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[FM22] A career in northern Greece


GreenTriangle
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When I intended to start a new career in FM22, I didn't have a clear idea about the country and the club where I was going to play. But it happened to see a documentary about the great king (and conqueror) Alexander III of Macedonia, also called "the Great". I decided immediately : my next career will take place in Macedonia. More precisely, in the area where Alexander's kingdom was located, that is, in Greece.
Alexander was born in a fortress called Pella, the capital of the Macedonian kingdom. The city exists even now, even if not exactly in the same location. The modern city is located in a region of Greece called Central Macedonia, northwest of Thessaloniki (Salonika). There are also two other regions in Greece that are also called Macedonia : the "Western" one and the "Eastern" one. All together form a region that can be called generically "Macedonia" :

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And now, back to football, that is, back to FM. I downloaded a database that included the Greek 3rd league. I don't know how well it works, although after 5 seasons of testing it seems to be fine. I don't know if it faithfully respects the real competition system, nor if the rules regarding promotion - relegation or the number of foreign players are correct. Anyway, it's worth a try.
So I created a manager. Sunday league player, no license. Zero experience, which means I had to start with a small team. In the 3rd league, 17 manager positions were available, but only two of them were of interest, that is, they were located in the region where Alexander was born. One of the two clubs even had an interesting name : AO Megas Alexandros Trikala, which means "Alexander the Great Athletic Club". Unfortunately, although I applied, they did not reply. The second club, APO Annagenisi Plagias, not only answered me, but also hired me :

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Anagennisi Plagias is a small club. In fact, very small. The facilities are minimal: basic, basic, basic, limited :

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The stadium is reasonably large (6000 seats), but unfortunately it is only used temporarily. In fact, I admit, I thought the club was based in a fairly large city (Kilkis, approximately 25,000 inhabitants). Big mistake. The club is based in a small village, Plagia, where only about 400 people live. The team plays in Kilkis only because the stadium in Plagia is not ready yet.

Some other details :

Finances. Really limited. Which is normal, considering that Anagennisi is a semi-professional club.

Competitions
Media prediction. We are the number one candidate for relegation. It's still good, at least we're number one in something.
Rules. The group consists of 12 teams, but 5 of them will be relegated. As for promotion... the team ranked first will qualify for a playoff together with the winners of the other 6 groups. 4 of the 7 qualified will advance to the 2nd league. This is a strictly theoretical discussion because I don't think we have any chance of promotion in the first season. Our realistic objective is just to avoid relegation.
Club vision

Now, about my career rules: I talked about Alexander and Macedonia for a reason. Namely, I'll only be allowed to use players who are born in Macedonia. If a player is Greek but was not born in Macedonia, I cannot use him, so there is no point in transferring him. If he is a foreigner, even more so. However, there is an exception: players who were born in Macedonia but have two (or more) nationalities. I will be able to use, for example, an Albanian or Bulgarian player who was born in Thessaloniki.

Another detail : at the beginning of the save, I activated the "add players to playable teams" option, and that's because this career is not a challenge and, on the other hand, because I don't like playing with "grey" players.

Squad
U19 squad

We have 3 very good defensive players (including a goalkeeper). We also have 3 very good midfielders/forwards. Of course, they are "very good" for a 3rd league level mediocre team. But our best player is a "young man" who is only 43 years old. I hope he doesn't intend to get injured very often, because one of the other 6 important players I just talked about .... got seriously injured on the very first day of training (good job, man !). As for our 43-year-old young man, he is also our HOYD, i.e. one of only two people who there are for now in the club's staff.

Back to the big rule of my career. I already had a problem. Almost all  players in the first squad and the U19 squad are "born in Macedonia". Places like Plagia, Kilkis, Thessaloniki (= Salonika) are, of course, in Macedonia. As well as villages such as Vaptistis or Stavrochori. But there were two very important players (Zakos and Parpoutsis) for whom the place of birth was not specified. I was tempted to throw them out ... but I realized that a lot of players will immediately become extremely unhappy. So, I decided : these will be the only two players who will not have a "Macedonian birth certificate". And the exception will be valid for only one season.

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August and September 2021 : countless friendly matches (and some boredom)

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October 2021

Over the course of 10 weeks, we played 12 friendly matches (the results didn't really interest me) and one official match (a clear defeat in the Greek Cup). Honestly, the cup match scared me because our opponents (Veroia, a second league team) shot 27 times (!!!) on target. This while we had only one shot ...

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Oh, one more thing : the number of fans who wanted to see us live was really impressive. We played 6 games on "our" stadium. The total number of spectators in ALL the 6 matches : 124. So, we have a "huge" fanbase,... which is so huge that the club's finances are seriously affected after only a few weeks of this season.

Transfers. I brought 6 new players ... which are actually 4, because two of these new players arrived at the club before I took over the position of manager. I followed the rule, so all newcomers are born in Macedonia. By the way, following this rule is more difficult than I thought. Not because there aren't a lot of good players born in Macedonia, but because most of them don't want to come to our club. For every good player who agrees to play for us, there are 3-4 others who prefer to sign with another club... and another at least 10 who were not born in Macedonia. Three of the four newcomers are really good players. The 4th is an example of bad management. I mean, I brought in a seriously injured player (at least one year !) because instead of reading "12-13 months" I read "2-3 months". I'm a true FM expert ... :lol:

Squad

U19 squad

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The first two matches in the championship. We won (undeservedly) the first game, but we lost the second. Considering that we are still "number one" in the top of the weakest teams in the group (media prediction : 12th place of 12) , it could be said that everything is fine ... until now.

