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King Cactus

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42 "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn"

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    Tianjin TEDA

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  1. Another long month ahead, after a great one last time I can only really expect for the lads to keep the run going - a good mix of fixtures including a first leg of the CFA Cup Semi final against my best mates Guangzhou (Spoiler: They're not my best mates and I hate them) a lot to get through so, let's just dive into it I suppose. Well. Thanks Shenzhen for pissing on my parade - we should have absolutely ran away with that game, but other than that, what a month. We absolutely battered teams, and a 2 away goal victory against Guangzhou is very, very pleasing. A lot of wins, admittedly a lot of them expected wins, but wins nontheless. The other big news this month is that Ferdy Druijf is in fact Jesus - he scored 10 goals this month, and his goals ratio for the club now is utterly absurd. A goal a game in this season after 12 in 17 last year, settle down mate. Had to be the Chongqinq game for game of the month, simply on the grounds that Ferdy ran absolute riot, his goals were utterly ridiculous in this game, a battering header, a few from outside the box and a tap in - the boy just does it all. I've noticed that as we continue to perform well our home attendances are slowly beginning to creep up, which is nice to see. Hopefully we can really establish Tianjin for a long time - I've put a lot of work into facilities, recruitment etc. I really want them to stand the test of time, even when I'm gone. Right... All that chat about top 4 and all of a sudden we're right in a title race, and still have a game against Guangzhou to come. 6 games left and a 10 point gap back to 5th has me pretty confident we will have Champions League football next year, but there is a lot more to come this season.
  2. Well, after last update I think it's important that we all remember that I am, in fact, a liar - we play Henan in the quarter final of the cup, not the semi. Both of those games, conveniently feature in this update, so I can give you the results to those games and we can all agree to never talk about how I'm an idiot ever again, cool? Cool. A much busier month this time out, but a huge one so it was important to stay on it here. I also forgot to mention that in June I got approved for my Continental B licence course, so they're absolutely flying in and my rep is skyrocketing. So on the surface, the month went almost as well as I could have asked for. The SIPG draw comes against a good side, but the Jiangsu result is definitely a disappointing one - it's almost forgiven considering the way we tore apart Shandong, Guangzhou R & F, and our rivals Beijing. The Cup was a breeze, and we will meet Guangzhou in the semi final, yes I've definitely checked it's the semi final this time - we agreed not to talk about how I'm an idiot, shut up. Well there could be only one game - in front of over 50,000 fans we absolutely stunned Beiing. Ferdy has 18 goals in 21 games in all competitions, and continues to justify my making room in the squad to sign him. Wang Zixin also continues to impress after the big outlay it took to get him. John Hou Sæter will also have enjoyed his return to his old stomping ground of Beijing after his summer move, I'm sure. All of that leaves us a pretty comfortable looking 3rd with 12 to go, as well as in a Cup Semi-Final, so it's fair to say this season is going quite well. I don't think we're quite ready for a title push, so I don't really expect us to close that gap between ourselves and the top two (Guangzhou just spent £55mil on Federico Valverde from Real Madrid, to show you what you're up against). Top 4 paired with the run we had in the cup would make for a very good year for us, so that's the aim from here on out.
  3. So, a much shorter month this time around after the calamity that was April - after May we get a month off seemingly just to play friendlies against European clubs (if there is a legitimate reason for this I'd love to know it) and then into July when the transfer window opens. Why it would not open in the June allowing you to make signings ready for the next run of games, I do not know, but if I've learned one thing in 2019 it's that we don't **** off China - ONWARDS. So, as the month was ticking along, all I could think was "This is great, wins and clean sheets, what more could we ask for? Then Guangzhou decided to come along and ruin my day. We were the better team for the first 40 mins, came from behind to be level after an early goal, then they scored right on half time. I rolled the dice and went for it, I should not have rolled the dice and went for it. I regret nothing. Game of the month by virtue of being our most comfortable victory is the game against Henan, who will also be our opponents in the semi final of the CFA cup - we left it late to add some gloss with £6m summer recruity Wang Zixin continuing his goalscoring run, all in all the victories were all pretty dull but we'll go with this because I can add plenty of fluff to make a reason. And all of the leaves us not a million miles away from top 4 - this feels like a season that could go either way, we'll know after next month if we're going to slip down into the chasing pack, or kick on be part of that top group looking to challenge for top 4 and the Champions League football that would come with it - I really think we need it to cement ourselves in China, and that's exactly what I'm aiming for after seeing how we stack up against all the other teams.
