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git2thachoppa

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About git2thachoppa

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    Part-Timer

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    MU, B&HA, Iran, England

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    Man Utd - FM 2007 (see my story thread)

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  1. 2026/27 International Football Review India 2027 Asian Cup Qualifying Malaysia and Thailand both flopped in their preliminary groups, allowing Bhutan and Sri Lanka to advance. Brunei and Maldives had an epic winner-takes-all battle to get to the next stage, with one of the most dramatic finishes in obscure football history. At 1-1, Brunei won a penalty. The Maldives keeper saved, but the taker was fouled as he went for the rebound. Another penalty! A different player took it and hit the crossbar! Then, in the 86th minute, Maldives made it 2-1. There was 4 minutes of stoppage time for Brunei to save themselves and, at 4 minutes 30 seconds, the keeper even went forward for a last-second throw-in... and from it, a Maldives player scored an own goal. Brunei were through, Maldives out!! Brunei's adventure didn't end there. They then qualified for their first ever Asian Cup with a game to spare, getting 12 points from Bahrain and Indonesia. Pakistan make their Asian Cup debut after squeezing in as the best 3rd-placed team. And history was also made for Guam, who aren't even a country and are an island so small they withdraw from most tournaments. They got their first ever qualifying point to deny Vietnam qualifying in Saudi Arabia's place. Finals South Korea won their 5th Asian Cup in the last 7 tournaments after beating Japan 1-0. Defending champions Iraq showed their last performance wasn't a fluke by finishing 3rd after beating Australia 4-0, Iran 2-0 and Saudi Arabia 3-1. After a dream run to 4th at the World Cup, Uzbekistan could only match their previous Asian Cup's quarter-final finish. Their manager stepped down afterwards. Hosain Kaebi's Iran and Serdar Pir's Australia continued to embarrass themselves after not even reaching the final round of 2028 World Cup qualifying. Now, in this Asian Cup, Australia lost 1-0, 2-0 and 4-0 to UAE, China and Iraq in the quarters. They only got out their group thanks to a drawing of lots due to equal goal difference and goals scored, with head-to-head record luckily but inexplicably not being used... Meanwhile, Iran didn't even get out their group; needing to beat Iraq, they instead sleepwalked to a 2-0 loss without a shot on target. Yet both managers remain in charge. Pakistan's debut highlight was nearly getting a 0-0 draw with South Korea, but the Koreans scored a stoppage time winner on the break. Hosts India picked up 2 points from Lebanon and Singapore. Brunei took 42 seconds to score on their Asian Cup debut, but lost 3-2 to Iraq after a heroic display. They failed to score in their other 2 losses to Iran and Saudi Arabia. Lebanese 130-cap legend Jamal Taha stepped down after 12 years in charge, after a late Singapore equaliser stopped his country getting out the group. 2027 CONCACAF Gold Cup Guatemala won their 2nd Gold Cup in 3 campaigns by beating Mexico on penalties after an extra time goal each. USA didn't even make it out of the group stage despite home advantage, drawing 0-0 with Guatemala and losing 1-0 to Panama. Paraguay 2027 Copa América Hosts Paraguay reached the semis for the first time since 1983, and then faced Argentina in their first final since winning it in 1979. But Argentina won 1-0 in a hot-tempered game after the hosts had a man sent off, winning their first Copa América in 16 years. After 5 quarter-finals in a row, Faryd Mondragón's Colombia finally reached a semi, but lost 1-0 AET to the host's penalty. Mexico manager Ignacio Palou was sacked after a failure to win the CONCACAF Gold Cup was followed by a quarter-final exit in a competition they've reached the semis of in the last 2 occasions. Uruguay sacked their manager after 1-0 losses to Costa Rica and Ecuador was followed by a 1-1 draw to the hosts. Despite winning the 2023 Copa América and reaching the 2026 World Cup final as hosts, that wasn't enough to save Brazil's manager from the sack after they finished bottom of their group this year, beneath Venezuela, who they could only draw 1-1 with.
  2. 2026/27 International Football Review India 2027 Asian Cup Qualifying Malaysia and Thailand both flopped in their preliminary groups, allowing Bhutan and Sri Lanka to advance. Brunei and Maldives had an epic winner-takes-all battle to get to the next stage, with one of the most dramatic finishes in obscure football history. At 1-1, Brunei won a penalty. The Maldives keeper saved, but the taker was fouled as he went for the rebound. Another penalty! A different player took it and hit the crossbar! Then, in the 86th minute, Maldives made it 2-1. There was 4 minutes of stoppage time for Brunei to save themselves and, at 4 minutes 30 seconds, the keeper even went forward for a last-second throw-in... and from it, a Maldives player scored an own goal. Brunei were through, Maldives out!! Brunei's adventure didn't end there. They then qualified for their first ever Asian Cup with a game to spare, getting 12 points from Bahrain and Indonesia. Pakistan make their Asian Cup debut after squeezing in as the best 3rd-placed team. And history was also made for Guam, who aren't even a country and are an island so small they withdraw from most tournaments. They got their first ever qualifying point to deny Vietnam qualifying in Saudi Arabia's place. Finals South Korea won their 5th Asian Cup in the last 7 tournaments after beating Japan 1-0. Defending champions Iraq showed their last performance wasn't a fluke by finishing 3rd after beating Australia 4-0, Iran 2-0 and Saudi Arabia 3-1. After a dream run to 4th at the World Cup, Uzbekistan could only match their previous Asian Cup's quarter-final finish. Their manager stepped down afterwards. Hosain Kaebi's Iran and Serdar Pir's Australia continued to embarrass themselves after not even reaching the final round of 2028 World Cup qualifying. Now, in this Asian Cup, Australia lost 1-0, 2-0 and 4-0 to UAE, China and Iraq in the quarters. They only got out their group thanks to a drawing of lots due to equal goal difference and goals scored, with head-to-head record luckily but inexplicably not being used... Meanwhile, Iran didn't even get out their group; needing to beat Iraq, they instead sleepwalked to a 2-0 loss without a shot on target. Yet both managers remain in charge. Pakistan's debut highlight was nearly getting a 0-0 draw with South Korea, but the Koreans scored a stoppage time winner on the break. Hosts India picked up 2 points from Lebanon and Singapore. Brunei took 42 seconds to score on their Asian Cup debut, but lost 3-2 to Iraq after a heroic display. They failed to score in their other 2 losses to Iran and Saudi Arabia. Lebanese 130-cap legend Jamal Taha stepped down after 12 years in charge, after a late Singapore equaliser stopped his country getting out the group. 2027 CONCACAF Gold Cup Guatemala won their 2nd Gold Cup in 3 campaigns by beating Mexico on penalties after an extra time goal each. USA didn't even make it out of the group stage despite home advantage, drawing 0-0 with Guatemala and losing 1-0 to Panama. Paraguay 2027 Copa América Hosts Paraguay reached the semis for the first time since 1983, and then faced Argentina in their first final since winning it in 1979. But Argentina won 1-0 in a hot-tempered game after the hosts had a man sent off, winning their first Copa América in 16 years. After 5 quarter-finals in a row, Faryd Mondragón's Colombia finally reached a semi, but lost 1-0 AET to the host's penalty. Mexico manager Ignacio Palou was sacked after a failure to win the CONCACAF Gold Cup was followed by a quarter-final exit in a competition they've reached the semis of in the last 2 occasions. Uruguay sacked their manager after 1-0 losses to Costa Rica and Ecuador was followed by a 1-1 draw to the hosts. Despite winning the 2023 Copa América and reaching the 2026 World Cup final as hosts, that wasn't enough to save Brazil's manager from the sack after they finished bottom of their group this year, beneath Venezuela, who they could only draw 1-1 with.
