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[FM24] Minha Jornada - Beginning at Vitória de Setúbal (Tier 4 - POR)


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[FM24] Minha Jornada - Beginning at Vitória de Setúbal

The save that appealed to me this year was finding a club perhaps not so well renowned that has competed in the top tier of a nation, but has a sudden drop into the lower tiers in the more recent years.

Having a little scout around, I came across Vitória de Setúbal, based in the city of Setúbal playing at an all-seater stadium the Estadio do Bonfirm with a capacity of 15,725, it was the sort of club I could envision myself trying my best to take them all the way back to where they were only back in 2019/2020.


Halting the Slump (Top to Fourth Tier)

So basically in 3 years, they went from the top tier all the way down to the fourth tier in Portugal – a drastic drop.

The graph seems to indicate on FM they didn’t register a 2nd tier finish, so something must have prompted them to drop immediately down to the third tier, where last season they were relegated.

They appear to be considered one of the greater historic clubs in this nation behind the big 3.

With some cup victories to their cabinet and a runner-up in the top division in their history, they have in the past been a highly respected and competitive team.


In the Red

Financially at the start of the game, although they have no debts that need to be paid off, the overall bank balance is just under 2mil GBP, with an objective to work towards repairing the club’s financial damage.

So this is where I currently stand where I begin my journey. I have no idea where it will take me, as it may end up turning into a journeyman.

I have started at Sunday League Reputation with a National C License, and I will not be allowed to apply for any jobs until I am able to bring this club back into the top tier, be approached only by a club externally, or if I get sacked – then I’ll have to apply for a new job.

But I am hoping with a good squad at my disposal, we will have a strong chance of being promoted to the 3rd tier, which is what my board are looking for.


For now, I look forward to taking my seat in the dugout of this quite nice stadium if I may say, at least for an appointment of a Rookie manager’s first venture into football management….

I’ll be doing a brief summary of how each season went with some screenshots of my existing progress with my seasonal history presented in a separate post.

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Domestic Titles

Euro Titles



V. Setubal (POR)

Tier 4


Championship Playoff Winners




V. Setubal (POR)

Tier 3


Championship Group Winners




V. Setubal (POR)

Tier 2

3rd (Promoted)





V. Setubal (POR)

Tier 1

6th (UECL Qual)





V. Setubal (POR)

Tier 1

4th (Europa Qual)



POR Premier League Coach of the Year


V. Setubal (POR)

Tier 1

3rd (UCL Qual)

Allianz Cup Winners

Europa League Winners

POR Premier League Coach of the Year































Edited by g1nh0
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Season 1 Review (V. Setubal)


-League: Gain Automatic Promotion to Liga 3 (Achieved)

-Taca De Portugal Cup: Be Competitive (Achieved)


Being -2mil GBP in the red in my bank balance, there was of course no funds to invest here. But I was short of a backup DM, and was able to find someone to do a good job to cover for our first teamer. Following this acquisition, my squad was set for the year.


League, Tier 4 Portugal (Campeonato Nacional Prio)

Things actually went very smoothly this season. We were the big club in this bottom tier, and we had over the course of the year a bit more quality compared to everyone else.

Comfortably winning our division by 24 points, we then had to start again with the other top sides in other divisions competing in this fourth tier. (There are 4 leagues in total, with the top two team of each competing for 2 playoff spots in a league format that is split into two separate leagues, with all teams starting back with zero points).

This structure made me nervous, but we showed our dominance in these games and we comfortably ended up topping this table too, achieving the automatic promotion spot wanted by our board.

Coming top meant we got to play the other side that finished top in the other side league, V Guimaraes B side, branch off from another big team in Portugal.



Tier 4 - Champions Cup Final (Campeonato Nacional Prio)

V Guimaraes B 0 – 3 V. Setubal

Played at a neutral venue, we produced a really polished performance and they never had a look in, taking the game home 3-0 which meant we were considered the overall Champions of the fourth tier, with the one and only trophy available at this level in our hands.



Taça de Portugal Placard (Cup) - R4

We had a great first cup tie win vs Famalicao a team in the top tier. But for all our efforts, we then drew another top tier side in Vizela where we ended up losing this time around.

Nevertheless the players performed well in both games and did the club proud.


Next Season

With finances being a problem all year, it was only until the very end of the season once we had our revised budgets I could start to offer better wages – with a lot of my players previously not willing to discuss contracts, now were happy to meet me at the table.

I do have a number of players that probably won’t cut it at the next level. So at this moment in time, I’m renewing those who will play a part in the squad, snapping up a handful of Bosmans, which I’ll then evaluate and continue my recruitment once July hits.


