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  1. My new career as a Football Manager

    01.07.2009 (Wednesday): Two players come in for interviews today: He Yang, DR, 26 and Yang Haibo, DL, 27 I offer both players a contract meeting their demands. I spend the afternoon looking at apartments that an agency has preselected for me. 02.07.2009 (Thursday): My family flies off to Ukraine today to spend the first 3 weeks of the summer school holidays there. I meanwhile receive the confirmations from both He Yang and Yang Haibo, that they accept my offer, so I make the necessary arrangements for them to sign the contracts tomorrow. 03.07.2009 (Friday): I hold a backroom staff meeting. Hao Wei and Zhang Zhi recommend to instruct Yu Guijun to change his game and come deeper for the ball. I accept their recommendation. The assistants also recommend to sign a scout. After discussing several candidates we agree to offer Chen Jia a contract. They also recommend to transfer-list central defender Zhang Chenglin but I dismiss this advice. He Yang and Yang Haibo sign their contracts and will join us on July 26th. 04.07.2009 (Saturday): Staff preparation meeting for our first match on Sunday against Tianjin. Hao Wei advises that Tianjin is sometimes vulnerable in the opening 15 minutes. He also points out that we are weaker in terms of flair, aggression, determination, height and strength. The media predict an easy win for Tianjin. I attend the pre-match press conference. 05.07.2009 (Sunday): We fly to Beijing and from there travel to nearby Tianjin. The feedback of yesterdays press conference is mixed. Some newspapers write that I was apparently not in best spirit and that my comment that we do not particularly concentrate on defending Tianjin star Hao Junmin may have provided additional motivation for Hao Junmin. Now however it’s really time to focus on my first match as a football manager. We play away at Tianjin who are currently one place behind us on 9th place in the league table. In my pre-game talk I wish the team good luck for the match. Tianjin start pretty well creating some chances but towards the middle of the first half we manage to contain them better. Towards the end of the first half Tianjin look stronger again, but the halftime score is 0:0. In the second half we manage to keep the score at 0:0 thanks to some fine saves from our goalkeeper Song Zhenyu. I tell the team that it’s a good result. Tianjin - Changsha 0:0 Lineup and Ratings: Song Zhenyu (7.7, Man of the Match) Li Wenbo (6.7), Liu Jianye (7.0), Billy Mwanza (7.0), Wang Qiang (7.2) Xu Bo (7.0), Zhao Ming (6.8), Lee Sang-Il (6.4), Jefferson Feijao (6.8) Kim Eun-Joong (6.8), Yu Guijun (6.8) Subs: X.Weichao (6.6), Wen Huyi (6.6), Liang Yanfeng (-) Xie Weichao made his Super League debut. 06.07.2009 (Monday): Chen Jia joins us as a scout. Song Zhenyu is voted into the team of the week. 07.07.2009 (Tuesday): We hold a staff preparation meeting for our next match against Guangzhou on Wednesday. The bookmakers favour Guangzhou although they are playing away and are 3 places behind us in 12th place. I attend the pre-match press conference. Dai Qinhua is back in training but I will not nominate him yet for the upcoming game due to lack of match fitness. 08.07.2009 (Wednesday): My first home game is against Guangzhou, who are in 12th position. I make several changes in the lineup due to the fact that several players still have the Sunday match in their legs: Yu Guijun is replaced by Wen Huyi. Xu Bo is replaced by Xi Weichao. Zhao Ming is left out, for him Li Wenbo moves from right-back to right midfield. At right-back I bring in Shim Jae-Won, but have to leave out one of my other 4 foreigners to make room for him. I decide to leave out Billy Mwanza and nominate Zhang Chenglin instead. In my pre-game talk I tell the team that they can win this game. Around 8500 fans turn up to see the match. We dominate the first half and lead 1:0 thanks to a goal from Kim Eun-Joong. It was a real poacher effort from Kim Eun-Joong as he almost stole this goal from the foot of Lee Sang-Il. I replace Lee Sang-Il with Liang Yanfeng after 30 minutes as he had taken a knock. At halftime I also leave out Jefferson Feijao for the same reason and bring on Xu Bo. In the second half Guangzhou initially dominate possession without being particularly dangerous. It’s substitute Xu Bo who gives Guangzhou the chance to equalize when he commits a foul in the box. Hu Zhaojun converts the penalty for the equalizer. For the last 15 minutes I bring on Yu Guijun as the third striker for right-back Shim Jae-Won and tell the team to switch to all-out attack. It pays off as a good through ball finds Kim Eun-Joong who scores the winner in the 84th minute with his second goal of the match and thus crowns his outstanding performance. Changsha - Guangzhou 2:1 Lineup and Ratings: Song Zhenyu (6.8) Shim Jae-Won (6.8), Liu Jianye (7.3), Zhang Chenglin (7.0), Wang Qiang (7.3) Li Wenbo (6.4), Xi Weichao (7.0), Lee Sang-Il (7.0), Jefferson Feijao (6.8) Kim Eun-Joong (8.5, Man of the Match), Wen Huyi (7.0) Subs: Liang Yanfeng (6.7), Xu Bo (5.7), Yu Guijun (-) Jefferson Feijao suffered a bruised rib and will be out for 9-12 days. Wen Huyi made his 100th league appearance. 11.07.2009 (Saturday): Staff preparation meeting ahead of Sundays match at Shenzhen. Hao Wei sees Shenzhen superior in terms of flair, aggression, passing, dribbling and first touch. The bookmakers have Shenzhen, who are currently in 4th position, as clear favourites for this game. 12.07.2009 (Sunday): We fly to Shenzhen for today’s away match. Billy Mwanza resumes his central defender spot, so Zhang Chenglin is back on the bench. Xu Bo and Dai Qinhua start today in central midfield. Upfront Yu Guijun takes back his place in the starting lineup from Wen Huyi. Shenzhen clearly control the opening minutes and Hernan Barcos makes it 1:0 after Dai Qinhua mistimed a tackle in midfield and Wang Qiang left Barcos too much space. Thereafter however it’s a different game, as we take over most of possession. Kim Eun-Joong first misses a one-on-one but then scores from the penalty spot after a controversial decision of the referee. 