  3. 2026/27 Club Football Review Biggest Transfers Andrea Marini (AMC/ST, Italian, 26) - Valencia to Inter - £26m Giacomo Testa (ST, Italian, 25) - Lazio to AC Milan - £25m Colin Huckle (DR/L/C, English, 26) - Man City to Arsenal - £23.5m Adrián Salas (ST, Mexican, 24) - Fiorentina to AC Milan - £20.5m Juan Toledo (MR, Chilean, 26) - HSV to Arsenal - £20.5m Eduardo Maldonado (MC, Chilean, 24) - Napoli to Arsenal - £19.5m Champions League Marcelino García Toral's Newcastle United retained the Champions League with a 1-0 win over the retiring Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid. It's also their 3rd CL in 4 years, their 4th in 7. Jelle Goes' FC Groningen were surprise semi-finalists along with Miroslav Dukic's Atlético Madrid, who lost to Real thanks to an early red card. England Premier League & FA Cup It was Michael Laudrup's final season as he announced his retirement from football. After Wenger's trophy-laden era (6 Premier Leagues in a row and 2 Champions Leagues), Arsenal had hired Javier Aguirre, only for him to be sacked a year later for finishing 5th with their lowest points total in 2 decades. Laudrup came in and, after an initial 5th-placed finish, led Arsenal to 5 more league titles and a rare FA Cup, but never got the big European trophy as his side suffered 5 Champions League final defeats in 7 seasons. 2 of the Big 6 had disastrous seasons, while the rest stuttered at various points, allowing bottom-half Leicester to challenge for the title... before they slipped and the Big 2 of Newcastle and Michael Laudrup's Arsenal found their form in the final stretch. Newcastle won by 8 points, but Leicester still achieved their first European campaign in 27 seasons. Craig Gordon was promoted from youth coach to his first management job at Coventry after Jaime Ordiales retired. He led them to the Europa League quarter-final and back to 7th. Chelsea's Valter Bonacina left, with the club down in 8th in January, to replace Pep Guardiola at Ionikis in Greece. He was replaced with Roma's Chinese globetrotting manager Zhou Chen. They finished 10th, but beat West Ham in the Europa League final on penalties 1-0 to qualify again. Sheffield United used to be a yo-yo club, but lasted 11 years in the bottom half of the Premier League this time before finally getting relegated this season. Paul Ince's Middlesbrough won their first ever FA Cup after beating John Harkes' Norwich on penalties. Football League & Non-League After over a century of failing to get elected into the football league, and 20 years of yo-yoing between the National League and National League North a dozen times, Kettering Town achieved back-to-back promotions and their entry into the Football League at last! The unglamorous Bognor Regis Town made a bit of an impact. The National League side went past 3 fellow NL sides in the FA Cup and only lost 1-0 at Premier League Middlesbrough after a late winner in the 3rd round. They went on to win their first FA Trophy. Spain Aidy Boothroyd took over Barcelona at their lowest after they'd finished 14th. 4 seasons later, he's led Barcelona to their first La Liga title in 17 years. Makes you wonder what would've happened if a certain other English manager hadn't gone to South Korea and was thus available for the job... José Mourinho's career came to an end with disappointment after 2 La Liga titles, as Real Madrid finished outside the top 2 for the first time in 6 seasons. His replacement? Real's first ever American manager: John Harkes. Italy 2 long-term managers finally moved on. After 13 years, 3 Champions Leagues, 7 Serie A titles (including this season's), 1 Club World Cup and 1 Coppa Italia, José Manuel de la Torre left AC Milan to take charge of Bayern Munich. Their search for a replacement would be long and end up being one of the most scandalous managerial changes in football... Marco Di Vaio's first job in management finally ended after 15 years, at the age of 50. After 3 years as assistant at Pisa, he took charge of Serie C2 club AlbinoLeffe in January 2014 and took them all the way to Serie A for a season. But 2.5 years later, he was sacked for being in the bottom half of Serie B. France There was nearly a shock on the cards with my former club. After I took Valenciennes to Europe and a brief flirtation with a title challenge, the club were in a good position, and this season they suddenly topped the table after 11 games, and staying there for most of the next few months. Eventually, they finished 2nd, 1 point behind PSG, easily qualifying for their first Champions League. Netherlands As well as reaching the Champions League semis, Goes' FC Groningen won their first ever Eredivisie title. After 60 years of Ajax/PSV/Feyenoord dominance, they're the 3rd new winner in 6 years. Paul Trollope left Ajax after 2 league titles to join Napoli in December. He was replaced with Ionokis manager Pep Guardiola. Scotland Gary Naysmith's first job in football ended after over 11 years with Partick Thistle. He couldn't get the club back to the Scottish Championship, making the playoff spots 6 times but only reaching the final once. South Korea My former club Busan won the league again, though not the Champions League this time. The manager then left for Villareal and was replaced with a manager who had taken Seoul from the second tier to the FA Cup final and 2 league playoff finals in a row. A sound choice, but Busan only finished 3rd in their Champions League group and sank to BOTTOM of the league at the halfway point of the season...
  4. 2026/27 Club Football Review Biggest Transfers Andrea Marini (AMC/ST, Italian, 26) - Valencia to Inter - £26m Giacomo Testa (ST, Italian, 25) - Lazio to AC Milan - £25m Colin Huckle (DR/L/C, English, 26) - Man City to Arsenal - £23.5m Adrián Salas (ST, Mexican, 24) - Fiorentina to AC Milan - £20.5m Juan Toledo (MR, Chilean, 26) - HSV to Arsenal - £20.5m Eduardo Maldonado (MC, Chilean, 24) - Napoli to Arsenal - £19.5m Champions League Marcelino García Toral's Newcastle United retained the Champions League with a 1-0 win over the retiring Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid. It's also their 3rd CL in 4 years, their 4th in 7. Jelle Goes' FC Groningen were surprise semi-finalists along with Miroslav Dukic's Atlético Madrid, who lost to Real thanks to an early red card. England Premier League & FA Cup It was Michael Laudrup's final season as he announced his retirement from football. After Wenger's trophy-laden era (6 Premier Leagues in a row and 2 Champions Leagues), Arsenal had hired Javier Aguirre, only for him to be sacked a year later for finishing 5th with their lowest points total in 2 decades. Laudrup came in and, after an initial 5th-placed finish, led Arsenal to 5 more league titles and a rare FA Cup, but never got the big European trophy as his side suffered 5 Champions League final defeats in 7 seasons. 2 of the Big 6 had disastrous seasons, while the rest stuttered at various points, allowing bottom-half Leicester to challenge for the title... before they slipped and the Big 2 of Newcastle and Michael Laudrup's Arsenal found their form in the final stretch. Newcastle won by 8 points, but Leicester still achieved their first European campaign in 27 seasons. Craig Gordon was promoted from youth coach to his first management job at Coventry after Jaime Ordiales retired. He led them to the Europa League quarter-final and back to 7th. Chelsea's Valter Bonacina left, with the club down in 8th in January, to replace Pep Guardiola at Ionikis in Greece. He was replaced with Roma's Chinese globetrotting manager Zhou Chen. They finished 10th, but beat West Ham in the Europa League final on penalties 1-0 to qualify again. Sheffield United used to be a yo-yo club, but lasted 11 years in the bottom half of the Premier League this time before finally getting relegated this season. Paul Ince's Middlesbrough won their first ever FA Cup after beating John Harkes' Norwich on penalties. Football League & Non-League After over a century of failing to get elected into the football league, and 20 years of yo-yoing between the National League and National League North a dozen times, Kettering Town achieved back-to-back promotions and their entry into the Football League at last! The unglamorous Bognor Regis Town made a bit of an impact. The National League side went past 3 fellow NL sides in the FA Cup and only lost 1-0 at Premier League Middlesbrough after a late winner in the 3rd round. They went on to win their first FA Trophy. Spain Aidy Boothroyd took over Barcelona at their lowest after they'd finished 14th. 4 seasons later, he's led Barcelona to their first La Liga title in 17 years. Makes you wonder what would've happened if a certain other English manager hadn't gone to South Korea and was thus available for the job... José Mourinho's career came to an end with disappointment after 2 La Liga titles, as Real Madrid finished outside the top 2 for the first time in 6 seasons. His replacement? Real's first ever American manager: John Harkes. Italy 2 long-term managers finally moved on. After 13 years, 3 Champions Leagues, 7 Serie A titles (including this season's), 1 Club World Cup and 1 Coppa Italia, José Manuel de la Torre left AC Milan to take charge of Bayern Munich. Their search for a replacement would be long and end up being one of the most scandalous managerial changes in football... Marco Di Vaio's first job in management finally ended after 15 years, at the age of 50. After 3 years as assistant at Pisa, he took charge of Serie C2 club AlbinoLeffe in January 2014 and took them all the way to Serie A for a season. But 2.5 years later, he was sacked for being in the bottom half of Serie B. France There was nearly a shock on the cards with my former club. After I took Valenciennes to Europe and a brief flirtation with a title challenge, the club were in a good position, and this season they suddenly topped the table after 11 games, and staying there for most of the next few months. Eventually, they finished 2nd, 1 point behind PSG, easily qualifying for their first Champions League. Netherlands As well as reaching the Champions League semis, Goes' FC Groningen won their first ever Eredivisie title. After 60 years of Ajax/PSV/Feyenoord dominance, they're the 3rd new winner in 6 years. Paul Trollope left Ajax after 2 league titles to join Napoli in December. He was replaced with Ionokis manager Pep Guardiola. Scotland Gary Naysmith's first job in football ended after over 11 years with Partick Thistle. He couldn't get the club back to the Scottish Championship, making the playoff spots 6 times but only reaching the final once. South Korea My former club Busan won the league again, though not the Champions League this time. The manager then left for Villareal and was replaced with a manager who had taken Seoul from the second tier to the FA Cup final and 2 league playoff finals in a row. A sound choice, but Busan only finished 3rd in their Champions League group and sank to BOTTOM of the league at the halfway point of the season... I don't feel like I'm having this problem. There has been a couple of inexplicable spells where suddenly they miss everything while conceding everything, but I had 3 pretty regular goalscorers in my team with Sibiya, Santos and Alexandre. Reilly could be the next one, and it certainly wasn't a problem elsewhere. Though I've had a couple of times in FM 07 when a supposedly perfect striker didn't score anything (Kanu in this save), it takes time to recognise the key attributes. I remember one of the best goalscorers in the world had finishing of 9.
