Jellico73

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About Jellico73

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    USL-Dunkerque

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  1. OK, apologies for the confusion, but the original post above is finished. Don;t know why, but the board sometimes won't add a link, and the only way to get it in is save and edit, unless I am missing a trick. Thanks for reading, Jellico73
  2. Hit save by accident. More coming in the above post after edits. Sorry for the confusion. Jellico
  3. "Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs" The transition at the club continues, and there have been some changes at Dunkerque. Some of them may even be very good changes, but we will have to wait and see. If there's one thing that bugs me about this save, (well, honestly there's a few things that bug me about FM, but that's another post), it's that despite our world wide stature, club rankings, club reputation and the like, the moment a "Historically" good team comes calling, my players want to leave. I mean honestly, this is where Dunkerque is this season: We're top 3 in Ligue 1 almost every season, were competitive in all the Cups and tournaments, we have had and are continuing to have success. We are a world wide brand. We are big, and getting bigger. We are 1st in Club Coefficient, 3rd in Reputation, 15th in finances, Ligue 1 is the 3rd ranked competition in Europe, and France has moved up to 2nd in the nation coefficients as well. But Inter or Juve or Real Madrid come make an offer, and my guys want to bolt. Makes no sense. Anyhows, I was very active in the transfer window again. With the moves I made last year I had a substantial transfer budget, almost 188M, but I was holding off on spending most of it. I did spend a lot of time on the Free Agent market, and found some keepers I think. I also spent a chunk of change on a player who may never see full time here in Dunkerque. Guess that means I finally made the big time.... The only offseason not of significance was Jan K tearing his Achilles at the beginning of June, and being out for three months. I don't know how much longer he's going to be able to play, he's down to 2 1/2 stars, but I am not sending him anywheres. That said, training started, and then the transfer window opened, and I got busy. First, the IN's: David Dennis is a Hot prospect I bought from Red Star FC. Maybe paying $425K for him was a bit much at this point in time, but he looks like he has a bright future ahead of him. Tom Weißenberger (WB(R)), Killian Leonard (AM(R)), Johan Wolters (AM(C)), David Bilbao (D(C)), Efrain Villa (AM(C)), Samuel Rogers (AM(C)) and Jay Wells (ST)) are in different camps of players. The first camp is older players who are OK with being Reserve team regulars and backups, and are pretty nice tutors as well. Jay Wells and Sam Rogers are in this camp. Weißenberger, Leonard, and Wolters are at least two star current players with some potential who are in the "Loan them out to develop if you can camp", get some playing time while in Dunkerque camp. There is a familiar name here as well. Martin Otocka was sitting out there available on a Free. We sold him to Leicester in 2025/2026 for €12M, and three seasons later they sold him to Swansea for €16M. He never played a full season for them, and was let go after five mediocre years. He's primarily a tutor, but he still plays a solid DM and M(C). Out first IN we spent money on was Geir Zetterlund Nilsen, a 4 star CA, 4 star PA DM/M(C) from Norway. Professional, Good stats across the board, it's hard to say spending 20M is a steal, but in this case I think it is. Especially when you compare him to Paul Canavan, who I paid Watford 30M for. Another DM, my scouts told me 4 was a 22 yo 2 star current, 4 star potential player. So I signed him, and after I did he went to 2 star current, 2 1/2 star potential. I paid €30M for a guy who, at best, is going to be a backup for us. That, in a word, sucks. Efrain Villa is this years Marco Tumminello. A 20 year old Mexican International with 15 apps and 2 goals already, 4 star current 5 star potential AM(C) who can also play AM(R), M(C) and Striker? On a free? How fast can I click that button? Jay Wells came in late in the year. Also on a Free, the 2 1/2 star Striker is primarily a tutor, but will get some playing time. Now, the sharp eyed readers of this thread will notice that I signed a lot of DM/M(C) players. Why? Here's why: I'm going to take these in order. Steve Julliard came is as a 2 star D(C), and left as a 2 star D(C). After failing to crack the lineup here on a regular basis, I stuck him on the reserves, and he was great. Last season L'HAC wanted him on loan, and he was..average. I tried loaning him out again this season, but FC Utrecht came in with a €1.4M offer, for a player I got on a free. Didn't think twice about this one. Amar Belhani is a 20 year old M(C) who 2 star CA, 3 1/2 star PA made him look like he had potential, but he never really did a lot. Last season I loaned him out to RC Strasbourg, and in 32 games he averaged a 6.57. I was clearing some roster spoace, and just put him out there for his estimated value, and FC Lorient picked him up quick. Now he's valued at 350k. I may have missed on this one. Hrvoje Mihaljevic had three solid seasons for us at D(R)/WB(R), and was well worth the €3.5M we paid to Monaco for him. Last season he was injured, and wasn't getting a lot of playing time, so I loaned him to Roma, but they didn't play him all that much. Then he comes to me and says "Real Madrid is interested in me, I'd like to leave for a bigger club." See rant above for my reaction to this. In for 3.5, out for 19M. Thats not to bad at all, is it? Liridon Gurma came in as a DM, and I trained him to be a D(C). But then he topped out at 2 stars, and was never a full time starter for us. Last season I loaned him to Braga, and he had a solid season, so I put him on the transfer market, and Real Sociedad picked him up for €3.8M. Bayern came in hard for Mark Bijl. Scouted him, GM sat in the stands, players called him out in the press...and he comes to me and says "I want to go to a bigger club." And granted, Bayer is ranker higher in some areas. So I put a 60M tag on him, and then Bayer, Bayern, Arsenal, Barcelona and Stoke (I think it was Stoke) all came in at the €60M. So I accepted them all, and he chose to go to Arsenal, who have been a Top 3 team in the Premier League this last decade. I tried keeping him, tried a new contract, but he wasn't budging from his "I want to go to a bigger club!" Mantra. His is the record fee at the club. Farshi Sharifi. Got him on a free from Ingolstadt. A 2 star CA, 3 star PA DM/M(C), he never stepped on the pitch at Dunkerque. He spent a year in Hoffenheim and was horrible, then soent another year at Feynoord where he played 11 games and averaged a 6.69. Everytime I went to talk at him he responded like I was crazy for not only loaning him out, but not immediately bringing him back and putting him in the starting XI. He had a string of games where he averaged at best a 6.35 for Feyenoord, and when I took him to task about his poor performance, he was all "I'm playing great, you're blind, go away." So I sold him to Stuttgart for €13.75M. Couple that with the 2.8M I got in fees while he was out on loan. Marco Tulio I loaned out to Swansea last spring, and they had a clause to pick him up for €9.75M at the end of the loan. And despite his poor performances and a 6.43 Average, they kept him on. We signed him for €14.25M, and Swansea paid a total of €11.15M to get him, not too bad. I had plans for Pavel Bykov. Him going to a "Bigger club with more opportunities to win." was not a plan. After loan stints at Dnipro, and Benfica, Barcelona offered 12M for him, and after he signed the turned around and loaned him out to LOSC, where he has sat on the bench all season. Serves him right. Erdoğan Karahan wanted more first team playing time, and after Kolarek's injury last season he got a decent amount of it. He was really good is a limited role last season, 10 appearences, 8 goals, 7 assists, but Sheffield United came in with a 7.5M offer, and I couldn't say no to that, especially with Quartey on the roster now. At best, Sasa Velanac was going to be my 5th AM(C). Even after loan stints at Lokeren, CS Ardennes and Berrichone, he wasn't improving. En Avant offered €1.2M for him, and he's having an OK season for them. Mael DUrand, I had high hopes for him. He was never going to be a 5 star player, but he was solid at the Center and left sides of the forward pitch, and could be a very valuable rotation player. In 2031/32 he had a fine season, 20 appearances, 1 goal, 8 assists playing mostly AM(C) and AM(L), but even though he has 3 1/2 star potential, he's never gone beyond 2 stars the past three seasons, even with playing time. I put him on the market and OM came in for €3.1M, less than he was worth, but as I got him on a free...He's having an OK season for them (They have fallen on some hard times and are in Ligue 2), which is nice. I brought Ralf Mainka in on the understanding he would be a backup and a tutor, and he was OK with that for 1/2 of the season, the he started agitating for 1st team time. He pouted the rest of the season, and then I loaned him to Zulte Wagram, where he was decidely mediocre in 28 games. FC Augsburg made an unsolicited offer of 750K for him, and I had no troubles letting him go. Once again, we were very active loaning players out. Those players not on a monthly fee have some, if not all, of their salary being paid by the team they are being loaned to. The only exception are the players at Dessel (AKA USL Dunkerque Belgium this season). All of them were free's. No real surprises here. In fact, more than a few of them are on their last contract here at Dunkerque. Gibeon maybe saw the writing on the wall and asked for more first team playing time, and he's having a good season at Başakşehir. Grishin is having a 7.0 season at Ajaccio, while Kontos has 15 goals in 22 games for the Ligue 2 team as their primary striker. Raab is absolutely stinking up the pitch at Sociedad, averaging a 6.2, and I am of the opinion he's better off doing that there instead of here. Quartey I wanted to develop as soon as I can, and because I primarily play 1 striker formations here, that wasn't going to happen. I put him out on loan, wanting to see which teams would go for him. Last season he went to STVV in Belgium, and was OK (7 goals in 21 appearances and a 6.63), and this time around FC Uterecht snapped him up. They were 2nd in the Eredivisie last season, and he got plenty of first team playing time for a club with superb facilities. In 19 games for the Dutch side he had 13 goals and a 7.14 rating. 