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Biscotti

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    Widzew

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  1. Adam Hanley | RTS Widzew Łódź | Poland | Season 10 (2028/29) I'm not going to lie, it's been long enough since I posted one of these that I had to look up what season it was... League Winner, Cup Winner, Polish Super Cup Winner. None of these are important - Polish football is not keeping up with my squad, so the results there don't really matter. The Champions League is the goal I have left to achieve. This season's group looked as follows: (alphabetised, not seeding order) This was definitely going to be a tough group, and even getting third place would be a tough ask. The first two rounds were as expected, albeit slightly disappointing: The fact I'm posting this at all, though, tells you that this wasn't how the story continued, as we next welcomed Real into the city of Łódź: All was not done and dusted, though. We had a decent set of results, culminating in that away game in Manchester I shared before: With Madrid getting the win in Eindhoven, we squeaked into that second place spot and for the first time in this save we were in the first knockout round of the Champions League! Our opponents would be the definitely beatable Benfica. Certainly not easy, but there were no easy games at this stage. The first leg was played at home, and a 34' second yellow card for Adrian Michalski would cost us dearly: Certainly not done and dusted, but we'd have an uphill struggle to move forward. I can only describe the second leg as embarrassing. We just didn't show up. I may have been missing 3 key midfielders, but that's no excuse. I generally have good faith in my secondary players but after this display I may have to seriously consider some futures. All told, I'm still very proud of this campaign and we'll look to build further on this going forward. I was just hoping that perhaps we were a little closer to the prize than we appear to be. I might highlight some of my players in another post a bit later on, but for now this will suffice for an update
  2. I know I've not posted any updates lately. My playing has slowed considerably and the last season or two had nothing at all worth reporting on xD This season may need me to write it up once I finish it, though:
  3. @2481 It's looking good: We've had a comfortable bank balance for a few years now, but Poland really doesn't have the appeal to splurge on players. My philosophy has always been to look to youth, though, so I have a very young squad with an average age of just 22. A couple of potential gems in you the youth squads at the moment, but they still need time to develop.
  4. Not playing a second-string side, as I still don't have the depth to make me comfortable, but definitely rotating 3-4 players most games. Will do the youngsters good to get the game time. For me, International Management is a bit of a drag and SI need to do some work to make it actually interesting, so I wouldn't take it. If you like International management, though, you should 100% take it.
  5. Adam Hanley | RTS Widzew Łódź | Poland | Season 8 (2026/27) This season we clinched the league title with 5 still to play, and that makes 3 in a row, so from here on the focus will be shifting. Transfers As has been my transfer policy to this point, the majority of these were youngsters coming in with an eye to them being good players for us in a couple of years. Having both Hugo and de Vries both in and out in the same season felt a little odd, but neither were playing regularly and Hugo was non-EU. Both went out with sell on clauses, so I'm happy enough with them. Prochazka and Valencia both came in as fully-fledged Wonderkids and Valencia especially has been representing incredible value for money. One thing I did notice toward the end of the season, though, was that my best XI only has a single Polish player in it. As the board are giving me silly transfer budgets for a league of our stature, I'm going to look to invest in some more Polish youngsters even if it means overpaying a little for them. The Season For this season we got entered straight into the Group Stage of the Champions League, but unfortunately we are still a 4th seed giving us a group of Arsenal, Atletico and Leverkusen. We were actually quite competitive - beating Leverkusen both ways and then we won the home tie against Atletico to set us up with a chance of going through on the final matchday home to Arsenal. A win would keep us level on points with Atleti, with both results having been 3-1 to the home team meaning it would come to goal difference. