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[FM22] Ergotelis - We are Greek, but we aren't boring


noikeee
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So I got bored of Arsenal. New career time.

I've been searching for the next challenge and ended up settling on Greece. There seems to be all the conditions here for a fun run:

  • It's a fairly new league for me, I've only managed here briefly once
     
  • Not a lot of money in the league, but some serious challengers on the way up - clubs like Olympiacos and Panathinaikos
     
  • Foreign player rules that were neither too restrictive not too easy - we can have 5 non-EU guys in the match squad but that's it
     
  • The 1st division has the mini-league for the title at the end, which is a format I really enjoy in FM


I wanted to start in the 2nd division and a club caught my eye.

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Ergotelis are based in the island of Crete, not the mainland. As an islander myself I like this.

 

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They are a fairly big club for the 2nd division, with a pretty big stadium, which is a decent head-start. They have a bit of history of playing in the top flight etc, but no real silverware or European runs. Time for me to attempt to create its history.

The kits are cool. Black-and-yellow vertical stripes, love it.

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Club has a nice backstory for its creation being named after a legendary figure of ancient games.

Also interesting is its rivalry with OFI, the other big team from Crete. From Wikipedia:

Quote

During the Greek military junta of 1967–1974 a government legislation determined that every regional Greek city should be represented in professional divisions by a single football team. At that time, both OFI and Ergotelis used to play in the Second National division, and at the end of the 1966–67 season, had finished in 3rd and 10th place respectively. Despite both clubs having secured their place in next year's edition of the tournament, Ergotelis was relegated to amateur status by law. Furthermore, the teams remaining in the second division were granted the rights to sign any number of players from the relegated clubs, and thus OFI signed contracts with 5 of Ergotelis' best considered players at the time. Ergotelis' side claimed their relegation to be retaliation for allowing renowned left-liberal songwriter and composer Mikis Theodorakis to perform a concert in Martinengo Stadium, giving political dimensions to the already strained relations between the two clubs. In the years to come Ergotelis languished in the lower leagues, while OFI prospered. These facts have led to various controversies among the fans of the two clubs, especially since Ergotelis' come back, at the early 00's.

In recent years, both sides have shown good will in maintaining this rivalry on the pitch only. Furthermore, OFI fans celebrated Ergotelis' promotion and attended home games during the club's first season in the Super League. Ergotelis on the other hand, loaned their longtime scoring legend Patrick Ogunsoto to a financially weakened Beta Ethniki side OFI in 2010 for no fee, as an attempt to assist their prestigious rival in their struggle to once again return to the Super League.

They just seem nice.




Two principles will guide me through this career:

  • I will play attacking football. This is the easy bit, I've been testing stuff with Arsenal and have put something together, although honestly I stole most of it from the internet. As a Portuguese man Greek football evokes memories of that horrid Summer in 2004, we're gonna do something completely different and entertain spectators instead of boring them to tears. Bring attack to Greece.
     
  • I will focus on youth, by only hiring under 21 players. This will make squad building doubly challenging and force me to concentrate on our own youth players.



Also one more note - I'm planning for this to be a really stripped down thread. I know monthly updates make for a more interesting read, but it was too much for me in the last one. And since I'm playing pretty slowly nowadays... expect maybe a post per week.

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Posted (edited)

The lads

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Brightest of them:

Giannis Boutsakis (DM, MC, AM) - Classy playmaker, he's been here for 5 years already so knows the place. I play mezzalas not playmakers apart from the DM position, which isn't his strenght, so I think I'll fit him as mezzala.

Antonis Bourselis (MR, AML, AMC, AMR) - Pacey boy on the wing. Has determination, work rate, I like that. Will be one of our main goal threats.

Giorgos Sarris (DC) - Hard as nails centerback. Slow which is a major liability for me, but too good otherwise to drop.

 

The tactic

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If you come across something very similar to this in a very popular tactics sharing and testing online place, it's probably because I may have just stolen someone's tactic, and changed like 3 or 4 things.

