liepaja and Valmiera down to be their rivals.  Spartaks are in a group all on their own, with Metta and BFC battling it out for 6th and 7th again.  the three new teams make up the bottom places, and while the bookmakers don't think much of them now, it will be interesting to see what happens during the transfer windows in terms of them strengthening.


One for @Sheriff7- Ventspils finished 4th in the 2020 season, then were relegated.  They played some friendlies in the 2021 season, and their fixture list for 2022 is minmal.  A planned friendly against Metta, as they still have a squad so there may be some useful pickings to have, and a still to be drawn tie in the 2nd round of the cup.  A quick look at Wiki shows that it is unlikely they come back soon, but their own website mentions play in 2022.


Not sure what is going to happen with them, but it something worth revisiting at the start of the 2023 season.


The board don't have any higher expectations at this stage, despite the bookmakers thinking that Metta will be safely mid table.  If they offer an increase in expectations I will consider it, to try and get the extra wage budget, but without going too high due to the fixture congestion that is going to occur in the second half of the season with the European adventure, however short that may be.


The finances the board mention are not great, with the huge uptick between November and December coming from new sponsorship deals.  It is likely to drop steadily through the season, so the aim with Europe is to get some cash.  Whether that is from getting through rounds, or sneaking a win/draw in the first round before being sent packing.


League news

With the new teams, there are new rules

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The big change is the 50% increase in fixtures with the three extra teams.  This means that games are going to come regularly throughout the season, so rotation, and fitness are going to be key.  Only 30 players can be registered, and for the squad number enthusiasts they have to have numbers 1-30, so once registration is done there is no chance until the mid season transfer window.

The other change is the addition of relegation, with the team in 10th going straight down, and the team in 9th getting a chance to save themselves in a playoff.  Hopefully the three new teams will be fighting for those spots.

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A couple of short gaps showing up, in mid-April through most of May.  A really short turn around in June with games on the 11th, 14th, 16th, 18th and 21st which will be tough.

July is quite quiet with the summer break, but that will see the start of the European games, and they are likely to sandwich the Valmiera game at the end of July giving another tight squeeze.


Based on these fixtures, getting the right 30 players in the squad will be important.  The plan is to carry on with the 4-4-2 diamond (DM-MC-MC-AMC) formation that ended the 2021 season well, but have the flexibility to play with wingers if required.  The flexibility of players such as Grinsbergs (AML/ST) will be vital for this.

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Both the B and U18 teams have been added to a league.  It looks like the B-Team will have to have a fixed squad, so I am not sure what this means about making players available from the first team squad.  Last season the only GK in the main squad through the season was Pirktins, although another was registered, so it will be interesting to see if that is allowed again or not.  For development purposes I don't want my 2nd best GK sat in the main squad but not playing and not being able to play in the B/U18 teams.

It is also interesting to note that there are only 4 over 21 Latvians allowed in the B-team (not sure if this is squad or matchday team) but it does mean that there is a youth focus to the B-Team as well as the U18s.


There are no major plans for the transfer window, apart from picking up some free transfers to strengthen the squad, which will be delved into at the end of February when the season is getting close to kicking off.

Staffing upgrades

Most of the original staff were out of contract at the end of the season, so were allowed to leave the club, and replacements were sought through placing adverts.


This is a decent set up for a mid table side, and could hopefully mean there is a surprise in store by utilising training


In the coaching team the hunt is still on for a HoYD, and the board don't want me to have a HPA, but he was in place before my arrival.  A nice multicultural team has been built, with Asambani as manager taking the lead on Fitness training, allowing Shirokov and Dawes to concentrate on their strengths.


There is still a gap for a Head Physio, which Skreblin also applied for, but he was happy to settle for the lower paid role, and the advert is still running.  it does mean the medical staff look poorer than the other two staffing group, but there is space to improve them


Despite having a small scouting budget, so only being able to look at Latvia, the scouting team continue the multicultural nature of the club, with the shock signing of Javier Mascherano, formerly of Liverpool and Barcelona, as DoF.


He brings a good JPA and JPP attributes for the league, as well as high levels of Determination and being a Perfectionist.  Staff responsibilities will change to give him a chance to use his contacts to try and get some quality players, but Asambani will retain the final say to avoid signing players who are not needed.

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While we can't afford to send scouts all round the world, there is a lot of knowledge due to the varied staffing at the club which will likely see a couple more foreign players being offered trials and possibly signed, although there is a limit in the squad which will have to be monitored.


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Hi @scousevaseyand @Sheriff7: I am (with Metta, too) in the year 2026 and Ventspils got promoted to the Virslīga for the first time this season. So it's possible that they show up...

A information regarding reserve and youth league: There's a bug in Latvia. Players are not allowed to play in this leagues, because they are "not registered". But it's not possible to register them at any point (unfortunately SI didn't fix this bug, yet)

Regarding your season 2: I think you'll enjoy Muritala. I had a lot of fun with him and he's a legend at the club now :)

Btw: Very interesting read, follow your story since you started it :)

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7 hours ago, Sheriff7 said:

Too bad for Ventspils,i thought they had financial problems. Whats the situation of national team?Are you interesting for their job?

I spent the November international window watching all of the Latvian teams in action, mainly to see who might be decent to pick up in the transfer window.

I am not desperate to take over the international sides yet, and despite going in with badges think it is slightly unrealistic at this stage.  With Latvia being quite poor internationally, I think the U21s side is the goal, especially if the youth can develop at Metta

4 hours ago, Kazushi80 said:

Hi @scousevaseyand @Sheriff7: I am (with Metta, too) in the year 2026 and Ventspils got promoted to the Virslīga for the first time this season. So it's possible that they show up...

A information regarding reserve and youth league: There's a bug in Latvia. Players are not allowed to play in this leagues, because they are "not registered". But it's not possible to register them at any point (unfortunately SI didn't fix this bug, yet)

Regarding your season 2: I think you'll enjoy Muritala. I had a lot of fun with him and he's a legend at the club now :)

Btw: Very interesting read, follow your story since you started it :)

I am looking forward to seeing if Ventspils can make it up earlier in this save then. Decent going to get to 2026 - how have you got on so far? Any silverware?

With regards to the bug, I know the B/U18s teams had fixtures last year, as my assistant kept wanting to play the whole first team in the games. I will have to check if they were league fixtures or not, and will keep an eye on it

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vor 16 Stunden schrieb scousevasey:


Decent going to get to 2026 - how have you got on so far? Any silverware?