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be as Arsenal squeezed out a narrow 1-0 win against us to force us down into the Europa League. Once the knockout stages started we were given the relatively simple progression of Slavia, Hamburg and AZ to bring us to a Semi-Final against Real. Unfortunately, this was to be where it ended, but it was a step further than the season before so I can't really complain. The Polish coefficient has dropped again, meaning this coming season we will have to go through the playoff again, but I'm confident we can make the Group Stage again. We are now on the final march toward the end of this challenge. This season did also see me take up a position as a club legend - the first for the club. Maybe in the not too distant future we might look to build a new stadium. I've not ever had one named after me in all of my FM years. League Championship Group | Competitions Players of the Season Damir Kupreski (MC) - Another great season for Kupreski saw him provide another 10 goals and 13 assists with a 7.35 average rating. Not quite as spectacular as last season, but still invaluable. James Balogun (DL) - Whilst the French left wing-back didn't light up the stats charts, his work on the wing allowed Kubicek ahead of him the freedom to really involve himself in the play all the time. Solid defensively as well meant he is in no danger of being dropped any time soon. Gonçalo Brandão (ST) - Last season I stated that he was unfortunate to have remained my second choice. This season he repaid my promoting him be providing 29 goals. It's not a world-beating total, but with double figures across multiple other players on the pitch, it's exactly what is needed. Best Eleven | Overall
  6. Adam Hanley | RTS Widzew Łódź | Poland | Season 7 (2025/26) After our success last season the board stepped up their expectations - this was going to be the hardest season yet to meet their goals. First off we were asked to retain our league title. Certainly achievable, but I know full well that there are a couple of other teams in Poland who are more than capable of pushing us all the way. Next up the board requested that I reach the group stage of the Champions League. Another achievable objective, seeing as we only needed to win in the Champions Playoff in order to get there, but still not a walk in the park. As for the FA Cup, we were expected to reach the final. I've made it known before that I don't really consider it an essential trophy, but my rotation policy might take a hit if I'm to achieve what's expected of me. Transfers The only transfer I really want to touch on is the Maciej Sliwa one. When that bid came in the first thing that came to mind was that he missed basically all of last season through injury. He was most definitely a key player for us, but I was confident in my squad and so I ultimately let him go. The Season In the end, it was quite a comfortable league campaign. Not so much that I felt I could slack off, but I never felt it was in doubt. It was a similar story for the FA Cup, where in the 6 rounds we only faced 2 Ekstraklasa teams and that wasn't the Semi-Final or Final. We've now added this one to my trophy cabinet. Our opponents for the Champions League Playoff were to be Dinamo Zagreb. A slightly kind draw, but not one I was going to take lightly. We lost the away leg 2-1 and I was happy enough with coming away with the away goal expecting we would be strong at home. Strong was an understatement as we ran out 5-0 winners to set up a group stage consisting of Man City, Inter and Marseille. It sucks to be the fourth seed. I didn't dare hope for something like last season's Europa League group, so when we lost both home and away to Inter and Man City I wasn't at all surprised. I wanted to try and pick up 4 points over Marseille to make it through to the Europa League, but we actually managed to pick up 6 to make it look more comfortable. This dropped us into the Europa League First Knockout round and I was hoping for an easy draw. Dortmund were not that easy draw. They came to us first and, against all expectations, we spanked them 3-0. It was by no means done, but we performed well in the away leg drawing 1-1 to progress. The second round was Bournemouth, which I judged to be a much easier tie. We started by thumping them 5-0 in Łódź to make for a simple job to do in Bournemouth - a 3-1 win. We moved now to the quarter-finals, where there were still a few smaller sides left, but instead we got drawn against Arsenal. Based on our campaign up to this point, it was certainly achievable, but unfortunately a 5-4 aggregate loss was to be the end of us. Still incredibly proud of our run and next year we go straight into the Champions League group stage. Championship Group | Competitions Players of the Season Damir Kupreski (MC) - Our Serbian playmaker was sensational this season, leading the club average rating, scoring, assist and man of the match charts. Radoslaw Kruppa (DC) - In a season where we conceded fewer goals than ever before, it is only right to highlight the man who ran that back line for me. Kruppa earned himself a 7.32 average rating from the heart of the defence, despite only scoring 2 goals all season. Gonçalo Brandão (ST) - When I looked back at the statistics at the end of the season I realised I'd done Brandão a disservice because he was my second choice all season. A return of 21 in 25 starts is superb and I think I've got to give some serious consideration got making him first choice next year. Best Eleven | Overall
