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About Jellico73

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    Gaming, reading, watching sports and Monday Morning QB'ing

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    USL-Dunkerque; FC Saarbrucken

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  1. For some reason the game keeps crashing at a certain point, and for the time being I have not been able to proceed with this save. We did fight our way into 2. Bundesliga, but the team finances are a mess, and I suspect it's that particular issue causing the database to crash. Anyhow, I will do this save again in FM18. Thanks, Jellico73
  2. Forgot the World News Info: In World News: In an All German Champions League, Bayern Munchen beat Borussia Dortmund a to win the Champions League. Tottenham beat Chelsea to win the Europa League. Bayern Munchen won the Bundesliga with 83 points, Borussia Dortmund was second with 77 points. 1. FC Koln won the DFB Pokal, beating RB Leipzig. Man U won the Premier League, with 88 points. Arsenal had 80, and Tottenham each had 76 points. PSG won Ligue 1 with 99 points. Monaco finished 2nd with 83 points. Roma won Seria A with 81 points, Juventus and AC Milan tied for second with 74 points, AC Milan was 3rd on a differential of -1 In La Liga, Barcelona and Athletico Madrid each had 96 points, but Barca swept the regular season series between the two, so Athletico came in 2nd. Messi won the World Golden Ball, Mata was second, Suarez 3rd. USL Dunkerque won 3 games, drew 10, and lost 25 on the way to finishing last in Ligue 2, and was relegated back to the CNA. Thanks for reading and following! Jellico73
  3. "Über die Brücke Ruhm warte - Across the Bridge Glory waits" Our first season in the 3. Liga was going to be tough. The pundits fixed us to finish 20th, and to be relegated back to the Regionalliga. The board just wanted us to avoid finishing last. To that end they did not give me any transfer money, but they did give us a slightly higher wage budget. However, that increase was not at all substantial, and many of my players had wage increases that were tied into promotion. First order of business, was transfers. Without any transfer money, I could alter my wage budget a little to get some, and the possibility of selling players was there, but my share of the revenue was maybe 30%. First, the ins: Tim Welker is a backup player, with 2 star current and 2 1/2 star potential ability, he's a D(CR) who's going to be a backup player, because none of my youth players are ready for primetime. Or even late late night time. Steffen Nkansah com,es in on a free from Borussia Mönchengladbach. I'm paying almost 5K a week for him, because he's a 3 star current, 4 star potential D(Everywhere) player who can also play M(C). I like to switch between a 3-4-2-1 and a 4-3-2-1 and a Defensive player who can play a lot of positions very well makes that switch much easier. Kai Kleinert is a striker who can also play AM(C) and M(C). 3 star current, 3 1/2 star potential, he's a very good Advanced Forward and Poacher, which fits in with the formation I play. 23 years old, some of his physicals are not where I want them to be, but his salary was not onerous at all. Marcel Hilßner comes in on loan from SG Dynamo Dresden. At 3 1/2 star current, 4 star potential, he's primarily a M(L) who also plays AM(L), AM(C), and M(C) very well. Michael Schindele is a 3 1/2 star current, 3 1/2 star potential D(C) with some very good Physicals for this level. He can play DM and M(C), but I want him to be the primary D(C) in my backline. At the end of the season, a couple of players came in: Marin Kovac is a 3 1/2 star current, 4 star potential DM and M(C). He's a very good halfback, and I can drop him back at time to help as needed. Also some very good physicals for the level of play. Christian Landu-Landu comes from Norway, a 3 1/2 star current, 3 1/2 star potential player who can play all the defensive middle positions very well. I was looking for a Ball Winning Midfielder, and he beings some very goos skills to the team. Ahmed Razeek is a Sri Lankan International. With 2/12 star current ability, 3 1/2 star potential ability, his primary position in AM(R), but he's also a very good M(R), WB(R), and can play D(R). He also plays AM(L) as well. Summer Arrivals: On the outs, we were active, but not in a good way: Our only sale was Zeitz, and older DM who was OK for us, but wanted to move on. I put him on the market, and he went to FC Magdeburg, another team in the 3.Liga Peter Chrappan and Daniel Dorringer were older players whose Determination was very low, which is something I hate. Patrick Schmidt was my other striker, and he did not want to sign a new contract. Then he went and retired, which was unexpected. Almost all of my good youth players went out on loan, with at least 50% of salaries being covered by the other team. Yes, many of these teams are regionalliga or lower, but any first team playing time for some of these kids is a good thing. The only unexpected loss was Steve Zellner, who suffered a catastrophic knee injury, and ended up retiring as a result. My goal for the season was to avoid a relegation battle. I don't mind finishing lower table, but I am desperate to avoid going back to the regionalliga. The first half of the season went about as well as I expected it: The friendlies were all very nice warmups. Historically speaking, in the 50's when the team was "In the wild", they hosted a Saarland Cup tournament. Although were a lower league team, and thus the chances of television revenue was low, but I was able to get some decent teams to participate. We started the season off with a nice win against Wurzburger Kickers. Then our next five games we went 0-2-3. Kai Kleinert has burst onto the scene, a hat trick in his first game, and looks to be a good signing. We got back to the right side of things in the DFB-Pokal, a nice 2-1 win against TSV alemannia Aachen. The next few games were very up and down, the lowlight being the 5-1 drubbing 1. FC Mainz II gave us. We did win the Saarland Landspokal Second round match, and then two games later 1. FC Mainz 05 (then 3rd in the Bundesliga), trounced us in the Pokal Third Round. Our last eight games of the season were about as even as you can get, 3 wins, 2 draws, 3 losses. Were beating the teams as good as and not as good as us, and losing to teams better than us. When the Winter break rolled around, we were sitting in 17th place, with 5 wins, 5 draws, and 9 losses. I wanted to go into the winterbreak on a high note, and the quarter final of the Saarlandlandespokal turned out to be the right thing. A 5-0 sent the boys into the break on a high note, and when they came back, they hit the ground running. a 4-3 win at top of the table Dynamo Dresden, a 4-1 win against Vfl Wolfsburg II, back to back 4-1 wins against Mettlach in the Saarlan Semi-Final, and Arminia Bielfield saw us move up to midtable quickly. Then came a four game losing streak that about pulled the rug from under us, when our defense just kept breaking down. I had a team meeting after the 4th loss, and the team came out of it motivated. That motivation translated to on the field success, as we did not lose a game the rest of the season. Our last game, against Vfr