1:1 is the halftime score. In the second half we are the better team and Kim Eun-Joong misses two clear scoring opportunities. But we are finally rewarded for our efforts when Billy Mwanza heads in a corner from Li Wenbo 4 minutes into time-added-on. We manage a surprise 2:1 win at Shenzhen and climb to 6th place in the league table. Shenzhen - Changsha 1:2 Lineup and Ratings: Song Zhenyu (6.8) Shim Jae-Won (7.1), Liu Jianye (7.1), Billy Mwanza (7.8, Man of the Match), Wang Qiang (6.8) Li Wenbo (7.4), Dai Qinhua (6.4), Lee Sang-Il (6.9), Xu Bo (6.8) Kim Eun-Joong (6.7), Yu Guijun (6.8) Subs: Xi Weichao (7.0), Zhao Ming (6.8), Wen Huyi (-) Li Wenbo made his 100th league appearance. 13.07.2009 (Monday): Billy Mwanza is voted into the team of the week. I meanwhile finalise my search for a suitable apartment and choose a nice furnished apartment that is big enough for the family should they eventually move here. Fortunately rental prices are very affordable here, for an upscale furnished 100m2 apartment I only pay 250 Euros per month. 17.07.2009 (Friday): We hold another backroom staff meeting. Hao Wei recommends that Liu Jianye should be instructed to shoot with more power as he has a good shooting technique. I agree with that advice. I dismiss the advice to remove some midfielders from throw-in duties. I also dismiss the advice on further scouts. Our new scout Chen Jia suggests to scout Uzbekistan for new players and I agree to send him there. 18.07.2009 (Saturday): Staff preparation meeting ahead of our Sunday home game against Qingdao, who are one place ahead of us in 5th position. Hao Wei points out that Qingdao often concede goals late, so there may be a fitness problem we might be able to exploit. The bookmakers slightly favour Qingdao. 19.07.2009 (Sunday): Home game against Qingdao. For the first time I do not have to change my starting lineup, it’s the same as against Shenzhen. I tell the team that they can win this game. The first half is not very entertaining, Qingdao look slightly stronger. 0:0 is the halftime score. In the 58th minute I have to replace right-back Shim Jae-Won due to injury. I bring on Zhao Ming and draw Li Wenbo back to play right-back. There’s not much to report from the game itself, as it stays dull and ends in a 0:0 draw. We certainly didn’t deserve anything more than a draw as Qingdao was the better of two bad teams. Since Qingdao were the favourites I nevertheless tell the team that it’s not a bad result. Changsha - Qingdao 0:0 Lineup and Ratings: Song Zhenyu (6.8) Shim Jae-Won (7.2), Liu Jianye (7.4), Billy Mwanza (7.3), Wang Qiang (7.2) Li Wenbo (6.9), Dai Qinhua (6.7), Lee Sang-Il (6.9), Xu Bo (7.0) Kim Eun-Joong (6.5), Yu Guijun (6.8) Subs: Xi Weichao (6.8), Zhao Ming (6.7), Wen Huyi (6.7) Shim Jae-Wons injury is fortunately only a minor leg injury which will keep him out for a week. Zhao Tuqiang has scouted Tian Ye, a 31 year-old player who can play striker or in central midfield. Although Zhao Tuqiang does not regard him as a good signing, I think he could be a valuable addition as our target man upfront or our ball-winning midfielder. Hao Wei has scouted Wei Min, a 27 year-old central or right midfielder. Hao Wei thinks he would be a useful addition but here I’m not fully convinced yet. He would be in the mix for the deep-lying playmaker position, but would probably never be more than a backup. I decide to invite both players for a trial training. 20.07.2009 (Monday): I learn that we are not the only team looking at adding Tian Ye, as Sichuan seems to be interested as well. 22.07.2009 (Wednesday): My family returns from Ukraine to Germany. Meanwhile Beijing and Tianjin have also expressed an interest in Tian Ye. Both Tian Ye and Wei Min join our training. Liu Xiaofeng comes to me after the morning training. He tells me that he now understands that it was wrong when he made his negative comments in the media about his unfulfilled expectations at Changsha and that he’s now no longer dissatisfied. 24.07.2009 (Friday): Li Chunyu is back in training after having missed 6 weeks with a foot injury. My family flies off to Changsha to spend the rest of the summer holidays with me in China. Tian Ye and Wei Min have shown enough in training to convince me, so I’m offering both players a contract. Wei Min accepts right away and will officially join us on Sunday in time for our important home game against league leaders Shenhua. Tian Ye tells me that a number of teams have offered him a contract and that he is going to consider his options. As I really learned to appreciate him in training over the last few days, I immediately offer him a slightly higher salary than he had demanded and also promise him that he would not just be signed as a backup but would also get a chance to start. 25.07.2009 (Saturday): Staff preparation meeting ahead of our home game against title contenders Shanghai Shenhua. Hao Wei notes that Shenhua concede most of their goals in the final 15 minutes but also score most of their goals then. This seems to indicate that Shenhua often change their tactics for the final 15 minutes, something we may be able to counter with a counter-attack approach for the end phase of the game. Yu Ming advises to show Shenhua stars Shen Longyuan and Andres Oper onto their weaker foot to diminish their effectiveness. My family arrives at Changsha airport where I pick them up. As they are very tired from the long flight I quickly drive them home to my new apartment and let them rest, while I continue my working day. The bookmakers of course favour Shenhua for the upcoming match, although the odds are not as heavily against us as I had thought. I attend the pre-match press conference. 