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[FM24] Grandmaster's Gambit - A Journeyman Save


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After lurking for a while and reading through many of the fantastic journeys on this forum, I've decided to get involved with a story of my own.

So without further ado... let's meet the key characters and set the stage.

Who's the Gaffer?


Meet Marco 'Marc' Jensen, a Swedish chess grandmaster turned football strategist. Marc gained acclaim not just for his competitive achievements in chess but also for his weekly column in a local sports magazine. His writings, which ingeniously tied the strategies of chess to football tactics, caught the interest of a team in the fourth division of Swedish football looking for a novel approach to climb the ranks.

The Setup


I've loaded all divisions from the Scandinavian leagues as well as the top divisions from a variety of leagues in Europe that could be interesting options. I've also added all players of note from each continent to really make my computer sad.

As for the rules, Marc starts with no coaching qualifications and Sunday League experience but he is a Tactician, for whatever that's worth. We will holiday forward to November 6th and take over one of the teams in the fourth division of Sweden with a vacancy. From there, it'll be job applications and interviews for future moves. No in-game editor allowed and no player search screen allowed either — we will be relying on our recruitment team to provide player recommendations for transfers and loans.

Next Up

Introducing our first club and preparing for our first season as a manager. Stay tuned, and let's see if we can turn this chess wizard into a world footballing legend!


Managerial History



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IFK Berga

A Fresh Challenge

Idrottsföreningen Kamraterna Berga is a semi-professional club founded in 1933 in the Berga district of Kalmar, Sweden. Over the years, IFK Berga has provided various sports activities, including football, table tennis, and athletics – nowadays, however, only football matters.

After a disappointing season that saw the preseason playoff favorites finish in the bottom half of the table, the club decided to part ways with previous manager Markus Thorbjörnsson and take a bold new approach. The board, dissatisfied with mediocrity and wanting to make a splash has taken a risk and appointed a man known not for his exploits on the football pitch but for his work in chess.

The Goal


The board has set the bar: playoffs. Nothing less will suffice for a club hungry for success. The supporters, with dreams of glory in their eyes, echo this sentiment. Marc will have to hit the ground running if he's to make the successful transition from chess prodigy to football manager.

The Current State of Play


Marc joins the club on November 6th, 2023 after a disappointing Second Division campaign that saw IFK Berga finish 8th in the South Götaland division. He joins just as the team takes off for their winter breaks, giving him plenty of time to get accustomed to his new surroundings, assess the squad, and begin implementing his philosophy. There's work to be done before the preseason begins in February, and Marc’s mind is already racing with formations, plays, and tactical innovations.

Facilities: Overall, the facilities are quite good for the level, near the top of the division across the board despite being relatively pedestrian on the whole.

Finances: Not terrible, not ideal. No room in the wage budget and slightly in the red but projections have us slowly closing that gap over time and we're not carrying any major debt. It could be much better, but it could also be much worse.

Staff: Not great. We are well below average pretty much across the board. Given the financial situation at the club and the length of the contracts for all existing staff members, it looks like we're stuck with a poor backroom team for the time being. This is an area Marc will look to improve upon in the coming seasons.

Meet the Squad


Looking over the players at the club, a few things jump out immediately. First, the overall level of the players at the club is certainly high enough to compete for a playoff spot with most being rated good or leading players for our level by the staff (though given their competency, that may or may not mean much). Second, the team lacks depth in defense, especially on the right flank. Finally, the team is not well suited to play Marc's preferred fluid positional style.

The Tactic

Marc envisions a formidable and fluid 4-3-3 with a single pivot and wingers providing width in attack. In possession, the team aims to transition into a 3-2-5 shape with the midfielders pushing into the half spaces to occupy defenders. Defensively, the team sits in a compact back four with a defensive midfielder sitting in front to provide additional support.

The overall plan is clear: short, quick passes to control the tempo, a methodical approach to chance creation, and a deliberate emphasis on set pieces. Much like setting an opponent up in chess, Marc envisions specific combinations of passes designed to stretch defenses and create openings to progress the ball and create scoring opportunities.

Next Up

Preseason progress and the beginning of Marc's first season in charge. Can Marc mold the squad into a methodical and calculating force? We're about to find out.

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The player interactions are truly unforgiving in FM24 (I've had more near mutinies in my beta saves than I had all of last year). Certainly makes for an interesting story...

A Preseason to Remember

Marc's tactical blueprint has begun to take shape on the field, with Berga sailing through the preseason unbeaten and remarkably, without conceding a single goal. The matches, against local lower-league opposition primarily, have been the perfect proving ground for Marc's 4-3-3 system, emphasizing a controlled game and a vice-like press.


The Path to Certification

In a move that underlines his commitment to his new career, Marc has taken the first steps towards formalizing his understanding of the game by studying for the National C coaching license. The pursuit not only bolsters his credentials but deepens his tactical acumen. The board at IFK Berga have decided to sponsor Marc's certification, further investing in the nontraditional strategist.


Trials and Tribulations


In an attempt to add depth and quality to the squad, Marc and his Director of Football Peter Mattisson have seen a revolving door of trialists come through the Bergavik. Unfortunately, due to the club's financial position handshake deals remain elusive, as negotiations falter at the mention of contracts. This has led to some unrest among the existing squad members, as captain Oskar Dahlström, a six-year veteran at Berga with over 100 caps, has raised concerns over the lack of depth in the midfield as the season approaches.


The locker room's confidence is waning, and whispers of worry spread regarding the team's readiness for the season. This unsettling atmosphere has even sparked rumors questioning Marc's security at the helm. Thus far, the board has not commented on the matter, but sources suggest they're watching the situation closely to see if Marc loses the locker room for good.

Looking Ahead

The unbeaten streak in friendlies paints a picture of a team with solid foundations, yet the cracks in the armor are evident. Marc's philosophy is holding up on the field, but the off-the-field concerns about squad depth and the club's financial situation paint a different picture.

Will Marc find a way to shore up the midfield with the limited resources at his disposal? Can he satisfy the concerns of team leaders and build a squad ready to compete for promotion on a limited budget? The season looms, and with it, the true test of Marc's strategic mettle.

Media PredictionsThe media has us as third favorites to win the division behind the two relegated teams. The board and our supporters expect us to better the predictions.

Next Up

We'll check in at the halfway point of the season (unless Marc is sacked before then) as the summer transfer window opens and see how the squad and Marc are getting on.

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Looking for feedback on the pace and depth of these updates. I'm thinking I'll do 3 per season (one on the eve of the first game, one at the halfway point, and one after the season is over) unless something significant happens in Marc's career (i.e. sacking or job change).

League Standings: A Fierce Contender


IFK Berga stands proudly in second place, a mere two points shy of the table-toppers, Kristianstad FC. With a playoff spot well within grasp, Marc’s team is a force to be reckoned with, leading the league in offensive prowess while maintaining defensive solidity. 'Jensen-ball' as the media has started to refer to it, has taken the league by storm. Berga are dominating possession, creating chances, and stifling the opposition.

The data paints the picture eloquently:

  • Pitch Tilt: Matches against Berga are played primarily in the opponents' final third.
  • Jensen-Ball: Berga leads the league in shots for, pass completion and possession while allowing the fewest shots against.
  • Set Piece Focus: Marc's focus on set pieces is paying dividends as Berga leads the league in xA from dead ball situations and is among the leaders in set piece opportunities per game.

Reinforcements Arrive

Despite limited resources, Marc was able to free up some budget by releasing members of the youth squad who would likely never make the jump to the senior team. This allowed him to make two key signings from the host of trialists that came through the doors during the preseason. First, Tobias Damsgaard, a fullback who can play on either side joins and provides some much needed depth in defense for a squad that was painfully thin at the back. Finally, and most importantly, Alexander Nilsen, a Norwegian left footed midfielder who stepped into the best eleven and made an immediate impact.


These additions have not only fortified the squad's depth but also reignited the collective spirit. The locker room, once a cacophony of concerns, has now harmonized under Marc’s vision. This renewed belief is the linchpin of their recent successes.

A Tactical Setback


In a surprising twist, the team's second-in-command, Ardi Ajeti, was poached by IFK Malmö after they sacked previous manager Thierry Zahui, finding themselves in an unexpected relegation scrap. Whispers about whether Marc and IFK Berga would be able to continue their good run of form without him only intensified after the team lost their first match after Ajeti's departure.

