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  1. Well I would hardly call Dag & Red a top L2 club! Predicted well inside the bottom half if I recall correctly, with a pitiful stadium. And is it really three promotions from League Two to Prem? I hadn't realised. /s
  2. Dag & Red to EPL & CL winners, playing an online game, without cheating of course, in 8 or 9 seasons, can't remember which, no takeover. You are underestimating there. I'm sure someone has done it in 5 seasons, it isn't impossible, just incredibly unlikely, and requires huge slices of luck.
  3. As champions of Europe, we fail to see why
  4. After such an incredible season, it deserves a post worthy. If you can't be bothered reading it, there's a TL;DR at the end! END-SEASON REVIEW (2021/22) SUMMER WINDOW JULY 1 Out: Michal Cizek (Empoli £3m), Ze Paulo (free) Cizek was one the crop of promising Czech youngsters I bought a few seasons ago, of which only Popelka has become a fixture in my side. Cizek showed promise in his early forays, but last season struggled when given the chance, one match-winning performance aside. Allied to the fact he hadn't developed his attributes, he was sold to Serie B Empoli for a £1m profit, and was top scorer in B. Ze Paulo was a short-term midfield solution signed in January and had now served his purpose. JULY 3 In: Walter Osvaldo (San Lorenzo £6m) The previous summer it was a toss-up between this guy and Dudé for my striker option. I plumped for Dudé, but now I needed a striker to replace Cizek, and with this guy still available, I decided to take the plunge on his excellent finishing and physicals. JULY 5 In: Vojtech Kubista (Marseille £4m) With my change in formation working well in the latter half of last season with players playing on the wings unsuited to that position, I needed to invest heavily in 'defensive' wingers. Now Kubista doesn't come under the role of traditional winger, but with good all-round stats, and superb physicals, possessing great long throws and able to play in the centre of midfield too, this was a no-brainer at this price. JULY 6 In: Adama Traoré (Arsenal 12.5m) Out: Ladislav Bohac (Avellino loan) Adama Traoré was another winger signed as I committed to my new formation. Superb pace and strength allied to good technical attributes, able to play both sides, with excellent PPMs, this was a bargain, signed for less than his value. Ladislav Bohac was part of the 'Czech Bunch' and is bizarrely low star-rated, but Kim was only too happy to take him on-board at Avellino, and I was only too happy for him to gather more experience. JULY 8 In: Thierry Ambrose (Man City £4.9m) I had Ambrose on loan two seasons previous, where he impressed briefly before getting injured. With him available at such a cheap price (knowing how his value can grow), and with Ongenda on the way out, this was another no-brainer deal. I was actually surprised I snagged him, as some big clubs were in also, his pace and finishing invaluable. His PPM of 'looking for pass instead of attempting to score' was alleviated by myself a little by re-training him to 'hit first-time shots'. JULY 11 Out: Hervin Ongenda (West Ham £15m) I had bought Ongenda for £6m way back in Serie B, with the 'Tom Cleverley windfall', but it took him a full year to bed in, scoring just two goals in that time. Once he did so, he was very effective however, giving me two 20 goal, 20 assist seasons, totalling 53 league goals for me. But when West Ham offered £15m up front, combined with the Ambrose deal, I couldn't say no. His effectiveness had also waned with the new formation. JULY 15 In: Sinisa Zgela (£8m Pisa) Zgela is a Croatian winger who Pedro and AndyG had fought over back when he was 18, and with Pedro moving in the opposite direction to me (wingers to wingbacks), there was no place for Zgela, and I took the plunge, in a deal good for both parties, with me paying way above his value, but him possessing excellent potential. JULY 22 In: Derek Hughes (Nottm Forrest loan) Out: Srdjan Mijailovic (Real Madrid £7.5m) Derek Hughes was signed as a fifth choice and promising centre-back who I could take a look at over an extended period of time. Mijailovic was being forced out due to the formation change. He is a one-trick defensive pony, a very good one-trick pony, but nonetheless, I needed a little more flexibility and I was over-subscribed in midfield. He was frustrating me however, turning down Milan, Villareal and San Marino, and I was beginning to think I wouldn't be able to sell him at all, never mind get a decent fee. However, it paid off for him, and me, as Real came in with a good offer, matching Milan's, and he got £170k pw (from £25k pw)! I had signed him on a free four seasons previous. Best agent ever. He promptly was placed in the Castilla squad! AUGUST 19 Out: Ezequiel Rescaldani (Napoli £34m) At this point, my transfer dealings were over. I hadn't strengthened my back line as much as I hoped to but I was fairly satisfied. However, my plans were changed when Napoli made an offer I really couldn't refuse. 