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  1. There are a few things you might want to think about when trying to balance the tactic. 1) Do you really need a player from central midfield (BBM) trying to run into the box? What happens when the play breaks down in the opposition's final third and you only have Torreira back to delay counter attacks? I think you need a player which is a bit more conservative alongside your defend duty MC to help him. 2) You have two number 9s and two number 10s in this system, you need to pick one partnership and utilize the other two players in a way which creates space for them to work. Players who operate out wide such as wingers create space centrally by dragging opposition defenders out wide, similarly players who operate inside such as Inside Forwards create space out wide by pulling defenders narrower. You need to find a balance. 3) Why not play Torreira in the RCM position and give Bellerin an attack duty to give better width on the right flank? 4) I'd also think about not having both my fullbacks playing as wingbacks given you have no DM in the system. I don't think Monreal or Kolasinac is well suited to being wingbacks anyway so perhaps look to play them as more defensively oriented fullbacks instead? 5) Alternatively, if you aren't averse to changing formations again why not try a narrow/wide diamond and have Aubameyang and Lacazette upfront as the strike partnership with Ozil as the AMC and Torreira as the DMC?
  2. If you want to get the best out of Ozil you should be looking to play him centrally as an AMC or MC especially if adopting a shorter passing style, that way he has a far greater scope for where he can pass. On the wing, his passes can only go two ways and that is either inside or backwards. As for exploiting Aubameyang's pace, I'd consider using him as an IF on the attack duty as an AML but given the rest of the tactic, I think you are going to struggle to create situations where you can consistently exploit that aspect of his game. In my opinion, you are being rather passive with your players and they aren't really functioning as a coherent unit. You don't need 2 defend duties in the central midfield and you can afford to be more aggressive with the forward movements of one of your fullbacks given you have a DM who will sit back and cover when they go high up the pitch. You can also be more aggressive with Ramsey and play him on an attack duty so that he gets up the pitch and offers more close support to your lone striker which you need. What are you observing in the games that you are drawing when you think you should be winning?
  3. The 2nd tactic is an improvement but I would think about the following. - Low Crosses are only really effective when made from the byline but you don't have anyone in the team driving to the byline to provide that sort of delivery. - I wouldn't split the defensive line by having one central defender on the cover duty and the other on the defend duty. The concern would be that doing that just creates space in between them which can make them vulnerable. I don't think it's a good idea when combined with a higher defensive line as I think that the cover duty defender will just play everyone onside given his slightly deeper positioning. - You still don't have a clearly defined number 10, number 9 partnership. All the players you expect to contribute to attacking are all congesting the central areas and wanting to do very similar things. You need more variety in order to disrupt the opposition defensive shape. At the moment it's very predictable.
  4. I think you are approaching this from the wrong angle with the questions that you are asking. - Rather than thinking about whether a BWM (Defend) will work you should be asking yourself what do I need from the player in the system I'm constructing. In a 4-2-3-1 it is essential that the 2 midfield roles are more disciplined defensively to add balance to the system and act like the double pivot. If I were playing that formation I wouldn't use the BWM as I wouldn't want him charging out of position when the opposition has the ball given that he is the last line of defence in front of the defensive line. The role also wouldn't be the best choice for a player that I expected to recycle possession from deeper positions. I think a Central Midfielder (Defend) or a Deep Lying Playmaker (Defend) would be more suitable for that job. - There is a commonly held misconception around here that giving a team instruction X or a player instruction Y guarantees that you see that behaviour from them. The reality is that much like real life football, players will only perform actions that they 'see'. If you want a Wingback to cross less then what is the point of playing a wingback in the first place as you are neutering a significant component of the role. You are naturally going to see crosses given the formation you are playing with 2 players starting in wide positions (The Inside Forward cut inside instruction is an on the ball instruction). That is why I suggested using fullbacks as they can provide the width but also can be made to have a greater tendency to pass inside rather than attempt a cross. Besides, adopting wingbacks in a system without a DM is risky given how much more aggressive wingbacks can be with their forward movements when compared with fullbacks. - Much like in midfield there are 3 key duties you need to have fulfilled in a strike partnership. The first is holding, the second is creating and the third is running. Typically, the number 10 holds up the ball and does the creating while the number 9 does the running. As you have 4 players in your AM and ST positions you need to decide the two players you want to be your partnership and how you are going to get the other two to create space for them in order for them to perform their roles most efficiently. The problem you have in your latest tactic is that you have 3 players acting like number 10s (the two IFs and AP) and your PF acting as a number 9. You also need to consider what style of football best suits the striker you wish to use. For e.g. playing a Poacher in a patient possession style is sub-optimal as they thrive on quick transitions and more direct passes so they can take advantage of teams which haven't recovered their defensive shape whereas a False 9 would be a much more suitable role for a possession style. You have to think holistically and select roles which work well within the style of play you are trying to create. - Pass Into Space is a good instruction to use when the opposition is vacating their defensive shape by pressing hard but if they aren't doing that then it's not a good instruction to use. The speed of your players is largely irrelevant as a reason to choose this instruction, the most important