Stars of the Season

The team's success is underpinned by standout performances, with a handful of players showing their class.

  • Alexander Nilsen: The star midfielder has produced 12 goal contributions and leads the team in assists with 8 in just 9 matches since arriving to Bergavik.
  • Jerry Schylström: The veteran striker, closing in on 75 appearances for IFK Berga, is having a great season and is enjoying his best run of form spearheading Marc's attack with 12 goals in 13 appearances.
  • Peiman Eliassi: A wide man who has spent four seasons at Bergavik didn't miss a beat in the transition to Marc's new philosophy, contributing 6 goals and 7 assists in 13 matches.
  • Pontus Fredriksson: Our defensive leader who, despite missing some time with a strained calf, has provided stability in the back line as a ball playing defender and even contributed a few set piece goals.

Looking Forward

As we pivot into the season's second half, Marc’s focus will be on maintaining momentum while keeping his players sharp and motivated. The next set of fixtures will be crucial, as every match is a move that could define the endgame. The transfer window looms, and several key players are attracting interest from teams in higher divisions. Can Marc sell them on the project and continue to build on a promising start, or will he be forced to sell and adjust on the fly? Can a promising youth intake provide additional firepower in their quest for promotion? And how will IFK Berga compensate for the loss of their talented assistant manager?

Next Up

We'll check in at the end of the first season and see if Marc and the team achieved or exceeded their goal of reaching the playoffs.


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The season concludes with Marc’s squad at the summit, crowning them champions with a commanding lead. With 59 points, they've edged out their rivals, Torns IF, by a comfortable margin. Each match was a calculated step, each player a crucial piece in Marc's grand strategy that ultimately led to checkmating the league.


Certification and Recognition


In a parallel to his team's ascent, Marc has completed his National C license, further sharpening his tactical edge. With barely a pause, he’s embarked on the journey towards the National B license, demonstrating his commitment to continuous improvement. This determination was rewarded, not just with a personal accolade – the August Head Coach of the Month award – but with a contract extension and a pay raise, solidifying his position at IFK Berga.


Youthful Prospects

The youth academy, the fertile ground for the next generation of talent, has yielded seven signees, ready to join the ranks. Among them stand Joakim Mattsson, a winger with flair, and Damian Dziura, a right-back with a relentless engine, both with the potential to be key pieces of the team's future.


Season Standouts


Reflecting on the season, the names of Alexander Nilsen, Gentrit Çitaku, and Jerry Schylström are etched in the honor roll. Their goal contributions have been pivotal, with Nilsen’s 23 contributions in 22 matches, Çitaku’s 14 in 24, and Schylström’s leading tally of 16 goals serving as the foundation of Berga's successful campaign.

A Rival's Rise

Ardi Ajeti, once Marc’s right hand, has found his own success with Malmö. Implementing the familiar 4-3-3 formation, he has led them from the shadows of relegation to the safety of mid-table. Yet, it was Marc's IFK Berga who claimed victory in their head-to-head, a game that flipped the script with a tactical masterclass in counter-attacking football.

Boardroom Battles
The political landscape of IFK Berga is rife with intrigue as the chairperson election looms. With Michael Mårtensson seeking reelection and Markus Svanberg issuing challenges, the continuity of the club's vision hangs in the balance. Despite the uncertainty around leadership, the board has bolstered the war chest. The wage budget’s exponential increase will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in recruiting reinforcements fit for the battles of the higher division.


The Future Beckons

With the taste of victory still fresh, the questions now shift to the future. Will Marc’s tactical ingenuity continue to thrive in the higher division? How will the injection of financial resources and the outcome of the boardroom elections shape the next phase of IFK Berga’s journey?

Next Up

We'll check in on the eve of Marc's first campaign in the Swedish First Division as he continues his journey with IFK Berga. We'll review the squad, the preseason, summer business, club goals, and more. Thanks for following along!

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2025 Offseason Report: Swedish First Division South

It's the 30th of March, 2025 and Marc and the IFK Berga squad have just wrapped up their second preseason and stand at the brink of a new challenge at the highest level of regional football in Sweden. The club has been here recently – in 2020 – a campaign that saw them swiftly relegated back to the Second Division after winning only 4 of the 30 games played. The board have put their faith in Marc and will hope for a much longer stay in the division this time around.

Boardroom Stability


Michael Mårtensson's re-election secures stability at the helm. With continuity assured, the focus now sharpens on the challenges of the division above.

Marc, with a hunger for knowledge reminiscent of a grandmaster's quest for wisdom, has conquered the National A License, now setting his sights on Continental honors. The board's commitment to his development is unwavering, fostering an environment of continuous learning.

Strategic Alliances

A pivotal partnership with IF Elfsborg casts a dynamic silhouette on the club's future. With Elfsborg's financial backing and the provision of loan talents, Berga fortifies its ranks, preparing for the competitive rigors ahead.


Objectives and Expectations

The board's mandate is clear: survival. The supporters crave a brand of football that is both captivating and effective. Meanwhile, the media predictions cast Berga in a battle to avoid the relegation playoff.


Brand Renewal


The promotion to higher stakes is accompanied by a fresh sponsorship and a new kit design, symbolic of a new armor for the upcoming battles.

A Fortified Front

The arrival of Mërgim Smakolli, Stefan Batan, and Kingsley Amunike to the backroom introduces a blend of experience and ambition. With new personnel in key roles, the Bergavik base strengthens considerably. There's still work to be done, but the Berga team is slowly taking shape.


Familiar Faces

The spine of the promotion-winning team remains intact, with key players recommitting their futures to the club. This move assures continuity and a foundation to build upon. Fredericksson, Nilsen, and Johansson all look to play key roles in the bid to stay up this season.

Tactical Additions


The squad swells with strategic reinforcements. Gustaf Winroth, Liam Munther, Anton Thorsson, Mustapha Abdullahi, and Sivert Øverby join the ranks, each a piece with a role to play in Marc’s grand strategy.

Elijas Ortan and Abdifatah Muse, on loan from Elfsborg, infuse youthful vigor and promise into Berga's ranks, setting the scene for an intriguing season ahead.

Opening Moves

As Berga faces the higher division's challenge, questions of adaptability, cohesion, and strategic depth linger. How will the new signings blend into Marc's vision? Can Marc's possession based strategy translate to a division where technical superiority isn't guaranteed on a game to game basis?

With a reinforced squad, a refreshed backroom team, a new strategic alliance with a former champion, and a manager whose hunger for growth knows no bounds, Berga is poised not just to survive, but to surprise.

Next Up

We'll check in on the season's progress at the halfway point as the summer transfer window opens and see if Marc's success at Berga continues. Thanks for reading!

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Is anyone else finding that their staff gets poached more frequently this year? More AI managers are being sacked and I can't seem to keep hold of my assistants!


2025 Midseason Report: Swedish First Division South

On the eve of the summer transfer window, as the squad takes its summer break, we check in with Marc and IFK Berga to find a team and manager on the ascendancy.

A Commanding Campaign


Positioned 2nd on the league table with an impressive 30 points from 14 matches, Marc has vastly outperformed the pre-season expectations of a relegation struggle, steering the team into a promotion scrap — a testament to his tactical acumen and the team's bravery.

The team, under Marc's guidance, has become a dual threat — tying for the division's most prolific attack while boasting an ironclad defense, setting a division record with seven consecutive clean sheets during the process.


The stats paint a similar picture, the team is dominant in possession and stingy when it comes to allowing chances.

  • Pitch Tilt: Marc's side are in a league of their own, dominating matches and applying constant pressure.
  • Passing: The team is prolific and precise with its passing, lulling opponents into a false sense of comfort before springing the decisive pass and carving them up.
  • Set Pieces: Berga continues to prioritize dead balls and it's paying dividends as the team creates frequent quality chances from set plays.

A Vote of Confidence


The board, impressed by Marc's leadership, has secured his vision with a new two-year contract, interweaving bonuses that incentivize the dream of promotion. Their growing faith in Marc's capabilities suggests the potential for a long and successful tenure.

Meanwhile, Marc continues his relentless pursuit for excellence, he has added a continental license to his repertoire and is already progressing onto the next.

The Coaching Carousel


In a recurring theme, the team bids farewell to Assistant Manager Mërgim Smakolli, now at the helm of Österlen FF after a brief 6-month stint at Bergavik under Marc's tutelage. This departure has become an annual rite, underscoring the demand for Berga's coaching pedigree.