8 more goals and he would have set the team record for goals scored, but I recalled him in January. There were some others going on with the team as well. Last season a consortium from France looked at taking over the club, but decided not to. In early August, this popped up: But then, three days later: Which is fine. At least it didn't get dragged out. So, the season got off to an OK start. This year we did friendlies at out West Coast and Korean Affiliates, then a tour of North Africa, and then Roma called looking for a friendly and I said sure. Then the Ligue 1 season kicked off. I played mostly U20's at Al-Merreikh, a Sudanese Premier League team. In the last 21 years, they won their league twice, finished 3rd twice, and finished 2nd 17 times. That my youths and reserves kept them held to a draw...I don't know if that speaks to the quality of my team or the quality of their League, but in looking at the recap, we had 18 shots to their 2, so, draw your own conclusions. If the Roma game weren't a friendly I would have been more upset. We were tied 1-1 at the half, then Kolarek put us ahead with a 54th minute goal. Roma then scored in the 55th, 90th, and 92nd minute to eke out a draw, after we dominated them most of the game. The Trophée des Champions is an annual contest between the Ligue 1 Winners and the winner of the Coup de France. As a result we've played it a alot. The one thing I do like about it is that its always held at a neutral site, and since 2009 has been played around the world as well, to put French Football in front of as many eyes as possible. This year we played in Charleroi, but in the past we've played in Geneva, Kinshasha, Brazzaville, Lome, Antananarivo. It's also been held in Can Tho, Brussels, Dakar, Inchon. I don't think we get a lot of TV revenue from it, but every shirt sold is always a bonus. This year we played against PSG, and I like starting the season with a win against Jose. I don't like him, he doesn't like me, and to be honest I am always needling him in the press conferences. He's my new Remi Garde (for those long time followers of the save). Beating them 2-1 on a brace of Carter goals was nice, but our young superstar AM(C) Didier N'Guessan broke his foot in the 30th minute, and was going to be We got off to a quick start, beating Racing Club and Stade Malherbe Caen by a combined 6-0. The Slavan Bilic and Olympique Lyonnais, who are going to be tough against everyone this season, held us without a goal and beat us 1-0. In other Ligue 1 news AS Nancy Lorraine are also having a very good season, fighting for a Champions League spot. L'OL was also the game we lost Miki for 5 months with a damaged Achilles. Which is OK, I have some capable replacements, Wolters most likely because I am retraining Villa to be an AM(R) to take over for Jan K. AS Nancy Lorraine played us tough, and we only made it worse for ourselves when Bohm got sent off in the 69th minute. By then w were 2-1 down, but Villa cam thru with a fine shot in the 62nd minute, and then in the 80th minute Kolarek scored (with the help of some poor keeper play, on a long assist from Gobel. I swear he has at least five of these sorts of goals a season. PSG got their revenge on us a week later, with two second half goals giving them the 2-1 win. The other bad part of this game was Arrieta getting injured in the 93rd minute of a 93 minute game, breaking his wrist and missing the next 8 weeks. Cinetti is an OK backup, but not one I want to trust the rest of my season too. After that came an 11 game winning streak in Ligue 1. James Carter and Petar Kolarek have really become world class players, and Kolareks 5 goal performance against OGC Nice really put him on the map. After this was when Man City started making overtures for him again. We were beating the good teams, and thrashing the bad teams (7-2 against 16th ranked Nice, 5-0 against a Tours team that was 6th at the time, 5-0 against bottom of the table Troyes). The only real minus in all of this was that Wolters, who was playing AM(C) for us, went out after the PSG game with an ankle injury for two months, but this was also the time Jan K came back, and he's still a pretty capable AM(C). I knew our first real test during this run was going to be Monaco, and was really looking forward to that game. But then, after we thrashed Troyes some interesting news came across the wire: Monaco has a good team, and it was a very even game, but a Lucas Cano goal in the 73rd minute gave them the edge. Didn't help that Nilsen went out with an ankle injury, that turned into him missing 6 weeks, and I was feeling a bit down. Then this came across the wires: Now, 155M is very nice. It's about what I have in the transfer budget already. Mousa Al-Mousa I believe is Arabic for "I am sitting on a pile of oil money and have bought all the cars, jets and yachts I need and need a new hobby." (I know it means Mousa son of Mousa, I'm just kidding here). But I want to call Jose up and say "My Saudi is going to spend more than yours, so go suck an egg Jose!" And then, on the 24th of December: To which all I can say is: Joyeux Noël à nous. A Very merry Christmas indeed. Now, from a realistic perspective, what does this mean. Les Bleus are already a force in Domestic and Continental soccer, with top flight facilities, a top flight stadium, and good commercial value. I think what this will mean for me is that I won't be restricted when negotiating for worlds class players. I mean, look what hoops I had to jump thru to keep Kolarek in a Les Bleus kit. Man City is coming after him, and they can pay him 300K a week before any other fees and the like. The most I could pat for him last season when I resigned him was 170K a week. It took some creative fee numbers to get him to stay, and hopefully with this new owner, I won't be throwing my back out twisting and turning and jumping thru hoops to keep my good players here. After this good news, we got back to our winning ways, beating Nantes and Caen, and thumping Racing Club 4-0 at the start of the winter break. Champions League were doing really well. We keep playing this way and we have a good chance of winning it all again. We had a pretty tough group, with Porto, Schalke, and Dinamo Zagreb. Part of me wants to say Zagreb being in our group was a bit of Kismet, after all we paid them 1.5M for Kolarek, and now he's the best striker on the planet. I think we did what was expected of us. Thumping Porto 4-0 at home was a great way to start the group stage off, and although Kolarek didn't score against his old team, he did have two assists. The first match at Schalke looks bad, but we did play them very well, the score was 1-1 until the 66th minute, when Fiador put them ahead 2-1. Gobel went out with an injury a couple of minute later, and then Stefano Benvenuti scored the final goal for them. We got even with them in the next match, Kolarek and Villa both with a brace. The Porto game was frustrating, in that hey scored in the 1st minute, then sat the rest of the match. If I weren't already ahead I'd have been more upset, but they didn't even try to win, even after scoring so quickly. The last game against Zagreb they didn't even try. we had 21 shots, 7 on goal. So, where do we stand on the season? Well, this is the first week of February: PSG being in 3rd isn't that big a surprise, L'OL has been very good the past few seasons, finishing 4th or 3rd. Preseason press conference I said Auxerre was going to challenge for a Cup spot, shows how little I know about such things. The big surprise is Nancy Lorraine. The got back into Ligue 1 in 2031, finished 14th, then 17th, and now they are 5th, and look to keep it. PSG and Monaco being as off as they are though is a surprise. But, I'll play the rest of the season out tomorrow, and see what happens. Against All Odds, we got a rich Uncle! Thanks for reading, sorry for the post confusion. Jellico73
  4. PBKAC ERROR Sorry for the confusion
  5. Thanks for reading! Jellico73