attribute you should be looking at is their Off The Ball. You could be Usain Bolt but if you don't position yourself in the space where the ball is to be played your speed isn't going to help you. - There is nothing wrong with the instruction to Play Out Of Defence but in the system that you posted initially, it didn't make sense for the reasons I laid out before. In the second system, you posted it still doesn't make sense. As I said before simply picking an instruction doesn't guarantee you observe that behaviour. The more important questions when deciding to adopt any TI is to what end and how can I adjust the system to best take advantage of this? As for the Be More Expressive TI, I think it's important to think about context. Is the team you are playing with significantly better than all the others in the league which would afford you the luxury of getting away with allowing your players more creative freedom? If the answer is no then I wouldn't use it as a starting TI for every game. You could even make the argument that allowing your players the freedom to do as they please can be counterproductive when trying to break down teams which are parking the bus. When it comes to talking about BPD and Sweeper Keepers the key thing to keep in mind is that ATTRIBUTES are key. If you do have a great passer of the ball as one of your central defenders you don't need to use the BPD role to get that out of him. The main problem with selecting both Sweeper Keepers and BPD is their tendency to want to be the playmakers as both roles want to play more direct passes which don't mesh well with trying to Play Out Of Defence. - I'd ignore the recommended roles for now and focus on choosing roles which compliment the style of play you want to adopt rather than trying to mould the tactic around the roles which the game THINKS are best for the player. The information the game provides is correct based on the attribute profile of the players but is misleading in that it has no context so the player has to decipher that for themselves. This is a team sport and as such, I can guarantee that you will get better performances out of a player who is adopting a role which they might not be best suited to but nonetheless fits harmoniously with the rest of the tactic than playing a player in their favoured role which doesn't suit the tactic at all. Just try it and see how it works out. - What highlight mode do you choose when watching the matches? I get the impression that you are playing the game blindly and making changes not based on concrete information but on speculation. By watching a game in more extensive detail you can more easily spot what is happening with your tactic and begin to see trends. Slap the game on 2D and watch the first half of a game on full (can be a previous game if you don't want to interrupt the save), watch the movement of your players when you have the ball and when you don't, pause during transitions and see whether the players are behaving as you want. If you do this you will quickly improve tactically as you'll be able to make more informed decisions. - Any TI you pick is just biasing the play in a certain way. The more TIs you adopt the more restricted your players will be if they are expected to follow your instructions to the letter. That is why I'm of the school of thought that less is more when it comes to TIs. If you are having to select a lot of TIs then fundamentally the building blocks (formation, mentality, roles and duties) aren't right as you should be able to get pretty close to your desired style of play without any TIs. Also, bear in mind that introducing a tendency to do one thing reduces the tendency to do another. For e.g. choosing the Play Through The Middle instruction reduces wide play which can reduce your wide players' contribution to attacks which can be damaging especially when facing teams that are defending narrow. - If your defence is 'no good' then I'd argue that is more of a reason to play a counter press to try and prevent opposition attacks developing into your final third. Much like anything though you should never view things in isolation and try to see the bigger picture. In the first tactic, you posted you have 2 players solely dedicated to defending. That is an enormous amount of burden to place on them and is likely the reason why they struggle to perform well. Add in the fact that you have split the defensive line by adopting a cover and defend duty and I can see why you have issues. Defending and attacking aren't just reserved to defenders and attackers. You could make the argument that your most important defenders are your attackers and your most important attackers are your defenders given that they are usually the first point of contact when it comes to both phases of play and set the tone for how both phases of play are likely to develop. I have learnt the only way to really improve at this game is to watch matches and see how your tactics are playing out. In order to succeed you have to be prepared to fail, as long as you learn from it you'll get better. Sorry for another big block of text for you to read. Best of luck
  5. I think there are a number of issues with this tactic when it comes to getting what you state you want. I think you've gone too heavy with the team instructions and there doesn't appear to be any clear vision of what it is you want to create. Before you even begin building a tactic you need to think about what it is you are trying to create and why. You need to be questioning your choices of TIs and thinking carefully about what you want your players to do on the pitch in all phases of play and more importantly whether they are capable of doing it. Here are some bullet points I think you might want to consider: - You have no holding midfielder (defend duty) in your midfield which has two very negative consequences for your team both on and off the ball. When you don't have the ball you have no screen for your central defenders which means any opposition fielding an AMC or MC that attacks that space in between your midfield and defensive line is going to have a lot of time and space on the ball. You will really struggle against teams which break quickly as there is nobody hanging back to delay any counter attacks instead the opposition is right into your backline which is very risky. The second arguably more problematic issue of having no holding midfielder is that when your team has the ball there is going to be no deep option available to recycle possession. This is an often overlooked but critical aspect of attacking play, without a player to recycle the ball you will find it difficult to in a sense 'try again' when it comes to breaking down a defense. You are totally dependent on the initial attack being successful which is a high-risk strategy, a