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[FM22] Winter is Coming - Heading north of the wall


chile_paul
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Returning for my first FM Career Update since FM16, when I led the rebirth of Sheffield FC (the world's first ever football club) to greatness, inspired by a number of other posts on these forums I've decided to head North into Scandinavia.

I'm starting as a young manager, Willie Donaldson. In another dimension (FM17), Willie came through the youth ranks at Falkirk as a Scottish right back, going on to earn 84 caps for Scotland and playing for the likes of Newcastle United, Monaco and Man City, winning the likes of the Ladbroke Premiership and the Premier League along the way.

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Alas for poor Willie, in this reality he didn't quite make the grade, spending too much time in his bedroom playing Football Manager and skipping too many early training sessions, eventually being released by Falkirk at the age of 19. 

Inspired by hearing the story of English journeymen players plying their trade in Iceland, including ex-Newcastle player Danny Guthrie, who was earning a living as a midfielder for Fram, Willie decided a holiday was in order and booked a couple of weeks travelling in Scandinavia to watch some of the more obscure teams of the world. Having enjoyed meeting Guthrie after his Fram side beat Fjolnir in the Icelandic First Division, Willie stayed on to catch the quarter final of the Icelandic Cup and in a gripping match saw Thor defeat Throttur on penalties.

It was to be the Throttur manager's last game in charge after a disastrous league run which had left them hovering above the relegation zone was compounded by a cup defeat that on paper they should have won. A wrong turn taken into the chairman's office whilst looking for the gents on the way out of the stadium meant that Willie's life was never quite going to be the same again.......

 

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Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 1

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First challenge for this save is to work out how to pronounce the club's name - it translates to Throttur Reykjavik!

We are a sports club based on the outskirts of the Icelandic capital, aside from football the club also has Handball, Volleyball and Tennis departments and is in fact most famous for it's volleyball team - having won the Icelandic championship 14 times.

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Reykjavik is on the South West of the island of Iceland, a quick flight or a very long drive and ferry journey from home!

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The football team play in the  1. deild karla (Icelandic First Division) and as I take over are hovering just above the relegation zone. We play in the 3,000 seater Gervigrasvollur Laugardal stadium - the iconic club logo on the block of concrete outside the stadium doesn't leave me in any doubt as to the money available to a club!

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Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 1

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The expectations for the season are simple - to avoid relegation and then build for a top half finish next season prior to a promotion push. We have a tiny wage budget (made worse by the fact that I have two English staff members on wages that combine amount to £1,000 a week!) and nothing to spend on transfers so, perhaps unsurprisingly I'm going to be fishing in the loan market and offering trials to released players.

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There are a few decent young prospects in the squad, including some good loan prospects. Lalic is a 30 year old Croatian goalkeeper who is clearly first choice between the sticks and Kieron Edwards-John is probably going to move off the right wing and lead the line as my sole striker in a 4-3-2-1 counter attacking formation. I've got some decent young prospects in the middle of the park. Andi Hoti on loan is a great prospect from one of the Icelandic Premier Division sides and Birgisson and Hauksson are both solid performers.

Baldur Stefansson is in my mind the best player in the team, capable of playing in virtually every position.

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Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 1

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I took over the club mid way through July, having been dumped out of the cup after a respectable run to the quarter-finals ended in disappointment with a penalty shoot out failure against Þor (Thor) from the North of the island.

My first league encounter was away to Vestri and in a topsy-turvy battle we eventually took all 3 points thanks to a 92nd minute volley from the edge of the area from assistant manager and part time midfielder Sam Hewson, good to see he is capable on the field to justify his extortionate £525/week pay packet!

We continued our tour of the island with a fortunate win at Kordrengir thanks to a brace from another of my English contingent Sam Ford and Ford was at it again a week later in Fjolnir with another brace in a 2-2 draw that we really didn't deserve.

Finally at the end of the month I had my first taste of the home atmosphere and was welcomed by a crowd of 1,799 to see a Gunnlaugur Birgisson header from a free kick sneak in at the far post.