Aalen, was a nailbiter. Win and we had a chance of finishing 3rd, and getting promoted. They took an early lead, but we clawed our way back to a tie, but their defense shut us down, and we had to settle for the draw. The season, by any measure, was an unqualified success. FInishing 6th was well above expectations, as was winning the Saarland Pokal for the second year in a row. Kai Kleinert was the signing of the season. Playing mostly Advanced Forward, in 33 appearances he had 20 goals, 12 assists, 7 POM's and a 7.33 rating. If not for Kleinert, Felitciano Zschüsschen would have been the teams player of the year. Playing mostly Target Man, and the occasional AM(L), he had 21 goals, 8 assists, and 7 POM's in 33 appearances. SVen Sokler turned 33, and his skills started to diminish, but the En Ganche had a fine season, with 10 goals, 10 assists, and 3 POM's in 30 games. This may be his last season with the team though. Playing M(R) and AM(R), Markus Mendler played a full season, and his 3 goals, 9 assists and POM showed what he was capable of as a full time starter. Marcel Hilßner had a solid season playing M(C) for us. While his 2 goals, 2 assists and 1 POM in 31 matches aren't great, they are better than any of the younger players on my team. Marco Holz had a solid season as well at M(C). 1 goal, 5 assists and a POM in 33 matches, he played primarily DLP and did a solid job. Mario Müller did not score in his 23 appearances, but did have 5 assists. He did miss a few weeks with an injury. My Defensive Backs were a rotated bunch, mostly due to injury and health. Alexander Hahn had a solid season, in 24 appearances he had 2 goals, an assist, and a POM. Michael Schindele had 24 appearances and was mostly meh. Sascha Wenninger had 2 goals in 14 games at primarily D(L). Arne Sicker, back again on loan from Holstein Kiel, was a solid defender at D(C) and D(L) in 20 games. Steffen Nkansah was as advertised. Playing D(C), in 27 appearances he had 3 goals, 3 assists, a POM, and was very good defensively. I really want to like Ricco Cymer. But in 37 appearances he allowed 63 goals, or 1.7 a game. He had 1 fewer shutout this season than last season, and our defense was arguably better than last years. Maybe not as lot better, but better. I am pretty sure this season is his last with the team. Overall, our first season in the 3. Budesliga was troublesome. Yes, we finished 6th, because the team caught fire the second half and went on a scoring run I am not sure we can replicate. And it's a good thing we were scoring because or defense fell apart when I needed them to hold. Of our 9 draws, we were leading aftether the 60th minute in 4 of them. Of Our 13 losses, we had the lead in 6 of them at half time. The defense needs to get better (see the signing above). But, we've shown we can compete with the bigger boys. Now lets see if we can stay there. Thanks for reading and following! Jellico73
  4. Just a minor delay on this, Harvey has thrown a spanner into the works at my job, and I have not had a lot of desire to sit in front of my home computer after spending all day in front of my work computer. Jellico73
  5. FM Careers Forum Discussion

    I'm in the middle of another club save, but if I wasn't doing that I'd being doing a flipped league save like Loki Doki is doing. I may do that as one of my FM 18 saves.
  6. I swear I knew how to do this, but am having a PBKAC moment about it. I want to add International results to my current save. U20 Championships, Pan Asian, African and the like. I had like 20 of them on an earlier save, and it was a nice way to see some international players and scout them ahead of everyone else. Where do I go to add them? Thanks, Jellico73
  7. "Über die Brücke Ruhm warte - Across the Bridge Glory waits" The game only comes with the ability to play 2. Bundesliga I think, so I had to download a mos to play the lower league teams. This is the one I am using: 14-02-17 - German Football League System One of the things I like about this mod is that it changes the names of the Regions, teams and cups, but I will admit, some of these team names are quite long. It is kind of fun to see there full name scroll across the commentary. Meet Valentin Krieger, the new head coach of your FC Saabrucken team: I had to block out some info because this was taken at the end of the season...total PBKAC error on my end. "Die Molschder" have been picked by the pundits to finish 4th in the Regionalliga Sudwest. In order to be promoted to the 3. Liga, you not only need to come in 1st place, but you need to place in the top 2 of the promotion playoff, which is a round robin tournament between all the winners of the other Regionalliga. While on paper that doesn't look to challenging, almost all the of the Bundesliga second teams are in the RegionalLiga. Sudwest has KC Kaiserslautern II, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim II, VfB Stuttgart II; the other regions also have a lot of II teams. Player wise, we are about what I expected. Some very good older players, some younger players with potential, and some dependable fill ins. We don't have a transfer budget, and out payroll is not to big either, in fact I'm right up against it before a game has been played. I am going to play a 3-4-1-2 and a 4-2-3-1 primarily. I've had a lot of success with those formations, and the team has enough good players for me to use them both equally. Felitciano Zschüsschen is my best attacking player. 4 star current, 4 star potential ability, the Curacaoan International (18 appearances with 16 goals) is a Target Man who can also play AM(L) and AM(R) very well, and AM(C) in a pinch if need be. He shoots with Power, which is not a bad thing IMO. Patrick Schmidt is my second striker, also primarily a Target Man, 3 star current, 3 1/2 potential ability, he doesn't like big matches, and he doesn't play any other positions. Sven Sokler is my AM(C), but he can play all the M and AM positions if need be. I like using an Enganche, and he's very good Mario Muller plays all the left side of the field positions, but will primarily play M(L). 3 1/2 star current, 3 1/2 star potential, he a solid player. Team Captain Manuel Zeitz plays a very good DM and a very capable M(C), and he'll be my primary DLP. 3 1/2 star current, 3 1/2 star potential, his leaderships and teamwork skills are middling, but I don't like rocking the boat too much after arriving. Marco Holt also prefers to play DM, but he's also a very good M(C), and can play about 6 other positions if I need him too. Also a 3 1/2 star current, 3 1/2 star potential player. Alexandre Mwendy is my starting M(R), who also plays a very good D(R), WB(R) and AM(R). 3 star current, 3 star potential ability, He likes to look for the pass, which is very good for my wingers. Alexander Hahn plays D(C) and D(L), 3 star current, 3 1/2 potential ability has some very nice technical skills for his position at this level. Dominic Rau plays D(C), D(R) and WB(R) all very well, and with 3 1/2 star current, 3 1/2 star potential ability, will be a solid starter on the backline. Arne SIcker is a loan player from Holstein Kiel, who is primarily a D(L), but who I am retraining to be a D(C). 