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Sumqayit: Second Edition


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FEBRUARY & MARCH 2026

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What a couple of months, all that green! 18 points from a possible 18 is fantastic form and has opened up a gap in the league to 2nd place. We hit some kind of consistency in scoring twice in all but one game. 

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10 points clear of 2nd placed Qarabag with seven games remaining. 

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1 hour ago, ToMexico!! said:

2025/26 YOUTH INTAKE REVIEW

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Disappointing. 

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Just one top talent in Vusal Abbasov. A really poor intake overall with poor personalities. 

Full Intake | Map

As a result of the poor intake...

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Another increase in the Junior Coaching. 

He doesn't look that bad :thup:

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APRIL & MAY 2026

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We remained unbeaten for the remainder of the season, the only blip was the home draw to Sabail. April was a great month, conceding just once whilst scoring at least twice in each game. May saw us beat Qarabag and Neftci. 

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Title secured by a margin of 19 points in the end which is huge. Qarabag finish 2nd, 11 clear of 3rd. Neftci down in 6th again. 

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We also had the Kuboku semi-finals in April and struggled to overcome Kesla but we made it to another final. We played Zira and beat them 3-1 in extra time to seal the domestic double. 

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END OF SEASON REVIEW - 2025/26

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We've really pleased the board this season apart from not winning the Super Cup, win it once it becomes a glorified friendly. 

Europe

We entered the Champions League 1st Qualifying Round and beat Iceland's KR 5-4 on aggregate but were knocked out in the next round to Danish side Brondby. We dropped down into the Europa League and we beat both Lech and Ludogorets to reach the group stages of the EL. We managed to pick up two points from our first two games against Utrecht and then Leicester before losing the remaining four games to finish bottom of the group. 

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League

We sealed a third consecutive league title by 19 points to second placed Qarabag, we beat our previous points margin by one point which was set last season. We scored a couple less goals than last season but also conceded less too with just 13 entering our net, that was six less than last season and two less than our previous best season. 

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Cup

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We made it a double as we beat Zira in extra time to take home our 2nd cup in three seasons. 

Squad Highlights

Top Scorer - Chris Basakila Bazungula - 22 goals in 47(1) games

Most Assists - Suleyman Ahmadov - 13 assists along with 12 goals in 39(3) games

Average Rating - Sheriff Sinyan - 7.46

Club & Finances

We made improvements to the training facilities again and also managed to increase the Junior Coaching funding off the back of a poor intake. 

Financially we nearly doubled our balance from last season, largely due to continental prize money which sat at £4m this season and we also got £320k for domestic prize money. We also sold a few players which saw us rake in £2.8m on five players. 

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Summary

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CLAUSE SALE - JUNE '26

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We've sold our first clause of the save for £214k as van Bohemen's club Alanyspor is about to be relegated to the second tier of Turkey. It could prompt a sale by them but it would like be for less than what I sold him for. 

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RANKINGS - JUNE '26

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We move ahead of Russia but they have no teams in European competitions. 

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We move ahead a host of French clubs including Bordeaux, Auxerre and Saint-Etienne. 

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JOB INTERVIEW - JULY '26

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This would be the logical step in the save if it was a journeyman, into Turkey with a mid-leveled club, move onto one of big four then onto Germany but this is one club save. 

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EUROPEAN QUALIFICATION - JULY/AUG '26

We started in the Champions League. 

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We faced Irish side Sligo in the 1st Qualifying Round and after a home draw, we smashed them 3-0 back in Ireland. We then faced Scottish side Rangers in the next round and it was game over after the first leg, we rescued some sort of reputation by beating them at Ibrox with a late winner. We dropped down into the Europa League.

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Danish side Midtjylland up next, a 2-1 home win gave us a slim advantage going into the away leg, the away goal rule the worry. In Denmark we played out a 0-0 draw to advance to the next round. We would face Israeli side Maccabi Tel-Aviv, we recently beat them 4-0 in a friendly so I had high hopes. A dominant away and home leg followed, 3-0 in each. 