It really couldn't have gone much better with 10 points from a possible 12, although I think luck has definitely been on our side as with the exception of the game against Fram we were on the back foot throughout.

The good news is we've now got a comfortable cushion to the relegation spaces - allowing me a bit more freedom to experiment with the team and blood a few players from the youth set-up, starting to look ahead already to next season. 

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The game at Vestri was delayed on several occassions when the ball had to be recovered from the fjord........

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Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 1

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August started with another win to continue our fabulous run of form - for the first time in a game we were truly dominant, restricting our opponents to just one shot on target as we ran away with a comfortable 1-0 victory. 

Just for a moment I started to turn my head towards the top of the table. IBV (once home to England goalkeeper David James) and Grindavik were still comfortably clear, but with our form now better than anybody else in the league over the last 5 games and the opportunity to play both of them in August, I did the maths and worked out that a push for promotion wouldn't be out of the question.

Of course, what is it they say about pride coming before a fall....... to be fair, the away draw against IBV was a creditable performance, but we then got overly confident and completely collapsed against in a home game that we should have won against Grotta.

Luckily I have a determined squad and they didn't let their heads drop, roaring back to a 3-0 win at home to Vikingur and then avenging our quarter final cup defeat with a high scoring 6-3 away win back at Þor.

That left us with one game left in the month against league leaders Grindavik and after a quick visit to the Saltfish museum in the morning, we put in a really decent showing - racing into a 2-0 lead only to concede just before the half time whistle. We set our backs to the door in the second half and after a very nervy 45 minutes walked away with all 3 points.

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With just 2 games left to play in the very brief Icelandic season, it's still mathematically possible to get promoted, but especially given our goal difference compared to both IBV and Grindavik, it would need a miracle.

 

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Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 1

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Well, it was always going to be a long-shot, but we should be proud of the fight that we gave to the title race.

We had two 1-0 victories, at home against Afturelding and Vestri, but in both cases the scoreline underplayed our dominance in the games. Elsewhere in the league the two title chasers played each other in the first game of the month and it was IBV who came out the winners - another nail in the coffin of our chances of promotion. That had meant that if we had won our final game and one of either IBV or Grindavik had lost then we would have been level on points, but with a swing of 5 goals on goal difference required to take one of the top two spots.

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Alas it wasn't to be, however based on our form in the second half of the season, we will definitely be one of the favourites for promotion next year.

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IBV ended up pipping Grindavik to the league title based on goals scored, whilst our final day win over Vestri resulted in their relegation down to the Second Division.

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Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 1 Review

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A really pleasing second half of the season, lifting us up from just hovering above the relegation zone when I took over at the start of July, to just missing out on promotion in the final days of the season. I picked up 29 points out of an available 36 and on that form, should expect promotion next year.

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Finances are in an acceptable position, but given the long close season (we don't play again until February, so almost 6 months with no games), I'm expecting that our balance will drop fairly rapidly?

 

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I was delighted with the performances from players that I'd inherited - which given the limited opportunities to bring on board new players was a very good thing!

Robert Hauksson was shown as the primary striker, but he often dropped back into a midfield role with both Sam Ford and Kairo Edwards-John leading the line for me. The real stars of the show however were the 3 midfield titans of Hoti, Birgisson and Stefansson - they regularly controlled possession for us, running rings around the opposition. I managed to extend the loans of both Hoti and Magnusson, so they will both be staying with us for next season.

Overall I'm hoping to maintain a settled squad for next season - Stefansson is a real talent and I think is likely to be snapped up by a larger team. Other teams are circling for some of my other stars, but everybody who was due to leave at the end of their contracts that I wanted to keep have been persuaded to stay on.

I will be looking to build in a number of areas - I really need a settled, quality striker along with a quality centre back to deputise / replace Gunnarsson

 

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At this point of my career, at the end of the first season it's probably worth talking a little about some of the aims for this career; where is Willie going to be travelling too!

