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About Unigo

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  1. Part 4: one more thing to do.... Before i started progressing and scouting around the transfermarket, i had to do one more thing. For some reason i do this every time i start at a new club: i make a spreadsheet. And, this is what it looks like: So, what are we looking at: Based on our previous analysis and the way we like to play, i've created a tactic. Now, i've entered all those positions in the spreadsheet and marked the preferred (blue) and critical (green) attributes. Next, i've calculated the sum of those attributes and multiplied the critical ones by two, because i want those to be of more influence on the end result. The last step is adding those two sums together and drawing an average from them. This gives us the score we're looking for. These scores indicate, based on the attributes only (so no personality, traits, etc.) if a player could do well on a position. Why do we go through all this? Well, it gives some interesting insights, and can be used to rate a scouted player. But, what did we learn from this exercise regarding Sunderland? Well: Tom Flanagan might be a better centre-back than Ozturk currently, so if we regard him as a viable stand-in for that position we already have some more depth in the centre-back department. Adam Matthews not only has a very high wage, he's also the 3rd choice on the right wing. Both Flanagan and Love are quite a bit better. Another reason to sell him. We lack midfielders capable of playing as a box-to-box player. If we buy a midfielder, we have to make sure he is well suited for this role. Jerome Sinclair was previously perceived as the 3rd option as a striker, but if we use an advanced forward he might actually be the best option. Well, Now then... onwards to the transfermarket!
  2. Part 3: tactics and formation time... Now, tactics-time. First off: what did we learn from our player-analysis? At first sight the defenders seemed poor headers and jumpers. But, the closer look showed that this was (likely) caused by our backs, because our centre’s are actually quite decent in this area. So, i was inclined to set my defense up quite wide, to prevent crosses, now i feel we might need to go for a bit tighter defense and hope we can deal with the crosses. This also should help the central defenders in not covering too much distance, since they are all quite slow. Our team has high work-rate which might be a good foundation for a more gegenpressing-like style of play. But, we also lack natural fitness, and have a shortage of players on almost every position. On top of that: we play 46 games in the league this season, and will compete in two cups. This season will be gruesome, so i opt for a less intensive tactic, without too much gegen pressing. Learned from the numbers game: goals conceded are more costly than the benefit of goals scored. So i’m not going for an all-out attacking play. Also, i like my defensive foundations to be solid, so i’m likely to use 4 defenders. I want Cattermole to be able to play his defensive midfield game. Also, i’m inclined to use 1 striker, since we only have 2 decent ones capable of playing on this league’s level (I don’t think Sinclair is ready for the league one yet). So that leaves (next to Cattermole) 4 spots to be filled on the midfield and the wings. Now, the wings are a bit of a headache for me. We have some okay- wingers, but nothing really impresses me. Then again: we have plenty of them (including the slow ones that i described in the midfield-section. So, i think i’ll use wingers. more specifically: one winger, one inside-forward. This leaves 2 spots for the midfield. I want Cattermole to be more defensive orientated, and i like to have a playmaker to distribute the ball towards the wings or directly to the striker. With Lee (Cattermole) staying behind, i think we could use some more bodies in the attacking 3rd, so i might go for a more mobile midfielder there, somewhat like a box-to-box player. But, not on the inside-forward side, i don’t want them covering the same space. So, that brings us down to this formation: A few other things i did: WIth McGeady playing as an inside forward and cutting in from the side, there’s room for the left back to push up and (if we’re lucky) swing in a cross. So, we gave the left back a attacking mentality I went with the ball-winning midfielder role for cattermole, since it suits his aggressiveness. We might tone it down to central midfielder with a defending role if it’s too much We pick a balanced approach for now, i might make a second tactic with a bit more caution for games where we are the weaker side For now i go for standard tempo and passing-directness. I do want to work the ball in the box, to prevent a lot of long-range shots on goal. When possession has been lost we go for re-group, i already explained why i don’t want a more counterpressing style of play. When we win the ball back though, i’m fine with going on the counter. To compliment this i’m enabling the goalkeeper to distribute the ball quickly, where to is up to him. Last, we use a narrow defense with a normal defensive line and less-urgent pressing intensity. I created a second tactic for games where we are being the weaker side (for some reason) with a lower defensive line and line of engagement and a more coutious approach. Next up, we're going to start playing, so i might come back with some transfer news!
