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Walking in a Katowice Wonderland?


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Winterthur - 2023 Youth Intake

There's a potential gem in the youth intake, as 23a Alessio D'Agostino already looks pretty decent. Given how few goals we're scoring (just wait until the March update) it's tempting to throw him

straight in. 

That being said, he was upstaged in the youth candidates v under 21 game. He managed a couple of assists, but 23c Cedric Gashi was the star of the show with all five goals in a 5-3 win.

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Winterthur - February + March 2023

Just awful. Six games in a row without even a single goal.

We somehow then managed to pull off an upset over Basel, but the form table shows that they're having a shocker and are even worse than us at the moment.

And immediately that we of course went straight back to being terrible, and got thumped by St Gallen.

I hate this team, I hate these players, if I make it to the end of the season I think it's very unlikely that I'm going to stick around for another year.

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Winterthur - April + May 2023

We finally found a bit of form to end the season with a flourish, four wins in our final eight games, including a last day victory over Basel. This game saw (what I think is) our first goal from an academy graduate, as 20a Nicolas Archier came off the bench to nick himself a debut strike.

At the other end of the experience scale the Winterthur career of Ousmane Doumbia came to an ignominious end. Two missed penalties against Thun cost us a point, and he was very quickly booted out the door afterwards.

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These 14 points helped us climb a couple of places and secure a comfortable midtable position, something which had looked out of reach in recent months. 

This does now create a dilemma about my future. In the last update I threw a little hissy fit had concerns about the future, now I'm wondering if perhaps I was a bit hasty and it is worth sticking around here a bit longer.

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Winterthur - 2022/23 Season Review

We conceded 11 fewer goals than last year, and Elmedin Fazlic was a key part in that. He was voted the fan's player of the season. We've already agreed with Borussia Dortmund to bring him back again next year.

The next two players in the voting were also loanees, as our reliance on other team's players is probably a bit too high. Kristian Abazi (from Basel) finished as top scorer with 8 goals from the left-wing, and with a further 6 assists was also our second most creative player. Again, we've extended his loan to cover another season. On the opposite side Giuseppe D'Agostino was the top creator with 7 assists, while also scoring 5 times. He will also be back next year, but on a permanent basis. In February I noticed that Zurich were interested in him, and this led to seeing that his Internazionale contract was expiring shortly, so I pounced to snap him up.

Up front our strikers continued to underwhelm, with a combined 10 goals between them. Though all 4 of the goals scored by Sebastian Musiolik came in April and May, so perhaps there is still some hope for him.

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A better league finish than last year, despite how poor things felt at times. We really need a proper sponsorship deal though to sort out our finances and give us a better chance of competing. Also, a decent cup run again would be nice. No more getting knocked out by sides several divisions below us.

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Winterthur - Pre-Season 2023/24

Same expectations as ever, just don't get relegated.

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The only big departure was Roberto Alves. He'd been a regular in the first couple of years, before turning into a squad player. Last year he complained about not playing enough, so I gave him more gametime, but he was rubbish so I decided to get rid. 

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Most of these are loanees to give us options for the bench. 

Giuseppe D'Agostino was on loan with us last year and we've now paid it permanent.

Pablo Moreno on a free from Juventus is the big signing. He had a good record for their under 23s, so hopefully he can solve our goalscoring problems.

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Marvin Spielmann was available on a free after being released by Young Boys. He had a good 2021/22, but barely played last year, so he'll have something to prove.

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I'm not convinced by this squad. Unless some sort of miracle happens and I can find a tactic which gets the strikers scoring, I think it'll be another miserable year.

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Winterthur - July + August + September 2023

On the eve of the season starting I was approached by Zurich. They finished 3rd last year and are playing in the Conference League, so it would have been tempting to move on. Ultimately, they went with Patrick Vieira instead.

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And lo and behold, we then faced Zurich on the opening day. I wanted to show them they'd made a mistake, but a draw was probably a fair result. Next time out we thrashed Thun, and went top of the league.