With regards to the bug, I know the B/U18s teams had fixtures last year, as my assistant kept wanting to play the whole first team in the games. I will have to check if they were league fixtures or not, and will keep an eye on it

I won the league 2 times and the cup one time, yet, but at the moment FK Rigas is the best team in the country and are rocking the league. What's odd on my save: Riga FC has fallen hard - despite having much more money than everyone else in the league. They were 7h last year

Regarding the bug: Yes, they have fixtures. But only grey players are playing in the reserve and youth league games. Just check the next time the line-up after a game and you'll see that all your players are not on the pitch. They are playing only in friendlies. A very annoying bug (already reported and recognized, but not fixed, yet :( )

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4 hours ago, Kazushi80 said:

I won the league 2 times and the cup one time, yet, but at the moment FK Rigas is the best team in the country and are rocking the league. What's odd on my save: Riga FC has fallen hard - despite having much more money than everyone else in the league. They were 7h last year

Congratulations on the success - hopefully we can mirror that at some point in this save


4 hours ago, Kazushi80 said:

Regarding the bug: Yes, they have fixtures. But only grey players are playing in the reserve and youth league games. Just check the next time the line-up after a game and you'll see that all your players are not on the pitch. They are playing only in friendlies. A very annoying bug (already reported and recognized, but not fixed, yet :( )

I was distracted from this by having first team players made available for U18s fixtures - and I knew this was happening as the U18s manager didn't think about those who were in the first team and just wanted to take all of the main squad so there had to be a lot of changes made each week to avoid players being unavailable - I have taken a look back at a couple of players and it does seem they only played friendlies - I might just schedule more in for this season to try and keep the playing time high

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Pre-Season 2022

This stretches for a long time with the season ending in early November, and the players getting a good couple of months off.  It did give time for player contracts to expire, and get some freebies signed, as well as review who was in the squad and any areas of need.

The friendlies kicked off in February, with the league season due to begin at the start of March, so it is the idea time to update the season preview.



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Troickis was signed last June and is currently in the U18s, but is shown to keep the dates in order.

Kirss was released from Riga at the end of his contract and had been playing well for the national U21s in November, so I was keeping an eye out for him and he should fill in nicely at the AMC role.  Dieppa was highlighed by our far flung staff knowledge, and brought in to provide some depth at STC.  The staff at the club wanted Lusins to be extended, but with Dieppa coming in, and the returning Muritala to slot in alongside Grinsbergs there was no need to keep the loanee.

This early business made things slightly easier for the start of 2022. Maisuradze and Mina will both bring reinforcements at DC, where there wasn't a huge amount of depth last season.  Belovs comes in as a rotational option at DM, again where added depth was needed, mainly due to there being a huge drain on the fitness of those playing there.  Zekhov comes in as an MC for the 4-4-2 diamond formation, but with the versatility to play at ML/AML which adds in some of the flexibility the squad needs.

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Kluskins is a loss but he wouldn't sign a new contract that fitted within the budget for the side.  While he was a regular starter the arrival of Kirss and Zekhov should cover him at AMC and MC respectively.

Smitins had been in the B team in 2021, and was moved up to train with the first team squad before moving on.  Not a huge loss really.  Kipsts is a big loss, as he was able to cover both DR and DL, with the newly promoted Tukums offering enough to turn the heads of the board who accepted quickly.  It does leave the side slightly short at DL, which could be problematic later in the season but the only replacement who is suitable and affordable wants too big a wage so won't work.  Hopefully the scouts can do some work and find someone who is out of contract in another league in June who is interested.

Uldrikis was one of those DC rotational options who wasn't quite up to scratch, and another promoted team in Jelgala threw some money at the situation.  The clauses are for appearances, and if they avoid relegation, plus there is a resale clause available, so if this was a poor deal on a good player we can profit from it later.


While the transfer window is still open, and won't close until after the first league game, it is interesting to see the changes to the original odds for the season

On 31/12/2021 at 17:07, scousevasey said:


Riga have strengthened a lot to narrow their odds, overtaking RFS as favourites but it is very close.  Liepaja, Valmiera, and Spartaks have seen their odds lengthen slightly.

Metta are consistent in 6th, with no changes despite the new signings.

The big movers are Auda, halving their odds to jump up to 7th but they are just level with Daugavpils and Tukums in what could be an interesting battle for the playoff spot.  Both the promoted sides have shortened their odds, with BFC slipping in the eyes of the bookmakers.  While Jelgava also have a better chance at the title they are now quite a way adrift at the bottom of the table and likely to be relegation candidates.




A busy February with games against lower quality teams, mainly booked in early, with the assistant manager trying to squeeze a couple of others in late leading to a bit of a jam with the Krimulda-Noah-Ventspils games all coming in a very tight window.  This did allow lots of rotation, and fitness building with the Attacking 4-4-2 Diamond working well and solving the goalscoring issues from last season.  A few too many goals conceded, especially against Saned and Krimula but they tended to come late on, with a big lead and lots of substitutions being made so the team became a bit disjointed.

No major challenges in this run, but good confidence builders and a chance for the new players, both promoted from within and the signings, to get used to the formation and demands of the tactical roles.



The season starts with nine games spread over two months, which will be a quarter of the season.  Auda crop up twice in this time, with Valmiera missing out, but being the opening fixture of May.  Two early games against teams predicted around us before a tough derby against RFS, but the other side of that sees two more easier games, before a tough double header, with a short turnaround, hosting both Liepaja and Riga.

This should give a good idea of how well the tactic works over a slightly longer stretch, as well as where the Metta squad sit in terms of the league.  With the looming European fixtures in the second half of the season there is an incentive to bank points early this season.



Next up is a look at the squad depth, as well as who is likely to play, before the fixtures kick off in full

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Metta squad 2022

Currently all 30 registration places are filled, which means we have the maximum player capacity, but are limited in ways to improve.  Fortunately most of the squad are young, so won't be too upset at a demotion to the B/U18s teams especially the fringe players, some of whom spent 2021 in the main squad and have dropped down a level this season.


Pirktins is still the number 1, with Beks moved up for registration but he will be made available for the B team throughout the season.


At DR there are three players who will rotate in at different times.  Maisuradze is a DC and will only play wider if we are really short.  In the 4-4-2 diamond the fullbacks are playing as WB(s) so Novikovs offers more of the attacking width needed with the narrow formation, with Kirkils rotating in regularly.  This is a demanding position in terms of fitness so it is likely they will rotate each game.  Bite is still very young, and needs to retrain to play at DR, but will be made available for the U18s as well as being a bench player to spell the two rotational options


This is where we are slightly short, especially with Birka starting the season injured.  Having played a narrow formation relying on wingbacks before it does really require three options to ensure fitness, so there will be a look at who can step up in a bind.  Last season that was Cudars, usually a DM, and if a good option appears before the close of the transfer window then they will be added.


In the centre there are 5 players who will rotate depending on fitness and opposition, mainly in pairs.  Musah and Korotkovs will be the starting pair, with Mina the first option off the bench due to his versatility.  Mina will also pair with Maisuradze with Fedorovics being made available in case of injuries but mainly spending time playing for the B team


DM looks like a logjam, but the top two players will be playing at DC, and Vientiess will be in the MC rotation.  Ozolins is the clear starter, with Cudars and Belovs rotating in.  Last season Ozolins struggled with fatigue, so there will be lots of chances for the other two to step in and play, even if only for 30-40 minutes at a time to keep Ozolins fresh.


Another with a few players showing up in multiple places.

Zelenkovs and Vapne are the starting pair, with Timofejevs and Vientiess backing them up.  As Zekhov gets more acquainted with the position he will move up in the rotation, with Yamamoto being the last rung of the list.  It is another position with lots of running required, so there will be lots of rotation through the season too, Rekis is more of an AM, but is training at MC to add flexibility and will get chances from the bench if we need a more attacking option


Zelenkovs and Vapne are more MCs, but can push up the pitch a bit if required.  Kirss comes in as the starting AMC, with Cinajevs and Rekis rotating behind him.  Cinajevs doesn't offer as much flexibility off the bench but performs well when given an opportunity so will be given the chances to shine.


