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Sumqayit: Second Edition


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NOVEMBER '23

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Forgot to do the November update. 

We still in good form, unbeaten still in the league. Not many goals this month, all from Garmash, he must of heard he's being replaced. A fantastic win over Qarabag ends the month to give us a healthy lead. 

No league table as I'm midway through December. 

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DECEMBER '23

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Another decent month, we kicked thing off with a 2-0 win over Turan in the league. We rotated against Kesla-2 but that didn't alter the result we expected in the Kuboku. A few days later we drew against bottom side Qabala, a kick in the teeth in two ways; the result and that former player Dongou scored the equaliser. 

We found things tougher in the quarter final of the Kuboku against Zira, a late goal in the home leg gave us a slight advantage for the return leg. We then struggled away from home, falling behind. We equalised in the 88th minute before Zira scored a winner, thankfully the away goal took us through to the semi-final once more. 

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Still top, still unbeaten and eight points clear of Qarabag in 2nd place. Neftci having another poor season down in 6th. 

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JANUARY TRANSFERS

A couple of outgoings and a throuple of incomings.

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Our Turkmen left back Jamaldin has left, well, not by my choice, his contact was due for renewal but Belarussian side Dinamo Minsk's offer of £70k plus bonuses was enough to sway the board to intervene, he joins them for less than what he was on here. I then decided to cash in on bench warmer Ibrahim Mustapha, the forward has made most of his appearances this season from the bench and only scored three goals, £180k from Serbian side Indija was a no-brainer. 

Those exits freed up two foreign player spots. 

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Three players join. The aforementioned Brandao on a free transfer after his release from Ludogorets. I then signed a replacement at left back, Turan Tuzlacik joins from Go Ahead Eagles where he was on an amateur contract with the Dutch side. Not an upgrade of sorts but he was the best available at the time and the least cost on the wage budget. I then made a huge upgrade to the side, Alexandr Selikhov was released by Russian side Spartak Moscow. The 29 year old GK is in his prime and dramatically improves us in goal. 

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FEBRUARY '24

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Just two games this month, no defeats but with four points dropped they feel like them. 

Against Kesla we suffered our first red card of the season as German centre back Groiss was sent off in the first half, debutant Brandao struck a late equaliser. We struggled against Sabah for an away draw to complete the month. 

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Still unbeaten but the lead is down to four points as Qarabag beat Qabala and Neftci this month. 

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STOLEN STAFF 

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I saw the news that Milevskyi was wanted by Kapaz but didn't see it go through. He joined as 2nd team manager in March '23 and left in December '23. 

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MARCH '24

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Three more wins this month and a draw against Qarabag. Junior Brandao has been very good this month too, scoring five goals in the four games. 

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Six points clear still with eight games remaining. 

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APRIL '24

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On paper this looks a really poor month, no wins in the league and just one win overall in the Kuboku. Zira are 3rd, no qualms there but to only draw against Kesla and Sabah is pretty poor. We finally lose our unbeaten status to Neftci, Groiss was sent off for a second time this season and it finally cost us having drawn the other game where he was dismissed. 

Junior Brandao is now the seasons top scorer after a few months of being here, his four goals against Kapaz sends us into another Kuboku final where we will face Qarabag.  

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We're still holding out a five point lead over Qarabag as they fail to take their chances to close the gap, losing to Qabala (thank you agent Dongou) and Zira who close the gap on them to 2 points. We play Qarabag next, so this is a crucial six-pointer in the race for the title. 

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MAY '24

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A much better month which kicked off against Qarabag, we were behind but Brandao bagged another to keep things as they were. A win-is-a-win attitude for the win against Turan, Garmash netting from midfield was a surprise but a welcomed one at that. Away to bottom side Qabala in the penultimate game of the season and Brandao bagged another couple, sealing a 3-1 win and...

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The title secured with a game to spare. 

We faced Zira in the last game of the season with nothing riding on it. Another brace from Brandao taking his half-season tally to 16 goals in 16 games. Qarabag slipped up, losing to Sabah. 

