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About Advantageous

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    A connoisseur of the FM Online scene.

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    Recreativo de Huelva
  1. La Liga Bottled it. No other way of saying it if we're being honest. Last day of the season, bus parade booked, 2 points clear of Real Madrid in 2nd and we failed to convert that into a league victory. On the plus side, it was encouraging to see my side really go for the league, as we are devoid of any real world class talent. We are essentially a team that is better than the sum of its parts, a well-oiled unit geared up to break at pace with a couple of play makers in central midfield. Our team has been improved in terms of personnel this time around, with players bought in who will (in theory) enhance our style of play. On the flip side however, we completely threw the league away after getting a red card inside 13 minutes. Wendell, who has ultimately had his best season at the age of 32, has a history of rash challenges throughout his career and lived up to that reputation with a scything two footer on Atleti's winger. Cue an instant red the team already 1-0 down from a goalkeeper error. The 2nd goal a couple of minutes later, this time from a defensive error, made things almost impossible to claw back. I decided to play even narrower and try to win the midfield battle. It was working and we pulled one back with about half an hour or more to spare. We picked up the pace and started putting Atleti on the back foot, but squandered chance after chance. We ended up the better side, despite the early madness, but like against Sean's Logrones, we failed to make the opposition pay and lost out because of it. It feels strange to say that I'm satisfied with the season overall. Knocked out of both cups with my assistant manager in charge, including Europe, but a somewhat impressive mid 80 points finish in the league. I have high hopes for the next season, with talented youngsters making the step up into the first team squad and two great signings making their way to Huelva, but if previous history is to go by this game year, any team that challenges for the title finds themselves hanging on for 4th the following season. Fingers crossed we buck that particular trend. Cups & Europe As mentioned, my assistant manager took charge of all my cup games, due to coincidental absences on my part. Nothing to say here, except that he finished 3rd in the Champions League group and lost to Celta Vigo in the Europa League. I cant remember the Spanish cup, but it wouldn't surprise me if he lost in that as well. The Other Lads Stu: Solid season from Stu's Albacete, even though some weaknesses were exposed in his side. Cant be too unhappy with 3rd, but never challenged for the title after Christmas and was looking down rather than up towards the end of the season. A good follow up album to last seasons debut title challenge - an all round solid campaign. 8/10 Gilly: Finished 6th with a side that has finished 4th in previous seasons. Will be disappointed with his teams showing in the league, but moves onto pastures new with Barcelona. Pressure is on for consistent top 4 finishes, and will need to get the best out of his players year in year out. His best signing, Ronaldo Gashi, who lit up the league last season was a shadow of his former self for Ponferradina and Gilly has decided not to splash the cash to bring his former boy wonder with him. Oh, he did win the Spanish cup though. Verdict on Andy's season? 7/10 Sean: Early talk in the skype chat was that, 'this was perhaps the season,' as Logrones looked like early top 4 challengers. However, form dipped a little and they began to drop of the pace. Then, Sabadell came calling and Sean decided now was the time to leave. Sabadell were in a comfortable league position and with some good management, could make a late Champions League qualification bid. Do that they did, and fourth place followed a successful transition for Sean. Verdict? 6.5/10 with Logrones and 8/10 with Sabadell. Jamie: Llagostera have been turned into a solid La Liga side under Jamie's tutelage, but have yet to really mix it up with the Real Madrids of this world. Then again, who has so far on this game? It's been a good showing from everyone involved, with no one really excelling and no one under-achieving. Jamie will look at his side and drool at his attacking strength. A very good showing in the latter stages of the season prove he has the power to mix it up with the big boys, but can he maintain that going into next season? Verdict: 7/10 Jonas: Lastly, but by no means least, is Jonas. A strong second season in La Liga with a side that look like the can go up against the strongest of AI sides and give them a good game. Against the humans however, it appears to be a different story. An 8-1 defeat to Stu's Albacete was perhaps a blotch on the old copybook, but Jonas is building a good unit here. A 7/10 season.