  7. Adam Hanley | RTS Widzew Łódź | Poland | Season 6 (2024/25) The last three seasons had all resulted in second place finishes. It was time to give a serious go at the title. Transfers The only outbound player of note was Hidalgo, who most definitely was a star for us but unfortunately I wasn't able to negotiate a more suitable release clause for him, but seeing as we picked him up on a free transfer it's still some wonderful business. Michael Ameyaw was also moved on despite having been a key figure for us over the previous five seasons because we made a slight change to the way we played and he was only really able to play in the AMC slot. For the incoming, we'll start with the big money. I know I overpaid a little on Nedim Sapina, but obviously we were paying a premium for bringing him in from a rival club. I still feel justified, though. Superb physical attributes and great work rate means he and Budzik have been back-and-forth for the starting spot this season. Villalba and Znaor were both brought in upon the departure of Hidalgo. Alexis Villalba slots straight in where Hidalgo left us, with Vinko Znaor joining us as a much taller option with more of a backup role. Andrea Ridolfi joined us as a prospect right wing-back and looked pretty decent when he was required to fill in for Brabec. Could well be a future star for us, but there's also a chance I've paid more than he's going to be worth. Last season I was using one of our youngsters as backup striker, but I never really felt that comfortable. Gonçalo Brandão comes to us as a rotation option, but honestly is probably on a par if not better than Sikora both physically and mentally. It will be interesting to see going forward if I start to favour the younger Portuguese player. The Season Our first run at the Champions League was going to be a very tough one, having to start in the Best Placed Second Qualifying round. FC Midtjyland were our first opponents, and we fairly comfortably dealt with them 2-0 in both legs. The Best Placed Third Qualifying round drew us against Sporting. A hard fought 2-2 draw at home was then followed by a tough 2-1 loss in Lisboa in which we led from the 21st minute until the 67th. I wasn't too downhearted, though, as this was always going to be a big ask. This meant we got ourselves into the hat for the Europa League group stage where we were joined by Lechia, but no other Polish teams. Lechia were given a tough - but not impossible - group containing Ajax, Charleroi and Hertha. We, on the other hand, got a much more difficult looking group of AZ, Lazio and Villarreal. I figured there was an outside chance of scraping second place if results went our way. In actual fact, we ended up topping the group without losing a game and this gave us a first qualifying round draw against Hamburger SV. Much like the Sporting game before, I knew we had a shot but it was going to be tough. We lost 3-2 in Hamburg, but with 2 away goals, I knew we definitely had the odds in our favour for the return. It wasn't to be, however, as an own goal 8 minutes into the match was swiftly followed by a second Hamburger goal and we just sort of gave up. Possibly my most disappointing match of the season . That left us to look at the league. From matchday 6 we never dropped below second. Despite a few slips, we entered the Championship Group with a rather comfortable lead of 7 points at the top of the table over chasing Legia. Things were not sealed at this point, and avoiding a loss to Legia when we met again was essential. Better still, an emphatic 3-0 win meant we actually confirmed our title against Legia with 2 still to play. This puts us into the Champions playoff for the Champions League next season, meaning we are just a single win from making it into the Group Stage and at a minimum guaranteeing us a spot in the Europa League groups. League | Championship Group Players of the Season James Balogun (DL) - This season I switched from an attacking central midfielder to a holding Half Back. Balogun was a large beneficiary of this as it gave him much more freedom to push forward from the back. Mariusz Sikora (ST) - Not quite as good for Sikora this season, but with reliable back-up available he actually played about 10 fewer games this time out. Still scored more than the magic 20 and was our top scorer. David Brabec (DR) - Brabec was already starting to shine last season, but this year with the better defensive shape he really was integral to ensuring we always had a man available when we were on the attack. Much like Balogun, he didn't contribute directly to many goals, but he definitely has a bright future with us. Artur Krzczuk (DM) - After a couple of seasons away on loan it was clear that Krzczuk was ready to be a big part of an Ekstraklasa side and he was a notable part of the reason I chose to switch to a DM system. more than 700 more passes attempted than any other player on the team and a 91% pass accuracy showed that he was the lynchpin through which all of our play flowed. This season I intend to do everything I can to remove his £3.5m release clause before it is too late. Best Eleven | Overall
