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Biscotti

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

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    CSE

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    Sestao River Club

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  1. Spain has an interesting definition for what counts as EU as well:
  2. This one has been a long time in coming - my FM playing has really slowed down of late Francisco | Sestao River Club | Spain | 2048/49 (Season 28) My personal goal for this season was to consolidate our Champions League qualification from last season - prove it wasn't a fluke. The media has me down as still being a mid-table side. I don't know what exactly has conspired to narrow the balance in La Liga, but last season was the first time in the entire save that the points total to win the league was below 85. This season was no different, but it was our strong form through the winter which saw us leading the pack. Despite having losing records to both Barcelona and Sevilla, we were still able to beat them to the title with two matches still to play. For the Champions League, we had a strong start - winning our first 3 games - but we couldn't maintain that and finished second in the group. We were subsequently knocked out by PSG in the first KO round. Luckily, as league winners, we should get a first-seed draw for next season and I hope to do better. This season also saw us lift our first Copa del Rey to make it a domestic double. Competitions | Transfers 1 & 2 | Youth Intake | Fixtures | New Records/PotS | Finances | Best XI (All-Time) I teased before that one of my players was selected in the World XI for the year, and I can now tell you it was none other than Juan Manuel. There's been a couple of times when I've considered selling him, but no team has ever come in with a reasonable offer, but quite glad I haven't really. The only stat he didn't dominate in was saves/90, which is as much down to us barely allowing that many shots! At the other end of the pitch, Simon Carter finally started to repay my faith cutting in from the left wing, and about halfway through the season I thought he was going to come out as top scorer, ending with 22 goals. Replacing the outgoing Gimeno for £28.5m was the man who did score more goals than Carter - Alex Galeano. His 24 goals (plus 15 in 12 for Paraguay) were essential in our great season and I'm looking for more of the same next year. The only academy graduate to feature in the first team this season was Gorka Saizar (YP24) who is definitely an able deputy, but is unlikely to ever become first choice. The only player from this year's class who caught the eye is Rubén Barasoain (YP28), but a distinct lack of pace means I'm not entirely sure where best to train him - maybe a mezzala-type CM? Basque count: 5 players (At least 10 starts, or 20 games overall)
  3. I've just had a player named in the World Team of the Year. This feels like a brand new experience for me.
  4. Thanks! We still have to qualify, but I'm pretty confident of that. Will be interesting to see our draw. EDIT: Scratch that, it looks like we go straight into the group stage. Maybe because Sevilla won the Europa League?
  5. Francisco | Sestao River Club | Spain | 2047/48 (Season 27) After last season's success, the media definitely had a better opinion of us, although they didn't expect a repeat. Honestly, I'm not sure I did either. In truth, we went even better. 15pts better than we were last season, and yet I'm not sure where our goals really came from - our top scorer only had 13 in the league (although this was the third highest of anyone). Our Europa League run was strong as well, reaching the final only to fall to a Sevilla side that had also thoroughly dominated the league. Competitions | Transfers 1 & 2 | Youth Intake | Fixtures | New Records/PotS | Finances | Best XI (All-Time) Our signing of the season would be Nicola Angeloni, although I'm not so sure he was among our top performers this season. Our top rated player was Evan Walker, but I'm not extending his loan again so as to free up a non-EU slot. Instead, I'd like to highlight his regular partner at the back, Levente Unghianu. His 96% pass accuracy has been exactly the sort of reliability we've needed to be able to play out of the back successfully. Our assist king this year has been Simon Carter, cutting in from the left. His average rating doesn't really reflect his impact, in my opinion, having both the best key passes/90 and chances created/90 on our team. That said, I wouldn't be against listening to good offers for him, as he is also taking up a non-EU slot and I think I'd like a Basque player out there if I could find one. Finally, the man who made this whole team work, Gonzalo Sánchez. Originally sitting in a more box-to-box role, he then shifted to a more ball-winner type role midway through the season and he was superb in both. He has been attracting a lot of interest, but I'm intending to hold firm to the £75m release clause he currently has. In terms of youngsters, Gorka Saizar (YP24) was the only academy graduate who got any real game time this year, but he's coming along very nicely and is definitely a solid choice for my alternate in the #10 role. This year's intake was possibly the worst I've had for years, with Jon Esnaola (YP27) being the best of a pretty bad bunch. Basque count: 4 players (At least 10 starts, or 20 games overall)
  6. It will indeed. It's been a frustrating journey, but I'm glad to be finally at this chapter. I'm still struggling to understand why Porto wanted rid of him, especially that cheap. Unfortunately, my budgets aren't all that generous this year, but playing in Europe will really help boost our finances to make next summer's signings be really interesting. I'm also really happy with my Basque core. A few of them are squad players, but I've been making a point of using them as my primary back-up when I've needed cover.