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We win the league by eight points to Qarabag. Zira third and Sabah fourth completes the European qualification places. Neftci rally to finish 5th ahead of Kesla whilst Qabala who were bottom pretty much all season beat Turan in the last game of the season to confirm another season in the top tier. 

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MAY '24

Just one game in May and an important one at that, the Kuboku final against Qarabag. 

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Wow, Brandao. 

Four goals in the game to seal our first Kuboku and the...

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Trophy Cabinet

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END OF 2023/24 SEASON REVIEW

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We've passed all three metrics nice and easily. 

Conference League

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We won our first ever European tie against Armenian side Ararat and advanced to the 3rd Qualifying Round where Polish side Gornik were too strong for us. 

Premyer Liqasi

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A comfortable league title in the end with just one loss but probably a few too many draws for my liking. 47 goals scored was only enough for second in the charts but only 15 conceded is a great number which can be improved upon. 

Azerbaycan Kuboku

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Not a straight forward route to the final as we only got through on away goals against Zira but a first title in the Kuboku is special. To hammer Qarabag in the fashion we did could be seen as a real statement of intent. 

Transfers

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We made some good money this season, the Mustapha deal was something we need to continue to make, he was brought in on a free transfer and we made £180k. The Pungarsek signing could be seen as a failure, he injured his knee and had been out all season. Groiss did well mainly in defence but also contributed in midfield when needed. Suleymanli was a necessary transfer as we need that U21 player for the first team. Brandao was excellent since joining in January, more about him in a bit. Tuzlacik was OK, was never going to be on the same level as his predecessor at left back, he will probably get replaced. Selikhov also did well since coming in, 12 clean sheets in 17 games in goal. 

Squad

The change up front in January was what made this season, Junior Brandao taking over from Garmash up front all but sealed both the Liqasi and Kuboku double for us. He ended the season having scored 20 goals in 17 games with 12 coming in the league and the other eight in the cup, four of those in the final alone. Special mentions have to go to Garmash who has played his last game for us, he managed to end the season with 12 goals including a few from midfield as he dropped back to fill in there and to Ahmadov who contributed another double figure season in assists. 

Finances

The board made cash injections into the club on around five occasions this season ranging between £150k and £200k, whilst they all weren't necessary they were well received. We netted just under £650k from European prize money and also got £230k for winning the league. Player wages are just under £1m for the season whilst we also have paid out £1.5m for the new stadium but most of that was through grants and a loan of which we are only paying £12k per month off of. 

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We have Champions League football to begin with next season and even then I believe we would drop down into either the Europa League or Conference League depending on where we exit the competition. The board have given us £100k to spend on new players and improved the wage budget to £40k pw from the £29k pw we currently are budgeted for. 

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RANKINGS - JUNE '24

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A small move up the list is a step in the right direction. 

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We move up 113 places as a result of our solitary win in four qualifying games. 

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Originally it was 3 teams in the Second Qualifying Round, so we're on the way to getting back to where we were as a league. 

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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DRAW - JUNE '24

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We enter the Champions League for the first time in the new season and we will have a shortish trip to Moldova to play Sheriff Tiraspol. 

The game will be played at the Azersun Arena which is home to Qarabag. 

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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 1st QUALIFYING ROUND - JULY '24

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Sheriff was a tough draw but I felt before the 1st Leg that we could have got something at home but it wasn't to be. Having been beaten so comfortably at home I thought it would be worse away but we played much better and should probably scored as we had an xG over 1 for the match compared to Sheriff 0.85xG. 

Financially we receive £120k from gate receipts whilst we also get £85k for participating. We also drop down in the Conference League; 

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We will be playing Andorran side Inter Club in the 2nd Qualifying Round so we have a good chance of some progression there. 

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UEFA CONFERENCE LEAGUE 2nd QUALIFYING ROUND 

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Glorified friendlies right?...