3 1/2 current, 4 1/2 star potential, he's better than the other defensive backs I have on the squad. Tammo Harder is also on loan from Holstein Kiel, the 3 1/2 star current, 4 star potential player can play all of the midfield positions, and is a capable Advanced Forward and Poacher as well. He will be my primary rotation player on the offense. Goalkeeper is probably my weakest position starter wise. Ricco Cymer is 2 1/2 current, 3 1/2 star potential player, but his Anticipation, Determination, and Stamina are horrible. Dennis Wegner, Markus Mendler, and Marco Meyerhoffer will also get starts, and will be in the regular rotation as well. One of the things I am absolutely loving about the Regionalliga is the substitutions. Yes, you're still limited to three, but you get nine (!) players on the bench. After suffering thru the 5 players, 3 subs rule in the French Lower Leagues, this is fabulous, and makes life a little easier. BENCH PLAYERS: In the Regionalliga you play 34 games, not including the Pokal games. The team started out with zero knowledge of the tactics I wanted to use, which I thought could cause some problems early on, so I kept the training on Match Tactics a bit longer than usual. We had 4 Friendlies to start the season, two Swiss Team, a German Regional Liga team, and Olympique Marseille. I hope we're getting some money for that last one. The preseason was OK, but I was able to tweak the shouts a little to see what worked and what didn't. Zschüsschen looks to be the real deal, and while I'm wary about playing both him and Schmist as Target Men, (One on attack, the other on support), his Hat Trick against the Old Boys was nice to see. I did loan out two player, Deniz Eraydin and David Kazaryan are both U20 Strikers I wanted to get first team playing time. Schedule wise, we got off to a better start than I expected, and finished the first third of the season about where I expected: I have no idea how good any of theses teams are, or how good any of their players are, so the only thing I can judge at the moment is my team. And were doing very well. A 4-1 win is always a nice way to start a season. Our first stage game of the DFB-Pokal was a nailbiter, as ETSC Weiche took us to PK's, but our kickers were just enough better than theirs. Our first loss was to FC Nottingen. We had more shots than them (20/9), more on target (8/4) and a decided possession advantage (55/45), but it took a Felit (his name is way to long to keep typing out) goal in the 90th minute to break the clean sheet. Our next couple of wins came courtesy of some late game goals, before we tied KSV Hessen Kassel. Then we got to face RB Leipzig in out DFB-Pokal Second Round Match. Yes, the 1. Bundesliga team. Ultimately, I didn't want to be embarrassed, they ran us into the ground. We scored, a Sokler goal in the 61st minute, which I consider an accomplishment, but it really wasn't that much of a contest. The one thing I found out the hard way, players are suspended a match after their second yellow. That explains the 9 sub rule I think... After losing to RB Leipzig, we had a pretty good run. Beating Pirmasens was nice, and while we only tied VfB Stuttgart II, we had to come back from two goals down to do it, and I was very happy to see the boys pull even against the team predicted to finish 2nd. Wormatia and Kickers Offenbach are two of the better teams in the liga, and I will take a draw over a loss with them any day of the week. Dillengen is a team that plays two levels below us, and it was two defensive lapses that led to their goals, which made the game look a lot closer than it actually was. Another tie against Entracht Trier 05, and the first third of our season was done, and we were doing very well, in 6th place. We had a big test coming up, as TSG Hoffenheim II was coming to town. Predicted to finish first, they have a strong roster. The Hoofenheim game is where it all started clicking for us. The team was finally more than 2/3rds comfortable with the formations, I had a nice rotation going. I was looking for a nice performance against TSG, I wasn't expecting a 5-0 shutout win. Sokler, Zschusschen and Schmidt have become a very nice trio up front, and the defense behind them has really started to gel as well. This games could have been a lot worse for TSG, as we had more shots (22/7), more on goal (16/2) and a decided possession advantage (60/40). I went Defesnive the last 20 minutes of the game, after goals 2 minutes apart from Sokler and Schmidt put us well ahead, and Hoffenheim just gave up. The Hoofenheim game was also the start of a 10 game streak that did not see us lose any games. Beating Kaiserslautern II by two goals was very nice, and while the 6-1 win and 6-2 wins over SC Teutonia Watzenborn and FC Nottingen look impressive, in reality they are the two worse teams in the league at the point I played them. Again, our Kwartfinale game against Wiesbach looks a lot closer than it actually was. And 11th minute goal by Recktenwald put Wiesbach ahead, but them we went on an offensive spike, and while the score looks close, it should have been more, as we had 29 shots on goal, but only 9 on target, and a 57/43 possession advantage. Tying Astoria Walldorf was a good result, as they were the 3rd place team in the Liga. The 5-3 loss to Hessen Kassel was fun to watch, Schmeer had a hat trick for them, but again it was yet another game we dominated statistically. 16/8 in shots, 4/6 On Target, 58/42 possession advantage. VfB Stuggart II was a tough match, but Soklers brace saw us thru. The tie against Pirmasens was annoying, they were in a relegation fight the whole season, and they just dominated us this game. Hopwever, we were ahead 3-1, but a Charlie Rugg goal in the 75th minute saw them pull close, and a 91st minute PK by Steil tied the game up. To say I was a bit disgusted with the result is an understatement. In the Saarland Landespokal Semi Final, TSV Steinbach played us tough, but first half goals by Holz and Zeitz saw us thru. Steinbacj scored on a 91st minute goal that I swear occurred as my team was walking off the pitch, but we were in the final of our regional Pokal, which was a goal I was aiming for. As the last third of the season came to a close, were we in first place, but there were a couple of teams snipping at our heals. Faltering would mean not getting to the promotion playoff, and that was my goal this season. We closed out strong. Losing to Kickers Offenbach was bad, as they were 2nd in the Liga, and winning put them within 3 points of us. But, while we gave up goals, we also scored goals as well, and despite the loss to mid table FC 08 Homburg, we clinched 1st place and the protion playoff chance that week. Beating SV 07 Elversberg in the Saarlan Landspokal Final, and Stuttgart kicker to finish the season off, was a very nice way to win. Now, as I understand it, the promotion playoff is a six team event, where you play a home and away game against one opponent, and then the top two teams after the first round are promoted. We played Borussia Mönchengladbach II; SV Werder Bremen II played RB Leipzig II; Vfl Wolfsburg II played Bayen Munchen II. We tied away, 1-1 on a Zschusschen goal in the 51st minute. 