Into the group stages again. 

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We'll travel to Germany, Hungary and Sweden. 

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TRANSFERS - SEPT '26

It felt a much quieter summer window. 

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Just one player left for money. Russian goalkeeper Selikhov went back to his homeland in a deal worth £700k. He was in the last year of his contract which I probably wouldn't have renewed. 

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With the above deal planned for July we got to work and found a new goalkeeper for just £10k. Muhammet Can Tuncer is an Azeri national who came through in Turkey, whilst not the greatest GK he freed up a foreign player spot. 

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The pre-arranged deal for Burnic to sign was finalised. We were then alerted to the cheap signing of Ablie Joof, a Gambian goalkeeper from Banjul Hawks. He instantly is worth upwards of £1m, so we can make a good profit on him in the future. I then felt we need some South American flair and scouted round a few of the likelier clubs to produce good cheap newgens and I found Kevin Lopez at Peruvian side Alianza for just £375k which was his released clause. He can play either up front or more likely on the right wing. 

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2 hours ago, Cheez3y said:

Joof looks pretty spicy.

He does, I wanted to not have a foreign keeper to ensure we could improve elsewhere but I couldn't resist. An African Newgen for just £26k = Winner 

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MID-SEASON UPDATE - DEC '26

I've decided to stop the monthly updates as they don't offer much other than results and I'm not interested enough to go deeper into stats etc. Anyway...

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14 games played and we sit top of the table with 11 wins and two draws, the solitary loss against Zira. We're six points ahead of 2nd placed Qarabag having won both games against them this season. 

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Three wins and a draw in our Europa League group saw us finish in 2nd place and advance to the 1st KO Round where we will face Lille. 

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Routine wins over MOIK and Neftci see us into another Kuboku semi-final, we face Sabah in April. 

Bazungula is the top scorer with 14 goals but also went on a 15 hour goal drought. Serhat Tasdemir has just reached double figures whilst Burnic sits on eight goals from central mid/defensive mid. 

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Financially we're very healthy, the youth facilities upgrade was completed so we could go again with that if the board allow it. We may also look at another Junior Coaching upgrade as soon as I can. 

 

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TRANSFERS - FEB '27

Not much business this window. 

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We sold Sheriff Sinyan to Brann for £550k, his contract was due to expire in June and was refusing to sign a new one. It was a no brainer to sell a 30 year old foreign player at this point in time. 

Selling a CB we replaced him in the squad with a LB in Ji Peng. The Chinese international joins on a free transfer having been released by South Korean side Pohang. This move means we can shift Gullit from LB into CB and play Peng there. 

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We've also struck a deal to sign Peruvian national Dario Schottland from Universitaro for upwards of £145k. He's primarily a DM but can play CB which gives us some versatility in that area. 

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36 minutes ago, ToMexico!! said:

TRANSFERS - FEB '27

Not much business this window. 

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We sold Sheriff Sinyan to Brann for £550k, his contract was due to expire in June and was refusing to sign a new one. It was a no brainer to sell a 30 year old foreign player at this point in time. 

Selling a CB we replaced him in the squad with a LB in Ji Peng. The Chinese international joins on a free transfer having been released by South Korean side Pohang. This move means we can shift Gullit from LB into CB and play Peng there. 

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We've also struck a deal to sign Peruvian national Dario Schottland from Universitaro for upwards of £145k. He's primarily a DM but can play CB which gives us some versatility in that area. 

Peng looks like a decent FB.

I woud imagine he got released by Ohang because of foreign rules.

He shouldn't have a Korean nationality if I remember my time playing in Asia.

Korean teams produce decent Chinese regens.

 

Schottland also look pretty good.

Fun Fact: Schottland is the German word for Scotland.

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15 minutes ago, Cheez3y said:

Peng looks like a decent FB.

