Jellico73

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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

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  1. I hope you can keep them. I have had more than a few young players come thru that I've developed, only to have them leave for "bigger" teams and "better" chances at Cup play. Heck, I won't the Champions League last season, and am the 8th ranked team in Europe, and my best D(C) wanted to leave to go to Bayern because he had "more opportunities to win there." At the end of the day, dont get to attached to all of them. Pick one or two you're willing to fight to keep, and let the rest go if you have to. Heck, just when I think I've found someone young for the long term, they come in and want to leave. YMMV, Jellico73
  2. At the end of the season you should get a couple of reports telling you your average attendance and your teams ranks. The other information is available on a couple of different pages. Jellico73
  3. It's Uruguayan....dammit. Now I have to find something else to do....
  4. "Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs" When I originally asked for a stadium expansion two seasons, they saud "Sure, here's 2000 more seats." Halfway thru construction we won the CHampions League, and the board said "Maybe 2000 seats isn't enough, let's add 10,000." We had to rent a stadium for a year, and all of our games were 98% capacity or more, so 30000 seats is probably a decent sized for us, especially as Dunkirk is only about 100K inhabitants. But anyhow, the stadium was finished before the start of the season, And it looks nice: In other news, James Carter has become a French citizen. He's reached his 4 1/2 star ability, and could probably improve a little bit in a couple more areas, but he has become the left winger I thought he could be when I poached him from Birmingham. I'm taking a slightly different approach to transfers this season. While part of me abhors a huge roster, I have also worked myself into a place where I have a pretty good starter, a decent backup, and then youth in almost all my positions. And sometimes not even then. I do have some quality youngsters coming up, but I am in a position where if I try and play them on a regular basis, I am sacrificing opportunities to win. Which, if we were still a CFN or Ligue 2 team, I'd be OK with. But losing one game is often the difference between qualifying for league play or not qualifying at all in Ligue 1. Which leads me to my major gripe about this save. Well, one of them. When you get promoted to Ligue 1, your reserve team automatically goes into the CFA-A. Your Reserve coaching staff takes over everything unless you say you want to, and you play a full season in the CFA. And then, if your relegated, like I was my very first season, your reserve team goes away, because FM doesn't sim the lower leagues, and it never comes back. Ever. Which means while I have a Reserve team, the only "competitive" matches it plays are arranged friendlies, and you're getting the B (Or C) team from your opponents in most of those games. So, I'm going the Juventus route. Sort of. A lot of the players I have brought in on frees for depth purposes and the like, I am loaning out to other teams for first team playing time. I'll try to get monthly fees for them, or at least not pay any of their salary while gone. Of course, most of these guys would be on my Reserve team, if I still had one, but needs must and all of that. On the In's for the first half of the transfer season, we weren't to active. But we did drop a chunk of change. Hrvoje Mihaljevic is a right winger whose also a very capable fullback, and can play M(R) and AM(R) if you need him to. I got him from Monaco because Foose was away on international duty a lot, and when he wasn't, he was injured, and my D(R) options were underwhelming. Then, a week later, Dirk Göbel popped up on the transfer list. I've had my eye on him for awhile, first scouting him when he was part of the Germany U21squad, but never made any inquires. HE was transfer listed by request, and when I inquired, Bayern wanted 45M for him. I countered with 20M now, 20M over 48 months, 2.5M for 50 apps, and 2.5M for 10 international appearances, and they said yes. With a couple of exceptions, all of the Free's in are 18-21 years old, current 1 1/2 to 2 star ability, with 3 to 3 1/2 star potential. The exceptions are the Australians. Not sure what they put in the water at the Center of Excellence, but all of them have at least 4 star potential. The only drawback at the moment is that Ligue 1 rules only allow 4 foreigners to be registered, and I have 4 already. Arrieta, Paredes, Tulio, and Foose. But the U19 guys will go to the U19 squad. I can keep the rest here and get them some playing time, which I will admit seems unlikely for most of them, I'll loan them out and make some money off of them then, and then sell them a couple of years down the road. Maybe it's me, but I never see a defender (other than a keeper) come out of the FFA COE. Strikers and attacking Mids with tons of potential, yes. D(C)'s and the like? Nope. The only two on this list that are surprises (to me anyways) are Grishin and Borysenko. Because I signed them both on frees when they were 16. And they are just now showing up. Don't know where they've been, or if they've even been playing, I assumed when I signed them they would show up next available date, but nope. Montoya it the only other outlier here, 22 years old with just 2 start potential and current ability, he's my sub at AM(R), because I found out the hard way when Jan K goes out for any period of time with an injury, the next four players I have that could sub for him are all out on loan. Minor PBKAC error on my part there... On the Outs, couple of unexpected moves here: Well, first, all the loans I am not paying any of their salary. Those players who went out on monthly fee's, in almost every case they monthly fee is more than their 4 weeks of salary would be as well. Sergey Teresenko made such a huge stink about lack of playing time I listed him for transfer and for loan. He was underwhelming last season for Ajax, 16 games played, 2 assists, and a 6.61 rating. I didn't mind loaning him to OM, especially as I am not paying him anything and there is an option for OM to keep him for future fee of 11.57M. He's bounced between the OM first and Reserves team, and has been mediocre at best. My assman has raised concerned about his lack of first team playing time at OM, but at this point, I don't care. With