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Around the World in Eighty Clubs


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Angers

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At last! At long, long last a French club comes up trumps for Fogg. He gets the first move of the venture and heads on into Ligue 1. It feels unreal that the misson is now on and Fogg is in France.

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Fogg has not brought company with him though - Elliot has opted to stay with Huddersfield so Selim Bengriba becomes Fogg's new assistant. A loyal servant to Chambery and Grenoble - he now finds himself at Angers and with a new English manager incoming.

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The club has had mixed fortunes more recently - relegated two seasons ago, promoted last, the club find themselves one of the favourites to go down again. Can Fogg do anything to save the day?

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The vision of the club is clear - sign young players and make a profit. There's European football on offer which is pretty incredible for Fogg. This has come as the side won the French Cup last season. There must be some opportunity here for Fogg - the question is... can he take it?

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Starting XI

So Fogg is preparing for his new side to face their first game under his tutlage. Here is the side he's selected for game one...

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Peaccock-Farrell: The 27yo Northern-Irishman joined the club half-way through last season and has been between the sticks ever since.

Harisson Marelin: Marcelin is in second season at Angers after joinning from Monaco. The Frenchman is looking to keep his new club in this league.

Opoku: Also in season two here, the Ghanaian joined the club on a free last time around.

Jung: Season two again - the 29yo Ghanaian is looking to keep the club up in Ligue 1 this season.

Doumbia: The Ivorian has been an Angers stalwart - holding the LB spot ever since 2019.

Sissoko: Season two again! Ibrahima Sissoko is here after joining the club from Dijon for £1.1m.

Mendy: The 24yo Frenchman has been at the club since 2019 and his performances have been improving season-on-season.

Bahoken: Bahoken has been at the club since 2018. He's a regular supplier of goals and assists and Fogg has his fingers crossed that this will continue for him.

Boufal: Boufal moved straight to the club after his spell at Southampton. It's fair to say the results have been mixed but Fogg needs his best.

Alioui: Alioui got 13 goals last time around - Fogg is hoping for more of the same this time around in order to keep the club at this level.

Maolida: Season two again! Six goals and three assists - Fogg wants more from his leading man...

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All three games left this month are against mid-table sides with Brest predicted to be the best of three. Fogg wants to see what his team can do in getting the season up and going.

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August 2024

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And so it begins - in the fourth season of his career, Fogg is on his journey around the world! Game one saw Fogg's new charges take on Montpellier (Alioui 43). They took an early lead but Alioui levelled the scores just before HT with a smart smash home at the far post.

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Two siginings came in before the Bordeaux game as Fogg looked to Lascher to strengthen the attacking side of the team and Mannsverk was simply too good to turn down (Has he been anyone else's wonderkid?). Fogg's men took on Bordeaux (Bahoken 42). Bordeaux dropped down to ten men early on and Bahoken took full advantage with a clinical header just before HT. Things were made a little scarier later on though when Lascher got his marching order too. The final game of the month was against ambitious Brest (Cabot 9, Opoku 34, Bahoken 86). The team stormed to victory with the pick of the goals being Cabot's smart finish after a corner was recycled to him.

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It's a great place for the club to be this early in the season but Fogg knows that things are bound to get harder before they get easier. The challenge to stay in this league is still well and truly on.

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A European group - and a competitive one at that. Fogg's mean have avoided the likes of Spurs and Newcastle but PSG do wait in the competition for later on...

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So the European group begins with one game this month. It will be interesting to see how Fogg's little squad manages the demands of European football. Guingamp and Nice have both made poor starts while Lorient are in midtable and Strasbourg are riding high. How will Fogg's men see off the competition?

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Fun idea! And going well so far.

I have to ask, did you consider going in the opposite direction? It seems like it would've been easier to break into Ireland than France for your first change of country. (Obviously you managed anyway, I'm just curious.)

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Hey @Alma Mater! Glad to hear you're enjoying the ride so far! I hadn't considered going the opposite way around. I did think about just being able to tick the countries off in any order but decided in the end that the real challenge lay in following the Jules Verne route! Got a feeling that it might take more than one edition of FM to complete the trip - we shall see!