I woud imagine he got released by Ohang because of foreign rules.

He shouldn't have a Korean nationality if I remember my time playing in Asia.

Korean teams produce decent Chinese regens.

 

Schottland also look pretty good.

Fun Fact: Schottland is the German word for Scotland.

I've not got the K-League as viewable but he played over 50 league games for Pohang according to his history. 

I feel Peng will be a good player for a season or two before he moves on to a bigger team. 

Yes! I did know that but didn't link the two in my mind until you said. Always find a few European names in places like Peru and Argentina. 

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EUROPA LEAGUE 1ST KO ROUND - FEB '27

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Wasn't to be in Europe as a strong Lille side dominated us in France initially before we managed to sneak a 1-1 home draw when the tie was over. 

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Some great income through prize money in the competition again. 

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TAKEOVER - MAY '27

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An internal takeover with no plans to invest. Maybe we can convince him to improve the Youth Recruitment finally. 

They also want to immediately extend my contract.

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2026/27 SEASON REVIEW

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An extremely successful season as we complete all of the boards targets. 

A quick recap of Europe, we entered the Champions League and beat Sligo Rovers before losing to Rangers, knocking us down to the Europa League. There we beat Midtjylland and Maccabi Tel-Aviv to reach the group stages. We were drawn against Ferencvaros, Malmo and Leipzig. We won three games, drew once and lost twice which saw us qualify for the 1st KO Round. We faced a strong Lille side who beat us comfortably in France but we did sneak a sneaky draw in the home leg. 

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It looks like another dominant league win but we didn't get it all our own way, with seven games remaining the gap was just three points but Qarabag had an awful May which saw them lost three from four games including a 4-0 hammering by us. 63 goals scored by us is a new record for us as a club but is still five goals behind Qarabag's 68 they scored in the first season of the save. 

We made it another league and cup double as we won the Kuboku comfortably against Zira in the final, 3-0. We beat MOIK, Neftci and Sabah on route. We also beat Zira in the Super Cup, with a heavily depleted side due to international call-ups, we won 1-0 with a goal late in the game. 

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Top Scorer was Chris Basakila Bazungula with 33 goals, Suleyman Ahmadov made 21 assists and Dzenis Burnic had the highest average rating at 7.61 for the season. Further mentions have to go to Serhat Tasdemir who scored 16 and made seven assists whilst Sebuhi Abdullazade hit double figures for both goals and assists. 

Off the pitch we made a host of improvements, the stadium was expanded by 1239 seats whilst the youth facilities were also improved and we're set to finish improving them again in September. Junior Coaching moved to Good but we couldn't get the board to improve the Youth Recruitment. The average attendance is higher than our capacity, due to playing European games elsewhere and our finances have improved once again. We made just under £7m in prize money, £2m in gate receipts, sold £1m worth of players and crept over £1m in sponsorship deals. 

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SQUAD - JUNE '27

A bit of a look at where we are currently with the squad and where we could improve. 

GK

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A difficult decision to be made this summer, I sold my first choice goal keeper last season because i) he wanted to leave and ii) he took up a foreign player spot. Plus I had already found Tuncer as his replacement who is Azeri. That allowed me to free up one of the six foreign player spots for a better player elsewhere. I then signed Ablie Joof from Gambian side Banjul Hawks for pittance, I couldn't resist. Joof is has more potential than Tuncer but would take up a foreign player spot. 

Defenders

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Current preference is Bagirov at RB, Ji Peng at LB with Badalov and Gullit at CB with Bagirov able to play CB if needed. Plus Bagirov plays every game due to him being the U21 player in the first-XI as per the league rules. Slepov has regressed but that's due to not playing as much, although he has out performed Ji Peng at LB who assisted twice on debut but nothing since. 

The Midfield-3

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Its Burnic at DM and Schleimer-Abdullazade in front of him. Beyond them there isn't much ability or potential. For me, we need to bring in home-grown potential but that is very, very hard to come by. Our intakes nor our rivals intakes are not producing the players at the moment. 