26.07.2009 (Sunday): The media feedback from the press conference is largely positive, especially the fact that I have defended midfielder Xu Bo against criticism. New signings Quan Lei, Li Koucheng, He Yang, Yang Haibo and Wei Min join our team. With the exception of Quan Lei, who is still slightly injured, all of the new signings are immediately immersed into my 18-man squad for the Shenhua game. He Yang will start at right-back, Yang Haibo will start at left-back, allowing Liu Jianye to finally move into central midfield where I expect him to be more effective. Wei Min assumes the other central midfield spot alongside Liu Jianye and Jefferson Feijao returns from injury to play upfront as our target man. I wish the team luck for the match in my pre-game talk. My family is in the stadium for the first time, adding a special motivation for me. With them 8125 fans will watch the match, which is a somewhat disappointing turnout given our unbeaten run of 4 games and the fact that the league leaders are visiting. The first half provides few highlights. We have the slightly better chances but the halftime score is 0:0. If the game stays like that, I’m afraid my family will not be likely to watch another match anytime soon. At halftime I tell the team that they can win this game. The second half is fortunately much better than the first. Both teams are creating a number of clear-cut opportunities but both goalkeepers are in fine form and save everything that is thrown at them. 0:0 is the final score. I tell the team that it’s a good result against a team like Shenhua. Changsha - Shenhua 0:0 Lineup and Ratings: Song Zhenyu (7.0) He Yang (7.0), Yang Haibo (7.3), Billy Mwanza (7.0), Wang Qiang (7.1) Li Wenbo (6.9), Lee Sang-Il (6.8), Wei Min (7.4, Man of the Match), Liu Jianye (6.7) Kim Eun-Joong (6.5), Jefferson Feijao (5.8) Subs: Xu Bo (6.8), Li Chunyu (6.8), Yu Guijun (-) All 3 newcomers had good debuts, Wei Min was even named Man of the Match. Li Chunyu made his 75th league appearance for Changsha coming on as a substitute. Billy Mwanza will be suspended for 1 match due to his 4th yellow card. My tactical experiment to use Jefferson Feijao as a target man has unfortunately failed as he was practically invisible during the entire game. We manage to extend our unbeaten run to 5 games, the fans are pleased with our performance. I attend the post-match press conference. After the match I get the news that Tian Ye has decided to join Songjiang, a team that currently doesn’t even play in the Chinese Super League. I’m a bit disappointed as I believe he could have made it in the Super League. Perhaps he just didn’t want the hassle anymore at age 31. In the evening we go to a nice restaurant in Changsha and afterwards I walk with the family along the main shopping streets of Changsha Huangxin Lu, Zhongshan Lu and Cai'e Lu. 27.07.2009 (Monday): Unfortuately I cannot show the family around as we have our next game already on Wednesday and therefore I need to work today. I have however organised a Russian-speaking guide who will help my family to move around while I’m working. The media feedback from the press conference is positive, several papers particularly mention my respectful remarks concerning Shenhua manager Jia Xiuquan. There is yet another press conference this morning, this time to introduce our new signings. Quan Lei joins our training after having recovered from his injury. 28.07.2009 (Tuesday): Again the media feedback following yesterday’s press conference is positive. My remarks regarding the likely impact the signing of Yang Haibo is going to have is believed to be motivating for Yang Haibo. We hold a staff preparation meeting to prepare for tomorrow’s away match at Shanxi Chanba. Hao Wei views Chanba superior in terms of determination, flair, strength, height and first touch. Yu Ming advises to show Chanba star striker Vicente onto his weaker foot. The bookmakers forecast a narrow match with Chanba being lightly favoured. They are currently fighting relegation lying in 14th position. I attend the pre-match press conference. There are rumours that Beijing manager Zhou Sui’an is interested in signing Wang Qiang. I issue a hands off warning. 29.07.2009 (Wednesday): We travel to Xi’an, a city some 600km northwest of Changsha. There we will face Shanxi Chanba this evening. Zhang Chenglin replaces the suspended Billy Mwanza. Li Chunyu replaces Wei Min, who is too tired after Sunday’s match. Ren Hang and new signing Quan Lei are on the bench. Jefferson Feijao plays a normal advanced forward role this time as he didn’t play well as a target man. I tell the team that they can win this game today. The first half is very dull. Chanba look slightly stronger but no goals are scored. I tell the players at halftime that I’m disappointed with their performance. Li Chunyu stays in the locker room due to injury, Quan Lei comes on for him making his debut for Changsha. The second half sees more chances on both ends but still no goals are scored and we play 0:0 for the 3rd time in a row. I nevertheless tell the team that I’m pleased with the result. Chanba - Changsha 0:0 Lineup and Ratings: Song Zhenyu (6.8) He Yang (7.3), Yang Haibo (7.3), Zhang Chenglin (7.0), Wang Qiang (7.0) Li Wenbo (6.7), Lee Sang-Il (6.8), Li Chunyu (6.6), Liu Jianye (7.1) Kim Eun-Joong (6.0), Jefferson Feijao (6.3) Subs: Quan Lei (7.0), Yu Guijun (6.7) Quan Lei made his debut for Changsha. Song Zhenyu has now played 334 minutes without conceding a goal. We have set a new team record with our unbeaten run of 6 games. The fans are pleased with the result. 