3 Days later another Zschusschen goal gave us a 1 -0 victory, and we won promotion to the 3. Liga! With 18 wins, 12 Draws, and 4 losses, we finished 3 points ahead of Kickers Offenbach. Felitciano Zschüsschen had a very nice season in 35(0) appearances in German Competition, he had 21 goals, 12 assists, 4 POM's and a 7.31 rating. He also had 5 goals and an assist in the Caribbean Championship. In 24(2) appearances in German Competition Patrick Schmidt had 8 goals, 9 assists, 2 POM's and a 7.22 rating. Sven Sokler also had a very nice season, in 37(0) German Competition appearences he had 14 goals, 10 assists, 2 PK's, 5 POM's and a 7.35 rating. In 21(2) appearences Tammo Harder had 9 goals, 7 assists, 3 POM's and a 7.56 rating. Mwendy had 6 goals, Holz had 5, Muller had 5 goals and 8 assists, all told seventeen players had a goal for us this season, giving us 79 in total, good enough for 1st in the Liga. We had some award winners as well: In World News: PSG beat Barcelona to win the Champions League. Manchester United beat Inter Milan to win the Europa League. Bayern Munchen won the Bundesliga with 86 points, Bayer Leverkeusen was second with 75 points. RB Leipzig won the DFB Pokal, beating Schalke. Liverpool(!) won the Premier League, with 82 points. Arsenal and Manchester each had 81 points, Arsenal had the better differential. PSG won Ligue 1 with 93 points. Monaco finished 2nd with 77 points. The more things change.... Napoli won Seria A with 81 points, Juventus was 2nd with 78 points, AC Milan 3rd. Athletico Madrid won La Liga with 91 points, Barcelona had 90, Real Madrid 89. Messi won the World Golden Ball, Pogba was second, Antoine Griezmann 3rd. USL Dunkerque finished 2nd, and was promoted to Ligue 2. So, with summer underway, the clubs finances are my biggest concern. The club had to put money in to keep us going last season, and they've taken away all of my transfer budget to boot. I will have some players leaving, and I've got the scouts scouring the lists and whatnot. I think we should finish mid table this year, and I want to build for that possibility. Thanks for Reading and Following! Jellico73
  8. I'll have the first season update tomorrow. Have to finish playing it out tonight. Thanks for reading and following! Jellico73
  9. "Über die Brücke Ruhm warte - Across the Bridge Glory waits" My first football games were English. Newmarket, Cambridge, and the television back in the early and mid 80's, which then meant a lot of Everton and Liverpool. When my dad was stationed in Germany, we lived in Volgelweh, which was part of the Kaiserslautern Military Community. At the time it was (and I think still is) the largest American enclave outside of the United States, with the various bases and personnel within a radius there were at least 100K of us, mostly wondering why we only had one channel on TV in English. I did go to a few Kaiserslautern games, they weren't a bad team then. I did see a couple of Saarbrücken games as well, and when I went looking for a new save to tide me over until FM18 comes out, I took a look at their history online. They started playing in 1903, and until the start of World War Two had won several regional lower league titles. After the Second World War, the Saarland region was administered by the French. Various efforts were made to see the Saarland become either independent, or a part of France. FC Saarbrucken was forced out of German football in 1948, and rather than participate in the Ehrenliga, a short lived league the other saarland teams participated in; the joined the French Football association as FC Sarrebruck, and won the Ligie 2 title in 1949. However, because of resistance from other clubs (primarily RC Strasbourg, who had been forced to play in Germany in the War), they were refused promotion to Ligue 1, and found themselves being shut out of Ligue 2. The team withdrew from the Ligue, and existed by playing friendlies for two years, and also organized the Internationaler Saarland Pokal (International Saarland Cup) that had them play fifteen home matches against teams from Austria, Chile, Denmark, France, Sweden, Switzerland, and Yugoslavia. The top three sides then joined hosts Saarbrücken in a playoff round, which the home team eventually won in a 4–0 victory over Stade Rennais. The next year fellow Saarlanders VfB Neunkirchen co-hosted the tournament which this time included more German sides. The tournament was abandoned in 1952 as an agreement was reached to allow teams from the Saarland re-admission to the German Football Association. This was an interesting time in Saarland sports, because of the regions political status, the team did not have an official association with either French or German football, and as a result the Saarland has a 1952 Olympic Team, and because of its membership in FIFA, a 1954 World Cup team. Yes, 10 of the starters were from FC Sarbrucken, but they finished well, second in the group behind West Germany. In 1953 the team wasagain part of the Oberliga Sudwest, and won the division and advanced to the national final. When the Bundesliga was officially created in 1963, 1 FC Sabrucken was one of the original 16 teams. It was a controversial choice, as the Bundesliga team selection relied on a criteria based upon performance, financial health, and geographic location. There were better teams in the area, Pirmasens and Worms among them, but the clubs longtime affiliation with Hermann Neuberger, who at the time was a very influential person ion German Football and a member of the selection committee, is most likely why they were chosen. There stay in the Bundesliga did not last long, they were the first team relegated out. They made their way back to the Bundesliga in 1976, after finishing in 1st place in the 2nd Bundesliga Sud, but were relagted again in 1978. Thus began several years of yo-yoing success, slipping all the way to the Amateru Oberliga Sudwest in 1981, returning to the Bundelsiga in 1986, being relegated again, returning to the Bundesliga in 1993, and being relegated again. The teams fionances were in ruins in 1995, and they were denied a license and sent back down to the Regionliga West/Sudwest. Since then they have moved back and forth between the second and fifth tiers of German Football. Their last bit of success came in 2009-2010, where after back to back promotions, they found themselves in the 3. Liga. They remained a midtable team there until a disastrous 2013-2014 season had them finish bottom of the table. 36 players and four head coaches could not keep them from being relegated. They qualified fro promotion back to the 3. Liga the next season, but lost in the promotion round. 1. FC Saarbrücken now play in the Regionalliga Südwest. They are a professional team with and owner that loves the club. Adequate youth facilities, Average training facilties, they are predicted to finish 4th. However, their finances are insecure, which is going to cause problems in the short term, and in the long term as well if they are not sorted out. My goal, as with my previous save, is to take this lower league team back up thru the ranks, to the top of the Bundesliga, and win a few other cups and trophy's along the way. New coach, new town, new team, same goals. Saarbrücken translates to 'Saar bridges', and there a dozen of them that cross the river in the this town. "Über die Brücke Ruhm warte - Across the Bridge Glory waits" Now, if I could only find which of the twelve bridges that is... Thanks for reading and following! Jellico73