  2. La Liga Much improved in the league, despite starting the campaign off miserably. We were 10 points off of Stu's Albacete and Gilly's Ponferadina after just a handful of games as they looked to battle it out for the league title. I knew then that our slim hopes of a title challenge was off the cards, and I concentrated all our efforts on pushing for that top four place and Champions League qualification. I spent time working on my tactics - specifically on formation as my attacking players began dropping like flies. A slipped disk here, damaged spine there, and a couple of ruptured calves later, I had no strikers and it was looking like being one of 'those seasons'. A complete write off essentially. So I switched my attention to the strikerless idea, which has gained popularity over the years, especially on this years FM. In the end, it was only a simple tactical tweak I made. I dropped my striker down to create three AMCs and moved one of DCs back to create a libero. This would (in theory) give me plenty of the ball in the centre of the park and allow me to play a short passing style (providing I had the players for it). It turned out that still didn't have a libero type in my squad. It didn't take me long to work that one out, but even a BPD style libero was proving hard for my players to perform well in. So a sweeper it was after initial experimentation, but a libero it will be once all the cogs fit into place. Cups & Europe As we finished outside of the top four last year, we entered the Europa League at the group stage and found ourselves battling it out with Arsenal. Despite this, we finished on top and fought our way to the Quarter Finals, where we met a rampant Dortmund side, who swept us away with their blistering attacks. We battled valiantly, but in the end, we were no match for a side that would have competed in the Champions League. All in all, a good performance. Through to the final of the Spanish Cup, only to find the dominant Real Madrid that had just powered to the League title with 90+ points. Again, we fought valiantly, even scoring an early goal, but were no match over the full 90. I did not expect to win, so can't complain about the performance, especially as we matched them in almost every stat department (apart from the obvious - we lost 3-1). It does look promising here, with the team developing well, but I fear Stu and Gilly still have the upper hand at the moment. The B Team As always, a word on my B side, who are bringing through and nurturing my young talent. A strong maiden season in Liga 123, where relegation was never a threat and my club's young stars were able to carry the side into a very respectable 7th. I'm still experimenting with my set-up here, but the side is a tad stronger this time around, with younger players being that year older and stronger youth players being bled into the side. There has been another change in manager (thats one every two years so far) as the current lad left on a high, running down his contract and refusing to sign a new one. Again, I can't complain as he has done his job well by winning promotion and securing our place in the second division.
  3. My attributes across the board have increased fair rapidly, with my managerial reputation also enjoying a little boost. Below, you can also see the formation I played through out the season, with the 4 central players creating a delightful quartet when in attack, with slick intricate passing and great off the ball movement. As my side develops, I intend on bringing in or developing a libero to play just behind a centre-back pairing and giving him the freedom to join the midfield, creating a central force of five players. 1st Team It looked to be a great campaign again for Recreativo as we entered the final stretch of the season with the top four in sight. However, after failing to win at home to Sean's Logrones and then dropping 2-points at home to Vallecano, we gave up fourth place to Stu's Albacete. Disappointing? Yes. It was in our own hands, and yet we failed to convert our promise into champions league qualification. The positives, however, far out-weigh the disappointments of the season. The football on offer was great to watch, with our solid defence providing a great foundation enabling the seven players ahead to pass the ball around, create space and work the ball into the box. We are building something special here, with strength in all positions and valuable assets that can be sold for the right price and used to bring in better, cheaper options. Utilising a much smaller first team squad (18 players maximum), I was able to ensure player morale was consistently high with all players getting enough game time, as well as keeping the squad fresh. Big wins away against R. Madrid and Barcelona showed the potential we have as a side, but it's those matches against the weaker sides, especially at home, where we need to improve. Perhaps we need to improve our ability in front of goal, or perhaps we need to draw the opposition out more regularly to improve the quality of our chances. I think it's probably a bit of both, but if we truly want to be successful, we need to ensure we bring our A-game for our matches against the other human managers. I'll be working on team instructions and team shape to combat the growing strength of other human managers as, so far, we've lost more points that we've gained against them. Dogan Yavas Purchased for £5m from Valencia, Yavas scored 24 goals in his 38 league appearances last season, with 6 assists and 5 man of the match performances thrown in for good measure. His physical advantages have allowed him to shine with the ball on the ground, and he still has a little bit of room to grow. Martin Fiore Arriving on a free, after being released by River, Fiore proved to be a pivotal part of my attacking trio, with 10 assists and a 7.20 average rating. With solid physicals, a good free-kick and an excellent eye for a pass, he had a hand in a fair number of chances. The B Team A quick word on the B side who, under new management, managed to clinch the Segunda B4 title, and win promotion to Liga 123. A great leap for my plans at this club, as we continue to build a Barcelona like youth structure, combined with an Italian approach on the pitch. We're still a long way away from realising this dream, but continuing to improve as we have, it will arrive quicker than expected.