There is depth up front, with Zelenkovs and Kirss being able to step up if needed.  Grinsbergs is the star from last season, and will be joined by Muritala after returning from loan.  Dieppa will rotate in to keep them fresh, with the young pairing of Gomi and Puzirevskis spending time playing with the other squads to keep their fitness up, and to try and be the fourth striker.  Gomi is retraining from being a wide option so is currently the lowest down the pecking order.


While the current formation is narrow, the aim is to have flexibility after changing formations last season.  So players with some positional flexibility are important and while some of that is down the centre of the pitch there are players in the squad who can play on the wings


All of these show up elsewhere, obviously, but it shows the options on both wings.  With Novikovs and Bite being options on the right, and Zekhovs the left, with the others being able to play on both sides there is the flexibility to use wide players, or have them cutting in as inverted players.

While none of these will be perfect options, there is hopefully enough to work in the league matches as needed.




There is a bit of a decision making to be done through the season too.  There are six players on Amateur deals, with most of them being promotions from the youth teams (Fedorovics, Beks, Timofejevs) or new signings who didn't want to come on trial but were willing to sign for free on an Amateur deal, meaning they could be evaluated while at the club,  Depending on perfomances, opportunities, and intereste from other clubs will depend if any of them get tied down to Full Time deals.

Ten players will see their contracts expire at the end of the season and they will fall into three camps.  Those who are note wanted any more as there are upgrades available, those who have had their heads turned and want to move on, or want a huge wage that doesn't fit the budget, or those we can extend.  Grinsbergs, Ozolins, and Korotkovs have all had interest previously so are likely to be a challenge, which is three of the strongest players at the club.  As May turns to June I will look to extend these, and those who are a way off in terms of suitable prices will be considered for sale in the transfer window to try and bolster the finances.

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2022 - fixtures round one

The season kicked off before the transfer window shut, but we were able to squeeze in one more player, who goes into the first team squad and sees a young MC option dropped to the B Team to fit the squad registration


Edwin comes on a free from BFC, and provided much needed cover at the start of the season as starting DL Birka was out for two month.  It means that the team has the three options at each full back as planned, and is relatively deep in every position.


There is a long way to go to be able to compete with the cross town rivals who were able to spend half a million, with nearly half of that going on one player.  At this stage of the save, with finances tight, I would happily sell a player to Riga for a quarter of a million to ensure the future of the club, and it shows how significant the money from Europe can be.  Having made it once, it now needs to become a regular thing, allowing the cash reserves to grow.


And there may be growing interest in some of the players if they continue to get international call ups.  Pirktins isn't getting games, but as a 17 year old being able to play up the age groups is significant despite just spending time on the bench, but every other call up is getting decent minutes, so I am happy for them to be in the age group teams instead of getting called up to the main squad and not playing.


The biggest challenge in this stretch of fixtures was keeping the rotation as planned, affected mainly by injuries


While this covers a year cycle, with Grinsbergs missing time last season, Birka, Kirss, Novikovs and Korotkovs have all missed time this season which has limited selection


Birka was the big loss in February, but left enough time to get Edwin in as cover.  Kirss missed the first game of the season which as the starting AMC was a slight issue, but the issues then started to pile up.

Novikovs missed five weeks, with another DR Bite picking up a minor knock leaving only one fully fit DR.  Similarly the injury to Semjonovs was allied with Birka still being sidelined and saw Edwin the final DL standing.

Korotkovs went down in the DC position meaning 75% of the strongest back four were out injured together


The injuries carried on into April, with Maisuradze going down to be a second DC on the treatment table at the same time, with Dieppa removing the depth at ST for a reasonable amount of time.

This has made defensive selection interesting especially, and possibly contributed to some poor defensive performances, but also shows that the strengthening of the squad in the off season has paid dividends as there were players able to step up who were stronger than those available last season.



It is safe to say that there have been lots of goals this time around, which is a change from last season.

A strong start against newly promoted Auda made it look like this season would be a doddle, with Muritala showing the previous management that he shouldn't have been out on loan last season.  Spartaks took advantage of the narrow formation and overloaded things a little to take a lead, but a couple of changes, meant that we came back to 3-3 before conceding late, which became a theme of the losses, mirroring the games against BFC and Tukums.

RFS are a class above us at the minute and once they took the lead it was always going to be difficult to break them down.

Jelgava gave us the chance to reset, and are showing why they were favourites to go down before a ball had been kicked.  A good draw was salvaged against Liepaja, in a tight game, but one where a slightly more defensive mentality kept them at bay, before the same mentality helped overcome Riga.

Facing Auda a second time in this part of the season was the reverse of the losses, going up 2-0 early, before they started to spread things very wide, and the short turnarounds at this stage of the season started to catch up with the players.  Fortunately after being pegged back, Muritala was able to break clear and slot the winner.

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This is the general performances of March (left) and April, which show that we don't keep the ball well, but the direct play means changes are being created, and the shots are hitting the target at a good rate.  What does stand out is that we are creating much better chances than the rest of the league, and converting them, while giving up more goals than expected too.  Hopefully with the return to fitness of the strongest defenders this can be tightened up a bit without losing any of the attacking prowess.

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At the end of April, and the quarter point of the season it is clear that Metta are a bit of an outlier with odd looking octagons at both ends of the pitch.  The clearances are high due to our single wide player formation inviting crosses, with our DCs performing admirable, and the direct passing seeing a low rate of dribbles, and limiting the passing completion percentage.



When all put together that leaves Metta mid table, but in a congested part of the table.

Liepaja and Jelgava are making a case for cementing themselves in the bookend positions of the table, with Jelgava finding the transition to the top league difficult especially.  The other promoted teams have made strong starts and make up the rest of the top three.  What is interesting is that we have taken 7 points from 9 against the current top two, but picked up 0 from 6 against the three teams directly below us.

Joint top scorers, but third most porous defence, and Jelgava really shouldn't count for this being so poor means that Metta are the most attractive for the neutral, but not great for the stress levels of fans, but it does give a decent building block going forwards to either launch an attempt to claim a European spot again, or secure enough points to avoid a European hangover as July and August roll round.


May sees the first game against Valmiera who were tough last season but have struggled at the start of this one.  Having faced two games a week for the final half of April, this continues in early May with lots of short turnarounds where squad management and rotation will be key in picking up points.  Hopefully the rest of the league will start to tire and will be able to be picked off with the direct counter attack that we have employed this season.  The toughest turnaround will be RFS and Liepaja both away on a Sunday-Wednesday timetable.

Seven games in the month, and the aim is to be moving up the table to 4th by the end of the month, as well as tightening up defensively to help pick up the points needed to move up the table

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May 2022

A tough run of games with some short turnarounds for a relatively shallow squad.  The positive is that other teams face the same fixture congestion, so will be equally tired.


An amazing run, with more points picked up than expected having struggled against Valmiera and Spartaks last season.

There was lots of rotation through the month, some forced through injury, and a couple of teams being weaker on paper but they were able to come through in the majority of games only dropping 5 points from a possible 21.