I tested this for a while before abandoning Arsenal and it was FUN. Everyone runs forward and storms the area, apart from the 2 CBs and the DLP... who sometimes dribbles past the defence anyway. Of course that was with Jude Bellingham not Christos Voutsas the 40K€ rated DM with a 4 for dribbling, so there may be slight differences.

 

The cash

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Well I'm going for a challenge ain't I.

 

The league

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17 teams per group because, reasons?

This is not an easy league to get out of. Only the group winner advances... to a playoff. Granted if you lose that playoff you get into another playoff (against the team from the league above) and if you win that one, you get promoted, but still. You can win the league and not go up.

 

By the way. Don't forget. I can't hire players over 21. (because I've decided I'm gonna do that). This is a massive handicap at lower league level. Can't just hire random unemployed veterans. No, need to search for kids. And I've no idea how easy it is to attract talented kids to the Greek 2nd tier. I'm gonna guess probably not super easy. That's if we had money which we don't.

Edited by noikeee
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Pre-season 2021/2022

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New players:

Lucas Sena (DR, WBR) - Not sure if ideally suited to IWB/A but this young Brazilian is quick and has a few interesting attributes, big upgrade on the position.

Martin Ako (ML, MC, AML) - Another very talented player - a Cameroon international, even - that might not 100% suit the tactic perfectly, as he's more of a classic winger whereas I'm using inverted ones. What I'm planning right now is use him as mezzala... we were in need of a major upgrade in center midfield. Might be a waste of pace, not sure just yet.

With just these 2 signings we're now way above wage budget with the board making it clear being under wage budget is a key requirement. Well..... not ideal, I'm gonna have to be dead sure we perform on the pitch.

 

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Season starts late here. We smashed a lower league team in the cup, but otherwise we've been having friendlies waiting for the league to start.

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Ah Ergotelis, a nice club that I've managed in many versions. Just a shame that the fan club isn't a sizable one. Also, IRL, the owner has announced he's leaving in the summer and the players are unpaid :(

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Posted (edited)
On 12/04/2022 at 17:14, john1 said:

Good luck in Greece :cool:

 

On 14/04/2022 at 12:16, deltablue said:

This should be fun.

 

Cheers folks!

 

On 14/04/2022 at 12:25, Marios1999 said:

Ah Ergotelis, a nice club that I've managed in many versions. Just a shame that the fan club isn't a sizable one. Also, IRL, the owner has announced he's leaving in the summer and the players are unpaid :(

Are you Greek? I'm presuming you are, since why would you manage a random club like this in many versions :D 

Any tips about the Greek league and football system in FM? Only time I've been here was in FM18 in this league as well with Panserraikos, I remember it didn't go very well I got sacked. :D 

Edited by noikeee
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Yeah I'm the resident Greek of this community :D I'd say the best thing to do, is live off loan signings early on, as financially things are a bit tough. But regarding european places etc, the league stays high most of the time, so if you break into the SuperLeague, it's not that difficult to snatch a european place :brock:

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6 hours ago, Marios1999 said:

Yeah I'm the resident Greek of this community :D I'd say the best thing to do, is live off loan signings early on, as financially things are a bit tough. But regarding european places etc, the league stays high most of the time, so if you break into the SuperLeague, it's not that difficult to snatch a european place :brock:

Which is something I've not done at all as I couldn't find any players listed for loan, and also have self-limited to U21 players (usually those are the ones listed for loan, but not always). Now I'm facing a financial meltdown. :D 

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2021/2022 - Mid-season report

 

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I think this is going well. We've been chasing Kalamata for 1st place most of the season, finally overtook them recently but they're ahead again - but we have a game in hand. Levadeiakos are in the mix as well but seem to have stumbled recently too.

We've only lost 2 matches, one in the league precisely to Kalamata, and a frankly awful 3-0 home cup defeat to Trikala who are in the other group in this division. Dutch striker Tyron Conraad has been amazing with 16 goals in 14 appearances, I also quite like the performances of wide forward Antonis Bourselis with 8 assists.