  3. Update 2: player analysis Before we setup our tactic, we need to know what players we have available. Then again: i’m not letting it all depend on the players, i have some ideas in mind beforehand as well. But, first things first: who are we having available. I wont post pics of every player, only the ones that seem interesting to me. GOALKEEPERS Jon Mclaughlin If Jon was a fieldplayer, he would be in the last good years of his career given his age. But, he’s not, so good for him. Jon is 30 years old and has on average some decent stats. He’s capable of playing as a regular goalkeeper but is even more at home playing as a sweeper keeper. The only weak points he has are his vision, acceleration and first touch. Which is kind of weird for a sweeper, since those stats are more relevant for that role. Robbin Ruiter Robbin is kind of the same story as Jon. Decent stats, 31 years old, decent stats all around, with only a few weaker points. Command of area is not as good as we’d hope for, he’s also lacking some acceleration and first touch. Maksymilian Stryjek Stryjek is 21 years old and somewhat of a talent. Not nearly skilled enough to play the in the first team yet, but he has 4 star potential. His stats are **** for sweeper, but he might make a decent goalkeeper in a few years. CENTRAL DEFENDERS Glenn Loovens Another Dutchy, i’m feeling right at home already! Then again: Glenn is old enough to be my dad, so that’s a tad worrying. Funny enough, he’s quite decent for a defender. Our average lack of jumping and heading-ability sure isn’t caused by Loovens. Basically he seems rock-solid as long as you don’t ask him to move. He’s worth almost nothing, and isn’t earning too much either, so he might be useful to have around! Jack Baldwin Jack is 24 years old so he has his prime years ahead of him. He looks a bit like a younger version of Glenn: decent stats, not much of a runner and (what a surprise!) even capable of deflecting some high balls with his head. Then again, there isn't much extra in him, so if he’s playing it would be in a standard central-defending role, or even as a no-nonsense centre-back. Alim Ozturk Alim is about the age of Jack and shares the most of his attributes. He’s big, can jump and head, and, as an extra: is somewhat technically gifted. With a bit of imagination he can play as a ball playing central defender. Then again: he lacks in the concentration and decisions department, so that might be a vulnerability. And.. shockingly… that’s it! Of Course Lamine Kone is also one of our defenders, but he’s on loan for the entire season at RC Strasbourg, so we can’t make use of him. In the youth squads there’s no player getting above the 1.5 star rating, so we might need to bring in some fresh blood here. BACKS Donald Love Wonderful name, i have to give him that. He’s a right-back, with decent stats. Nothing really jumps out, except for his workrate and stamina. His concentration is his weakness though, so that’s not too good. He is 23 years old though, so he still has some potential. Reece James Reece is 24 years old, so he too has some potential. Reece is a lefty, he only lacks a bit in composure, other than that he’s quite decent really! Also, just like Love: good workrate and stamina. These two might be a nice pair for the future! Bryan Oviedo Ah, Oviedo, a familiar face from the documentary. He earns a ******** of money, but he’s worth a few coins as well. And, he has something to show for it: he is by far the best left back we have. Might be a starter for us! Tom Flanagan Tom is a 26 year old right back, who is slightly better than Love. I would like to see a bit more crossing ability from him, but then again: we can’t complain. Might be a starter for us. Adam Matthews Someone has been buying too much right backs and should have brought in a centre back… Matthews is a 26 year old right back who is about equal to love. But, if you look at the wages, Matthews makes around 60K more a month. The guy might be a Sunderland-relic, but he won’t be a starter and that’s an awful lot of money to pay for a benchwarmer. MIDFIELD Lee Cattermole Lee is somewhat of a special case: he earns 145K a month, which is almost 12% of our total wage budget and is 30 years old so will likely decline in form from now on. But, he really is a solid defensive oriented midfielder. Great stats in aggression, marking, teamwork, workrate, positioning, bravery make him a giant pain in the ass for our opponents. On top of that: he’s playing for Sunderland since 2009, played 204 matches and has great leadership skills. He might earn more than our defenders combined, but might be worth it if we use him wisely. Luke O’Nien O’Nien is a young player (23 years old) who recently joined Sunderland. And to be honest: i wonder why. He’s not that impressive, though he has some good workrate attributes and is two footed. He might be more of a back-up than a starter for us. Max Power Max Power… what a name! 24 years old on a loan from Wigan, but joining us permanently in the winter. And, he’s quite great! decent stats, good workrate, stamina and a decent penalty taker. For most of the midfield positions he doesn't have any major holes in his game it seems. Dylan Mcgeouch Dylan, age 25, is worth 4.1 million and recently joined Sunderland. One of our most valuable players and not even earning too much! He’s more of a playmaker type, and has the stats to show for it. Great passing, composure, decisions and vision will work for him. He’s not much of a workhorse, and is quite small and light, so he won’t fit every midfield slot, but he sure is valuable to have around. Chris Maguire Chris is somewhat weird. He can play on both wings, but is about as fast as a turtle. So, attacking midfielder or a more controlling role on the wings is more suiting to his attributes. He has some decent stats, but nothing really stands out except for his free kick taking. On top of that: he’s 29 years old, so any dramatic improvement won’t happen here. George Honeyman Honeyman is comparable to Maguire. Not really a winger due to a lack of speed, but also capable of playing in attacking midfield. He’s not as slow as Chris, but for a winger we would like to see a bit more speed. He lacks any defensive skills whatsoever, but brings good technique, workrate, stamina and teamwork to the table. And: he’s only 23 and can still grow. Also important: he’s been with us since 2011, which is something to appreciate. WINGERS Lynden Gooch Lynden is a young guy with great acceleration and decent pace, capable of playing on the right and left wing, although he’s more at home on the right one (and being a rightfooter). The first thing that i noticed is the lack of crossing or finishing ability. He has decent workrate, technique and dribbling, but if he can’t convert those runs to assists he might be less useful to us. Something to keep in mind. Aiden McGeady Aiden is a legend, and has the age of a legend as well. More comfortable as an inside forward than a winger, which (again) is weird given his average finishing rating and great crossing ability. His passing and technique are good, but being 32 years old shows on his physical skills and lack of speed, acceleration and workrate. Also, he’s tempted to cut inside and shoot from distance which compliments his above average long range shooting. But i’m still a bit worried about his declining physique. Duncan Watmore Duncan is 24 and still has his prime ahead of him. He’s incredibly fast and quick in acceleration, Crosses are incredibly **** though. which is a shame for a right winger who’s right footed. Dribbling is good, technique is not, Workrate is also above average. That’s about it… he’s great in some aspects, and poor in others… STRIKERS Jerome Sinclair Jerome is with us on a loan from Watford. He’s young, technically gifted, with decent finishing. Other than that: nothing really stands out. Charlie Wyke Wyke is a typical target man. Strong, slow, great heading and good jumping. Also has some decent workrate. Other than that: nothing really stands out. He’s 25 years old and has played his fair share of games before coming to Sunderland, playing 200 games and scoring 64 goals. Especially at his last two clubs (Bradford and Carlistle) he scored 54 goals in 133 matches. Josh Maja Josh is (if we can keep him) our main man for the future. He’s 19 years old and has some real talent. His finishing could improve, and so could his technique and mentals, but makes up for it in speed, balance and determination (20, anyone?). And, that’s all! So all in all we have some decent players, but we might need to get some fresh blood in almost every role, depending on the formation we use of course. Next up: building a formation!