We get £85k for winning the tie(s) and APOEL in the next round. A tough tie, they have an ageing squad but some good players; Simone Scuffet, Omer Toprak and Joel Pohjanpalo to name a few. 

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UEFA CONFERENCE LEAGUE 3rd QUALIFYING ROUND

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Completely unexpected results. In the home leg we restricted them to just 0.13xG which is fantastic and to score four against them is brilliant, I think the fact they played three-at-the-back, our wide players were able to penetrate from wide areas. A much quieter away leg but another good result despite needing a late goal to equalise. 

Another £85k for winning the tie and another £70k for gate receipts, the finances are on the upward trajectory. 

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Montenegrin side Buducnost next, they initially entered the Champions League but lost Astana and dropped into the Europa League but again lost to Steaua Bucharest. So, they are not in great form, this could be a winnable tie. 

And if we do, it will be UEFA Conference League Group Stages :eek:

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UEFA CONFERENCE LEAGUE 4th QUALIFYING ROUND

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We've been excellent at home in the qualifying rounds, putting the game to bed in the first leg has been a god send in the past two rounds as we've also started our league campaign. This has allowed us to rotate slightly and rest for the league. Brandao scored his 7th and 8th goal in the competition in the six matches so far. 

We receive £85k for the round win and...

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£2.5m for reaching the group stages. This will go a long, long way. I hope to convince the board to upgrade the junior coaching and the training facilities. 

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Not sure what to think, Atalanta are probably group winners; Cercle Brugge probably 2nd whilst ourselves and HJK to battle for 3rd and last place. Time will tell. 

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TRANSFERS - SEPT '24

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Firstly, two players leave. Pungarsek spent 9 months injured so it seems harsh to get rid but his stock had fallen and better was available, I was surprised to get £450k and he even kicked off to say his asking price was too high when the bid had already been made and accepted. Dutch left back Tuzlacik was poor in his short time here, he was unhappy to be offered out but I needed rid of him off the wages and foreign player slot. 

A really early signing; 

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Chahine van Bohemen was set to be released by Ajax, so I made an offer and he joined as the window opened, he slots in at LB in place of his compatriot Tuzlacik. 20 years of age ticks the boxes of signing young players and signing players to sell for a profit. 

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Four more players joined through the course of July and August. 

Seydayev was released by Qarabag after scoring just nine goals in 2 seasons but he replaces Garmash in the back up role and is Azeri. Schleimer is a replacement for Pungarsek, the German midfielder can play at DM or MC and is happy as a squad player, played largely for Nurnberg II last season. Sinyan originally wanted nearly £6k p/w but after waiting a few more weeks his demands decreased, still the highest earner at the club but plays a key role in defence. The Gambian international defender is in his prime and spent his career in Norway. 

Last to join was Heron for his release clause of just £155k which is now a club record transfer. The 18 year old Brazilian looks good for a role at DM as the half back sharing with Biloshevskyi this season with the view to being first choice next season. His agent insisted on a £1.2m foreign club release clause which makes me think he's got plenty of room to grow and thinks he should and could be playing at a better level in the near future. 

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SEPTEMBER '24

Before we look at September, there were two league games in August but with all the Conference League games/posts going on I forgot to update that month. We won both games beating Sabah and Qabala. 

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A shock defeat in the 3rd league game of the season to Zira but they have had a good start to the season and were actually top of the table at the time. Things were back on track against Neftci before we surprisingly won our opening group game in the Conference League against Cercle Brugge, we got £450k for winning the game. We ended the month with two more wins in the league, firstly Kesla and then a comfortable away win over Qarabag. 

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Early days in Europe but we're 2nd and face Atalanta next. 

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We top the table despite an early defeat in the season. Qarabag are 5th and Neftci are bottom :eek: 

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OCTOBER '24

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Playing in both the league and Europe is beginning to take its toll on this squad, getting the right blend of rest and quality to win the game is tough at the moment. 