  6. "Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs" The 2033 season comes to a close in Dunkerque, and it has been a season of highs and lows, which was not unexpected. In the January transfer window we weren't as active as I thought, but we made some nice pickups I think. Kim Jae-Hyun is young AM(R) with 4 star potential, and a possible replacement for Jan K if Bykov doesn't work out. Joe Pascoe is one of the first defenders out of the FFA COE i have seen, and could be a solid player. Patrick Raab comes to Les Bleus by way of Mainz, and played a solid D(L) for us. David Denis we signed in January, but he did not move to us until June. A D(LC) Hot prospect, I think he can be better than his three star potential. We were a lot more active on the 'OUT' side of the transfer market. Hibernain came in for Voisin, and agreed to pay 100% of his salary, so I let him go. Odegaard essentially forced the trade to Jiangsu, and I probably got less than he was worth, but he didn't want to be here anymore, and I was happy to let him go. Buraspor was after Torres something fierce, and I am not sure why, but I was more than OK with loaning him out. Quartey was a recent pickup who I wanted to get First team playing time, and STVV made an offer for him. 7 goals in 20 appearences wasn't to bad for the youngster. Gibeon wanted to go out on loan becuase he wasn't getting first team playing time. Anderlecht snapped him up, and then he played all of one game for them, and I never got as notification about his lack of playing time. Roth is a youth player who went out. Kalkan wanted to leave for some reason, and Borussia Dortmund snapped him up for €30M. Marco Tulio was my second string AM(C), and wanted more playing time. I put him on the transfer list and noone bit, then put him on the loan list. Swansea came in with the best offer, not only were they paying his salary and 275K a month, they had an option to pay €9.5M at the end of the year to get him permanently, which they did. Mihaljevic was a mistake on my part. My best D(R) saw Real Madrid was interested in him, and I thought I could get them to pay what he was worth (and maybe a little bit more). Instead they didn't bite at all, and Mihalejevic was more than a bit peeved. I put him on the loan list, and Roma snapped him up. And then he played three games for them. HAC made an unsolicited off for Steve Julliard, and he had a very solid season for them. The best news of the year though, was this: I swear, this is the weirdest contract I have seen in my short FM career. But if this is what its going to take to keep him, I'll definitely sign it. Marc Bijl on the other hand, feels that the Bundesliga will be more of a challenge, and wants to go. And I'll let him, because I think I've found a very capable replacement. Season wise, we met most expectations: But it was a very close run thing. What helped us was that after losing to us, PSG did not go into a tail spin per se, but they definitely fell off. They tied Monaco the week we beat FCSM, and two weeks later when we beat FC Metz they lost to Olympique Lyonnais. A couple of weeks later when we lost to Monaco, L'OL beat them. They stayed 3 points behind us, and when Tours stomped us, I was sure our chances of winning the Ligue were done. And then effin Saint Etienne with Matthew Collins in goal beat PSG a day later. To say am I a bit peeved by this is a mild understatement. PSG was 3 points behind us going into the last game of the season. If we lost, they would win on goal difference. We needed a tie against a very good L'OL team to ensure we won. And we lost, 3-1. And then Havre Athletic Club tied PSG, and we won Ligue 1, for the 5th time in 8 years, in the last game of the season. Competition wise, well, we did pretty well. We needed penalties to get by L'OL, and LOSC played us tough, it took a very nice Kolarek goal to get us the win there. And then we had a very nice win against PSG in the final. Coupe de France was weird. We struggled early against some very good teams, then got a break the last couple of games we played, and then played PSG in the Finals. Again. Champions League. Well, I'll let the results speak for themselves: We got lucky against Benfica, winning on away goals. The we got to face PSG in the quarters. For those not keeping trace, we played PSG SEVEN times this season. We won three, lost three, and tied once. PSG could salvage some dignity, despite losing the Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue, and Ligue 1, the won the Champions League, beating Bayern Munich 2-1. West Ham won the Europa League. Petar Kolarek, in my biased opinion, is the best young Striker in the league. 23 years old, 5 star current, 5 star potential rating. Last season, in 48(2) appearances across all competitions, he had 51 goals, 14 assists, 16 POM's and a 7.79 rating. He broke the Ligue record for most POM awards, and in 36 Ligue 1 games had an average rating of 7.96, and new Ligue record. Ligue 1 star of the competition, Ligue 1 Best Player, Ligue 1 top goalscorer, and Europs top Marksman. And he didnn't even place in the top 3 for World Player of the Year. James Carter had a stellar year again as well. in 48(10 appearances across all competitions, he had 12 goals, 19 assists, 5 POM's and a 7.37 rating. After a year of full time First Team soccer, Dider N'Guesson is now a 4 star current, 5 star potential AM(C). In 43(4) appearances across all competitions, he had 12 goals, 8 assists, 2 POM's and a 7.16 rating. Jan K missed two months with a hip injury, but came back with a performance anyone would be proud of. In 47 appearances across all competitions, he had 11 goals, 24 assists (His 17 in Ligue 1 were the most in the Ligue this season), 4 POM's, and a 7.34 rating. He also broke the club record for appearances,. I don't know how much longer he will be around, but he will be missed. Marc Bijl had a solid season as well. In 57(1) appearances across all competitions he had 3 goals, 6 assists, a POM and a 7.06 rating. But apparently the Bundesliga beckons, and he won't be a memeber of Les Bleus much longer. COurse his current value is €74M, so he's going to make the club a bunch of money before he leaves. Fredy Paredes had a solid season at DM. In 44(2) appearances across all competitions, he had 2 goals, 3 assists, a POM and a 7.08 rating. Peter Vincent lived up to his World Class description this season. In 55 appearances across all competitions, he had 3 goals, 2 assists, 2 POM's and a 7.23 rating. Of my other defensive backline players, Dirk Gobel played the most games, everyone else rotated in and out. In 44(2) appearances across all competitions, Gobel had 1 goal, 1 assist, and a 7.07 rating. Felipe Arrieta won Ligue 1 goalie of the year this season, In 57 appearances across all competitions, he had 20 shutouts, 3 PK goals, and a 6.99 rating. The Youth Team won their division this year, again, but the Reserves had an off year, finishing 4th. Our youth Candidates weren't as horrible this year as they have been in the past, so that's a plus: Our owner is still looking to leave, and the Summer transfer window is fast approaching. Hopefully it wont be a long drawn out affair. Against All Odds, we managed a treble, and the media is still predicting us to finish third. Will they ever learn? Thanks for reading and following! Jellico73
  7. There are times when this game frustrates me to no end. At the beginning of the season, Bayern made a play for Mark Bijl (A €75M play). I said no, and everything was fine. About halfway through the season, one of the Manchester teams started courting Kolarek. I don't remeber at the moment because I am at work. Which is fine. Manchester started doing the usual things to court a player, the GM came to all the games, the Manchester players made some overtures in the press. Kolarek went from being happy, to being OK, to possibly thinking about a move, to being interested in moving, to wanting to move. So I looked at his contract. It's not bad, but it could be better,and one of the things I am a bit produ of is that I do have my salary under control, I have 700K additional to spend on my weekly wage budget already, and with a €99M transfer budget. I know I can fiddle some more out for weekly wages if I need to. Money wise, I am more than good. So I try and offer a new contract to Kolarek. His agent comes back with demands. He wants an improved midfield attack, and he wants a huge raise. I take them both off and hit submit, his agent comes back with "He wants a huge raise." And I can't go forward without it. I say sure. He's the best player in the game this year. Manchester is willing to pay over €100M to get him, and I want to keep him, so I am more than happy to pay him 300K a week if I have to. Contract negotioans start, and his demand of 250K a week (locked) is greyed out and in the red. It seems my new board (at least I think they are new, to be honest I am not quite sure the sale has gone thru yet), will not let me pay him more than 160K a week. And hes already earning 135K. So what do I have to do? In order to get out of the screen, or at least let the game progress, I have to walk away, I have to walk away from negotiations. Which further sours my all world player on staying at the club. And a month later I go back to try and see if I can't renegotiate, and he's unwilling to talk. Now, I usually don't keep unhappy players, but I'll make an excpetion in this case. But, and here's what I am troubled by. USL Dunkerque is a Top 3 club ranked club in Europe. Were financially secure, we're in the Champions League every year now it seems, were going really far in the Coupe de la Ligue and Coupe de France, so it's not like Kolarek is leaving for much greener pastures. If my finances were a shambles, if the club were not as big as it is, if were were not as successfull as we are, I can see the reasoning behind limtiing what your willing to play a player. If this were ten years ago and we were in Ligue 2 try fighting for promotion, yeah, I could see him wanting to move, but at this point, but at the present time moving from Dunkerque to Manchester is not exactly a lot of shades of green better when it comes to pastures. And, to reiterate, I have 700K available in my weekly wage budget available as of now, and I have a €99M transfer budget I can adjust down and probably get a few million more into that wage budget if I needed to. So why am I being restricted on how much I can pay my players? Kolarek and Bijl are my two best players at the moment, both are young, both are 5 star current, five star potential, and for the life of me I can not see any good reasons I shouldn't be able to sign them both to a long term deal that pays them a huge amount of money. The club has the stature to sign 5 star players, it has the money to pay the transfer fee for a 5 star player, I have more than enough in weekly wage budget available to pay for the best players, but I can't use it? That makes no sense to me. What am I missing? But, on a brighter note, this goal was very nice to see: If Kolarek does leave I'm not exactly in a world of hurt, but I'd like to be able to offer him top 5 player in the world money and let the choice be his. Thanks for reading and following! Jellico73