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The RFS game was close, and shaped by a red card for Birka, diving in two footed to the side of the box mirroring his indiscretions last season, so to hold on for a 0-0 is a positive.  Despite being reduced to ten men the defensive side of things was solid.  Liepaja are the runaway leaders, and this was a chance to show that Metta have serious designs on performing this season.  Conceding a penalty after 30 minutes made it look like life was against Metta, but they fought back to equalise after 54 minutes.  The last 15 minutes saw Liepaja have a goal disallowed, then scored the winner.  it was another close game, where a draw might have been the better reflection, but it wasn't a poor performance which bodes well going forwards.

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The derby against Riga was one to behold and became a record setting day.  The early goal from Kirss against his old club made it look like it would be a good day, but the quick equaliser by Nata had me worried.  Muritala scored pretty much from the kickoff to restore the lead, and from there it was pretty much total domination.  7-1 at half time, it was hard to try and push on for more without upsetting the players, but when they conceded some angry shouting from the bench gave them the impetus to stretch the lead a bit more.

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Two records from that game which will take some beating, and to do it in a derby against a side that are definitely bigger at this stage is great.


All of that sees Metta rise to 2nd in the table, just, on goal difference over Riga with that late double salvo from Dieppa being the difference maker.  13 points off from Liepaja means that it will be hard to make any sort of title challenge with only two games until the halfway point and Liepaja conceding half a goal a game.

It is still tight below Metta, with all of the teams from 2nd-6th within four points of each other.  With the next batch of fixture seeing Metta facing off with lots of these sides it takes on a bit more significance, although it does seem that Metta are free from any strife in terms of relegation after the battles last season.  Jelgava managed their only points of the season against Spartaks which means they have a win, although it didn't spark a run, and their goal difference is quite striking.




News has come in that Metta are due to be subject to a takeover.  As this is the end of May, my guess is that things will either fall away, or ramp up towards the end of June when the transfer window opens to make it difficult to make any signings.  But the bigger issues comes with extending deals for certain players and will be worked on during June and July


Out of the players who are out of contract at the end of the season there are two groups.

Muritala, Grinsbergs, Korotkovs, Birka and Novikovs are regulars, or even key players.  But Muritala, and Korotkovs thing they are bigger than the team, and there is a balance to found as most of those five want a big increase in their salary.

Cudars, Gomi and Yamamoto are on the fringes of the team, as shown by their appearances, with Cudars most likely to secure an extension.


Alongside those players, these are the non-contract players at the club.  The plan is to see if any of these want to sign a long term deal at a relatively low fee, with Zekhov, Mina, Maisuradze, and Edwin being the priorities out of this group.  One who won't be offered a deal is Beks as he is the backup GK, and he has a very small chance of playing, so if he gets poached then it is not a huge loss.



June sees eight games in 30 days, but with none in the first 10 days it becomes very congested.  Everyone faces the same congestion so rotating and playing hybrid sides between the starting XI and a backup side will be important.  The hardest stretch comes at the start with Sat-Tues-Thurs-Sat although three of those games are at home.  The downside is that after facing Valmiera who are struggling slightly the rest of that packed week is against sides in the top six who are very close in terms of the league table.  Trips to Spartaks and Jelgava give a bit of respite before facing the top side in Liepaja.

As the aim at the start of the season was to bank points before the European fixtures arrive, and this is the last month do to that, it is important, especially if there is to be a chance to secure European football for a second successive season

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Mid-June news update

Two big pieces of news float through during the month of June


A supposed excellent intake, with lots of players in positions that are used which is good.

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Despite them being an excellent intake there isn't much happening in terms of the positional sense.


But the bigger news is that Metta's European opponents have been drawn.


Drita Gjilan of Kosovo will host Metta for the first leg, before the return leg in front of a large (hopefully) partizan crowd.


Drita played in Europe last season, and lost to Swift of Luxembourg.  But because they were in Europe, and I had loaded players to teams in European competition it means they have a full squad


This was their selected lineup on the day of the draw, and while we have no knowledge of the players the stats help provide some knowledge as to their strenghts, weaknesses and goal threats, and it looks like it will be a tough matchup

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June 2022

A busy month, and one that stretched the Metta squad


As mentioned in the preview, it was a tightly packed month of fixtures, and the limitations of squad players along with fitness and youth showed during the month.

Four wins, one draw giving 13 points from eight games is decent, and considering preseason expectations would be acceptable, but based on the previous performance in the league is a bit of a dip.


One loss, to Tukums stands out as we completely dominated the game, creating chances but not being able to score, leaving the door open for them, and they took their chances.  This isn't to gripe about things, but just shows that the rotational players, depth options and players on the fringe of the squad are a step below the starting 11, meaning the rotation that was needed became a game of juggling fitness.  As an example at both DR and DL there are three options, and I have resorted to playing the 3rd string option off the bench through June, trying to limit the minutes of the starting options who were rotating each game.  But there isn't quite that level of depth in every position, so some games meant having to play someone for the full 90 as there wasn't enough fit replacements, and then sit them out fully the next game to recover and do the same with someone else.

No gripes about it as every team was in the same boat, but it did lead to lots of late goals as most teams were tired, and did see the fun sights of opposition teams taking off tiring players to replace them with someone in a similar condition.  Some of those late goals worked in favour of Metta, others cost them points, but it is one of those things that hopefully will solve itself in a couple of seasons as the squad depth improves.


The dropping of 11 points in those eight games does see Liepaja open up a big gap at the top of the table, 12 points with 12 games to play, and Metta lose group with RFS overtaking them.  A late goal for RFS was huge in this race, securing three points in the derby, and similarly a late equaliser for Liepaja secured them a point to maintain their gap over Metta, but Metta have managed to continue to pick up points against the teams below them regularly.

There are 12 games to go, with at least one against each team, and double headers with Riga, Tukums and Valmiera.  The two games against Riga and Tukums become big in the race for Europe with a six point gap between Metta and Tukums at this stage.


What makes things harder are that these important fixtures come at the same time as the important, financially at least, European games.  And the games continue to come thick and fast in July


The first two games shown on the calendar have been played as that is the end of June, but games come Sunday-Thursday-Sunday-Thursday, with the first being on the back of a double game midweek stretch to close out June.  Ideally I want to make a good fist of the European run, because the money it can earn will be huge for Metta.  The chances of winning four qualifying rounds to reach the group stage are slim, but with sides getting at least £85.5 for appearing in the round, with possible prize money, and TV money to appear too, making a couple of rounds will be the aim.

That means a semi-rotated team will face Riga, aiming to get at least a point, with an strong, but slightly rotated team travelling to Kosovo.  If there is a big result either way in the first leg, then a youth team will play the second leg (slightly less youth if Metta have the lead, to try and save fitness for the rest of the league campaign.  While there is a nine day gap between the second European leg and hosting Valmiera, and then a full week off, that could all change if Metta make it through to the second qualifying round as those ties are due to be played on the 21st and 28th July.

All of which means that while July is a relatively quiet league month, it contains two vital fixtures where a draw is a minimum requirement to try and preserve a gap in the race to make Europe next season.  And it contains the first forays into Europe where the aim is to perform and bank some cash.

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July 2022 - including the European adventures of Metta

Having spent the preview of July suggesting that the European trips would be a jolly, I glanced at the expectations from the board just before the first leg...