Now I really really need to grab that 1st place and then win one of the playoffs to go up. That's because that's the only thing that's gonna save us from this situation...

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Club was already not great financially and I've been too greedy with the 2 signings I've made, it pushed the wage budget beyond what it should be. Half of my team runs out of contract this season and I can't renew anyone because I don't want to pay any money to anyone.

 

Tactics-wise I've done a couple minor changes, sorry for the annoying yellow plane icons and red names, they're all away on mini Christmas holidays, apparently.

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I've been toying back-and-forth with putting the IWBs on attack role (which is fun) or support role (which is more stable and the original tactic I've copied found inspiration from had it like that), and eventually ended up in this compromise of one each... which seems to be the best option, both on attack was too gung-ho and both on support too conservative. They end up nicely stacked like this, with the LB deeper near the CBs and the DLP, making a bit of a 3-man defence or 3+1defence, whilst Lucas is #YOLOing forward and joining the rest.

The other change which is more critical is on the right wing - that man has become a classic pure winger rather than another inverted one. What I found is that having EVERYONE inverted and occupying the half-spaces (wingers, fullbacks and mezzalas), whilst fun, made us a wee bit too narrow and too many of our chances were low-percentage half-chances because there was too little space. By using just 1 actual winger it suddenly frees up way more space on the pitch and everything just ticks better. It's not really about that one man staying miles wide and putting crosses in, he actually runs behind the defence to shoot at goal much like a IF or IW/A would do, but just being a wee bit wider frees up everyone else.

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2021/2022 - End of season report

Transfers

January signings:

Christos Vafeaidis (DM) - Loanee, not that good, didn't feature much.

Thomas Kastanaras (ST) - Another loanee, I didn't play him much as I had Cordeel banging in the goals upfront, but as Cordeel is now leaving (more on this below), I've renewed his loan for another year.

 

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Unfortunately the 2nd half of the season wasn't quite up to the same standards as the first. That terrible run in January really set us back and we played catch-up rest of the season. An inconsistent March and a couple more losses to AEK and Panathinaikos' B sides in early April and we were out of the title/promotion race, still salvaging a very respectable 3rd.

The problem here is I really needed to get out of this league the first season. Financial problems are piling up, and with too many of our players on short 1-year contracts, the reality is our main stars are getting poached right left and center by teams that can give salaries as high as 9.5K€/month when our highest wage is 2.8K€/month. Conraad (our star striker), Abdullahi, Neral, Servilakis and Patrinos all have moves out of the club confirmed, and our 2 highest rated players Lucas Sena and Martin Ako (the 2 guys I hired at the start of the season) will soon follow. Next year we will likely have a squad that is simply not as good, my optimism for progress isn't high.

 

Squad stats

Top players:

5. Antonis Bourselis (AML, AMR) - Nice haul of 10 goals and 12 assists from our inverted winger (on the left) who can also play as classic winger on the right.

4. Giannis Boutsakis (MC) - Really good season from one of the better players from the original squad. 11 goals and 13 assists as mezzala.

3. Giorgos Sarris (DC) - Highest average rating on the team (7.36) from the veteran centerback, getting a bit slow though.

2. Lucas Sena (DR) - Wonderful season from this Summer signing who proved superb as IWB. Wanted by teams as prestigious as Panathinaikos, no way he can hold on to him.

1. Tyrone Conraad (ST, AML) - Superb season from the Dutch striker with a total 22 goals, 20 of them in the league. Another player we couldn't hold on to.

 

Youth intake:

This was a surprisingly strong youth bunch, branded as "golden generation" and I think at least the following 2 guys could go far (for the level of Ergotelis)

Christos Kontothanasis (ST) - Pacey boy, can finish, perfect AF.

Antonis Stamatiou (MC) - Needs to develop a bit to become first team useful, but the passing/vision combo is really tasty.

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Pre-season 2022/2023

 

Transfers

Mateus Peres (DM) - One of several different players I hired that can play DM, he's okay.