  5. FM 07 Club Name of the Day: Oxford United Stars from... Derry, Northern Ireland. No explanation on Wikipedia for the name and logo...
  6. FM 07 Club Name of the Day: Oxford United Stars from... Derry, Northern Ireland. No explanation on Wikipedia for the name and logo...
  7. I don't know how many shots he had, but he's been a clinical striker and his shot percentage was decent too. He probably just had too many quiet games and wasn't as impactful as a sub as someone like Santos. I discovered having strong players was important when I was figuring out why the likes of super Arsenal were so good, then I realised their players are tanks, with defenders that have 20 Jumping and Strength. I can't get that ability in strikers though. There's no quality strikers around with those attributes, while Sibiya (and later Reilly) are superb strikers who only have 16 in Jumping, so it's a judgement call of getting strikers who are goalscorers even if they'll lose physical battles. Meanwhile, especially over the next few seasons, Newcastle and Arsenal are mopping up all the super strong and quality players, so the gap between them and everyone else doesn't look like getting smaller.
  8. 2026/27 Finale, Season Review and Squad Review Our impressive 2-0 win away to Arsenal combined with Liverpool and Boro only getting draws. So with 4 games to go, the top 5 looks like this: 1 - Newcastle United - 67 2 - Manchester United - 62 3 - Leicester City - 60 4 - Liverpool - 59 --------------------------------- 5 - Middlesbrough - 55 Meanwhile, City fans are protesting with the team looking like they won't even qualify for the Europa League and a week later, Slobodan Drapic abandons ship for Sampdoria. So all is going well, but there's always room for another choke job! Newcastle are likely to win the title, and we should confirm Champions League football soon, but we need to finish 2nd to get into the group stages. =================================== (2nd) Man Utd 2 - 1 West Ham (14th) It took only 20 seconds for Ryan (MC) to score, and West Ham were so lucky not to lose 4-0. They equalised thanks to Kirn (DC) ignoring instructions and choosing to close down the would-be assister rather than keep the eventual goalscorer marked. He still won MOTM. My substutions worked perfectly. Topic (MR) came on and quickly assisted for january signing and sub Reilly (ST) for a now-once-again trademark late United winner. 3 Games To Go 1 - Newcastle United - 70 2 - Manchester United - 65 3 - Liverpool - 62 4 - Leicester City - 60 ------------------------------------- 5 - Arsenal - 57 Newcastle United beat 10-man Man City 2-0 at home. Liverpool got a win, but Leicester couldn't get the job done as they lost 2-0 at home to Arsenal. Bottom club Forest stole a 0-0 draw at Boro with 10 men, making the Champions League look less likely for them at 56 points. The club picks up awards as Viveros (WB/M/AML) wins Player of the Month with 2 goals and 1 assist in 4 games, Souza (DR/C) is runner-up with an average rating of 7.75, while I win Manager of the Month for a 3rd time this season after 10 points out of 12. =================================== Next is a huge game against Liverpool. I'm not confident of reaching Newcastle (if only we scored that late penalty against them...), but a win here would not only secure CL qualification, but likely 2nd and group stage qualification, as well as completing our big statement this season of dominance against all our Big 6 rivals. I change formation to counter their 3-5-2. Castillo (DC) led the rally cries and I've picked players who have been really up for the title chase, and dropped a couple who were nervy, including star striker Sibiya, to the bench. (3rd) Liverpool 1 - 0 Man Utd (2nd) Nope, they choked. On 2 minutes, their player had a long-distance shot that somehow went over/through the keeper, game over. Last ditch defending for the rest of the match meant the ball somehow never crossed their line, then they inexplicably controlled the later stages when they should've been cowering in their own half. 2 Games To Go 1 - Newcastle United - 73 2 - Manchester United - 65 (+20 GD) 3 - Liverpool - 65 (+16 GD) 4 - Arsenal - 60 (+27 GD) --------------------------------- 5 - Leicester City - 60 (+8 GD) An early penalty was enough for Newcastle to beat Coventry 1-0 away and clinch the title. In London, Arsenal thrashed midtable Sheffield Wednesday 5-1 while Leicester choked with a 3-0 loss to West Ham to make things interesting. =================================== (2nd) Man Utd 0 - 0 Preston (17th) The choke job continues. Despite dominating as normal in the first half, the relegation-threatened side had 7 shots and we had 1. The ball wouldn't go over the line, and for most of the match the team weren't interested in trying to make it do so. With 1 Game To Go 1 - Newcastle United - 76 2 - Manchester United - 66 (+20 GD) 3 - Liverpool - 65 (+15 GD) 4 - Arsenal - 63 (+28 GD) --------------------------------- 5 - Leicester City - 63 (+9 GD) Leicester help us by beating Liverpool 1-0 at home with an early penalty. Arsenal beat Spurs 2-1 away. This means we have effectively secured Champions League qualification after 4 seasons away. =================================== However, with 3rd and 4th having to go through qualifying, we can still complete our second chokejob in 2 seasons by falling to 3rd or 4th in the final game. Especially away to ****ing bogey side Middlesbrough, who ruined our final game last season too, and just got their 5th 0-0 in a row. (6th) Middlesbrough 1 - 0 Man Utd (2nd) Choke job complete. Well done everyone. A lifeless cowardly display saw the score 0-0 with 10 minutes to go. With Liverpool thrashing Sheffield Wednesday, we needed to get a winner. Middlesbrough were also sitting back, so I pushed the team forward. Inexplicably, a few minutes later, the defender didn't do his job and left the striker unmarked to embarrassingly waltz into our area and tap it to his partner to score into the open goal and end his 16 hours without a goal. Arsenal then scored a stoppage time winner against Newcastle to finish above us too. While there's no difference between 3rd and 4th qualification-wise, it rubs further salt into the wound. Another good season, or at least half season, ending in dismay thanks to Middlesbrough for the 2nd year in a row. Yet if we'd ended with a win but still finished 4th, we'd be celebrating. Premier League Table 1 - Newcastle United - 76 2 - Liverpool - 68 3 - Arsenal - 66 (+29 GD) 4 - Manchester United - 66 (+19 GD) ---------------------------------------------------------- 5 - Leicester City - 64 ---------------------------------------------------------- 6 - Middlesbrough - 61* 7 - Coventry - 60 8 - Manchester City - 53 9 - Norwich - 51 (+4 GD) 10 - Chelsea - 51 (+2 GD)* 11 - West Bromwich Albion - 51 (0 GD) 12 - Tottenham Hotspur - 50 13 - Sheffield Wednesday - 47 14 - West Ham United - 44* 15 - Leeds United - 40 16 - Preston North End - 38 (-14 GD) 17 - Blackburn Rovers - 38 (-19 GD) ---------------------------------------------------------- 18 - Sheffield United - 35 19 - Notthingham Forest - 30 (-20 GD) 20 - Queens Park Rangers - 30 (-29 GD) *Chelsea, Middlesbrough and West Ham United qualify for the Europa League as Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup winners respectively. Season Review The season was an improvement. We rose to 4th, though got the same points and about the same goals (for and against) as last season, but this is in spite of our crazy losing spell away from home up to December, which won't be repeated next season. After reaching the League Cup semis last season, we made the FA Cup semis this time, though we were knocked out at the first knockout stage of the Europa League for the 3rd season in a row. We were unbeaten at Old Trafford in the league, only losing a nothing game in the Europa League and then to Excelsior as we were knocked out. Away from home, we initially drew 1 and then lost 6 in a row, as well as in the League Cup 3-0 to Championship Cardiff. We finally got our first away win in December and only lost 4 more times away. Paul Ince's Middlesbrough have become our bogey side, beating us in both legs of the League Cup semi-final last season and on penalties in the FA Cup semis this season, as well as ruining the final game of our last 2 seasons. The only team we didn't get at least 4 points off of was Liverpool, who stole an away 0-0 draw and then a lucky 1-0 home win. The Reserves improved 4 places to 4th, despite last season playing with a lot of still-talented veterans. They didn't have that luxury this season, only using young players. The Under-18s won their 10th title in a row as well as back-to-back Under-18 Cups. They also matched the Group's record for 'biggest win' with another 6-0 win and 'most games without conceding' with 5. Tactics When our awful away form made us look like a relegation-battling team, I changed the tactics around. When I first arrived, I had to work with what I had and gradually build a squad of physically stronger and better players. So originally, we wanted to keep the ball out of the area and force deadly players onto their weak foot. But now, with stronger players, we could dictate their attack. Crosses were no longer a threat, so I told my defenders to now force opposing attackers into the flanks. Meanwhile, I brought my wingers into play more to send more crosses in for our more powerful strikers. That was a turning point. When out of possession, they'd run down the flanks, cross it or win a corner, then we'd clear it away. Then, when we were in possession, we could make the most of our wingers and their top class crossing. And we were drawing so many fouls that we usually ended up playing against 10 men! Confidence, Reputation & Finances The board