'Resca' was my best striker, but had turned 29 in the summer, so I couldn't turn down this kind of cash. I signed him for £4.5m four years previous and he had scored 71 league goals, three of those seasons above the 20 goal mark. AUGUST 23 In: Helder Penetra (PSG £28m) I decided to reinvest the money from Rescaldani into the defence first. After being knocked back from several targets, I bid for Penetra on the off-chance he was available, after PSG signed one of my DC targets called Wagner. To my surprise he was available, one of the best young DCs in the world. Not exactly blessed with technical skill mind, I had been chasing him since his days at Sporting Lisbon, who PSG bought him off for £22.5m two years previous. AUGUST 31 Out: Sandy Walsh (Augsburg £10m) Walsh I signed from Ajax two seasons previous for £9m, and he had been an excellent player for me at right-back. With my move to 3-4-3 however, there was no place for him, with Penetra coming in, as he was too short to play centre-back and not technically gifted enough to be retrained as a defensive winger. A real shame, one of my favourite players. NB: I had meant to sign a striker to replace Rescaldani, but I failed to get the paperwork done in time for Marcão from Benfica (who would score 30 in a breakthrough year for him), so would have to be one striker light until January. FIRST HALF SEASON As you can see, mainly positive results. A few too many draws early on, especially in the Champions League where we were handed a stupidly hard group. Our inability to put away CSKA in the first game and Schalke in our second match with them cost us, as Chelsea capitalised on every half mistake we made too. The tonking of CSKA in the last game at least gave us the Europa League consolation. In the league I was fuming we weren't top earlier, especially after we lost to a San Marino penalty, after they played awfully, with us not much sharper. But by the halfway point of the season we were on top of the pile, despite having two men sent off in a defeat versus title rivals Pisa, straight after beating Juventus. Our goal scoring prowess was really shining through, hitting 8 teams for four or more goals, including that 8-1 versus Lazio. Our defensive frailties were exposed in games versus Fiorentina and Chelsea though, and there wasn't exactly a glut of clean sheets., something that had to be fixed, with better personnel or a slight shift in tactics. WINTER WINDOW JANUARY 2 In: Kurt Zouma (Barcelona £27.5m), Remigio Ramirez (Fiorentina £25m) Out: Carlos André (Milan £6m) After the first part of the season, I still felt the centre-back positions needed strengthening, with the option of Sviatchenko or André, alongside Penetra and Bianchetti, not satisfying. To answer this, I turned to Kurt Zouma, for big bucks, and sold Carlos André, who I had signed two years previous for £10.5m, an arduous process that was too. I retrained him to centre-back from right-back, but he never really performed, despite excellent physicals, and is one of my semi-failures in the market. In the previous window I had tried to sign Marcão from Benfica as my fifth striking option, but he signed a new contract, and I decided to look closer to home. Remigio Ramirez was joint highest scorer in the league at the halfway stage, having transferred to Fiorentina from Napoli for just £9.5m last January, a deal I was gutted to miss out on. So now I needed a new striker, I decided he was still worth paying £25m for as proven Serie A talent, over foreign promise for £20m such as Marcão. JANUARY 4 Out: Bjorn Engels (Torino £2m) Now on to one of my real failures in the market. Three seasons ago I signed him for £9.5m and soon as I signed him knew I had overpaid by around £3-4m. Tall and aggressive, he never really improved his defensive attributes, probably because I never really trusted him, and therefore didn't get the games required to improve. JANUARY 5 Out: Dudé (Man Utd £40m) And back to one of my big successes in the market. I signed striker Dudé for £10.5m 18 months previous, and spent much of the first half of the season injured, including losing three pace and one acceleration attributes after straining his knee ligaments, a bizarre occurrence. He remained fairly effective thanks to his movement and his finishing, but I was very surprised when Man Utd came in and activated his £40m release