Wingers

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Its Ahmadov on the right and Tasdemir on the left and I don't see that changing next season. Lopez whilst decent hasn't done enough to warrant putting him in ahead of Ahmadov. Again no home-grown potential available here. 

Lone-Striker

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Bazangula started every single game this season and returned 33 goals which is great. He'll be the number 9 next season too unless someone comes in for him. Seydayev is an able back-up, subbing on 33 times this season. Again though we need some home-grown potential here. 

As mentioned before we have one player coming in, in August. 

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He will primarily slot in at CB but can cover at DM but will take up a foreign player spot. We're limited to nine in the squad and only six can be on the pitch at any one time. Dario will make it nine in the squad. 

We could look to sell either Slepov or Ji Peng and find an Azeri left back but that has its own risks. Slepov is a team leader and vice captain, that could upset the apple cart. Ji Peng had a poor-ish start to life in Sumqayit but I feel he should get a chance next season at LB. Do I just sell Ablie Joof instead, then I can bring in another home-grown back up keeper who will just be a bench player. That would free up the spot I need to improve elsewhere when home-gown players don't cut it. 

  1. Sell Slepov (risk unrest in the squad) and sign a home-grown back up RB/LB... or
  2. Sell Joof and sign a home-grown back up GK....to then
  3. Sign high-potential foreign midfielder (or winger) to compliment the attacking nature of the team. 
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RANKINGS - JUNE '27

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We move above the Romanian top flight. 

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We're above the likes to Aston Villa, Newcastle and Tottenham :eek:

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Azerbaijan is 25th in the coefficients. We need a good season in Europe from the other clubs or we risk dropping down again I feel. 

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EUROPEAN COMPETITION - AUG '27

We've finished our European competition qualifying for the season and here's how it went. 

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Back in July we opened the qualification up agianst Irish side Shamrock, a 2-1 home win was overshadowed by a Abdullazade hattrick in the away leg, comfortable victors. 

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We then faced Greek side PAOK in the 2nd qualifying round. A drab 0-0 home draw made me think that was the end but we had better ideas in the away leg and battered them 4-1 in Greece, into the 3rd Qualifying Round for the first time. 

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I was surpirsed to be facing an Icelandic side at this stage but Valur were no match for us, resounding winners home and away. Just the big guns left now.

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And we got Shakhtar. Hammered away from home we rotated in the home leg and got a better result. 

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Thank you very much. We drop down in the Europa League Group Stages once more. 

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Another payment. 

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We can mightily improve the facilities with this money. Not worry about academy costs and increase the wage expenditure. 

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We get a bit of a bum group though, I don't see us picking up too many points here. 

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TRANSFERS - SEPT '27

We continued to strengthen the squad this summer. Lets take a look at who left first.

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Early in the summer Huseynov wanted to leave and I duly oblieged, off he went to Turkey for way more than I expected to get for not even a squad player. 

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I took the plunge and offered Slepov out which didn't seem to bother him. Ural bit for £500k which was a fair price and off he went back to Russia. The board were unhappy he left but the rest of the team didn't kick up a fuss considering he was a team leader. 

Incoming were...

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5 players in total. We decided to raid Qarabag for two Azeri players. Albeit his first nationality is Turkish, Murat Cem Akpinar is also Azeri and helps the quota, he can play centrally at DM, CM or AM if needed, the £400k was half up front and the rest in instalments. We then went back to Qarabag for defender Omar Buludov, at 28 I wouldn't normally sign someone of his age but when theres a distinct lack of Azeri players good enough for us we needed to sign him, again a structured deal with £200k up front. 