  4. [insert picture here] Season 7 passes us by (and rather flatly it has to be said) as we hobble home to finish in 8th. Compared to last season, it's pretty much a damp squid of a campaign, but I have reason to be optimistic about the future. I missed just over 10 games due to work commitments, where my assistant succeeded in winning a grand total of zero matches. This is the same guy I could rely on in Liga 123 and Segunda B, so it appears we have found his level. I also managed to make it to the Champions League quarter finals (of which my assistant, of course, managed to lose 5-2 on aggregate) against PSG which, in all fairness, I didn't expect to win. This has lead to a slight increase in our club rep. and and influx of transfer funds (£20m to be exact). I can't complain really, as I have invested the money into a much stronger, deeper squad and cleaned out the deadwood and underachievers from last season. [insert picture here] As you can see below, my transfer dealings from last season were relatively tame for a side about to be competing in the Champions League, with Wendell the only real quality signing at LWB. A lot of loans went into the B side (more on that below). [insert picture here] Recreativo B To cap off a fantastic season before this one, our B side won promotion and found themselves in an active league (Segunda B4). I immediately set to work to build up the quality by signing plenty of loanees that could, in all honesty, play for a promotion challenging side in Liga 123. I'd have liked to have bought in more quality, but our finances were tight and I restricted my loan signings to those players I could either hire on free for the season (or two) or pay the bare minimum in wages for. Stingy, I know, but needs must. I had very little time to build an entire team from scratch, which included the backroom staff as well as the player personnel. Fast forward a year and I'm caught in two minds about our success. On the one hand, finishing 4th and competing in the play-offs in their first season was a solid achievement for the B side. A selection of players had great seasons and relished playing in a 352 formation. On the flip side, the manager played very cagey (something I knew about when appointing him, but did so anyway as he was the best candidate i could find for the job) despite enjoying the best side in the league. I only offered him a two year contract, knowing that he preferred to air on the side of caution rather than playing expansive football, just in case his style wasn't suited to the squad we had. He has since been relieved of his duties and another manager has stepped into his shoes. With a squad that isn't quite as strong, but consisting of young players both from my academy and bought in on free transfers, the idea is to continually develop players for the first team, with a focus on players from our own youth academy and those players identified by my scouting team. A word on the other lads Pedro/Sabadell: A great season for Spaniard. League title in the bag and a side with some exciting youth talent. After a wobble last season, he has returned with a bang. Stuart/Albacete: Another lad with a great season under his belt. Was challenging for 3rd (the final CL place) but fell away in the last couple of games. Will be delighted with the cup win. Jamie/Llagostera: A top season with no sign of a second season syndrome taking shape. Finished in the Europa League places and will be happy with his consistently strong side showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. Gilly/Ponferrada: Hit patches here and there, but finished strongly and will be happy with the progress his side are making. Has been hunting for CBs in the market, poaching my targets left, right and centre! Sean/Logrones: Will bemoan his lack of funds, lack of time, lack of good players, etc. but has had a solid season. Like everyone in the league, he has overachieved in relation to his media prediction and (if previous FMs is anything to go on) will continue to improve regardless of investment or not. Liga 123: Both Jonas and Mike have had solid seasons. With both predicted to finish in the bottom half (or there or there abouts), they have been comfortable finishing in the top half, with a promotion charge thrown in for good measure. Dan has had a mixed season this time around. Started poorly with his first side (with no help from his assistant) before being booted from the club. He returned to take a second side, but it was too late to save them from relegation and he now takes his third side for this season.
  5. Bit late to the party, but I'm 99% sure Kaka had 'model citizen' in previous FMs.
  6. Season six has drawn to a close and after a 4th place finish in La Liga and my rep has increased slightly to a measly 2 stars (or 'decent' as the game coins it). It's another step on the ladder to a club with an active B side so I shouldn't be complaining really. Attributes have increased by 1 point in a selection of areas and the board gave me a new contract to mark the successes over the last few years. The season itself was a fantastic one overall. 4th place and Champions League qualification was an achievement I never expected to reach in only our 2nd season in La Liga. Truth be told, a lot of things went our way, including very few injuries (our biggest crisis was 3 at once) and Pedro's Sabadell operating at 95% rather than the usual 100%. In fact, it has to be said that it has been a great season for everyone in La Liga. Human teams occupied 4th to 9th, with no one really underperforming to the point that their boards were unhappy. Jose Naranjo, a player born and raised at the club (who subsequently left and returned 2 seasons ago) finished the season with 30 goals, 26 of those coming in the league. Jairo Castillo may well have made it to 15 goals in the league, had it not been for his 3-month injury, but his 15 assists certainly shows he played a major part in our attacking threat. Above, you can see the statistical breakdown of my first 11. Our formation has been the most balanced I have seen with these players in the six seasons I have managed. No doubt, that has a lot to do with the increase in quality across all positions, but the attributes I have looked for when signing my players have allowed us to build a functional unit capable of punching above our weight and mixing it up with the big boys of La Liga. Naturally, the board are delighted with the unexpected Champions League Qualifying place and as the seasons go on, they are giving in to my many demands. We are currently in the process of improving our training and youth facilities, having just upgraded our youth recruitment and increased our junior coaching budget. On top of this, the board drop the bombshell that they're building a new stadium. I can't imagine it'll seat many supporters, but if it can be increased to around 40k, then it's not too bad of an investment.