Marios Tzavidas (ST) - New striker on loan from Atromitos, giving us a duo of Tzavidas-Kastanaras to play the position, with the massive problem that neither have pace... which led me to eventually hire another guy later on.

Lukas Kengbo-Meynot (DL, DC, WBL) - Can provide very good cover both for the LB and CB positions.

Andrea Astrologo (DM, MC) - Potentially fighting for a first 11 slot as DLP.

Zakaray Lamgahez (DC, DM) - Possibly one signing too many, I'm looking back now and I think I'd have passed him by, will just be cover. It was a signing at the time I was struggling to find enough players and was unable to scout properly a few of them.

Lucio Berrón (MC) - Pace! Looking decent for mezzala, should be a starter.

Jordan Konango Mbon (DR) - With Sena and Neral gone I was starting to get really desperate for a RB, and brought this kid on loan unable to scout him well. Turned out a bit underwhelming.

Louis Poznanski (DL, DC, WBL) - New starting leftback, looks solid.

Bence Várkonyi (DC) - Should start at CB, the one issue is I'd have liked better passing ability to play as BPD, really not suited to that. One of the better signings.

Victor Maffeo (DR, WBR, MR, AMR) - Absolute best I could find to replace Sena as RB really late in the transfer window, still not quite to the level of the Brazilian player that departed, but not a million miles off.

Azeez Balogun (ST) - Last minute signing, the Nigerian stiker (on loan from... São Paulo??) has pace and that should make him stand out as starting striker. Finally an actual clear upgrade for a position.

 

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(note: RW Charles Kwateng is new too, he was a part of the squad but was out on loan, now returns)

 

So all in all I am not super happy with the transfer dealings, we seem to have hired a lot of 2.5 star, 3 star players, and nobody really that stands out as a big upgrade. But that's what you get when I've self-limited to hiring U21s and 3 starting 11 players (RB Sena, MC Ako, ST Cordeel) have left on frees.

We do have better depth but promotion might be difficult. I'm looking at perhaps slightly improving on our points total, maybe grabbing 2nd place instead of 3rd, something like that seems realistic. We did hold on to a core of players that were a part of the initial squad - the likes of Boutsakis, Bourselis, Tselios - who do have quality. So I don't expect a major step back, but unless all the kids really develop (always a possibility we can hope for when running such a transfer policy) we don't have reasons to believe in a huge step forward neither.

 

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Have you worked on some sort of attacking corners routine for Sarris? Because he scores some goals when something is set out for him

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3 hours ago, Marios1999 said:

Have you worked on some sort of attacking corners routine for Sarris? Because he scores some goals when something is set out for him

Not specifically, though I have my CBs attacking near post / far post and he's scored a couple goals last season. 

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Our starting midfielder as mezzala next to Boutsakis, the position I have least cover in, recalled because I was... playing him in the wrong role. **** off game.

Worst thing is he was on a totally free loan (we weren't paying any wages) and I'm way way way over wage budget so can't replace him (unless I find another player on a similar scheme which is very rare).

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6 hours ago, noikeee said:

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This should help.

 

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This didn't help.

Giving in one hand and taking away with the other. FM can be hellish at times! Great link to have should see you become a base for their talent to prosper 

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10 hours ago, SixPointer said:

Giving in one hand and taking away with the other. FM can be hellish at times! Great link to have should see you become a base for their talent to prosper 

Idk, I haven't made it to the winter transfer window yet so it might change, but the assholes currently don't want to loan anyone as they have a B team! Who play in our division!

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2022/2023 - Mid-season report

 

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Pretty much the exact mirror of last season, last year we were 2nd with 33 points from 14, now we're a provisional 1st with 30 points from 14 but quickly going to be overtaken when Kifisia win their match. Our results look great but any defeat is a big blow - I probably committed a bit of a mistake going with the 1st 11 to try to surprise Olympiacos and produce a major shock in the cup, this led to tired legs and the defeat in the league to Kallithea, which could be very very costly.