  7. Francisco | Sestao River Club | Spain | 2046/47 (Season 26) After last season being an unqualified success, this season I felt an aim for a safe mid-table finish was a reasonably realistic goal. I still remembered what happened the first time we came up. In truth, we were fairly consistent with last season's performance, finishing just 4 points short of our previous total, but other teams around us also did worse, and with an epic final run of four wins we snuck into 6th and a Europa League spot. I think maybe Real are starting to think we're a bogey team, seeing as we've beaten them three out of the last four meetings. Another fourth round exit in the cup, but it was to eventual winners Sevilla so I'm not too bothered at all. Competitions | Transfers 1 & 2 | Youth Intake | Fixtures Part 1 & Part 2 | New Records/PotS | Finances | Best XI (All-Time) Another 20 goal season for Aleix Gimeno - still maybe not quite at the levels I'm hoping for, especially with only one other player in double figures, but definitely not to be sniffed at. I feel like my options to cover for him are lacking, though, so I'm looking at a young player I've had away on loan to perhaps step into the hole. Evan Walker continues to impress on loan from Liverpool, and has already confirmed another year with us before this one ended. He was our top rated player and Liverpool have told me they'd want £160m if I were to try to buy him. My signing of the season came in January, as Porto decided they had no need of Edwin Jiménez and listed him for £2.9m. I bit their hand off, because he's exactly the type of player I've been struggling to bring in up to now. In terms of the academy, Gorka Iriarte (YP26b) and Mikel Arconada (YP26a) were the top recruits. I'm not sold on them, but it's still early and there's definitely room for squad players who are home grown. David Bengoetxea (YP21) played a handful of games as our understudy, but he's also upset that I rejected loan offers for him, so I'm going to look to shift him now before his contract runs down. At the other end of the pitch, both Aitor Martínez (YP22a) and Gaizka Moreno (YP22b) both played bit part roles. I think Martinez has some mileage as a squad player, but Moreno will probably be moved on as he's not quite got to the level I was hoping for - I'll see if I can find him a loan deal for next season. Basque count: 6 players (At least 10 starts, or 20 games overall)
  8. I'm not getting carried away yet - I'm happy for us to spend a season or two as the nearest chasing team before we get there - but I'm delighted by how we did this season.