Gobel and Mihaljevic on board, I listed Foose for transfer. As much as I like him, and he's been very good for us, he's injury prone, he's away on international games way to much for my taste (which I do realize is a measure of how good he is), and he's leveled off. Schalke picked him up for 300K a month, but I am paying him his salary, so I am losing a bit of money on this deal, but I am ok with that. He's been OK at Schalke, hopefully he will do well enough I can trade him in the summer transfer window. Over the last couple of seasons, Mithat Taskin has quietly gone about his job. If you had asked me how well he was doing, I would have never guessed he averaged a 7.2 rating for the last 5 season, or 2 POM's. He always popped up in the player of the week awards, which for a D(C) is a sign of how good he's playing, because he was by no means a goal scoring, assist machine. Last season he had 2 goals and 4 assists, both season career highs. He did fall off in ability somewhat, but I was comfortable leaving him in a D(C) position, because I was going to have a rotation going on there. Then Sporting CP swooped in with an offer, and I turned them down, and he said "Hey, I'd like to go". And me being me, I said "Sure, let me talk to them." The originally offered 13M for him, but I went back with 16M and offered to pay half his salary, and he went. Pelletier was a 20 year old striker/AM who was never going to realize his potential here. I listed him for 150K and Leixoes offered 100K, for a player valued at 37K I am more than happy with that. Florian Muhr was underwhelming when he took over for Foose last season. Clermont Foot made an unsolicted offer for him, and with my pickups, I was more than happy to let him go for 1M. Last season, in hindsight I suppose, wasn't a disappointment. How can winning 5 cups be considered disappointing? This season though, we have to have some success in the Champions League, otherwise some very good players are going to want to leave. This season, we're off to a good start again, but the competition has been tough, as expected. I was able to do a North American Tour this year. Yes, I played my second and third stringers a bit, but I made a decent amount of money, and it was nice to get our name in front of some decent crowds in North America. The only thing I crewed up on was not scheduling San Jose, them being an affiliate and all that. Right after we played Shanggang we got a notice that they were now so big being affiliated with us wasn't useful any more, so I went back and got Roeslare back as an affiliate. Hopefully they do a better job of playing my players this time. Starting the season off with a string of victories, especially starting off by beating PSG, was very nice. Our first stumble came against Saint-Etienne. We could not get anything going against them. Dominated possession, had out chances, but only a Tulio goal salvaged the tie. Against Collins no less... Our first loss came against Olympique Lyonnais, but they are a good team this year, currently in 3rd place, and they matched us all game. Their goal was a well deserved one, and their defense was stout enough to turn away the few chances we had. Our next loss was against PSG (of course). We played them quite well, they only had 8 shots the entire game, but a Dario Ferreira goal in the 9th minute was all they needed. The Great Wall of Rulli retired, but his replacement, Jospeh Asiedu from Ghana, is more than capable. We got back to our winning ways quickly. Our only stumble was against US Creteil-Lusitanos, and this was inexcusable. They are mired at the bottom of the Ligue, will probably be relegated. Not only did they have more shots than us, they dominated us in possession as well. First I was concerned, then I was assertive, then I was aggressive. I don't think I've yelled at the team like that in ages, but were in a 2 point race with PSG, we can't afford to not be winning these sorts of games. But, as you can see against teams like Stade Brestois, Tours, and Montpellier, were scoring a ton, and the youngsters are doing pretty well when they get playing time. There is some danger ahead though. Girondins de Bordeaux has built up quite the team the past few seasons. This year they have already beaten PSG, L'OL, and Monaco. In fact, they are in 7th place, we haven't played them yet, and the only team above them to beat them has been LOSC, who are currently in 4th place. Thats not what has me concerned though. If you were to look at the French National teams, you would see they have three players on the U23 team, and seven on the U21 team, and they are all pretty good as well. Champions League wise, well, we doing better this year: I think our group was a little bit tougher this year, Leipzig was 3rd in the Bundesliga, Atletico 3rd in La Liga, Ludogorets won the Parva Liga. As long as we didn't throw away our opportunities like we did last year, we had a good chance of moving on. In the end, it came down to beating RB Leipzig our last game. Win and we were in. Tie and we would need some help. Lose and we were going to be on the outside looking in. We did well against Madrid and Leipzig our first game. I yelled at the boys again after the 1-0 to Ludogorets, and they responded with a 6-1 shellacking. For some reason Arrieta was my PK taker, I was more than a bit surprised when I saw him lining up, but that '4' skill he has got the job done in this case. Madrid stomped us on the 26th, but we were a tired squad them, and two of their goals came after the 80th minute. Our last game against Leipzig was tough, but Kolarek came thru in the 60th minute, as a Gumedes pass found him at the top of the box and he cannoned it home. He keeps this performance up he'll be my first homegrown world class player. Oh, which leads me to this little nugget of info: This is suprising to me, because I don't have a lot of good youth players I let go. Gomes for sure,but hes not top flight (heck Sassulo sold him to Bournemouth for 8.25M, and he's on the B team there with 0 starts. Last season he had 19 games a a 6.21 rating for him. So, Carter, Jan K, Andrei Lung (maybe, he was here for three years), Foose maybe? Thats all I can think off, but 12? If they say so. But thats where we are after the start if the january transfer window, 15 wins, 2 losses, 2 draws, 47 points, 2 ahead of PSG who have a game in hand. Kolarek is avergaing a goal a game, Carter is sitting at a 7.52, Jan K already has 5 POM's. Against All Odds, is this the year we win the Ligue, the Cup, and both Coupes? Lets find out! Jellico73
