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  1. Spartans FC 2027-2028 Finally won promotion to the Scottish Championship! It was a battle, probably more than it should have been. We went into the season as favorites to win the title and the board expectation was to win promotion via winning the league. A slow start and inconsistent play had us as low as 6th halfway through the season and I was quite worried about the hammer being brought down on us although I never got any such threats from the board. We turned it on at the end though with a switch to a more conventional 4-2-3-1 and finished comfortably in 3rd place and the playoffs. We faced second place Stirling in the first round and in the first game we were pretty well in control at home but couldn't find a goal to breakthrough. Stirling finally opened up the scoring in 73rd minute, winning and converting a penalty. That seemed to wake us up as we answered quickly with 2 goals to take a lead going into the second leg. There we played conservative, locking down the defense even after a red card left us a man short for the final third of the game. We advanced with a 0-0 draw. In the final we faced Raith, the 9th place team in the Championship. We played conservative again in the first game at Raith and earned another 0-0 draw. We pretty well controlled the second game but didn't score until 90th minute with a blast from my inside forward and that was enough to earn promotion 1-0 on aggregate. League Table Cups Betfred didn't go very well, only a 4-0 win to go with 3 losses in a tough group. Wafer Cup didn't go well either, bad draw and we lost 1-4 at Dunfermline from the Championship. Scottish Cup was slightly better, we beat Highland League Deveronvale in our first game, then lost 0-1 to Ross County in a game that wasn't as close as the score. Key Players Daniel MacIntyre was our player of the year once again for the third straight season and his 4 with our team. 21 assists overall, 19 in the league. Also led the league in chances created and key passes. Just lethal on set pieces, we led the league in goals from corners and indirect free kicks because of him. Paul Fotheringham was our leading scorer with 14 goals. On loan from St. Mirren but we have him signed to join us next season. Took me awhile to figure out how to use him but his play at striker at the end of the season helped push us through. He contributed on all three of our goals in the playoffs, scoring one and assisting on the other two. Ewan Jenkins was bought from our rivals Edinburgh City and did a tremendous job in defense while also adding 6 goals. GK Colin McNaughton was brought in to solidify our goalkeeping, hopefully for quite a long time. Only 21 now, we got him on a free from Kilmarnock. Youth Intake We got a couple of forward midfielders with some potential, most notably Gavin Ritchie and Graham Crawford. We just hired our first Head of Youth Development so hopefully that will help things here a bit. Finances All that cup money is gone. We lost almost 350K to bring our balance to basically 0. I imagine we'll lose quite a bit more having to compete at a higher level. Looking Forward Just looking to avoid relegation. I don't foresee a lot of change to the team, I feel set at 8 of our 11 starting spots. I need a left back that can attack to help our offense. Also need very defensive central midfielder to put some steel in the middle (we were last in League 1 in tackles). And I need to get more out of our AMR, would really like to find an attacking winger over there.
  2. Spartans FC 2026-2027 This season went a lot like our previous. Off to a good start, miserable middle and a strong finish. This time our strong finish got us into the playoffs though and gave us a blueprint going forward. League Table We started out decently, hanging in second place for awhile (Ayr was the best team we've seen in this league, just blew everyone away). But then the inability to convert chances took hold and we only managed 1 win in 14 games and dropping as low as 7th after 22 games. A significant change in tactics saw us finally find success and we won 5 of 6 games at the end to secure a playoff berth. Unfortunately we got paired against Inverness and, after a lucky draw at home we got blown out in the away leg 1-4. Cups Betfred didn't go great, lost our first four games in our group but made it respectable by beating Premiership side Motherwell on penalties in the final game to finish 4th in the group. Knocked off Dundee's reserve squad in our first game in the Wafer Cup 3-2, then got destroyed at Arbroath from League 1. They have been relegated this season so hopefully they'll be a bit weaker now. And a bad Scottish Cup draw paired us with Inverness in a preview of our playoff. With a similar result, draw in the first game, lost the replay. Tactical So we've been using a 4-4-1-1 most of the time up to this season. But it has become very toothless. Dominating possession and getting more shots and shots on target than our opposition but far too often ending in 0-0 draws or worse. So we started experimenting more this season. First try was a 4-3-1-2 which seemed to fit our roster. Couldn't quite get it to work, mainly because I couldn't get anything out of the number 10. What we eventually settled upon is an asymmetrical 4-2-3-1 using a wide target man. Looks something like this: I found a good potential wide target man for this level in Russell Stevenson who we signed from Motherwell. Idea is that he'll attack the left post while my other striker attacks the right post, winger and left fullback provide crosses, midfielders get in there as well. Not fully committed to the WTM providing the offense though, Macintyre is still playing as a playmaker next to him, eventually that would become a more goal scoring threat at the 10. I've had pretty good success with this formation with a couple other teams I've been playing with so hopefully this will work with more tweaking. Daniel Macintyre was our player of the year again, leading the league in assists with 14, mostly off set pieces. And we brought back one of our regens who got plucked away from us as Brad Ellis returned on a free after a quiet stint at Kilmarnock. Took me a while to figure out how to get the most out of him, really struggled in the 10 spot but started impressing as my box to box in my new formation. Finances The money from those big cup games is drying up a bit as our salaries have gone up, we're just below 400K in the positive. Lost 565K last season, ouch. Looking Ahead I think it's promotion or bust this season. That's the board's expectation and mine as well. We've definitely been underperforming, we're as good as anyone else in the division, better than most. Time to move up.