  4. So, it's been a while! I've beem a busy bee recently, so not had as much time to play as I'd like and April was a long old slog to get through, so it's taken longer than I would like to get this out, but never mind. 5 league games and 2 cup games in the month was a lot to contend with, and my squad isn't super deep, so I wasn't sure how this would go, but certainly a lot of winnable fixtures. What an absolutely shambolic month in the league. Considering the first 3 games were against teams stranded in the lower reaches of the table after the last update, it was unacceptable. The one that stuck out for me most was the loss away to Chongqing who did not have a shot on target as we conceded a 92nd minute own goal - we averaged 18 shots and nearly 70 percent possession - I don't think I've ever had such a frustrating 3 game spell on Football Manager in terms of absolutely dominating and having very little to show for it. The best team we played in the league over the period was Shanghai Shenhua and we absolutely hammered them, so I've no idea how to feel right now. Well, it was only ever going to be one game when you look at the results, wasn't it? Dalian Yifang must be getting sick of me - my aggregate score against them in 3 games since I arrived in China is 14-1, and they're genuinely not a bad side - I don't really know how to explain it, but they don't seem to be able to cope with us for whatever reason. Ferdy has 5 against them in that time, so he clearly likes playing them, too. Having said all of this, they're our next league game so we'll probably get hammered. Well, after that poor league run it's no surprise that we're struggling a touch in the league - the board only want us to hit the top half again, which is a big help of course, but I'm quite disappointed with the start in the grand scheme of things. We're in the CFA Cup quarter final, which is a good run as far as I'm concerned, but there's still a long way to go with this team - I think I got a bit carried away after our start.
  5. So after a busy summer where we played 12 friendlies and made a fair few changes, it's nice to be able to just relax and focus on some football - don't know if it's just me but as much as I enjoy the off season and signing players, I almost forget there are games to come. Well, a good start to the season is an understatement the only blot on our record is a 3-3 draw with a good Shanghai team, we were 3-1 up but they turned it round, their equaliser saw Marko Arnautovic channel his inner Messi. If you remember that Hatem Ben Arfa goal for Newcastle against Bolton, it was basically that. Absurd performance from him. Other than that it has all been very good, all of the signings seem to have hit the ground running, youngster Wang Zixin has 3 goals, Ferdy Druijf has 4, there have been goals for Sæter and Alfredinho - fair to say I'm pleased with what we are doing here. I dithered over whether to pick this game or the game against Shenzhen, both were warranted. I went with the Jiangsu came for a couple of reasons, Wang getting his first couple of goals for the club off the bench was a big moment, and to be honest we just utterly dominated. Was a bold move to bring Wang on Ferdy, but it paid dividends and we romped home, away to a huge, expectant support. And that leaves us, for some reason second to Shanghai, despite the fact we have a better goal difference, the only head to head was a 3-3 draw (so we have more away goals) - the only thing I think it could be is alphabetical? If that's really used as a sorting method ahead of any of those things, I really don't know. However, a very good start, we've already played some decent sides and we're looking pretty good for a top 4.
  6. It has been a long off season, more arguments as I let go of some more foreign players who I can't register, the 2 key sales were guys that arrived on frees pretty much they day I arrived at the club, Mario Pasalic went to Chongqing for £12.5mil, and Davide Zappacosta went to Shanghai Shenhua for £22mil - as well as some other youngsters and foreigners who were on high wage. We are now spending £580k p/w of our £1.1mil p/w wage budget, which I'm hoping the board will enjoy. Even after spending £30mil in the summer, we have a £42mil budget remaining, so I hope we can keep saving and pile money into upgrades - we recently started our Continental C licence so the progression is really starting to push on. So, I didn't bother doing this in Malaysia as the players weren't really worth showing, but now the players are of a decent standard I thought it would be worth including some selected signings - our first being a former Chinese number one in Wang Dalei who I got on a free - now he may be getting up in age now, but with the rule in the Chinese league that you have to have a Chinese goalie, even a 3* is absolutely vital. I did also sign a couple of youngsters who have potential to surpass him (aren't worth showing just yet) so I've really strengthened a vital position. Thought I'd do the main signings in ascending order of cost, and at just £59k, regen Alfredinho has been on my radar since the days at Perlis. He has been plying his trade at Mohun Bagan in India, and when I saw the attributes paired with the tiny release clause I just had to get him in. Part of the rules is I can't have all of my foreigners be starters, so the fact I could find a squad player who can develop and be happy coming off the bench for the time being was vital for my 4th foreign slot in the squad - very happy with this one. So, as I mentioned in one of my replies above, the AI do at least see value in Chinese players, and with that in mind, when I see a good one I'm happy to overspend. £6million it took to prise Wang Zixin from DL Yifang, but I think that will prove to be an absolute steal once he hits his potential. I can see him being the most clinical Chinese striker available once your Elkeson's of the world begin to properly fade in a couple of years time, so it was worth every penny to have him at my disposal. Before I admit how much I paid for him, I want to make one thing clear - John Hou Sæter is easily the best Chinese midfielder on the game. A 4* CA player from China is very uncommon, especially for what I can get in, so this was an absolute must for my team. Now that I've said all that, I paid £21mil up front and it could (read will) rise to £29mil depending on international and league appearances... But I just had to, he makes us so much stronger, and he's so versatile, I'm just really pleased with it all. And so, on the eve of my first league game, the odds look like this. Our odds were much shorter (6th, around 18-1) when pre-season started and before all my transfer business, so in theory we've weakened - but when you factor in that I couldn't get the players I sold on the pitch, and the players I've added greatly improve our quality in vital positions I think we're much, much stronger than the team that was guided to 6th last season. I think anything below 6th place again would be a complete failure, but really we should be aiming for top 4 so I can slowly start to add even more Chinese internationals with the lure of Champions League football. Let the games begin.