  5. Does anyone know what "Flat Footed" in French is?
  6. Congrats. It tooke three years of asking and new ownership to get mine. And I feel you PSG pain. I posted their starting XI a couple of years ago, I think the sum value if their players was more than the value of my team at the time. Jelluco
  7. I keep my youth players for two years, and play them as often as I can. If after two years they aren't going to be more than 2 star, I let them go. YMMV, Jellico73
  8. Well, I had the rare Quintuple as USL Dunkerque. Won Ligue 1, the Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue, Club World Championship and UEFA Supercup. But I also got knocked out of the Group stages in the Championship (the year after winning it), and lost in the Europa League Final. But were the 8th ranked club in Europe now, just got our stadium expansion finished, and are picking up where we left off. Can read all about it here: :-) Jellico73
  9. "Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs" How Could a season be so successful, yet so unfulfilling. I am certain there are existentialist philosophers pondering such things at the local cafe, and I hope they know the answer, because I sure as heck don't. When I last posted we were at the January transfer window. I wasn't to active on the 'In' side of things, I scouted a few players, tagged some for later, but on the "Outs', there were a few. Bruno went out for some first team playing time. Youth games are good, but he'll develop faster (I hope with some, any, First Team experience). Girond, well, I just wasn't happy with him. What playing time he was getting he didn't do much, in fact he was below average, and where were at below average isn't going to cut it unless there's extenuating circumstances, and as of no, there isn't. Sergey won the coin flip, but still lost. After he came back from injury not only was he well off his form, we really didn't have a spot for him any more. Between Bossard, Bijl, Kalkan and Paredes, I have 4 M(C)/DM's who can play where I need them to, and Sergey found himself the odd man out. I put him on the transfer list, but Ajax jumped all over him, paying me 325K a month with an 15M option at the end, and I said yes. Novara came in for Perrier on loan, and I felt I had enough depth to let him go. Ligue 1 wise, we did well. Very, very well: Yes, you are seeing that right. 1 Loss, 1 Tie. For an overall season record of: New Ligue 1 Record for wins. New Ligue 1 record for points. This seasons nemesis? Olympique Lyonnais, who beat us in both games we played 1-0. Slaven Bilic and L'OL always play us tough though, and they weren't the only ones. We got almost everyone's best shot. Petar Kolarek has been everything advertised and more. At 19 (going on 20), he's got to be the best young striker in the game, a 4 star Complete forward who, across all competitions this season: In 61 games, had 45 goals (A New Team Record), 1 PK goal, 21 Assists, 14 POM's (A New Ligue Record), and and average rating of 7.55, a new Team record. Without his talented feet I am not sure if we could have won some of these games. Lord knows we tried bottling a few of them. Against Troyes, he put us ahead in the 63rd minute after former Les Bleus player Antonis Kravaritis equalized. I gave him a rest against Tours, and Ptrov responded with a brace, and Jan K added another goal. We were a well rounded attack. Carter, Tulio, Jan K, all were scoring. We weren't getting a lot of clean sheets (goals in the last 15 minutes of the game are killing me), so some of the games look closer than they actually were. Nantes and Metz both scored after the 80th minute. Our only stumble came against L'OL, when an 82nd minute Nic Romero goal gave them the lead, and we could not come back. We got ourselves right against LOSC, Tulio with a 27 minute Hat Trick. Mark Bijl knocked our lone goal in against OM, and against Monaco we looked to be headed for the draw when 92nd and 93rd minute goals gave us the 3-1 win. I'm not sure Monaco knew what happened, and I say that with some authority becuase I am not sure what happened.... Petroc had a brace against Racing Club de Lens, Carter a Hat Trick against PSG, whom we thrashed 4-2 in a game that wasn't as close as the score looks. We stumbled again against Toulouse, but they played us very well all match, and frankly I was lucky to escape with the draw. A Kalkan header gave us the victory over Stade Rennais not once, but twice. As a result of this, and the fact that they were being relegates, Stade Rennais fored thier coach, and poached one of min to be there new head. I think teams have realized I am not leaving Dunkirk alive, and instead are poaching my coaching talent. IIRC, I think we clinched the league after the second Stade Rennais win. In the Coupes, well In the Coupe de Ligue: It was a close run thing. Victories over Lyonnais (A small measure of revenge), and Creteil-Lusitanos put us in the Semi's with Girondins de Bordeaux. We were up 4-1 at Half, and after a rousing speech and pep talk, were very sloppy and slovenly, as two second half goals pulled Les Girondins within 1. We had PSG in the final, and it was looking like it was headed towards extra time when in the 87th minute, Foose drove home a nice shot form the out corner of the box, giving us the 1-0 victory, and Automatically qualifying us for Europa League games. In the Coupe de France we kept up our good run. I will admit I did not play the Raon-l'Etape game, leaving that to the assistant. Can't argue with the result though. The game against L'HAC was closer than the score appears, after Kolarek socred in the 40th minute, Tashkin (whose quietly had a very good season) was sent off on a red, but HAC had a player sent off 15 minutes later, and Carter put us ahead 2-0, with a late HAC goal accounting for their score. FCSM also played us tough, but I wasn't expecting the Tours match to go to PK's. Nor was I expecting all three of their first PK takers to miss or have Arrieta save. Then it was onto the finals, against Saint-Etienne, and I smiled, because Matthew Collins was in goal. For the record, against Les Verts, the standings this season were 3-0, with the goal total being 12-4. Last, but not least, by much, Europa League play. I really wanted to win this, especially after such a poor performance in the Champions League. I suppose losing in the final counts as doing well to some people. I'm not to happy about it. The games aginst Rangers were fun to watch, a lot of back and forth, but Petrov seemed to have their number. I'm not sure what happened against Stoke, one minute the game started, three highlights later we were up 3-0, and even after going defensive we knocked in two more goals. I played a very rotated squad the next game, and they did very well. We almost threw it away at Anderlecht, after a home draw we went there. Anderlecht got on board first, then Gumeded equalized in the 64th minute, but in the 88th minute a Cardona goal put them ahead. It took Kolarek, scoring off a poorly deflected shot in the 90th minute to salvage the draw, and the win on away goals. Atletica Madrid was next, and after a hard fought draw at home O was expecting more of the same in MAdrid, but an early Bossard goal put them out of sorts early, then Tulio had a brace within three minutes, and Carter added a fourth goal a few minutes later. 