Meanwhile, Ajeti's impact at IFK Malmö is tangible, his side within striking distance of a playoff push, showcasing the enduring legacy of Berga’s mentorship program.

Key Performers

The surprising charge up the league table has been led by several standout performers, their class inspiring and driving the team forward:

  • Oscar Johansson: The veteran goalkeeper has been sublime. With 8 clean sheets in 10 matches and only 6 conceded, he has been the foundation of the league leading defense.
  • Alexander Nilsen: Once again, the talisman finds himself leading the team with 9 goal contributions, while also being its most prolific scorer this campaign.
  • Adel Ziarat: One of the leaders of Berga's promotion last season has bettered his output in the higher division. He anchors the division's best defense and has chipped in 4 goals already as a key set piece threat.
  • Elijas Gunnergård Ortan: The young loanee from Elfsborg has been prolific. Chipping in 4 goals and 4 assists in his brief time at Berga.

Transfer Temptations

As the transfer window opens, several key players, Johansson and Ziarat among them. are attracting interest. As the bigger clubs circle Berga's standout talents, Marc stands before a complex endgame scenario. The challenge of retaining key players evokes the tension of protecting valuable pieces from exchange.

Looking Ahead

As we transition into the second half of the season, Marc’s focus will be on hiring a new assistant, navigating the transfer market, and maintaining morale and performance levels. Berga will no longer have the element of surprise as opponents learn to not underestimate the grandmaster's side.

The board awaits his next move, the supporters are behind him, and the players trust his vision. The stage is set for a compelling continuation of Berga's journey.

Next Up

We'll check in at the end of the season and see if Marc was able to continue the meteoric rise up the Swedish pyramid or if the clock struck midnight on the Cinderella story.

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2025 Season Report: Swedish First Division South

As the final whistle echoes across the stadium, it heralds not just the end of a season but the climax of a meticulously orchestrated campaign under Marc Jensen’s leadership.


A Climactic Finish

In a dramatic finale, Berga clinched a playoff spot on the last day, edging out Hammarby TFF by 3 points after entering the day ahead on goal difference. Ängelholms FF may have captured the league, but it was Berga’s relentless pursuit that captured the hearts.

Promotion Secured

The playoff against Skövde AIK was a strategic masterpiece, with Marc's tactical acumen shining brightly as the lower league side triumphed over their senior counterparts 3-1 over two legs and secured back-to-back promotions for Marc and his Berga side.

Managerial Acclaim


Marc’s extraordinary achievements were aptly recognized with the Manager of the Season award, a testament to his tactical ingenuity and leadership prowess. His dedication to learning bore fruit as he completed his Continental B license, further sharpening his strategic mind.

A Professional Leap

The board, buoyed by this success, committed to transitioning Berga into a professional club. This marks a new era, elevating the club’s stature and potential, much like promoting a pawn to a queen in the late stages of a game.


Youthful Promise


Despite a modest youth intake, the emergence of striker Recep Koçak signals a glimmer of future brilliance. The rest of the class leaves a lot to be desired. Marc is hopeful that another year of experience under the new Head of Youth Development will yield better results.

Defensive Dominance

The season’s linchpin was undoubtedly Johansson, whose record of clean sheets stands as a bastion of defensive mastery. Ziarat and Fredriksson, the central defensive duo, were the bulwarks, while Nilsen’s creative prowess and Success’s impactful contributions in front of goal underscored the team's balanced strength.


Arrivals and Departures

The summer window was a flurry of activity. The departure of Schylström marked the end of an era, while new arrivals like Simon Success, Emanuele Agnello, and Joëll Gill'ard brought fresh reinforcements for the promotion push.

Backroom Reinforcements

Following the departure of Smakolli to Osterlen, Marc quickly found a new talented coach to join the ranks. Sandro Nalić's arrival added valuable experience and insight to the brain trust.

Past assistants Ardi Ajeti and Mërgim Smakolli managed to guide their teams to 4th and 10th place finishes in the Second Division, securing their places in the division for the coming season and outperforming expectations.

Looking Ahead

As the season concludes, Marc Jensen stands as the architect of a remarkable journey – from the lower rungs of Swedish football to the heights of professional play. The questions now turn to the future: How will Berga fare in the professional realm? Can the new signings and youth prospects rise to the challenge? Will Marc draw the attention of a bigger club in Sweden or abroad?

Next Up

We'll check in on the eve of Berga's first campaign in the national leagues of Sweden. We'll review the squad, the preseason, summer business, club goals, and more. Thanks for following along!


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Tromsø IL

A New Chapter

It was only a matter of time before a larger club would take notice of the magic happening in Kalmar with IFK Berga. As the Scandinavian winter enveloped the region and teams across the leagues did their annual review of the recently completed campaign and look-ahead to the future, several teams in the top divisions identified the up-and-coming chess grandmaster as a potential target for their rebuilds.

In the end, it was Tromsø Idrettslag, a professional club based in Tromsø, Norway who came away with the gaffer's coveted signature after selling him on the overall project.


The Norwegian Challenge

Marc, having etched his name into the annals of Swedish football with his extraordinary success at Berga, now finds himself at Tromsø IL – a club with a storied past and ambitious future. Known as the northernmost club to have clinched a championship, having won the Norwegian cup twice in 1986 and 1996, Tromsø represents a significant step up for Marc in terms of quality, budget, and facilities.

In recent years, Tromsø have been a mainstay in the top division of Norwegian football, the Eliteserien, having played all but 3 campaigns in the division this century. Despite their success, the Gutan have never finished higher than runner-up in the competition, something the board hope Marc can better during his time at Romssa Arena. After a disappointing 2025 campaign, the board decided to part ways with caretaker manager Jørgen Vik and bring in the chess prodigy from Sweden.


Midtable Aspirations, European Dreams


While the immediate goal is a respectable midtable finish, the Tromsø board harbors ambitions of European competition within three years. This objective sets the stage for Marc to deploy his strategic prowess in a more challenging arena.

The Current State of Play


Marc joins the club on January 5th, 2026 after a disappointing and tumultuous campaign that saw Tromsø finish 13th, narrowly avoiding relegation on goal difference. He joins the team as the players enjoy their winter break, giving him time to settle into the role and prepare for the upcoming season.

Facilities: A significant upgrade from the facilities at Berga, Marc finds himself at a true professional organization for the first time in his career. Relative to the Eliteserien, the club are neither best in class nor bottom of the league, finding themselves somewhere in the middle across the board.

Finances: The club are in the black for now, but projections look ominous – showing a significant loss month over month for the coming year. In addition to significant operating expenses, the club are carrying just under £4m in debt. The wage budget and transfer budget provided to Marc are healthy, however, and the board is willing to back their new manager to improve the product on the field.

Staff: An area of the organization where Marc got to work immediately. When he arrived, there were many vacancies and within weeks, the backroom team was completely transformed into one capable of challenging the very best in the league.

Meet the Squad


Marc inherits a talented and sizeable squad, albeit one where many key players are in the latter stages of their careers. Recognizing the need for vitality and longevity, the board has provided Marc with a substantial transfer budget. This financial backing is a first for him, presenting an opportunity to infuse the team with young talents that align with his tactical philosophy. Some key additions (and departures) are needed to make sure the squad has what it needs to succeed in the Eliteserien. After a quick evaluation and sit-down with his backroom team, Marc identifies the need for a left back capable of contributing to both the attacking and defending phases of the game.

Looking Ahead

The Tromsø fans, both excited and anxious about the arrival of a promising new manager but worried about his lack of experience at the level, are eager to see if he is able to elevate the team’s performances. There's an air of excitement but also of anticipation, as the supporters and the board alike are keen to witness the translation of Marc’s success at Berga to the grander stage of the Eliteserien.

As Marc prepares for the season, the focus will be on striking the right balance in the transfer market, shaping the squad to fit his tactical mold, and laying the groundwork for a successful campaign.

Next Up

Preseason progress and the beginning of Marc's first season in charge at Romssa Arena. Will Marc's tactical approach suit the Eliteserien's playing style and hold up to the higher level of competition? Will he be able to integrate new signings into the squad and shift on some of the players who don't fit into his plans? Can he continue his meteoric rise in the footballing world? We're about to find out!