Not so much a jolly as a stressful trip to Kosovo full of expectations.  Oh well.

And based on this it is worth splitting up the month to update each competition individually, starting with Europe


Drita came out with a 4-4-2, of sorts, with two DMs and two MCs for the first leg, which meant our attacking fullbacks had plenty of space to wander into, and they took advantage.  With two goals in the opening two minutes it started to look like one of those pre-season friendlies against a pub team to boost morale, and although it settled down a bit after that the win was secured easily, with four away goals pretty much sealing the tie and only a late consolation after we were four up.  That meant there was rotation for the second leg, knowing things were pretty well sown up, and despite conceding twice to Drita's changed 4-3-3 formation with two DMs and 1 MC, and a standard AML-STC-AMR front line, it wasn't too bad, meaning the board expectation was met at the first attempt and life was good.


Next up was Ukrainian opposition, with only two real players, and once again it was a trip abroad first, before retreating to the safety of home for the second leg.  The same plan was in place, to play a decent side first up and see what the result was before picking the side for the second leg.


A nervy first leg where we went down after half an hour, but managed to secure an equaliser, and all important away goal.  Another nervy second leg with a strong team picked due to the tie being in the balance and Grinsbergs making a difference to secure passage to the next round.

The second leg against Olexandriya was the last game of the month, but the next two rounds in Europe have already been drawn


Swedish opposition next, with the home leg first up this time round, and a possible tie against Norwegian or Danish opposition to look forward to.  Halmstads are a bigger side than Metta, but are struggling in the league after 21 games, earning only 22 points and sitting in 14th of 16, and in the relegation playoff position.  Hopefully the decide to prioritise the league instead of Europe and allow us push to the fourth qualifying round.


In the league, things were slightly different


Only two points, which is a shame but they were tight games, and after a 96th minute winner in the last game of June, the first game of July saw us lose to a 97th minute goal for Riga.

The loss to Riga is significant in terms of league positioning, but the draw with Tukums doesn't harm us too much.  The game against Valmiera was poor from the Metta persective but did come between the Olexandriya games which meant the team that was put out was very much a second string team due to fitness and rotation.


When looking at the month on the whole there are two ways to view it.  Negatively there is a lot of yellow, meaning dropped points, albeit two of those in Europe.  More positively it is good to see rotated sides managing to hold their own despite including poorer players, and most of the players being young, which bodes well for the future


Despite the dropping of points by Metta, they stay third in the league due to poor form elsewhere.  Liepaja and RFS are now clear of everyone with a 12 point gap to RFS meaning it is pretty much a battle to finish 3rd now.  Riga are four points behind, and Spartaks five which isn't a big change from last month which bodes well.  It is close down to Tukums in 7th, so every game remaining has the potential to be really important in one of three ways.

The two games against Liepaja and RFS will be opportunities to pick up bonus points against the top teams, and we tend to manage a draw in those games although scheduling will play a part in this respect.

Games against Valmiera, BFC, and Jelgava should bring wins in each of them, and any dropped points there could be costly.

The remaining four games are against those who are within 6 points of us in the league, so become big opportunities to take points off our nearest rivals.


July has seen some squad improvements, with an eye on next season.  A few players are out of contract in November, and key options including Grinsbergs and Muritata are currently refusing to sign with us as the squad is not strong enough, so unless things change they will look to move on and will need to be replaced.


Two players were spotted by scouts, and offered a trial, looked good so signed on on a combined £210 per week which is a real positive in terms of impact.  They have eased into league games in July as part of the rotation, and have been added to the European squad when possible replacing some fringe players who have refused to sign new deals and are already signed to another club for next season


De Rosa comes in to battle with Kirss for the AMC slot, giving two good options in support of the front two


Passarino joins the battle for the two STC slots, and the plan is to give him time alongside Dieppa so they get used to each other in case they are stepping up to be the first string pairing next season although there will be moves to strengthen.



Next up is August, and three more league games which is the same for September and October too, meaning that fitness will cease to be a concern soon.  The games against Spartaks and Auda are significant due to being close rivals in the league table.  Fortunately there is a weekend off as July turns to August, so there will be a full complement of players available for selection to face Halmstads, but with half an eye on the Spartaks game.  There will be a strong side, but with a couple of rotated players in that first Halmstads game, leaving some players fresh to face Spartaks, and again the results in the first leg will impact on the selection for the trip to Sweden.

There is also the start of the cup, with the draw for the fourth round being the day after the Auda game, but hopefully it will be a nicer draw than last season, and be an opportunity to put some of the U18s side out on the pitch.

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August 2022

Another month that deserves to be split by competition, to explore the significance of what is happening

Lativan Cup


I sent a second string team to lower league Grobinas for the cup, but they were still able to come away with an easy win.  At halftime I was able to mess around with the player roles to see what it looked like for a dominant team, moving the DM to be a DLP (defend), both MCs to Mezzala (attack) the AMC to Shadow Striker (attack) and both STs to False 9.  Looked good against the weaker opposition, and something that will need to be considered in the next season or two as Metta grow stronger is having a tactic designed to destroy weaker teams, and a second tactic for facing the leading Latvian sides

Through to the quarter finals, which match the aims of the board, with that to be drawn in early September



I am leaving the European adventure to last, so I can review the exploits of the other Latvian sides on the continent, but it is fair to say the league campaign has suffered due to the European one


Only one point, with us going 2-0 down against Spartaks, pulling it back then losing to a late goal once more, and even worse going down to two penalties against RFS.  It is hard enough to beat them without giving them two easy goals.

The only positive is that we weren't expecting to beat RFS, but the loss against Spartaks stings.


It leaves Metta in 4th with six games to go, but we have played out our games against two of the top three.  But there needs to be a change in fortune soon otherwise we could slip back down the table.


European Adventures


A nervy home leg against Halmstads meant I send a strong team to Sweden, aiming to get an away goal and secure progress.  De Rose decided he wanted to finish things early and with two away goals in the first quarter of an hour and a 3-0 aggregate lead things were pretty much sorted.

So we made the fourth and final qualifying round, with Rosenborg the opposition, the biggest side we have come up against


A strong team went to Rosenborg for the first leg, and when we went 2-1 down I decided to push for an equaliser.  At this point we could either secure an away draw, bank the away goals and try to shut up shop at home, or lose and send a weakened team out for the return leg.

And, well, Rosenborg took advantage, secured the tie by the end of the first leg and decided that an very attacking second string were not worth being nice to.

But we managed to get £85k for each round, which is a huge £340k, as well as a bonus for getting knocked out


That is nearly £1m for the tour of Europe which is huge for Metta who have been hovering between a small positive and growing negative balance every month.


Elsewhere in Latvia, things were variable


Last season's champions Liepaja made the same round as us, despite starting in the Champions League.  And lost out to the same side in both competitions which has to sting a little for them.  But there will be decent coefficient points from their run


Runners up RFS didn't make it as far, but they did pick up two rounds worth of wins, which will bank decent coefficient points and help with future seasons


Valmiera finished third last season but have struggled in 2022, and this is no different with an early exit, and not even a draw to help boost the numbers.  Things are not looking good for Valmiera and the press have reported they are desperate


It is a positive sign that I was approached for this, as I didn't even realise they had sacked their manager, so it was completely out of the blue, and shows that what is happening at Metta is starting to catch the eye.  But the aim is to grow Metta, so the offer of an interview was rejected to avoid any speculation.