30.07.2009 (Thursday): I spend the day walking with the family in the nearby Yuelushan hills. 31.07.2009 (Friday): Our scout Chen Jia has returned from his trip to Uzbekistan and together with him and Hao Wei I watch the video material of the three players that have caught his eye there. Those players are: Odil Ahmedov, 21, AMC, MC Shuhrat Mirholdirshoev, 27, ST, AMC, AMR, MR Sardor Inogamov, 24, DL After watching the videos, I immediately cross off Ahmedov from the list, as he is not good enough to add value to our team. Sardor Inogamov is probably also not an improvement over our left-backs, but as he is currently without a club, I decide to invite him for a trial training. Shuhrat Mirholdirshoev however does possess the skills to potentially bring our team forward. He would be best at playing deep-lying forward or right winger. I decide to offer his current club Andijon a transfer fee of 26.500 Euro. I then instruct Chen Jia to scout for talented youngsters in China. I hold a backroom staff meeting. I follow the advice of Hao Wei and Zhang Zhi to instruct Wang Qiang to play more simple passes as his passing skills are not that good and he’s taking too much risk here and there. Talented young goalkeeper Cui Yuhang has turned 16 today, so I offer him a professional contract, which he accepts and signs.
  2. My new career as a Football Manager

    20.06.2009 (Saturday): My first press conference is held at the Helong stadium. Journalists present are Liu Guocheng (Changsha Football Paper), Yan Chuang (Chinese Football Free Press), Zhang Yufeng (Chinese Football Gazette), Zhang Yong (Chinese Football Messenger), Huang Xiaodong (Chinese Football Chronicle). After the press conference I summon my backroom staff for a meeting giving everybody the chance to provide more detailed information and make recommendations. Hao Wei recommends to scout a few foreign players he views as potentially good additions. I follow his recommendation although I don’t intend to bring in too many foreign players due to the restriction that only allows 4 foreigners in the 18-man game squad. Wang Zhengfeng also recommends two foreign players and again I agree to scout them but would only seriously consider them if they’d really provide a leap in quality over our existing players. Hao Wei then voices his concerns that our team is inferior to many teams in the league in terms of aggressiveness, dribbling, first touch, flair, height, pace, strength and technique. Fitness coach Yu Ming adds that he feels we are also inferior in terms of passing, an aspect Hao Wei disagrees with. Yu Ming however feels that the team has good fitness, here again Hao Wei disagrees. The staff then recommend different players for set pieces, something I note, but where I also intend to make my own observations before allocating those tasks. Hao Wei finally turns to our youth facilities and U19 squad. He feels that our youth facilities are not good enough to spring any optimism, that it will provide quality first team players. He recommends to either ask the board to upgrade those facilities or to rather bring in new talent via the transfer market. Nevertheless among our current U19 squad Hao Wei points out goalkeeper Cui Yuhong as the brightest talent. Also worth looking out for are striker Xia Han and central midfielder Lao Meng. I ask Hao Wei to invite left-backs Yang Gang, Wang Fan, Li Koucheng and Liang Shiming to train with us a few day starting Monday. I also invite Emerson Aleixo for an interview on Monday. Then I have a talk with Zhang Peng regarding the hiring of additional coaches. As already anticipated he does not quite share my view to bring in a separate coach for each aspect to be coached. He tells me that I’m allowed to have a maximum of 4 coaches in my backroom staff. With Wang Zhengfeng, Zhao Tuqiang and Yu Ming I currently have 3 coaches (Hao Wei doesn’t count here as his position is assistant manager). Wang Zhengfeng has not convinced me in the two meetings I had with him, I simply do not believe that he has any particular skills in coaching. I call him into my office and tell him that I do not intend to work with him. He’s obviously not very happy but agrees to a mutual contract termination for a fee of 35.000 Euro. Together with Hao Wei we identify Hu Zhijun as the ideal candidate to coach the technical aspects (set pieces, shooting, etc.) and we also identify Zhang Zhi as the ideal candidate for tactics, offense and defence. We invite both for an interview on Monday. After having so far only evaluated players who are currently not employed by a club, Hao Wei and I now discuss players, who are on the transfer list and fit into our small transfer budget. After watching video sequences of several players, I send a transfer offer of 3.500 Euro to Dalian for central midfielder Quan Lei. We feel that he could be a valuable addition for the position of deep-lying playmaker, where we currently have a gap due to the injuries of Li Chunyu and Zhang Xiaobin. 21.06.2009 (Sunday): I enjoy the day off taking the chance to explore Changsha a bit. Hao Wei informs me about an article in the Chinese Football Chronicle in which backup striker Liu Xiaofeng complained about unfair treatment at Changsha and that he ponders changing clubs. Hao Wei and I will speak with Liu Xiaofeng after the Monday training. He also tells me that my answers in the press conference had a largely positive echo, especially the fact that I have displayed faith in my entire squad. 