We opened the month with a fantastic result in the Conference League with an away draw in Italy at Atalanta. Two home wins in the league were next before a home game with Finnish side HJK. Another draw but another good result. We then struggled to a draw against bottom side Qabala, this is the sort of result we don't need to be producing when we're chasing for back-to-back titles. 

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We're still second in our Conference League group but its Cercle Brugge who top it. With them beating both Atalanta and HJK it shows how big of a result it was to beat them on the opening day of the group stages. 

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We're still top of the table but Zira are keeping up with us at the moment, the Qabala result letting our lead to slip to two points. Qarabag and Neftci have both recovered slightly to a more "normal" league position. 

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41 minutes ago, john1 said:

Wow, what a start in UEFA Conference League :eek: Hopefully you can hold off Atlanta for 2nd!

Thanks we're going well, too well probably. We play Atalanta next in November so we'll find out! 

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NOVEMBER '24

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A poor month in the league by our standards but again it could be attributed to the continental football, we're resting and rotating so much at the minute, there's less stability/familiarity in the line-up and its causing the team cohesion to drop. 

A fine win over HJK away in Finland saw us actually top the group until Atalanta barnstormed their way past us in a 3-0 home defeat our first loss in the group stage. 

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We drop out of the top two but we're still in with a chance of qualifying but we must beat Cercle Brugge in Belgium in the last group game. Whether that happens or not, its been a great campaign in Europe. 

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We're clinging on to top spot by the barest of margins. We play Qarabag next. 

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YOUTH INTAKE PREVIEW - DEC '24

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Will be interesting to see if this intake lives up to its preview. We haven't been able to improve either the Junior Coaching or Youth Recruitment yet. 

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DECEMBER '24 / JANUARY '25

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We eased into the month with a solid win over a resurgent Qarabag. A 3rd minute penalty was enough against Sabail in the Kuboku and three days later a 2-1 win gave us three more points over the same opposition. A crunch match in the Conference League against Cercle Brugge ended in the most likely outcome, as the Belgian side comfortably beat us to qualify for the UEC Knock-Outs. 

The games against Turan I was really disappointed with, to draw at home was such a poor result but to then not even score a single goal against them in the 2nd leg was appalling. It meant we went out of the Kuboku on away goals, not even reaching the last four of the competition. 

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A solid performance in the UEFA Conference League this season, reaching the group stage for the first time. We came within a whisker of qualifying for the knock-out stage. The prize money from the competition has set us up for a good two or three seasons with a total of just under £4m raked in. 

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We're still top at the midway point but I just don't feel like we're playing well, the goals have dried up but like I said last month the continental competition has probably been causing some interference. We now enter the mid-season break, so its time to rest up, reset and play some goal laden friendlies to get the goal flying in again. 

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FEBRUARY '25

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Just two games this month after the winter break but its two wins from two including an important one over second placed Zira. Heron netted his first goal for the club with a 2nd half penalty against Qabala. He's been away all winter break with the Brazil U20s playing in the 2025 Sub-20 Subamericano which they won. 

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The win over Zira moves us six points clear of them. Qarabag remain in 3rd a further six points behind. 

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YOUTH INTAKE REVIEW - MAR '25

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A much better looking intake from first viewing. 

  • Emil Abbasov - likely to re retrained to right wing despite his lack of speed. His vision and passing is too poor for a central midfield role.
  • Seymur Masimov - a decent enough looking centre back who could feature due to need for U21 players in the first team. 
  • Elcin Aliyev - another AMC but looks more suited for retraining at MC. 

Full Intake | Map

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MARCH '25

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A fantastic month as we win four from four including both Neftci and Qarabag, our current league winning run is nine games. 

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We're now 11 points clear of second place Zira. The fact we're no longer in Europe or in the Kuboku means we've really found our form in the league.

 

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STOLEN STAFF - APRIL '25

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After six years at the club, Head of Youth Development Hakan Sunal has left to join Sabail as manager. To be honest, I'm not too disappointed with him leaving as it gives me the opportunity to make a change there. 