  9. Francisco | Sestao River Club | Spain | 2045/46 (Season 25) Here we go again - our third bite of the La Liga cherry - and this time I'm thinking if I can't make it stick I might be done for this challenge. Fortunately, we were excellent this season and managed to comfortably earn ourselves an 8th place finish - 12 places above our predicted 20th. The highlight being winning both home and away of eventual league champions Real. Our Copa del Rey performance was better, as well, seeing us reach the fourth round and only losing out to other La Liga opposition. Competitions | Transfers 1 & 2 | Youth Intake (I failed) | Fixtures Part 1 & Part 2 | New Records/PotS | Finances | Best XI (All-Time) Juan Manuel did indeed continue to earn Spain caps. I'm still not sure if he's their number 1, but as I type this it's only a couple of weeks until the World Cup (current holders Denmark!) squads get announced. Evan Walker did indeed stick around for another season on loan and earned the Fans player of the Season award. I've made another offer to continue his stay, but it seems Liverpool are looking to get him involved with the first team so I don't think they'll allow it. Leading the "signing of the season" polls is right wing-back Pham Van Luan, a Slovenian that only cost me £1.2m and has been extremely good value for it. Moving forward, our assist leader this season was Xiaolong Zang, although I thought he had a few runs of games that were a little disappointing. My own personal favourite, though, has been £6m signing Aleix Gimeno. 19 goals isn't blow away, but considering the league top scorer only had 21 I feel like we can be proud of that. Aside from obviously building on our great season, the goal over the summer has to be to keep hold of our best players - even if it means risking their unhappiness. As for our academy - I completely failed by failing to get a shot of our youth intake, but honestly there wasn't anybody from it who stood out as one to watch. David Bengoetxea (YP21) is now deputising as my cup-goalkeeper. I don't know that he's going to reach a point of being first choice, but he might at least reach the level of being a back up who I have confidence in. I had the opportunity to bring back Ibon Santamaría (YP6b) for free as a versatile veteran, but in truth he never made it to the pitch and has mostly been useful for mentoring. I'm hoping to keep hold of him for that use until his retirement. In forward areas, both Aitor Martínez (YP22a) and Gaizka Moreno (YP22b) got a decent chunk of minutes, with both showing flashes of the players they might be able to become. Too early to commit fully to them yet, but I'm optimistic they'll both have a place in the near future. Basque count: 3 players (At least 10 starts, or 20 games overall) A slight drop in our Basque numbers, and I'll be looking to bring in a couple more who will be good enough for at least some first team appearances. Update edit: Manuel started Spain's opening game and I can't see any injuries, so I guess he's the man 😁. Also, the Walker loan has been extended, albeit with an increased wage contribution.
  10. Francisco | Sestao River Club | Spain | 2044/45 (Season 24) Once again a long time between updates for me, but this time not because it wasn't going well - I've just been playing other games. After last season's relegation, I wanted to try and keep the squad together as I knew we could bounce back up. A change of style was also in order, which meant bringing in some wide players. In truth, we made it look pretty straightforward. A slight blip in form around March wasn't enough to derail us and we won the league comfortably. The flip side of that is we were embarrassed in the cup. I've not really put much of any focus on that competition so far, but all the same we really should be doing better than a first round exit. Competitions | Transfers 1 & 2 | Youth Intake | Fixtures Part 1 & Part 2 | New Records/PotS | Finances | Best XI (All-Time) This season saw us drop down to just having one Juan Manuel, but I feel like earning caps for Spain while in the Segunda is a real achievement. At only 25, he's still got time to establish himself as the Spanish #1 and I hope I can keep hold of him. Sat in front of him has been our top performer by rating this season - on loan Evan Walker. He's been a rock for us, even filling in at full-back on a fair few occasions, and I've managed to get an agreement to keep him on loan for another season. By far my favourite player this year, however, has been Chinese-Italian Xioalong Zang. He joined us on a free from Inter and has been just what the doctor ordered on the right-hand side. This year's academy class sees Gorka Saizar (YP24) come through the ranks. We're blessed with a glut of attacking midfielders at the moment, especially with Aitor Martínez (YP22a) starting to break into the first team. With our Basque count creeping back towards my preferred minimum, I'm optimistic about where this club is heading. Basque count: 4 players (At least 10 starts, or 20 games overall)