  3. Spartans FC 2025-2026 Well that season sucked. Best defense in the league but the second worst offense. Still, we could have made the playoffs with a win in our final game, but we choked at home and lost 0-1 in a game very typical of our season. Dominated but couldn't find the net. League Table We started off great, 6 wins and a draw in our first seven. There were warning signs though as 4 of those wins were 1-0. Then the slide, 12 league games without a win and only one win in 17, dropping us all the way to 6th. Think we finally figured out something at the end, with 5 wins and a draw before the final game but we fell short. The board isn't happy we missed the playoffs and has not extended my contract but I think we're still alive for next season. Looks like we have 2 seasons to earn promotion or we are likely done. Cups Did okay in the Betfred, won 2 games, lost 2 games, everything as expected. Gave Hearts a good battle, only losing 0-1 at home to them. We did as expected in the Wafer Cup, beating a couple of League 2 sides, including Edinburgh City so that was a nice plus. Then lost at Ayr, no shame in that. Scottish Cup was also a disappointment this season as we didn't advance past the third round, drawing twice to Clyde and then losing a penalty shootout. Board isn't happy about that either. Key Players After an injury plagued previous season, Daniel MacIntyre bounced back to win our player of the year as our primary creative outlet. Really flourished at the end of the year when I dropped him back to be my left central midfielder. Had been reluctant to try that as he doesn't offer much on defense but it worked quite nicely using him as an advanced playmaker. Mark Forrest led our very strong defense. He's an absolute rock, just hoping I can hold onto him. Dunfermline is sniffing around, hopefully a new deal will keep him in place. And Declan McStay was our best offensive weapon, we started focusing our attacks on his side and he caused some havoc. Second leading goalscorer with 7, also drew a few penalties. Youth Intake Better this year, got a couple players who I think can make an impact, highlighted by Martin Morrison, a right winger who became our youngest ever player, debuting in our final game and looking very good. Also a legit striker prospect in Wayne Malcolm. Also, not actually in my youth intake but I think I found my goalkeeper for the future in Blair Thomson, signed from Alloa. He served as my backup this season, will probably keep him in that role for one more season. Had an impressive Wafer Cup game where he saved 3 of 5 penalties. Finances Lost 130K last season but still doing fine with close to a million in the bank. Forrest is becoming our first player to earn over 1k a week with his new contract. Looking Ahead Got to fix the offense, need to reach the playoffs. Think I'll stick with out 4-4-1-1 but need to get more from the front two. We may have figured things out at the end of last season. Might be time to shake up our coaching staff.
  4. So, I'm doing some testing in my league that is in the year 2026 to see if any new teams pop up. I just got Caley. So maybe just try simming a few years further out?
  5. Really struggling in Scotland this season. It doesn't look like we're going to make playoffs, which was a board requirement, so we'll see if I have enough built up goodwill to keep our job. Very frustrating as I feel this is our strongest team, even by how we're playing, but we can't get the ball in the net. Creating lots of good chances, just can't get past the goalkeepers. Very frustrating. If we survive I definitely need to get better at striker, maybe try a different tactic.