August in full looks bad with the only wins coming in cup competitions, so the next six games become really big.


The league is getting tighter, with only a five point spread to cover five teams.  Having already played Spartaks and Auda we can't damage their hopes any further, but it does mean the Tukums, and especially Riga games take on more significance.  We still have to face leaders Liepaja, but do have the benefit of facing all three of the bottom three too.  Points there are going to be vital, but there is a slight issue looming with two of the three first team DLs out injured for a while.  It could be tough going.


Three league games in September, and we are back to one game a week.  Hopefully I can keep our remaining DL fit and healthy enough to make it through all three games, with an U18 option on the bench who will come on if games are finalised early.  Hopefully in the first two that will be because we are 2-3 goals up with 20 to go.

The cup sees 7 top tier teams and one lower league side go into the hat, but the U18 DL will see action there to save the first teamer for the league.  If we are facing the lower league opposition then that is great.  If we get a tough draw then I might just send out a weakened side and throw all the focus onto the finish of the league season


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September 2022

The month drew to an end with the youth intake rocking up, so I am going to start with that


Exciting to see Tarasovs being listed as a good prospect


But outside of that things don't look amazing with an average intake.  Now if that average is skewed by a couple of top players and then dross to fill out the rest that isn't a bad thing, but if everyone is middling then it won't help much going forward.


Tarasovs is probably our third AMC straight away, behind new signing De Rosa, and Lativan U21s mainstay Kirss, so not bad to start with.

Timofejevs doesn't fit our current formation, so will either move inside or to DL/WBL.  But only seeing two players in these two groups, and only one being a fit for our formation means the intake isn't great to start off with.


Most of these players will be able to do a job in the Latvian league, and could be rotational options for Metta in the future, but if they were central players at their peak then Metta would be struggling in the lower reaches of the league.


Not sure any of these will make it at Metta, but they will be given a chance to see if the intake information is wrong and they are better than first thought.   it is nice to see us attracting Montenegrin stars (in inverted commas) to the club.  Clearly the profile of the club is growing...


The intake page won't let me look at them as a squad view, but I will watch them face off against the U18s, then work out the plan going forward, as well as reviewing the whole club squads at the end of the season.  That will be a big job, as there are few players already leaving, and gaps that might need to be filled.



As mentioned to end August, September gave two great opportunities to pick up points against the bottom sides


And pick up points we did, with a clean sweep in the month, which is our best run for a long while.

Jelgava and Daugavpils were relatively easy games, but we struggled to break BFC down in the first half, and were the beneficiaries of penalties for once this season, with Pirktins slotting two home, as well as trotting up from the back for a late free kick and firing home, which is relatively rare for him, providing the lesser spotted GK hattrick, which allied with a clean sheet boosted his rating for the game.

With the big league game on the horizon, the cup side against Spartaks was a rotated side, and it was a poor game, with both sides around 1.0xG, but we had the quality to put the ball in the back of the net and Spartaks didn't

Then we travelled to Liepaja, with the aim of trying to pick up a point, and shocked our hosts, dominating the early exchanges, securing two goals late in the first half and then weathering the response at the start of the second half to go three up.  Even better we managed to hold them at bay with players picking up knocks during the match which weakened our side slightly which made me nervous about holding Liepaja off63a017923b35afa2c07f703d1d6c43b0.png

In the cup we get to go back to Liepaja for a place in the final, which will be a tough game again, and probably a rotated side once more, so it might be a loss.


In the league we are nearly secure in Europe.

Both Liepaja and RFS are well clear, but are now battling for the title after a poor run for Liepaja.

Tukums are now unable to catch us for the European spaces, and with Spartaks and Auda being tied on 46 points currently, 8 back from Metta with 9 points available then it is nearly secured.  The biggest question is to do with finishing position, with Riga hot on our heels.

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We face Riga first up in October.  A win would put Metta six points, and at least 10 goals clear with six points to play for, practically guaranteeing 3rd place.  A loss would put both teams level on points, with Metta holding a slimmer goal difference advantage.  Riga have the slightly tougher final two games, with Spartaks and Tukums being very closely matched, but Riga have to host RFS in a rivalry game to close out the season, where RFS could be title chasing, whereas we will be going to Valmiera who should be safe from relegation at that point and just playing for pride.

Excitement is building around Metta, as they are not fighting to avoid finishing bottom and for Europe this year, but are really starting to grow as a side


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October 2022

Three league games to end the season, and possibly five games in total with the end of the cup coming up


 A good win to start the month with closest league rivals Riga meant we went 6 points clear of them, and 11 goals better off in terms of goal difference, with six points left on the table.  Third was pretty much guaranteed.

With only seven subs able to be named in the cup, instead of the nine in the league, it was a heavily rotated side to face Liepaja in the cup semi-final.  The strongest possible team had faced off against Riga only a few days earlier as it was pretty much a cup final to secure (or nearly guarantee) European football for next season.  That meant the cup game was always going to be a struggle, and while the 1-0 score doesn't look too bad, our second string were badly outclassed.  The positive was that a couple of the youth intake managed to make their debuts off the bench.

Having rested while watching the second string side play in midweek, the mainstays were back against Tukums and made European football official again with a comfortable win, with another good win coming on the final day in a bit of a dead rubber game for both sides.


That sees Metta break a club record with 19 wins, with is one more than half of the league games this season, and finish in a clear 3rd place.  Liepaja won the all important game against RFS to secure their 2nd title, with Riga falling away a bit to leave Auda close behind.  Auda won the other cup semi final, facing Liepaja in the final with the final European spot on the line.  Auda took an early lead, and then held on during a balanced game, even overcoming losing a player with 20 minutes to go to secure the final European place at the expense of Riga.

At the other end of the table, Jelgava managed to reach double figures by the end of the season, Daugavpils managed to close the gap on Valmiera but still had to play off for their survival in the league.  After securing a 2-0 lead in the home leg, they then travelled away to Grobinas and claimed another win, 2-1 this time to stay up with relative ease.


So it brings to a close the season, which has been a positive considering the aims, overachieving in every competition


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2022 Season Review

As soon as the season ended it was time to review how it had gone.  Having beaten every competition it is a positive look back on the season.


Nine signings this season, all playing a relatively decent number of games, but they can be grouped into two main types of signing

Kirss (who later moved to the other group), De Rosa, and Passarino were signed to start.

Dieppa, Zekhov, Maisuradze, Mina, Edwin and Belovs were all signed for depth and to be rotational options, which is shown in the number of substitute appearances they all made.

And while only Kirss has an average rating over 7, they have all done the job they were signed for.


Only four players left and they fell into three groups

Kluskins is a player I didn't want to lose, but he was unwilling to sign with Metta.  Having him available this season would have strengthened the rotated sides, and it shows with how often he played for Riga.

Kipsts was a rotational option and was a loss, but as we were losing money every month £10k was needed, and as his replacement cost nothing it was a good deal

Fjodorovs was not close the first team, whereas Uldrikis was on the verge of being a regular rotational player, but it wasn't a hardship to see either player leave, and the fee for Uldrikis was huge considering his squad status

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Even better, the last two have clauses attached to their sales.  While we will miss out on £4.5k due to Jelgava being relegated, I am hopeful that their games next season count as league games so we can claim an extra £8k.  While both players have 50% sell on fees, unless they kick on and get signed by one of the bigger clubs, it is likely that both clauses will bring nothing into the club.