22.06.2009 (Monday): I start the day giving a welcome and introduction speech to the players at the start of Monday’s training session. Part of this speech is also the explanation of the new tactical scheme I intend to deploy and of the new training schedules per position/role. I then allocate the players to the respective schedules. The rest of the morning is spent overseeing the training in which I also particularly watch the four candidates for the left-back position that train with us as of today. Between the morning and afternoon training session I first speak with Liu Xiaofeng and ask him to explain the background of the negative interview he has given. He explains that he had been given certain promises when joining Changsha and now feels that he has little perspective of becoming a regular first team starter. I tell him that everybody has the chance to convince me that he has the quality to start for Changsha, but I also honestly tell him that I currently only see him as a backup for the first team at best. We agree to wait how the start of the season goes and then take up the issue again. Next I welcome Emerson Aleixo in my office. I tell him that I would like to sign him immediately to add his experience and quality to our defence. I also tell him that I intend to start him at left-back and not at his favoured centre-back position. Emerson Aleixo informs me that he is talking to several clubs and tells me the conditions he is asking. I offer him a contract meeting his demands. After a quick lunch I have my first Chinese lesson with the teacher hired by the club. After overseeing the afternoon training I have two more interviews to conclude. The first one is with Hu Zhijun, whom I offer a contract to become our coach for technical aspects. Then it’s Zhang Zhi whom I offer a contract to become our tactical coach. I also receive the confirmation that Dalian have accepted my transfer offer for midfielder Quan Lei and subsequently invite Quan Lei for an interview tomorrow. 23.06.2009 (Tuesday): Hu Zhijun and Zhang Zhi contact me to tell me that they accept my contract offer. I arrange that their contracts are prepared and ready for signing in the afternoon. Then I meet with Dalian midfielder Quan Lei. He seems interested in joining us and I offer him a contract meeting his demands. After the morning training I check video material of several candidates for the right-back position with Hao Wei. We have a lack of depth at this position and the only natural right-back in the squad is Shim Jae-Won who I perceive to be the weakest of the 5 foreigners I have in my squad. As I can only nominate a maximum of 4 foreigners and also intend to sign an additional foreign player in Emerson Aleixo, I feel that I need a Chinese right-back who is good enough to start for us. We eventually focus on 26-year old Tianjin right-back He Yang and I offer the 16.000 Euro transfer fee Tianjin is asking for. After the afternoon training Hu Zhijun and Zhang Zhi sign their contracts. 24.06.2009 (Wednesday): Hu Zhijun and Zhang Zhi are introduced to the backroom staff and to the team and immediately take over their training schedules. Tianjin accept my transfer offer for He Yang and I invite He Yang for an interview on the 1st of July. Quan Lei informs me that he accepts my offer and I arrange the necessary paperwork so that he can sign his contract tomorrow. The 24-year old central midfielder will join us on 26th of July when the new transfer period in China starts. I have also gained sufficient information on my squad to nominate my team captain and vice-captain. Against the recommendation of Hao Wei who favoured Liu Jianye and Yu Guijun, I nominate Li Chunyu as the team captain and Liu Jianye as his deputy. Emerson Aleixo has signed a contract with Kharkov, so I will need to look for another starter at left-back. From the four left-back candidates we had in training, Li Koucheng has impressed most. Despite the fact that he has not played professional football in the last years, the 31-year old left-back has shown enough to justify offering him a contract. He accepts right away being happy to be given the chance to resume his professional football career. He will also join us on 26th of July. As I view Li Koucheng more as a backup, I now still need a starting left-back. After going through some tapes, I finally offer Changchun 6.000 Euro for 27 year-old left-back Yang Haibo. In the evening I fly back to Germany, as I intend to prepare the move of my personal belongings and as we also plan to go to Bremen for the weekend where my mother will celebrate her 80th birthday. 25.06.2009 (Thursday): Back in Troisdorf Hao Wei calls me with some news: - Changchun have accepted my transfer offer for Yang Haibo - Our fitness coach Yang Mu is in talks with Hangzhou to become their fitness coach - Backup midfielder Dai Qinhua has injured his wrist and will miss a couple of weeks I tell him to invite Yang Haibo for an interview on July 1st. The possibility of Yang Mu leaving our coaching staff is not a great threat, as there are quite a few fitness coaches on the market, who at least possess his level of quality. 27.06.2009 (Saturday): The whole family gathers in Bremen to celebrate my mothers 80th birthday. 28.06.2009 (Sunday): Hao Wei informs me that Zhang Yiliang has approached him looking for a job as a scout. We decide to discuss the question of hiring a scout at the next backroom staff meeting. 29.06.2009 (Monday): Flying back to Changsha I’m confronted with rumours that I’m interested in signing Dalian striker Zhu Ting. He’s not a bad striker but fits more the role of advanced forward and not the role of deep-lying forward where I have a need.