  7. In spite of all the registration headaches, the anger in the dressing room (which will probably be tested again in the summer as I try and move on one or two more foreigners), this has been a really enjoyable return to China - a league I've not managed in, in about 5 years on FM. Last time included taking a smaller club with whom I got a tycoon takeover, this year it's an already established, bonafide top half club in China who are already rich - I certainly can't complain. A run in to be proud of by my reckoning, HB was one of those games where it just gets away from you, I was tempted to make it game of the update as one of their goals was scored by James Milner - a player who I can't remember the last time I saw his name on an oposition team sheet on football manager, so that was a nice blast from the past for someone who has been playing management games for nearly 20 years. The performance at home to Guangzhou was very pleasing, as well as the point away to Beijing which could so easily have been all three. I've gone with this game just because it's the game I felt I impacted the most in the run in, I could feel a lot of my in game tactical changes having an effect, and Ferdy did what he does to drag us over the line - he finished the season with a very impressive 12 goals in 17 league games - when you consider that the top goalscorer for the season was Fedor Chalov of Shandong, who scored 16 in 30, you get a sense of just how good his strike rate was. And there we have the final table, I promised top half and we absolutely delivered that. Having just looked over it, in my 17 games in charge we picked up 33 points - if we had that kind of form for the whole season we are easily in the conversation for the top 4 positions and Champions league qualification - really enjoying my time in China, and as if that wasn't enough I've gotten the board to agree to the following improvements: Identify an affiliate club with a good youth system (I'm hoping for that to be abroad, as part of the club vision is to increase commercial revenue - I think a presence abroad may help with that) A new contract for me with an extra year to 2023, and almost doubling my wages to £3.5k p/w Improve training facilites Improve every area to do with the youth system - recruitment, coaching, facilities. Increase number of coaches allowed The 5 year plan is to sustain as a top half club, but if I can get some of the targets I want in the summer (Chinese internationals will really help us, like I said) then we are on for a lot more than that.
  8. Very confused as to how Efe can have a work permit rejected, half the reason he stayed with Hibs so long was to get UK citizenship - cracking signing either way. This has been a very good follow, I never quite kept pace with your Derby save, but have managed to with this one so far, keep up the good work.
  9. It still feels a bit weird not having my oversized yellow Perlis logo at the top, or the Malaysian flag and coat of arms at the bottom (I definitely prefer the flag and coat of arms for Malaysia, don't tell my new Chinese overlords), but what a club we have on our hands here. It's been a bit of an ordeal, as I mentioned the morale has been plummeting after I offload the high earning foreigners who I can't even register. One of my promises when I came in was to sort the morale, so I'm getting a little bit anxious, but it's a long term promise, the board seem to give you about a year, so I'm hopeful we can turn it round long before then. A run of form like this certainly won't hurt that. The game we lost was to an Oscar penalty, and as much as there is VAR in China I am absolutely convinced that there was an offside in the build up - we'll blame the government in private and move on. Other than that slight blip, it has been a very good run. Ferdy has proven to be worth every penny as he now has 7 goals in 9 games in the league, and we go marching on. Ordinarilly, I'd have picked Shandong as the game of the update, a topsy turvy game where we led 1-0, they flipped the script, before we ultimately righted it back to win 3-2, however... Winning a derby so comfortably, 'away from home' (ignore that it's the same venue) in front of over 30,000 people - we'll have that. We just totally outclassed Tianhai, at no point did they look like scoring. Young Chinese winger Zhurun who I signed in the summer break grabbed only his second goal for the club in the opening 30 seconds of the derby and it just set the tone. Ferdy also slotted a penalty - he is currently one of the unhappy players after I sold a foreigner (I had to, to create space for you Ferdy), but I've praised his form and I think I'm slowly winning him round. And all of that leaves us in a very healthy 7th position. I don't think we're a million miles away from challenging for a top 4 spot, as the points total would suggest, however I think this season may come too early for that. With just 7 games left I can't see all 3 teams between us and 4th slipping, as well as us going on the kind of bonkers form we would need to allow that to happen - however if we keep it tight, and keep our rep high I think we should be able to strengthen again at the end of the season and go again. There's only 3 games in September, so I think I'll just power through to the end of the season now, but I'm definitely enjoying the start in China, and much to my surprise my unorthodox tactic seems to be working - long may that continue.