  8. "Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs" It's taken awhile, but I do believe Les Bleus have reached a point where their popularity, stature, continued winning ways and appearances on the world stage have finally made an impression on those who play for us. How? Bayern Munich came in hard for Mark Bijl, who wasn't even on the transfer list. For €51M up front, going up to €75M (€70 of which was a sure bet, 5M was dependent on them winning the Champions Cup). And I rejected the deal: There's was no whining, complaining, no new contract demand, his team mates weren't upset. Is it possible we've turned this corner? Again, we were pretty active on the transfer market. I've changed up my scouting routine. Almost every one I have is out scouring a region for hot prospects. I'll search a country when prompted, but only for three months, and I am hitting every competition out there as well. I am not going completely youth movement, but I do think it's a bit easier on the finances to buy low and sell high as it were. Almost all of the players we brought in the Summer transfer window are older, Reserve team players who are also proving to be excellent tutors. I've found a couple of promising youngsters, and a Striker that may compel me to try and find a 2 striker system here in a couple of years. Most of these players are 2 star current, 2-3 star potential, and I am comfortable starting them a game or two. Here's my summer ins: And here is my Diamond in the rough: All of these players came in on a Free. I've had my eye on Quartey for awhile now, 18 U20 goals in 26 appearences for a Ghanian team that's not that strong is a plus. I'm trying to spell Kolarek a little more this season, trying to keep him fresh, and the drop off has been very noticeable when I do that. Quartey had potential, as long as I don't screw it up. On the 'Out' side of things, again, we were very active. We've sold only three players: All had reached their potential with the club, and weren't going to get any better. I did try loaning them out as well, but got better than expected value on all of them, including Lejeune. The loan market, we were again very busy. Almost everyone went to a club thats paying anywhere from 50 to 100% of their starting salary. A couple of these I am paying very close attention to as well. Kader Keita is a 20 year old keeper, 2 star current, 4 star potential getting full time first team soccer in Ligue 2, and he's having a pretty solid season. Pavel Bykov is 22 year old, 3 star current, 4 star potential M(R) who also plays AM(R). I am hoping he will be part of the competition to replace Jan K when Jan moves on, but for the moment he's starting for Benfica, and having a pretty decent season. Stephen Reid is a 20 year old 2 star current, 3 1/2 star potential D9C) from Australia. I know, just a post or three ago I was complaining about the lack of defensive players from the FFA COE. I was wrong. The others are all what baseball aficionado's here in the US would call a "4A" player, meaning they are to good for the Reserve team, but not good enough for the first team on anything more than a part time basis. It's likely that 90% of these guys will never suit up for a Les Bleus home game, but getting them first team playing time gets them out there in front of people, helps them develop some, and instead of languishing on the bench here at Stade Dunkerque, they get some good playing time. This season has been, interesting. I realized I hadn't played a couple of my overseas friendlies in a couple of seasons, so we went to San Jose and Seongham. Then as a condition of one of the transfers we made last year, I had to play Spezia in a friendly, which I turned into a Tour of Italy. It could have gone better, but I played mostly rotates sides most of the games. Here's how the regular season has shaken out thus far. I am a bit past the January transfer window. I wasn't to worried about losing all those friendlies. In all of them, I was playing my B team, and they were playing their starters. I'm trying to keep players healthy for the season, because I know its going to be a tough one. Losing to PSG in the Trophee des Chamapions is not how I wanted to start the season. Jan K had a very nice goal, but Olexy Mischenko had a brace to put them on top. We started the regular season out really well, with nice wins at Olympique Lyonnais and AS Nancy Lorraine. We stumbled against Monaco the first half, 2-0 down after 25 minutes of game play, but a Kolarek brace in 5 minutes had us tied going into the half, and then Gobel had a header off a corner kick in the 63rd minute to give us the win. And then I got this message, while Jan K was on international duty: He's only a few games away from breaking the club record for appearances too. We had nice wins against LOSC and Racing Club, and then ran head on into PSG again. They bossed us from start to finish, we had 2 shots on goal, one of which was on target, Paredes earned a double yellow in the space of two minutes, we were lucky they only scored a goal. But losing ended our winning streak, and put PSG ahead of us in the standings. And then there was this: This is the first time I've heard anything from the club that wasn't positive. Then again, he's been in charge almost twelve years (?) I think. I've always had a great relationship with him, only had to throw my weight an popularity around a couple of times the last decade to get something. We're a rich club, worth €343M, amd in the middle of a board takeover apparently. I may not be able to take this €99M transfer budget for a spin after all.... Anyhow, we had nice wins against Nice, FCSM, and Troyes. We aren't getting a lot of clean sheets this season, but I am OK with that. Then, against, Auxerre, we tripped. They've been very up and down this season, and as much as I'd like to blame the Champions League game we had three days earlier, the fact is we had 22 shots to their 11, 12 on target to their 7, and a 52% possession advantage. And they were 2-0 up heading into the half. We pulled even in the 69th minute, after Gibeon and N'Guessan goals, but someone fouled Camara in the box during a corner kick, and in the 72nd minute Alonso put Auxerre ahead for good. We took our frustrations out on Metz, and then fell down against Saint Etienne of all teams. And Matthew Collins. Marek had a brace of goals for Saint Etienne in the first half, and Kolarek brought us back to within one, but then Collins remembered he was actually a pretty good keeper and denied us the rest of the game. A draw against Girondins, then back to our winning ways. 2-1 at Tours, a 5-0 demolishing of Havre Athletic, a nice 1-0 against Stade Rennais, then a blip as Tours held us to a draw, which we didn;t deserve as they essentially ran us into the pitch, and then we spent the majority of the last half a man down when Kalka was double yellowed in the 50th minute. We took our frustrations out against OM. Kolarek had 4 goals, Jan K 1, and we kept up the winning against Montpelier, Nancy, and Racing Club. And then we fell flat on our face at LOSC. Gobel got a yellow in the 1st minute, and Vila scored for LOSC in the 2nd. Karahan, starting for a tired Kolarek, scored in the 5th minute, and then again in the 11th. LOSC equalized in the 28th, then went ahead in the 50th. Vincent equalized in the 68th minute, LOSC went ahead in the 74th, and Gobel got sent off in the 80th minute, leaving us a man down. Throwing caution to the win, I surged everyone forward on overload, tight marking, tackle hard, and was rewarded with Karahan's third goal in the 85th minute, giving us the draw. Against the 17th place team. We did get even with PSG though, beating them 3-1 in our Stade. Champions League wise, well, it was a tough draw. We were top of Group C, and then Had Borussia Dortmund, Feyenoord, and Hibernian. We eked out of the group, with three wins, two draws and a loss. We owe Hibernian big time, as they drew against Borussia Dortmund once and Feyenoord twice. Dortmund only won 2 games, drawing their other 4. Now we get to face Benfica in the FIrst Knockout stage. Monaco and PSG made it through their groups as well. In the local Coupes we are doing well, although we had a couple of mis steps to overcome" We needed PK's to get pas L'OL in the Coupe de la Ligue Quarter FInals, and after beating FCSM, we face PSG (who else?) in the Coupe de La Ligue final. In the Coupe de France, we needed PK's to get past Racing Club, but a nice 3-0 win against Chambly Oise has us facing Nice in the Eleventh round. Petar Kolarek has been a player possessed this season. In 30(2) appearances across all competitions, he has 32 goals, 3 assists, 12 POM's and a 7.71 rating. So of course Man City is making a move on him. In Champions League games he's averaging as goal a game, in Ligue play he has 23 goals in 19(1) games. Despite missing a few weeks, Jan K is the team assist leader, with 13. He also has 6 goals, and a 7.5 rating. James Carter has 3 goals and 11 assists. Miki, who has played AM(everywhere) and M(C) this season has 12 goals, 4 assists, 3 POM's and a 7.61 rating. Pascal Vincent is averaging a 7.33 while playing D(L) and D(C). Doesn't feel like it but Arrieta has had 15 Shutouts across all competitions this season. Here's where things stand at the moment: PSG is a game ahead, but they still have Monaco, Olympique Lyonnais, Montpelier and Girondins to play. We end our season against Montpellier and L'OL. SImply put, we need some help to come out of top of Ligue 1 again. And the other big teams are starting to circle around some of my players again. Against All Odds, we're going to need a bigger boat. Thanks for reading and following! Jellico73