It didn't last. Five consecutive losses wasn't the ideal follow-up and we ended September in the bottom two.

At least we had some joy in the Swiss Cup. There was no risk of embarrassment here, nearly full-strength teams were put out to ensure we didn't suffer another early exit.

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Winterthur - October + November + December 2023

Patrick Vieira's time in charge of Zurich didn't last long, as he got the boot after little more than four months. His only wins came in the Swiss Cup and Conference League qualifiers (which ultimately they lost), and he picked up just eight points in 15 league games.

Zurich approached me again, but this time it wasn't so appealing (and the earlier rejection still stung) so I rejected their offer.

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Our form over the last few months has been much improved, earning 16 points from 10 games and jumping up to just outside the European places. We are quite a few points off though.

Something's clicked up front and our attacking players are actually scoring goals, which is always nice. Summer signing Marvin Spielmann is paid much more than anyone else in the squad, but he's justifying that with 11 goals so far.

We've made it through the Swiss Cup, but needing extra-time to get past Cham after dominating them was annoying.

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Winterthur - February + March 2024

Any hopes we had of pushing on in the new year disappeared pretty quickly. as our defence disintegrated in February and we went on a horrible run of form. 

The low point was a 6-2 home thrashing by Young Boys, but at least we got our act together after this and rebounded with eight points from the next four games.

We're somehow still in the mix for a European place (depending on the cup winners), as it turns out Switzerland has an extra spot allocated this year.

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Winterthur - April + May 2024

Never mind, back to being crap.

In the first half of the season we earned 21 points, and had a goal difference of -1. In the second half of the season we managed just 14 more points, with a goal difference of -19.

We were 10 points ahead of Zurich when I turned down the job interview. Under Vincent Kompany, they closed the gap to just one point.

A dismal collapse...

...but at least we're not Thun.

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Summer 2024

There weren't many jobs available at first, and those free were generally in the Hungarian and Romanian second tiers. I didn't want to to drop down a division so I ignored those, keeping an eye out for a top division opening instead.

Sure enough, one emerged pretty quickly, and when I declared my interest the fans were happy to install me as their favourite for the job. One successful interview later, and I was buying my plane ticket.

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I'm off to Poland! 

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Posted (edited)

GKS Katowice - 2024/25 Pre-Season

GKS Katowice had their most successful period in the late 80s/early 90s, which three Polish cup wins and a string of top three finishes. Those glory days are a long time behind them though, and by 2005/06 they were demoted to the fourth tier as punishment for financial and legal issues. Two straight promotions took them back up to the second level, where they stayed until relegation in 2018/19.

Which brings us to the start of this save. In this universe they've had much better fortunes over the last few years. Promotions in 2019/20 and 2021/22 have brought GKS Katowice back up to the Ekstraklasa, and they've now survived for two years at this level.

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The finances are pretty good, though with less than two weeks between my appointment and the start of the season I won't be using any money on transfers yet. I'll see how things are going then act in January (though hopefully nothing too drastic will be needed. 

One place where we will need urgent re-inforcements is the coaching team, and the recruitment team, and the medical team. There are very few backroom staff at the club, so working on changing that is my first priority.

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As expected. The Ekstraklasa has 16 teams, which play each other twice before splitting the top and bottom eight teams into the Championship and Relegation Groups. There's seven more games at that stage, and the bottom three go down. So I'm assuming we'll end up in the Relegation Group, and then it's a case of making sure we're stronger than at least three others.

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This is my squad. I can't tell you if they're any good or not yet, but I do know that the best rated player (Lukasz Konefal, goalkeeper, 4.5 star CA) wants to leave, so that can't be a good sign.

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Edited by DaneBramage
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  • DaneBramage changed the title to Walking in a Katowice Wonderland?

Okay, that one was unexpected :lol: 

As someone who lives just next to Katowice and work there, I can tell that's as far from a wonderland as you can imagine. Some people like it for an interesting mix of socrealist, modernist and futurist architecture.