  10. I'm sure I'll find one - thanks man. I'd definitely say it needs to be, I've sat and watched my rivals sign more than 4 foreigners just this window, it doesn't make any sense. They deem to get the spirit of Chinese players being very important, like it's hard to poach them without paying over the odds, but they've not quite got the other side of the coin yet. Thanks man.
  11. So we're getting into the business end of this now, particularly the cup, and I'm still really enjoying my time in Malaysia, the finances, however, have meant that I've started to cast the nest out on jobs where the finances aren't listed as insecure, as I feel with my coaching badges stagnating at a National B we're going to really struggle toget our rep above the 1 star that it currently is. I'm mainly looking at the lower leagues in Turkey, as well as optimistically chucking my name at some of the struggling teams in China. So, a solid month that doesn't tell the whole story. Absolutely obliterating a really decent Perak outfit was absolutely tremendous, and after this game... The job hunt was starting to pay off, I was getting interviews from clubs in Turkey, and to my surprise China. I think the fact that we're constantly doing so well with all the expectations means clubs might be more willing to take a chance - my job has been listed as untouchable pretty much since 2 months into my first Super League season. The first leg draw away to Sarawak was a bit of a disappointment, as they're actuall in the third tier now, but they've beaten some Super League teams to get here, so I suppose not as bad as it seems on paper. Well there was only ever going to be one winner for game of the update for this one. Perak are a really good side in Malaysian terms and we absolutely ripped them to pieces. I think it was this ob that got the ball rolling on a move, if I'm honest - as after the Sarawak game we were offered the role (after promising the earth) as manager of... Tianjin TEDA. The Tianjin Tigers, as they are apparently affectionately known, was a move I was never, ever going to be able to turn down. We've now managed Lions, and Tigers... If anyone knows of any teams called Bears I need to know... for reasons. So as we leave Perlis in 6th place with a real chance at a Malaysian FA Cup, we arrive in China at a team who the media had finishing 6th preseason, currently languishing in 11th after 13 games of a 30 game season, and out of the Chinese Cup earlier than we should be. With marquee players like Presnel Kimpembe, Davide Zappacosta, Mario Pasalic (more on that later), I couldn't turn down this jump. Tianjin are rich, so immediately doubled the wages I was on in Malaysia and started me on a coaching course, this honesrtly was one of the biggest no brainer moves of my life, but then I started to look into my squad and the rules. In a league where you can only register 4 foreign players, and only every have 3 on the pitch at the same time, we had more than 11. Our squad otherwise was awful, and I was beginning to see why the media fancied us so much, but we were floundering. I arrived in the midseason break, which was good news as it meant we had a transfer window approaching to try and sort the balance of the team, where I will be seeking to play... Please don't ask. When I initially came in, the first thing I noticed is we have a left footed, ball playing defender in Kimpembe - I love that. A lot of our marquee players are defenders, and we have some decent central players, but absolutely zero full backs. After looking at the squad rules, do I regret building a 3 at the back tactic when I've had to sell two outstanding centre backs just to make the squad rules work..? Moving on. As I mentioned we were really struggling for depth in some areas due to having such a plethora of foreigners in a league where it isn't feasible to have them, a lot of players I have managed to move on, but I still have 4 sitting in my reserves, as well as a certain Mario Pasalic sat in my first team unregistered and on the loan list - he's just arrived, and if I can I'll sell him at the end of the season. Part of the reason we had to move on all our foreigners is there just wasn't a striker in the squad and I really needed to add one... I tried really hard to find a Chinese striker, I couldn't, so we moved on more foreigners than initially intended to clear space for Ferdy Druijf (I'm sorry, Mario, ok? I needed a striker). He wasn't my first choice, I had bids accepted for Kasper Dolberg and Kaio Jorge who both turned me down, but there were definitely worse strikers to end up with, and for £6.5 million I think he is an absolute steal. And so, my revolution in China began - we got off to an absolutely perfect start away to DL Yifang, a team with players like Marek Hamsik and Shkodran Mustafi, so it was really nice to get a win under out belt, after that as much as the results look a bit ropey we've had the better of every game except our most recent performance in the win against Henan, so there's definitely some positive signs. Jiangsu had a young striker score a brace to turn around a 2-1 