clause. I was more than surprised, I was delighted! After all, this was a player who was now my fifth choice striker! JANUARY 8 In: Alexandru Tudorie (Real Madrid £7m), Luis Gustavo (Pisa loan) Out: Petr Pokorny (Cagliari loan) And to replace Dudé I turned to Real Madrid and the Romanian target man, Alexandru Tudorie who was valued at £14m but transfer listed at just £7m. Despite his hefty wages, I decided to go for him, betting on his value being much higher than that, even if he wasn't effective, by the end of the season. To bolster midfield I turned to Luis Gustavo on loan, to add depth and numbers rather than truly challenge for starts. Petr Pokorny was on his way out, on loan again, another member of that 'Czech Bunch'. He hasn't really developed like I hoped, but again needs games and still has time. NB: Eighteen months ago my strikeforce consisted of Michael Cizek, Angel Correa, Hervin Ongenda, Dudé and Ezequiel Rescaldani, a quintet that cost me £31.5m in total. They were sold for £122m in total. The current quintet cost me £53m in total, for the same, if not better, output, a £69m profit. In theory, my current quintet cost negative £37.5m then. #notbad JANUARY 9 In: Marco Asensio (Man Utd loan) I was really using the loan system to bolster my squad, and Asensio, who can play left wing or playmaker, was another one those options, having been on the transfer list at Man Utd for as long as I can remember. JANUARY 14 In: Simone Scuffet (Udinese £25m) This was a luxury signing, made possible by Manchester United's ludicrous splashing of the cash on Dudé. Scuffet doesn't need much introduction, he was better than my current incumbent, Osman Hadzikic, and as such I signed him, having not been fully satisfied with this position for a while. A bonus is that he is home-grown. JANUARY 20 Out: Osman Hadzikic (Sampdoria loan) Naturally, Hadzikic had to be moved on following Scuffet's signing, but surprisingly no-one wanted to sign him permanently, so off on loan he went instead. JANUARY 25 In: Martin Kovar (£1m Jablonec), Hrvoje Krncevic (Hajduk free) Two cheap youngsters, both midfielders, signed on the off-chance that they will turn out well. SECOND HALF SEASON This was more like it; just seven non-greens, two of which in second legs of ties sealed in the first leg. Frustrating though was the loss to San Marino who, after defeating me in the Cup quarter-final again, went on to win the whole Cup. Again. This was my own fault for playing too aggressively, and my strategy became more reserved as the second half of the season wore on. I know that's difficult to believe, considering our results, but it really did! In this half we hit 13 teams for four or more, including two eight-goal hauls in the league and a six-goal mauling of Bayern Munich. We really hit form after demolishing San Marino, keeping seven clean sheets in ten games, despite that blip against Spezia. By the time this run of clean sheets came to an end, we had finally shaken off Pisa in the race for the title, who had been within four points since Christmas, a ridiculous state of affairs, considering I had a 75% win ratio! As it was, we won the league by a country mile, hitting more than 120 goals and scoring 92 points. In the Europa League it was easy progress between Munich and Milan, but we had a trio of crazy games versus AC. First up, we won 5-2 in the first leg of the Europa League semis, their ridiculous attack keeping them in the hunt (Fierro and a beastly regen named Mputu), before what seems like a stale normal 1-1 draw in the league followed. That game was anything but, as their keeper scored a 9.4 (without an assist) after saving over 25 of my shots, including six or seven clear cut chances. They also took the lead in the 86th minute, and I thought 'typical, utterly batter them and get beat', but my team surprised me once more, with a 92nd minute goal, one that their keeper couldn't do anything about. Then the icing on the cake was the crazy 4-4 draw in the return leg of the Europa League, as they took 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2 leads, giving me a heart attack. Osvaldo saved the day however, scoring all four of our goals to grab a 4-4, 9-6 on aggregate! Three particularly sweet moments were 1) beating Juventus and sealing the title at the same time, ending their decade-long dominance over Serie A, and then 2) beating Pisa in their own backyard to celebrate, including leaving out a few rested players, my closest challengers for the title, and 3) destroying Galatasary in the Europa League final, despite a semi-wobble in the middle part of the match at 2-1, as Ferati put the icing on his vintage cake of a season by scoring four. PLAYER PERFORMANCES