  3. This is a story about my current FM career based on FM10. I'm playing with a large database and with leagues open all over the world. I progress rather slowly because I have little time to play and because I like to watch the matches at a relatively slow speed. My name is Thomas Dreischhoff, I’m a 45 year-old German national, married, two kids (12 and 2), living in Troisdorf, Germany and working in an office job in Cologne. My main interest is football, I’m a fan of my hometown team Werder Bremen and I follow football whenever I can. In June 2009 I finally decided to give my life a new direction and to try finding a job as a Football Manager, hoping that I would find new motivation, enthusiasm and balance by doing for a living what I love doing anyway. My wife of course was not too happy when I confronted her with my plans, but knowing how football-crazy I am she was eventually convinced that it might be good for the entire family if I could combine my professional career with my personal interests. She of course thought, that I would anyway not find a decent job as a football manager, as I have no previous experience in this field. This was also my concern, but I decided to at least give it a try. 11.06.2009 (Thursday):After some research I had found 50 clubs all around the world without a current manager, so I sent my application to those clubs. 12.06.2009 (Friday):Most clubs reject my application due to my lack of experience in this field coupled with the fact that I have never even played professional football. 5 clubs however show some interest, so I decide to give them a call to pre-check the conditions. The first call is to Yuriy Kunytskyi, chairman of Arsenal Bila Tserkva. This is a club from the Ukrainian First Division, which contrary to its name is the second-tier league in Ukraine. The conditions described in this first phonecall sound not ideal, but at least also not that bad, that I would decline them outright, especially as my wife is from Ukraine, we still have family there and I speak good Russian. We agree that I would think it over and contact him again. Next I call Jim McGrory, chairman of Lisburn Distillery from the Northern Irish Premier League. The salary he is prepared to offer is however way below my current salary, so I can cross this club off my list. Then it’s Slawomir Dolinski, chairman of Dolcan Zabki from the Polish 1st League (again 2nd tier league in the country). Same story as with Lisburn, the salary is unacceptable. The 4th call goes to Zhang Peng, chairman of Changsha Ginde from the Chinese Super League. What he tells me sounds interesting, as he is prepared to offer a salary comparable to my current one and also promises a reasonable transfer budget. I decide to read up on the Chinese Super League in general and Changsha in particular and to call him back in a few days. The final call goes to Yuriy Kindzerskyi, chairman of FC Lviv, another club from the Ukrainian First Division. Unfortunately the salary is again way below my current one, so I break off this negotiation. I then speak things over with my wife. She is surprised that some clubs have shown interest, but is still very sceptical, whether I should take this any further. I inform my boss, that I will take the following week off. 14.06.2009 (Sunday):All the other clubs I have addressed have meanwhile rejected my application, so it really comes down to either Arsenal Bila Tserkva, Changsha Ginde or continuing in my current boring job. My wife agrees, that I should at least accept the offers of Yuriy Kunitskyi and Zhang Peng to meet them in person and discuss the details. I call them again confirming my interest and making the respective appointments. Both reassure me that travel costs will be reimbursed by the club, so I book my flights and accommodation. 15.06.2009 (Monday):I fly to Kiev as Bila Tserkva is located only a few kilometres south of Kiev. A driver picks me up and brings me to my meeting with Yuriy Kunitskyi. He offers me a 3-year contract with a monthly salary of 3.700 Euros, no transfer budget but a reasonable wage budget of 61K to work with. I have a look at the club facilities and we then agree that I will think about the offer and inform him about my decision until the end of the week. In the evening I meet my friend Wassiliy Pantov and his family. 16.06.2009 (Tuesday):I fly home and spend the rest of the day with my family. 17.06.2009 (Wednesday):In the afternoon I start the long flight to Changsha (16 hours including a stop-over in Beijing. 18.06.2009 (Thursday):I arrive in Changsha at 1:35 p.m. local time and the chauffeur of Zhang Peng picks me up at the airport and drives me to the hotel. After taking a nap and a shower I meet Zhang Peng, who is the chairman of Changsha Ginde and also the CEO of Ginde Plastic Pipe Industry Group in Changsha, who own the club. He explains that Changsha Ginde only exists under this name since 2007 and was previously known as Shenyang Ginde, a club existing only since 1986. The main sponsors of the club are Kappa and Shenyang Brilliance Automobile Co., the latter coming in handy as I was to find out moments later. Changsha Ginde have been in the Chinese Super League for some years but have never won anything nor have they ever finished close to the top. Zhang Peng explains that this is why he and the Shangsha Ginde board had decided to bring in a European manager to initiate the changes that might eventually allow Changsha Ginde to become more competitive. As the Chinese Super League in general and Changsha Ginde in particular represent however not the most reputable career moves they have now turned to me despite my obvious lack of experience. He goes on to explain that the season in China is already well under way with 11 of 30 games played and that Changsha Ginde are currently in 8th place, having won 5 and lost 6 of those 11 games. I of course know this, as I had prepared myself and I also know that they are 7 points off the top and 8 points clear of the relegation places. Zhang Peng offers me a monthly salary of 4.600 Euros which would represent around 3.000 Euros net. This is slightly below my current salary, but then living costs in a second-tier Chinese town like Changsha are very low. Thanks to our sponsor being Shenyang Brilliance Automobile Co. and them being the importer of BMW cars into China, the offer includes a BMW 5-series sedan as a company car. The wage budget is 58K per month and thus only marginally above the current wage expenses, which is a concern for me, but at least he offers a transfer budget of 225K and shows willingness to trade off part of that transfer budget against a higher wage budget. I think that overall this is the better off the two offers I have and just about good enough to seriously consider giving up my current job and move to China. We agree that I use the remainder of the evening to consider the offer and to discuss it with my wife and agree to meet the next morning. In the evening I have a long phone conversation with my wife and she eventually agrees that I can accept the offer to become manager of Changsha Ginde. Her condition however is, that she would stay with the kids in Troisdorf at least until summer 2010 before deciding whether the whole family would relocate to China. There is an international school in Changsha but it is so far only taking kids between 7 and 9 years old. It will be hard to be separated so long, but I will be able to fully concentrate on my new job and we at least agree, that they will spend half of the upcoming summer school holiday with me in Changsha. 