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APRIL '25

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Our winning run extended to 12 games before the month ended on a sour note with a defeat to Neftci. However, by beating Zira in the game before it say us claim our second title with the second place club too many points behind us with four games remaining. 

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Table includes a win over Kesla in game 25. 

Our lead is unassailable now and we bring home our second successive title, now ahead of Qarabag who have crept up and overtaken an out of form Zira side. Neftci are also having a much better season and see themselves with a gap to 5th place. 

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MAY '25

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An unbeaten month to end the season. We started with an away win at Kesla with Brandao netting twice. We then defeated Qarabag 2-0 at home, a routine win. Two away games to end the season, a draw at Sabail and a 1-0 win over Sabah, where we also missed a penalty. 

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A comfortable league victory with a huge points margin to 2nd place. 

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END OF SEASON REVIEW - 2024/25

Just typed out a whole review of the season only to close is and its gone. I can't be bothered to do another one so a brief overview. 

Europe

We entered in the Champions League but were beaten by Sheriff Tiraspol in the 1st Qualifying Round, we dropped down in the Conference League. There we beat Inter d'Escaldes, APOEL and Buducnost to reach the group stages. We managed to beat Cercle Brugge and HJK, whilst also drawing two other games including against Atalanta, we finished 3rd in the group. 

League

A really convincing league title, 18 points clear of 2nd placed Qarabag. 

Cup

Out to 2nd tiered opposition Turan on away goals. Board not happy. 

Transfers

£300k profit from sales this season and expecting to be more this season. The board are very happy with my dealings, signing players to sell for a profit etc. 

Squad

Brandao top scored with 20 but only nine came in the league, whilst three other players hit double figures. Ahmadov made 17 assists, a new record but most came in the Conference League. 

Finances

£4.3m in prize money came in this season thanks to reaching the group stages in Europe. The board have given me £1.9m to spend and increased the wage budget to £56k p/w. 

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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 1ST QUALIFYING ROUND - JULY '25

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A much easier draw for us against KR but it was anything but easy progressing. A 3-2 home win gave us a goal advantage but KR two away goals were a concern. Away in Iceland we fell behind in the first half before new signing Bazangula notched his second of the tie and Abdullazade scored to give us the lead in the 2nd half. A late goal from KR saw a nervy ending but we went through 5-4 on aggregate. 

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Brondby next, tough challenge which I don't see us advancing from. 

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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE 2ND QUALIFYING ROUND - JULY '25

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A shock 0-0 draw away from home gave us a glimmer of hope going into the 2nd leg. We scored after just two minutes through Heron at Half Back but Brondby equalised midway through the first half. The game meandered and went through to extra time where we took the lead again through centre back Badalov. Unfortunately just after half time in extra time, Brondby were awarded a penalty which they duly scored. Hearts were broken in the 115th minute when Brondby notched what was a late winner and sent us out of the competition. 

Losing in the 2nd qualifying round put us through to the Europa League. 

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Another tough game against a solid but also ageing team. 

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POACHED - JULY '25

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I always see the start of players being poached as things are moving in the right direction for the youth academy. Its just a shame that it was Qarabag doing the poaching and not a team from abroad. 

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EUROPA LEAGUE 3RD QUALIFYING ROUND - AUG '25

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Completely unexpected results, playing away from home first I thought a loss was forthcoming but we had better ideas. Abdullazade scored his second goal in Europe this season before Cafarquliyev scored the 2nd from left wing. Chris Basakila Bazungula scored a crucial 3rd goal just after half time as Lech had got one back from the spot just before half time. In the return home fixture the game took time to get started and it wasn't until the 2nd half when Lech scored first but Heron scored from the spot to give us a deserved equaliser. 

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Another tough tie. If we win it, we're into the Europa League group stages, I believe if we lose, we drop down into the UEFA Conference League group stage. 