Two freebies next, Ruslan Fischenko has been on my shortlist from the start but I couldn't warrant playing money for him. Having spent 6 seasons at Ufa and barely played I was happy to snap him up on an emergency back up contract for not a lot of weekly wage. I then opted for Fode Fofana to join the ranks, we trialled around half a dozen winger-come-strikers over the summer and some wanted huge wages. The former PSV attacker spent last season at ADO den Haag on loan where he played 32 times scoring seven goals. He's not an automatic first choice by any means due to squad rules on foreign players but he gives me the chance to rotate him in on either wing or up front if needed. 

Finally, Dario Schottland joined the club after waiting what seemed an eternity, the outlay of £145k is decent and we should make a healthy profit on him in the future. We have loaned him out to Kesla in the same division as us for the season and then we can take a view on playing him at CB next season. 

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2027/28 MID SEASON UPDATE

We've reached the end of 2027 and things are rosey domestically. In the league we're unbeaten in 14 games, drawing two of them and find ourselves seven points clear of 2nd place. 

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Bazungula the cream of the crop scoring at a goal a game rate in the league whilst Fofana is 3rd with eight goals in 6(5) games. We have three players who have made five assists in the league which a league high at this current time. 

We've beaten Qabala and Baki in the Kuboku so far, we face Sabail in the Semi-Final. 

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The youth facilities are now at an Adequate level whilst the training facilities are being upgraded again. The stadium expansion has been completed and we've already maxed its capacity out on a few occassions. 

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Still plenty in the bank for more upgrades, they should start costing into the millions soon. 

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YOUTH INTAKE REVIEW - MAR '28

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Disappointing to see this intake drops to an average intake. 

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But this is what I want to see Elite talents, its our first of the whole save. 

Ceyhun Karimov - an AMC but that doesn't matter, we can retrain him to CMa or MEZ. We need to increase that passing no matter. 

Rafael Mammadov - another AMC but has some good mentals. 

Full Intake | Map

We get our first player from abroad through an intake. 

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On 18/07/2022 at 14:26, ToMexico!! said:

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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POACHED REVIEW - APR '28

Qarayev has come through this seasons intake at Qarabag. Interesting to see he's 17 in game and not the normal poached at 15, comes through intake at 15 malarky. 

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2027/28 SEASON REVIEW

A quick recap on Europe. We entered the Champions League again and went all the way to the 4th Qualifying Round beating Shamrock, PAOK and Valur before being beaten by a strong Shakhtar side. We dropped down into the Europa League group stage where we were drawn against Sporting, Olympiakos and Dynamo Kiev. We managed a win and two draws but still ended up finishing in last place. 

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A fifth successive league title as we secured the title with just two games remaining, whilst Qarabag never threatened to steal the title back they were always just behind us. Annoyingly, we look set to go the season unbeaten but Kesla managed to end the run and sneak a win which was a cause of some concern. 74 goals scored is another new record for us, surpassing last seasons 63 comfortably. 

We beat Qabala, Baki and Sabail en route to a third consecutive Kuboku final where we would again play Zira, for the third time in a row also. Interestingly, Zira have been relegated from the top division this season. A routine 2-0 victory was enough to ensure the same outcome as the previous two finals.  

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Bazungula top scored again but with less goals this season as he struggled after the winter break, eventually ending the season with 27 goals. Fode Fofana becomes the first player in the save to also score 20+ goals but not be top scorer, he really stepped up in Bazungulas barren spell despite mainly playing from the wing. Both are currently wanted, the former by Turkish side Kasimpasa and the latter by German side Hannover. Ahmadov was closed to hitting 20 goals, finishing two shy with 18 and he also made another 18 assists. Tasdemir, Abdullazade and Burnic all hit double figures for goals also. All time records below. 

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We made improvements off the field, the stadium expansion was complete, the training and youth facilities were improved and me made coaching and youth recruitment improvements. These improvements cost money though, we spent £1.5m on ground/training improvements and our expenditure on the youth setup has crept over £1m per season. 

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We raked in over £9m in prize money this season which is fantastic and covers 75% of our current expenditure for the season. 