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2026 Preseason Report: Eliteserien

Preseason Dominance

Marc's introduction to the Eliteserien has been marked by a series of emphatic statements. Tromsø, under his guidance, sailed undefeated through a 12-match preseason, showcasing a tactical prowess that overwhelmed lower-league opposition. Scoring prolifically while maintaining a sturdy defense, the team displayed an early grasp of Marc's strategic philosophy. Marc and the team, understanding the importance of openings, scheduled a series of matches against local lower-league sides to build confidence and gain tactical familiarity.

Minor Setbacks

Despite the on-field success, not all developments have been favorable. A spate of minor injuries, coupled with a flu outbreak, slightly derailed the preseason schedule. The squad, while fit going into the season, is a few weeks behind schedule in their training and have yet to master Marc's tactical approach.

A Record Signing


In a bold move, Tromsø shattered their transfer record with the acquisition of Aleksander Andresen from Stabæk Fotball for £950k, potentially rising to over £1m. Andresen, versatile and dynamic, is poised to become a crucial piece on Marc's board, particularly in a left-sided wingback role. This signing represents a significant investment in the team's future and is a signal of intent.

Strategic Departures


The arrival of Andresen led to the departure of El Hadji Malick Diouf to IL Hødd. This move, fetching £650k with add-ons, reflects Marc's willingness to reshape the squad to fit his tactical vision. Similarly, the aging Matěj Hanousek’s transfer to Brno, albeit for a modest fee, was a strategic decision to free up wage budget for future maneuvers.

Media Predictions

Despite the promising preseason, media pundits have pegged Tromsø to finish 12th. This estimation, perhaps underestimating Marc's tactical acumen, sets the stage for a season where every match will be a battle to defy expectations.


Competing on Multiple Fronts

For the first time in Marc's short but impressive career, his team will be competing in multiple competitions as Tromsø compete in the Norgesmesterskapet i fotball – Norway's cup competition – one that Tromsø has won twice in its history. The board expects Marc and the team to at least reach the quarter finals, a feat that will require at least four victories to attain.

The Season Ahead

As Tromsø prepares for the opening match of the season, the atmosphere is one of cautious optimism mixed with the thrill of the unknown. Marc's initial moves on this new board have been assertive and calculated, yet the true test lies ahead in the competitive rigors of the Eliteserien. 

The questions now turn to how the team will perform under the bright lights of the top flight. Will the record signing Andresen justify his price tag? Will Marc and the team be able to handle the rigors of multiple competitions or will the fixture congestion expose depth issues within the team? How will the team adapt to the challenges of a higher level of competition? And can Marc outmaneuver his counterparts in the matches that await?

The board is set, the pieces are in motion, and Marc Jensen’s strategic journey in Norway begins. Each match is a move, each decision a tactic, in this intricate game of footballing chess at Tromsø IL.

Next Up

We'll check in at the midpoint of the season and see how Marc and the squad are getting on in the various competitions as the team approaches the summer transfer window and the final stretch of the season.

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2026 Midseason Report: Eliteserien

Current Standings

Tromsø, placed third with 29 points, is locked in a tight battle at the top. Rivals FK Bodø/Glimt and Lillestrøm SK are ahead by slender margins. The team’s resilience is evident in their 7-match unbeaten streak, a testament to their adaptability and Marc's evolving strategy.


Jensen-ball Dominance

Marc’s signature style – dubbed ‘Jensen-ball’ – is evident in Tromsø’s performance. Ranking high in possession, shot statistics, and pass completion, the team is executing Marc's vision with precision and efficacy. The team boasts the league’s strongest defense, conceding a mere 13 goals in 15 matches.

Youth Development Promise


The excitement brews as Head of Youth Development Sigbjørn Korneliussen hints at a promising crop of academy graduates. Wingbacks Tore Torkelsen and Ayden Sdregas stand out, potentially the knights of tomorrow, ready to gallop down the flanks.

Awards and Accolades


April saw a sweep of accolades, with Jensen clinching the Manager of the Month and fan-favorite Sakarias Opsahl securing the Player of the Month. This dual recognition is a nod to the successful synergy between management and players.


Financial Milestone

A third-round cup tie against Arendal fetched a record gate receipt of £110k, underscoring the growing allure of Jensen’s Tromsø.

Cup Disappointment

The journey in the cup, however, ended in a fourth-round defeat to current holders Brann, falling short of expectations set by the board and supporters and causing concern among the team.


Transfer Window Dynamics


The midseason transfer window saw a flurry of activity, marked by the painful yet lucrative transfer of star man and fan favorite Opsahl to Real Hispalis. This move, akin to sacrificing a queen for a strategic advantage, brought in a record fee of £5.5m. Marc has astutely reinvested this windfall, bringing in promising young talents Andreas Horn Molnar, Faisal Mebrahtu, Brage Kvithyld, and Tor Ivar Bugge for a total of £600k. These signings strengthen the squad, build depth in key areas, and set the team up for future success.

Navigating Challenges


July saw the team lose several key figures to significant injuries. This, along with the departure of Opsahl and the delayed start of the Norwegian transfer window, meant that Marc and the squad had to play a heavily rotated side in several league matches. The team's resilience in facing the injury crisis and Opsahl's departure showcases Marc’s ability to adapt and re-strategize, reminiscent of finding new tactics in response to an opponent's unexpected moves.

Boardroom Developments

Amidst the tactical and player movements, boardroom elections loom, potentially heralding a shift in the club’s strategic direction. The uncertainty looms over an otherwise exciting campaign.


Looking Ahead

As Tromsø IL prepares for the second half of the season, Marc faces the dual challenge of maintaining the team’s defensive strength while integrating new signings into his tactical framework. The focus will be on navigating through the league’s complexities while grooming the young talents for future battles.

How will Marc integrate the new signings into Tromsø’s existing setup? Can Tromsø maintain their defensive stronghold while ramping up their offensive prowess? How will the potential boardroom changes impact the club's future trajectory?

The board is set for an intriguing second half, with each match a critical move in Tromsø IL’s ambitious campaign. Marc Jensen, the chessmaster at the helm, must now navigate through this intricate maze of challenges to secure success in the Eliteserien.

Next Up

We'll check in on Marc and the squad after the season and see if they were able to maintain their performance and continue to push up the table to qualify for a European competition.

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Apologies in advance for the license/graphics changes in this post. I was traveling and played on my laptop so a lot of the quality of life packs weren't installed.


2026 Season Report: Eliteserien

As the season wraps up in the Norwegian Eliteserien, Tromsø IL, under the stewardship of Marc Jensen, has carved out a place in the upper echelons of the league, surpassing expectations and setting new benchmarks.


A Stellar Finish

Tromsø IL’s season culminated in a remarkable third-place finish, securing a spot in the Europa Conference League - a milestone reached four years ahead of the club's initial schedule. This achievement underlines the remarkable progress made under Marc's guidance, showcasing a team that has rapidly adapted and excelled at the top level. The media, and those in the top leagues, are starting to take note.

Final Hurdles

The final stages of the league were a testament to the team's fighting spirit. Injuries took their toll, leading to losses in two of the final three matches. This stumble, however, doesn't overshadow the team's overall performance, reminiscent of a chess game where a player dominates for the majority, only to face hurdles in the endgame.

Boardroom Stability


Atle Lange's re-election as Tromsø leader ensures continuity at the board level. His commitment to maintaining the current management approach bodes well for the club's stability and future aspirations.

Tactical Excellence

Tromsø's statistics speak volumes of their style and efficiency. Finishing top two in key metrics such as shots, possession, and passing percentage, the team has been a force to reckon with. Van der Hart's record of 14 clean sheets leading the Eliteserien is a testament to the team's defensive solidity.


Impactful Signings

New arrivals Aleksander Andresen and Faisal Mebrahtu have integrated seamlessly, contributing significantly to the team's success. Their continuous improvement is crucial for Tromsø's aspirations, akin to valuable chess pieces that grow in power as the game progresses.

Standout Performer


Yaw Paintsil, with 8 assists and 11 goals, stood out as the player of the season. His contribution has been vital in the team's offensive strategy, playing a role similar to a queen in chess, capable of decisive moves and game-changing plays.

A Bright Future


The triumph of the Under-19 team in the Norwegian U19 cup adds another layer of success to the club's season. It highlights the strength of the youth system and the potential future stars in the making.

Reflections on Berga


Meanwhile, Marc's former club Berga faced a challenging season, ultimately leading to relegation under new management. This turn of events is a stark reminder of the volatile nature of football management and the impact of leadership changes.