  7. I expect they'll go up tonight as we've only just finished the season.
  8. Well, the first season in La Liga was a success, having struggled for results halfway through the campaign. We started off strongly by forcing our way into the top 7 or 8 positions, before we fell back and began casting nervous glances as the teams in the relegation battle began to gain on us. At one point, we were only 5 points clear of the drop zone, but we managed to pull ourselves out of the rut and pushed on, clinching a top-half position on the final day of the season. At times, I was disappointed with out performances, watching as we squandered chance after chance, only to let the opposition sneak a freekick or counter attacking goal. That said, I can only be happy with 9th in the first season and will look to improve on that in our second season. Transfer wise, we were tied up a little bit with a measly £5.75m spent on incoming players. A few gems, such as the goalkeeper Giefer, but apart from that, we ended up shoring up the side a bit more, plugging some gaps. At 31, Giefer was a bit of a gamble as I knew he'd only be around for a few years. He has served his purpose though, and will remain in the sticks this season after impressing over the last year. As always, I am on the lookout for younger gems to come in and add some much needed quality, but the coming window will be about adding additional strength to the side before we start to invest in youth.
  9. After three seasons in Liga 123, we have finally succeeded in winning promotion to La Liga. It was a hard fought success, having to fight our way past Stu's early pace-setting side, Albacete, as well as Sean's Logrones and a handful of powerful AI sides snapping at our heels. In fact, we were never sitting in pole-position until a 5-0 victory over Stu's side. He had come prepared to face anything other than the 3-4-3 we had on offer. The sheer amount of on-rushing attacking options over-ran his defensive players and they appeared powerless to stop it. After that victory, we never really looked back and, apart from a slight wobble towards the close of the season, we controlled the (roughly) 10-point margin over the ever-changing second place sides. Predictions for the coming season: The main aim will be, of course, to stay in the division. La Liga is where it is at and if I want to push on and take over a side with an active B team, I'm going to need the increased managerial reputation competing in La Liga will offer. Currently, I'm sitting at a measly 1 and a half stars, but I'm hopeful that within two seasons, I will find myself behind the desk of a Levante or Real Sociedad.
  10. After two successive top six finishes (and two successive play-off failures), I have established Recreativo as a solid Segunda (Liga 123) side. The next step is to ensure we begin challenging for the top two automatic promotion places and work our way into La Liga. Below is probably our biggest success story. Jairo Castillo came through the youth academy as a promising striker and has developed astronomically over the last two seasons. I wont say much more on the matter, as I've covered it in my previous posts, but I intend on him becoming the focal point of our attack for the coming season, offering assists for the players buzzing around him and a goal scoring threat. I've made one or two signings that I feel really improve the spine of my side over the last year or so. Last season, Valber Huerta arrived on a free-transfer to sure up my central defense and put in consistently strong performances throughout the campaign. Luca Valzania arrived this summer for a fee of £675k from Atalanta and has already put in some excellent performances, with neat slick passing moves and some stinging shots from long range. Predictions for the coming season: My aim is to win promotion. Whether I do that via the play-offs or the automatic promotion places, I do not mind, but anything less will be seen as a disappointment. As I mentioned above, we have now had two seasons to add to our squad and build a solid Liga 123 side. I now also have some stand out players that I can rely on to provide that little bit extra that I hope can bring us promotion glory this season.