Main players only (rating, goals/assists) DEFENCE Matteo Bianchetti (7.38, 17/2), Helder Penetra (7.20, 3/3), Kurt Zouma (7.20, 3/0), Simone Scuffet (7.14), Erik Sviatchenko (7.05, 3/0) The defence really struggled in the first half of the season, and indeed until the end of February, but once Zouma and Scuffet bedded in and we played a little more conservatively the defence was brilliant. Add to this the bonus of my captain Bianchetti scoring 17 goals (!), at least half of these rebounds. When I signed him for £2.5m several seasons ago, purely based on two years of outstanding defensive stats in the league at lowly Empoli, I never dreamed he would be the captain to lift my first Serie A. CENTRAL MIDFIELD Tomas Popelka (7.40, 1/3), Lorenzo Crisetig (7.24, 2/2), Youri Tielemans (7.16, 2/9), Marius Lundemo (6.65, 0/1) Popelka did fantastically well to come back from a broken leg, and other small niggles, to perform so well for me. As the playmaker, he was often the 'second assister', finding players on the wing or edge of the box well, and always showing for the ball while being defensively solid. Less defensively solid but still a good performer was Tielemans, though it has taken three years to extract this kind of season from him. He bore all playmaking responsibility while Popelka recovered and he coped well, his set-piece deliveries especially dangerous. Crisetig was played in the more reserved role in midfield and had his best season yet for us, rarely putting a foot wrong. It was a season horribilis for club icon Lundemo however, as he endured his worst season of eight at the club, immediately following his best! No matter which role I played him in he just didn't perform and eventually griped about the lack of playing time. WINGERS Adama Traoré (7.58, 8/13), Vojtech Kubista (7.40, 0/10), Sinisa Zgela (7.30, 3/10) Traoré ran riot all season. Early on he was forced into the left midfield role, due to Kubista's hot form and Zgela's bedding in, which affected the team shape as he would cut inside constantly on his preferred right foot. This was just something I had to cope with, but just before Kubista sustained a serious injury around February, Zgela had bedded in, and the twin-threat of Traoré down the right and Zgela down the left, who is a natural left-footer, was too much for most teams. The shape of the team improved immeasurably and so did the form. Kubista had an excellent start to the season, his physicality and long throws causing all kinds of problems for opposing teams. Here's hoping the serious injury won't ruin him. STRIKERS Arianit Ferati (7.80, 29/38), Walter Osvaldo (7.58, 44/11), Remigio Ramirez (7.46, 17/10), Thierry Ambrose (7.42 (24/20) Instead of a description, I will simply leave these pictures of the four main strikers' records this season: Arianit Ferati (one hat-trick, one double-brace) Walter Osvaldo (four hat-tricks, one double-brace) Remigio Ramirez (one hat-trick, one quintuple) Thierry Ambrose (one hat-trick, one double-brace) I think the above striker records are ample final word on this season. TL;DR Spent lots of money. Received lots of money. Scored lots of goals. Won Serie A and Europa League at a canter.
  5. Our 2022 season has now finished, and what an eventful one it was as well! Ryan Callan's Pro Vercelli became the first human club to win Serie A, storming to the title in record style. They also became the first human club to win European silverware, after destroying Galatasaray in the Europa League final. Ali's San Marino won the Italian Cup for a second time, and finished a club record third in an exciting finish to the season, any two of four clubs able to clinch Champions League spots on the final day, with Andy Gillespie's Fiorentina stealing fourth at the last. Elsewhere in A, Pedro Nervio was fired for game exploitation and dismissed from the clan, without him Pisa finished second, while Mike Pauwels resigned from Monza when the season had barely begun, later taking over at Atalanta in B. Kim Smedegård struggled defensively at Avellino and finished 17th, while reaching the Cup semis. Stuart Abrey was also fired for game exploitation, and was forced to drop down a division, from Inter to Palermo. Elsewhere in B, Jonas Christensen secured promotion to A with Siena through the playoffs, storming the final, and Andy Fallon finished a strong 12th, after returning Novara to B. In Serie C/A Davie Milligan received his marching order from Reggiana, after his yo-yo three seasons in charge, and is now rebuilding at Cremonese, while Sean Black returned to the clan, after over a year away, and immediately secured the promotion of Perugia to B through the playoffs, after taking over after the January window.