30 minutes into the game we were ahead 4-0, and I coasted the rest of the game, setting up a final against Man City. It was the next to last game of our season, and we were tired. From 3/31/2030 to 5/22/3030 we played 17 games across all competitions. Thats 17 games in 53 days, a game every three days.and 10 of those games were Europa or Coupe games. Aginast Man City, just enough went wrong. Goals by Barbosa and Mbappe put them up 2-0. Kolarek equalized with 2 goals in 13 minutes, but a Foose OG in the 76th minute obviously rattled him, because 10 minutes later Lukasik ran right through him and banged a shot home, leaving the score 4-2. Also, in a round about way, this game reinforced my decision to never play a series as an Premier League coach, unless I do what I've done here and take a team all the way up. Juergen Klopp had Man City finishing 4th in the Premier League, behind Liverpool, Man U, and Arsenal. A lot of injuries, a lot of drawn games, but 4th in the Premier League with a Champions League spot is respectable. Especially after a 5th place finish the year before. He was also the UEFA Super Cup winner, Club World Championship Winner. He won the Europa League, but lost or tied 8 of his last 10 games, so Man City fired him. To hire the regen coach of 8th place SOuthampton. With owners like that, who needs enemies? My youth intake was horrible. Again. In fact it was so horrible i fear that putting it up on the forum will cause it to crash in response. Well, not really, I was so disgusted by it I didn't take a screen shot. My best prospect was 3 1/2 stars. And there was just one of those. I'm giving my current guy one more year, and after that, he's out. But, we had a rare accomplishment is the football world: Annual Awards wise, Kolarek was the fans Player of the Year, with 50% of the goal, and also young player of the year. Ambrosius was the signing of the year. Ambrosius was also named Ligue 1 'Most Promising Player'. Kolarek was the Ligue 1 Star of the Competition. Arrieta won Goalkeeper of the Season, despite a low number of clean sheets. Commercially, were doing very well: We also set a new team attendance record, because of our expansion, we rented out Stade Félix Bollaert-Delelis, a 38K seat stadium in Lens, and we averaged 29, 557. As our new Stadium will seat 30K, that's very good. France moved up to 3rd, gaining another spot in the Champions League. We moved from 10th to 8th in the club rankings, and had a 21.5M profit for the year. Player wise, we had some very good performances. Kolarek of course, but Carter also had a great season, in 43 appearences across all competitions he had 17 goals, 11 assists, 6 POM's and a 7.34 rating Marco Tulio, my AM(C) (and sometimes M(C), had a quietly great season, if that makes sense. In 54 appearences he had 18 goals, 18 assists, 6 POM's and a 7.21 rating. Jan K was his typical good self, in 48 appearences he had 9 goals, 15 assists, and 5 POM's, along with a 7.18 rating. Marc Bossard has been a very offensive DLP, and I mean that in the most courteous way. In 53 Appearences over all competitions, he had 10 goals, 4 assists, a POM and a 7.27 rating. Is goal scoring part of a DLP repertoire? I know his 87% pass rate is. Marc Bijl also had a good season, 3 goals, 5 assists, a POM, 7.07 rating, and some very good defensive play. After Jan K, Mithat Taskin is the oldest man on the squad. He's down to 2 1/2 star ability, but I swear he made at least fifteen appearances on the Ligue 1 Team of the Week. 61 Appearences, 4 goals, 5 assists, 2 POM's, a 7.18 rating, almost two tackles a game, he was very stout in the center of the field. Markus Ambrosius had 4 goals, 2 POM's, a 7.15 rating as Taskins battery mate on the backline. Thusi Gumede may only be 5'4" and weigh 136 pounds, but he's becoming quite the force on the DLine for me. In 47 appearances he had 3 goals, 3 aqssists, 3 POM's, 3.88 tackler per game, an 80% pass completion, and a 7.27 rating. Stephen Foose...well, he was healthy almost all season, only missing six weeks, and it showed. 42 Appearances, 10 goals (4 off PK's), 4 assists, 3 POM's, 3.67 tackles per game, and a 7.28 rating. Arrieta isn't exactly the second coming of Ameskamp, in 55 appearances he had 56 goals allowed, but he also had 19 shutouts. I do think his 6.89 was the lowest rating among the starters. I did switch up tactics a bit, going to a 4-3-1-2 about a third of the season. That gave Martin Petrov some starts, and in 24 appearances he had 14 goals, 9 Asissts, and 5 POM's. He's started to level out developmentally, and I suspect this will be his last season here in Dunkerque, as Kolarek is performing very well, and I have a couple of younger players I would like to get some playing time. Bayer won the Bundesliga, Real Madrid won La Liga, AC Milan won Serie A. Bayern won the Champions League, beating Barcelona. England won the World Cup in 2026, I think I may have mentioned this previously. The Columbia U23's won the 2028 Olympics, Mexico and Spain 2nd and 3rd. Messi is the AssMan at Wolves, Cristiano is the HC at Charleton, Rooney was fired from Doncaster in 2028 and is still looking. Vardy coached at Milwall for 8 months, and honestly, my knowledge of foreign players is about at an end. So, in summation, we won the Quintuple. Won Ligue 1, the Coupe de France, Coupe de Ligue, got knocked out in the group stages of the Champions League, and lost in the Europa League Final. That's not a disappointing result, so why am I not happy? Next couple of seasons are going to be transitioning for the team I think. Thanks for reading and folliwng, Jellico73