  8. Good to see you're still with us @rlipscombe and great work on getting that first step done All the best for Serie B.
  9. Good luck @uroszila! Looks like a club with an interesting history. Always glad to see additional people starting.
  10. 2 in a row, because I was already most of the way through this season when I posted that last one Adam Hanley | RTS Widzew Łódź | Poland | Season 5 (2023/24) The board this season were expecting a top half finish along with the 3rd qualifying round of the Europa League. Personally, I felt another finish in-and-around the top of the table and maybe scrape that second Champions League spot had to be my goal. I was looking to make it into the Europa League groups, but considering last season and that I was still a little short on squad depth I knew that would be tough. Transfers Plenty to talk about here, so I'll start with the outs. We made a bit of a loss on Niezgoda - he was brought in last year to be my backup 'keeper but towards the end of the season was a little disgruntled at the lack of games so I allowed him to leave. He only played a bit-part at Korona as well, so I think I was justified. Donnelly and Nawotka were both likely to play second fiddle to Brabec at right-back, and neither would be happy as a backup, so they were both moved on as well. Also both at a loss, but our financial stability is pretty well set at the moment. Chakvetadze came to us on a free last season but spent it out on loan due to him being difficult to fit in around the foreign player limits. This season he stepped into the first choice left-back position with a loanee as a backup. A 3m bid from a big team when his understudy was doing just as well was a no-brainer for me. Bochniewicz was our best centre-back according to my AssMan, but I'd found I wasn't playing him unless someone needed a rest, so again a good offer coming in required no thought at all. We doubled our money there too. Now for the ins. James Balogun would be the obvious place to start, as he's the big money man. He was the left-back we had on loan and as soon as the transfer of Chakvetadze was confirmed I made the move to secure this guy permanently. His technicals have a little way to go for what I ultimately need, but that Driven personality means he's an asset in the dressing room as well. Manuel Jesús Hidalgo came to us on a free but was demanding a contract that guaranteed him some first-team football. Slightly short for my preference on a centre-back, but his jumping reach wasn't bad at all. I neglected him for the first month or so of the season, but when he complained about lack of games I gave him the chance and never looked back. Unfortunately, he was called up to the Spanish U20 squad for the French Youth Invitational, meaning he missed our last game of the season. The final incoming player to highlight is Damir Kupreski. I wasn't really in the market for another central midfielder, as my starting pair were solid and I had good looking youngsters who could step in when needed. Kupreski didn't really excel in any particular area but is solid for any midfield role, and when I saw his Perfectionist personality I knew he had to be someone I got in. He didn't take long to establish himself as playing more often than not. The Season The Europa League was much as expected again, with us making the Fourth Qualifying round before being bested by FC Zürich. Not to be scoffed at, especially as I didn't feel like we had the depth to maintain a European campaign either. In the FA Cup, we made our first run of note, making it all the way to the final only to lose to Wisła Kraków. I wasn't too disappointed, as the cup is not my priority. I'd like to win it at some point, but seeing as we've leap-frogged it as our route into Europe it's not an urgency. At 20 league games in, Lechia were running away with the league, and we were embroiled in a 3-way battle for second place. We then went on a winning run which gave us some clean air while Lechia dropped points a couple of times. This meant that at matchday 27, when we went away to Lechia, we were 6 points behind them with a slightly worse goal difference. I was satisfied in second place at this point, but I also knew that if we were to pick up a win it could actually put us in with a chance of making a late challenge for the title. Then this happened. I was beside myself. I don't remember the last time I had a league game make me so incredibly happy. A 14 goal swing meant we also had considerably superior goal difference. Maybe it was on? Both us and Lechia were a bit scrappy, so when we met at their ground again for the Championship Group match we were still 3 points behind with the superior goal difference. A repeat performance might have disturbed the neighbours... It wasn't to be, though. We struck late to take a 2-1 lead in the 81st minute, but they came back to equalise on the 90th and the match finished 2-2. Not a disaster, but it meant we knew we needed them to slip up with just 2 still to play. Matchday 36 of 37 saw us away at Śląsk, while Lechia were away at last season's champions Lech. We ran out comfortable 4-0 winners, but Lechia also kept up their end with a 2-0 win. On to the final game. We were at home to third place Jagiellonia, who still had it all to play for as the Europa League spots were still really tight. Lechia were at home to Legia, who were also still in with that shot at the Europa League. 33' - We go ahead with a Kupreski penalty (1-0). 