GKS, or GieKSa as they are called, are famous for beating Zidane's Bordeaux in 90s. Nowadays, however, if there's any attention they get, it comes from being kind of a cursed club. They dream of coming back to Ekstraklasa but keep failing, sometimes in a way that is beyond understanding like being 2-0 up against the worst club in the league but still losing 2-3 after conceding a goal from a half-line, burying the chances for promotion, or simply getting relegated to the third division despite actually aiming for promotion before the season.

Most of the people in Katowice, the capital of the voivodeship, actually support either Górnik Zabrze or Ruch Chorzów. GieKSa doesn't get that much attention even from their own city council.

Good luck!

 

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GKS Katowice - July + August 2024

We're going with a positive 4-4-2 formation. It had mixed results in my time at Winterthur, but it's worked nicely for me elsewhere so it's worth another go.

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We'd barely scraped together a coaching team by the start of the season, so an opening day draw was a fine result. But the follow-up to this was amazing and much better than I could have hoped for with four straight wins. 

This included an away victory at Gornik Zabrze, giving our fans a boost by beating our rivals on their patch.

We then suffered a heavy loss to Slask Wroclaw, which was probably my fault. Our goalie had been kicking up a fuss about wanting to leave, so I played the back-up for this game to teach him a lesson. It backfired badly.

Lukasz Konefal was swiftly re-instated back into the team, and we subsequently won again next time out.

Impressing early on at the other end of the pitch was Tiago Alves, with 3 goals and 2 assists so far.

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Well, this is certainly unexpected. I think we can call these first few weeks a success.

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GKS Katowice - September + October 2024

The good times continued as we picked up four more league wins, including a big victory over Lech Poznan. They've won the last four titles but are having a stinker of a season.

We did suffer the one loss though, away at Legia Warszawa. Incredibly, if we'd won this tie we'd have gone top, but instead they pulled out a small lead over us. It says a lot about how well the season has started that we've already won more games so far than I did in the entirety of last season at Winterthur.

One player making waves is 17 year old striker Hubert Podolski. Despite having never played a single minute of first-team football my DoF signed him for just over £100k from Piast Gliwice, and he's scored 4 goals in his first 4 games.

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Lovely stuff. I don't know how this is happening, or how long it will last, but I'll enjoy it while I can.

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Winterthur lie 9th in the Swiss Super League, with just one win from 13 games.

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GKS Katowice - November + December 2024

With things going well I decided it was time to ask for a couple of upgrades.

Youth recruitment and junior coaching have both been improved to an adequate standard.

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November went really well as our good form continued with three more wins.

But hopefully we won't be looking back at December as the month where it all went wrong.

We started the month with three games in a week, and I don't think I got my team selections and rotation right. We lost both league games without scoring, but the silver lining was progression to the next round of the cup after Hubert Podolski grabbed an extra-time hat-trick. We avoided defeat against our rivals Gornik Zabrze (even with four players missing due to suspension), but ended the year with a miserable loss.

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Despite the poor December we're still 2nd in the table. Legia Warzsawa are still undefeated and pretty much out of sight at the top, but in reality we're looking downwards. 

After the winter break there are 10 more games before the league split, I'd like to think we've put ourselves in a good spot to qualify for the Championship group.

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Three wins in a row have seen Winterthur climb up to 7th in the Swiss Super League.

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On 28/07/2022 at 18:59, DaneBramage said:

@HanysRuch Chorzow aren't in an active league, so Gornik Zabrze will have to be my main rivals.

Actually the biggest rivals would be Legia Warsaw. The region of Silesia developed some sense of its own identity, language due to history that was for quite a long time not shared with Poland. There's huge anti-Warsaw sentiment when it comes to sport rivalries, there's even a common feeling that it's always great to see Legia losing to any Silesian club, even if the winning side are your rivals. Legia is the main rival to all.