  9. You have to watch out for the "Ludicrously Professional" After that, you go "Plaid" and all bets are off... Jellico73
  10. "Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs" 32 Wins. 5 Draws. 1 Loss. 101 points. What does that get you in the 2031/2032 Ligue 1 Season? Second Place. Have I already said "Thanks Tours!"? I did? It may not be enough. I'd like to say there are valid reasons for me updating this later than usual. What normally happens is I will grind away through half the season, post, then grind thru the rest of the season, and post. After the last first half of the season, things looked ready to fall apart. And yet we kept winning. Players would go down injured (more on that later), and we kept winning. It got to the point I was so tense about losing, I could only play a few games at a time. But I decided last night to finally "Cowboy Up" and get the season done. On an unrelated side note, I am home sick today, these are not related in any way, unless SI can give me food poisoning. But, before we get to the rest of the season, I just wanted to share a few screenshots of what we overcame. Peter Kolarek: James Carter: Marco Tulio: Jan K: Oh, and our D(R)/WB(R) was suspended the last 5 games of the season for an elbow he threw in a game. Fun times. These required more than a few players to step their games up. and they did. We were neck and neck with PSG all season, and at one point they had an opportunity to get ahead, but, well, you'll see. We were very quiet in the January transfer window. Gianluca Vanni came in on a loan, I needed a D(L) and wasn't to happy with the ones I had. Erik Massini, Luigino Traverso, Sean White, Ralk Mainka, Nicolaus Girault and Kader Keita are all players who joined the "French Juve" transfer system, cheap to buy, willing to play on the Reserve Team, loanable if need be. The only major out was Martin Petrov. If you had asked me two seasons ago how much I could have gotten for him I would have said €30M easy. But his numbers not only hit a wall, they started falling. Which for a 25 year old Striker is not a good thing. He requested a transfer because he wasn't getting playing time, and my only caveat was that he not go to a Ligue 1 team. A few teams at the bottom of the table made a run for him, Nantes in particular IIRC, but he ended up going to Sunderland for 11.5M, where he was...average? My Youth intake was, again, another pile of blah: I'd fire my current HOYD, but there's noone out there as good as or better than him. What kills me is all the red in DET and CMP... Anyhow, second half of the season: In addition to my normal 4-2-3-1, I started playing this more often: I played this on 'Standard/Fluid', and a lot of teams had a rough time dealing with it. One of the things I was able to do with my players versaltily this year was start in this formation, and if I needed to move to the 4-2-3-1, the W(R) became the D(R), the DCL would move to D(L), the M(L) would move to AM(L), and I still had my three subs to make. I probably played this formation 75% of the time, and it got me this: Our first real test came against Monaco, and we're lucky we scored three goals in the first half, because they came after us in the second half. It was this game that showed me how well Arrieta has been playing for us this season. This was even more impressive because I had an attack of Rectal Cranial Infarction Syndrome, and forgot to remove a bunch of players from the Reserve game played earlier in the day, and as a result, Tulio played AM(R), Paredes (A DM) played M(L), and Vanni played D(C). Tulio was great, Paredes had a goal and an assist, but the pucker factor was high, and didn't get any better in the second half. When Kolarek went out, Gibeon stepped up. He was having a fine season in the Reserves, and while he may never be a full time first teamer for us, his versatility makes him one of my most valuable players. As a bonus, he counts as homegrown, and doesn't take a foreign player slot on the roster. Mark Bijl has also stepped up his game this season, reaching his 4 1/2 star abilities. He was our catalyst in the midfield, usually the starting point for our attacks. He has this uncanny ability to lob the ball 30 plus yards in the air, landing i at the feet of the player who then keeps dribbling without breaking step, a few times I watched the highlight going "Wow..." Our game against PSG was our last big test of the second half. At this point we were a point ahead in the standings. Win, and we would be 4 ahead, and the rest of our schedule was packed with mostly bottom of the table teams. Lose and we'd be 2 points behind, needing some help to get ahead. So of course, we drew. It was a very even game. Pais scored for PSG in the 21st minute, and the Sidney was double booked withing three minutes, getting sent off in the 33rd minute. They went full on defensive, and for the next 42 minutes I couldn't do anything, until in the 75th minute, Carter took a ball N'Guessan threeaded thru four players down the left side of the box, and whipped a cross in to Gibeon, who was easily able to tap it in. Liridon Gurma, one of my rotation DM/D(C) players, felt that its was unsportsmanlike to have a man advantage against PSG, so he got sent of in the 85th minute, wherein PSG went full on overload attack attack attack...luckily Paolo Cinetti was on his "A" game, and he stopped eveyrthing that came his way. Why I chose to rest Arrieta this game I am not sure. See Rectal Cranial Infarction excuse above.... After PSG, we really didn't have any challenges. Beating Auxerre 3-0, FC Nantes 4-0, and then we played Racing Club De Lens. Who were sitting in 17th place. And we almost threw our season away. Down 2-0 at half time, I yelled and swore, the players reacted well, and then ran around like a bunch of six year olds playing herdball for the next 30 minutes. Dirk Gobel scored on a header in the 74th minute, and then, in something I still cannot believe, well, you tell me if you believe this: But, we tied. And PSG was playing the next day. And they tied as well. And who do we have to thank for our good fortune? Admit it. None of you said Saint-Etienne. I shudder to think what the outcome of this game would be if Collins were in goal. After Racing Club, our only real challenge was Olympique Lyonnais, and we beat them handily, 3-0. We got an absolute gift the next to last week of the season, when FC Sochaux-Montbe, in 18th place fighting relegation, held PSG to a draw. PSG responded to this by going out and thrashing Havre Athletic Club 5-0 last week of the season. Jose Mourhino, who I am pretty sure is a bigger jerk in the game than in real life, pinned his teams hoped on 20th place Angers to beat us, thereby giving PSG the Ligue title based on goals (I think). Even after we beat ANgers 2-0, Jose was complaining. I do not like computer Jose. Competition wise, it was a mixed bag. In the Club World Championship we beat Guangzhou, but lost to Santos FC on Penalty kicks. We had a great draw in the Coupe de France, facing a CFN and two CFA teams in the early rounds, until we ran into Auxerre in the Quarters. We were in the middle of a bunch of games in a short amount of time, Kolarek, Tulio and Carter were out with injury, the rest of my team was at about 85%. Auxerre got on the board with a PK in the 1th minute, and then recent signee Erik Massimi got sent off on a straight red in the 40th minute. We clawed back, Maxime David scored in the 71st minute, and then in the 88th minute to give us the 2-1 lead. And then, in the 93rd minute of a 92 minute game, the ref called an absolute horrible penalty on Mike during a Auxerre corner kick, and Auxerre equalized. Figueredo scored for Auxerre in the 107th minute, and we were out of the Coupe de France. I was mad about that penalty being called. I was so mad I protested, protested some more, to the press Helen Keller wouldn;t have called that a penalty, and got a three game suspension. It was worth it. The Coupe de la Ligue was tougher still: It took penalty kicks to beat Monaco, but we bossed Girondins, and then against PSG in the semi's we couldn't hit anything. Kolarek and Jan K were out for this game, Carter wasn't full strength, and we fought hard, but in the end PSG's better players saw them thru. At least it wasn't a Ligue game. Champions League. After winning our group, we faced Man United in the First Knockout Round, and the team averaged about 85% health. Mael Durand scored in the 88th minute, off another Carter whipped cross, and then a minute later for some reason Colin Faissol stuck his leg out to stop a Mihaljevic cross and knocked it into his own goal, and we escaped Old Trafford with a 2-0 win, and a 2 goal away advantage. Two weeks later, in our shiny new expanded stadium, with a full strenght team for the first time in awhile, Petar Kolarek knocked home two goals, and while Pascal Vincent had an unfortunate own goal early on in the game, we beat Man U 2-1, 4-1 on Aggregate. Hey Florian? How goes the trophy hunt? Yes, I'm still bitter over that. Next up, in the Quarter Finals, our old friends, Borussia Dortmund. They played a 