Of course, I'll go where my success does or doesn't take me, but in general I'm looking for:

- A journeyman career through some of the less familiar leagues in Europe, starting initially at least in Scandanavia

- I'll be looking to build successful clubs in their nations, rather than hopping to 'bigger' clubs that are already succesful

- I enjoy developing youth and would love to create some footballing superstars from some of the less common nations

- I believe in delegating, rather than managing the minute details myself, so I will be looking to build a good support team around me

- I will try to apply some of the LLM disciplines to make the game as realistic as possible. At the smaller clubs at least I'll be placing adverts for my staff rather than searching the databases and I'll be relying on my scouts to find the stars that will make me successful

Of course all of this might change if I get sacked next season!!

 

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Transfer Update

With the board increasing my wage budget from £4,780/week to £5,855/week I had a little room to maneuver in the transfer window, albeit purely reliant on loans and free transfers.

My priorities were to bolster central defence, bring in a strong first choice striker and get a decent back up in goal for Lalic as the youth players who would be his current stand in were weak and had very high eccentricity which is never a good sign!

As expected one of the leading Icelandic Premier Division sides came in for Stefansson and my chairperson accepted the (very low) offer without giving me the chance to negotiate better terms. I was also disappointed to see Andy Morina go as I felt he had potential for the future, but the offer was too good to refuse for what was starting to become an ever more perilous financial situation. Dadi Bergsson, whilst a first choice under the previous regime and seen by the coaches to be a solid player had been superceeded by better youngsters in my team and I was delighted when HK from the Premier Division came in for him, even if we didn't make much in terms of transfer fee's.

We also offboarded a number of other youth prospects who were never going to make the grade but still using up valuable wage budget

 

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Coming into the team were:

Connor Simpson - a classic target man who having failed to make the grade at a number of clubs across the north of England played last season at Kodrengir, but had been set for release following their relegation

Eirikur Blondal - played very well for us on loan last season at right back and given his contract was running out at Premier Division side Breidablik was a safe and natural choice for us to bring on board

Romain Heck - a young goalkeeper from AS Saint-Etienne looking for first team experience who will be a decent back up to Lalic

Bobby Carroll - a young midfielder with bags of pace to add energy into midfield joining on loan from Swansea. He will immediately slot into my midfield trio replacing Stefansson

Aksel Steiro - a Norwegian midfielder joining from second division side Kjelsas who will be the back up and long term replacement for loanee Andy Hoti

Aleksandr Sindrason - an experience defender from Premier Division side HK who had a successful loan spell at First Division side Fjolnir 

 

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Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 2

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After a lengthy 4 month break in the Icelandic football calendar I dragged my team back to pre-season training at the end of December, with the first friendly on New Years Day 2022. The sunrises at 11:30 am and sets again around 3:30pm, so there is only about 4 hours of daylight for training - but with temperatures ranging from -2 to +3 degrees centrigrade, it's no colder than Scotland, so no excuses from the players for  a run out!

Pre-season went well, with just the one slip up against the team that we helped to relegate last season

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Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 2

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The first competitive football of the season was in the Icelandic League Cup at the start of February. The format splits the First Division and Premier Division teams into 4 groups with the winner of each Group going into a knock out format to decide the winner.

We were drawn against KR and Valur from the Premier Division along with Fram, Afturelding and recently relegated IA from the First Division.

First up, we faced KR at home and I really hoped that my intensive pre-season would give me the advantage over the Premier Division side who hadn't kicked a ball in 5 months! Despite dominating the game and taking the lead in the 35th minute, it wasn't to be and KR equalised with a header at the far post from a corner, their only attempt on target in the whole game. To make matters worse loanee central defender Magnusson was given his marching orders after a second yellow card in the 92nd minute.

Given the short format of this mini league, you can't afford any mistakes and we really needed to pick up 3 points against local rivals Fram. However, for the second game in a row we were down to 10 men as Sefansson, it what turned out to be his last game for the club was sent off in the 59th minute. We continued to fight but could only manage a 0-0 draw.