are very pleased with not only qualifying for Europe, but the Champions League. If we reach the group stage, the big money starts coming in. The fans are delighted with the progress the club has been making. I'm still the only 'World Class' manager in the game. Staff Brian McClair retires after nearly 3 decades in a variety of roles, from youth to coaching to assistant manager, at Man Utd. Coach Mark Dempsey also retires after 2-3 decades. After 280 games and 2 Europa League trophies in 8 seasons at United, left-back Farley retires from playing to become fitness and/or tactics coach. Former players Darren Fletcher and Petar Malinov are made Under-18 and Reserve managers respectively. Norwich went for 3 of my scouts, but only got 1. I replace him with a scout I had at Young Boys. Awards Casey, the left winger out on loan, is runner-up for Young Player of the Year. Captain Hamann (DL/C) and new signings Viveros (WB/M/AML) and Kirn (DC) are in the Team of the Year (Kirn's a sub). Kirn and Hamann are also runner-up and 3rd for Footballer of the Year. Santos' free-kick winner against Man City is runner-up for Goal of the Season. I'm runner-up for Manager of the Year. Viveros is runner-up for signing of the season. That's 2 years in a row, after Sibiya got the same last season. Surprisingly, Reilly (ST), one of the january signings to get us goals, and did so with a vital 2 goals and 2 assists in 3(10) games, was runner-up for 'Worst Signing of the Season'. That's also 2 years in a row I've made allegedly one of the 2 worst signings after Kanu last season, but I'm baffled by this choice... especially as Ramírez, a striker I signed at the same time from the same club, cost a bit more and only played 1(1) games, no goals. Sibiya (ST) was Man Utd Fan's Player of the Year for the 2nd season in a row. Squad GK 1 - Gilles Dupraz - 25 years old, Tunisia (5 caps) / France, sold to Valencia for £5m - Played 13, Conceded 12, Clean Sheets 4, Man of the Match 2, Average Rating 7.23 17 - Hamada Abdel Aziz - 22, Egypt (5), Bosman (£275k compensation) from Arab Contractors (Egypt) - P 30, C 23, CS 16, AvR 7.03 13. Thomas Butler - 23, England (U21), valued at £2.6m - P 9(1), C 9, CS 4, AvR 6.40 I really wanted to keep Dupraz, but even being first-choice wasn't enough and he still wanted to leave. He went to Valencia and played 7 games, getting 2 clean sheets and a 7.29 average rating. But we have a buy-back clause and his release clause is currently only £5m, so he may one day return. It was Abdel Aziz who stepped up to become #1 keeper. Butler is a still a future England #1 though. Chitaia is a slightly older #3 coming in for free in the summer, so our goalkeepers are set. First Team - Abdel Aziz, Butler Backup - Chitaia Out - Dupraz Defenders 6. Volker Kirn - DC - 25, Germany (4), Bosman from AC Milan (Serie A) - P 35(2), Goals 1, Assists 1, MOTM 2, AvR 7.27 12. Souza - SW, DR/C - 28, Portugal (2 goals in 34 caps) / Brazil, £8m - P 35(2), G 2, MotM 4, AvR 7.19 16. Mohammad Ali Rafiei - DR/C - 30, Iran (24), £3.2m - P 30(5), A 2, MotM 1, AvR 6.91 5. Martin Hamann - DL/C, WBL - 33, Austria (1 in 62), £3.75k - P 32(4), A 1, MotM 5, AvR 7.14 19. Arturo Castillo - DC - 29, Mexico (26), £5.75m - P 18(4), MotM 3, AvR 6.91 2. John Preston - DR/C, WBR - 32, Scotland (49), £1.2m - P 20(6), AvR 6.92 + Aleksandrowicz, (McIntosh, Viveros) World class veterans Hamann and Preston were consistent mainstays until February. Preston got injured as his body started to go, while Hamann regularly made mistakes to the point I dropped him for other defenders playing out of position. So they'll both be sold if possible, though Hamann might have 1 more year left. Although capable of being rocks, Souza and Rafiei are equally capable of errors when marking. We have 2 centre-backs coming in the summer, so they can permanently move to their other right-back position. We could do with an attacking right wing-back for home matches and when we're chasing a win. As for left-back, wing-back and winger McIntosh is progressing into the new left-back position, and Viveros can play there 'out of position' as he's a wing-back too. First Team - Rafiei (DR), Kirn, Souza (DR) Rotation - Castillo, Hartharson, Padilla Out - Hamann, Preston MR 11. Srdjan Topic - ML/R, AML/R - 28, Bosnia & Herzegovina (33), £7.75m - P 25(11), A 6, AvR 6.81 22. Roddy Pressley - WB/M/AMR - 30, Scotland (1 in 27) / England, £5m - P 26(4), G 2, A 4, AvR 6.83 + Aleksandrowicz Topic's assist and key pass rates were disappointing. Pressley was our 'away game option' as he was able to defend too, though he's quite a fouler. He's also not someone to expect a match-winning goal or assist from. This is our weak area. I could do with both a better attacking and defending right winger. Let's see who's coming in free in the summer. Rotation - Pressley Out - Topic ML 3. Juan Pablo Viveros - WB/M/AML - 32, Chile (2 goals in 55 caps), Bosman from Torino (Serie A) - P 37(2), G 5, A 7, MotM 4, AvR 7.28 7. Steve McIntosh - WB/M/AML - 29, R.o.Ireland (8 in 41), £5.25m - P 26(1), G 1, A 3, MotM 2, AvR 7.30 + Anderson, Topic It was a decade ago that Viveros played under me for Chile, but even at 31 years old he was sensational in the Premier League. Him and Kirn proved brilliant free transfers. McIntosh also enjoyed rampaging up and down the left wing with him. Both could play anywhere from defence to attack and swapped roles without affecting performance. But McIntosh tore his hamstring in February and was greatly missed. Andy Casey had another good loan at a Premier League club, helping Leicester almost do a Leicester. His average rating was higher this time at 7.00 as he got 2 goals and 5 assists in 33 games. He's still only 21, but next season he'll be a United player. First Team - McIntosh, Viveros Backup - Casey DM/MC 4. Bartosz Aleksandrowicz - DR/C, DM, MR/C - 24, Poland (20 caps), Bosman from Bayern Munich (£3m compensation) - P 38(4), G 2, A 3, AvR 7.12 14. Bob Ryan - MC - 30, England (5), £5.25m - P 17(6), G 2, A 1, AvR 6.96 + Tsotetsi Aleksandrowicz was the defensive midfielder we needed, and Ryan even became a more successful tackler and no longer just an attacking choice. First Team - Aleksandrowicz, Ryan Rotation - Artime AMC 15. Anderson - ML/AML/AMC - 32, Brazil (2 in 36), £550k - P 33(12), G 2, A 10, MotM 1, AvR 6.98 24. Tsotetsi - MC/AMC - 23, South Africa (4), £6.25m - P 33(12), G 4, A 8, MotM 1, AvR 7.04 + Alexandre Anderson's sensational form earned him an extension to next year, though he probably won't hit these heights in that final season. However, a new signing is coming in the summer. Unexpectedly, Tsotetsi was no good at MC this season despite establishing himself there last season, but he got a good amount of assist and goals at AMC again. However, he can be quiet and it's time to step up and become even better. Rotation - Anderson, Artime, Tsotetsi ST 9. Neil Sibiya - 24, South Africa (9 in 12), £27m - P 34(7), G 20, A 2, MotM 3, AvR 6.90 10. Santos - 26, Brazil (5 in 18), £16.75m - P 32(11), G 16, A 1, MotM 4, AvR 7.02 18. Joe Adams - 31, R.o.Ireland (24 in 46), £6.75m - P 12(15), G 2, A 7, MotM 1, AvR 6.74 29. Eric Kanu - 30, Nigeria (34 in 50) / England, £7.5m - P 4(4), G 1, AvR 6.50 8. Ali Boussoufa - 29, Morocco (18 in 39), joining Hertha BSC (Bundesliga) on a Bosman - P 5(5), G 1, A 2, MotM 2, AvR 6.60 36. Kenny Reilly - 26, Scottish (5 goals in 9 caps), £9.5m from Arsenal - P 3(10), G 2, A 2, AvR 6.69 20. Ángel Ramírez - 27, Mexican (1 goal in 6 caps) / Spanish, £10.5m from Arsenal - P 1(1), AvR 6.50 23. Alexandre - AMC/ST - 33, Brazilian (16 goals in 45 caps), loan from Hamburger SV (Bundesliga) - P 11(5), G 6, A 5, MotM 1, AvR 7.00 If I had never signed Sibiya, United would've been bottom of the table by Christmas, I would've been sacked, and probably we wouldn't be in the Champions League now. He was scoring nearly all the goals as he confirmed his status as one of the world's top young strikers. After a sensational World Cup for hosts Brazil finishing joint-top scorer, Santos had a slow start. But when the January transfer window came and I looked for a goalscorer, he started banging them in himself. Adams' strike rate was not good enough, but he still provided assists with his crosses. At his age though, he probably won't have the strength to keep compensating with those assists. Time to go. It was a make-or-break season for joint-record signing Kanu after an injury plagued debut year when he only scored in the final game, but he only managed 1 goal and not a lot else when given games this season. He then put in a transfer request anyway. When Chelsea balked at his price and wages and no one else signed him, he requested to be removed, but it was refused. He'll be a famous flop. Needing a goalscorer for the second half of the season, I loaned Alexandre for the second January in a row, and he was sensational this time. It's a shame he'll be 33 next season but he could be a loan option once more... I had a choice between Ramírez and Reilly from Arsenal in January, and decided I may as well take both. It was Reilly who took advantage and made vital contributions. First Team - Santos, Sibiya Rotation - Ramírez, Reilly Out - Adams, Alexandre (returns from loan), Boussoufa, Kanu