September 2024

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After a promising start to his Angers reign, Fogg was up and ready for month two. The first game was against Nice (Todibo OG 8) and Fogg's side were handed a dream start when Todibo passed home round his own keeper. It didn't stay that way as Nice came into the game in the second half and went on to steal the win.

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There was good news though as Fogg completed his A licence and got the green light to complete his Pro Licence too. In his first European game though, Angers were simply brushed aside by Wolfsburg (Boufal 60). There was a brief moment round Boufal's goal where there appeared to be hope but it didn't last long. Fogg was worried what effect two defeats in a row would have on morale but the team rallied in order to beat Lorient (Bahoken 47) with Bahoken smashing home Boufal's superb cross to give Angers all three points. There was some rotation in the wide postitions against Strasbourg (Alioui 28, Daschner 57, Maolida 72) but it was nothing to worry about as both wingers provided assists for each other! Against Guingamp (Alioui 16, Bahoken pen 50, Marcelin 90), another three goals were scored in order to round out three wins in a row for the men from Angers!

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The cost however, was the loss of Daschner for the next few months!

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In the domestic league, Angers find themselves riding high and in the European postitions. There's bound to be a fall-off at some point but all the space that can be generated between the team and the drop is good news for Fogg. The drubbing in the Europa League hasn't helped their postion there but the next month does contain the two more winnable games...

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A stern test is waiting in the next month in the form of Lille away. As said above, the club also have two home games in Europe that could have a big bearing on whether the club have any hope of getting out of the group or not!

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There was also this little bit of news to round out the month...

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  • 2 weeks later...

October 2024

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With the season having started pretty promisingly for Fogg so far, he was keen to carry it on. The first game saw Angers take on AEK (Boufal 12, Bahoken 57). The highlight goal was Doumbia's huge sweeping cross being put home by Boufal. Fogg was keen to win this month's European games as he saw them as vital to the clubs chances of getting out the group. In the league, the club took on leaders Lille. Angers simply couldn't match the standard - even when Lille went down to ten men. A tough draw of little action was the follow-up game when Fogg's charges took on Lens. Europe brought an improvement though when the side had another 2-0 win against Red Star (Opoku 63, Cabot 80). Finally, the month finished with a league win too when Sissoko headed home from a corner and that was enough for Angers to beat Auxerre (Sissoko 54).

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In the league, Angers take their hold on a European place even though no-one really believes that the club will finish there at the end of the season. It's pretty remarkable to see the club up above the likes of Marseille and Lyon at the moment. In Europe, the club are behind Wolfsburg (which is to be expected) but three points ahead of AEK at the halfway stage and that leaves things looking hopeful.

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Troyes might be 11th but Rennes are 2nd and Lyon will always be a challenge. In Europe, it's re-runs of those two must-win games and that could secure Angers' progress from the group. What can Fogg do to attract Italian eyes before next summer?!

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November 2024

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After a positive October which saw Angers rise up into the European places in the league, Fogg was keen to see if he could continue the club's success. Game one went to plan as his side took on and beat Troyes (Mendy 26) with Mendy's single goal enough to secure all three points for the French side. Success continued in Europe when Angers travelled out to Red Star (Bahoken 76) where again a single goal was enough to secure the result. A tight draw came against Lyon but, given the size of the clubs, Fogg was certainly not going to complain at sharing the points.

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Fogg was pretty pleased with the record too as it seemed to heavily suggest that relegation shouldn't be an issue for his charges. Defeat appeared to be on the cards in the game against Rennes (Boufal 90+1) but, as the game to a finish, Sissoko sent a beauty of a through-ball past their back line and Boufal curled it into the opposite corner to secure a share of the points. The month's final trip saw the side head out to Athens to play AEK (Sissoko 66). Sissoko's goal helped the team get a share of the points but that was enough to secure Angers's place in  the knockout stages.

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So the club remain in European places and have qualfied for the knock-out stages of the Europa League. It feels like there's exciting times ahead! That's after they survived December's challenges...

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PSG, Monaco, Wolfsburg and Marseille in a month. It's enough for most managers to go weak at the knees. What can Fogg's men do? We shall see!

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