  4. Introduction So, after watching the documentary ‘Sunderland til i die’ i couldn’t stop the urge to start a career with the black cats! Of course our mission is to (eventually) play premier league football again, but for now the aim is to stabilize the club. After two relegations in a row we got a lot of work to do, so we need to be realistic. So not too many fancy transfers and aiming for straight promotion, i’m fine laying the foundations for long-term success. Over the next few posts i’ll try give a rough view on my managerial style, the tactics i will use and an analysis of the players. But before all that, let's get an overall feel of what we’re dealing with here. Finances With Ellis selling the club to Donald, Sunderland is now debt-free. And our healthy financial situation is reflected in the transfer funds: we have a budget of 4.45 million, and a wage budget of 1.16 million a month. On top of that: we can use 90% of our transfer revenues to buy new players. But, it isn’t all positives here. We’re not exceeding our salary cap, but are close to it. And it’s not the amount of players causing this but a few guys with hefty wages. So, that might be something to deal with sooner or later. Facilities This is where the true potential comes to light: a stadium with 48.000 seats, good corporate facilities, superb training facilities, good data analysis facilities and excellent youth facilities. All in all this seems like fertile ground to plant the seeds for long term success! Staff Not really anything special here. Quite some spots are filled, but we have a few empty seats. This goes for the senior squad, the -23 and the -18. Squad - global In the near future we’ll look into the squad with a bit more detail, but a brief overview shows us a few things: At first sight it seems we have a sufficient amount of players, but i’m still a bit worried. Playing in league one can be brutal and a deep enough squad can prove to be the difference between a **** season and a successful one. If you don’t believe me: ask any Sunderland fan witnessing last years relegation… Our average player wage is at 39.5K a month. The average in the league is 12K. So, on average we’re paying THREE Times more for our players than the others. That can’t continue! Then again: this also goes for player value, so we might be sitting on a goldmine. (or a expensive pile of ****…) Our goalkeepers are slightly above average, compared to the rest of the league. Our defenders are average, but are lacking in heading, jumping and strength Our midfield has good passing, technique and vision, but is average on the other attributes. We have some decent attackers, apparently capable of some good headers as well. Overall, the lack of natural fitness should be a concern. especially with the intensive calendar in the UK. Other mentals seem to be above average, though we are lacking some leadership. Last but not least: INJURIES! I don’t know if Sunderland has been on a combat-mission to Syria, but for some reason 7 of the senior squad’s players are out with an injury, most of them for more than a month. That’s a lovely start to a season... Next up: tactics and a squad analysis!
  5. Update 5: Oktober Right, this update took me longer than i thought. I'm not going to blame that on Red Dead Redemption (and work), but...it was because of RDR and work. Now, let's see how we did: Results League: Vitesse - Heracles 1 - 1 League: Excelsior - Vitesse 1 - 3 Cup: Vitesse - Top Oss 2 - 1 (in extra time) League: Vitesse - Fortuna 3 - 0 So, all in all, we did what we set out to do. Heracles proved to be a big challenge, they are still sitting at 2nd spot in the Eredivsie after 10 games. The win over excelsior and Fortuna are solid results though. We struggled against Top Oss. Partly because of using some B-players, but also because of trying a new tiki-taka tactic the first half. This resulted in 75% posession, but no goals. Other news Khalilou Fadiga and Henk van Hout join us as our new scouts. Isaac Sackey is doing quite well! In total we paid 1.2 million for him, but he came in at a worth of 2.9 million. Currently he's worth 3.2. He played all 10 eredivisie matches as a starter, and has an avarage rating of 7.17 in those games. I'm glad this transfer works out! Next month November is going to be a tough month for us. We start of against PSV, who should be among the title-favourites. They are currently in sixth place, but let's not get our hopes up. After that, we face FC Utrecht, who are currently in 1st position in the eredivisie, so no easy challenge either. We finish off the month with Willem II and FC Emmen, both in contention for relegation. We should at least get 6 points in the last two matches, any points above that are a bonus.
  6. Update 4: september We start the month with the wonderful news that the board thinks i should do my job slightly better. Well, that does not come as a surprise to me, given the results we booked so far. Let's see how we did this month. Results League: Vitesse - Ajax 1 -1 League: PEC Zwolle - Vitesse 0 -1 League: Vitesse - ADO Den Haag 0 - 0 Cup: Helmond Sport - Vitesse 0 - 3 League: Feyenoord - Vitesse 4 - 1 All in all i'm not unhappy. The result against Ajax is good, but Feyenoord proved too difficult to beat. The win against Helmond is not surprising, but those matches are ones you can only lose anyhow (if you win, it's normal, if you lose, you're in trouble). Other news I was negotiating with a few clubs for Maikel van der Werff, but with no result. I'll still try to get rid of him, he's not performing well and is allready out of the starting 11. the UK leaves the European Union. The coming weeks we get more details on rules, this might play in our advantage if the rules are quite harsh on English clubs. We lost Janus van Gelder as our most experienced scout, i'm working on bringing in 2 new ones. due to a good financial situation our retained transfer revenue was upped from 55% to 75%! Next month Next month will be crucial to our season i think. We've got matches lined up against Heracles (currently 2nd), Excelsior (12th) and Fortuna (17th) in the Eredivisie. Despite their current positions these teams should be below Vitesse, so i'm hoping for atleast 7 points out of these games. There's also a game planned against Top Oss for the cup, they are one division below us and are 16th, we should be able to fairly easy beat them. With the board getting more and more grumpy i think they will demand my resignation if i fail this month. The topic title won't be fitting for this career in that case, so let's hope i can stay!