  10. Thanks! There's still some...oddities...that have me questioning some under the hood stuff SI has in the game, but it's been so far, I'm still enjoying it. Jellico73
  11. Thus far we've scored 9 goals against him. But theres a reason I didnt trade Ameskamp to Monaco or PSG. Jellico73
  12. "Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs" One of the side effects of playing so many games is that your offseason is short, and you tend to miss a few things that do have some importance to you. For example, when we beat Man United last season in the Champions League, and due to other factors as well I am sure, they fired Jose Mourinho. The reason I found this out was an announcement that Mauricio Pochettino was leaving PSG to take the Man United job. PSG in turn hired Mourinho...the Coaching Circle of Life as it were... There were some postive things at the end of the year: Thats a 10K expansion I didn't ask for. Originally they were just going to ad something like 2200 seats, but apparently winning a lot means were popular, and popular puts people in the stands. And you'll notice we are paying for this ourselves, no loan required. We had a profit of €20M for the financial year, mostly due to the fact we sold €73M worth of players. And our financials were up across the board as well: James Carter, who's quietly become one of the better AM(L)'s in the game, has progressed from 'Wonderkid' to 'Key Player', and signed a new 5 year deal that will see him earn €33.5M In the club rankings we moved up to the 10th spot. Competition wise though, Ligue 1 dropped 1 place to 4th position, costing us a Champions League place. On the list of richest clubs, we went from 38th to 23rd, at just over €400M. We have moved We were pretty active in the summer transfers. I found myself having to make a couple of hard choices, and am hoping they won't come back to bite me. First, the Ins: Gibeon was a player we found in Brazil. Not a wonderkid, but a young, versatile player who, if all goes according to plan (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA....sorry.....)will be a spot starter and valuable backup in three years. He's a Striker first and foremost, but his ability to play any of the AM's is what grabbed my attention. That and the fact he was cheap. I did let Matthew Collins go (Surprise, surprise), and while I was comfortable with Aristede Diomande in goal, when Felipe Arrieta popped up I liked what I saw, and when I compared him and saw his potential, I really liked what I saw. I needed a quality D(C), and Markus Ambrosius is who I signed. I've been following him since he was part of the Germany U21 team, and he is a very solid player, which is all I am looking for from my D(C)'s. Schalke kept loaning him out because he couldn't crack their starting lineup, and after playing three years in Basel, he requested a transfer, and I jumped on it, for €6.5M. He's got a bit off a fouling problem, which I hope I can train out of him. But he's also been solid for us. Amine Riou came in on a free, organizational depth. Signed as a backup, knows he's a backup, is happy being a backup/rotation guy. And he's been solid for us in that role. Gregory Lambese comes to us from Club Brugge. While I have a couple of younger players on my U21 team I think will be able to step up and take over the AM roles in the next couple of years, I needed some depth, and Lambese fits the bill. Able to play both AM wings, he won't get sa lot of starts, but will get plenty of relief appearances. Sedat Kalkin comes in on a Free from Beşiktaş. He was never able to crack the starting lineup there, but his ability to play D(C). DM, and M(C) makes him a valuable cog in the Dunkerque machine. Jerome Perrier I signed to be a backup and a tutor, roles he has performed very well. He's also been a solid sport starter for us. Florian Muhr I brought in on a free for depth, but almost immediately after I signed him, Fulham wanted him on loan, and I said "Sure, OK." He's...OK, which means I don't feel bad getting him on a free, at the very least we will break even if/when he leaves. Matt Barrett popped up on the loan list, and I took him on board. Mostly because I can't rely on Foose's surgically repaired Achilles, and the fact that he's gone quite a bit as part of Team USA. I do have Ryan Clarret training to be a D(R), but he's also 17, and I'll take a 2 star D(R) over a 17 year old DM learning to be a D(R) any day of the week, especially with our schedule. On the outgoing side of things, we were busy. All the frees were U19 players who were never going to see first team starting time here at Dunkerque. All the players out on loan are getting first team time, and believe me, I am staying on to of that. Joseph Eyenaga was a youth player with potential who never realized it, and as he played primarily AM(L), wasn't going to see a lot of playing time either. AA Gent snapped him up as soon as I put him out there. Sabatino Bernini I brought in for backup/depth, but he never played for us, instead going out on loan. The few times I did play him he was horrible, and I took a €2M loss on him after he signed with PAOK. I made up some of that with Hasan Karatepe moving on. He was also a D(Everywhere) player I brought on for depth, and the few times he played for me he was very meh. He wanted to go out on loan, and his best season was at Lokeren, where he started 29 games and had a 6.46 rating. Clermont Foot paid €1.3M for him, and as I got him on a Free, that offsets most of what I lost on Bernini. Matthew Collins is the first player I think I've traded to a team in the same Ligue I was in. I could be wrong there. But for every great play he made, he made at at least two where I was asking the FM Gods "What the eff is that ****?!". I would have preferred him going to a better team than Saint Etienne maybe, but he's thier first team keeper now. Two wins for us. Simon Boere I brought is as a backup, signed him as a backup, and then he started complaining about first team playing time. I tried selling him last January transfer window, but there were no takers, but Mouscron took him on loan, and he had a respectable season for the m. FC Utrecht signed him this time around, and he's been underwhelming so far, 1 assist and no goals in 17 games. Fabien JeanJean was a product of our youth system I had high hopes for. A good DLP and BTM from the M(C) position, he made the U21 team, but he topped out at two stars, and was getting consistently beaten when we played the