  10. FC Bastia games cancelled?

    Thanks for the reply Medmex. I was aware of the relegation from League 1 but not the other details. Appreciate the replies, Jellico73
  11. [FM17] Against All Odds - USL Dunkerque

    So, I've simmed out the next ten years of the save, and here are the highlights and lowlights: 2036/2037 season: Long time Assistant Coach Pedro Santos took over for the team after Thierry retired. Transfer wise, they brought in €173M worth of players, including €77M for an M(C), Francisco Alonso; and 40M for Branko Kovac, a D(C) I had my on eye, but didn't want to pay the money for. Jan K retired, and they sent most of the players I had signed to boloset the reserves and U19 team out on loan. Season wise they did not get off to a good start, going 0-3, recovered and played some very good games. They did win the Club World Championship. Cup wise, they made it out of the Champions League Group but lost to Arsenal in the First Knockout Round. They lost in the Coupe de France Quarter FInal to Toulouse, but won the Coupe de la Ligue. Overall they finished 3rd, with 25 wins, 7 draws and 6 losses. 82 points, 1 behind Monaco. PSG had 99 points to win the Ligue. Bayern Munich beat Man City to win the Champions League. 2037/2038 Season: Transfer wise, they brought in €98M worth of players. 31M for an AM(R), 21M for a DM, and 26.5M for another AM(R). They let 30 players go out on Free's, but sold Bruno Mendes to Liverpool for 32.5M, and Christopher Fabian to Schalke for 29M. I wouldn't have let Fabian go. Schedule wise they had a very good season. If it weren't for PSG it would have been very good. They came in 2nd place, 29 wins, 5 draws, 4 losses, for 92 points, 8 behind PSG and 2 ahead of Monaco. They won their Champions League Group, but lost in the Quarter Finals to PSG. PSG also beat them in the Coupe de la Ligue final, but they won the Coupe de France. Schalke won the Champions League, beating Chelsea. 2038/2039 Season: Transfer wise, they brought in €38M, but sold €98M. The most recognizable name for followers would be Lior Tabib, who went to Napoli for 6M. Schedule was was good and bad. They finished 3rd, with 85 points on 25 wins, 10 draws and 3 losses. Monaco won the Ligue, PSG had the same number of points, but Monaco had the better goal difference. Les Bleus won their Champions League group, and advanced all the way to the Semi Finals, where they lost to eventual Champions Schalke on Penalty Kicks. They lost the Coupe de la Ligue Final, but a loss to CFA-B team Strasbourg Alsace in the Ninth Round of the Coupe de France was the first nail in the coffin for Santos. 3 wins, 1 loss, and 6 draws in his last ten games was enough for the board to fire him. A Caretaker manager took over for the last game, and then they hired Louis Souchad from L'OL. Mousa Al-Mousa also withdrew funding. 2039/2040 Season: Transfer wise, they brought in €19M worth of players, 15M of whgich was for a pretty good D(R). On the outs, they sold Team Captain Kevin Giraud to Bayen for 88M. Mlungisi Mshtali went out for 8.75M, and Shane Griffin went for 10.75M. Schedule wise, they again had a solid season, if you were to just look at the standings. Howeverm Monaco and PSG ran away with the Ligue. Monaco had 97 points, PSG had 93. Les Bleus were 3rd, 21 wins, 8 draws, 9 losses for 71 points. Competition wise, the made it to the Group stage of the Champions CUp and went 5-1 against Brugge, PAOK, and Juventus. Schalke, again the eventual winners, beat them on away goals in the First Knock out round. Monaco beat the in the Coupe de la Ligue Semi Finals, PSG beat them in the Coupe de France. Thierry obviously set a high bar expectation wise, because after losing to Schalke, the board fired Souchad and hired a caretaker for a game, then hired Luis Ibanez as Head Coch. Man City won the Champions League, beating Chelsea. 2040/2041 Season: The board obviously felt it could buy its way to success, spending €138M to bring players in, and selling €127M players out, including the aforementioned Alonso to PSG for €110M (after incentives). Eric Diallo went for 10M, and Marco Bukuru left for 20M Schedule wise they got off to a fast start, going 8-2-0 before losing to PSG. They won their Champions League Group (against Rangers, Anderlecht, and Benfica), before losing to Braga 3-2 on aggregate in the First Knockout round. PSG beat them in the Coupe de la Ligue Quarter FInals, and again beat them in the Coupe de France Semi Finals. They again finished 3rd in the Ligue with 78 points, behind Monaco (84 points) and PSG (97 points). They seem to have become the new version of L'OL. Good eneough to contend, but not good enough to win. James Carter retired at the end of the season. At the time the board hated me when I signed him, but I hung in there, he hung in there, and he becaome a world class AM(L). Although injuries did take away some games from him later in his career, the ENglish International (21 goals in 79 appearances), had 446 appearances for Les Bleus, scoring 150 goals. World Player of the year in 2034, many a Kolarek, Quartey, Tumminello and Jan K goal started with his right foot. The next 5 years were more of the same. In 2041/2042 they were 3rd with 83 points. Monaco and PSG each had 92 points, with Monaco winning on Goal differential. Champions League they made it out of the Group stages, beat Arsenal on Penalty kicks, then lost to Auxerre in the Quarter Finals. Monaco beat them in the Coupe de la Ligue Semi's, PSG beat them in the Coupede France final. Transfer wise they were not that active, only bringing in 4M while selling 27.5M, including Alexander Fritz to Liverpool for 19M. In 2042/2043 they finished in 2nd place with 29 wins, 5 draws and 4 losses, for 92 points. 6 points behind PSG. Transfer wise they did not bring anyone in. Geir Zetterlund Nilsen left on a free, and retired when no one signed him. Cup wise, they made itt out of the Group Stages, but lost to Schalke 2-1 aggregate in the First Knockout Round. PSG beat them in the Coupe de la Ligue Semi Finals, but they beat PSG in the Coupe de France final on penalty kicks. They finished the season 13-1-1 in Ligue 12 play. In 2043/2044 they finished 3rd. PSG won the Ligue with 92 points, while Les Bleus tied with Monaco at 82 points, they had a better goal differential. Each team had 25 wins, 7 draws and 6 losses. The owner pulling the plug on funding hurt them somehwat, as they were not all that active in the transfer market. They failed to get out of the group stages in the Champions League, only winning 1 game. They lost to Nantes in the 9th round of the Coupe de la Ligue (On PK's no less), and lost to Monaco in the Coupe de France final. The big news of the season: Petar Kolarek and Dirk Gobel left on Frees, as their contracts were not renewed. Gobel spent 15 years as a member of Les Bleus, and was a solid defender throughout, well worth the 45M I paid for him. Petar Kolarek played 17 years for Les Bleus. I am not sure why he's an Icon. Somewhere along the way he got a coaching License, maybe the game is waiting for him to retire for good? His last season for Les Bleus, he had 23 goals, 12 assists, 9 POM's for a 7.42 rating. His 2035/2036 season set records that still stand. In 534 appearances for Dunkerque, he had 355 goals, 117 assists, 100 POM's and a 7.51 rating. He then went to Liverpool on a free. In 2044/2045 Les Bleus finished 4th, with 18 wins, 14 draws, and 6 losses. As best as I can tell, at one point they has 9 players out for six or more weeks. They did win the Coupe de La Ligue, beating OM. They lost to L'OL in the Coupe de France Quarter Finals. They failed to get out of their Champions League Group, but beat Dynamo Kyiv in the Eurpa League Knockout, then beat Wolfsburg, Athletic Club and Celtic before facing Real Sociedad in the finals, which they won, 1-0. It's not Champions League, but its a very good win. I suspect its why Ibnaez is still the coach. Petar Kolarek played 1 season for Liverpool, in 29 appearances he had 15 goals, 6 assists, and 6 POM's, then was sold to Atletico Madrid for 4.1M. 2045/2046 Les Bleus finished 2nd with 76 points, 12 behind PSG (of Course). 