  7. Thanks! I hope so too, but i figured there's a reason i could get him for a relatively low transfer fee. If he had good mentals too Vitesse would be way below his level i think. Update 4: a rough start for the team A short update now, to finish of August and the transfer-period. After that i’ll switch to monthly updates. Results After qualifying for the 3rd qualifying round of the Europa League we went on a bad spell. Although the way we played looked promising, it didn’t give is the results we needed: 0 - 1 loss against Molde (Europa League) 0 - 2 loss against FC Groningen (Eredivisie) 1 - 1 draw against Molde (Europa League) 1 - 4 loss against sc Heerenveen (Eredivisie) Now, the results against Molde knocked us out of the Europa League. This means we’re missing out on the much needed extra payout that international competitions generate, but also cuts us short of games against good competition that we could use to develop our players. If there is some positive to get out of this: we made it past one qualifying round, and the lack of European football means we can fully focus on the competition. Which, given the results we’ve booked sofar, is needed. After these results i decided to switch tactics. I’m not going into a completely different direction, but you will see some changes in formation. This tactic still uses a higher defensive block, a lot of pressing, wingers and 4 defenders. The changes are that the defensive backs are less attacking-minded, the wingers are dropped back to midfield (though still providing with and going forward in attack) and we dropped a midfield spot to give us an extra striker. My idea is to alter this tactic depending on the opponent, so one game i might play with a central midfielder and a defensive midfielder, the next game i could opt for a attacking midfielder and a central midfielder. To give you an idea of what this looks like: We have only played one game with this new shape so far. We played AZ Alkmaar, who at that time (after two games, so it does not say much) were first in the league. This resulted in: Despite 3 goals conceded, i’m quite happy with the way we played. Let’s see if this tactic indeed works for us in september. Transferwindow Now August is over, the transferwindow is also over. On our side there’s nothing new: no one sold, nor anyone contracted. There is one transfer that that caught my eye though, because it involves a player from the Eredivisie and Chelsea… If De Ligt indeed has the potential everyone thinks he has, Chelsea just made our mission a whole lot harder... In the next update: September!
  8. Nice one, very clever! Update 3: the first two matches and transfer developments... Staff upgrades The past few weeks we've been busy with confirming a bunch of new signings in the staff department. Now we can confirm that Bauwens, Liddell, Schuiteman, Heatubun, De Haan and De Buyser are all confirmed. Friendlies We've also played our first two (and only) friendly matches. We won with 3 - 2 against Hibernian, but lost 1 - 3 from Rostock. Based on these two games (might not be a big enough sample though) i’ve added shorter passing for the whole team. To not totally cripple the team i gave the regista the ability to use more direct passing. Reason is that in both the games i regained possession quite well, but i lose it rather quickly as well. I hope to avoid this last part with the shorter passing. Transfers: out Buttner sold for 1.300.000 and 130.000 in two installments to FC Utrecht. We do contribute 3.900 a month to the wage bill, but that’s a small part of this original 30.000 a month salary at Vitesse. This adds 700.000 to my transfer budget. Mukhtar Ali sold for 130.000 to Dinamo Moscow, also adding around 70.000 to the budget. Transfers: in We also brought in a new player: 24 year-old Isaac Sackey signed a 3-year deal with Vitesse. We bought him from Alanyaspor where he played 25 games last season. Isaac is estimated to be worth 1.100.000 before the deal was done, we paid 975.000 for him. Additional signing costs set us back a bit more, so 1.200.000 was deducted from the transfer-budget. He will make 27K per month with Vitesse, but the contract also contains an optional 2 year extension to be triggered by the club. So, for the curious ones: this is him: As you can see he has some growth potential left in him. We bought him to compete with Serero for the DM spot. Serero is technical and gifted, but lacks in defensive skills and is quite small with his 1.64m and 58 kilos. Sackey is a Ghanese giant of 1.90m and 88 kilos. So, i imagine both will get decent playing time, with Serero also competing for the other central-midfield spots. This is how they compare: Competitive matches After the tactical adjustments it was time for the first competitive matches of the season. We played AIK in the 2nd qualifying round for the Europa League. The home game resulted in a 0 - 0 tie, the away game we scored two goals and won with 0 - 2. This puts us in the 3rd qualifying round against Molde!