deficit for them late... So I bought him. Wuhan, everything they hit just went in, so I'm not too worried yet - but we may need to look at an away tactic soon. Only one game it could be, what a great start - Ferdy planted a free kick top bins in the 6th minute and I knew we were on to a good one - he has 5 goals already in his 5 games in China, and I think he could turn out to be an absolute bargain signing. We ran Yifang absolutely ragged, and it may have got me abit overly optimistic about what is in store for us, but that' part of the fun in a save like this, I suppose. So all of that fun leaves us in a fairly respectable 9th in the league - I did promise te board top half, so we're going to need to string a few results together here, but overall they don't seem displeased with the start we have made. It's a shame to leave Perlis, but just could not pass up this chance, and while there's a long way to close that gap to the big boys like Guangzhou, I'm starting to add a lot of the Chinese talent avialable to me, which is the key to bridging the chasm in my opinion.
  12. So, another few days off due to real life commitments. On the upside (read downside) someone drove into the back of my car on the way to work this morning, so I have a bit of time off to play the game and get a few updates out, which is nice. I've played a few games this afternoon, and I have to say I'm loving FM this year - I loved it last year so it's no real surprise, but I'm seriously enjoying getting to grips with this save. That is surprising when you look at the recent run of form we've been on, we've reached the beginning of our fixture list again which means playing all of the teams above us in quick succession, that first 5 games of the season yielded 2 points, playing them in the second round has already given us 6 with a game to play against Perak. I think we might be ok for a midtable finish again, which when I started the season so slowly seemed a million miles away from ever being possible. I still feel a slight regret that I talked myself out of the Pahang job last summer, I had convinced myself that their team was not much better than ours, if indeed it was better at all, and this result has kind of vindicated that opinion somewhat - they're still flying well above us in the league, but with the odd result like this, in spite of getting the odd smashing off teams like Johor, I think we're not far from challenging at the top. And all of that leaves us 7th, with 7 games to play, and a 7 point gap to the relegation zone. Which is some oddly beautiful symmetry that I had not noticed until I typed that sentence. We're closer to relegation than continental qualification, but in a season where our wage bill was cut by nearly a quarter, we have stablised very well and have a good chance to ensure that this is a Super League club for a long time to come.
  13. So, I took a little time off FM after my last post, because honestly I was finding it frustrating, but I've grinded it today so it's time for another update! I've managed in Malaysia on FM once before, I want to say with Terengganu - however it was a short lived stint, as I believe at the end of the first season after I won the league I got a job offer in the second tier in China, so I'm really enjoying the ease with which you can get through the seasons. Definitely recommend it as a starting point for a journeyman save. As you could probably tell by the tone of that opening section, the results have been far, far better during this spell. There was also a few friendies after the Polis game that I've cropped out, but honestly our form has been crazy. In the FA Cup we've reached the semi final, where we are the last Super League team standing, so I really like our chances of adding a first bit of silverware this year, even if it isn't likely to be the league after that slow start. Easily our best performance of the update against Kuala Lumpur, they're a very decent side at this level so to handle them so convincingly away from home was great. I honestly don't even know where thi form has come from because I have changed absolutely nothing about the tactic, I guess I played a run of tough teams to start the season, so it makes sense in that regard, but the turnaround has been tremendous. All of that leaves us where the media predicted we would end up this year in 8th, which is way above where our board expect, so it's making me look pretty great. They also only expected a third round in the cup, so my job is untouchable at this point, which is always a great place to be. I'm a little bit embarrased about well Pahang are doing after I essentialy knocked back the chance to go there in the summer, but I'm still pleased to be at Perlis and would make the same choice again if I had to do it all again. We also get our first manager award of the save, so we're heading in the right direction. Hopefully a cup win and some bigger, perhaps more financially stable teams will begin to circle, as I'm once again waiting for us to have the money for me to start my National A licence.
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