4-4-1-1 that gave us fits all game, and Rodriguez put them on the board early with an 8th minute screamer. In the 45th minute, Carter had a PK from about seven yards outside the box on the right side he curved into the upper corner, must have been channeling his inner Beckham with that, and we left Signal Iduna with the draw, and an all important away goal. A week later we had figured out how to stop the 4-4-1-1, and Kolarek, with two very nice Carter assists, had a Hat Tricks worth of goals. Dortmund could hardly muster an attack, and we advanced with a 4-1 aggregate win. To face Shaktar? Shaktar beat Dacia in the second Qualifying Phase, then Aktobe in the Third Qualifying, then in the playoffs beat APOEL. They ended up in Group A, against Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, and FC Utrecht, won 4 games, lost 2, and advanced to face Schalke, who they beat 2-0 aggregate. In the quarters they beat Barcelona 4-3 aggregate. That's a great cup run by anyones standards. They played us tough, a Miki goal away and a Kolarek goal at home, coupled with a brilliant performance by Arrieta in goal, saw us thru to the Final on a 2-0 aggregate score. The team we were facing won its Group with 4 wins and two draws. Beat Bayern Munich 9-5 on Aggregate, including an 8-2 drubbing at Bayern. They beat Sporting 3-1 aggregate, and Bayer Leverkeusen 7-1 on aggregate (5-0 at Leverkeusen) to face us in the finals. We have a winning record against them, because we play them about four times a year it seems. It's an All France Champions League Final, because were facing AS Monaco. 90,000 fans in Wembley stadium. Tulio is out. Carter is out. We've beaten and tied Monaco in Ligue 1, and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is eager to beat us. They come out on the attack. Marcus Tulio (not to be confused with my Marco Tulio) , is the best AM(C) /Striker in the game, and they are one of the few top flight teams I see play a 4-3-1-2 Diamond. They scored 74 goals in Ligue 1, just 8 less than we did, but they also gave up 32. They are going to attack, and attack some more, and when they are done attacking, they keep attacking a bit longer. Monaco outshot us 21-8. They had 7 shots on target to our 4, they had a 62/38 possession advantage, and at the end of regulation, the score was 0-0. In the 10th minute, Christopher Inocencio, their 22 year old world class AM(C) (Only €19.5M from Sao Paulo), took a Tuilo cross from the left side and rifled it past a diving Arrieta. Miki had a shot in the 110th minute, Paredes knocked a shot over the crossbar in the 115th, but it was not meant to be. French Football won the Champions League. French Football lost the Champions League, and our long season was over. Several players had better than expected seasons. Petar Kolarek can rightfully claim to be one of the best Strikers in Football. Despite missing several weeks, in 48(1) appearances across all competitions, he had 31 goals, 6 assists, 9 POM's and a 7.37 rating. At 22 years old he is just starting to reach his prime, and is a half star away from fulfilling his 5 star potential. I was expecting big things from James Carter this season. I was not expecting him to miss five plus months of football due to injury, but when he played, he was brilliant. In 30 appearances across all competitions, he had 9 goals, 12 assists, 4 POM's and a 7.39 rating. If injuries affected one player more than another, it was Marco Tulio. My 4 star AM(C) ended the season as a 3 star AM(C), and in 21(7) appearances across all competitions he had 8 goals, 1 assist and 1 POM, and a 7.00 rating. I was expecting him to start declining, he is 29 after all, and has been a top player for the past ten or so years, so I had a plan in place to replace him. If his numbers keep falling, I can't see him in a Les Bleus uniform much longer. Jan K is well on his way to being the Clubs Legend, ahead of Blanchard, ahead of Tchokounte. He's played 344 games for Les Bleus, and in 5 games will own the club record for most games played. If I have to prop him up in goal a la El Cid to get him that record, I will. In 34(1) appearances across all competitions he had 8 goals, 13 assists, 3 POM's and a 7.18 rating. His contract was up next season, and I got him to sign a two year deal. I suspect it will be his last football contract. At 23 years old, Marc Bijl is a 4 1/2 star current, 5 star potential "Cultured Midfielder". I don't know what that means. I do know that in 54 appearances across all competitions, he had 8 goals, 7 assists, 3 POM's a 7.2 rating, ans was the start of many a Dunkerque attack, and the rock opposing attacks broke themselves on. Fredy Paredes is my primary DM. The 23 year old Paraguayna international in now 3 star current, 4 1/2 star potential, and had a solid season plaing mostly DLP(S) for us. In 44(1) appearances across all completions, he had 5 goals, 4 assists, 4 POM's and a 7.18 rating. What Bijl cannot get to, he usually does. I had a rotation going on the D line when I played my assymetrical 3-5-2-1 whatever you want to call it. Pascal Vincent, Sedat Kalkan, Liridon Gurma, and Dirk Gobel saw the majority of playing time at the various D(C) positions. Vincent really is a world class defender. In 55(6) appearances across all competitions, he had 3 goals, 2 assists, and 6 POM's, along with a 7.24 rating. In 48(2) appearances across all competitions, Kalkan had a goal, and assist, a POM and a 7.07 rating. Gurma, in 24(8) appearances had 3 goals, 2 assists, 2 POM's and a 6.93 rating. Dirk Gobel may not be worth the entirety of the €45M I paid for him, but in 53 appearances across all competitions he had 5 goals, 1 assist, and a 7.10 rating. Hrvoje Mihaljevic played WB(R) the majority of the season, and in 51 appearances he did not have any goals, but did have 6 assists and a 7.07 rating. Felipe Arrieta had a season Florian Ameskamp would envy. In 53 appearances across all competitions he allowed 31 goals, had 31 shutouts (21 at Ligue 1), 3 POM's, and he scored 6 goals as a PK taker. 3 POM's and a 7.10 rating round out a fine season. And, more impoartantly, we were one of the least penalized teams in the Ligue this season. Several younger players stepped up due to injury. Most started the season on our reserve team, where they performed very well. Gibeon played CF when Kolarek went down, and filled in at AM(C) and AM(R) as well. In 19(4) appearances in non CFA appearances he had 8 goals, 3 assists, 3 POM's and a 7.10 rating. In the CFA playing primarily Striker he had 17 goals, 2 Assists, 3 POM's and a 7.29 rating in 14 games. Miki played every where on the front line, and replaced Bijl a couple of times at M(C) as well. 3 star current, 4 star potential, the 20 year old I paid Bilbao €100K for had 6 goals, 8 assits, a POM and a 7.14 rating in 19(6) Leage appearances, and 3 goals, 17 assists 2 POM's and a 7.43 rating for the Reserves playing mostly AM(R). I suspect he's going to step into Jan K's spot shortly. Playing M(L), AM(L), and some M(C), Mael Durand filled in for Carter quite capably. In 27(5) league appearances he had 3 goals, 13 assists, 4 POM's and a 7.06 rating. While playing mostly AM(L) for the Reserves team in 27 games he had 8 goals, 7 assists, 3 POM's and a 7.19 rating. Didier N'Guessan was my signing of the season, and he came in the January transfer window. 3 star current, 4 star potential Ivorian international I wanted to be my replacement for Jan K. Instead he spent most of the season filling in for Tulio. In 26(2) Ligue appearances he had 6 goals, 9 assists, 3 POM's and a 7.15 rating. Why only Ligue appearances the eagle eyed among you may ask? Felipe Arriete won Keeper of Ligue 1 this season, beating out PSG's Asiediu (AKA Rulli Junior, I swear). Our Reserve and U19 teams had great seasons as well. In a twist I can only describe as Ironic: PSG Reserves beat us by a point to gain promotion to the CFN. Our U19 team won the French Under 19 Group 3 for the second year in a row, beating Auxerre U19 by a single point to take the title there. Players on Loan, had a lot of them. 18 to be exact. Patrick Petersen was entirely my fault, Eintracht Frankfurt paid to get him, then never played him, and he got lost in the shuffle. Some pretty solid seasons for those players on loan, all of them were starters, all got first team playing time. Biggest disappointments were Charbonnier and Sharifi. Charbonnier is a DM who can play D(C )and M(C), he's 2 star current 2 1/2 star potential, but the half season he played for Zulte Waregem in the Jupiler Pro league was underwhelming. Sharifi, well, I signed the 21 year old 2 1/12 current, 4 star potential player on a free. The instant I signed him he was worth 16.5M, he spent a week on the reserves then when to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, who were paying 100K a month for him. In 18 games as a BWM DM, his primary position, he had 1 goal 0 assists, 0 POM's, a 6.30 rating, and missed 8 weeks when he sprained one, and then the other, ankles. And everytime I talked to him his attitude sucked. No way is he seeing first team playing time here anytime soon. Minor spoiler, he's on loan at Feyenoord now, and they are paying 150K a month and half his salary. He better have a good season for them, because if he doesn't, he's gone. Most everyone who was loaned last season will probably go out on loan again. Bykov and Kontos have teams enquiring about their availability for transfers, but I am going to hoild off on that I think, unless I get a great offer. Financially we are doing very well: Because of our countries showing in the Champions League, we gained another qualifying spot. We moved up 1 spot to 2nd, behind Man City, in the European Club Rankings. Arsenal top the rich list, and we fell from 17th to 24th, but our finances were so good we paid off all the debt we took out to expand the stadium. I'll take that any day of the week. We're currently on a 54 game unbeaten streak in Ligue 1, PSG was the last team to beat us. Our key players are getting older, but if this season was an indication, we have some capable youngsters ready to step in and keep the team atop the mountain. Against all Odds. we clawed our way to the top again. Thanks for reading and following (and watching)! Jellico73