36' & 37' - Jagiellonia hit us with a quick double putting us behind (1-2). The other game is still 0-0, but it doesn't matter at all if we aren't able to win. 45+1' - Sikora levels things up for us. Still goalless in Gdansk as we go to half-time. 47' - Guillermo Rivas (a player I've had my eye on) put Legia 0-1 up. The score is still irrelevant if we don't win our game. 75' - Still no change and I throw on my first-choice left winger who was still not completely recovered from a knee ligament sprain. Desperation sets in. 90+1' - Jagiellonia are attacking us, but some sloppy control allows us to clear. Their centre-back pulls up injured while recovering the ball allowing Sikora to nip in and convert. No change in the other game. WE'VE DONE IT!!!! 90+2' - But Legia committed too many men forward and then misplace a pass. Lechia punished them with a swift break and break our hearts in the process. FT - I'm an emotional wreck and need to turn the game off for a few hours. League | Championship Group So we didn't win the league this time out, but we gave it a damned good try. I feel good about our future. I want to win the league next season, although I think a realistic goal is just to still be in the conversation come season's end. Our first run at the Champions League, too. I'd like to make the groups, but again I think a realistic goal is actually making the Europa League groups, maybe even getting out of them. Players of the Season Rafal Budzik (AMR) - Last season Budzik was on course to smash our assists record but he went off the boil a bit. This season he was much better, but honestly, I think his and the AMC slots are currently the most replaceable positions. I don't think I'm actively looking to replace, but if the right player comes up, who knows? Mariusz Sikora (ST) - I said at the end of last season that I needed someone to score 20 a season. Sikora's 32 (24 in the league) was exactly the kind of answer I was looking for. I don't yet have a suitable understudy for him, and that concerns me. Maciej Sliwa (AML) - The third prong in our strong attacking line and our second top goalscorer. He did a lot better with injuries this season, only missing about 6 weeks of football, and it showed. My understudy for him is less of an inside-forward and more of a winger but has plenty of potential. I'm considering a tweak to my system for next season so we'll see if perhaps Sliwa is shifted to a more wing-based role instead of cutting inside. Best Eleven | Overall I'm thinking of switching to a DM based version of the same system I've been using. AMC has been a slot I've not been entirely happy with for a couple of seasons and finding the right replacement has proven a challenge. Playing with a DM will hopefully help shore up our back-line allowing Balogun and Brabec to push forward the way they both like to do. Otherwise, though, I'm just looking to add some depth. We have a couple of promising youngsters that have been away on loan this season who I need to have a long look at but otherwise, I'm happy enough with the squad. Budgets have been set pretty high, so I expect I'll still splurge on someone who I really don't need...
  11. Adam Hanley | RTS Widzew Łódź | Poland | Season 4 (2022/23) Last season was such a success that I couldn't imagine doing it again, but I did feel like we ought to be up in that conversation again. The board were happy enough with mid-table, so there was no pressure on us to succeed. Transfers No really major ins this time around, although a few of those players I feel like I overpaid a little bit on what turned out to only be squad players for me. Gancarczyk's departure was certainly a disappointment, but it was going to be impossible to keep hold of him with clubs the size of Milan showing interest, so I took the decision to cash in. I already had other players ready to fill his spot in the squad, but they're not quite on his level. This time out it was Lech who ran away with the league, leaving second place tightly contested between ourselves, Bruk-Bet Termalica and Wisła Kraków. The battle stayed tight right to the end, but ultimately we just about scraped into back-to-back runners-up medals. The Europa League seemed like it should have been simple enough for us, but perhaps that was our downfall - losing out on away goals to FC Nordsjælland in just the third qualifying round. We're in the Europa League hat again this coming season, with the added incentive that the next cycle will have 2 Polish teams in the Champions League, so We're definitely looking to at least grab another second place. League | Championship Group | Europa League Jakub Moder (MC) - Once again the core to our entire setup. I'm hoping to have some competition for him in the near future, but at the moment our record transfer is still proving to be worth every penny. Mariusz Sikora (ST) - This lad was already in place as backup to Al-Harish, and with the Libyan leaving us Sikora stepped up to perfectly fill the space. That said, I really think I need a 20-a-season player in order to take the next step. Camora (DL) - Fans Player of the Season. Was still essential to us in bringing a degree of experience. Unfortunately he wasn't able to play week in and week out but after retiring at the end of the season he has moved into our U18 coaching setup and I'm hoping he'll be a part of the club for many years to come.
  12. A quick update on my next season: It's only the 6th of August, but already I'm getting mail regarding the potential breaking of the assists record...
  13. That's a shame, man. Sounds like you had a really good connection to the club so maybe it's worth giving it another go? Still a long way to go. That first season is so often the hardest.
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