19.06.2009 (Friday):This morning I’m again picked up by the chauffeur of Zhang Peng and he then drives me to the Helong stadium. It’s a stunning 55.000 seater and I immediately feel the dream arising to fill this stadium with an enthusiastic crowd, a big task, knowing that the current average attendance is below 10.000. I again meet Zhang Peng, but this time he is accompanied by the other board members of Changsha Ginde. I’m thus introduced to He Bing (Managing Director), Jin Hui (General Manager) and Shang Kuiming (Director). After talking to them Zhang Peng invites me to a tour of the city. Changsha is the capital of the province Hunan in Southern China. It is located at the river Xiangjiang, a big offspring of the famous Yangtse river. Near Changsha are many lakes, rivers and hills and also a big beautiful natural resort. Changsha has around 6 million inhabitants, but 4 million of them occupy the suburbs of the Changsha municipal area. I like what I see and when we are back in the office of Zhang Peng, I accept the offer to become the new manager of Changsha Ginde, signing a contract until the end of 2010. Zhang Peng is delighted and tells me that I will have the full backing of the Changsha Ginde board. There is not too much pressure on me in terms of expected results but at least I should ensure that we stay clear of the relegation zone for this season. I then meet my assistant manager Hao Wei (32), who is a former Chinese international (5 caps) He introduces me to the 3 coaches, Wang Zhengfeng (42) coaching all aspects of the game, Zhao Tuqiang (46) the goalkeeper coach and Yu Ming (37, 1 cap) the fitness coach. I also meet Wang Zhong (46) and Yu Jiatian (48), the two physios. Hao Wei and the coaches then give me an overview of the team, explaining that they feel that the squad has the quality and the depth to avoid relegation. The squad looks as follows: Goalkeepers: Song Zhenyu (27), 12 caps Starter, Chinese international, but according to my research just about decent Wang Lue (24) Backup, don’t consider him good enough Shi Xiaotian (19) Reserve team goalkeeper, not good enough Defenders: Zhang Chenglin (22) DC, ST talented DC, primary backup there Ren Hang (20) DC is viewed as a big talent, but I’m not convinced Shim Jae-Won (32) S.Korea, 20 caps, DR/DC starting DR Zhao Ming (21) DC talented backup DC, currently injured Billy Mwanza (30) Zambia 3 caps, DC starting DC Wang Qiang (24) good DC, second starter Midfielders: Xu Bo (24) DMC, MC decent ball winning midfielder, backup Li Chunyu (22) MC, DMC, AMC starting playmaker, currently injured Liu Jianye (22), CM, DR, DL would normally be starter as ball winning midfielder, but currently also the only left-back in the team Zhao Ming (24) MR, AMR decent backup in right midfield Dai Qinhua (23) MC, ST backup central midfielder, can also play striker Lee Sang-Il (30) S.Korea, AML, ML one of two key players in team, starting left winger/midfielder Li Wenbo (25) MR, AMR, DR starting right midfielder, first backup at right-back Zhang Xiaobin (24) AMC, MC, AMR, AML has yet to show that he is worth his high salary, so far just versatile backup, currently injured Lian Yanfeng (22) ML, AML backup left midfielder Strikers: Kim Eun-Joong (30) S.Korea, 15 caps, ST one of two key players in team, complete forward can play both DLF and AF Jefferson Feijao (30), Brazil, att.allrounder good complete forward or target man, also decent as playmaker or winger Yu Guijun (24) ST, MC, MR 3rd striker, Trequarista, Poacher or Advanced Forward Wen Huyi (26) ST 4th striker, versatile, decent Liu Xiaofeng (24) ST, AMR Advanced Forward or winger, probably not really good enough for this level It is obvious that we have a glaring hole at left-back that will require my urgent attention. Liu Jianye is the only player in the squad who has any skills at this position, but he is much better suited to be our ball winning central midfielder than to cover up at left-back. For now though there is nobody else as even in the reserves there is no left-back. Hao Wei provides me with information about two players who he thinks could fill our gap at left-back. The first is the experienced Brazilian defender Emerson Aleixo (31) He is a natural central defender but can also competently play left-back. Looking at the information, he would probably be our strongest defender, should we manage to sign him, but the drawbacks are, that he’s not a natural left-back and that other clubs are already after him. The other player is the experienced Congolesian left-back Delain Sasa (33). He’s not as good as Aleixo and also already 33, but is at least a natural left-back. Hao Wei also recommends to take a look at Rafael Costa, a Brazilian defensive midfielder on whom we have not sufficient information. I ask Hao Wei to scout him at the next opportunity. All of these players are currently looking for a new club and have previously played in China. Before addressing any of them however, I need to gain more manoeuvring room in the wage budget and I go to Zhao Peng to negotiate that. He is quite flexible and we finally agree to increase the wage budget from 58K to 71K per month, but my transfer budget has now shrunk to 57K. I also discuss the left-back issue with him and the other board members and they mention a few Chinese left-backs who are on the market and may be worth a look. Those are: Yang Gang (32) DL,DR Wang Fan (29) DL,DR Li Koucheng (31) DL Liang Shiming (25) DL I’m planning to talk to those players in person to find two new left-backs ideally before our next league game starts on July 5th. In my tactical scheme that I intend to deploy I will play a flat four at the back with all four players focussing on defence. In midfield I want to play with attacking outfielders or wingers and with two central midfielders, one of which will assume a more defensive role trying to win balls and the other being a deep-lying playmaker type, supporting the attack with his passing and adding perhaps a few long-range shots. Upfront I want one of my two strikers to come from a deeper position and to run at the defence and the other being an advanced forward whose main role will be to put the ball into the net. Due to the injuries to two of my designated playmakers, I’d also like to sign one additional central midfield playmaker. Further needs might be an additional deep-lying forward, as most of our forwards are better suited to play the advanced forward role Finally I might also try to sign another decent goalkeeper as I’m concerned that I’m lacking quality in this area. I also intend to sign more coaches, if the board let’s me do that. I believe that it’s cheaper to make the existing players better than to buy new players, but in order to make them better, I think we need professional individualized training for all aspects of play. I will therefore look for available coaches skilled to coach areas like attacking play, defensive play, set-pieces, shooting and tactics and perhaps also fitness and aerobics. Finally I intend to install new training schemes and properly assign each player to a training scheme that is tailored to the role I like him to play in my team.