  9. 2026/27 Finale, Season Review and Squad Review Our impressive 2-0 win away to Arsenal combined with Liverpool and Boro only getting draws. So with 4 games to go, the top 5 looks like this: 1 - Newcastle United - 67 2 - Manchester United - 62 3 - Leicester City - 60 4 - Liverpool - 59 --------------------------------- 5 - Middlesbrough - 55 Meanwhile, City fans are protesting with the team looking like they won't even qualify for the Europa League and a week later, Slobodan Drapic abandons ship for Sampdoria. So all is going well, but there's always room for another choke job! Newcastle are likely to win the title, and we should confirm Champions League football soon, but we need to finish 2nd to get into the group stages. =================================== (2nd) Man Utd 2 - 1 West Ham (14th) It took only 20 seconds for Ryan (MC) to score, and West Ham were so lucky not to lose 4-0. They equalised thanks to Kirn (DC) ignoring instructions and choosing to close down the would-be assister rather than keep the eventual goalscorer marked. He still won MOTM. My substutions worked perfectly. Topic (MR) came on and quickly assisted for january signing and sub Reilly (ST) for a now-once-again trademark late United winner. 3 Games To Go 1 - Newcastle United - 70 2 - Manchester United - 65 3 - Liverpool - 62 4 - Leicester City - 60 ------------------------------------- 5 - Arsenal - 57 Newcastle United beat 10-man Man City 2-0 at home. Liverpool got a win, but Leicester couldn't get the job done as they lost 2-0 at home to Arsenal. Bottom club Forest stole a 0-0 draw at Boro with 10 men, making the Champions League look less likely for them at 56 points. The club picks up awards as Viveros (WB/M/AML) wins Player of the Month with 2 goals and 1 assist in 4 games, Souza (DR/C) is runner-up with an average rating of 7.75, while I win Manager of the Month for a 3rd time this season after 10 points out of 12. =================================== Next is a huge game against Liverpool. I'm not confident of reaching Newcastle (if only we scored that late penalty against them...), but a win here would not only secure CL qualification, but likely 2nd and group stage qualification, as well as completing our big statement this season of dominance against all our Big 6 rivals. I change formation to counter their 3-5-2. Castillo (DC) led the rally cries and I've picked players who have been really up for the title chase, and dropped a couple who were nervy, including star striker Sibiya, to the bench. (3rd) Liverpool 1 - 0 Man Utd (2nd) Nope, they choked. On 2 minutes, their player had a long-distance shot that somehow went over/through the keeper, game over. Last ditch defending for the rest of the match meant the ball somehow never crossed their line, then they inexplicably controlled the later stages when they should've been cowering in their own half. 2 Games To Go 1 - Newcastle United - 73 2 - Manchester United - 65 (+20 GD) 3 - Liverpool - 65 (+16 GD) 4 - Arsenal - 60 (+27 GD) --------------------------------- 5 - Leicester City - 60 (+8 GD) An early penalty was enough for Newcastle to beat Coventry 1-0 away and clinch the title. In London, Arsenal thrashed midtable Sheffield Wednesday 5-1 while Leicester choked with a 3-0 loss to West Ham to make things interesting. =================================== (2nd) Man Utd 0 - 0 Preston (17th) The choke job continues. Despite dominating as normal in the first half, the relegation-threatened side had 7 shots and we had 1. The ball wouldn't go over the line, and for most of the match the team weren't interested in trying to make it do so. With 1 Game To Go 1 - Newcastle United - 76 2 - Manchester United - 66 (+20 GD) 3 - Liverpool - 65 (+15 GD) 4 - Arsenal - 63 (+28 GD) --------------------------------- 5 - Leicester City - 63 (+9 GD) Leicester help us by beating Liverpool 1-0 at home with an early penalty. Arsenal beat Spurs 2-1 away. This means we have effectively secured Champions League qualification after 4 seasons away. =================================== However, with 3rd and 4th having to go through qualifying, we can still complete our second chokejob in 2 seasons by falling to 3rd or 4th in the final game. Especially away to ****ing bogey side Middlesbrough, who ruined our final game last season too, and just got their 5th 0-0 in a row. (6th) Middlesbrough 1 - 0 Man Utd (2nd) Choke job complete. Well done everyone. A lifeless cowardly display saw the score 0-0 with 10 minutes to go. With Liverpool thrashing Sheffield Wednesday, we needed to get a winner. Middlesbrough were also sitting back, so I pushed the team forward. Inexplicably, a few minutes later, the defender didn't do his job and left the striker unmarked to embarrassingly waltz into our area and tap it to his partner to score into the open goal and end his 16 hours without a goal. Arsenal then scored a stoppage time winner against Newcastle to finish above us too. While there's no difference between 3rd and 4th qualification-wise, it rubs further salt into the wound. Another good season, or at least half season, ending in dismay thanks to Middlesbrough for the 2nd year in a row. Yet if we'd ended with a win but still finished 4th, we'd be celebrating. Premier League Table 1 - Newcastle United - 76 2 - Liverpool - 68 3 - Arsenal - 66 (+29 GD) 4 - Manchester United - 66 (+19 GD) ---------------------------------------------------------- 5 - Leicester City - 64 ---------------------------------------------------------- 6 - Middlesbrough - 61* 7 - Coventry - 60 8 - Manchester City - 53 9 - Norwich - 51 (+4 GD) 10 - Chelsea - 51 (+2 GD)* 11 - West Bromwich Albion - 51 (0 GD) 12 - Tottenham Hotspur - 50 13 - Sheffield Wednesday - 47 14 - West Ham United - 44* 15 - Leeds United - 40 16 - Preston North End - 38 (-14 GD) 17 - Blackburn Rovers - 38 (-19 GD) ---------------------------------------------------------- 18 - Sheffield United - 35 19 - Notthingham Forest - 30 (-20 GD) 20 - Queens Park Rangers - 30 (-29 GD) *Chelsea, Middlesbrough and West Ham United qualify for the Europa League as Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup winners respectively. Season Review The season was an improvement. We rose to 4th, though got the same points and about the same goals (for and against) as last season, but this is in spite of our crazy losing spell away from home up to December, which won't be repeated next season. After reaching the League Cup semis last season, we made the FA Cup semis this time, though we were knocked out at the first knockout stage of the Europa League for the 3rd season in a row. We were unbeaten at Old Trafford in the league, only losing a nothing game in the Europa League and then to Excelsior as we were knocked out. Away from home, we initially drew 1 and then lost 6 in a row, as well as in the League Cup 3-0 to Championship Cardiff. We finally got our first away win in December and only lost 4 more times away. Paul Ince's Middlesbrough have become our bogey side, beating us in both legs of the League Cup semi-final last season and on penalties in the FA Cup semis this season, as well as ruining the final game of our last 2 seasons. The only team we didn't get at least 4 points off of was Liverpool, who stole an away 0-0 draw and then a lucky 1-0 home win. The Reserves improved 4 places to 4th, despite last season playing with a lot of still-talented veterans. They didn't have that luxury this season, only using young players. The Under-18s won their 10th title in a row as well as back-to-back Under-18 Cups. They also matched the Group's record for 'biggest win' with another 6-0 win and 'most games without conceding' with 5. Tactics When our awful away form made us look like a relegation-battling team, I changed the tactics around. When I first arrived, I had to work with what I had and gradually build a squad of physically stronger and better players. So originally, we wanted to keep the ball out of the area and force deadly players onto their weak foot. But now, with stronger players, we could dictate their attack. Crosses were no longer a threat, so I told my defenders to now force opposing attackers into the flanks. Meanwhile, I brought my wingers into play more to send more crosses in for our more powerful strikers. That was a turning point. When out of possession, they'd run down the flanks, cross it or win a corner, then we'd clear it away. Then, when we were in possession, we could make the most of our wingers and their top class crossing. And we were drawing so many fouls that we usually ended up playing against 10 men! Confidence, Reputation & Finances The board are very pleased with not only qualifying for Europe, but the Champions League. If we reach the group stage, the big money starts coming in. The fans are delighted with the progress the club has been making. I'm still the only 'World Class' manager in the game. Staff Brian McClair retires after nearly 3 decades in a variety of roles, from youth to coaching to assistant manager, at Man Utd. Coach Mark Dempsey also retires after 2-3 decades. After 280 games and 2 Europa League trophies in 8 seasons at United, left-back Farley retires from playing to become fitness and/or tactics coach. Former players Darren Fletcher and Petar Malinov are made Under-18 and Reserve managers respectively. Norwich went for 3 of my scouts, but only got 1. I replace him with a scout I had at Young Boys. Awards Casey, the left winger out on loan, is runner-up for Young Player of the Year. Captain Hamann (DL/C) and new signings Viveros (WB/M/AML) and Kirn (DC) are in the Team of the Year (Kirn's a sub). Kirn and Hamann are also runner-up and 3rd for Footballer of the Year. Santos' free-kick winner against Man City is runner-up for Goal of the Season. I'm runner-up for Manager of the Year. Viveros is runner-up for signing of the season. That's 2 years in a row, after Sibiya got the same last season. Surprisingly, Reilly (ST), one of the january signings to get us goals, and did so with a vital 2 goals and 2 assists in 3(10) games, was runner-up for 'Worst Signing of the Season'. That's also 2 years in a row I've made allegedly one of the 2 worst signings after Kanu last season, but I'm baffled by this choice... especially as Ramírez, a striker I signed at the same time from the same club, cost a bit more and only played 1(1) games, no goals. Sibiya (ST) was Man