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Edited by GreenTriangle
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November 2021

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We played 4 other matches. Two wins, two defeats. Conclusions : the team has a pretty good offensive potential, but the defense (and especially the full-backs) is easy to overcome. Another problem is that we only have about 7-8 good players. The others are either too young or too weak for what we need. When we meet mediocre opponents, we can defeat them. But when the opponent is strong, we are practically surclassed. Obviously, we urgently need some new (and good !) players. Also, we need to improve our cohesion, because a rather weak quality defense (like ours) can be seriously affected when this cohesion is low.

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Did something similar with Doxa Dramas some years back, but pretty sure I had a larger pool of players, just because I went with the limits of historical Macedonia which included parts of current Bulgary and North Macedony. Good luck anyways, will be following!

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44 minutes ago, Muttley84 said:

 

Yes, I remember your career. I also know that you have had several other really interesting "regional" careers over time. Thanks !

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December 2021

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Well, the December results look really good. However, I'm not very excited because the two wins were achieved against mediocre opponents and, in addition, we were lucky: in both games we scored the first goal after only a few minutes of play. It's much easier to win when the opponent is forced to score.

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Youth intake preview. For a few seconds I was happy, seeing that we're going to have an "excellent intake". Then I remembered that an intake preview is not necessarily accurate in evaluating players. In addition, the young players belonging to this intake are compared to players from our current squads, which means that, probably, we currently have really few good players at the club.

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January 2022

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Wow ! The first game was painful because Doxa was not a very difficult opponent. Unfortunately, they scored 3 goals during the first 20 minutes ... In the second game, we were going to play against the best team in the group. I had no illusions, so I was not surprised that we lost the game. From that moment, however, the team started to play better and better and, although it met two other strong teams (Pandramaikos and Nestos), we managed to win 7 points out of 9. One of the reasons is probably the fact that, during January, we managed to significantly improve the team by transferring four more good players.

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Transfers. Four new players, two full-backs and two central midfielders.

Squad at the end of the transfer window (January 31)

U19's squad. Unfortunately, at this moment this squad is full of useless young (and less young) players.

Dynamics. Cohesion has improved, club atmosphere has improved. At this moment, we therefore have a 99.9% chance of achieving our goal, that is, of avoiding relegation. As for promotion ... no chance. Maybe next year.

Club facilities. No improvements. I tried, but the board refused any kind of investments. At least for now. Anyway, at the beginning of July we'll move back to the stadium in our "home village" (Plagia). I'll see after that if we have enough money to improve something.

Team stats. From an offensive point of view, we are a pretty good team (top 4-5). From a defensive point of view, however, we still are a rather weak team. I hope that those 4 new players transferred in January will be able to improve some of our defensive weaknesses.

Speaking of transfers... Anagennisi (name meaning "Rebirth") is a small club that doesn't really sound attractive to some players. Of the 71 "Macedonian" players evaluated between October and January, about a third would have been starters in our team... but we only managed to convince 4 to transfer to us. Some players with whom we negotiated preferred to play in the 4th league than to come to us (example). And the 4th league is inactive :lol:. In fact, probably the reputation of some clubs in the 4th league is significantly higher than ours).

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February 2022

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The team had a rather strange evolution. We played pretty well in the first and third game ... but, I don't know why, we made a lot of mistakes in the second and last. Fortunately for us, the game (FM) gave us a gift, that is, it helped us win (somewhat undeservedly) in the last game due to a goal scored in the 92th minute.

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March 2022

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It's clear. The current team is good enough to avoid relegation, but it is far from having any chance to be involved in the fight for first place. We ended the season in 6th place and, if we had been a bit more luck, we could have climbed up to 5th place. For better performances ... we need other players. It remains to be seen if I'll be able to find those players we need.

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Current squad and player stats. At the end of this season we'll have to give up one of the team's best scorers, Christos Parpoutsis, because this player was not born in Macedonia. Unfortunately, I did not find a replacement for him. We have at least 4 really good players on the list... but not a single one wants to transfer to our club. I'll probably have to bring in two or three weaker players and hope that at least one of them will be able to play well enough.

Team stats. As I hoped, as a result of bringing in some new players in the winter, our defense became safer. Unfortunately, the attack was no longer as effective as in the first half of the season.

Club vision. The board is satisfied. However, they're not so satisfied as to have any idea to offer me a new contract. I probably won't have problems with renewing the contract, but I certainly have serious problems when it comes to various investments. All requests to improve any of our facilities were rejected. Moreover, even the request to improve my coaching qualification was rejected, for financial reasons. It's not necessarily a problem, but it would have been more interesting if my CV had contained at least something like "National C License" instead of "-" (that is, "no qualifications"). On the other hand, the board is also right. For now, the club's income is microscopic. I would have needed 2-3 additional coaches (possibly some better than the current ones), but we don't have money for such a thing. Next season ... maybe.

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