  4. team talks..?

    There are some excellent guides and tools out there on this topic (from Bubbatuna, Doc Sanders and Wolfsong in particular). Depending on match odds, player personalities and current morale I give some players teamtalks that either increase or decrease the pressure on them. Certain players (especially those with low determination and not so favourable personalities) often get a "no pressure" talk before the match, others with high determination and personalities like professional, spirited, etc. often get a "expect a performance from you" talk before the game. At halftime it's a completely different story, here I look at the motivation from the split view screen. Those players looking motivated, having a good game or better get no halftime talk, those doing ok get a "you have faith", those playing nervously get a "no pressure", comlacent ones get a "I expect more from you" or "don't get complacent", bad performers are either substituted off or get a "disappointed" or "I want to see more from you". This works pretty well for me, but it may not work for everybody.
  5. Does hiring a youth coach actually count against the limit of coaches your chairman would allow? I'm afraid it does, so I haven't jumped on any of the youth coaches with pretty good stats that want to join my club, because it would mean I'd have to fire one of my existing coaches first.
  6. But on the downside any club interested in signing you will also have to pay a higher compensation if you're on a long contract.
  7. Player name

    African first names can be very funny. I know that from doing business down there. Once had a female sales representative called Happy but my favourite is still the guy called Lovemore. In my current FM save I'm playing in China and there's a guy called Peng Peng. I thought with a name like that he's got to be a striker but he's actually a defender.
  8. When will you Retire from FM?

    I might consider retiring when the divorces related to playing FM become too expensive.
  9. I would choose Berry. I alway make my judgement by inserting all the individual attribute values into a spreadsheet which adds a weighting to the attributes based on the position-related importance of each attribute. If I would do that for your two goalkeepers, Berry would come out on top. I would give both the chance to show what they can do in pre-season and would sometimes change my positional ranking based on what I see on the field. Some players simply perform much better than their attribute values would indicate. But from what I see so far, I would start Berry.
  10. This obvious bug is in the game for quite a while already and I also had players retiring during a major tournament. I guess, SI will only eliminate this bug if enough people complain about it.
  11. Bayern Munich. I just hate them since childhood. Also have my reservations managing one of the super-rich clubs like Chelsea or Real, simply because it get's boring very quickly to win everything.
  12. Starting Unemployed

    I tend to completely ignore the star rating for computer processing power and it works fine for me. If I'd look at the rating, it would probably show 0 stars (should actually be minus something if that would exist) but the game runs okay including the 3D match graphics and my computer is about 4 years old. It all depends on your expectations in terms of game speed, I guess. If you're the kind of player who rushes through a sesaon in a week then my recommendations would not fit you. I usually manage 1 or 2 weeks per day but I only have about 2 hours per day when I have time to play.
  13. Starting Unemployed

    I always start unemployed but also with automatic as my starting rep. I also usually have almost all leagues worldwide open, which makes for an interesting and very international career. In my last save I started as Haladas Szombathely in the Hungarian 2nd league, took them into the Champions League, then accepted a job with Malmoe FF, from there to Olympique Marseille and then to Inter Milan. This time I started out with Changsha Ginde in the Chinese Super League and I'm just in my third season with them. For me it's really fun to dig into leagues and players you would normally never know anything about while not foresaking the chance to manage the big clubs later on. The only downside is, that once you get to the big clubs, you'll hardly recognise them as their squads will have changed massively and will include many regens. Find out for yourself but I guess you'll stay in familiar territory anyway with the rep you've chosen.
  14. Here you go: http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php?t=186381
  15. I have used Wolfsong's guide on teamtalks with relatively little success and am now using BubbaTuna's guide in combination with Doc Sanders Team Talk Optimizer. This way I avoid using "Wish luck" as a general pre-match talk, because here I use Doc Sanders method but for halftime and post-game talks I use BubbaTuna and it works pretty well so far. I guess the point here is really, it may not help everybody and it may not fit everybody's style, but if it helps some, that's already a good thing. Many thanks to BubbaTuna and Doc Sanders for their great guides but also thanks to Wolfsong whose guide has also provided useful insight and has led me to discover the guides I'm using now.