  6. Spartans FC 2024-2025 Not really any progress this season. Our points and goal difference were a bit better but we finished in 4th once again and lost in the playoff final once again. League Table There was a pretty clear gap in quality between us and the top three. Pretty much hung out in 4th for most of the season although a good 2nd half run did get us to 3rd briefly. Kind of coasted the last 4 games once the playoffs were assured. We played last season's League 1 champions Clyde in the first round of the playoffs. Won the first game at home comfortably 2-0, then held on in the second leg to win 3-2 on aggregate. We played Falkirk in the finals and were outmatched, losing both games 1-2. Cups Not as good in the Betfred this season, only managing 5 points to finish 3rd in our group. Tough draw in the Wafer Cup playing at Clyde and lost that 1-3. And not much in the Scottish Cup. We won our first game over Dumbarton 2-0 at home but then played at Montrose, eventual League 1 champions, and lost 0-2. No big money games this season. Key Players Our player of the season and young player of the season was the 23 year old centerback we signed from Patrick Thistle last season, Michael McArthur. Really stepped up in his second season, netting 4 goals and playing some solid defense. And we found a partner for him, making our biggest transfer buy yet during the winter window. We signed 19 year old Mark Forrest from Dundee Utd where he was unhappy for some reason. 20K later and we had a new potential star. 7.15 rating and 2 goals in 11 games was a good start to his career with us. And our top scorer was Bruce Anderson, a feisty veteran striker we signed last season. He got off to a slow start but then really thrived once I moved him into the 10 spot behind a more physical striker. 18 goals in all competitions. Youth Intake Bleh, not much this season, I don't see any likely contributors. Finances Still in great shape, over a million in the bank despite operating at a loss this season. Looking Ahead Would really like to gain promotion this season. I think we figured out some things toward the end of last season, most importantly that I need a more physical player at striker for my 4-4-1-1. We brought in a good one on loan, hopefully I can make that permanent for next season. Very happy with my defense right now, I don't think I'll have to make a lot of changes this coming season. Elsewhere in Scotland Celtic won the Premiership easily again by 19 points over Rangers. Motherwell and Hibernian took the other to Europa spots. Celtic got to the Champions League group stage, finishing 3rd. They then knocked out Lyon in Europa before falling to Valencia. Hibernian played in the Europa group stage after finishing 2nd in the league last season, but finished last in their group. Aberdeen also got to the group stage and finished last. Rangers were knocked out of Europa by Atalanta and Motherwell was knocked out by Molde.
  7. Spartans FC 2023-2024 We regressed slightly this season in terms of points and goal difference but ended up finishing in the playoffs in 4th as the table was a bit more top heavy this season. This was the first season where injuries had a serious impact on the team as we lost several key players for weeks at a time and, unfortunately, we lost our best playmaker in the final, meaningless game of the regular season. In the first round of the playoffs we faced Arbroath, the 9th place team in the Championship. A pair of boring 1-1 draws led to a penalty shootout where they choked on their first two shots, letting us advance. We then faced Airdrie, the third place team in our league. Our lack of depth and having to go through extra time and a shootout proved too much for us, losing at home 0-1 and then at their place 0-2. The lack of goals needs to be addressed next season as our defense largely carried us. League Table We were in first for a couple weeks early but spent most of the season in a 3 way battle for the last two playoff spots. Cups A favorable draw in the Betfred Cup helped us along to winning our group, easily our best result yet. No Premiership teams in the group helped, we got St. Mirren, newly relegated from the SPL and Patrick Thistle from the Championship, Clyde, the team that won our league this season, and Queen's Park, newly promoted into League 1. We won our first two games against St. Mirren and Clyde both 1-0 on injury time goals. Then a penalty shootout win over Patrick Thistle basically guaranteed a spot in the next round and a penalty shootout loss to Queens Park sealed the group win. Our reward was another game at Celtic. Dominated again although we only lost 2-0 but we're laughing to the bank. 3 days before our game at Celtic, we had our first Wafer Cup game, at League 2 side Dumbarton. Rested a lot of players, lost 1-2. Meh The Scottish Cup saw us draw BSC Glasgow in the first round. Playing a lot of subs we only managed a scoreless draw at their park. We had an easy 2-0 in the replay though. The next round had us away to Raith who was just below us in the league table at the time. A hard fought battle that had us on our backfoot most of the game saw us pull out a 2-1 win. Next we drew a home game against Rangers, our first televised game! And it was entertaining as we came back from a 3-1 deficit to manage a 3-3 draw and force a replay at their stadium. Easily our biggest result yet. Yeah, the replay was ugly, 4-0 but a double dose of away games this season against massive teams was huge for our finances. Key Players Kevin Noble swept our awards with Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year, Signing of the Year and Goal of the year. A box to box midfielder, was just tremendous for us on offense and defense. He caught my eye our least season in League 2 playing for Edinburgh City, on loan from Hibernian. Very happy they let him go, we'll try to keep him around for quite awhile. Tied for the team lead with 9 goals. Daniel MacIntyre returned to us after his brief spell at Ross County and jumped right back in as our primary playmaker. So good on set pieces. Two significant knee sprains though have me worried about his long term future. Michael McArthur was our biggest defensive signing, a centerback from Patrick Thistle. Very physical if not necessarily the greatest in the air. And I finally found a goalkeeper I'm happy with in Robbie Mutch. Played for Falkirk for several seasons, even has 16 starts in the Championship and still only 25. Had 11 clean sheets in 27 league games. Youth Intake Got a nice winger out of this year's crop in Callum Manson. Could be my backup right winger next season. A couple potentially useful defensive players as well Finances Looking so very good with our away games at Celtic and Rangers. 1.35 million on the positive side. Now to convince the board to do something with it. Looking Ahead Need to find a way to score more. May experiment with a 4-3-1-2 as I have a couple decent strikers and really want to use a 10 as well. Much of my team should be left intact for the upcoming season so the continuity may help. An attacking right fullback is looking like our biggest target, especially if we're going with a narrower formation.