Others would be Zagłębie Sosnowiec, then Polonia Bytom and Piast Gliwice (most of the city of Gliwice supports Górnik, it's changing slowly to Piast though).

Fans of both Górnik and GKS are actually friendly towards each other, despite some competitiveness between the clubs. GKS have never been even a match for Górnik, having 0 titles to compare with Górnik's 14.

 

 

 

Edited by Hanys
Typo
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GKS Katowice - February + March 2025

We've had a bit of a dodgy start to 2025, struggling along to picking up just 8 points from 8 games. It would have been even worse if Hubert Podolski hadn't almost single-handedly earned us back-to-back wins in February. 

In fairness to his strike partner Nikodem Zajac, he also played an important part in the other games we stole a point from, with the equalising goal in both. They're both in double-figures for the season now.

During March we hosted LKS Lodz twice. In the league we lost, but the silver lining was that when we faced off again a few days later we won to make it through to the cup semi-final.

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We've slipped a few places down the table, but that's not a surprise. We were clearly overperforming earlier on and we're probably heading back to a more expected level.

We have down enough to clinch a top-half finish though. There's only two games left before the league split, and we're guaranteed a place in the Championship Group.

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GKS Katowice - 2025 Youth Intake

Yeah, not an impressive group here. They lost the trial match 3-0 to our under 18s.

I left it to my AssMan to decide who to sign, and he picked up about half of them. But the terrible personalities and dodgy facilities make me doubt that any of these no-hopers will ever amount to much.

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GKS Katowice - April 2025

Having made it to the cup semi-final, we had three games scheduled in the space of seven days. I decided to rest my starting eleven in the league games to focus on the midweek cup tie.

The second-string won both of their games, while the first-choice were knocked out after a tame display.

So it didn't go the way I planned, but two league wins still has to be considered a good month. Though questions could certainly be asked about whether I know my strongest team or not.

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Legia Warszawa are out of sight at the top, and it's surely only a matter of time before they're crowned champions. But 2nd-5th is ridiculously close.

The league splits now, and we're firmly inside the top-half. The top four qualify for Europe, so we're well in contention for this.

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Edited by DaneBramage
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GKS Katowice - April + May 2025

We performed well in the Championship Group stage. I was worried that we'd struggle with games against just the top sides in the country, but we held our own nicely. Three wins and three draws was a good return, and the only loss of the stage came on the final day.

It would have been even better if we could defend until the final whistle, but we threw away four points due to stoppage-time equalisers from Legia Warszawa and Jagiellonia Bialystok.

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We exceeded all expectations in my first year in Poland, clinching European football at the first time of asking.

When we started the season so well I thought we'd generally fizzle out and drop to a more likely position, but it didn't happen. We never dropped below 4th all season.

We went into the Championship Group stage in 4th place, but jumped above Jagiellonia Bialystok into 3rd place when we beat them. When we lost on the final day I thought they'd re-take the position, but luckily they lost as well and we managed to retain the place.

In terms of European qualification 3rd or 4th place didn't matter - both go into the Conference League in the second qualifying round. But 3rd place earned us £881k prize money, over £250k more than the place below would have.

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Swiss Super League - A late season collapse (just one point from the final nine games) saw Winterthur fall into 9th place, and the relegation play-off. It wasn't all bad news though, as a 1-0 aggregate win over Grasshopper Zurich ensured they stayed in the top-flight.

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GKS Katowice - 2024/25 Season Review

Hubert Podolski had a storming debut season with 17 goals. 14 of these came in the league, and he was the Ekstraklasa's second highest scorer. He also had the best average rating in the entire division. Not bad for an 18 year old who'd never played a minute of senior football before joining us.

Spoiler

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Goalkeeper Lukasz Konefal made the Ekstraklasa team of the season, but his time with us is coming to an end. He wanted to leave even before I joined, and I wasn't able to convince him to sign a new contract. He's off to Portugal on a free.

Spoiler

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