  11. Predicted 21st in my first season in Liga 123, I believed it would be a huge effort to fight off relegation. My board had asked me to 'fight bravely' against going down and had offered less than £100k transfer budget to do so. I stuck by my guns and went for my 'free transfer only' policy. There were no suitable offers incoming for any of my players so I released those I'd deemed not good enough for the new level and started sifting through the scout reports I had gathered on players whose contracts were expiring end of last season. Nothing special worth showing via screenshots truth be told, as our attributes across the board were deemed 'below average' according to the team comparison page. Of course, that doesn't tell the whole story but it does illustrate the limited amount of depth we had in the squad. I had, however, been looking for specific qualities in my players, such as work rate, team work and pace. The latter proved difficult to acquire alongside quality mental and technical attributes but teamwork and work rate were easier to locate. The season started very strongly and, just like last year, we started to scamper away after the first 10-15 games. Then we hit a turbulent patch, steadied the ship for a few matches and finally took a nosedive. 2 wins in 9 or 10 games saw us slip from 2nd all the way down to 9th, with Pedro's Sabadell waving to us on their way past. It was a sickening feeling, but in the end, we managed to pull it out the bag in the last 6 games of the season and secure 5th. Upon reflection, 5th is a very good position to end up in, especially after I'd targeted a top half finish and we could go and enjoy the playoffs, without any expectation of going up. Our enjoyment last approximately 10 minutes, as we were 2-0 down to eventual winners Sabadell, but it was a strong season none-the-less. One particular highlight is young Jairo Castillo who came through the youth setup. At first he looked like nothing much, a bit of a lightweight with no real assets apart from solid work rate. But then in the space of a few months he developed enormously. His attributes rocketed up and within 6 months of being at the club, he had forced his way into the 1st team squad. He had a few starts and a few more appearances from the bench, where he showed one or two signs of a good player, but had limited support from his team mates during a time where our form was patchy at best.
  12. Hall of Fame Points Season 2 (2017/18)
  13. Hall of Fame Points Season 1 (2016/17)
  14. It was a great season for my Recreativo side, securing promotion after success in the Spanish Division B playoffs. The season itself was one that started off very well, stretching out a double figure lead over 2nd place. Things took a bit of a tumble around March, where our form was inconsistent at best as we failed to secure points at home and away. On the last game of the season, we started the match 3 points behind Murcia, but with a better goal difference and a winning head to head. At half time we were losing and it looked as though we'd miss out on that top spot. As luck would have it though, we managed to claw our way back into the game to secure a win, whilst 2nd place side threw away all three points on the 80th minute. That meant that we finished top of the pile in the most miraculous of circumstances. And within minutes, our attention was refocused to the playoffs, as we had been drawn against Sean's Logrones. A side that had lost a couple of key players, but one that had ultimately finished the season well with a 76 point haul. On one side, i was happy to avoid the might of Jamie's Santander and the strength of Pedro's Sabadell, but this is Sean, the manager who has come out as top dog in the last two FMs. I predicted a tough game. Thankfully, our side put in a much improved performance and deserved to come away from the home leg with a win. Luck was on our side as well, as we secured an 89th minute penalty after some blatant shirt pulling in the box. A 2-1 victory would have been a fair result going on the stats below, but 3-1 put me in pole position for promotion. First Leg Stats The second leg was a different story. Sean had a couple of half chances early on, which he missed and we managed to take ours with an own goal from Sean's de Corta. Luck appeared to be on our side again, and just as Sean equalised on the 30th minute, his player Ivan Rodriguez decided now was the time to make a 2-footed crunching tackle, just as we had kicked off from the restart. I will admit, I had to stifle a laugh at this point. Sean was down to 10-men, needed 2 goals to get back in the match and was having a meltdown in our group chat. As it was, my attacking midfielder scored a beauty on the 54th minute and I decided it was time to keep the ball a bit more and take less risks going forward. We ran out 5-2 winners on aggregate. Second Leg Stats Staying up will be a tricky one next season. We are predicted to finish 21st of 22 and have a grand total of £40k to spend. Picking up free transfers will be our transfer policy this window, as we will need to add quality to a side that scraped over the line to win promotion. The board only expect us to fight bravely against relegation, which essentially means my job will be safe if we go back down, but my aim will be to secure our position as a 2nd division side as we hoover up the much increased prize money and tv deals ready for a title challenge in the 3rd season.
  15. We started the season off strongly, increasing the gap to 2nd to as many as 12 points at one stage. Fast forward a couple of months and we find ourselves struggling for consistency, but still 5 or os points clear at the summit. With just 6 games remaining, we have just about reached the play-offs and, hopefully, can hold onto top spot. On the plus side, the board are happy with my performance this season, after they expected us to be somewhere between top-half and mid-table. As you can see, they're are less pleased with our recent matches and this will need to be something I get right in the remaining games.