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Season 2 Review (V. Setubal)


-Liga 3: Finish Mid-Table (Achieved)

-Taca De Portugal Cup: Be Competitive (Achieved)

I was happy with the recruitment in the off season. Marked as one of the top 3 favourites to make it into Liga 2, I was optimistic that providing we avoid any long-term injuries, the possibility of back to back promotions was a definite one.


Liga 3, Tier 3 Portugal - Champions



We had a fantastic year in another tier of Portugal where the rules had me scratching my head for a little while. This time around, it seems there were two league stages with two divisions in the first stage initially where  the top four sides in each division would then merge into the one (The Championship Group). The top two here would gain automatic promotion with the 3rd having a chance via the playoffs to steal an extra promotion spot.

The first stage saw us in a ding dong battle with Caldas, but we eventually pulled away from them to comfortably win our group going undefeated.

And well in the Championship group, this went much in the same manner where we again comfortably took home the Liga 3 title with us finishing 10 points above our rivals in the initial stages, Caldas.



Taça de Portugal Placard (Cup) – R4

This was similar to last year too, where we produced a giant killing knocking out Premier Division Farense in the third round, but then getting tonked away to Braga in the next.


Next Season

Finances are continuing to get worse now almost -2.7 mil in the bank balance but at least this remains net debt. Player wise I was able to renew a couple of contracts I wanted, with a few I’ve chosen not to renew.

With Liga 2 being the tier before the Premier Division it will be a tough league to get out of. So hopefully I can recruit a few key players to initially stabilize us in the division, and hopefully build on from this to try push for a promotion spot in a few years time.

However finances could impact our progress on this front, so I’ll need to try bring in as many good deals as possible, but not pass up on a player that may be pivotal in our quest.


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Season 3 Review (V. Setubal)


-Liga 2: Avoid Relegation (Achieved)

-Taca De Portugal Cup: Be Competitive (Achieved)

-Allianz Cup: Be Competitive (Achieved)


Half a dozen players came in this Summer all on free transfers. We were predicted to finish 16th from 18 teams in the division. No idea where we’ll finish,  with the second tier below the top divisions generally fiercely contested. But with what I have brought in which has improved all 3 areas of the pitch, I’m confident we can avoid a relegation scrap this year.

Liga 2, Portugal – 3rd (Promoted Playoffs)

A Tight Finish

It ended up being a very close finish on two accounts for us this year. What was a really good achievement was from gameweek2, we never dropped below 6th in the table. We hit top spot on gameweek 19, but generally we ended up competing for 2nd / 3rd spots.

2nd would have given us automatic promotion to the top tier, with 3rd the chance to play the team finishing 3rd from bottom from the Premier.

Well, two teams in our league finished on 64 points each to take the top two automatic promotion spots. We clinched 3rd spot just above Casa Pia, which led to us having a two-legged playoff game vs Pacos de Ferreira.



Playoff Final - Vitoria Setubal 7 – 2 Pacos de Ferreira (agg)

We had the away tie first where we won a closely fought game 2-3. We were actually 3-0 up but our second half performance was not good, and they kept the tie alive going into leg 2.

However at home, we grabbed the first goal and the floodlights opened – with us scoring another 3 goals all unanswered to give us a 4-0 home win and 7-2 win on aggregate.

Overall I think we deserved to go up. Going as underdogs in nearly every game whilst also topping the xG charts overall. A really pleasing effort this year and a brilliant achievement.


Allianz Cup – R2

Back into the competition it seems after now being in the top 2 tiers of Portugal. We won at home vs Arouca in the top tier in a tightly contested 1-0 game, only to lose at home against fellow division 2 side Tondela. 2-4.

Taça de Portugal Placard (Cup) – R5

This season we’ve went the furthest we have done in my reign, getting to R5 to have a tie against Benfica away.

We gave a good account of ourselves, making them work very hard for their victory. Although going a goal up, they ended up grabbing two to overturn the deficit and win 2-1.


Next Season

So 3 promotions in a row has seen us shoot up from the lowest Portuguese tier back into the big time!

Looking at our current squad though, especially being predicted to go back down again, we don’t have much quality at all to give us a chance of staying up.

I’ve had a good look through what I have player wise, and given our financial predicament I’ve let a number of players go. I’m hoping I have enough left in the wage budget to invest in 7 players that will give us a chance to avoid the drop first season. But it all depends whose going to be available on Bosmans and maybe reasonable loans, as we won’t have money to invest in any other way.

We now are just over 2mil GBP in the red in our bank balance. (No other debts remain). But an increasing attendance which is great, averaging a little under 8000 each game this year which was most of all teams in the 2nd division.