The last chance saloon was at home to Premier Division side Valur and we were comprehensively beaten, lucky that the scoreline gave the impression of respectability with only the one goal conceeded.

The remaining 2 games were dead rubbers and so I used them as an opportunity to experiment and give game time to some youngsters. 

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Valur topped the table with 4 wins out of 5 with KR remaining unbeaten but struggling to put away the weaker First Division sides.

 

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Valur made it through to the final, where they eventually fell to fellow Premier Division side Vikingur R.

 

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Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 2

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With a lengthy break between the cup and the re-start of the League season in May, it was important to maintain fitness and keep on building team cohesion - another successful run of friendlies ensued with just the one disappointing result

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Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 2

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May kicked off with my first experience of the 'main' Icelandic Cup - the equivalent of the FA Cup this is a straight single legged knock out competition for all of the teams in Iceland, with extra time and penalties in the event of a draw. Our last experience of this competition was the penalty defeat that knocked us out at the quarter final stage last season and saw me offered the job in a bizarre twist of fate.

No surprises here against Lower Division side IH, other than the fact that after a 2nd minute penalty from Robert Hauksson we didn't score any more!

For the first game in the league we travelled to Grotta, the team that beat us 3-0 last season and arguably cost us promotion - and they remain our bogey team after shutting out wave after wave of attack to steal a point with a 0-0 draw.

We bounced back to a 3-1 win at home to Afturelding, but slipped up significantly with a 2-0 home defeat against KV, a team promoted into the First Division last season. This isn't the start to the season I had been hoping for or expecting!

A 3-1 win against Thor in the cup ensured we achieved the club's minimum expectations of a 4th round visit and that was backed up by another 3-1 win against Fjolnir to steady the nerves around our league performance. Early days in the league, but we are in the top half and in touch with the early league leaders Fram and Keflavik, who just happen to be next 2 opponents at the start of June.

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Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 2

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Ouch! That's not great against the 2 teams at the top of the league if I'm expecting to get promoted this season.

In a pulsating and well matched game against Keflavik we took the lead twice only to be pegged back, before Keflavik pulled into a 4-2 lead late in the second half. Bobby Carroll's goal in the 92 minute was no consolation. Fram was a disaster, in a very cagey game with very few opportunities they managed to score with all three of their shots on target. The league table was not looking pretty and the players confidence was starting to dip.

Form picked up though with a win against Vikingur O. and a smooth passage back through the cup quarter finals away to Afturelding. Bobby Carroll then scored twice away to struggling Selfoss before the other relegated team from last season, IA, shut us out in a 0-0 draw.

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Our indifferent form and inconsistency has us sitting in mid-table, 7 points behind leaders Keflavik and only 3 points better than at the same point last season......

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Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 2

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That is MUCH better. We expected to lose against Premier Division side FH in the quarter final of the cup and we were comprehensively outplayed, in fact we scored with our only shot of the game.

Following that defeat though, in a very similar pattern to last year, we went on a great run of form with a comprehensive run of five straight wins, with only one goal conceeded

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The league table is now looking much more respectable and we move into second place in the table and within touching distance to the leaders. Fram, who had been in second place have only managed to pick up 1 point out of the last 15 and we've now built up a comfortable cushion of 5 points down to 3rd place.

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Finance Update

Time for a mid season finance update, and it's really not a very pretty picture. Whilst the club increased my wage budget at the end of last season, I'm really not sure that it was the financially responsible thing to do as we are losing money habd over fist.

We've only had a handful of months where we've turned in a profit and the long close season through the Icelandic winter where we have no income whatsoever has really hurt our balance and we're now £200k in the red.

It's clear that we really need to get promoted this season and hope to see some better revenues in the Premier Division because this club is not sustainable otherwise!

