Jump to content

[FM23] Catalan Spirit - UE Olot in Spain

Recommended Posts

OLOT, Spain (Aug. 1, 2022) — Catalan soccer team UE Olot were rocked this summer by head coach Manix Maniola’s failure to renew his deal after earning promotion via the playoffs. News of his replacement came even further out of left field, with a semipro Canadian manager named the club’s new manager today.

The unknown coach has been in contact with club chairman Joan Agustí about promoting the culture and language of Catalonia abroad, and the two hit it off while discussing politics and football. Rumours that the Canadian had compromising photos of Agustí at a brothel in Barcelona are completely unfounded and have been strenuously denied by the chairman.


Solidaritat Catalana

In 2017, viewers were shocked at news images of Spanish police violently repressing a so-called illegal referendum in Catalonia.

Nationalist feeling is stronger in the small towns, and nowhere more so than at UE Olot.

A vanguard of Catalan identity, the club only signs players who have come through the Catalan Countries, which also includes Andorra, the Balearic Islands, most of Valencia, a couple of villages in Murcia, and the city of Alghero in Sardinia.

I’ve used a self-made custom database to rebuild UE Olot with this transfer restriction hard-coded in. The plan is to build another Catalan giant to rank alongside FC Barcelona.



If I reach a point where I feel that I’ve taken UE Olot as far as I can, I may consider jumping ship to another club with a strong Catalan identity like FC Andorra, Girona, or even Barça themselves – with an informal policy of promoting Catalans and even making it the primary language of the dressing room.

If this garners some interest I might turn this into a challenge thread where you get points for winning competitions including the Copa Catalunya.

Link to post
Share on other sites

As I get stuck in and immerse myself in the save, you'll see a lot more information. Once I get going, the updates may be more of a roundup every few weeks or months, but for now, enjoy the extra detail (or not).

Chapter 1: That's... Olot

It was pouring as I pulled into the first day of training in Olot. I knew the volcanic Garrotxa region was the most humid in Spain, but summer was supposed to provide relief from the otherwise constant rainfall. Hopefully not an omen – or at least not a bad one.

It hadn’t always looked so gloomy. When I was announced to the press the previous day, the sun had been shining, but without a calming ocean breeze – Olot sits 40 miles from the Costa Brava – I had felt it underneath my new suit.

I had blown the last of my Euros on the new outfit, hoping to make a good first impression at my first head coaching job. The shirt was quickly soaked in sweat, though, and now the jacket was dripping from rain. As I sprinted from my rented car into the office, I realized I couldn’t afford to dryclean the damn thing until my first paycheque came through. If I made it that far, at least.

The truth is, there was no real reason for pessimism. Although slightly underqualified, my efforts to speak Catalan at the press conference hadn't gone unnoticed by senior players, including capitan Albert Blázquez. With the transfer budget having been spent by the time I arrived at the club, these were the players I was set with until at least January, and to prevent an immediate return to the fifth tier Tercera we all knew we had to put egos aside and work together.



These appear to be reasonable expectations in the first year, even if I had to do a double-take at the league finish – not top 3, but top half, which seemed to satisfy the players. The fans expect us to reach the playoffs, and we'll strive to accommodate that, but in truth promotion would be ahead of schedule.

That said, our facilities aren't holding us back. If there’s one thing in Olot that benefits from the weather, it’s the famed Royalverd playing surface at the Estadi Municipal, which hosted Barcelona in a 2022 friendly.

As part of a pre-existing affiliation, the Catalan giants are obliged to visit Estadi Municipal if we can squeeze the friendly in a gap in their preseason, which we've been able to do. The anticipated $50K windfall will be enough for a decent squad player's annual salary. Catalan solidarity FTW:



First, though, was preparation for the existing friendly schedule and an away game to Lleida in the Copa Catalunya. Not a great draw, but we’ve managed to avoid any of the big ‘B’ teams or higher division Gimnastic and Cornellà. If we can somehow stay alive in the first three rounds, we’ll have cup football in November.

As I familiarized myself with the recruitment setup, I told scout and ex-player Jordi Freixa to focus on Catalan players, if it wasn't obvious already. That didn't stop him from offering some interesting advice later on:



Let's try and keep it balanced between realistic and impossible, Jordi.

No transfers in the first window, but as we hope to add some international flavour to the squad, we’ll keep an eye on these lads including a free agent who doesn’t speak any Catalan but was born in Palma de Mallorca and qualifies for our purposes:



Catalan newgens will all have a Spanish passport, but in terms of existing players there are Frenchmen from Northern Catalonia, Catalan-speaking Andorrans, and Alguereso players from Sardinia, like Dario Del Fabro. He's likely out of our price range for now, but at 27 we might yet cross paths.

Edited by themodelcitizen
Link to post
Share on other sites

My first friendly was at home to AS Beziers from over the border in France. We started cautiously with a fluid counter attack before lone striker Ernest Forgàs rattled the post with a first half header.

In the 35th minute, though, veteran midfielder Marc Castells took my instruction to get stuck in a little too literally, and lunged through one of the Beziers players' legs like he was a traïdor. Instant red card and no complaint on our end.



The rest of the match was choppy and loaded with substitutions as we tried to get everyone some minutes.

0-0 the final, and while we would have preferred to get a goal ahead of a tricky away friendly and the Copa Catalunya, the players seemed happy enough with my post-match team talk:



Onward, then. And straight to news that 36-year old winger Jordi Xumetra wants out at the end of his contract in June:



Not a big deal. While Catalan talent will come at a premium, at his age we should really be looking for a replacement by end of season anyway. If we can magically get promoted then we might be able to convince him to stay and phase into a staff role. Anyway, he seems happy with the way I instantly capitulated to him and his “expressionless” agent.



Scratch that, maybe. Immediate interest from the Middle East.

I may be tempted to offload him sooner than June if there’s a worthy replacement available, like Barça loanee Saidou Bah - even if the little **** “believes the lack of support for the manager is fairly justified.”



Moving on.

We rang the changes for the away game against Girona B, hoping to get a winning formula ahead of the Copa Catalunya. Xumetra was benched after his little outburst, but the morale boost meant he came on looking lively. In the 71st minute, he sent a cross from the right wing for Forgàs, who forced a save out of the Girona B goalkeeper. Left winger Arnau Forés raced onto the rebound... and scored! The very first goal of my managerial career, and we're up 1-0.

Six minutes later, Forgàs raced through on a long ball from goalkeeper Arnau Fàbrega to calmly slot home and make it 2-0. We held on, and a morale-boosting away win going into the trip to Lleida.



For their part, the scouting team was getting a bit excited, giving me a report for the Barça friendly even before Lleida. The Board and fans seem slightly distracted as well:



The front line picks itself for this game, with Xumetra, Forgas and Forés all having been involved in the goals at Girona B. In midfield, Marc Castells makes his return to the starting lineup after that red card in the first friendly.

Let’s hope he learned his lesson, which of course, came with absolutely no punishment.

In the meantime, we've added a Catalan-speaking Andorran coach who should improve our training set-up:



Edited by themodelcitizen
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...