Looking Ahead

As Tromsø IL prepares for its European adventure, the focus will be on building upon this season's successes. Strengthening the squad to compete on multiple fronts, maintaining the high tactical standards, and nurturing the club's promising talents will be key priorities.

The board is set for another exciting season, with Tromsø IL and Marc Jensen ready to make their mark on the European stage. As in chess, the game evolves with each move, and Tromsø, under Jensen's guidance, is poised to continue its upward trajectory.

Next Up

We'll check in at the start of the next season and review the squad, expectations, and preseason. Thanks for following!


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2027 Preseason Report: Eliteserien

Preseason Perfection


The preseason unfolded smoothly, marked by an unbeaten run. This period was less about drastic changes and more focused on enhancing fitness and reinforcing the existing tactical framework. The stability in the starting eleven, a unit with zero turnover from last season, speaks volumes of the team’s cohesion and understanding of Jensen’s game plan.

Contractual Stability


Marc’s contract extension for two seasons through 2029 signifies a vote of confidence from the club. This move brings stability to the team and signals the club's commitment to Marc's project.

Youth Development Focus


The latest youth intake, while not exceptional, has prompted Marc to advocate for improved youth facilities. Investing in the future is crucial and the board has agreed to upgrade the facilities and improve the academy.

Strategic Signings

The transfer window saw some shrewd moves by Tromsø. The record signing of Thomas Liabø, a promising defensive midfielder, and the acquisition of Sean Nilsen-Modebe, a young striker, are investments in the club’s future. These players represent the future at their respective positions and will have plenty of opportunity to make an impact in the coming campaign.

Player Exits


The departures of Midtskogen, Robertsen, and Gjertsen, who struggled to make a significant impact at the club, reflects the natural evolution of a team. All three leave for a total of around £350k, with Robertsen scheduled to leave in the summer window, and make room for newly promoted youth and signings.

Season Expectations and Predictions


The board's expectation of a top-half finish and a strong cup run sets a clear objective for the season. Meanwhile, the media's prediction of a 10th-place finish and long odds for the title suggests meeting those goals might be a challenge for Marc and the squad.


Looking Ahead

As Tromsø steps into the new season, the focus will be on harnessing the team's proven strengths while integrating the new signings into the tactical framework. The challenge for Marc will be to balance immediate performance with the development of future stars.

With European competitions more than six months away, the focus is on the league and domestic cup for now. Marc and the club will want to set a strong foundation before the fixture congestion begins in the latter half of the campaign.

Marc Jensen’s journey with Tromsø IL continues to be a blend of tactical prowess, player development, and long-term planning. The new season presents an opportunity to build on past successes and further cement Tromsø's position as a formidable force in Norwegian football.


Next Up

Midseason check-in with the Gutan and Marc as we prepare for the summer window and Europa Conference League play.

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2027 Midseason Report: Eliteserien

Halfway through the season, Tromsø IL, under Marc Jensen's guidance, is making significant strides in the Eliteserien and preparing for a momentous European debut.

Consistent League Performance


Tromsø, currently occupying the fourth spot with 30 points, is firmly in the race for the top, trailing leaders Bodø/Glimt by five points. With an impressive tally of 8 wins, 6 draws, and just 1 loss in 15 matches, the team has showcased consistency and resilience.

Cup Aspirations


Marc has successfully steered Tromsø into the semi-finals of the cup, where they face Odd. The road to the final is challenging but within reach, with a potential showdown against Brann or Lillestrøm looming.

Defensive Prowess


Continuing the trend of 'Jensen-ball', Tromsø boasts a joint-best defensive record in the league and is once again leading the division in possession numbers, hallmarks of his strategic approach. This accomplishment reflects a well-structured team approach, where every player contributes to a solid defensive unit.

Derby Heartbreak

An early-season derby against Bodø/Glimt ended in a narrow 2-1 defeat, marked by a late deciding goal. This setback, while disappointing, serves as a learning experience and a measure of the team's competitive spirit.


A Loyal Servant


Captain Kent-Are Antonsen's record of most appearances for Tromsø is a testament to his loyalty and consistent performances. His leadership on and off the field has been a cornerstone of the team's success.

Milestones and Achievements


Marc's career saw two significant milestones – managing his 100th game and completing his continental A license. His commitment to continuous learning and development is a key factor in his and the team's success.

Club Records

The team set a new record for consecutive matches without a loss (15 and counting) and achieved a gate receipt record of £240k in the cup quarter-final against Rosenborg. These milestones underscore the growing stature and appeal of Tromsø IL.

Injury Setback


A major blow came with Jónatan Ingi Jónsson’s spine injury, sidelining him for the crucial European matches and the remainder of the season. His absence will be felt, but it also presents an opportunity for others to step up.

European Challenge


Tromsø faces a formidable opponent in West Ham for their first European match under Marc's leadership. These fixtures in the Europa Conference League will be a true test of the team's capabilities on a bigger stage.

Interest from Abroad


Amid interest from clubs in the Bundesliga and La Liga, Tromsø successfully extended Mebrahtu's contract, ensuring his contribution to the team continues for years to come.

Key players Brage Kvithyld and Vegard Erlien have also attracted interest from larger clubs and Marc will have his hands full trying to keep them at Romssa Arena as the transfer window opens in Norway.

Looking Ahead

As Tromsø IL prepares for the second half of the season and embarks on its European journey, the team stands at a crucial juncture. With Marc Jensen at the helm, they look to build on their domestic success and make a mark on the European stage. The coming months promise excitement, challenges, and opportunities as Tromsø continues to grow under Marc's strategic leadership.

Next Up

We'll check in at the end of the campaign and see how the boys did across all competitions.



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2027 Season Report: Eliteserien


As the curtain falls on a remarkable season, Tromsø IL, under Marc Jensen's leadership, has etched its name in the annals of Norwegian football with a series of historic achievements.

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The season's highlight was undoubtedly the thrilling cup final against Lillestrøm. Demonstrating resilience and tactical acumen, Marc's team twice came from behind to draw level despite going down to 10 men after an injury to Jónsson, ultimately triumphing 5-3 in a nerve-wracking penalty shootout. This victory marks Marc's first major trophy, a testament to his strategic growth and the team's fighting spirit. This marks the third cup victory in Tromsø's history, and first in 31 years.

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In a highly anticipated rematch with Bodø/Glimt, Tromsø emerged victorious, securing a 1-0 win in a packed Ramssa Arena. This win was more than just three points; it was a statement of intent and a showcase of Marc's tactical evolution.

A Close Second

The Eliteserien campaign saw Tromsø finish as runners-up to Bodø/Glimt, narrowly missing the chance to clinch the title on the last day. Despite this, securing a spot in next season's Champions League marks a significant achievement and highlights the team's consistent excellence.image.png.d9ca7b49d6e2e1d94bfe800a8c73521b.png

Managerial Accolade


Marc's exceptional leadership was recognized as he was named the Eliteserien Manager of the Season, a well-deserved accolade reflecting his impact on the team and the league.

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Tromsø's journey in the Europa Conference League was nothing short of thrilling. Notable victories over West Ham, Dynamo Kyiv, Valencia, and Olympiacos showcased the team's ability to compete on the European stage, culminating in a successful qualification for the playoff phase.

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The season was not without its hurdles. The added fixtures saw major injuries befall several key players, including talisman Mebrahtu, posing significant challenges in the final months of the campaign – missing as many as seven first team players at once during key league and cup matches. However, the team's depth and resilience, as well as Marc's tactical acumen, saw them navigate these difficulties with commendable fortitude.

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Mebrahtu's recognition as the Norwegian Players' Association Young Player of the Year, despite his injury setback, speaks volumes of his talent and impact. Goalkeeper Mickey van der Hart, named the fans' player of the year, matched the Eliteserien record for clean sheets, a cornerstone of Tromsø's defensive strength.

Liseth's 15 goals and Broh's 18 goal contributions were crucial in Tromsø's successful campaign, highlighting the team's offensive capabilities under Marc's guidance.

Berga's Progressimage.thumb.png.e8932b0d8256586c7b5ef4b1745684bb.png

Meanwhile, Berga, Marc's former club, finished 6th in the Ettan Södra, meeting preseason expectations and solidifying their status in the division.