 

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Youth Intake

I had high hopes for our youth intake after the new item a few months ago telling me to expect an excellent intake - but I ended up somewhat underwhelmed.

The goalkeeper looks solid and could become a back-up for Lalic, although he is very short which is never good for a goalie. Hopefully at the age of 15, he is still due a growth spurt! My coaches think Haukur Kristinsson has a lot of potential, I'm yet to be convinced.

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Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 2

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Next up we faced league leades Keflavik in a key game - both ensuring we maintained a gap on the chasing pack and to see whether we had a chance of catching them at the top of the league. The last time we met it had been a 7 goal thriller, but this time around whilst we ruled the game we once again struggled to break a team down - even when they had a man sent off in the 46th minute. Our failure to take advantage may cost us at the end of the season.

We responded with a good win against Fjolnir, but then threw away a lead against Vikingur, conceeding an equaliser in the 85th minute.

Whilst we'd dropped points, Keflavik had also gone off the boil following our draw and three straight wins in our final 3 games of August gave us a single point lead at the top of the table.

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Crucially the chasing pack continued to drop points playing each other, guaranteeing our finish in the top 2 and confirming our promtion to the Premier Division next season, could we hold on to the title though?

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A club record fell during the run in.....

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49 minutes ago, causeforconcern said:

Nice work mate, enjoyable thread and nicely written. 

Never done a journeyman save (I get too attached) but will give it a shot this season I think. 

Thanks for the feedback. I know what you mean about getting too attached - you want to see your work flourish and there is limited opportunity to develop your own players if you move around too often. I definitely want to explore this time around though and can't see myself staying in Iceland too long as the long close season through the Winter period is really frustrating.

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With 2 games left in the season, I had a big decision to make......

Our lead striker Connor Simpson is a very unhappy boy, believing that my promise to him to strengthen the squad hasn't been unfilled. I mean really, what does he call the 8 new players I've brought on board this season???

Given promotion is now confirmed, and taking into consideration that he is our highest earner, but will be extremely unlikely to agree to a new contract at the end of next season, do I take the opportunity to cash in now?

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Time will tell whether this was the right move or not, but £30k into the bank balance plus the fact that his wages won't be walking out of the door during the long close season seemed to be too good a deal. 

He leaves with stats of 7 goals and 3 assists in 19 appearances with an average rating of 7.27

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Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 2

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Aarrghhh! Maybe Conor Simpson's departure has cost us the title! For the fourth time this season, we utterly dominated a game with 20 shots, but failed to score a goal and had to settle for a 0-0 result against Thor.

A victory for Keflavik in their fixture meant that they re-took the lead in the table and the championship was therefore in there hands - they would just need to pick up 3 points in a tricky away tie against our rivals Fram. We of course needed 3 points to keep up the pressure, which we easily obtained with a cracking 5-0 win over bottom of the table Volsungur

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Alas, Kevlafik did what they needed to and walked away with the title with a comfortable 2-0 win against Fram

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Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 2 Review

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Transfers

Some great performances by my new arrivals this season but Bobby Carroll was the outstanding star in midfield, picking up some key goals in key games. The terms of his loan deal mean that he will stay with us until the end of the English league season, so we will have him for the first half of our next league campaign.

Connor Simpson is left off the season review because he came and went in the same season, but was also a notable performer.

Romain Heck did well in the few games that he stood in for first choice goalkeeper Frank Lalic, but ended up disappointed with a lack of game time and so we were unable to renew his loan deal.

Vuk Dimitrijevic joined mid season from Premier Division side FH and played a key part in our long unbeaten spell from July onwards. Dimitrijevic also won the Icelandic First Division Young Player of the Year award whilst at Leiknir R. in 2020.

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Competition Performances

We over-achieved on our pre-season expectations with promotion a year ahead of schedule (the season review screen appears to be wrong, showing that we were expected to achieve promotion this year???!!!). I had been disappointed with our performance in the Icelandic League Cup, but a quarter final in the Icelandic Cup with a respectable performance against a Premier Division side was more than acceptable.