  6. END-SEASON REVIEW (2020/21) FIXTURES MEDIA PREDICTION 6TH. LEAGUE POSITION 2ND. ITALIAN CUP QUARTER FINAL. EUROPA LEAGUE GROUP STAGE. This was a much more satisfying season than previous for numerous reasons, but not without it's tribulations. We started the season off well, after I finally managed to bring in my summer targets, ST Dude, GK Hadzikic and R/CB Andre. The last transfer, of Andre, had me worried after a weird glitch saw me pay off the agents ownership but not finalise the deal. Thankfully it finally went through after a month of wrangling. I was sick of my former GK Rajkovic's susceptibility to long range efforts, so bought Hadzikic, AndyG's back-up GK for £3m, while selling Rajkovic for £9.75m, so even if he was as poor as Rajkovic, at least a profit was turned, in our first season in our new stadium. Fixtures-wise it was also a positive start, after destroying Napoli, before a crazy 4-4 draw with Cesena and a loss to Ali's San Marino had me on the back foot. We rallied well in the league, and didn't lose again until December, though we undid much of our hardwork with two 3-1 losses in a row against 18th and 20th. In the Europa League it was a strange set of results. We battered Atletico but couldn't score in one of the matches, battered Basel, but we had no answer in either game against Bastia, who seemed to have some kind of magician in charge; they made the semi-finals in the end. So despite winning three of our six games, we were out. January came round and three major exits occurred, two no doubt changing the future of the club forever. These departures were Dimarco, Correa and Richter, none of which I was a willing party in. Federico Dimarco (£9.75m) Dimarco had been on loan at my club for 2.5 seasons when I signed him for £6.5m last January and he locked down a minimum fee at the initial opening of contract talks. Because of this I meant to offer him a new contract, but never got chance as he was constantly with a 'slight concern' due to interest and eventually it came to a head where Arsenal signed him for the minimum fee of £9.75m. I could have stomached £20m, but to lose one of the top three young left-backs in the world for under £10m was gutting. Angel Correa (£30m) I stretched every sinew of my budget once I knew I could get Correa a few seasons ago, and what a signing he proved, giving me 15+ goals and assists each season. He again had his head turned by bigger teams and was awaiting a bid from Chelsea, which they made. Losing him was a blow, somewhat softened with the £30m minimum fee, though I saw only £20m of this once all was said and done. Ondrej Richter (£1.1m) I had identified Richter as a future star when he was just 16, and paid £4.4m for him. He got to the age of 17, and decided he 'had achieved all he can at the club' and requested to leave, so with his contract coming to and end, my hands were tied. I could have sold him for £5m to APOEL, but decided to sell him to Koln for £1.1m, but with a buy back of £2m. Sneaky. So as a result of these transfers I brought a guy in, Ferati, to replace Correa as the creative forward, for just £10m. I didn't manage to identify a replacement for Dimarco at LB, and so didn't sign anyone. I had become disillusioned with my standard 433 formation, and after an extensive playtest, I decided to throw my new 343 formation in at the deep end and see what happened. The result was improved performances in the main, and slightly improved results, despite not possessing any suitable players to play on the wings, and we went on to seal second in the championship, after a nervous flutter towards the end. The major worry was Tomas Popelka; my star in the making as a roaming playmaker had his leg broken by a former teammate of his at Avellino, Tomas Arrigoni.