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Strange considering how well we performed in each competition that the board don't go above a B, but it was a big loss against Rosenborg in Europe, and a poor outing in the semi final of the cup.


Personally the 9-2 win against Riga would be the match to remember too, as not only was it a clinical performance but it was against a cross town rival.


This shows the star names, and it is likely that De Rosa and Passarino will join this list next season after their strong starts to the season.  Not a huge income from shirt sales, but hopefully more European exposure will lead to higher sales.

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Muritala is the star player of the season, and whether he is willing to extend his contract is going to be the big question going into 2023.

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Lots of club records broken this season, with Muritala claiming six to ensure the fans will remember him for a long time.  Despite some signings wanting the goalkeeping to be strengthened Pirktins played well at the back which helped the foundation of the solid attack that Muritala benefitted from


As the end of the season has ticked around the board wanted to discuss their vision going forward


They are not expecting much in 2023 or 2024, with mid-table doing a lot of vague lifting.  With 2025 wanting a top half finish, that would be 5th or above, it looks like mid-table would be 5th-7th.

The information about 2026's aim is to be best outside of the big-4, so would require cementing 5th.  Depending on league expansion plans this should be easy to achieve, although having told the players I wanted top half they got very upset with me as it seemed too difficult.  A lack of expectation having finished third, but it does mean that expectations will be easier to reach


And after the good performances, overachievement and prize money that came with it, the board have expanded the wage budget, as well as giving a relatively sizeable transfer budget.  I am not aiming to spend big, as there are lots of decent free deals available, and with the bigger sides spending out transfer budget in one fee Metta are a way from competing finacially at the minute.

But the increase from £7k to £9k will help with signings, with some of the incoming players last season being on Amateur deals and wanting them to get more training time.  It may also provide enough money to tempt Muritala, and others out of contract to stick around, but the contract and recruitment will require a bit more detail.

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End of 2022 Squad review


As the calendar ticks over to November, there are important decisions to be made.  Five first team players have their contracts ending, and they are some of the top earners at the club with Birka, Grinsbergs and Muritala coming in the top 5 highest paid players.


A word of caution comes from the Chief Scout, recommending not signing three of the best players at the club.

While on face value this sound unusual at best, and a sackable offence at worst, each of these players has been unwilling to sign a new deal during the season.  So the hope is that they have decided to stick with Metta after their strong performances in Europe and the league, but they could all be leaving in the near future.


There are a couple of guaranteed moves in the pipeline already.


Akpudje has pre-signed a deal with us as cover in case of Korotkovs not extending, and if we can keep Korotkovs at the club will slot in as the rotational pairing at DC, freeing Mina to cover DM a bit more.

The other three deals are fringe players who have signed pre-contracts elsewhere.  None of these has been a star turn, and while they all have potential, their pathway to the first team was limited to being rotational players.

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In terms of stats, Metta were fairly average in most categories overall, but stronger at putting the ball in the net than the rest of the league, helping them move up the table.  A couple of stats in the attacking and defending graphics stand out for Metta, with lots of clearances and blocks, as well as very few dribbles.  This is probably due to the direct counter attack formation, which it is tempting to start to move away from as the players become better, but in the end of season team meeting the mentality (assuming this is going to be a decent guide to the pre-season prediction) was struggling to hit a mid-table side, so the counter attack will stay in place for now.


To review the squad, I am going to go by position, looking at performance this season, as well as areas of weakness, or hopeful improvement, as well as considering whether to sign any of the amateur players to a deal to improve their ability to train and improve.



Pirktins was our number 1 this season, as shown by the number of games played, with Beks stepping in for one league games due to an injury to Pirktins, but performing well in this and a European game, so being granted the rest of the European campaign and the cup run to show his skills.  While the coaches see them as being close in ability, Pirktins is reckoned to be able to develop more and is younger.  While some of our signings wanted this area to be improved it is decent enough for what we are looking at, and advantaged by Beks being on an Amateur contract so not costing much.  Pirktins is still on his youth contract, and should probably be signed to a professional deal to ensure no other clubs move in for him.

One little bonus is that Pirktins did pop up with 9 goals and 4 assists from taking penalties and freekicks.  His 9 goals puts him in a 4 way tie for 2nd highest goalscorer of the season

Actions: Sign Pirktins to a new deal

Right Backs


Novikovs is our clear starter, but Kirkils is a good backup option and was decent in relief.  Novikovs does have relatively poor fitness so often has to be replaced, and definitely can't double up on games in a wekk so Kirkils is an important player for when we are in Europe and facing midweek league games.  Bite was originally a MR/AMR who has been retraining at a DR, but grumbles about that continually and has a poor combination in terms of determination and personality.  As he is on an Amateur contract it won't be difficult to move him on, so there is a requirement to find a 3rd DR for next season.  This will either be a starter quality player to replace Novikovs if he doesn't sign a new deal, or a player to come in as a development option, although the review of the B and U18s teams may turn up an option.

Actions: Attempt to sign Novikovs, sign a third option, release Bite

Left Backs


Birka is another out of contract, and has managed to collect the most cards in the team during both seasons.  Due to injuries, all three options have played a decent amount, with Semjonovs being the most common option from the bench as the season went on.  With two of the three players being on Amateur deals, at least one needs to be signed, and I will look at DL options in case Birka wants to move on.  Despite the poor determination, Edwin is most likely to sign the full time deal in the first instance.  Semjonovs may be at risk due to one of the intake options from this season, but I want to allow them to grow in the U18s for another year if possible.

Actions: Attempt to extend Birka, look for a replacement option for Birka in case and sign them plus Edwin, or sign all three options

Centre Backs


Musah and Korotkovs have formed a really strong partnership, and could be a solid core for years.  But Korotkovs wants to move on, so the plan to replace him is underway as listed above.  Maisuradze has played well and been my first replacement option, although Mina was on the bench more often, especially in Europe as he could cover DM too, and at a higher level than some of the rotation DM options.  Fedorovics is developing but likely to stay as a fringe option.  With three of the players on Amateur deals, plus Korotkovs on the move it is an area of the team that needs work to shore up, even if that is just securing the players we have

Actions: Extend Korotkovs, Sign Maisuradze and Mina to new deals.  Review the position once Akpudje joins to see if we need a new partner for Musah.

Defensive Midfield


This is an odd one, with the tactic currently using a Regista which neither Belovs nor Cudars enjoy.  Ozolins is a clear starter, and Mina could be a valuable rotation player for him if the DC position is overstocked,  If the role changes a bit then Belovs is more comfortable, and has played well at times but the drop off between the two is noticeable.  It is also a position where the starter does tire, so there is a need for three options to allow rest in busy periods as well as a solid bench option.