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Finances

Finances are a real concern with us well into the red and continuing to lose money - this will only get worse during the off season and our projections year on year are pretty dire. I'm hoping we might see increased revenue's next season in the Premier Division?

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Player Performances

Some really strong performances across the park, but I'm not convinced we have enough strength to compete in the Premier Division, so I'm expecting some new names to have to come in ahead of the challenge next season. 

A new striker is clearly going to be the priority given Simpson's departure. Midfield at least should have some consistency with both Carroll and Andy Hoti staying on extended loan deals

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I was also delighted to pick up the Manager of the Year award, despite seeing the team be pipped to the post on the final day of the season.

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Shortly after that the board offered me a new contract, which I was happy to accept. Their expectations for the next few seasons are to focus on consolidation and to recover the club's financial position.

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LOL

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For those interested, Argentina went on to lose to Italy in the final. Roberto Mancini, having helped Italy lift both the European Championship and World Cup in the space of 2 years resigned and has been appointed as Tottenham manager.

England beat France in the 3rd place playoff 4-0 

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Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 3 Transfer Summary

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Despite a strong season ast year, it was clear that we would need to strengthen ahead of the rigours of our first Premier Division season - with odds of 2000-1 it was clear we were along way off the depth and breadth of squad we'd need to be competitive.

In total 10 new players arrived over the Winter close season, with 7 leaving, returning a very small trnasfer profit

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Olafur Ariliusson was the first through the doors -  young prospect joining from relegated Premier Division side HK who played 5 games for them last season with a reasonable if not remarkable set of performances. He has potential, but worryingly for a wing back / full back option very poor marking. I'm hoping that his pace and determination will help him recover for his defensive fallabilities.

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I was absolutely delighted to pick up Marcelo Saraiva after he was released by Nottingham Forest and he will be my first choice midfielder. My scouts had identified him, but it looked like we'd struggle to offer him the wages he wanted. After a spell on trial with us, we managed to negotiate a lower wage and get the deal done - he will be our highest earner by quite some way though with his £850/week putting a sizeable dent into our wage bill.

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Lewis Johnson joins on loan from senior affiliate MK Dons and whilst not the first choice will add depth into our forward line - especially helpful given the long term injury to Dimitijevic. Given he is joining from an affiliate this is a freebie as well with no wage costs being incurred.

 

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Joshua Pydanath also offers depth on the wings - primarily one for the future he has plenty of opportunity to develop. I have high hopes for him as a graduate from the Ajax academy.

 

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I have taken some stick from the board for the decision to bring in Olafur Eyjolfsson  from HK - but I don't understand why, He is an experienced Premier Division player, versatile in a number of positions, yes, £400/ week is a high wage, but I think he will give us a decent return this season.  I'm hoping he will grow into an experienced leader for the team with time and his determinde nature will help us out in sticky moments in the league.

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What a spot Eggert Gudmundsson was by my scouts, watching him play for Iceland U-21's. He has 44 Premier Division appearances before he was released by Stjarnan - what were they thinking of. An absolute star of the future I hope.

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Leo Dos Reis is my top signing. My scouting team had spotted him last season when he was placed on the loan list by Birmingham. We hadn't managed to secure him, and he spent the season on loan in Wales at TNS where he scored a hatful of goals. I thought I'd lost out this time again after he had been released by Birmingham. Blackburn amongst a number of other English clubs bid for him on wages well above what I could afford - but it fell through when he wasn't granted a work permit, allowing me to re-bid and secure him on a bargain wage for somebody of his quality.

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Paul Tschernuth will become my back-up goalkeeper begind Franko Lalic

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Last but not least Lucas Boje-Larsen should be a substantial upgrade at left back

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Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 3

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Buoyed by our performances last season, the strength of our signings and some decent pre-season friendlies I was really hopeful of putting up a challenge in the League Cup this time around.

The draw was favourable as well with the first two games against opposition I was familiar with from last season in League One.