Looking Ahead

The upcoming season presents a new set of challenges for Marc and Tromsø IL. The next phase of the Europa Conference League awaits, along with the task of juggling Champions League football, defending the cup, and mounting another challenge for the league title. The journey ahead is daunting, but if the past season is any indicator, Marc and Tromsø are more than capable of rising to the occasion.

As Tromsø gears up for these challenges, the focus will be on squad management, tactical innovation, and maintaining the high standards set this season. Marc Jensen’s journey continues to be a narrative of ambition, resilience, and strategic excellence.

Next Up

We'll check in at the start of the new season and review the preseason, winter transfers, expectations, and our Europa Conference League draw.

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2028 Preseason Report: Eliteserien

As Tromsø IL steps into a new season filled with promise and challenge, the team under Marc Jensen's leadership is poised to navigate through a series of significant changes and high expectations.

Preseason Success


Despite the brevity of their preseason, Tromsø’s performance was notable. Undefeated in their seven matches against local opposition and conceding only one goal, the team showcased solid defensive cohesion and tactical discipline.

European Heartache


The team's European journey ended in a dramatic fashion against Servette. Despite showing resilience by winning the second leg, the gutan fell short in the penalty shootout. The defeat, although heartbreaking, doesn’t detract from their impressive run in the competition.

Transfer Window Dynamics


The transfer window proved to be a period of significant change. The departure of key player Tor Ivar Bugge to the Premier League for a club record fee of £7m highlights the growing stature of Tromsø’s talent. The sales of Oskar Spiten-Nysæter and Jónatan Ingi Jónsson also reflect astute business acumen, balancing player development with financial gain.

Simultaneously, Tromsø welcomed a wave of new faces, with William Nieroth Lundgren, Gal Yehezkel, Damian Gheorghe, Sindre Walle Egeli, and Stig Rolstad joining the ranks. These signings indicate a focus on youth and potential, setting the stage for a new era at the club.

Youth Integration


The graduation of promising youngsters Pedersen, Nicolaisen, and Erding from the youth ranks is a testament to Tromsø’s commitment to developing talent. These new additions hold the potential to become integral parts of the team's future in years to come.

Season Outlook


With media predictions placing Tromsø 7th, the team faces a challenge to exceed expectations. The board's ambition for a top-4 finish and a deep cup run sets a high bar, testing the squad's depth and Marc's tactical acumen.

Sponsorship and Support


The new kit sponsorship deal with Volkswagen adds a commercial boost, reflecting the club's growing appeal. Meanwhile, Marc’s increasing status as a club legend speaks volumes of his impact at Tromsø, etching his name among the managerial greats.


Looking Ahead

The remainder of the transfer window remains a period of opportunity and uncertainty. Marc and Mike Rigg’s astuteness in the market will be crucial in fortifying the squad for the season’s demands.

The team faces several pivotal challenges: bedding in new signings, adjusting to the departure of key players, defending the cup title, and vying for the league championship. Additionally, Tromsø’s debut in the Champions League presents both an opportunity and a test on Europe's grandest stage.

Marc Jensen’s journey with Tromsø IL continues to be a narrative of strategic evolution, player development, and rising ambitions. As the new season unfolds, Tromsø stands at the cusp of potentially its most successful era, with Marc at the tactical helm guiding the team through these exciting yet challenging times.

Next Up

We'll check in at the halfway point as the summer window opens and recap the beginning of the campaign.

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2028 Midseason Report: Eliteserien

Midway through the season, Tromsø IL, guided by Marc Jensen, is riding a wave of unprecedented success, while also navigating the complexities of football at the highest level.

League Dominance


Tromsø stands atop the Eliteserien, showcasing an invincible streak in the first 13 matches. With 13 wins, 1 loss, and 1 draw, they have established a commanding seven-point lead over Sarpsborg. This remarkable run includes a new club record of ten consecutive wins, solidifying their status as the team to beat.

Talent Development Recognized


The club's joint recognition with Stabæk as leading talent pipelines in the Eliteserien, with 17 academy graduates in the top flight, is a testament to the effective youth development under Marc's tenure. The board, doubling down on the commitment to youth development, has agreed to a £4m upgrade to the club's youth facilities.

Derby Triumph


The early season derby win against Bodø/Glimt was both emphatic and symbolic, further establishing Tromsø's status as a top team under Marc's leadership. Fans at the Ramssa arena were treated to a convincing 3-1 victory and it served as a clear signal of intent for things to come in 2028.

Managerial Accolades

Marc's outstanding management has been acknowledged with three consecutive manager of the month awards (March, April, and May), a reflection of his ability to extract the best from his team consistently.


Marc's journey with Tromsø reached another major landmark as he managed his 100th competitive match, marking a period of sustained success and growth.

Goalkeeping Shift


Last season’s fan favorite, Mickey van der Hart, lost his starting position to William Nieroth Lundgren during what was originally set to be a temporary shift due to injury. Lundgren’s record of consecutive clean sheets to start his career is a remarkable feat, announcing a new star talent at the Ramssa Arena.

Statistical Supremacy


Jensen-ball has been the driving force behind Tromsø’s success, as the team leads the league in almost every significant statistical category. This dominance reflects a well-oiled machine executing Marc's vision to perfection.

Standout Performers

Sean Nilsen-Modebe’s emergence as the league's leading goal scorer, Nieroth Lundgren’s goalkeeping prowess, and Horn Molnar’s playmaking skills are key highlights of the season. New signing Gal Yehezkel’s immediate impact also underscores the effectiveness of Tromsø’s recruitment strategy.


Cup Disappointment


It's not all great news, however, where a quarter-final exit from the cup against Lillestrøm, in a rematch of last year's final, put an early and disappointing end to The Gutan's cup defense. It's a stark reminder of the unpredictable nature of football and the challenges of maintaining form across all competitions.

European Review and Outlook


While Stade Rennais FC claimed the Europa Conference League title, Tromsø’s attention turns to the Champions League, with a qualifier against AS PAOK Salonika looming. This foray into one of football's most prestigious tournaments is a new frontier for Marc and the team.


Boardroom Elections

Once again, the club is set to hold elections for its next chairperson and the uncertainty that comes with a potential transition looms. Atle Lange is seeking a third term and will likely win reelection given the club's recent meteoric rise during Marc's tenure.


Transfer Developments

The departure of first team regular Mamadou Diarra to Saudi Arabia for £1,4m and the transfer of star winger Horn Molnar to top European competition represent significant challenges. Marc's ability to manage these changes and reinforce the squad will be crucial in maintaining Tromsø's momentum. Many of the club's elite talents are starting to draw consistent attention across Europe's largest leagues, and The Gutan are finding it difficult to keep the core group together.


Looking Ahead

The second half of the season presents multiple challenges and opportunities. Can Tromsø maintain their league dominance? How will they navigate the rigors of Champions League qualifiers? And can Marc successfully fend off interest in key players while possibly reinforcing the squad?

As Tromsø IL continues its journey, the blend of strategic insight, player development, and tactical innovation under Marc Jensen will be key to sustaining their success on multiple fronts.

Next Up

We'll check in after the season and review the team's performance in the league and whether or not Marc and the boys were able to successfully mount a Champions League campaign. Thanks for following along!

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2028 Season Report: Eliteserien


 Marc's Tromsø dominated the Eliteserien, clinching their first ever title with an unprecedented 25-point margin over second-placed Molde. Their command over the league from the third week onwards and the ability to maintain the top spot throughout the season is a testament to Marc's strategic foresight and the team's consistent performance.

Unprecedented Success


Tromsø's campaign was a display of sheer dominance, clinching the league by a staggering 25-point margin over Molde. This historic achievement underlines the tactical brilliance and team cohesion fostered by Marc throughout the season.

Record-Breaking Achievements


The season was marked by numerous records: highest finish in club history, a record points tally, and Nieroth Lundgren's division and club record for clean sheets. Record-breaking player sales and spending, alongside new gate receipt highs, underscore the club's growing stature.

Awards and Accolades


Marc was rightfully acknowledged with the Manager of the Year award, while Nieroth Lundgren won the Eliteserien Player of the Year award. Nilsen-Modebe also brought home some additional silverware as he received the Norwegian Players' Association Young Player of the Year award and finished as the Eliteserien's top goal scorer. Andreas Horn Molnar's Breakthrough Player award, despite only playing half the season, highlights the successful integration of young talent into the team and the commitment to building sustainably through youth.