Actions: Look into options to replace Cudars (who is already leaving) either as a rotation option, or a third string player off the bench.  This could be Mina if DC is sorted

Central Midfield


Vapne and Zelenkovs are the main pairing, and both have a year left on their deals, so finding a decent pairing to sit behind them and replace them if needed is going to be important.  Zekhov came in and performed well off the bench, and as a rotation option, but the drop off to Vientiess and Timofejevs was noticeable.  Rekis was an AMR/AML who has trained to fill in the centre and drop back a bit but isn't a great option yet, while Yamanoto wasn't fit early on, and then made the decision to leave early in the season so was send down to the U18s to avoid taking time from players who are going to be here in 2023

Actions: Sign Zkhov and Timofejevs to full time deals to maximise their training time, and look for a possible addition to strengthen the rotation and possibly step up if one of the main two leave next year

Attacking Midfielder


A deep slate here with both Kirss and Da Rosa both being good enough to start.  Kirss has filled in at ST on occasion, but both players will be given a chance to shine.  Kirss is on a much higher wage, but is Latvian which plays a part in that, and their development and play next season should be a real positive.

Actions: None required


Muritala is the star man, and extending his deal is going to be priority one.  Extending Grinsbergs was going to be a priority, but the addition of Passarino has allowed him to be slightly expendable, and his recent injury has seen a good pairing of Muritala and Passarino score well.  Passarino was originally signed to partner Dieppa who was a regular bench option, and Puzirevskis gives a decent depth option if required.  Gomi always struggled to finish and was frozen out once he decided to leave, and there are some other youth options who need to be looked at

Actions: Extend Muritala, consider extending Grinsbergs at the right price, look at promoting or signing a replacement for if Grinsbergs and Muritala move on



Before starting this review there were a few players who were being scouted to find out more about them


All of these have been highlighted to me in scouting reports and would come either free or cheaply.  The plan is to get full reports on them, but they will also be offered trials.  I can't see them all being signed, especially due to the number of DCs in the list, but it does give some options for signings.  I am also planning to look at the Latvian age group international squads to see if there are any options who are coming to the end of their current deals, similar to Kirss last season.


Internal promotions


This is the whole of the B team, and the two players who stand out are Ronald Pirktins who is flexible enough to play DC and DM, and Troickis.  Pirktins will be given a chance to step up with Cudars leaving and the need for DM reinforcements, and Troickis will move to the first team for pre-season to see how he compares.

This is a very young B Team with 21 being the oldest, so there is no rush to bring any of these players into the first team, especially as the first team is very young


Defensively in the U18s there are two possible options.  Fjodorovs at DC and Gorkss at DL have lots of potential, and may well move to the first team for training purposes and be made available for the other squads for matches (possibly not even being registered for the league)


There aren't a huge number of midfield options, but there are lots of players in wide roles who will need to be looked at, and set to train as either a full back or moving more centrally to fit the current formation.


Further up the pitch Tarasovs will follow the path of Gorkss, his intake mate, and move to the first team for training purposes.


Looking at the other squads, there isn't anyone ready to step up yet, but a couple of prospects who could make a difference in a couple of seasons.  This is a very young club, with the oldest players in the first team being 23, so any youth developments will find it tough to fight past a young team who themselves are still developing.

Still there is lots to do in this off season window to try and make the next step to challenge for the title.

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To-Do list

To save having to read through the post repeatedly, this is the actions for the offseason in one place that will be reviewed as we move to the start of 2023


(GK) Sign Pirktins to a new deal

(DR) Attempt to sign Novikovs, sign a third option, release Bite

(DL) Attempt to extend Birka, look for a replacement option for Birka in case and sign them plus Edwin, or sign all three options

(DC) Extend Korotkovs, Sign Maisuradze and Mina to new deals.  Review the position once Akpudje joins to see if we need a new partner for Musah.

(DM) Look into options to replace Cudars (who is already leaving) either as a rotation option, or a third string player off the bench.  This could be Mina if DC is sorted

(MC) Sign Zkhov and Timofejevs to full time deals to maximise their training time, and look for a possible addition to strengthen the rotation and possibly step up if one of the main two leave next year

(ST) Extend Muritala, consider extending Grinsbergs at the right price, look at promoting or signing a replacement for if Grinsbergs and Muritala move on

Promote: Ronald Pirktins, Troickis, Fjodorovs, Gorkss, Tarasovs



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  • 2 weeks later...
On 05/02/2022 at 20:01, scousevasey said:

To-Do list

To save having to read through the post repeatedly, this is the actions for the offseason in one place that will be reviewed as we move to the start of 2023


(GK) Sign Pirktins to a new deal

(DR) Attempt to sign Novikovs, sign a third option, release Bite

(DL) Attempt to extend Birka, look for a replacement option for Birka in case and sign them plus Edwin, or sign all three options

(DC) Extend Korotkovs, Sign Maisuradze and Mina to new deals.  Review the position once Akpudje joins to see if we need a new partner for Musah.

(DM) Look into options to replace Cudars (who is already leaving) either as a rotation option, or a third string player off the bench.  This could be Mina if DC is sorted

(MC) Sign Zkhov and Timofejevs to full time deals to maximise their training time, and look for a possible addition to strengthen the rotation and possibly step up if one of the main two leave next year

(ST) Extend Muritala, consider extending Grinsbergs at the right price, look at promoting or signing a replacement for if Grinsbergs and Muritala move on

Promote: Ronald Pirktins, Troickis, Fjodorovs, Gorkss, Tarasovs



End of November off season update


Based on the to-do list

(GK) - failed so far - Pirktins wanted more than was on offer.  He does have time left on his youth deal so it isn't urgent

(DR) - Novikovs has a two year deal at £300p/w

(DL) - Birka is around for two more years at £325p/w, Edwin is around until 2025 at £100p/w

(DC) - Korotkovs has left, Maisuradze and Mina are both signed until 2024

(MC) - Timofejevs is getting £100p/w until 2025

(ST) - both Muritala and Grinsbergs left

Promotions have happened to help review the squad, and lots of players have been invited to the club for a trial period to see if they are worth signing.


Any items on the to-do list that aren't mentioned haven't progressed yet.  But it does leave ST as an area of concern, so work will go into that in December


Some reinforcements are on the way, with Lotcikovs adding depth to the DC/DM areas, and Cucars and Tonisevs adding to the fullback positions

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World Cup 2022

As we are in the off season it is easy to sit back and observe the winter World Cup, and it doesn't seem to have impacted on the schedule in Latvia which is nice.

I went to attend a few games, mainly in the group stages watching some of the smaller nations to see if there was anyone worth contacting about enjoying life on the Baltic coast, but it seems to be too early in the save for players to be either available in the price range that Metta can afford, or to be interested in joining Metta


Big shock in Group D as Brazil go out early behind Croatia and Austria.


Slightly less of a shock in Group E which is probably the dreaded 'Group of Death' with both Portugal and Czech Republic failing to progress, but two decent sides going through.  Iran progress in Group F which is a surprise


Italy lose out in the second round as Austria continue their giant-killings, with some other big sides knocking each other out and leaves Germany, Croatia and France watching on.

Austria go big again, responsible for ending the dreams of the two biggest teams in South America, and Spain falling to England

Unfortunately the Austrian run was dramatically ended, being thumped by Belgium, with lots of goals in the semi-final stage, before a nervy final sees England powered by two Harry Kane goals, and one from James Ward-Prowse secure the glory


Belgium the stars of the show in terms of individual stats, showing the slight shock in the final

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