We were disappointing though - we got off to a great start against IA going 2-0 up, but a 3rd goal was disallowed and just after half time we went down to 10 men as Gunnar Olafsson was sent off. We quickly capitulated and fell to a 2-2 draw.

We were dominant against Fram, taking the lead thanks to a debutant goal from Leo dos Reis, but right back Ariliuson had a torrid time on his debut at right back making 2 mistakes leading to goals as we fell 2-1 behind. Robert Hauksson had to rescue a point from the penalty spot.

It then went from bad to worse..... we were dominant for much of the game against KA but couldn't convert our chances, eventually conceeding from only their 2nd shot on target to lose 1-0 and Franko Lalic then had a nightmare of a performance against HK, conceeding twice from 3 shots. Oh dear! This is not going to plan.

We rescued some pride, ironically in the game that we didn't deserve to win - a lovely cross from the byline from new left back Boje-Larsen onto Leo dos Reis's head for his second of the campaign.

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Those final 3 points ensured that we didn't finish bottom of the group.

 

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Stjarnan went on to lift the trophy in a high scoring final

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Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 3

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After a run of friendly fixtures to keep the team fit and boost morale, we started our Premier Division campaign in May with an away trip to IBV, who we had played in my first campaign in the First Division two season ago.

It was a disastrous start to the campaign though, after holding our own for 23 minutes, our new left back Boje-Larsen dived in with a two-footed tackle and depsite getting the ball, the referee decided it was reckless and showed him the red card. We held IBV off until the 39th minute, but they then scored twice in 3 minutes on the way to a 3-0 routing. We were poor across the defence but Franko Lalic in particular had another bad performance in goal

We were much better against our next opponents KA, dominating the game and taking the lead in the 23rd minute, but our defence let us down again, conceeding an equaliser just after half time, meaning we only left with a point.

In the 3rd game against Valur we were a team transformed, revelling in the greater space against an attacking opponent we raced into a 3-0 lead before half time thanks to some clinical finishing. They then had a player sent off just after half time, which meant that it should have been a comfortable finish for us. However after we also had a player sent off, it was squeaky bum time...... they scored two late goals in the 85th and 87th minute, but somehow we managed to hold on for a vital 3 points.

We finished off the month with a comprehensive win over non-league side GG.

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A steady, but unspectacular start to the league campaign. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 3

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The start of June was up and down, home against one of the larger teams in the league Breidablik, we fell to a 3-1 defeat, but it was a close game. They took the lead in the 3rd minute and it could have easily become a car crash, but we held out until half time and whilst they doubled their advantage in the 52nd minute, we recovered the defecit within 5 minutes and then put up a really good fight before conceeding a 3rd in the 93rd minute.

We were then brilliant against Vikingur with 3 early goals that swept away the opposition. We retained the good form into the game against Stjarnan and on paper battered them, only to concede from one of their two shots on target.

We had a tough draw in the cup against Grindavik and just fell short on penalties, before 2 brilliant results with Leo dos Reis really hitting his bootstraps for the first time for us in the league.

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Very comfortably positioned in the league now, 10 points clear of relegation in a league of only 22 games is really comfortable - can I start looking up rather than down?

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Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 3

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A tricky spell in July after a tight defeat against league leaders KR, we struggled to put away a number of teams - the win against IBV was key to keep our moral up and make sure we had at last some green on the board

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We remain comfortably mid-table, although there is now a gap up to the European places

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Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 3

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The first 2 results in August had me starting to look over my shoulder towards the relegation places our form was so bad, luckily the margin of safety was still significant! Vikingur were 3rd from bottom at the time we played them, but we were really disappointing and Briedablik then completely dismantled us......