Utd Fan's Player of the Year for the 2nd season in a row. Squad GK 1 - Gilles Dupraz - 25 years old, Tunisia (5 caps) / France, sold to Valencia for £5m - Played 13, Conceded 12, Clean Sheets 4, Man of the Match 2, Average Rating 7.23 17 - Hamada Abdel Aziz - 22, Egypt (5), Bosman (£275k compensation) from Arab Contractors (Egypt) - P 30, C 23, CS 16, AvR 7.03 13. Thomas Butler - 23, England (U21), valued at £2.6m - P 9(1), C 9, CS 4, AvR 6.40 I really wanted to keep Dupraz, but even being first-choice wasn't enough and he still wanted to leave. He went to Valencia and played 7 games, getting 2 clean sheets and a 7.29 average rating. But we have a buy-back clause and his release clause is currently only £5m, so he may one day return. It was Abdel Aziz who stepped up to become #1 keeper. Butler is a still a future England #1 though. Chitaia is a slightly older #3 coming in for free in the summer, so our goalkeepers are set. First Team - Abdel Aziz, Butler Backup - Chitaia Out - Dupraz Defenders 6. Volker Kirn - DC - 25, Germany (4), Bosman from AC Milan (Serie A) - P 35(2), Goals 1, Assists 1, MOTM 2, AvR 7.27 12. Souza - SW, DR/C - 28, Portugal (2 goals in 34 caps) / Brazil, £8m - P 35(2), G 2, MotM 4, AvR 7.19 16. Mohammad Ali Rafiei - DR/C - 30, Iran (24), £3.2m - P 30(5), A 2, MotM 1, AvR 6.91 5. Martin Hamann - DL/C, WBL - 33, Austria (1 in 62), £3.75k - P 32(4), A 1, MotM 5, AvR 7.14 19. Arturo Castillo - DC - 29, Mexico (26), £5.75m - P 18(4), MotM 3, AvR 6.91 2. John Preston - DR/C, WBR - 32, Scotland (49), £1.2m - P 20(6), AvR 6.92 + Aleksandrowicz, (McIntosh, Viveros) World class veterans Hamann and Preston were consistent mainstays until February. Preston got injured as his body started to go, while Hamann regularly made mistakes to the point I dropped him for other defenders playing out of position. So they'll both be sold if possible, though Hamann might have 1 more year left. Although capable of being rocks, Souza and Rafiei are equally capable of errors when marking. We have 2 centre-backs coming in the summer, so they can permanently move to their other right-back position. We could do with an attacking right wing-back for home matches and when we're chasing a win. As for left-back, wing-back and winger McIntosh is progressing into the new left-back position, and Viveros can play there 'out of position' as he's a wing-back too. First Team - Rafiei (DR), Kirn, Souza (DR) Rotation - Castillo, Hartharson, Padilla Out - Hamann, Preston MR 11. Srdjan Topic - ML/R, AML/R - 28, Bosnia & Herzegovina (33), £7.75m - P 25(11), A 6, AvR 6.81 22. Roddy Pressley - WB/M/AMR - 30, Scotland (1 in 27) / England, £5m - P 26(4), G 2, A 4, AvR 6.83 + Aleksandrowicz Topic's assist and key pass rates were disappointing. Pressley was our 'away game option' as he was able to defend too, though he's quite a fouler. He's also not someone to expect a match-winning goal or assist from. This is our weak area. I could do with both a better attacking and defending right winger. Let's see who's coming in free in the summer. Rotation - Pressley Out - Topic ML 3. Juan Pablo Viveros - WB/M/AML - 32, Chile (2 goals in 55 caps), Bosman from Torino (Serie A) - P 37(2), G 5, A 7, MotM 4, AvR 7.28 7. Steve McIntosh - WB/M/AML - 29, R.o.Ireland (8 in 41), £5.25m - P 26(1), G 1, A 3, MotM 2, AvR 7.30 + Anderson, Topic It was a decade ago that Viveros played under me for Chile, but even at 31 years old he was sensational in the Premier League. Him and Kirn proved brilliant free transfers. McIntosh also enjoyed rampaging up and down the left wing with him. Both could play anywhere from defence to attack and swapped roles without affecting performance. But McIntosh tore his hamstring in February and was greatly missed. Andy Casey had another good loan at a Premier League club, helping Leicester almost do a Leicester. His average rating was higher this time at 7.00 as he got 2 goals and 5 assists in 33 games. He's still only 21, but next season he'll be a United player. First Team - McIntosh, Viveros Backup - Casey DM/MC 4. Bartosz Aleksandrowicz - DR/C, DM, MR/C - 24, Poland (20 caps), Bosman from Bayern Munich (£3m compensation) - P 38(4), G 2, A 3, AvR 7.12 14. Bob Ryan - MC - 30, England (5), £5.25m - P 17(6), G 2, A 1, AvR 6.96 + Tsotetsi Aleksandrowicz was the defensive midfielder we needed, and Ryan even became a more successful tackler and no longer just an attacking choice. First Team - Aleksandrowicz, Ryan Rotation - Artime AMC 15. Anderson - ML/AML/AMC - 32, Brazil (2 in 36), £550k - P 33(12), G 2, A 10, MotM 1, AvR 6.98 24. Tsotetsi - MC/AMC - 23, South Africa (4), £6.25m - P 33(12), G 4, A 8, MotM 1, AvR 7.04 + Alexandre Anderson's sensational form earned him an extension to next year, though he probably won't hit these heights in that final season. However, a new signing is coming in the summer. Unexpectedly, Tsotetsi was no good at MC this season despite establishing himself there last season, but he got a good amount of assist and goals at AMC again. However, he can be quiet and it's time to step up and become even better. Rotation - Anderson, Artime, Tsotetsi ST 9. Neil Sibiya - 24, South Africa (9 in 12), £27m - P 34(7), G 20, A 2, MotM 3, AvR 6.90 10. Santos - 26, Brazil (5 in 18), £16.75m - P 32(11), G 16, A 1, MotM 4, AvR 7.02 18. Joe Adams - 31, R.o.Ireland (24 in 46), £6.75m - P 12(15), G 2, A 7, MotM 1, AvR 6.74 29. Eric Kanu - 30, Nigeria (34 in 50) / England, £7.5m - P 4(4), G 1, AvR 6.50 8. Ali Boussoufa - 29, Morocco (18 in 39), joining Hertha BSC (Bundesliga) on a Bosman - P 5(5), G 1, A 2, MotM 2, AvR 6.60 36. Kenny Reilly - 26, Scottish (5 goals in 9 caps), £9.5m from Arsenal - P 3(10), G 2, A 2, AvR 6.69 20. Ángel Ramírez - 27, Mexican (1 goal in 6 caps) / Spanish, £10.5m from Arsenal - P 1(1), AvR 6.50 23. Alexandre - AMC/ST - 33, Brazilian (16 goals in 45 caps), loan from Hamburger SV (Bundesliga) - P 11(5), G 6, A 5, MotM 1, AvR 7.00 If I had never signed Sibiya, United would've been bottom of the table by Christmas, I would've been sacked, and probably we wouldn't be in the Champions League now. He was scoring nearly all the goals as he confirmed his status as one of the world's top young strikers. After a sensational World Cup for hosts Brazil finishing joint-top scorer, Santos had a slow start. But when the January transfer window came and I looked for a goalscorer, he started banging them in himself. Adams' strike rate was not good enough, but he still provided assists with his crosses. At his age though, he probably won't have the strength to keep compensating with those assists. Time to go. It was a make-or-break season for joint-record signing Kanu after an injury plagued debut year when he only scored in the final game, but he only managed 1 goal and not a lot else when given games this season. He then put in a transfer request anyway. When Chelsea balked at his price and wages and no one else signed him, he requested to be removed, but it was refused. He'll be a famous flop. Needing a goalscorer for the second half of the season, I loaned Alexandre for the second January in a row, and he was sensational this time. It's a shame he'll be 33 next season but he could be a loan option once more... I had a choice between Ramírez and Reilly from Arsenal in January, and decided I may as well take both. It was Reilly who took advantage and made vital contributions. First Team - Santos, Sibiya Rotation - Ramírez, Reilly Out - Adams, Alexandre (returns from loan), Boussoufa, Kanu
  10. Turks & Caicos Islands and Comoros reaching the World Cup (or Northern Ireland winning the Euros) tops Malta in the playoffs for me. Though, granted, Malta didn't get their first win in the game for 52 matches and 11 years... and Scotland becoming one of the greatest sides ever is relatively unspectacular! Every country in Europe has a full team. It's only a few obscure nations that might not have any/many players and can't be managed. But I could still manage Sri Lanka or Vanuatu if I fancied. I'm in 2028 in the game so I don't know if they had a special team in 2024/25. I think their goalkeeper was rubbish, but they scored in all but one game and their star man might've been Atlético Madrid's central midfielder who got a few goals and a 7.29 average rating. Their first team now has good players but no big goalscorer or dependable goalkeeper. All international matches are full detail. It's only since the past few seasons that I put some leagues and cups on none. On Full Detail I still have: all the European competitions, the later stages of every other continent's Champions Leagues, the top leagues of Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and USA, and the top 2 leagues of England. I put a tactics section in the next entry, but when I joined the club I worked with what I had, so I played the ball more on the ground and told players to force any threats onto their weak foot. I just wanted to keep them out of the area and definitely not cross it in (especially against the likes of Newcastle or physical 'smaller' teams). Obviously that stopped working because they were scoring in the middle now. Then I realised I had signed enough players and I had a physically stronger defence, wingers who could run and cross better, and attackers that could win more crosses. So I changed a few mentalities a bit, nudged the slider more towards 'mixed' passing (but still 'short'), and told the team to force their wingers out wide. Now I want them to cross the ball into our area or get corners, because 9 times out of 10 we can just head it out like peak Atlético. I'm guessing the reason opposition players are getting sent off is because now I have better dribblers, so they're forcing fouls. We're really good at set pieces, especially indirect free kicks, so that might be adding goals too.