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EUROPA LEAGUE 4TH QUALIFYING ROUND - AUG '25

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Completely unexpected. We were 2-0 up inside 20 minutes in the first leg but Ludogorets reeled us back in, two away goals though. At home I expected the Bulgarian side to mount a challenge. Heron notched another penalty, his fifth goal of the season but Sotiriou netted after half an hour to make it honours even. To extra time we went and up rose youngster Huseyn Bagirov to nod home from a deep freekick in the 97th minute. European Euphoria! 

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Yaren may have a point! 

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A couple of decent trips to Western-Europe and a trip over the border into Turkey. Not expecting anything here. 

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AUGUST '25

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A good start to the season in the league. A timid affair against Neftci but a sole Heron goal from the spot was enough. A comfortable win over both the promoted Kapaz and relegation candidates Qabala. 

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Qarabag have had a decent start in the league and are the only other unbeaten side. 

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TRANSFERS - SEPT '25

We made two early acquisitions that were left on last seasons transfer history.

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We struck a deal probably around March time with Karlsruher for the transfer of Azerbaijan national Huseyn Bagirov for £180k. The young defender adds some potential to the defence, adds a Azeri player to the team and most importantly an U21 for the league rules. We also did some quick scouting in Africa and found a couple of players but were only able to add Chris Basakila Bazungula, a former Brest player who was plying his trade in his home nation of DR Congo at TP Mazembe. £350k was enough to get them to sell and in he comes to replace Brandao up front. 

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We then did some business out. Biloshevskyi was out in the cold last season with Heron taking the DM spot, we got rid for a lot less than he was valued at but it saves £1.4k p/w wages and a foreign player spot. Next out was a mainstay in our team whether he played at CB, DM or CM, German national Groiss leaves to move back to his homeland for £775k, joining Heidenheim in the process. He was unhappy because I didn't play him in his favoured role. We also then let Chahine van Bohemen leave for Turkish side Alanyaspor, the LB whilst a good player on paper was the worst of the backline in terms of average rating last season, half a million pounds profit wasn't to be sniffed at. 

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Losing a left back meant we needed to sign one, we only had one other player who was capable of playing there but he was suited further up the field. Maxim Gullit was brought to my attention as we went Dutch again for the third player in a row in that position. Son of Ruud, he is capable of playing either LB or CB in equal measures which is helpful in a smaller squad. Then a transfer listed Azeri player was brought to my attention, former Peterborough player Serhat Tasdemir was available for a cut price £225k from Turkish side Alanyaspor. Whilst probably not first choice in his favoured LW position he offers a rotation option there and on the opposite wing and even up front if needed. 

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SEPTEMBER & OCTOBER '25

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A decent month which could have been so much better had we beaten Qarabag. We started the month with a bang, Bazungula netting a hattrick in a 4-1 win. We then travelled to The Netherlands to face Utrecht in the first group game of the Europa League. The game was goalless until the 90th minute when subbed in Brandao netted a penalty but we couldn't hold on for a famous win, Utrecht scoring the 93rd minute. 

A comfortable 2-0 away win against Sabail was followed by a home draw against Qarabag. That result keeping them ahead of us in the table. 

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The month started with a home game in the Europa League against Leicester, we somehow came away with a point. We then lost our first league game of the season away to Sabah. We rested and reset in the international break and were rewarded with a 3-0 win over Neftci. A trip over the border to Turkey to play Trabzonspor. The Turkish side currently 5th in the Spor Toto Super Lig put us to the sword as we suffered what was our first heavy defeat in Europe, scoring twice though was quite nice. We ended the month away to Kapaz and a single goal was all that was needed to take all three points back home. 

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Two points from three games is ok against the opposition we face in this group. I won't be disheartened if we finish bottom of the group. 

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Just a solitary point behind Qarabag now, although they're still unbeaten. Neftci struggling once more. 

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NOVEMBER & DECEMBER 2025

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Probably should have been separate posts for each month due to the amount of games but nevermind. 