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Season 4 Review (V. Setubal)


-Liga 1: Attempt to Avoid Relegation (Achieved)

-Taca De Portugal Cup: Be Competitive (Achieved)

-Allianz Cup: Be Competitive (Achieved)


With our first season back in the top flight coming up and odds on to go down bottom of the pile, I wasn’t too sure what to expect this season. We recruited a number of players also on significantly higher wages to what our existing players have been earning.

Some were desperation with not a lot of players available on Bosmans, but there were a few key players we were able to bring in to give us a chance of avoiding the drop.


Liga 1, Portugal – 6th (UECL Qualification)

A Mighty Top Flight Return

A completely unexpected achievement for us this year, with us finishing in 6th giving us UECL qualification.

We were actually in a position to achieve UCL football going into the final day. But with Porto and Benfica the top two teams as our last fixtures in the league, we were unable to finish strong enough to steal a 3rd place finish.

But thoroughly deserved, as with out xG performance we were the fourth best performing team. A marvelous squad effort which included a 4-0 home drubbing of Sporting as our finest result of the year.




Allianz Cup – R1

Went out in this competition first round, losing away to Chaves, a team in a tier lower.

Taça de Portugal Placard (Cup) – R5

Went a bit further here reaching the 5th round. A couple of 3rd and 4th round ties saw us come up against Boavista away. In a tight game, they took it home in extra time.


Next Season

We have major problems sadly going into next year. Our board gave us a good amount of wage budget to invest last Summer, which we of course did to try and ensure our top flight status.

However our board have significantly reduce our available wage budget for next year, by more than half of what we are currently spending.

We have over half a dozen of players out of contract this year, with a few significant players too. So without being able to replace these and likely losing them, next year in addition to European football, will undoubtedly see us struggle to survive another season in the top tier.

I’ve no idea yet what I can do, but when June comes I’ll have to try my best to make a dire situation less so.



Edited by g1nh0
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Season 5 Review (V. Setubal)


-Liga 1: Attempt to Avoid Relegation (Achieved)

-Taca De Portugal Cup: Be Competitive (Achieved)

-Allianz Cup: Be Competitive (Achieved)

-UECL: Qualify for Group Stage (Achieved)


The offseason was a pretty decent one considering the financial restrictions we had. I was able to bring in a handful of players , of which 4 of the 5 were first XI quality to help improve our side whilst naturally having a little depth to try and be competitive in the league and compete in the UECL this season.


Liga 1, Portugal – 4th (Europa League Qualification)

A Year of Growth

Despite having the UECL to contend with, we put in another strong league campaign in, where we were able to improve on our league position from last year of 6th to 4th this time around – and an automatic Europa League spot.

Our best performance of the year was probably the 2-1 home win vs Benfica, where we went down early in the game from a penalty, but battled back to snatch the game in the 97th minute where we hit them on the counter.



Allianz Cup – R2

In our first official game of the cup we lost away to Maritimo in the second round. Wasn’t overly fussed with this pre-season cup, as I was more concerned in trying to get through the UECL qualifiers as for us, it would be a gold mine financially.

Taça de Portugal Placard (Cup) – R4

We had an easy draw in the third round beating Fafe away (although winning end up being a surprising struggle), but ended up against Porto at their place in the next round where we took a 1-5 tonking.


UEFA Conference League - Semis

Our hardest games ended up being the first round qualifier and semi’s, where in the qualifier we had to play AZ of Holland. We went 2 down away quickly, but then they suffered a red card and we were able to bring the tie to 2 a piece for the second leg, which we were able to take home 2-1.

Making it to the group stages, we came through this and eventually made it all the way to the Semis, but Brentford were a step too far for our side, where we lost 3-1 on agg.

Nevertheless, we made so much financially in this competition it was a really good run for us.


Next Season

So a brilliant year this year for us and financially the pressures have eased in major part due to our successes in the UECL.

We’ve already been able to negotiate with the board an increase to our stadium capacity which is at planning stages at present. Hopefully this will go through, and will increase our capacity by a little over 2000 more seats taking it to over 17K.

We’ve also agreed an improvement to our training and youth facilities, and they’ve finally let me take a coaching course so I am learning the National B License at present!

I hope we can continue to build on this year’s success, trying to again compete for 4th spot now we’ve reached it. But it will require us to try and improve our squad again both in quality, depth, and to keep things fresh to help maintain our motivation levels.

We should have a better wage budget. But with a lot of our costs going on infrastructure, I will be looking only for Bosmans if possible, or very cheap transfers if I’m struggling to find these.