  7. We have received official SI Approved Fansite status! A proud moment in our clan's history.
  8. END-SEASON REVIEW (2019/20) FIXTURES MEDIA PREDICTION: 10TH. ACTUAL POSITION: 6TH. ITALIAN CUP FIRST ROUND. EUROPA LEAGUE RUNNERS-UP. When put into the above context, it sounds like a good season. However, it was deeply unsatisfactory on many levels, which I will elaborate on. Foregone conclusion progression was made in the qualifying rounds for the Europa League Group Stage, while we drew our first match in the league 0-0 after umpteen chances and shots, giving me a horrible sense of misgiving for the season ahead. That was alleviated a little as we comfortably beat Inter, but then we failed to score away to Torino, again despite many chances. Beating AndyG's Spezia and drawing away to Pedro's Pisa was great (best nil-nil I have ever seen in FM), but then we drew at home to Cagliari, and failed to score away from home again next up. That was four away games, over 100 shots, over 20 clear chances and no goals. Aside from Pisa, all against sides I would be expected to beat too. And this was happening against the backdrop of the Europa League where we were averaging four goals a game, away or otherwise. Seven games in, six goals scored and we were in trouble. We then beat Napoli and spanked Lazio, to give me hope that our bad run was over and playing well would now pay off but we dropped more points with the same kind of story to Genoa. The story was this: batter teams for 70 minutes, score none, or just one, and get sucker-punched with a long shot or something of that ilk, raising massive doubts in my mind about the calibre of my incumbent GK, Rajkovic, and massively increasing my frustration levels. That was 12 points I had dropped at this stage of the season, all of which I could have reasonably have expected to get. A better run came at the end of the year, winning some hard games, losing unluckily to Juventus and Roma, the Roma game deciding for me that Rajkovic would have to go at the end of the season, as he let in two long shots and the other through his legs. As we started the new year, I had eight games in January, and I set a target of winning seven, not unreasonable considering the fixture list. We didn't even get close, 'that story' happening against Chievo and Cesena, playing terribly v Ali's San Marino and Inter Milan, and playing well versus Fiorentina and Torino. Up front the issue was not the striker's goals to games ratio, but their ability to score consistently, I couldn't back any of them to score in four matches in a row for example. They would get braces and then not score for two or three games. When Rescaldani and Ongenda weren't putting away the chances, my back-up options left much to be desired, the young Cizek and the flighty Wilson. This coupled with my GK's sudden dislike of pot shots was making for much disappointment. After the end of January, we did go on the winning run I wanted, five in a row in the league, and scraping past Fenerbahce, while, you guessed it, dominating. But obviously this run was too good to be true, and we then lost four in a row, even managing to almost throw away a 4-1 first leg lead in the Europa League against Sporting. My favourable draw in the competition continued as I avoided the Man Utd/PSG half for the quarter and semi finals, picking up Sociedad and PSV, dispatching both fairly comfortably. At this stage in the season we were in danger of not even qualifying for Europe, having finished fifth the season before and been just three points off Juventus before my four game collapse. And with me missing the final few games of the season, it was left to my assistant manager, who didn't do too badly to be fair, though it could have been better, and he couldn't mastermind a victory over PSG in the Europa League, an early Fischer goal deciding it for them. Despite misfiring in many matches, Rescaldani ended up top scorer in Serie A, which summed up my season really. World beaters one match, unable to hit a barn door with a colander for a bucket at the back the next. TRANSFERS IN TRANSFERS OUT In the market I made two key moves, signing Sandy Walsh and Bjorn Engels. Walsh is officially seen as a centre back, but being short, with pace, flair and no little skill, I saw him as a DR and bought him as such, turning out to be a total success it has to be said. The other key signing I made, I almost immediately regretted, knowing I had paid £3-4m too much for him, in Engels. Not a bad centre-back per se, but not the replacement for Sviatchenko I was chasing. Other players brought in were those like Jech and Alisson on loan, to bolster DC and MC, while in January I made a move for van der Wiel as back-up to Walsh, with long-time servant Henrik Dalsgaard let go, and tried to bolster my attacking options with Thierry Ambrose on loan, who promptly injured himself after scoring two in his second game. Such was my luck this season. I also made permanent the loan deal of Dimarco, who has blossomed into a fine, physical left back after being here for two and a half seasons on loan. The only significant departures were those of Hejda, Devine, Skjelvik, Salifu and Sadiku, who had been important building blocks for this club's progression.
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  11. I think the issue with DB sizes and league loaded having implications on selling players is because the tightening of the transfer market is quite a recent addition to FM, and people are simply selecting the sizes/leagues they always have done prior to FM14. Because selling has only recently become an 'issue' (a welcome one in my opinion), and there was never trouble previously with large DB/small amount of leagues, it is much more logical, and easier, for players to blame the new game than their choice of DB-leagues ratio.
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