  11. "Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs" "Ce sont les temps qui tentent les âmes des hommes." Season 16(?!) is a crossroads for the team. With the success we have had in Ligue 1 and Europe, we've made our mark on the map of World Football. The next question is: How long can we stay there? We're a squad in the first stage of transition. As I rarely keep older players on the roster, and I've been packing my youth and Reserve teams with a range of talent, I am also reaching a point where some of my long time older players are declining, or not progressing, and it's a fine balancing act between playing them to ensure the win, and playing the youngsters to get them some quality first team playing time. As it turns out, in a few cases, the decision was taken out of my hands entirely. But first, some good news: My stadium expansion has finished. Now 40,000 seats. I've been quite active in the transfer window. With my Reserve team being put back in the CFA, I needed to beef it's roster up some, and I also needed to keep my U19 roster stocked as well. Gone are they days of me running a 35 man roster, this season we're at 60 so far, and quite a few of them are loaned out as well. First, the IN's. A lot of these players are either Older professionals who are happy playing on the Reserves team, getting some first team chances, while tutoring. Younger players with potential who wouldn't get a lot of playing time on my squads, but who I am comfortable with loaning out. Players like Didier N'Guessan. When someone like that pops up, and is available on a Free? Odegaard, Cinetti, Julliard have all proven to be very good tutors, while the other older (22+) players have been valuable members of the Reserve Team. Or have made me some money by going out on loan. We were very active on the outgoing market. How Active? You have to scroll down to see them all: But, as an example of what I have been doing, I brought in Pavel Bykov on a Free. His base salary is 8.5K, hes a 3 star current, 4 star potential M(R) who can also play some AM(R) and WB(R). As soon as I signed him Dnipro wanted him on transfer, instead he's on loan for 60K p/m, and I am only paying 50% of his salary, so I am coming out 43K p/m ahead. I think, Math is harder on a holiday. Heck, Sharifi I brought in on a free, he's getting 15.25K base pay, and TSG Hoffenheim is paying 100K a month for him with no salary contribution from me. Granted, he's been coming in as a rotation player for them in violation of our agreement, but still. Every little bit helps. Did have some big moves out though. Starting small: Matthieu Colon, Bruno Ferreira, Patrick Mollering, Troy Brown and Christian Heinemann were all Top Ligue 2 talents who were just not developing the way I wanted them too. And many were agitating for first team playing time as well. A couple of them, Mollering and Ferreria, I would have been OK playing, but I would have been looking to improve on them sooner rather than later. They all went out for at least their value. Paul Bolling was the first big out, he was one of the first product of my "Lets impersonate Juve" transfer system. Brought him in, sent him to Colchester, where as a full time starting M(C) he had 41 appearances, 0 goals, 6 assists, and a 6.33 rating. I put him out there and Malaga snapped him up. Jerome Perrier wanted first team playing time, but at 27 years old and 2 start current and potential ability, he wasn't going to get it here. At best he was my 3rd option at Striker and either AM wing, but FC Kobenhaven made a decent offer for him, and I took it. Jacob Wood came in on trial for us, had 3 goals in 4 games, and then had a decent rest of the season playing for the Reserve Team, with 2 goals and an assist in 10 games. However, his 2 star current, 4 star potential became 2 star current, 2 1/2 star potential, and he also would have spent the season on the Reserve team again. I was OK with that, but I put him out there just to see what would happen, and West Brom snapped him up for €8M. He's a rotation player for them, but he's had 6 goals in 17 appearances for them so far. Kevin Bossard was the first big out. He was entering the last year of his contract, his skills had topped out, and Marc Bijl is on his way to becoming a world class Midfielder, and Fredy Paredes isn't to far behind. Sedat Kalkin and Lidion Gurema are cabable backups as well, ansd Bossard was the odd man out. Man United snapped him up for €21M, and he's not even starting there. Thusi Gumede was a little harder to let go. Vincent is a capable D(L), but after him, my depth is weak. Gumede though, I don't know. He was 3 star current, 3 star potential when I let him go, but it felt like he caught a case of "Collins Disease", where for every good play he made, there was also a bone headed one that made you smack you head. I put him out there at €18M, Southampton offered 15.5, and away he went, and he's not doing well, sitting at a 6.32 rating. The arrival of Hrvoje Mihaljevic meant Stephen Foose's time at the club was over. I thought about loaning him out again, but when I put him on the market for 20M, Liverpool came in for 16M, and after some haggling, I got them up to 17M up front, going to 20.5M after some achievable goals. A change of scenery has done wonders for Foose, in 19 games he had 5 POM's and a 7.47 rating, better than any season he had for Les Bleus. We got the season off right: With a tour of South America! And then Turkey! We played mostly rotated sides, but the team did well. We started the Ligue 1 Season of Against Angers SCO, and had a solid 2-0 win. But this also happened: Okay, this is bad, but 10-12 weeks out is not as bad as it could be. Besides, this is why I have Odergaard. And it also means Mael Durand can get some playing time, and Gibeon as well. In the Super Curp, RB Leipzig took us to extra time, but a Kolarek goal in the 115th minute saw us through. Or first stumble of the season was against, of course, PSG at home. This game was disappointing in many ways. First, the draw, which was a punch in the gut because Piero Zirafa, their World Call AM(C), was sent off in the 29th minute for a 2 foot scissor kick lunge thing, and despite being a man up, we could only muster 6 shots, 2 of which were on target. We gave away the ball too much. We got back against Montpellier, and then despite our best efforts against Monaco, we could not score more than one for Jan K, who was making his 325th appearance for Les Bleus. Our game at Girondins was a cracker to watch. Jan K and Kolarek had a brace, Paredes scored as well, but Girondind didn't give up, as Arrieta turned away several shot after the 75th minute. We stayed on a roll with wins against L'HAC and LOSC, and then in our Champions League match (which I have not shown here), Tulio scored a goal in the 6th minute, and left with a torn hamstring in the 60th. Out for 2-3 months. So thats my AM(L) and AM(C) out. Despite outplaying Nice, they held us to a draw, Jan K with the equalizer there. We hammered Auxerre and Saint Etienne, scraped out a win against 20th place Nantes, a game that should not have gone that way IMO. We took our frustration out on Racing Club de Lens with a 3-0 thrashing, then a 2-0 win over Olympique Marseilles, and kept our winning ways going against Metz, L'OL, FCSM, Tours, and Montpellier again. But the injuries keep piling up. Carter came back from his torn hammy, and then injured his back lifting weights in training on October 21st, out for 4 weeks. Against Metz, Jan K injured his hip kicking the ball, out for three months, minimum. Martin Odegaard, my backup AM(everywhere) missed five weeks in December and January with a twisted ankle. And in our last game against Montpellier, Petar Kolarek had his jaw broken, and is out 4 weeks. So, at one point, for a brief period, my Striker, entire Attacking midfield, and primary backup were all out injured. Carter and Tulio are back this week though. And we haven't lost a game yet in Ligue 1. And were still in second place... Tours beat PSG 3-0, and we drew with them early on, but they have not lost. SIgh. Champions League wise, we did OK. I Group D, with Andelecht, Schalke, and Will, we went 3 wins, 1 loss, and 2 draws, and meet Man United in the Group Stage next. I am not that confident to be honest. Yes, we've beaten Man U and Florian before, but this season? I am not so sure. The Schalke game we lost was especially disappointing, as we took a 2-0 lead into half, only to give up 3 in the second half. My Reserve team is doing very well, currently sitting in in 1st place in the CFA-A Division, in fact they are running away with it: Gibeon and Miki have actually gotten a decent amount of first team time as well, what with all the injuries, but its nice to know we aren't going to be relegated again. I didn't win coach of the year, I cam in second. First time in almost seven years I haven't won that. So, I have the next half of the season to play. Hopefully we won't keep the medics to busy, and PSG will lose to someone like Nantes or FCSM. But I am not going to bet on that. Thanks for reading and following! Jellico73
  12. Same way Major League Baseball was played - lower quality players who didnt go off to war. Jellico73
  13. maybe he was pronouncing it "Arsenal"?