  9. In this next post we're getting into all stuff i usually do when starting at a new club. No matches yet, and a lot of developments in a short amount of space, but at the moment of posting this is where we stand. In the next post i'll give you a brief update on recent events (contracts that have been accepted, players that have been sold, etc.) Building the club Before we get to players and tactics, i want to make sure the infrastructure of the club is suited for the task at hand. So, that means looking at the trainers, scouts, medical team and the staff at the youth teams. I tried talking to the board about the data-analysis facilities, but got no positive response there. The coaching staff is lacking a fitness trainer and a head of youth development (if i choose to get one). Fortunately we have space for 3 new staff-members, so that gives us some for much needed colleagues. At this point we have offered a contract to Andy Liddell as a fitness coach, and have contracted Jan Gosgens for a general coaching spot. When looking at the scouting staff, we also need some fresh blood. We currently have a chief scout, a chief data analyst, and three scouts. To find the (underpriced) gems that we need to grow, we need more scouts. At this point we have offered contracts to Gery de Buyser, Roy de Haan and Marc Schuiteman. In the medical department we have some decent physio’s, a doctor, but no sport scientists. So, we offered a contract to Koen Bauwens and Dirk-Jan Heatubun as sport scientist and head of sport science. Squad overview Now, when we look at the available players, the A, B and youth squad looks as follows: Main squad B squad -19 These images give you a general idea of what kind of quality we have at our disposal. This leads to two conclusions We have a ton of talent coming up. A few are ready for first team time (Gong, Doekhi, Faye, Karavaev, Buitink), but even among the players that are not ready yet for first team football we have some amazing talents! In the main squad 4 players are with us on a loan. Eduardo who is likely to be the main choice in goal, Clarke-Salter who could be handy in defense, Odegaard, a big talent from Real Madrid who can play on the midfield and on the wing and last but not least, Musonda who also can play on the wing. Odegaard and Musonda are both in contention for a starting 11 spot. Tactics For starters: i am creating my own style. Based on the squad and its qualities i want a few things to come back in the way we play: utilize the quality we have on the wings Play a pressing style, that our aggression and workrate should suit We have some quality on the back positions as well, i want to make use of this as well. Based on this, we will play with 4 defenders, 1 striker and 2 wingers. This leaves us with 3 spots in midfield. How i’ll arrange the midfield positions will be decided during the season, we’ll see what works. For now i go for Regista in DM position, a box-to-box midfielder to create some movement and support in both boxes and a ‘normal’ midfielder. All three players have a support duty. The attacking-three are an inside forward on the left, on support duty to (hopefully) cover the back a bit, a winger (we have no decent opposite-footed players on the right except Odegaard, but he has 4 finishing) on the right with the attacking duty. The striker is a deep-lying forward. In defense we will start with two fullbacks. Maybe we’ll switch to a complete wingback if the attacking influence is too low. But, i’m a bit cautious here, i don’t want my backs to be too committed to their attacking duties resulting in defensive gaps. On the left we have an attacking duty, to (hopefully) overlap the inside forward, on the right we work with a support duty. The two centre backs are set on a defensive central defender for now. Now, including team instructions, this is the tactic we’re working with for now. During the season we will see how things work out and what needs changing. Transfers I’m a bit reluctant to start bringing in players right away. We’ll see how the first few games go to decide if i need some new players. Now, knowing myself i’m always quite tempted to start spending money, but in this case i want to force myself to look at our available talents first. Also, having learned from reading Moneyball, the numbers game and Soccernomics I’m not that enthusiastic about spending a lot of money on a 28-year old striker. If i buy, i’ll try to get relatively young players (minus 25) for a good price. When i arrived Navarone Foor is listed for a transfer. He won’t get a starting 11 spot, but he might be useful as a stand-in. And, i think we don’t have too many decent midfielders yet, so he might get some time this year. I’ll remove him from the transfer-list. Regarding selling players, there are a few ones on the nomination to leave us if i can get a decent price for them: Alexander Buttner: Alexander is a Vitesse-icon and is a quality left back. Mostly attacking minded, fast and a great crosser. His issue is that he’s 29 years old, earns 30K a month and that Lassana Faye is a decent replacement. Buttner is a bit better in crossing, But Faye has a slight edge in defensive qualities. On top of that: Faye is 20 years old and has a bright future with the team. On top of that we have Max Clark who is quite versatile and is a good player for the midfield and the left back position, so for back-up we don’t need Buttner either. If we can get a decent offer for him, we might have to let him go. Khalid Karami: Khalid has joined Vitesse this summer. Truth be told: i wonder why. Julian Lelieveld is a decent back-up for the right back position, but he is currently on a loan at Go Ahead Eagles. Julian is 20 years old and needs playing time, which he won’t get with Karavaev being the first choice on the right back position. For now i might keep Khalid, but any decent offer and he’s off. Yoel Thode is a young talent in our -19 squad that can play on the right pack position as well, so we do have some choices to make on that position, so it’s not like we have a major issue if he leaves. Maikel van der Werff: Maikel is a main pillar in our defense and incredibly important. But, he's 29 years old and his contract runs out in 12 months. I don't want to risk him walking out of the door on a free, especially since he's worth 2.200.000 at this moment. Renewing is contract is very costly, since he demands a salary of around 40k a month. If i get a good offer and can find a replacement, i might let him go. Mukhtar Ali and Wellington Verloo are young players, but with little growth potential. They do earn a decent wage though. So, if we can let them go (or loan them out) we will surely go for it.