  11. December to April 2026/27 - Turning It Around (And Facing Vidic) Results Premier League (12th) Man Utd 1 - 0 Middlesbrough (3rd) (10th) Man Utd 2 - 1 West Brom (12th) (19th) Sheff Utd 0 - 1 Man Utd (10th) FA Cup - 3rd Round (8th, EPL) Man Utd 2 - 0 Swansea (17th, Championship) Premier League (8th) Man Utd 1 - 0 Arsenal (3rd) (20th) Nott'm Forest 2 - 1 Man Utd (7th) (8th) Man Utd 2 - 1 Leicester (2nd) (18th) QPR 1 - 2 Man Utd (8th) FA Cup - 4th Round (2nd, EPL) Man Utd 1 - 0 Watford (5th, Championship) Premier League (9th) Sheff Wed 6 - 4 Man Utd (2nd) (4th) Man Utd 4 - 0 Tottenham (7th) (5th) Newcastle Utd 1 - 1 Man Utd (3rd) Europa League - First Knockout Round (3rd, EPL) Man Utd 1 - 2 Excelsior (5th, Eredivisie) FA Cup - 5th Round (22nd, Championship) Scunthorpe 1 - 3 Man Utd (3rd, EPL) Europa League - First Knockout Round, 2nd Leg (5th, Eredivisie) Excelsior 2 - 1 Man Utd (4th, EPL) 4-2 on agg. Premier League (4th) Man Utd 2 - 0 Norwich (12th) (15th) Blackburn 0 - 2 Man Utd (4th) FA Cup - Quarter-Final (3rd, PL) Man Utd 2 - 0 Preston (17th, EPL) Premier League (4th) Man Utd 1 - 1 Leeds (14th) (4th) Man Utd 1 - 0 Man City (8th) (11th) Chelsea 0 - 0 Man Utd (4th) (6th) Coventry 1 - 1 Man Utd (3rd) (4th) Man Utd 2 - 0 Sheff Utd (19th) FA Cup - SF (6th, PL) Middlesbrough 0 - 0 Man Utd (3rd, PL) AET 5-4 on penalties after 5 rounds (1-1, 2-1, 3-2, 4-3, 5-4) Premier League (5th) Arsenal 0 - 2 Man Utd (3rd) ========================================================= Transfer Activity No one wanted record-signing Kanu and we were stuck with the £29.5m flop until summer. Despite starting as #1, young keeper Dupraz still wanted to leave and he was eventually dropped and then sold to Valencia for £5m... although with a buy back clause of £6m, and his minimum fee release clause is only £5m anyway. So if he becomes world class, he may return. I also moved on 5 players around their mid-30s for free to free up the wage bill. I brought back a familiar face... --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Alexandre - AMC/ST - 32, Brazilian (16 goals in 45 caps), loan from Hamburger SV (Bundesliga) - Pace 12, Jumping 18, Strength 19, Finishing 18, Off The Ball 20, Dribbling 20, Passing 20, Long Shots 20 Alexandre returns to us on loan - he came on loan last January too. Despite his age, he actually looks better than he was last year. His first loan spell was a bit disappointing as he went on a run of 13 shots off-target, but he still scored 3 goals and got an assist in 10(5) league games. He's not a solution to our goalscoring issues, but he's more cover for AMC. He has pedigree, scoring goals and winning things at AC Milan, Hamburger SV and Brazil, although he didn't make their World Cup squad. Even this season, he has 5 goals and 1 assist in 6(8) games for HSV, including a 10/10 MOTM performance and 2 goals in his last game. Perhaps he can have fun getting on the end of friend and former HSV teammate Topic's crosses. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- After a period of trouble scoring from open play, I was adamant we'd sign a striker. I tried to sign an English one from relegation-threatened Sheffield United, but they won't accept any offer. A loan for a Brazilian failed, then he went on loan to City... Eventually we contacted Arsenal, who revealed Michael Laudrup had 2 he was willing to get rid of and we could pick one. I said I'll take both: --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Kenny Reilly - ST - 25, Scottish (5 goals in 8 caps), £9.5m from Arsenal - Pace 16, Jumping 16, Strength 15, Finishing 17, Off The Ball 14 Only ever made 5 sub appearances for Arsenal and none at all this season. 2 seasons ago, he was on loan to AA Gent in the Belgian top tier and bagged 18 goals in 30 games. Apparently there's also room for him to improve further and, according to scouts, could become better than our current strikers. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ángel Ramírez - ST - 26, Mexican (1 goal in 6 caps) / Spanish, £10.5m from Arsenal - Pace 15, Jumping 16, Strength 15, Finishing 16, Off The Ball 15 The only club to give Ramírez a run at the top was Valencia, where he got 18 goals in 44(2) games a few years ago. Fans are excited for this transfer even though it's Reilly I wanted more. ========================================================= Recap The tactical tweaks worked and we saw a complete turnaround away, and this Big 6 club moved back into the top 6 and all the way up to 2nd at one point. Under our new play, we got into the habit of taking leads then getting someone sent off. I was lauded as a "tactical genius" and winning awards now! After failing to win away from home for half a season, we were a saved penalty (4 out of 4 missed) away from beating European Champions Newcastle, who were unbeaten at home in the league for 3 years!! The standout away result was losing 6-4 to Sheffield Wednesday, with keeper Abdel Aziz letting in every shot, causing media backlash to descend on him. I stuck with him for a while, but he was eventually dropped and young English keeper Butler had a second chance. An embrassing inability to beat Leeds at all this season was tempered by ending City's 10-match unbeaten run even though they had the ball in the back of the net in the final second... but the whistle had blown for a foul. The FA Cup saw us face former United legends. Scunthorpe United were managed by Nemanja Vidic, who had won every trophy there was to win (except the Charity Shield...) in his 6 years at United before moving to Italy. They had scored only 1 goal in 7 games, which was a penalty in the last minute of extra time of a replay... so of course they scored in 40 seconds! We won by full time, though. We reached the semis this time, and it was my first time back at Wembley since historically taking the Iran Under-23s to the London 2012 Olympics. But just as back then, I didn't see a win. Paul Ince's side killed the game and our bogey team knocked us out on my specialty: penalties. Despite my adventures in the transfer window, it turns out, it was Santos, already established in the team, and the loanee who went on a great run of goals and assists, while the permanent strikers tried to settle in. In fact, after our season-turning win at Preston before Christmas, it was only this game and the 0-0 at Chelsea that we failed to score in until April. Alas, this FA Cup exit also saw Alexandre injured for the rest of the season, so his loan was terminated after an awesome 6 goals and 5 assists in 11(5) games. In the Europa League, United were out at the first knockout round for the 3rd year in a row after losing both legs to a Dutch side. There's a feeling we haven't progressed at all there, as at least we won at home and only lost on away goals last season against a Dutch team... With a few games to go, we were so close to reaching the Champions League places, maybe even directly into the group stage. Last season, the team choked, struggling for wins and goals, and slid all the way out of the top 4. But, after a 2-0 win at defending Premier League champions Arsenal, a match we would've lost 4-0 in 2026, this season feels different... ============================================ And finally... As for the overall season itself, it was expected that Newcastle would rise up the table and the surprise teams fall back down as usual. But no... Instead something incredible was happening...