23 wins, 7 draws, 8 losses. Transfer window wise the biggest move was at the end of the season, when Efrain Villa left on a Free (and then signed with Atlas). The Mexican International (21 goals in 85 caps) was a capable M(R), very good AM(R), and excellent AM(C). 385 appearances for Les Bleus, 98 goals, 100 assists, 35 POM's and a 7.12 rating. Not bad for a player I brought in on a Free. Cup wise they lost in the Coupe De la Ligue 4th Round to Monaco, and lost in the Semi FInals of the Coupe de France to Clermont Foot. They failed to advance out of the Champions League Group (although seeing as how the group was Athletico Madrid, Bayern and FC Kobenhaven, I don't blame them for that). They beat Chelsea in the Europa League First Knockout round, the LOSC in the Second Round. They beat Ingolstadt in the Quarters, hammered Villareal in the Semis, and the against Watford, won 2-1. Back to back Europa League Champions, a fine accomplishment. Kolarek had 16 goals, 7 assists, and 6 POM's in Madrid, then retired, one of the greatest of all time IMO. In the 10 years since Thierry has left, their finances have fallen precipitously. Whereas they used to be rich, now they are just merely OK, and from an Estimated Value of almost 1B euros they are now at 245M, with 164M in debt. I cant tell why they have all the debt, maybe a new stadium being built? Player wise, Didier N'Guesson, Mohamed Quartey, and Giannis Loukos are still at the team. N'Guesson is the team captain, the next season will be his 16th with the club. A World Class AM(C), the Ivorian has 420 appearances, 121 goals, 135 assists, 49 POM's and a 7.27 rating. Quartey split time with and then took over when Kolarek left. In the two season he's been the primary striker, he's had 67 appearences, 37 goals, and 4 POM's. He averaged 22 appearances and 6 goals while in relief of Kolarek. In 284 qppearences, he has 118 goals overall. He will probably be remembered for his success in International play. In 109 caps for the Ghana team, he has 74 goals (Along with 26 U20 caps and 18 U20 goals as well). Loukos is still in goal for Les Bleus, and is one of the better keeps in football. in 439 Appearences he has allowed 390 goals, had 168 shutouts, and a 6.9 rating. So, the story of USL Dunkerque since Thierry retired? Good, but maybe not good enough. Why? Believe it or not, I think it comes down to formation. I always played a 4-2-3-1 the majority of the time I coached. There were a couple of seasons I broke out an asymmetric or other formation, but my best seasons were the last 3 I played, 2-33/34 to 2035/36. And I played a 3-4-1-2, with 3 D(C)s, 2 M(C)'s, an M(R) and M(L), an AM(C), and 2 Strikers. One of my MC's could drop back to D(C), and I could split the D(C)'d out to D(R) and D(L) as well. I played this formation almost exclusively the last three seasons, because it let me get my best scorers and defenders on the field in positions they were very good in, if not natural at. In 2033/34 we had 96 goals for, and 30 against, and 100 points. In 2034/35 we had 99 goals for, 30 against, and 98 points. In 2035.2036 we had 121 goals for, 39 against, and 105 points. Kolarek had 47 goals, 13 assists. Quartey had 16 goals and 18 assists. Carter had 14 goals and 18 assists playong M(L). Villa had 10 goals and 11 assists playing mostly AM(C). Frist had 7 goals and 10 assist. The players knew the system and what to do. And then I retired. And Santos came in playing a bog standard 4-2-3-1, and playing people out of position, or in places they were weak. And by not starting two strikers, he left of a good attacker. And he spent something like €140M the next two years trying to find a replacement at AM(R) because he played N'Guesson at M(C) and Villa at AM(C), when N'Guesson was a very capable AM(C) and Villa a 4 star AM(R). I think because of the change, they went from great to good, but in all honestly, I thought they would have fallen a little bit further, and I am delighted that in ten years and three coaches, they've only finished below 3rd once, and have won back to back Europa League Championships. I wish players like Kolarek and Giraud had stayed on the team and retired as Les Bleus, but I am glad at the teams success. Against All Odds, they remain near the top. Thanks for reading, Jellico73
  12. FC Bastia games cancelled?

    I knew about the game with Lyon being cancelled because of fan interference....the rest of the stuff I didn't know about. As you say, finding nay info on it is not easy. Thanks for the help, Jellico73
  13. Anyone know why FC Bastia's first four games were cancelled? Thanks, Jellico73
  14. [FM17] Against All Odds - USL Dunkerque

    "Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs" We weren't that active in the January transfer window, but I was able to bring in a few players who are going to help the team out, especially from a defensive point of view. I've never been quite happy with my D(R) and D(L) for awhile, and my D(C)'s are getting older, and I wanted to do something about that before it was too late. First in was Devante Estrella, from the MLS. He was injured when we signed him, which is why he was on a free probably, but he's a 20 year D(C) with 5 defensive traits I don't mind him having (Marks tightly, Knocks ball past opponent, stays back at all times, does not dive, Refrains from long shots). 2 star Current, 4 star Potential, he will definitely be part of the rotation. Marco Bukuru is a 21 year old Australian D(C) I've been following for awhile now. 2 1/2 star current, 4 1/2 star potential, he's tall, strong, very good physicals, he was transfer listed by request while at Utrecht, and I think I got him for a good price. He will also be part of the rotation this season. After I signed him I got a message from the finance guys saying his jersey sales were bringing in a lot of money yo the club, which is something I've never seen before. Serkan Gunduz is a depth signing, a 2 star CA/2 star PA Turkish international player who plays CF very well. Having finally found a 2 striker, 2 winger formation I like, I needed some depth to spell Kolarek and Qaurtey, and Serkan is one of those players. Last but not least is Aldin Vidovic. The 26 year old Bosnian International has 58 caps as a M(C), but he also plays a very capable M(R) as well. He's also going to be a very good tutor. I didn't sell any players off, although I had some listed. I did have a few players go out on loans: When the Ligue 1 schedule resumed, I wanted to hit the ground running. And I wanted to keep running. And boy, did we ever: 5-3 at Toulouse, 6-0 at Saint Etienne (Collins was not in goal), 5-0 at Troyes, 5-2 at Monaco, 4-0 at Girondins, and several other clean sheets. Our only stumbles were at Stade Reannais, who stopped almost all of our attacks cold, and PSG, which was a barnburner of a game. Combined there were 40 shots on goal, 15 on target, but Diabate and Loukos were solid between the sticks. I can live with a draw, as it kept PSG from moving up the standings. In the end, we set several new Ligue 1 records: 105 points is a new Ligue record, and the number of goals scored is second highest ever. I do believe our +82 Goal differential is the best in Ligue 1 as well. Competition wise things were a little bit tougher. We won the Coupe de la Ligue: The highlight of this was demolishing Monaco again. FOr whatever reason we seemed to have their number this year. The Coupe de France was a little bit easier. I didn't try and bottle it this year like I did last year: Which left Champions League play. Now, oddly enough, I did get some questions from the press about the quality of Ligue 1 soccer. To which I replied thusly: That's three Ligue 1 teams in the Quarter finals. And the only reason it's not four is because L'OL lost on away goals. Ligue 1 is doing very well, thanks. Shaktar played us very tough. We almost threw the first game away, after Shaktar went up 1-0 in the 18th minute, Alexander Fritz was double yellowed in the 39th and 40th minutes, and despite being a man down we clawed back two goals in the second half, back to back scorchers a minute apart. In the 62nd minute Shaktar was 1-0 and a man up, in the 64th minute they were a