Thankfully we recovered to beat FH and with that newfound confidence ran into a 2-0 lead against top of the table Stjarnan before they fought back to rescure the draw

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I should be pleased with a comfortable mid table position, but the form in the last couple of months has really dented mine and the team's confidence. Let's hope we can turn it around in the final run in

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Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 3

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We had a 2 week break at the start of September so I arranged a couple of friendlies to boost morale whilst maintaining fitness amongst the team and it seems to have done a world of good as we went on a fantastic run to conclude the season with Leo dos Reis re-finding his goal scoring boots with 7 goals in 4 appearances.

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We ended in a really respectable 4th place, just outside of the European qualification places - overtaking Keflavik on the final day. We would have been playing in Europe next season were it not for the fact that two Division 1 sides had made it to the final of the Cup, hence taking the final 2 European slots.

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I had to give this some real consideration as our dire financial situation is making me question how far I can take this team - both Valur and Breidablik sacked their managers at the end of the season and are substantially larger clubs and I felt I'd have a reasonable chance of being offerred the positions.......

In the end I decided to give the club at least one more year....

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Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 3 Review

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Despite a dodgy spell of form in mid season I was delighted by our performances this season. Leo dos Reis was immense, but given his minimum fee release clause in his contract I doubt I'll be able to hang on him forever. The shock however was the upturn in form from Kairo Edwards-John, he was absolutely immense in his new trequartista role cutting in from the right wing

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Our attacking performances were really pleasing, with us having some impressive results on all main statistics in the attacking part of the field. We still have some areas to work on defensively.

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Our financial position remains perilous as we head into my 4th season with the club and this is before the long close season where we have no revenue, but continue to have to shell out for wages. We continue to be given a higher wage budget though, which is good news. Are the club holding on and hoping for European football?? That's the only way I can imagine that we can turn the financial position around?

Out of interest does anybody know how bad it needs to get in FM before clubs head into administration? 

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Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 4 Preview and Transfer Summary

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Despite our strong performance last season, the bookies still have us as rank outsiders going into this season's competition at 450-1, they at least expect us to avoid relegation this year

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It was another busy season for us in the February transfer window, bringing in no less than 10 new players - with a focus primarily on bolstering the defence, whilst brining in some young players for the future to supplement our currently woeful youth set-up

 

 

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Gabriel Robinson may end up being a bit of a punt - he had been released last season by Grindavik, despite performances which had earnt him a place in the league's team of the year, so I snapped him up quickly before any competition could offer him a contract. Upon his arrival his stats are a little disappointing, but he does have a very long throw so it will be interesting to see if he can cause some disruption in the opponents box

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Antonsson was released by Fulham and is much better than any of my youth prospects so has been bought as a player to develop into a strong first team player over the next few seasons.

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Joel Mumbongo is fast, really fast for this level. He scored 15 goals last season in Sweden so he also knows how to hit the back of the net, albeit his attacking stats are limited. I'm hoping that his pace will do enough to beat the quality of defences that we will be facing.

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William Clem joins FC Kobenhavn and becomes our highest paid player, which I think is deserved given his potential. He is the natural successor to Bobby Carroll and I have high hopes for him.

 

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Idriss Bounass joins on loan from Brest and will be back up to Marcelo Saraiva

 

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Finally Ryan Adigo is a versatile player up and down the right wing, joining from Wurzberg Kickers in the German 3rd division. He will challenge Kairo Edwards-John in the right wing position as well as provide alternate options as my right wing back.

 

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Oliver Thomassen and Victor Halfeson will boost my youth ranks and will get a couple of first team opportunities to help their development if we get the opportunity. Peter Kaiser and Ruben Laugs both joined on loan but left relatively swiftly in the season after they failed to challenge my squad for a starting position.

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Knattspyrnufélagið Þróttur - Season 4

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Well that was an unmitigated disaster - they we were excited by the arrival of the new signings, buoyed by some early successes in our friendlies, ready with a squad that is fit and raring to go - then we go and have an absolute 'mare.

I don't know why, but I'm really struggling in this competition. I seemed to be fighting a lot of complacency with the players and it's not an important competition, so in the future I think I need to be using it as more of an opportunity to blood my youngsters?

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