  10. Introduction A new game means a new career. Vitesse is always a tempting club to manage for me, i’ve been a supporting them for a good few years, even before all the takeovers and the strong link with Chelsea. Now, this link has provided us with great players of the years and still does. But, i feel it’s time to (slowly) take control back again. So, we’re going to attempt to make Vitesse an equal force in international football compared to Chelsea. In the first few years that might still require some Chelsea-rental involvement, but i expect them to drop our relationship when i become more of an international competitor (or else i will…). What this means exactly i’m still working out, but for now i think the goal should be to finish above Chelsea in the Champions League. The club Now, Vitesse, founded in 1892 is one of the oldest clubs in Dutch professional football. They have access to a fairly modern stadium and have recently renewed their training grounds and facilities. With Russian ownership of the club the financial situation isn’t bad either (at least not as bad as before the takeovers…). To summarize, we are handed a club with no debt other than a state-loan with 5 miliion remaining and the following facilities: All in all a very good basis, though i’d prefer a better data-analysis facility. and eventually the rent of the stadium is costing quite a bit of money. So, in the future these might need a different approach. Over the past few years the club performed quite well. Last season Vitesse took 6th place and in 2017 they took there first big price in winning the Dutch Cup. But, Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord are traditionally the biggest clubs in the Netherlands and for the spots below them Vitesse are having some fierce competition. The trainer I want to stay a bit close to myself in selecting the stats for the trainer. So, as a basis, i went with the highest coaching-credentials, but the lowest football experience. I’ll never be a footballer or play on any decent level, but (in theory) there is a chance i’ll get all these coaching credentials. The lack of reputation might be bit of a challenge at the start of the save, but we’ll see how it goes. Next time we go a bit more in depth into the squad and possibly a brief look at a fitting tactic...
  11. The season ends... There we are, the season is over. We've finished 5th in the league, qualifying us for the play-offs for promotion. First we would have to play 2 semi-final games against Mansfield. The first game was a delight: a 1 - 3 win sure gave us a headstart. The home game was a slight disaster though: we lost with 1 against 4, knocking us out of the race for promotion. The table looked like this: To make things worse, the board decided that the money i'm able to spend on transfers was cut down to 40% of the profit we would make. After failing to achieve promotion, they also scrapped the planned upgrade to the youth update. Player performance I won't give you the stats on all the players, but a few ones are worth noting: Timi Elsnik Timi, being on loan from Derby for sure was the most valuable player. Being a winger scoring 17 goals and giving 15 assists earned him a rating of 7.3 over all games. Also, he earned 11 player of the match awards. We're sure going to miss him! Other notables: Keshi Anderson, striker: 24 goals and 13 assists in 50 games, average rating of 7.08 Paul Mullin, striker/winger: 13 goals and 15 assists in 44 games, average rating of 7.00 Kaiyne Woolery, winger: 11 goals, 15 assists in 48 games, average rating of 7,15 Ellis Iandolo, midfielder: 4 goals, 10 assists, 6 player of te match awards, playing 48 games average rating of 7,24 Jessy Galvez Y Lopez: starting 6 games, substitute in 13 games: 5 goals, 1 assists, 3 player of the match awards, average rating of 7,19 How did the transfers do? Jessy Galvez Y Lopez Above i mentioned Jessy Galvez allready, but he performed really well. Being a pure left-winger he had to wait out till Elsnik was injured, on national duty or needing a rest, so he didnt get a lot of game time yet. But, the first results are positive! Especially the rating of 7,19 over all those games is pretty good. Javier Vet Javier played 18 matches in the starting 11, and came in as a substitute in 3. he managed to get an average rating of 6.75, which isn't too good. On the bright side: he has the highest pass-completion ratio of the entire team (86%). Joe Riley Joe played 35 games in the starting 11 and came in as a substitute in 2 games. He has an average rating of 6.76, which is about the same as the other players on his position (Purkiss and Knoyle). In those games he did manage to get 2 player of the match awards. Raheem Hanley Raheem played 17 games from the starting 11 and came in as a substitute in 18. He has the lowest average rating on his position with 6.63. This might be due to me using him all over the pitch, not giving him the chance to live up to the expectations. The future... Now, it's easy to see Swindon is in a bad place. We're within our player-wage budget, not spending too much on transfers, but the financial situation is quite bad. Now, the scrapping of the youth-academy upgrade is bad, but not vital. The low returns on transfers though is crippling. We'll see what goal the board throws up, and i'll have a long talk about it with them. I'm prepared to go for another season, but the circumstances have to be just right. I'm a journeyman, not a Swindon-man for life. So if something better might come along, i might not be able to contain myself...