  14. "Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs" The January transfer window was winding down, and Bayer Leverkeusen made an offer for Markus Ambrosius, the D(C) I picked up from Basel last year for 5.5M. He's been a very good player for us, this year he has 2 goals, 3 POM's and a 7.51 rating. And I declined the offer. And the team went nuts. I mean "Lets have a team meeting right now as to why your taking food out of Markus kids mouth now or we go on strike nuts. And I'll be honest. It was late. I was tired. I didn't want to deal with this sort of drama. So I quit the game, loaded the save, Bayer made their offer, I said yes, and €22.5M later, Ambrosius was in Germany. Which left me with a hole in my D Line. Now, I have some younger players with some nice potential, and Kalkin has been rotating in and out for a few games. There was still time left in the transfer window, so I went looking, and found Pascal Vincent, who was at Wolves. I'm not sure why a 3 star D(C) with 3 star potential is a World Class Center back, heck Ambrosius was slighlty better than him in most categories and is just a Center Back, but he's 24 years old and also plays a competent D(L). So, for €30M, and possibly 36M, I bought him. Then I waited. And waited. And waited a few more days. Then Ligue 1 registration closed, and he was still not in Dunkirk. The next day, he shows up, and I can't register him for the rest of the Ligue 1 season. But I can register him for Champions Ligue. Warning, rant follows: Rant Ends. Sorry. I realize that my knowledge of world football rules is, at best, a few power point slides deep, but man... My only other signing was Liridon Gurma, who I poached from Chelsea. I say poached because they spent 7.25M to get him from Zurich. I paid 400K for him. The rest of the outs were loans: Anyhow, back to the Ligue. We finished strong. Very strong. We didn't lose the rest of the season. And we were domninant in several games. Kolarek had a hat trick against Saint Etienne, meaning my decision to sell Collins was the right one. The Girondins game was tough. We outplayed them the entire match, but it took an Arrieta PK (yes, he's taking PK's, I am not sure why. He has decent skill there, but I didn't select him for that), to salvage the tie. It took a lot of prayers (and maybe a small animal sacrifice) to Pedestriana, but she heard our calls, because in the 92nd minute against PSG Marco Tulio scored the equalizer, and we were tied at the top of Ligue 1. Two games later, we tied Monaco, and then Monaco tied PSG the next week as well. Against Auxerre, we just could not get anything going. The team was tired, dinged up, but it was a great back and forth. 35 total shots, 12 on goal, even on fouls and we had a slight possession advantage, but noone could put the ball in the back of the net. Auxerre is a good team, they finished 4th this year, but PSG beat US Creteil, and I had to pray very hard to Pedestriana that somehow, someway, either Saint Etienne or Angers (11th and 15th respectively), could pull off the upset. We needed a PSG loss, because even if we tied, we would lose on goal differential, even with our 5-0 pasting of FCSM. It was not to be. We lost to PSG and L'OL. PSG lost to LOSC and Girondins. What killed our season was the draw to Creteil, who were in a relegation battle all season, never higher than 17th. 94 points, and you come in second. Now I know how PSG felt last season. And the year before that. We stumbled in the Coupe de France, again. This time it was Monaco, beating us in the Quarter Finals. But we beat PSG before we lost, so there is a small victory there: Monaco would go on to win the Coupe de France. In the Coupe De Ligue, we did better. We won it. Again. Not without some drama though. Angers took us to penalty kicks, which we won 4-3. And that's after we dominated them the entire game. PSG took us to penalty kicks as well. Which almost didn't happen after Carter was sent off in the 104th minute for his second yellow. But Arrieta was a hero between the sticks, and we won the shootout 3-1. This is the third time in 5 years we have won the Coupe de La Ligue, first back to back winners since PSG won it in 2021 and 2022. We had our youth intake. But first, this is my Head of Youth development: Whats not to like about this guy? Professional, good JPA, JPP, 20 for Working with Youngsters, 17 Determination. And this is the Youth Intake: And before anyone says anything about Picard looking nice, I'd say sure. All 5' 4", 114 pds of him. Does the game mimic growth spurts? After 5 years of Superb Youth Facilities, Scouting range and whatnot, should I be disappointed this was my intake? Champions League about gave me an ulcer this year. It took an Arrieta(!) 93rd minute PK to give us the win over AC Milan. Beating Man United was great. Part of me wants to imagine Thierry waving "Bye Bye!" to Florian as we celebrate our victory. Barcelona required a lot of prayers and a medium sized sacrifice. Marco Tulio was the hero here, with an 83rd minute goal that gave us the win on away goals, and the right to face Arsenal in the finals. Two wins in three years. I am not complaining, at all. :-) Kevin Bossard was the hero here, his extra time goal securing us the win. I a completely related side note, Carlos Ancelotti "retired" after we won, but he was also 72, so that makes sense. Arsenal lured Klopp away from Real Madrid, who hired...noone at the moment. They haven't asked if I would be interested in interviewing. I wouldn't be, French football is my bread and butter. We sold our our stadium the whole season, so were expanding, again, to 40K seats. One day the board announced were only going to get 30% of the transfer money now, apparently we're in debt? Well, OK, last season it says we were 62M in the red, but at the start of the next season i'm 62M in the black? Oh, that includes transfers. OK. We moved 5 spots up the club rankings chart, to 3rd. France however fell to 4th, so we lost the Champions League spot we just got back. And sometime in March I coached my 800th game. However, despite my successes, I did not make the top 4 in the Coach of the year awards. And I got a new contract. Now I am making 19K per week, Before taxes. :-/ Player wise, some nice performances. Kolarek is well on his way to World Class Striker status. He got a new contract during the transfer window, Real Madrid came sniffing and I am not letting this one go. He's values at 55M. Last season, in 54 appearances across all non friendly competition, he had 31 goals, 16 assists, 9 POM's, and a 7.36 rating. James Carter is now a World Class Winger, having realized his full 4 1/2 star potential. He got a new contract as well, after Man City came asking about him. He's valued at 54M. Last season, in 45 appearances across all non friendly competition, he had 12 goals, 14 assists, 6 POM's, and a 7.45 rating. Marco Tulio had a fabulous season. Last season, in 55 appearances across all non friendly competition, he had 17 goals, 14 assists, 3 POM's, and a 7.24 rating. This next season is going to be Jan K's 13th at Dunkerque. He's never played anywhere else, and he never will if I can help it. This past season, in 48 appearances across all non friendly competition, he had 16 goals, 14 assists, 8 POM's, and a 7.31 rating. I had a nice midfield rotation going all season, but one stood out. Marc Bijl, who I paid 14.5M for three years ago, has grown by leaps and bounds. Now 22, he has 4 star current ability, 4 1/2 star potential, at one point near the end of the season he was values at €70M. Playing mostly DLP from the M(C) position, in 46 appearances across all non friendly competition, he had 4 goals, 6 assists, 2 POM's, and a 7.14 rating. Kevin Bossard was the other primary starter most of the season. In 38(5) appearances across all non friendly competition, he had 3 goals, 4 assists, 4 POM's, and a 7.15 rating. Liridon Guruma appeared in 20(1) games and had a goal and a 7.08 rating. Sedat Kalkan had 45(4) appearances, split mostly between D(C) and DM, had 2 goals, 1 assist, 1 POM and a 7.12 rating. Freddy Paredes could be my DM version of Bijl. He went from 1 1/2 stars to 2 1/2 stars over the course of 21 games, playing mostly Regista. Only 1 assist, but he had some nice defensive plays. Thusi Gumede has topped out at 3 stars. And he spent half the season (it seems) on International duty with South Africa. in 25 appearances across all competitions he had 4 assists and a POM, but his extended absence and his yellow cards issue (14 in 25 games!) were the primary factor in my getting (trying to anyways) Vincent. In his half season for us Markus Ambrosius had 28 appearances, 2 goals, 4 POM's and a 7.4 rating. playing DC. Hrvoje Mihaljevic had an outstanding first season with Les Bleus. In 52 appearances across all competitions, he had 11 assists, 4 POM's, and a 7.31 rating, as a DC/D(R). Dirk Gobel also had an outstanding first season with Les Bleus. For the 45M I paid for him, I got 54 appearances across all competitions, 2 goals, 1 assists, 4 POM's, and a 7.25 rating, as a DC/D(R). Felipe Arrieta had a good year. Quiet, but good. In 57 appearances he allowed 38 goals, had 8 goals scored as a PK taker, and had 24 shutouts, and a 6.98 rating. 3 star current, 3 1/2 star potential, he's a place holder at the moment, a more than capable one. Oh, and somehow, my Reserves team ended back up in the CFA. Not sure how/why that happened, but it has made my manager life a little easier. Last season they finished 8th, but I think I am going to get them a couple of new coaches this offseason. And that was our season. More highs, more lows, but European success has been very nice. Here's hoping we can keep that going. Thanks for reading! Jellico73