man up and on the wrong side of a 2-1 game. The home game was also tough. Shaktar went up early again, but Quartey and Kolarek goals in the second half gave us the victory, and a 4-1 aggregate win. Next up was Barcelona, and again we metaphorically shot ourselves in the foot. Kolarek put us up in the 25th minute, but Mouya equalized in the 39th minute. Mendes was booked in the 48th minute, and likeit so much he was booka agin in the 65th minute, leaving us a man down again. I looked like we were going to hold out for the draw, but Franco scored in the 83rd minute, a shot that beat Loukos near post. My sincerest hope was that our away goal would be the difference, but it was going to be tough. The defense that was missing out last few games suddenly made itself known in the second half of our Quarterfinal match. We held Barcelona to 9 shots, while Tabaib and Kolarek golas were more than enough to see us thru, we had several other opportunities that were turned away by a very good Marin performance for Barca. That win put us in the semi finals against a very good Arsenal squad. Mark Bijl plays for the gunners now, and they have one of the best defenses in Football. Petar Kolarek didn't care. The crowd at Emirates was shocked when he scored in the 3rd minute, stunned when he scored in the 23rd minute, and speechless when he had a 31 minute hat trick. Only a serious defensive laps on our part in the 91st minute allowed Arsenal to equalize, but with the team in top form and with three away goals, I wasn't to worried about the second game. My instincts were right, because we hammered them the seond match, 5-2. Quartey and Kolarek both had a brace, and Carter knocked one in as well, and while Arsenal did score, it wasn't enough. Which put us in the finals, against a very good Athletico Madrid team. Who beat (and I am not making this up), aqll of the other French team in the competition to face us. However, when facing Les Bleus, they ran into the one team they could not beat: I swear they had two player marking Kolarek, which was fine by me, as it left Quartey wide open to score twice. N'Guessan put the game out of reach in the 55th minute, and with a 3-0 win, in France no less, we won our third consecutive Champions League, and our 5th in eight years. The plaudits came rolling in: And a few others. Petar Kolarek was...well, "Otherworldy" this season. At 26 years old, he had 64 total caps for Croatia, and 35 goals. This season in Ligue 1, it was as if he was playing against 10 men team opponents at all times. In 62(0) starts across all competitions, he had 73 goals. 24 Assists, 3 PK's, 19POM's, and an 8.03 rating. In 35(0) Ligue 1 games, he had 47 goals (A Ligue 1 record), 13 assists, 12 POM's, and a 8.13 overall rating (also a new Ligue 1 record). In 250 appearances for Les Bleus, he has 218 goals As our second attacking option, Mohammed Quarety had a season that would put most other teams first options to shame. in 51(0) appearances across all competitions, he had 30 goals, 27 assists, 6 POM's and a 7.48 rating. With 16 goals and18 assists in 28 Ligue 1 games he was very good. Didier N'Guessan missed 3 months with hamstring issues, but still had a respectable season. In 31(2) appearances across all competitions, he had 9 goals, 5 assists, 1 POM and a 7.27 rating. He was the primary facilitator of our attacks. When he went down with injury, Efrain Villa moved from his (R) winger role back to AM(C). Villa had an excellent season as well, in 51(0) appearances across all competitions, he had 17 goals, 17 assists, 4 POM's and a 7.36 rating. At 29 years old, James Carter retired from International football. With 95 total caps, and 25 total goals for England, I am nit sure why he retired, especiall after a season that saw him score 21 goals, have 28 assists, 7 POM's and a 7.27 rating across 58(0) appearances across all competitions. He's still a great AM(L), and also plays a very good M(L) now as well. Kevin Giaraud stepped into the Captaincy, and only improved as the season went on. Playing M(C) and DM, the 23 year old Frenchman had 58(0) appearances across all competitions, with 7 goals, 9 assists, and 3 POM's. A very physical defender, he also had 20 yellows, which caused a couple of problems, but his 7.38 overall rating can't be argued with too much. I can train him out of the yellows I think. Geir Zetterlund Nilsen shifted between M(C), DM, and I'm training him to be a D(C) as well. The Norwegian international had 7 goals, 4 assists, 6 PK's and 2 POM's in 44(2) appearences, for a 7.25 rating. He likes to loft the long balls forward, many a Kolarek goal started off his right foot. Dirk Gobel was again our stalwart at D(C). The 26 year old German had 53(10 appearences, with 4 goals, 5 assists, and 4 POM's. When Alexander Fritz wasn't playing D(R), he was playing M(R) (because Villa had to take over AM(C) from N'Guessan). It's not his natural position, but a 16 First Touch, 16 Decision, 18 Acceleration, Pace and Stamina, and a 16 Agility, saw the Austrian to 8 goals, 15 assists, a POM and a 7.42 rating. He was so good at M(R) i was able to play three D(C)'d at the back and put another M(C) in my formation, which was crucial in a lot of games as it let me get my best players in their best positions. Bruno Mendes, Jonathan Engosso, and Lior Tabib also played a lot of D(C), and were solid (and occasionally spectacular). I was very impressed by Eric Diallo's performance at D(C). The 20 year old Ghanain had just 14 appearances for the first team, but was very solid. Giannis Loukos had a fine season in goal, in 63(0) appearances, he allowed 66 goals, had 24 shutouts, and a 7.01 rating. Jan K's last season for Les Bleus was not what I wanted it to be, but he did get some games in with the first team, and did score a goal and have 2 assists as well. In 412 Ligue games for Les Bleus, Jan had 106 goals, 122 assists, 33 POM's, and a 7.16 average. The one thing that does bother me is that he's not a Legend, or Club Icon, or even favored personnel, but we would not be where we are without him. He's a legend to me, and that's what matters. So, what is next for Thierry Davout and Les Bleus? Well, I think I've accomplished everything I wanted to. I wanted to take the team to the top of Ligue 1, and I have. When I started I wasn't to interested in Champions League or Europa League play, but having taken the team to the pinnacle of the football world, theres really only one place to go, and thats down. Thierry is 49 years old. He's played 1125 games, and won 750 of them, and lost 195. His teams have scored 2244 goals, and have let in 1149 goals. He's won 10 Ligue titles, and 31 cup competitions, and has won 20 awards. He has spent 7288 living, breathing, and coaching Les Bleus Soccer. And he thinks it's time for a break. Against All Odds, We leave at the top. My plan is to sim the next 20 years, and post 5, 10, 5 and 20 year updates. Thanks for reading and following! Jellico73
  15. [FM17] Against All Odds - USL Dunkerque