  11. Francisco | Sestao River Club | Spain | 2043/44 (Season 23) This one has taken me a long time to play through, because it's been really frustrating for me - to the point that I've just wanted to play other games instead. Another relegation on my record, and this time I think I'm in need of a big tactical overhaul. My 5-2-1-2 system has been really good to me in the lower tiers, but it's now apparent that I need to adapt if I want to make it at the top. Competitions | Transfers 1 & 2 | Youth Intake | Fixtures Part 1 & Part 2 | New Records/PotS | Finances | Best XI (All-Time) While one Juan Manuel hasn't really made the transition to La Liga, the other Juan Manuel has been our best player. If it weren't for him I think we'd have possibly broken the record for lowest points in a season. The only other player I want to highlight came into prominence toward the end of the season, and will hopefully be my number 9 moving forward, and that's Alain Garcia. He cost me £3.7m last January, and I think if I can just boost his finishing a few points he might really be a star. This year's youth preview seemed to promise a lot, but when it came round to intake day the only real standout for me was Víctor Albisu (YP23). Added to that, none of my previous academy products where anywhere near playing regular football for us, but I'm hoping to have a couple of them available off the bench regularly for us next season. Yann Magne unfortunately had his release clause triggered, and we were unable to keep him at the club. I think I mentioned a couple of seasons back about Asier Ibañez coming back to us to finish his career, and he has now been my assistant for a little while. Now that he's got a couple of coaching courses under his belt he's looking like a pretty solid AssMan, so I'm glad I pulled the trigger there. Basque count: 2 players (At least 10 starts, or 20 games overall)
  12. It is indeed. Honestly, when I saw the way you do it I found myself thinking "that's a much more sensible way to do it"
  13. Francisco | Sestao River Club | Spain | 2042/43 (Season 22) I have to say, I thought by this many seasons I'd at least be challenging to make the Champions League spots in La Liga, but there you go. After consecutive playoff finals, the media were kind enough to predict we'd finish 13th. Thanks guys. We, of course, had other plans and after a couple of early losses we really found our mojo. A run of 24 unbeaten which included a 9-win streak saw us start to build a bit of a gap at the top which honestly never looked under threat. In the end we finished one point short of the league record and were really good value for our promotion. Based on my transfer activity, I actually think we'd have gone into the red this season if I'd not made the sales I had, so while I'm sad to see some players go I do feel it was necessary. Happy enough with the replacements I got in, though. Competitions | Transfers | Youth Intake | Fixtures Part 1 & Part 2 | New Records/PotS | Finances | Best XI (All-Time) You may have seen the snip I grabbed of a great goal-scoring start by a player. Well in the end, Juan Manuel amassed 39 goals from 43(1) appearances. I'm not sure how he'll do making the step up, but those are some ridiculous numbers no matter what level you're playing at. That he's not made his way into the overall best XI astounds me (nor anyone else from our current crop). A lot of clubs were trying to convince me to sell him in January, and I told him I needed him for this season but that I'd definitely accept bids in the summer. Now that we've been promoted, he's withdrawn his complaint and is happy to stay with us, which is fantastic news! Speaking of our current crop, Ciprian Redinciuc is our captain fantastic. 4 seasons with us now, with 2 of them as captain, and I've been lucky enough to convince him that he doesn't want to leave (yet). His 10 assists have been pretty important, but not as important as the 15 provided by Javier Telletxea. I spent slightly less on him than I brought in with the outgoing Sáez, but I was still worried I was overpaying merely because of his Basque-ness. Turns out I needn't have worried and he turned out to be our best signing this season. Exciting times in our academy, as both Aitor Martínez (YP22a) and Gaizka Moreno (YP22b) look like great talents. I don't think they're anywhere near the first team yet, but I'd like to think that in two or three years they'll be showing themselves to be worth consideration. As for players who are in and around the first team, Yann Magne (YP18a) was part of the 4-man rotation at centre-back. His season was solid, albeit not much better than that, but at only 20 I'm hardly expecting him to pull up trees just yet. David Bengoetxea (YP21) was able to get a chance this season, playing some early cup games and the odd league game as well. Unfortunately, there were a couple of big errors made at the end of the season after we'd already secured the title which told me he's not ready yet. I feel like at 16 it's a little too early to be loaning him out, but I'm not ready to have him as my number two - especially in La Liga. Basque count: 3 players (At least 10 starts, or 20 games overall)
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