  8. Spartans FC 2022-2023 Pretty good first season in League 1, finishing comfortable in 5th and missing the playoffs by just a point. At the same time, it was rather disappointing as we were the best team in the league in the first half and in first 2/3 of the way through. Form slid though and then we couldn't win a winnable final game to finish outside the playoffs. League Table Cups Not quite as good a run in the cups this year. Finished last in our Betfred Cup group with only a shootout win and a shootout loss. In the Scottish Cup, we won our first game over Stenhousemuir from League 2, then fell 1-0 at Clyde. No shame there, they were one of the better teams in our league. We at least won our first Wafer Cup game, beating Dunfermline Reserves in a penalty shootout. We also beat Peterhead pretty easily before falling to Airdrie in a shootout. Key Players Our player of the season was a loan signee from Hamilton, left winger Declan McStay. He really acted like a true attacking winger, using his speed and dribbling to wreck havoc on the opposition. Finished with 7 goals and 10 assists in league games and a 7.26 rating. And it looks like we'll be able to sign him on a transfer. Owen Gallacher kept producing although not at his previous level, scoring 13 goals and 5 assists in all competitions. And one of my youth showed up as Marc Fotheringham jumped in as our number 10 and scored 12 goals as a shadow striker. Youth Intake Not so promising this year although central defender Euan Thomson could be useful soon Finances Good shape, lost a little money this season but still very much in the positive. Looking Ahead I think we can make a run at promotion. My front 6 are pretty well set with last year's star player Daniel McIntyre likely returning to us on a transfer after getting no playing time at Ross County. I also have a couple other promising midfielders already signed. Strengthening the defense is big, still looking for a long term solution at goalkeeper and my central defenders are pretty marginal for this league.
  9. Kilmarnock stole Brad Ellis from me Taught me to pay more attention to my youth and who are eyeing them. Signed a couple of them to real contracts including Fotheringham, who is looking like my new 10 in a shadow striker role.
  10. Spartans FC 2021-2022 Excellent season for us as we moved into first place after the 10th game and never gave it up, clinching the league title with 2 games to go and finishing 7 points ahead of 2nd place Edinburgh City. League Table Cups We were entered in the Betfred Cup for the first time and ended up in a group with two League 1 sides, one Championship team and one Premiership team, Kilmarnock. Kilmarnock beat us rather easily but we drew with the other three sides, winning 2 of the 3 subsequent penalty shootouts and finished third in the group, an excellent result. The Wafer Cup didn't go so well, lost in our first game to Stenhousemuir 1-3. No shame in getting knocked out by a higher league team (they're not higher anymore) Great run in the Scottish Cup with some help from a favorable draw. Took out Kelty Hearts in our first match 1-0, beat East Kilbride 3-2 in a replay at home and then defeated Brora 2-1. That led to a 5th round match at Celtic. Yeah, not pretty, lost 0-4 and it could have been uglier. But the money we made from the game was not ugly at all, should give us a nice boost going into next season. Key Players Owen Gallacher's return was huge as he was our leading scorer again with 18 goals as well as 9 assists. And he's signed for another season, we'll see if he can step up. Our player of the year though was Daniel Macintyre, out number 10 that we managed to sign from Queen's Park before Inverness could nab him. Simply too good for this level and devastating delivering set pieces, he racked up 21 assists and netted 9 goals. Unfortunately, teams were lining up to sign him and Ross County got him. I'll definitely try to get him back on loan next season. Neil Slooves was our other big acquisition to shore up our defense. We brought in the central defender on loan from Cove as they had transfer listed him for some reason. Youth Intake One player of note this season, our potentially future number 10 Brad Ellis. Excellent passing skills and teamwork for someone so young, he became our youngest player ever as I gave him a couple of appearances off the bench as the season ended. Finances Looking very good between our title win and the Celtic