bigger clubs. And with Mark Bijl and Kevin Bossard coming on board, and with Erik Biakolo and Sergey Teresenko already here, and with Jimmy Paredes waiting in the U19 team to take a spot in the rotation, he was the odd man out. Tours FC jumped on him as soon as I listed him, and as he's not a great player, I had no trouble letting him go to another Ligue 1 team. The next out was a tough one. Marco Tumminello was a great signing for us, and was key to our successful runs in the Ligue and Championships. He was also 31 and earning 70K a week, and his skills were diminishing, and he was getting injured more. Also, first team play for Peter Kolarek has been a boon, my young striker was 2 stars when I signed him, in 32 starts over two seasons (and some relief appearences), hes now 4 stars, with 5 star potential, and he's only 19. The bridge from Marco to Petrov to Kolarek has proven to be very short. I thought about keeping Marco, but I have yet to find a 2 striker, 2 winger formation that works, and playing a rotation of him, Kolarek, and Petrov was bound to make two of the three mad. But the final determination was that he was in the last year of a contract, making 70k a week, and he wasn't getting better, and in fact was getting a little worse. I did not want to sell him to a Ligue 1 team though, and took a bit less money from Everton to let him go. He's the second stringer there, and has had an underwhelming season so far. For the time being, he's the best Free signing I've made since the save started. Erik Biakolo left on a coin flip. Seriously. I play a 4-2-3-1, and depending on the team/situation, one or both of my midfielders will drop back to DM, and in some cases I'll take out my AM(C) and move him to DM as well. So I have a lot of players who are good M(C)/DM's. On screen, Biakolo was taller, heavier, slightly better in the mentals, better aerially, and worse attacking. He was also a bit more versatile position wise, and he was a year older. With the depth I have at M(C) and DM, one of them was going to go. So I flipped a coin, and Biakolo lost. He was valued at 30M, I listed him for 25, and RSC Anderlecht made a non negotiable offer of 22M for him. In for 275K, out for 22M. That's nice. Som as it stands so far, I've played to the January transfer window. And our season has been very up and down.Here's the up: We're currently in 1st place, with 48 points. PSG is a point behind us, but they have also played 2 more games than we have. PSG edged us on PK's in the Trophee des Champions, but it ook a lucky Ferreria goal for them to even the score at 82 minutes. We started our Ligue 1 games against Saint-Etienne. 5 goals later I am pretty sure Issa Cissokho was asking himself if Matthew Collins was truly the keeper for him. And we kept winning. Kolarek and Carter seemed to be in a competition early on about who could score the most goals, a competition Kolarek is winning hands down now. Our first stumble came at Metz, when a questionable penalty gave Tulio a chance in the 93rd minute for the win, which he did put away nicely. It was quite controversial though, even I had to admit it. Our first loss came to L'OL, who ar just 7 points behind us, when Trincão put home a nice shot in the 68th minute. We had out chances, but couldn't capitalize. We got back on track pretty quickly, beating Monaco 5-3 was a fun match to watch, it should have been 5-1 but Tavares and Tulio scored for Monaco in the 87th and 90th minutes (and didn't I yell at the boys for that) to make the score look interesting. We were ties with PSG 1-1 going into the 80th minute when Christian Barraza, their backup striker, was put in for Esteban Cruz. He scored twice in two minutes, and I literally shut the game down and walked away in disgust. We got our revenge a couple of weeks later agains L'OL, beating them 2-1, and then came the Club World Championship? I have no idea what this is. I blame this on my lack of world football knowledge, and living in North America. But we beat ES Tunis 2-0, and Kolarek, who has really come into his own, scored both goals against Cruzeiro to give us the win and the Cup. We played Saint-Etienne again and put another 4 goals past Collins. Marco Tulio had a hat trick, and I'm sure if Cissokho had hair (he's bald in the photo I have of him), he'd be pulling it out. So, at the start of the January transfer window, this is where we stand: It looks a lot closer than it actually is, because we have two games in had (I think thats right. And thats been the ups so far this season. Well, I won Manager of the Year again, and managed my 700th game. Geaux Me! Here's the downs: Injured in the West Ham friendly. Should have chosen tails.... This is going to be his last year as a member of Les Bleus. I like him, I like his ability, he's been a great replacement for Lung. But I think this is like the 4th year in a row he's missed significant time due to injury, and I'm not going to pay a player 90K a week for 2/3rds of a season playing time. I have 127M in the transfer budget, I may as well spend some of it. This happened in late August. This happened a week later. He's been a great second choice option this year, especially with Kolarek getting rested every few weeks. 10 starts, 4 goals, 4 assists, 2 POM's and a 7.35 rating. Even if I didn't have Kolarek I would have let Marco go, Petrov is more than capable. You don't know him yet, but you will. I picked him up on a Free when he was 16. Not sure how, but he showed up on the scouting reports, and I liked what I saw. His ability to play AM(C), M, and DM make him very useful to us, and he was doing really well on his loan assignments. And last, but not least, the final salt in these injury wounds. This happened in our last game. Thats not the low point of the season though. That was this: I was expecting a tough draw. Man United was 3rd in the Premier League last season, Schalke 4th in the Bundesliga, and Shaktar 1st in the Vyshcha Liha, and this wasn't the Group of Death by any stretch, but still. We stumbled against Shaktar, an 80th minute Kolarek goal saving the draw, despite outplaying them the entire game. Against Man United we were outplayed from start to finish. Ameskamp was great in goal for them, although Tulios score against him was brilliant, we just couldn't make the most of our chances. Our first match against Schalke we couldnt get anything going. The sat the entire game, and were happy to take the draw. Two weeks later Marco Tulio (off all people), was