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Season 6 Review (V. Setubal)

*A Special Season*


-Liga 1: Mid-Table (Achieved)

-Taca De Portugal Cup: Be Competitive (Achieved)

-Allianz Cup: Later Stages (Achieved)

-Europa League: Be Competitive (Achieved)


I think the work done this Summer was a pretty good one. I was able to recruit five new first teamers and an extra guy as depth for central midfield. The only position I wasn’t able to improve the first XI with was central defence. Relying on last year’s CBs, it was the one area I had no optimism with and felt it could probably hinder our season. We were predicted to come 8th, which I felt was about right for the squad we had.

I guess trying to push for European competition again with some good cup runs was my ultimate aim for this year. But to my amazement we surpassed this in my finest season so far at the club.



Liga 1, Portugal – 3rd (UCL Qualification)

Breaking the Dominance

With Europe again to contend with and our failure to improve our central defence I was expecting this to bring a degree of inconsistency to our league performances.

However the squad really rallied and a big up to Reece Welsh who performed brilliantly. His dominance in the air caused teams several problems at set pieces and he was a real difference maker to our fantastic league campaign, where we ended up finishing in 3rd place giving us a UCL spot and an improvement on last year’s 4th placed finish. And based on the xG table, we probably did deserve to finish in third spot.



Allianz Cup – Winners


The cup that is probably equivalent to the League Cup, but where we need to start two U21 players in the first XI. This naturally gives us a better chance when going against the big guns, and well, perhaps it proved so.

A brilliant cup run saw us meet Porto in the semis. Producing a fantastically solid performance, we took that game home 2-1 to then meet Famalicao in the final – and my first sniff of Silverware in the top tier.

It was a game we were the more ambitious, with us creating more and better chances. We took a 2-0 lead after 30 minutes and looking comfortable, but they got one back with 15 minutes left to play to bring in a few nerves.

But we were able to hold on fairly comfortably in the end, and I was delighted at this unexpected success with a team I didn’t feel would be capable at this stage of such an achievement.

This was the second time in the club’s history they have won this competition.


Taça de Portugal Placard (Cup) – Semi Finalists

The other domestic cup in Portugal, the considered major one, and again we had another really good cup run – but this time, we came up against a Porto side looking for revenge being KO’d in the Allianz cup.

And well, with this being a two legged affair we ended up losing 1-4 on aggregate. We only lost 0-1 away in the first leg, but just didn’t perform in front of our own fans sadly where they scored two early goals to put the game well out of reach.


Europa League - Winners!


This was an absolute shock to the system. I never dreamt with what we had at our disposal we would be able to win Europe’s second biggest club competition.

We finished 3rd in the group phase, which saw us move to the Last 16 and beyond, knocking out teams Sturm Graz, Celtic, Aston Villa (in a tense ET match where we scored a late winner), to then meet guess who in the final?...Sevilla!

And oh my probably the second most dramatic final I’ve had in FM (only behind an online save I had with Ajax which also went to penalties but in the big UCL that ended 3-3 AET).

So yes, you can guess this one went to penalties too. We scored an early goal to give us a brilliant start. We were limiting Sevilla all game and I really think we deserved to win it in normal time. But a stupid moment of defending conceding a needless penalty at the death saw them convert their penalty to bring it into ET – which ended up being a bore fest going straight to pens.

Looking at the player attributes, my goalkeeper Hammond had quite good penalty taking and composure – I felt he could contribute in it, placing him at number 6 in the taker list, and saying he could be our difference maker this game to his face before the start of the shootout.

And well, he saved two penalties and scored the winning penalty to see us win the Europa League and the club's first ever European Trophy! – I was absolutely buzzing as one can imagine =) I also made it to their list of Club Icons, the only manager to do so presently.



Next Season

Well after our unbelievable Domestic and European cup successes, the club now has a bank balance of just over 22.5mil GBP.

I’m still waiting for news on the planned stadium expansion, but we’ve continued to improve our youth facilities, but sadly the board won’t further improve our training ones.

I have several players whose contracts are due to expire – they were also players I didn’t really see at this club for the long-term either. So they’re either set for release or have been signed by other clubs on a Bosman.

I am hoping the board will give me a good wage budget for next year, and I’ll again try to find some good deals so we can continue to build a better first XI and I hope be a stronger bench.

I think I will then be at a point where going forward, we can focus on bringing better quality in through purchases whilst trying to improve our fan-base and stadium in the process.

I’m keen to try and bring this club now I’m settled here, to try and take over Braga as the 4th biggest side. I recognize I’ll be punching above my weight each year, but the future remains very bright here at Setubal.



Edited by g1nh0
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