It feels like we're just a tiny step below where we need to be, to win this league and escape, but it's not clear what can I do at all to force that step. I've been too greedy with wages again and now I can't renew anyone's contracts, and I can't see how can I improve the squad much on the transfer market, on this league, for as long as I stick to the only-U21s transfer policy. It's a grind until we get lucky and just about escape, I guess?

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Posted (edited)

2022/2023 - ALMOST end of season report

 

Transfers

I got a few guys on totally free loans (no wages).

Evagoras Antoniou (DC, DR) - One of 2 kids from Panathinaikos. He was okay, didn't play much.

Alexis Koutsias (DL, DR, WBL) - The other Panathinaikos kid, didn't play not even once, I signed him before I could see his attributes.

Mark Bushaj (MC, AMC, ST) - Albanian forwardy-midfielder from Hajduk, he's been more exciting, doing really nice as mezzala, 3 goals and 4 assists in 12.

Xavier Simons (DR, DM, MC) - The only Englishman on the Greek islands not on holidays, I've been playing him as IWB and he's been great, scored two monster long shots.

 

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Well look at that we're into the bloody playoffs!! This was by no means the perfect season, I thought we had completely bottled it when we lost to Kifisia, but then Kifisia incomprehensively went downhill in the final few weeks of the season whilst we kept winning.

We end up sealing the title in bizarre circumstances - as this is an odd-numbered league, we are the team that doesn't play in the final day, so we won it in the penultimate round which is our actual final day.

Panserraikos await us in the big one... if we win that we're promoted, if we lose it then we face the team that finished penultimate place in the division above.

 

Youth intake:

Another bunch of pretty decent players coming in.

Vasilis Apostolakis (DC) - Centerback that's already very commanding in the air at the age of 16.

Giannis Misargopoulos (AMC) - Workhorse of a #10, not too sold on him yet but my staff love him.

Orestis Tsatsopoulos (DR) - A mercenary, that's always fun. Decent physicals and decent mentals which is the bit the kids hardly ever have.

Edited by noikeee
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2022/2023  - Actual end of season report

 

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Well this turned out to be surprisingly easy. We dominated both matches and that was it.

Strange that I started this season wondering how many years it would take, and feeling we weren't making any progress, yet seal it the same year.

 

Squad stats

Top players:

5. Giorgos Sarris (DC) - Still important but entering the twilight years of his career. Leaving on a free transfer at the end of his contract, so won't follow us to the Superleague.

4. Giannis Boutsakis (MC) - A very good season from the ever solid midfielder with 10 goals from MC - just one behind top scorer striker Azeez Balogun - and 5 assists.

3. Charles Kwateng (AMR) - On course for being player of the season during most of the campaign, with the most total goal contributions on the side (9 goals and 12 assists), but a late season serious injury and a not particularly amazing average rating means I'm gonna choose someone else.

2. Antonis Bourselis (AML) - Slightly more talented than Kwateng and pretty much equally as important on the other wing, a total of 10 goals and 8 assists.

1. Bence Várkonyi (DC) - A super solid season on loan from MTK, unfortunately we're gonna lose both of our centerbacks pairing as MTK want to recall him.

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Pre-season 2023/2024

Transfers

So we got promoted and I awaited for my new transfer/wage budget.. once you get promoted into a much wealthier league you get more money to spend right?

Right?

Wellll... the pre-season weeks went by, they went on and on, and nothing. Still the same 43K€/month for wages the board had given me before we knew we were going to be promoted. Which is nothing. The next poorest team in the league is paying 11K to their best players. Olympiacos are paying 242K to their single highest earner.

Loads of players have been given automatic wage rises for promotion, so all the budget was immediately gone. That was, the few that remained and hadn't left on a free. I had like 13 players apart from the youth graduates, all nowhere near ready.

End result is I had to desperately build a squad without spending a single penny on wages. This meant desperately going through ANY squad in Europe that would loan us ANY player on zero wages...... most of them without being able to scout them, or having time to.