Standout Performances


Nieroth Lundgren's won the fan's player of the year, having taken the spot of last year's winner, Mickey van der Hart. Nilsen-Modebe led the team (and the division) in goals scored with 22 across all competitions, and Broh chipped in with a team leading 16 goal contributions. Yehezkel’s emergence as Ivar Bugge's replacement earned him his first senior international call-up and a place in the team of the season.

Financial Growth


The influx of revenue from European football, coupled with successful domestic performance and player sales, has bolstered the club's financial health. A new affiliate club from the lower tiers of Norwegian football, Fløya, was brought on to help further develop young players not quite ready to make the leap to the Eliteserien. Continuing to invest in infrastructure, the board approved further investment in training and youth facilities to sustain the growth.


European Endeavors

In the Champions League, an unfortunate red card turned the tide against SK Sturm Graz, resulting in Tromsø's relegation to the Europa Conference League. However, their campaign in the Europa Conference League is still active, with a qualification directly into the knockout stages well within reach after earning 12 points from 6 matches in the League Phase of the competition.


International Recognition

Marc's impressive achievements caught the attention of the Swedish federation, as they offered him an opportunity to manage the national team. Despite the interest from both parties, Marc ultimately chose to decline the invitation and focus on his career at Tromsø. Perhaps one day he'll have an opportunity to manage his country's national side.


Marc, having completed  all but one coaching license during his brief career, has begun studying for his Continental Pro License with the board's support.

Boardroom Changes


The election of Daniel Rimstad as the new chairperson brings a change in the boardroom dynamics, which was immediately felt with the last-minute departure of Runar Norheim, a move that caused some friction with Marc.

Youthful Reinforcements


The summer window wasn't all outbounds, however, as the Marc and Director of Football Mike Rigg saw six new faces arrive at Romssa Arena, all under the age of 19 for a total of up to £2.5m. Attackers Fabio Selmani, Cormac Walsh, and Viktor Freyr Konráðsson joined midfielders Fabio De Felice and Andreas Falch alongside central defender Dursun Akkoyun. Of the signings, only Cormac Walsh broke into the first team with regularity, becoming a key contributor in the second half of the campaign. The others will no doubt have an opportunity to do the same in the coming years.

Looking Forward

Rumors of interest from a storied French giant in Marc's services add an intriguing layer to the off-season narrative. With his recent friction with the new board and having achieved historic success with Tromsø, Marc faces a crossroads in his career. Will he seek new challenges in France, or will he continue his project at Tromsø, aiming for European glory and further domestic success?

Next Up

We'll introduce our new club perhaps? If not, it's a title defense and the continuation of the Europa League campaign for The Gutan. Stay tuned!

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AS Monaco FC

Marc Jensen, fresh from his historic triumph with Tromsø IL, embarks on a new and exciting chapter as he takes charge of AS Monaco FC, a club with a storied legacy in French and European football.

A New Era


Marc's arrival at Monaco, a club known for its illustrious past and ambitious future, marks a substantial step up in his managerial career. Joining on Christmas Eve 2028, he is seen as a beacon of hope for a team struggling to match its recent history of success.


Safety First, Glory Beckons


The board's expectations for a mid-table finish, coupled with the aim to progress in the Champions League, set a clear, albeit challenging, initial target. Additionally, the focus on youth development and nurturing talents aligns with Marc's proven strengths in these areas.

The supporters, for their part, are clear, outperform fierce rivals Marseille and Nice. Over the next five years, the aspiration to challenge PSG's dominance and establish Monaco as a leading force in French football presents an exciting, though daunting, goal.

The Current State of Play


Monaco's current 13th place in Ligue 1 Uber Eats, merely five points above relegation, presents a stark contrast to their back-to-back 2nd place finishes and a recent cup victory. Marc's immediate challenge is to steer the club away from relegation woes and stabilize their league campaign. The winter transfer window opens in just one week, leaving Marc and his team with little time to evaluate the current squad and identify tactical gaps.

Facilities: The facilities at AS Monaco are among the best in the division, and indeed among the best in the world. There are some opportunities to upgrade and modernize them, to be sure, but the current state is excellent. The Stade Louis II, built in 1985 holds nearly three times as many fans as Romssa Arena and will serve as the stage for Marc's tactical battles.

FinancesThe club are almost £12m in the red at the moment and made just under £13m in profit last season. The forecast looks grim, but success on the pitch should provide enough prize money to keep the club in the black going forward. The transfer budget is a modest £6m and there isn't much room in the wage budget to make signings so Marc and the team will need to sell in order to buy.

StaffThe staff, in large part due to Marc's success in recruitment, is the best in the division and one of the best in the world. Several key members of the Tromsø team deciding to join him on his trip to the Mediterranean coast – the continuity will go a long way towards instilling his philosophy and working methods at Monaco, with the hope of bringing similar success to that shared in Norway.

Meet the Squad


Marc inherits a squad with incredible talent and potential. The group, underperforming as they might be, has more than enough ability to surge up the table in the second half of the season. As the transfer window opens, Marc faces the task of quickly evaluating the players and implementing his possession-based, defensively sound approach. A quick evaluation reveals a lack of depth across the back line, an area Marc will look to shore up in the coming months.

Despite having a famed academy, the youth pipeline looks to have been neglected in recent years, with most of the talent in the prime or latter half of their careers and few young players showing the ability required to break into the first team. Marc will look to turn this around in the coming months and years.

Looking Ahead

Marc's move to Monaco opens a new chapter in his career, filled with opportunities and challenges. Can he quickly adapt his successful methods to the demands of Ligue 1? How will he balance the immediate needs of the first team with the long-term goals of youth development and recruitment? And can he reignite the passion and winning mentality at Monaco to meet the lofty expectations of the board and supporters?

As Marc embarks on this new venture, all eyes will be on his ability to transform Monaco's fortunes and establish them as a formidable force in French and European football.

Next Up

We'll check in at the end of the season and see if Marc was able to turn things around and set Monaco up for future success.

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2028/2029 Season Report: Ligue 1

Marc Jensen's inaugural season at AS Monaco culminates with the club securing a spot in the Europa Conference League, marking a significant turnaround from their early-season struggles.

A Resilient Finish


Joining a team languishing near the relegation zone, Marc orchestrated an impressive revival, lifting Monaco to a 7th place finish and Europa Conference League qualification. Garnering 36 points in the final 16 matches, Marc demonstrated his ability to rapidly adapt and positively influence the team's trajectory.

Dressing Room Dynamics


Despite the on-field success, Marc faced challenges within the team. A mini mutiny in the transfer window saw key players, including veterans Gendrey and Zesiger, depart for RC Lens. This period of upheaval tested Marc's managerial skills, demanding a delicate balance between authority and player management.

Strategic Acquisitions


The arrival of Óscar Jauregi on loan, alongside a host of promising youngsters, reflects Marc's focus on building a team aligned with his vision. Jauregi’s immediate impact at right back and versatility as a center back proved crucial in stabilizing the defense.

European Campaign


In the Champions League, Monaco scraped through the league phase, finishing in 20th place. The team's resilience was on full display against Chelsea in the knockout round, narrowly losing on aggregate despite being reduced to 10 men.

Cup Disappointment


The Coupe de France campaign was short-lived, ending in a 1-0 loss to RC Lens. This result, a poor showing for the reigning champions, allowed Marc and The Red and Whites to focus their energy on climbing the Ligue 1 table.

Milestone Achievement


Marc's 200th competitive game, marked by the tie against Chelsea, is a significant milestone in his managerial career, reflecting his journey across different leagues and challenges.

Notable Results


Significant results in the latter half of the season, including the 4-2 victory against Nice in the Côte d'Azur derby and draws against Lyon and PSG, were pivotal in securing European football and demonstrated the team's newfound competitiveness.

Top Performances


Folarin Balogun’s exceptional goal-scoring form, contributing 27 goals across 45 appearances, along with Bryan Gil’s impactful performances on the left wing, were crucial in Monaco's resurgence. Ben Seghir and Fofana’s consistent contributions in the midfield and on the wing further solidified their importance in Marc’s setup.

Academy Graduates

The addition of seven academy graduates from the class of 2029, including the promising Ramilamanana, to the senior setup aligns with Marc and Monaco's philosophy of youth development and long-term planning.