sent off on a straight red in the 13th minute, when we were already up 1-0. we were 2-1 up at the half, but Schalkes 2 goals in the second half gave them the lead. Carters 88th minute goal gave me a glimmer of hope, but we lost and were now in 3rd place. We got ourselves right against Shaktar, but going into the Man U game we needed a win, and then we need needed winless Shaktar to beat Schalke. Neither happened, even if Arrieta hadn't scored an OG in the 78th minute for mishandling a ball, Schalke shut out Shkatar, and we were out of the Champions League. Winners last year, out in the Group stages this year. Now it's onto the Europa Cup. But man, does that suck. In other news Jan K played his 275th game for Les Bleus. We have a 5 star Worldwide reputation, I am at 4/12 star ability with a world class rep, and any top tier team always comes to me asking if I want to interview. Now if the only pay me that way... Against All Odds, I bottled the Champions League. Thanks for reading and following! Jellico73
  13. There are a few weeks in Ligue 1 where you have a ton of games in like 4 weeks, its worse if you've qualified for the later Cup and Coupe rounds... Jellico73
  14. "Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs" As is my usual fashion, I had meant to do a mid season update, but two things happened. First, I got into a playing groove, where it was "Just one more Game!" about ten times, and I went to bed late without posting. Then it was up early to take my son to his dentist appointment. My son does not do dentists, to the point where my wifes excellent insurance will cover the cost of essentially knocking him out, which is the bad news. The fun news is that he's pretty much loopy the rest of the day, so I was able to play thru the rest of the 2028/2029 season. It was...well, it was. There were quite a few things going on that just don't make a lot of sense to me, but apparently they make sense to long time players of the game, so we will have to see what happens moving forward. Our Ligue 1 Schedule up the the start of the January transfer window: We got off to a very good start. So did PSG. And Monaco. I spent the first few games fighting myself with tactics. I almost always use a 4-2-3-1, or a 4-3-1-2, depending on the situation. I kept trying to find a tactic that would let me use my strikers, wingers, and midfielders together, and came up with a 3-3-3-1, with 3 D(C)'s, 3 M(C)'s, 3 AM's, and a striker, but I am not the tactical genius to figure out why it wasn't doing what I wanted it to. Eventually I went to a pretty heavy rotation at some key positions, last season Marco had 22 starts, Kolarek had 16 starts, and Petrov had 15 starts, and my midfield was a rotation of Tarasenko, Bialko, JeanJean and and a few others. Anyhow, we were in fine form, even with some of the injuries we had, players stepped up and had solid games. Against Monaco, Marco was the hero that day, as his 80th minute goal equalized the score and secured us the draw. Out match against PSG was also a nailbiter. A Mischenko goal in the 65th minute gave them the lead, and it looked like they were going to win and secure 1st place, but in the 89th minute a Tulio Corner kick went of Kavcic's head far post, to Tarasenkos head near post, and into the goal. We had some other pretty stressful games as well, LOSC, Tours FC, were 1-0 games where a second half goal was what we needed to keep going. Going into the January transfer window, we we in first place. PSG was 2 points behind, Monaco 4 points behind. Then things started to get....hinky. I wasn't planning on being active in the January transfer window. Maybe a few loans, kept my eyes on a few players, nothing to serious. Luigi Tiozzo came in on loan from Juventus. I wanted some backup at D(C) because Ha Hyun Ho's international coach seems determined to run him into the ground while he's playing outside of France, and Tiozzo fit the profile I was looking for: Young, skilled, and OK with being a rotation player. Fredy Paredes I found while trolling through the U20 rosters of the South American U20 Championship teams. I like that he plays M(C) and DM, and and 18 I can use him in the rotation to build him up. For a flat fee of 2.6M, I know I can seel him more for that down the road if he improves just a little. I've been following Mark Bijl for a couple of years now. 28 U21 appearences, solid stats, tons of potential. I had enquired about him to Vitesse last season, and they said he wasn't for sale at any price. But I fillowed him, and when I got a messgae that Aresenal had made and offer to him for something in the 11.5M range, I swooped in for 14.5M. Despite my larger transfer budgets, I haven't felt the need to go out and spent 30M "Because I can.", so I was ok with spending that amount. My depth at keeper wasn't great. I had a lot of keepers but the diagram after Ameskamp and Collins in current ability/potential ability resembled a cliff. Aristide Diomande is an Ivorian I first scouted on the u20 team, and on a whim I made an enquiry about him. 1.5M later he was coming in as our 3rd keeper. Then the weird bollocks started happening. Diakaridia Haidara came in upset because he wasn't getting first team playing time. I had planned on using him as part of a rotation at D(L), but Thudi Gumede has exceeded all my expectations there. I offered to start him in the Cups, but he demanded a trade. I probably undervalued him, but his attitude was starting to affect the locker, and I won't be having that. Simon Boare went on loan to Mouscron, then out of the blue AC Milan came in and made an unsolicted offer for Boris Kavcic, our young promising D(C). And when I said no, he demanded a meeting and wanted to know why I was not listening. So I went back to Milan with the same money overall, and they signed him. Then, out of the blue, Jiangsu made an unsolicted offer for Ha Hyun Ho. And I said no. And the locker room went ape. So I went back to Jiangsu, upped my offer by a couple of mil, and Ha Hyun Ho left. And during this time PSG, Monaco, and Man United were making a push for Florian Ameskamp. I said "Hell No!" to Monaco and PSG, not because their offers were insulting (they were) but theres no way in heck I'm letting a goalie that good stay in DIvision. But Florian came to me and said "I want to win some trophies and I can't do that here, I want to go to Man United." I offered him more money to say, he said no. I said fine, I'll let you leave if I get 50M for you. He