    Stade Orange Velodrome was mostly empty, inside that is. Outside there we already fans gathering, waiting for the gates to open. Only Eleven hours and forty three minutes left. Already the crowds were dominated by the jersey's of Les Bleus. Marseilles might be a ten hour drive away from the Channel coast, but Dunkerque had fans everywhere in the world these days. Pierre would have worn his own Kolarek jersey, but the senior groundskeeper had said no jerseys. Over half the world was going to be watching the game tonight, and he didn't want any trouble starting locally. He had just finished mowing the area the area behind the baseline, and was making sure the sprinkler covers were in place. With his headphones on and his focus on the ground in front of him, he almost ran into the man standing at the corner box. "Excuse me sir, can I help---" his voice died out as he realized who he was looking at. "No, I am just getting a feel for the pitch this morning." Thierry Davout, the most famous football coach in all of France, if not Europe, was standing before him. Already wearing a suit, shoes toeing the grass in the corner. "I'm sorry sir, but I'm not sure your supposed to be here?" Pierre looked, and did not see the security badge everyone who was supposed to display at all times. "I mean, yes your supposed to be here, but not on the pitch. I mean now." Pierre was on the verge of babbling, and he knew it. Coach Davout looked at him for a moment, then smiled a great big smile, and chuckled under his breath as well. "It's OK, I am reasonably sure they won't kick me out. Be that as it may, if I am with someone who is also supposed to be here. Walk with me." It wasn't a request, but Davout began walking across the pitch, towards the corner of the 21 yard box closest to them. Pierre stood still for just a second, then rushed to catch up. Coach Davout had stopped, and was toeing an area of the ground again. "Ah, I see Rene has finally fixed this." He said to himself. "Fixed what? Um, Monsiur, erm..Coach?" "Coach is fine. There used to be a sprinkler head here, but when the pitch was redone seven years ago, they redid the drainage system, and the irrigation system as well. And there are, or maybe were, depressions all over the pitch. Your running along at full speed and your foot goes an inch slower than you thought it would, or your mid dribble and the ball hits a contour that shouldn't be there. You have to be aware of these things. You have to be prepared for them. They could be the difference between a win and a loss." For the next twenty minutes they walked the length and breadth of the pitch, with Davout stopping every so often to pick at a piece of grass. Then they made their way to the center of the pitch, and Thierry stopped, turning around in place, just once. "Do you play?" he asked. Pierre was surprised at the question, but answered quickly. "In a Sunday Rec league Coach. A bunch of us on the grounds crew are on the team." "Any good?" It took a second to realize that Davout was asking him about his ability, not the teams. "I'm not as quick as some, or as strong as some, but I leave it all on the pitch." Pierre said with a point of pride. Many of the other teams felt the groundskeepers were somehow cheating, because of their proximity to the players and professional coaches, they were gleaning some extra tips and tricks of the game. All it really got them was some very nice equipment to practice with, and newer balls to boot around. "You know I played Semi-Pro. I loved it, ever since I was a kid, and Papa put that ball in my hands for the first time. I wanted to be the next Fontaine, or Copa. I tried out for a couple of teams, but there was always players faster than me, better than me..." Davout's voice trailed off, and there was a silence again. "Is that why you went into coaching?" Thierry paused, turning around in a circle again, looking up in the stands. "No, I went into coaching because I love the game. I got my license, took a couple of smaller team coaching jobs. I didn't get paid my first job. Or my second." He smiled again, at a memory. "I applied to Dunkerque on a whim. Asked a friend of a friend to just get my resume in the inbox. I am pretty sure the interview was supposed to be perfunctory at best. See this young man for three minutes, then kick him out the door with a smile and a wave. But I made an impression on them. I remember when the fans learned I was hired, this unknown from Afrique, taking over their team...twenty years ago." There was a silence, then Thierry sighed and turned around again one more time. "Do you like your job?" Pierre blinked, and stared at the coach. "You mean as a grounds keeper?" Davout nodded. "It's a job. It pays the bills as they say. I have had worse. I like it, the people I work with are for the most part good, as are the people I work for. Plus it keeps me involved in Football, although in a peripheral way. At one time I entertained the idea of becoming a Physio, but I am not so good at the science part of the job. My mother says I am still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up." He paused for a second, then said. "I've entertained the idea of getting my coaching license." Davout looked at him, blue eyes behind his iconic glasses. "Do you coach now?" "I help with a couple of the youth teams. And with our local squad. But I do like it." "More than groundskeeping?" "A lot more than groundskeeping. But it requires time and money I do not have at the moment. Another year, maybe eighteen months, and I'll sign up." Davout nodded. "Good. Keep at it. You never know where you could end up." He finished with a half smile, one corner of his mouth tugging up. "We all had to start from somewhere. We had best be off, or Rene is going to throw a snit when he sees us out here." He turned, and began walking towards the tunnels. "Do you think you can do it next year?" Pierre suddenly asked. "Do what?" "Go undefeated. You were so close this year." A lot of the fans had started calling the team "Les Invince-Bleus", but that went by the wayside after PSG had beaten them at the end of October. "That's not for me to decide. That's up to the men on the pitch. If they want it, they can achieve it I think. But, you have to remember, the other team gets a vote on how the game will go as well. We will have to wait and see, won't we." As they approached the tunnels, a harried looking young man came out, cellphone to his ear. "Yes, I found him, he's here. Merci." Davout sighed, and with an eyeroll Pierre thought was mostly theatrical, looked at the young man. "You forgot you phone again sir." "No I didn't. It's back in the hotel room, where I left it." "Actually, its right here sir." The young man reached into a coat pocket, and pulled out the slim device. He held it out, and looked to be on the verge of stamping a foot and shaking it before Thierry reached over and grabbed it. A couple of swiped later he was looking at something on the screen. "Ah, Marie called. One moment gentlemen." He dialed, and put the phone to his ear, walking down the tunnel. The other man sighed with exasperation, then followed at a respectful distance. "You lucky bastard!" A new voice jolted Pierre out of his stupor. Tien, a roomate, clapped him on the shoulder as he came up and watched the back of the coach turn a corner and disappear. "I watched the whole thing. What were you doing out there? Did you get an autograph" "He was showing me the soft spots on the pitch." "The what?" Pierre took a few seconds to explain what they had done, and Tien stared at him for a second or two before breaking into a laugh. "Pull my other leg Pierre, it plays La Marseille." Pierre shook his head, grabbed his friend by the arm, and marched him out to an area of the pitch where Davout had shown him one of the small depressions. Tien said he couldn't tell the difference, but then Tien also thought "Green side up!" was all you needed to know about groundskeeping. "Roche! Fleury!" A voice barked at them. From across the pitch Gaston, their team leader, was marching angrily towards them. "Get off the damned pitch." he bellowed. "Sorry Gaston." Pierre replied, "I was just showing-" "You were just showing him the depressions in the ground left over from when we redid the pitch that Coach Davout showed you. I saw the whole thing." "How did you know that's what we were doing?" asked Pierre, as they made their way over to a pile of growing equipment that other members of the team were bringing out. "Because he does that before every game. If he wasn't so damned nice about it Andre would have had a meltdown by now." Andre was the senior groundskeeper. "He does that before every game here at OM?" asked Tien, getting a slap upside the head in return. "No," replied Gaston. "I mean every game he's ever coached. Doesn't matter where, doesn't matter when, he's always inspecting the pitch before a match. Has a photographic memory for such things. You know he was a groundskeeper when he started? At Lorient? Then he got the Dunkirk job, and now here we are. Now lets get our heads in the game boys, half the world is going to be watching tonight, and Andre will kill anyone who misses something. This is going to be the best looking hundred year old stadium in the world tonight. Or Else...don't ask Tien, just pick up your equipment and go."