I've recently finished my first season with the Dons, and consider it highly successful - a league cup win (beating Celtic 1-0 in the final - Hayes with a 30-yarder!) and agonisingly losing the league Finished 2nd after taking Celtic to the final day of the season - unfortunately the last game of the year was at Parkhead and i lost when needing a win for the title. Remarkably, Hearts were only 2 points behind me as well and it had been a proper 3-way scrap all season long.
Formation has been a 5-3-2 with wingbacks, following the template of Mr Hough in the tactics forum. Very successful tactic. 2 main signings at the start of the 1st season - Luigi Bruins who won player of the year playing the AMC role, and a young forward from Finland who finished top goalscorer in the league Ryan Jack had an excellent season alternating between wing back and centre mid, and Shaughnessy proved very steady. Typical team was:
Vernon-Finnish bloke whose name I have forgotten
I re-signed Fraser but am trying to turn him into a wingback so he didn't play much. Thought I was getting Craig Gordon in January for around 1k a week, then Bristol came in and offered him 8k a week I sold Fallon to Hibs and they played him all year and got relegated. Also sold Jason Brown and Rob Milsom early on but not for much cash.
Money was a real issue in the second half of the season - I was never over my wage budget, but we were losing around 200-300k every month. The board injected cash in both March and April to "help with the running costs". The prize money received at the end of the year has put us back in the black, but the outlook came up saying finances were expected to worsen in the coming months. Think i'm going to need some decent Europa monies in the coming year!
I was frustrated in the January transfer window as I couldn't sell any players I wanted to get rid of - Rae/Hughes/Naismith/McGinn/Hayes - but picked up a couple of improved wingbacks on the cheap. Going to have to do some bargain bin searching in the summer, but lots of contracts expriing so should have some wages to spend.
Overall, I think the tactic I pinched from the forum made a big difference as a lot of the players still look very average on paper.