The Road Ahead

With his first full summer at Monaco, Marc has the opportunity to further shape the squad and backroom team to his vision. This period will be crucial in solidifying his tactical philosophy and preparing the team for the challenges of the upcoming season, including European competition.

Marc's journey at Monaco has begun with promise and potential. The next steps will be critical in establishing Monaco as a top contender in French football and on the European stage under his leadership.

Next Up

We'll take a break from the regularly scheduled posts to do a quick review of Marc's first five years in management. I'll take a look at key figures from Marc's time in management and check in on their progress, do a deep dive on Marc's tactical setup and philosophy, and take stock of how far we've come in 5 short years.

After that, it's back to our regularly scheduled programming with a preseason report from Monaco.

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Grandmaster's Gambit - A Journeyman Save: The Five-Year Recap


As we look back on the last five years, it's astonishing to see how far Marc Jensen, the chess grandmaster turned football strategist, has come. From humble beginnings in the semi-professional ranks of Sweden's fourth tier to the heights of Ligue 1 and the Champions League, Marc's rise has been meteoric and rapid.


The Berga Beginnings


Marc's inaugural stint at Berga, a semi-professional club in the fourth tier of Swedish football, marked the genesis of a remarkable story. Joining with no formal training, he steered the club to astonishing heights with back-to-back promotions on the back of his tactical acumen and shrewd recruiting and player development. For his efforts, he was rewarded with the first individual honor, the Ettan Södra Manager of the Year award in 2025.

After Marc's departure, the team played one season of professional football in the Superettan Obos before getting relegated and falling back to the Ettan Södra. They have remained a professional club and have found a stable footing in the highest regional leagues of Sweden, surviving for two consecutive seasons – they're currently just one point above the drop zone midway through the 2029 season, however, and are at risk of falling back to the fourth tier.

Where Are They Now?

Alexander Nilsen - The first signing of Marc's career joined Berga in April of 2024, immediately earning a spot in the heart of Marc's midfield and transforming the Berga side into a powerhouse in Division 2 Södra Götaland. After Marc's departure, he remained for the club's one season in the Superettan Obos before making the move back to his home country of Norway, joining IK Jungeren in the third tier of Norwegian football. He is currently a free agent and is linked to several clubs in Norway.

Oscar Johansson - The veteran goalkeeper was a key contributor in goal for Berga during its meteoric rise under Marc. The club captain and leader, who spent the final 13 years of his career at Berga, setting the club record with over 275 appearances and earned player of the year honors in the second promotion campaign. A two-time winner of Division 2 Södra Götaland Goalkeeper of the Year in 2013 and 2019, Johansson retired after the 2028 season and is currently seeking employment as a scout.

The Tromsø Transformation


Marc’s next chapter at Tromsø IL saw him turning around a team on the brink of relegation. Within three years, he transformed them into Eliteserien champions in 2028 – a first in their history – and lifted the Norwegian Cup in 2027. His back-to-back Manager of the Year awards in 2027 and 2028 were a testament to his exceptional leadership and tactical prowess.

In their first season after Marc's departure, the Gutan currently find themselves 12th in the table midway through the season, finding life without the chess prodigy difficult. New manager Toni Ordinas, formerly of Lillestrøm, is in the hot seat as the board reckons with the disappointing start to the club's first ever title defense.

Where Are They Now?

Aleksander Andresen - Marc's first signing at Tromsø for a then-record fee of just over £1m has become an icon at the club, earning 86 caps and currently serves as the team's captain. During Marc's tenure, he was a mainstay in the left wingback position and a reliable and valuable contributor to the club's success domestically and in Europe.

Tor Ivan Bugge - A diamond-in-the-rough discovery during Marc's time at Ramssa Arena, Tor flourished at right back for Jensen during his sole season at Tromsø before earning a move to Premier League side Aston Villa for a then-record fee of £7m. Despite performing fairly well when given a chance at Villa, the opportunities were few and far between and he now finds himself out on loan in Liga Portugal with Vitória S.C.

Monaco: The New Challenge


At Monaco, Marc faces his latest challenge. Despite a brief tenure so far, he has already made an impact, guiding the team from a disappointing relegation scrap to European qualification in half a season. Looking ahead, the coming seasons hold promise under his guidance, with expectations of solidifying Monaco as a top club in France and a formidable force in Europe.

Tactical Deep Dive: Jensen-Ball

Marc’s 4-3-3 setup has been a cornerstone of his success. Its flexibility allowing for a fluid attacking style, balanced by a robust defensive structure. At its core, the defensive shape remains the same, but minor tweaks allow Marc and his team to pull the necessary levers to adapt the build up play to suit a variety of game situations.

The standard version of the tactic empowers players to move freely and overload defenses with numbers by occupying the half spaces in attack while retaining defensive solidity to protect against a counter. Encouraging his central defenders to contribute to the buildup and his midfielders to occupy the half spaces, Marc's signature tactic morphs into a 2-3-5 in possession.

The defensive variant slows the game down and prioritizes compactness and solidity in shape. Defending as a back four with a pivot in front and operating as a 3-2-1-4 in possession. This shape is often used at the end of matches to preserve a lead and secure a result.

The attacking variant speeds the game up and throws players forward, choosing to leave only one defender back in possession and creating numerical advantages in the midfield and attacking third. This shape is deployed in situations where Marc and the team are chasing the game and need to throw caution to the wind in order to achieve a result.

Next Up

We'll check in on the eve of Marc's first full season in charge of Monaco and evaluate the preseason, review summer transfers, and discuss expectations.

Edited by wtd
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2029/2030 Preseason Report: Ligue 1

As AS Monaco embarks on a season filled with high expectations, Marc Jensen navigates through a period of transition and growth, setting the table for a promising campaign.

Preseason Success


Despite a truncated preseason schedule due to Europa Conference League commitments, Monaco's undefeated run against a variety of mostly French sides despite missing key players to international commitments showcases the team's depth and adaptability. This successful start sets a confident tone for the upcoming challenges.

Dominant European Start


Monaco’s European campaign has kicked off impressively, with three victories against teams from Moldova and Slovenia in the first two qualifying rounds. The 10-0 aggregate scoreline reflects the team's offensive prowess and Marc's tactical preparation for the continental stage.

Registration Challenges

The difficulty in meeting European registration requirements due to a lack of home-grown talent at the top end has been a stumbling block for Marc and the team. This issue has forced senior players to be sidelined, making it a focal point for recruitment strategy under Marc's leadership and a cause of consternation among the players.

Lifelong Learner


Marc’s completion of his final coaching qualification marks the end of his formal training. However, his commitment to continuous learning remains a key aspect of his managerial philosophy.

Major Infrastructure Investments


Significant investments by the board in youth and training facilities and youth recruitment are a welcome change for Marc after countless rejections from the Tromsø board over the years. These developments will play a crucial role in ensuring Monaco's sustained success at the highest level.

Transfer Dynamics


The departure of key veterans like Embolo, Golovin, and Litvinov to Saudi Arabia for a total of £40m provided the necessary funds for reinvestment. Marc and director of football Thiago Scuro got to work recruiting promising young talents like Ivanov, Kostka, Dică, Luna, and Chandler. This focus on youth development and long-term planning, with all of them joining the club young enough to qualify for home-grown status, will surely pay dividends in the coming seasons.

Season Expectations


With media predictions placing Monaco third, behind PSG and Marseille, the team is viewed as a strong contender in Ligue 1. The board's aspirations for Champions League qualification and deep runs in the Coupe de France and Europa Conference League set a high bar for the season.

Former Clubs' Struggles


The challenges faced by IFK Berga and Tromsø IL post-Marc Jensen highlight the impact of his managerial tenure at these clubs. Both clubs, struggling in their current campaigns, are looking for new managers after sacking their previous gaffers.

Looking Forward

The remainder of the transfer window presents an opportunity for further squad strengthening, though the budgets are stretched thin and the club will have to sell in order to buy. The challenge for Marc will be to balance the demands of multiple competitions while managing a squad that, though talented, is relatively small.

As the season progresses, Marc's strategic planning, squad management, and tactical flexibility will be key to achieving Monaco's ambitious goals. With a focus on nurturing young talent and competing at the highest level, Monaco under Marc Jensen is poised for an exciting and potentially rewarding season.

Next Up

We'll check in at the end of calendar 2029 as we approach the January transfer window and the midpoint of the campaign to see how Marc and the squad are getting on. Thanks for following along!

Edited by wtd
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