This was NOT a fun pre-season. Honestly, I believe the lack of wage budget re-adjustment is a bug, plain and simple. The board demands me to avoid relegation yet gives me less than a third of the money to spend than the next shittiest team.. how? Sure if we don't have the cash, fine, but then just don't have any expectations at all.

 

Magomedkhabib Abdulsalamov (AMR, ST) - Before the "issue" had revealed itself, I was moving for some players, and this guy was signed before I knew we were going up at all. Pacey. Can do a job on the wing and upfront.

Luiz Freitas (MC, DM, AMC) - Decent mezzala option. Might well start.

Breno Bidon (MC, DM) - Possibly the signing of the season, now rated best player in the squad. Looks like a class DLP in the making, I was unable to give him more than 1 year of contract though, I will be attempting to renew this as soon as I can.

Tiago Carvalho (DC, DM) - This was when the desperation started to set in, and I started hiring EVERYONE I could. I had no centerbacks, so this was specially a problem area. Unfortunately he's not good enough and I can't terminate the loan. I'm not paying anything, anyway.

Fabio Baldé (AML, AMC, AMR) - Decent-ish IF/winger but some extremely low mental skills are a problem.

Amir Feratovic (DC) - A lucky break, I hired him without seeing his skills, but it looks like he'll fix the hole at CB.

Corentin Louakima (DR) - Mediocre RB, all pace and nothing else.

Bilal Mazhar (AMR, ST) - Decent-ish winger/striker but lacks the dribbling to be effective as winger and lacks aerial ability to shine upfront.

Bob Omoregbe (AML, AMR, ST) - Yet another of those okay-but-nothing-special wide forwards, can't cross or dribble, all pace.

Filippo Tripi (DC, DM, MC) - One of the best new players. More suited to DM but will have to play CB next to his fellow Roma loanee Feratovic, as they're both by far my better CBs.

Mattia Sangalli (DM, MC) - Really good midfielder but doesn't really suit the mezzala role and I have a better DLP in Breno Bidon. Might end up playing mezzala either way because his mentals are too good but it's definitely not the best use of his skills.

Lars Kleiner (DR, WBR, AMR) - Lowly rated by the game but there's something in here, I like him. I have absolutely zero backup leftbacks so am attempting to train him there, could do well since we use IWBs.

Danny Schmidt (AMC, ST) - Late find and could turn out to be a critical one. I think he looks like my best striker on paper although the parent club wants me to play him as... enganche? 

Enrique Pereira da Silva (DR) - Probably a player I could've done without - I now have 4 rightbacks - but you know, deadline day desperation. All pace, heaps of pace in fact, but little else.

 

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For the absurdity of the position I found myself in, I think I ultimately managed to just about squeeze in a barely coherent squad. Major problem though is at goalkeeper where Tzelepis - loaned out the last 2 years - is a massive downgrade on the guy we had before, who left on a free. And generally anyone below 4 stars (so EVERYONE apart from Tripi, Bidon and Schmidt) is rated as a "Superleague 2 player" so not up to the standards of the division.

This is a critical, make or break season. If we don't survive, I am almost certainly sacked. If we do, then I suspect next season when the budget is updated, will be much, much easier and the foundations will be set for the coming years.

Edited by noikeee
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2023/2024 - Mid-season report

 

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This started much, much better than I imagined. We breezed through September and October, ridiculously lasting until matchday 8 until we were finally defeated. We even briefly topped the table!

Last couple months, specially December, were a bit of a return down to earth though, and much more like what I was expecting from this season. We have just dropped out of the top 6 which gives access to the mini-league that decides the champion. However my goal for this season is to not finish in the last 2 places, basically, even penultimate place would be enough for me as long as we then win the playoff, so... so far so good.

One issue is I'm already bracing myself for completely rebuilding the squad again for next season. The only non-youth player I have on a permanent contract that I'm actually interested in retaining is Breno Bidon (DM) and he's not interested in renewing. Almost every single player is either on loan or leaving!

Finally, one more thing to talk about. This looks tasty:

 

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