  12. Time for a new update. It's February the 1st and we've just gone through the transfer period. First, the Results Sky Bet League Two 0 - 2 loss against Yeovil 0 - 1 loss against Grimsby 1 - 1 draw against Newport County 0 - 0 draw against Chesterfield 2 - 3 loss against Accrington 3 - 3 draw against Colchester 1 - 2 loss against Crewe 2 - 2 draw against Luton 4 - 4 draw against Notts County 1 - 0 win against Barnet 1 - 2 loss against Stevenage 1 - 1 draw against Forest Green 0 - 0 draw against Coventry 2 - 1 win against Crewe Checkatrade Trophy 0 - 0 win (penalties) against Bristol Rovers 1 - 0 win against Southampton -23 (2nd round) 2 - 1 win against Chelsea -23 (3rd round) 5 - 3 win against Southend (qtr final) As you'll see, we've had a quite bad period. The first few months we were still in contention for automatic promotion, currently the table looks like this: With 16 games left to play, everything is possible. But to be realistic i've still got my hopes up for a play-off position. Tactics After the disaster of the past few months i've changed a few things. Neither the 4-3-3 or the 5-2-3 seemed to work, no matter what i tried. So, i went back to basics with a 4-2-2 formation. I figured if i could put a bit more pressure on the opponents that might prevent some goals as well. I came to realize that, based on the numbers game, conceded goals are worth more (negative) than goals scored, but that does not mean you have to play a defensive game. If by applying more pressure and a standard mentality i concede less, that's also fine. The tactic we are currently using is still in development, but looks something like this: Transfers Now, since the transfer period has passed, what has happened to the squad: Out: Matty Taylor has been sold for 3,3K, while being worth 7,5K. This does not bother me though, since i allready found a replacement and this lift a burden on the wage budget. We're still paying 6K a month to Port Vale (where he went), but that's only for the remainder of the season. And with his original contract being worth 12,25K a month, i'm not too fuzzed about that. Rollin Menayese has requested to be released from his loan and wanted to return to the Bristol Rovers. I haven't used him that much, so i let him. Morale was under pressure allready due to the results, i can't affort more unhappy players. Besides, i was required to pay around 2K a month for him, so we've cut those costs as well. I had hopes to sell more players who i had listed. But, Donal McDermott (worth 29K, 28 years old), Chris Robertson (24,5K, 32 years old), Ben Purkiss (6K, 33 years old) and Marc Richards (14,25K, 35 years old) are still at the club because no one was interested. The good news is that all of their contracts will expire at the end of the season, which will free up a nice chunk of the wage budget. In: I allready mentioned Javier Vet in the previous post, he came in at a 3 star rating. The best signing so far though, is 22 year old Jessy Galvez Y Lopez from Belgium. I signed him as a free agent, after some scouting and a trial. He is a 3,5 star left winger with a 4,5 star potential and is worth 165K. He signed a contract for the next 3,5 years worth 4,3K a month. With him we have the replacement of Timi Elsnik allready in our ranks! Other news Nothing major, but i managed to convince the board that investing in a youth academy would be a good idea. So, it might take half a year, but we should see an upgrade in the (currently basic) youth facilities coming our way.
  13. Before we get into the save, other news: the book Soccernomics just arived! So, scanning through it we have to add a few guildelines. Our original ones are (first post): Defense beats offense A team is as strong as the weakest player Buy/sell smart The first two remain in tact. The third one will be split up in the following: Use wisdom of the crowds (a lot of scouting and analysis before we buy a player) Buy in the early twenties, sell before they get 'old' (in our case: 30) Sell a player if some one offers more than he's worth Make sure you have a replacement in place before a player gets sold. So, with these new rules, onward! Currently, it's november the 7th. And to be honest: stuff is not working out. The results below will show you what i mean. Results Sky Bet League Two 0 - 0 draw against Barnet 2 - 3 loss against Luton 2 - 1 win against Notts County 2 - 1 win against Stevenage 1 - 1 draw against Forest Green 2 - 1 win against Coverty 4 - 1 win against Cambridge 2 - 3 loss against Cheltenham 1 - 2 loss against Mansfield 4 - 2 win against Lincoln 1 - 0 win against Wycombe 3 - 1 win against Port Vale Checkatrade Trophy 1 - 0 win against Wycombe FA Cup 0 - 1 loss against Yeovil Again, on first sight it's not all that bad. We've passed the group stage of the Checkatrade Trophy by winning our first two matches, and with the performance in the league we're currently on 2nd place. The loss in the FA cup obviously does mean that we're out of the running there. But, as you can see, we've got no issues scoring a goal, but are still conceding a lot. Over the past 14 games we have scored 25 goals and conceded 17. That needs to change. Possible changes Now, we still want to play defensively. So, i've constructed a new tactic to try something new. Over the past 10 games we have tinkered a lot with the team and individual instructions, but we can't seem to stop the opponent scoring. And, we were in luck. With our 2 wins in the Checkatrade Trophy we were allready through to the second round and so were the Bristol Rovers, who remained as the last opponent of the group stage. Strangely enough, Bristol felt the urge to play with their A-squad, so it's fair to say their squad should have been a fair bit stronger than ours (they are currently 6th in the Sky Bet League One). Eitherway, time to test the new tactic without the risk of spilling precious points. We used a 5-2-3 tactic, still with the defensive mentality. And the result was: we won! It still took a penalty-shootout to get the victory, but over the entire match Bristol had virtually no chances created. All in all, i'm happy. I might have to put this tactic to the test a bit more. If it remains succesful, i'll post it here in full. Transfers With the leaves falling, the january transfer period is quickly approaching. Over the past few matches i've noticed that we might need an extra midfielder. The current ones we have are feeling the weight of our season allready, it's only a matter of time before one gets injured and i'm screwed. On top of that, we currently are housing 5 players on a loan. They all will leave our team at the end of May. I want to prevent having to replace all 5 of them at the same time, when they allready left, so let's see what's needed. The 5 are: Timi Eisnik, 4,5 star (left) winger Timi is the hardest player to replace. Sofar he's played in 19 matches, and with 13 goals and 4 assists he has an average rating of 7,47. Matty Taylor has played some games when Timi needed a rest and performed well, but with him being 35 years old there's no way he's going to keep fit an entire season. Chris Hussey, 3 star left back Chris has played 19 matches and has an average rating of 6,74. We bought Hanley as back-up, he's not ready yet to replace Hussey though. We might have to bring in some one else if Hanley does not grow in the next 6 months. Rollin Menayese, 2,5 star centre back Replacing Rollin should not be that hard. Rollin has played 1 match for the senior squad, in which he scored a rating of 6,80. But, if we are going to use the 5-2-3 more often, we need a lot of centre backs, so some fresh blood is needed. Ollie Banks, 3 star midfielder Ollie has played 19 matches for us, resulting in an average rating of 7,05, which is quite impressive. We don't have a replacement (or do we....) yet, so we need another midfielder. Kellan Gordon, 2,5 star (right) winger And last, Kellan only played 1 match for the seniors, resulting in a 6,40 rating. We seem to have plently of wingers on the right side, and barrely used Kellan. So, i doubt he'll be replaced. I ended with a bit of a cliffhanger on the replacement of Ollie. Over the past few weeks we have been scouting (outside of our range, but we stumbled upon him) Javier Vet. Javier is a Dutch defensive midfielder who can also play as a central midfielder. After being scouted for 100%, the scouts rated him a 73, which is not too bad. Also, with him being 24 years old he's about to enter his best years. Javier was unhappy at his club, Almere City and was listed for a transfer. We struck a deal with Almere City and paid 28K for him, being worth 54K. He'll earn 6,25K when he joins our squad in January. When we scouted him he was rated being a 3,5 star, with a potential to get to 4. On the next update: did we stick to 4-3-3, or did we go to 5-2-3? And: what else happened in the January transfer-period?