said 25. I said 35, and he agreed. Two week later PSG bid 14.5M, and Man U came in with a 33.5M Bid. Blivet. So I got them up to 35M with some very achievable incentives, and Florian left. Merde. And thats still not the strangest thing that happened to me this season. In comes Matthew Collins, who could be good, but at the same time every game it seems he has a mistake that almosts cost us the game. And we're doing so well. How well? 95 points in Ligue 1, 2 ahead of PSG, 5 ahead of Monaco. How'd we get there? By the skin of our teeth. Against Racing Club it took a Marco goal in the 77th minute to put us ahead by 2, then Collins gave up a goal in the 84th minute that was of the "Oh, Look, the Balls going right by me, wait ten seconds then Dive the other direction... Against OM were were 3-0 up going into the half, but a very dubious penalty kick and an 83rd minute goal gave OM the tie. We were 2-1 up against Monaco, and then in the space of 4 minutes they had two goals, neither of which Collins really made a move for. And I was highly miffed. Toulouse was the same story, 2-0 going into the half, and two Aymeric Benoit goals, the second in the 88th minute, gave them the tie. Now, I do realize that letting my 2nd and 3rd D(C)'s go could be part of the problem, except I also went to a formation with two DM's playing well back, and Tashkin, Cisse, and Tiozzo may be a bit of a drop off, but not a huge drop off. We got ourselves right against PSG, a very nice 3-1 win that gave us the lead in the Ligue. Up until this point we had been jockeying for 1st place the last few weeks. Against Auxerre, well, I don't know what happened. We had 17 shots, 8 on goal, and a 53/47 advantage in possession. Auxerre had 3 shots. Theie keeper was on fire, the next Rulli maybe, and all of my defensemen had more than a 7.1, because they spent a decent amount of time playing in Collins area. L'OL played us hard all match, and deserved the tie IMO. We had our chances, but couldn't make them count. By drawing with Nantes, we won the Ligue. Anti Climatic, sure, but the game itself was another one where we couldn't find the goal. I yelled at the team. They responded by going out and getting 5 against Montpellier. The Coupe de Ligue was disappointing, again. In the 4th Round we beat PSG on penalties, but that only happened becaused PSG got a 90th minute goal to send it to penalties in the first place. In the Quarter finals we came up against a Ligue 2 Stade Malherbe Caen team, we lost. At Home. 1-0. Double Merde. In the Coup de France we did a lot better: FC Lorient almost pulled a Stade Malherbe on us, but Collins was a rock between the sticks, and then Lorient went wide on their 5th PK, and Gumede tucked it away for the win. If I didn't know any better, I'd think we weren't taking these lower division teams seriously. Against OM, Tashkins goal of a header was very nice, and we went to face PSG in the final. Tough game to watch. PSG ran us all over, and had several close calls, and a heroic save by Tiozzo saved a goal. Les Bleus only had 6 shots, 3 of which were on target, but the defense held, and in extra time, Mark Bijl took a Kolarek cross and headed it past Onana for the winner, and we won the Coup de France. Champions League...well... Highlight of this was pasting Arsenal 5-1. That was a fun game to watch. Next up, Man United, and maybe Florian Ameskamp in goal for the Red Devils. And did we ever get lucky here: Not one, but two extra time goals to give us the 2-1 aggregate win. And in the first game, we were a man down after 66 minutes because Taskin got a second yellow. Then I realized Ameskamp wasn't part of their Champions League roster, and I was a little happier I didn't have to play him. Second game a Rashford PK gave them the lead, and things were looking like they were headed to extra time, when Biakolo took a MArco cross of the throw in and blasted it upper left from the top of the D. Brilliant goal that gave us the win, and a meeting with Benfica. The pucker factor was high in the second game. A Jan K goal in the 8th minute gave us a lead, that Collins propmtly gave away in the 46th minute when he failed to handle a ball my son could have kicked harder. Rui Ares goal was matched by Leite in the 78th minute, and then 4 minute later Leite scored again to give them the lead, but Marco came thru for us in the end, and 87th minute goal that equalized the score and gave us the 4-3 aggregate win, and the right to face Chelsea (And Andrei Lung) in the Semi's. The first game was a yawn fest. Neither side had a lot of chances, or made anything of the ones they did have, but I'll take a tie at home any day of the week in a Champions League game. We came to life at Stamford Bridge. 21 shots, 11 on target, 64% possession. I'm not sure Chelsea knew which way they were going on the pitch sometimes, and if Courtois hadnt been in goal, I'm sure the score would have been hgiher. As it stood, a Tulio goal in the 45th minute and a MArco goal in the 75th minute were enough to secure the victory. So we were on to Ataturk Olympiyat in Istanbul, to face Borussia Dortmund, in the Champions League final. Dortmund went ahead in the 18th minute, on a Baumgart goal. Marco equalized 2 minutes later. Then it was a defensive back and forth. Thusi Gumede got sent off in the 90th minute on a straight red, and we spent the rest of overtime a man down. Then it was penalty kicks. I literally could not watch. Started the PK's and walked away, because I was certain Collins would bottle this somehow. I was wrong. I can admit that. And all those players who left because they felt they couldn't win... And that wasn't the weirdest part of the season... No, that came about because of Stefan Hahn. He was the young winger we brought in from Dortmund at the beginning of the season. A Week after we got him he went out for six weeks with a lower back fracture. No big deal, I kept him on the squad. So, he finally gets healthy, and I play him the recommended 30 minutes in a Reserve game so he can start building up some fitness. And the Marcelino wants to talk to me. Apparently he's upset because Hahn isn't getting enough first team playing time. . . . . . I don't have enough hands to give this the facepalm it deserves. But there we are. Champions of the League, 2029. Coupe De France Winners, Ligue 1 Winners, and I do believe this is the first time in game we have not lost to PSG. All in all, a very good season. :-) Thanks for reading and following! Jellico73