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RANKINGS - JUNE '28

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Up another three places, moving ahead of the Cyrpriot top tier, Slovakian top tier and German second tier. 

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We move ahead of Malmo, APOEL, Cluj, Partizan and Midtjylland. 

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TRANSFERS - SEPT '28

A child free weekend and i've been enjoying the save so much I've taken it home with me. 

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Two players out this summer as both had either underperformed or underdeveloped. Ji Peng had a released clause of £1.2m but I managed to get Stuttgart up to £1.1m with a 30% profit clause involved, I have Gullit and Cafarquliyev who can play LB. Lopez had a bright-ish start to life in Azerbaijan but never kicked on, he didn't perform when given the chance and his development stalled, we doubled our money plus have a 30% profit clause tied in too. 

Transfer Clause Spreadsheet

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We broke our transfer record for a special player this summer, right from under the noses of PSG who also wanted him. Keylor Benavides is a Costa Rican midfielder who at the age of 18 has already played 24 time for his country. He was actually still on a youth contract at his former club Saprissa so I opted to offer him a professional deal, £1.4m up front and £30k per game for the next 40 was the deal. He will go into the DM role and Burnic will move forward to CM. 

I needed another U21 player as per the league rules, so I went back to Qarabag and took Murad Abbasov from them for £275k. A decent player for the domestic competitions, maybe out of his depth in Europe but he will do a job for us for two seasons. Last to join was Pedro Santos from Feirense for just £325k. The former Benfica man can play at CM or all across the attacking midfield area, preferably at RW. 

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EUROPE - SEPT '28

Into the Champions League once again, starting the in the 1st Qualifying Round.

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Larne first and the Northern Irish side caused some concern in the home leg as we only managed a 2-2 draw, the away leg was much similar, thankfully we didn't concede and came away with a 1-0 win.

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Much more routine against Hungarian side Fehevar, Bazangula with a double to all but seal the tie. A 1-1 home draw was disappointing but fine with me. 

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Rangers were a step too far for us as we succumbed to back-to-back 3-2 losses, scoring four goals over the two legs shows we can mix it with the bigger sides, we're just not fully there yet. We drop down into the Europa Leauge.

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Irish side Waterford came to Azerbaijan and probably regretted it, we demolished them 6-0 before travelling to Ireland and putting another three past them. As comfortable as you would like. 

Into the group stages and we've been drawn against Sparta Prague, Villarreal and Dynamo Kyiv. 

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MID-SEASON REVIEW - DEC '28

Brilliant so far. 

In Europe, we have done far, far better than I expected. 

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Three wins and two draws in the group saw us finish in 1st place. We started brilliantly against Sparta Prague dominating them 3-0 before we fell to narrow loss in a humdinger against Villarreal. Bazungula's double got a credible draw away in Kyiv before we dominated them in the reverse fixture at home. A shock 2-1 home win over Villarreal followed before we ended the group with a 2-2 away draw against Sparta Prague. 

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We've next enter the competition in the 2nd Knockout round in March. 

In the league we're unbeaten and clear of 2nd place by six points. At the mid-way point we also scored 39 goals which is great after 14 games. 

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In the Kuboku, we've beaten both Xazar Baki and Kesla to reach the semi-finals again where we will play Baki. 

Somehow the top scorer is Dzenis Burnic with 22 goals in 26(6) games from CMa. Bazungula is next top scorer with 21 in 31 and Pedro Santos has 16 goals. Santos also has the most assists with 13, Ahmadov has 10. I've given new deals to a host of players; Burnic, Ahmadov, Gullit, Joof and Schottland. 

No further improvements to the infrastructure. 

 

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15 hours ago, ToMexico!! said:

YOUTH INTAKE PREVIEW - DEC '28

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Jeez, shambles despite the investement we've put into the coaching. 

YOUTH INTAKE REVIEW - MAR '29

The worst intake since the save started, not sure what to do? i) invest more or ii) change HoYD. 

Didn't even bother with screenshots. 

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