The only losses this month were in Europe as a narrow defeat to Trabzonspor at home were overshadowed by two heavy defeats to Leicester and Utrecht. Whilst dissapointing to concede so many goals in each games in not unexpected at this level, did I ever expect to reach the group stages? No. Did I think I would get a point against Leicester? No. 

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Bottom of the group but proud. We'll have to go through plenty more of these sorts of groups to improve our reputation, to increase our income and grow as a group of players. 

In the league we won four of the five games we played in this two-month period. The only blotch on the record was a nil-nil draw with Zira who in their own right are having another decent season. Serhat Tasdemir has done well of late with five goals in this period with a hattrick against Qarabag to cap it off, unfortunately he's just broken his wrist and is out for up to eight weeks but most of that is during the winter break. 

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Five points clear of Qarabag whilst Zira are just another point behind. A three way battle for 4th has opened up with Neftci down in 6th at the moment. Whilst Qabala and Kapaz battle it out at the bottom with identical records at the moment. 

We've had a better time of it in the Kuboku as we've reached the semi-finals. We struggled against Baki, eventually winning on penalties before we beat Qarabag 4-2 on aggregate. We face Kesla in the next round. 

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WINTER WINDOW LIVE - JAN '26

Something a bit different for me. We'll take a look at the transfer dealings as they happen. 

January 2nd

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We've put in a contract offer for Cadao, a Brazilian centre back who was released by Chapecoense having played 54 times for them in the league. Unfortunately for us, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus have all done the same. 

January 3rd

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Before the window had even opened for us, German club Armenia Bielefeld bid £475k + 40% profit for Heron. He simply wasn't interested in joining them, a 2.Bundesliga side. 

January 4th

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The transfer window is now open...and as it happens! 

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I've spent £115k (which was his release clause) on Ilham Quliyev from Rayo Vallecano. Ilham gives me two things; he's U21 so its another option to appease the league rules and he's Azeri, another position which takes up less foreign player spots. Physically and mentally okay for this league, technically not great but we can work on a couple of things to help him. 

January 9th

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Unsurprisingly Cadao opts for Italy. Although we only offered £300 p/w less than what he has signed on at Milan for. 

January 11th

I had a look at the transfer list to see there were any potential player for a cut price. 

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In go two bids for Azeri players from Sabail, both listed for under £100k. We rely on foreign players for the DM slot, so someone homegrown for a season as a rotation option allows me to use a foreign player elsewhere for a game or two. If we sign either, we'll take a closer look. 

January 14th

A matter of days later...

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Vidadi Cafarov joins for £56k from Sabail on a 2-year deal as an emergency back up. 

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Huseyn Aliyev joins for £76k from Sabail, also on a 2-year deal as a squad player. 

Whilst both players are not great, they add depth and most important home-grown status. 

January 19th

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Brandao leaves, the now 31 year old striker joins Centro Sportivo Alagoano for £300k. The fans are unhappy, does 41 goals in 3 seasons warrant a fan favourite acclaim? Possibly but he was out of contact in June, leave for free or £300k now? 

January 31st

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We've agreed a deal to sign Dzenis Burnic on a free transfer at the end of his current contract. The Bosnian national has played in Germany his whole career and started at Dortmund before joining Heidenheim and then Holsten Kiel. The deal breaks our wage structure, signing a 3-year deal worth £4.5k pw which eclipses Tasdemir's £3.2k weekly wage. 

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DEVASTATION - FEB '26

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Even though the Azeri transfer window has closed the Brazilian one is still open. We actually had bids from a host of German clubs but I got him to stay saying I needed to replace him at the end of the season. Then in comes Brazilian Serie B side Paranaense with a bid that triggered his release clause of £1.2m. 

I offered him a new contract worth £4k p/w but he opted to sign for them and return to his homeland for a wage of just £2.8k pw. I should have completed the deal for Burnic upon completely his pre-contract deal but hindsight. 

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16 hours ago, john1 said:

Decent experience in Europa League with those big clubs :thup:

Thanks John, yeah it was an experience indeed. I'm sure there will be many more big losses along the way but onwards and upwards.

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