  14. It’s the 1st of september 2017 and the transfer-deadline has passed. Time to look back at this month and see what has happened. First, the transfers! Transfers Not what i intended, but Marc Richards stays at Swindon. The 35-year old striker didn’t gather much attention, and a twisted ankle puts him out of the game for 5 weeks. A smart manager might look past that injury, but apparently they didn't. When i arrived at Swindon, Kyle Knoyle was already side-lined with a damaged kneecap. For the next 4 to 6 months we don’t have to expect him back on the pitch. With Ben Purkiss we have a 2,5 star rated wing-back who’s 33 years old. This season he’s averaged a rating of 6,77, which isn’t too bad but could be better, especially with our defensive demands. WIth Knoyle out of the game for so long, we have no back-up for Purkiss, nor does he have any competition for his spot. WIth that in mind, we went to look for a right wing-back. After several scouting sessions we picked up Joe Riley for our team. He’s currently suffering a broken lower leg, but is expected to make his return somewhere in the next 2-4 weeks. He has a 3,5 star rating and is worth 100k. So, what did he cost us? We payed 35K for him and gave him a 7,5K a month contract. He’s 25 years old, so we should expect him to keep his value for the next few years. I’m quite pleased with this one! Matches played At the time of writing we’ve played 7 games for the competition or a cup. So let’s see how we did: Sky Bet league Two 3 - 3 draw against Carlisle 3 - 1 win against Exeter 4 - 2 win against Morecambe 3 - 2 win against Crawley Carabao Cup 3 - 1 win against Southend (Sky Bet league one) (1st round) 1 - 3 loss against Bournemouth (Premier league, currently holding 1st place) (2nd round) Checkatrade Trophy 1 - 0 win against West ham -23 Now, on first sight these results are delightful. We hold first place in the league, are knocked out of the Carabao Cup but by the hands of the current premier league leader and are on first place in the groupstage of the Checkatrade Trophy, by winning against a first-team-loaded West Ham -23. But, look at the goals. Out of the 24 teams in the league we’re in the 19-23 range with 8 conceded goals. On the other hand, we do have 13 goals made which gives us the 1st spot, by a large margin. Still, this is weird. We play defensive, but concede a lot and score even more. So, we need to work on this. Analysis To find out where things went wrong we’re gonna look at some of the matches played. First of all: we rule out the Carabao Cup matches. Southend and Bournemouth are better teams, so more goals conceded makes sense. The Checkatrade trophy match against West Ham -23 didn’t have any conceded goals, so that’s not worth our trouble either. This leaves the four league matches. 3 -3 draw against Carlisle The first goal we’ve conceded was from a direct-free kick The second conceded goal was scored by an unmarked left winger, who had a ton of space. Purkiss, the designated wing-back was going of the man on the ball, which was a mistake. That guy already was under pressure from another defender. The third conceded goal was again scored by an unmarked left winger. A cross from the side gave him the ball, which he (rather beautifully) knocked in. Again, Purkiss was not marking his man. 3 - 1 win against Exeter The conceded goal came from a indirect-free kick, a diverted header found his way to the foot of the wrong player and got knocked in. 4 - 2 win against Morecambe First conceded goal came from a through-ball to the striker, who was tightly marked by a central defender. But a good pass and good anticipation did the trick. Weirdly enough our defender is a whole lot faster than the striker though. The second conceded goal came from a penalty. 3 - 2 win against Crawley The first goal came from a penalty. The second goal came from a cross, headed in by the striker. Plenty of central defenders were close, but still too much space for the striker. Conclusions When we look at the dissection of the goals 4 of the 8 are not really a concern to me. 2 penalties, the indirect-free kick and the direct free kick are all valid reasons to concede a goal. This does mean though that we might have to look out with our fouls, since half our conceded goals were caused by this. 2 of the conceded goals, in the first match, came from a wing-back that didn’t mark his player and left his position. We might need to choose the ‘stick to position’ instruction and instruct our wing-backs to tightly mark the opponents wingers. The remaining 2 goals came from poor marking by the central defenders and possibly a lack of anticipation. Robertson, a decent central defender scores quite well on these attributes (11, 12). Matt Preston could be an issue though. He’s by far our most talented central defender, but only puts a rating of 9 on the table for both these attributes. We might give Dion Conroy some chances in the future. His overall rating is not as good as that of Preston, but with 12 marking and 11 anticipation he might be the key to leak-proof defense. Changes Added team-instruction: Stick to positions Added positional instructions to both wing-backs: mark tighter
  15. Thanks, i'll keep you guys up to date. Updates will be less frequent, i recon it's not that interesting to follow every move i make during a season. So, after a bunch of games i'll check back with an update. I think the next one will be when the transfer period closes, hopefully i'll have something to say about a new signing at that point!
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