game, 400K on the positive side after basically breaking even last season. Scotland Celtic dominated the Premiership, winning by 32 over Aberdeen. Dundee Utd and Rangers got the other European spots. Celtic actually got through the group in the Champions League, finishing 2nd behind Real Madrid and ahead of CSKA Moscow and RB Salzburg. They then beat PSG at home 3-1. But were destroyed in Paris 0-7. In Europa League competition, Hibernian fell to AA Gent in the 3rd Qualifying Round, Rangers lost to Valerenga in the 2nd Qualifying Round and Aberdeen had the best finish, losing to Torino in the 4th Qualifying Round. The national team missed out on qualifying for the World Cup, finishing 3rd in their group. Looking Ahead We should be able to survive in League 1, we dealt with those sides quite well last season. Macintyre is a big loss if we can't get him back on loan but everyone else I want is resigned. Going to be looking for upgrades pretty much everywhere but outside of finding my 10, nothing is urgent.
  11. 4-0 whooping made us about 450K. Not bad since we've basically been breaking even
  12. Oh boy, we've reached the 5th round of the Scottish Cup after beating 3 Highland/Lowland sides. Now we get to go play at Celtic. This could get ugly, hopefully we'll get a nice chunk of change out of it though.
  13. Well I'm shocked, Gallacher signed a new deal. Had to give him quite a loyalty bonus but he's well worth it.
  14. Spartans FC 2020-2021 Good first season for us. The board set an expectation of a mid-table finish. We squeaked into the playoffs in 4th place on the last day, then managed to demolish Peterhead from League 1 5-2 at home and then 1-0 at their house. In the final round we faced Stirling, a team we had trouble with all season. We drew with them 1-1 at home in the first game but couldn't find the net and fell 0-1. League Table - Finished 4th over Montrose on goal difference, 12 to 6. Defense was our strength, giving up the second fewest goals. Also scored the 4th fewest but we seemed to get things going in the department toward the end. Also had a decent run in the Scottish Cup, taking it a bit more seriously than usual. Dominated Forres Mechanics 5-1, then we got our rivals, Edinburgh City. Two draws saw us going to penalties where they pulled their final shot wide, allowing us to advance. We had an excellent season against them overall considering they were one of the better teams, beating them 3 times in league play. We then fell 0-1 to Championship side Ross County. We also lost our only match in the Wafer Cup 1-2 to the St. Johnstone Reserves. We mostly ran a 4-4-1-1, nothing too aggressive as far as pressing. Target man attacking, playmaker at the 10 (a spot we need to improve), right wide midfielder getting in close to the striker to support. Left winger spraying in crosses. Our attacking finally started clicking when I started using an underlapping attacking inverted wingback on the left, hopefully I can find a better player for that role in the offseason. Owen Gallacher was our star and top goal scorer. The former Newcastle and Nottingham Forest striker was far too good for this level scoring 19 goals with 3 assists in league play. Unfortunately there's no chance he is staying, drawing attention from English sides. Jordan Manson was one of our primary play makers as a left winger with 5 goals and 10 assists. Youth Intake - Actually a couple players I'm quite excited by here. The scouts love Marc Fotheringham. 6'5" number 10, I think I'm going to move him out to right wide midfielder. Doesn't really have the teamwork or work rate that I want in my 10 but he's a beast physically. Or maybe make him a striker, we'll see. Also loving Jamie Hurst, looks like he could be an excellent ball winner for us. Financially we are in very good shape with a pretty low wage bill and 100K in the good. Looking ahead, I need a new front 2 to improve our attack. Definitely going to miss Gallacher, hopefully we can bring someone in on loan after our strong performance. The defense could probably use some new faces as well, it doesn't look anywhere near as strong as it performed.
  15. Ended up going back to Edinburgh, this time trying Spartans. Visiting Scotland in July so I'd like to get a good run there before then. 4 games left in the season, in a 3 way battle for the last two playoff spots. Should have a more complete update in the next few days.
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