  12. December to April 2026/27 - Turning It Around (And Facing Vidic) Results Premier League (12th) Man Utd 1 - 0 Middlesbrough (3rd) (10th) Man Utd 2 - 1 West Brom (12th) (19th) Sheff Utd 0 - 1 Man Utd (10th) FA Cup - 3rd Round (8th, EPL) Man Utd 2 - 0 Swansea (17th, Championship) Premier League (8th) Man Utd 1 - 0 Arsenal (3rd) (20th) Nott'm Forest 2 - 1 Man Utd (7th) (8th) Man Utd 2 - 1 Leicester (2nd) (18th) QPR 1 - 2 Man Utd (8th) FA Cup - 4th Round (2nd, EPL) Man Utd 1 - 0 Watford (5th, Championship) Premier League (9th) Sheff Wed 6 - 4 Man Utd (2nd) (4th) Man Utd 4 - 0 Tottenham (7th) (5th) Newcastle Utd 1 - 1 Man Utd (3rd) Europa League - First Knockout Round (3rd, EPL) Man Utd 1 - 2 Excelsior (5th, Eredivisie) FA Cup - 5th Round (22nd, Championship) Scunthorpe 1 - 3 Man Utd (3rd, EPL) Europa League - First Knockout Round, 2nd Leg (5th, Eredivisie) Excelsior 2 - 1 Man Utd (4th, EPL) 4-2 on agg. Premier League (4th) Man Utd 2 - 0 Norwich (12th) (15th) Blackburn 0 - 2 Man Utd (4th) FA Cup - Quarter-Final (3rd, PL) Man Utd 2 - 0 Preston (17th, EPL) Premier League (4th) Man Utd 1 - 1 Leeds (14th) (4th) Man Utd 1 - 0 Man City (8th) (11th) Chelsea 0 - 0 Man Utd (4th) (6th) Coventry 1 - 1 Man Utd (3rd) (4th) Man Utd 2 - 0 Sheff Utd (19th) FA Cup - SF (6th, PL) Middlesbrough 0 - 0 Man Utd (3rd, PL) AET 5-4 on penalties after 5 rounds (1-1, 2-1, 3-2, 4-3, 5-4) Premier League (5th) Arsenal 0 - 2 Man Utd (3rd) ========================================================= Transfer Activity No one wanted record-signing Kanu and we were stuck with the £29.5m flop until summer. Despite starting as #1, young keeper Dupraz still wanted to leave and he was eventually dropped and then sold to Valencia for £5m... although with a buy back clause of £6m, and his minimum fee release clause is only £5m anyway. So if he becomes world class, he may return. I also moved on 5 players around their mid-30s for free to free up the wage bill. I brought back a familiar face... --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Alexandre - AMC/ST - 32, Brazilian (16 goals in 45 caps), loan from Hamburger SV (Bundesliga) - Pace 12, Jumping 18, Strength 19, Finishing 18, Off The Ball 20, Dribbling 20, Passing 20, Long Shots 20 Alexandre returns to us on loan - he came on loan last January too. Despite his age, he actually looks better than he was last year. His first loan spell was a bit disappointing as he went on a run of 13 shots off-target, but he still scored 3 goals and got an assist in 10(5) league games. He's not a solution to our goalscoring issues, but he's more cover for AMC. He has pedigree, scoring goals and winning things at AC Milan, Hamburger SV and Brazil, although he didn't make their World Cup squad. Even this season, he has 5 goals and 1 assist in 6(8) games for HSV, including a 10/10 MOTM performance and 2 goals in his last game. Perhaps he can have fun getting on the end of friend and former HSV teammate Topic's crosses. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- After a period of trouble scoring from open play, I was adamant we'd sign a striker. I tried to sign an English one from relegation-threatened Sheffield United, but they won't accept any offer. A loan for a Brazilian failed, then he went on loan to City... Eventually we contacted Arsenal, who revealed Michael Laudrup had 2 he was willing to get rid of and we could pick one. I said I'll take both: --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Kenny Reilly - ST - 25, Scottish (5 goals in 8 caps), £9.5m from Arsenal - Pace 16, Jumping 16, Strength 15, Finishing 17, Off The Ball 14 Only ever made 5 sub appearances for Arsenal and none at all this season. 2 seasons ago, he was on loan to AA Gent in the Belgian top tier and bagged 18 goals in 30 games. Apparently there's also room for him to improve further and, according to scouts, could become better than our current strikers. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ángel Ramírez - ST - 26, Mexican (1 goal in 6 caps) / Spanish, £10.5m from Arsenal - Pace 15, Jumping 16, Strength 15, Finishing 16, Off The Ball 15 The only club to give Ramírez a run at the top was Valencia, where he got 18 goals in 44(2) games a few years ago. Fans are excited for this transfer even though it's Reilly I wanted more. ========================================================= Recap The tactical tweaks worked and we saw a complete turnaround away, and this Big 6 club moved back into the top 6 and all the way up to 2nd at one point. Under our new play, we got into the habit of taking leads then getting someone sent off. I was lauded as a "tactical genius" and winning awards now! After failing to win away from home for half a season, we were a saved penalty (4 out of 4 missed) away from beating European Champions Newcastle, who were unbeaten at home in the league for 3 years!! The standout away result was losing 6-4 to Sheffield Wednesday, with keeper Abdel Aziz letting in every shot, causing media backlash to descend on him. I stuck with him for a while, but he was eventually dropped and young English keeper Butler had a second chance. An embrassing inability to beat Leeds at all this season was tempered by ending City's 10-match unbeaten run even though they had the ball in the back of the net in the final second... but the whistle had blown for a foul. The FA Cup saw us face former United legends. Scunthorpe United were managed by Nemanja Vidic, who had won every trophy there was to win (except the Charity Shield...) in his 6 years at United before moving to Italy. They had scored only 1 goal in 7 games, which was a penalty in the last minute of extra time of a replay... so of course they scored in 40 seconds! We won by full time, though. We reached the semis this time, and it was my first time back at Wembley since historically taking the Iran Under-23s to the London 2012 Olympics. But just as back then, I didn't see a win. Paul Ince's side killed the game and our bogey team knocked us out on my specialty: penalties. Despite my adventures in the transfer window, it turns out, it was Santos, already established in the team, and the loanee who went on a great run of goals and assists, while the permanent strikers tried to settle in. In fact, after our season-turning win at Preston before Christmas, it was only this game and the 0-0 at Chelsea that we failed to score in until April. Alas, this FA Cup exit also saw Alexandre injured for the rest of the season, so his loan was terminated after an awesome 6 goals and 5 assists in 11(5) games. In the Europa League, United were out at the first knockout round for the 3rd year in a row after losing both legs to a Dutch side. There's a feeling we haven't progressed at all there, as at least we won at home and only lost on away goals last season against a Dutch team... With a few games to go, we were so close to reaching the Champions League places, maybe even directly into the group stage. Last season, the team choked, struggling for wins and goals, and slid all the way out of the top 4. But, after a 2-0 win at defending Premier League champions Arsenal, a match we would've lost 4-0 in 2026, this season feels different... ============================================ And finally... As for the overall season itself, it was expected that Newcastle would rise up the table and the surprise teams fall back down as usual. But no... Iinstead something incredible was happening... Wow thanks! I thought no one liked those squad reviews but I guess they helped me and squad management is my favourite part of the game. International football seems popular in this thread though. I was surprised to find a lot of FM players just ignore it when for me it's a huge thing. FM07 works on Windows 10 apparently, no need for an old laptop! As for City... watch this space for next season's news. :/
  13. Glad I didn't watch it and just skipped through the YouTube live later. It's a weird trophy as Chelsea already qualified and it'll mean nothing by the summer. It ruins Arsenal's season though. Wenger would've loved it since top 4 is a trophy! It's literally that! Up to Emery to build his team now. Moyes did worse in his Man Utd spell and still deserved a second season. No need to keep Ozil. He's not a luxury player if he's not winning trophies or pulling them into the top 4, he's just an expensive one that doesn't do much against the bigger teams.
  14. I tried FM14, particularly wanting to do the post-Fergie/Moyes Man Utd squad overhaul, but I couldn't see why matches were being lost atches would be lost, even when reloading and tweaking. I think only the rare match should be guaranteed losses, when a team is just too good with too much momentum. Meanwhile Smalling and Jones were the new Rio and Vidic for no reason, while the likes of constantly suspended Rafael and 1-goal-every-8-months Welbeck were dominant, so kinda silly... FM 07 seems to keep springing up surprises and challenges, and only has 1 major international bug I know off, plus a few inconvenient ones that can be fixed out of habit. A sport game's roster is out of date by the end of season 1 in the game, so I have no problem playing older ones. I have all the old FMs from charity shops, and CM 93/94 and 01/02, but haven't got into the FMs. After FM 07, my next update thread will be CM 93/94, but my next management game will be FAPLFM99. Though this is years from now anyway probably. I don't recall having problems with Windows 7. Try compatibility modes or messing with those options if you already have Java anyway. The only thing is a Windows Update article that has to be removed, as it stops some old games from playing. But I don't know if that's the case for Windows 8.1 and 10. That might be more for the tactics forum, but probably it depends how you're presenting it.
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