deeper player would give you the opportunity to change the emphasis of the attack. For e.g. Say your AMR runs into a cul-de-sac he would then have the option to play it back into the holding central midfielder who could then play the ball into an area where there is more space. The most important thing when building attacks are having sufficient depth and width as without it how do you pull defenders out of position and create space. You have good natural width but lack depth which you are further compressing by having all your midfielders on support duty. - You say you don't want crossing to be the main way you supply your lone striker but you have wingbacks and wingers in the tactic whose whole purpose on the pitch is to get into advanced areas and cross the ball. If you don't want this then I would get rid of the wingbacks in favour of fullbacks who provide width but can be made to not cross the ball at every opportunity. - Personally, I don't like Poachers as lone strikers. The reason for this is that being on an attack duty will see the striker far ahead of play most of the time especially when combined with having all his outfield teammates on the support duty. As a consequence, I feel he needs to have the ability to hold up the ball and wait for support. If I were choosing a striker role I would want one which has the 'Hold Up Ball' PI selected or selectable. You may be having issues seeing him score as the quality of chance you are creating for him is poor. I can well imagine a situation with the ball being played into him early and his only way of scoring is to try and beat at least 2 central defenders and the goalkeeper. This is a low percentage play in my opinion and could go a long way to explaining why he isn't being very productive as he is completely isolated and has to shoulder the burden of doing all the attacking. Lone strikers need to contribute more than just trying to put the ball into the back of the net, as part of a partnership that would be different and a Poacher combined with a supporting striker is far more effective. - You have Pass Into Space which increases the riskiness of ALL your players passes. Does Bayer 04 really have the players to pull that off consistently? To make that work you not only need great passers of the ball over the pitch but also players who are great off the ball in order to consistently find space to receive the ball. I would even argue that you need players with a good first touch and vision to make it work which is unlikely to be the case for all of your players. I would seriously consider restricting this freedom to your best passers with PIs and personally wouldn't start with this TI in all games, it is a situational TI which should be used only when it makes sense to do so otherwise you'll find that you just end up constantly giving the ball away. - The Play Out Of Defence TI doesn't really make much sense here either given that it doesn't really mesh well with the rest of the setup. You want the team to patiently build from the back but have no close support in front of them and are adopting an aggressive mentality while playing Ball Playing Defenders and a Sweeper Keeper (Attack). None of that is conducive to building from the back. Chuck in the Be More Expressive TI and is basically a free-for-all with players allowed to play Hollywood passes with abandon. Again it's low percentage football which isn't going to be effective the majority of the time. - Why do you want to try and work the ball in the box with a Poacher? Trying to Work the Ball into box implies that you want a patient approach but there is nothing about the tactic which is patient. Poachers thrive on balls played in behind the defensive line for them to run onto. This TI discourages that so again doesn't help. - You may be struggling to see very much from your AMC as you have the tempo raised ultra high and I'm willing to bet that the majority of the time he is either being bypassed given your TIs which encourage practically everyone to be a playmaker or your attacks conclude before he is in a good position to contribute. Bear in mind that support duty AMCs can drop really deep in the defensive phase so if you win possession it's going to take some time for him to make up the ground and get up the pitch. - It is superfluous to ask the players to play through the middle, you already have a ball magnet in the AP. Besides, there is very little space there which is compounded if the opposition plays a narrow defensive line and low block. The TI from my view is a conditional one much like the majority of the others you have selected. There has to be a reason why you want to bias your attacks through the central areas and that decision is usually made if you spot something in the match you are playing which indicates it is a viable choice. Selecting it from the start in every game is a bad idea in my view. - I'm also not understanding the Counter instruction combined with the Regroup instruction in this system. A 4-2-3-1 needs to be able to control possession of the ball as it's not very strong as a defensive shape which the formation hints at (the DM variant is better). It has to attempt to regain the ball as much as possible in advanced areas hence why a Counter-Press would make more sense here. Falling back and allowing the opposition to play the ball in behind your midfield especially one without a defensive shield is almost suicidal. I could add more but I think I've given you more than enough to think about and don't want to overload you. If there is one point I'd like you to take from my ramblings it's this, always question why. Why am I using this TI? Why have I given this player this role and duty? Why have I selected this player to play in this position and is he up to the job? Hopefully what I've written is helpful to you. All the best
  6. Linfield F.C. SEASON 2052 / 2053 A giant leap forward was taken last season with the club lifting its first DBP trophy in 35 years and getting to the Champions League quarter-final. I'd like to continue that forward momentum and retain the title if possible. I sense we are going to have a tough battle on our hands as I can see a Glentoran resurgence after last seasons poor performance while Larne is still punching well above their weight and are a force to be reckoned with too. League Table - Another nailbiter of a season with it once again going right down to the wire after a three-way tussle for the title. It took until the 29th match for us to hit the summit but once we reached it we showed great resilience to retain the lead with us losing only once the whole season to Glentoran. The destination of the title was still undecided going into the final day showdown at home to Glentoran which put us in the same position as last season with a draw being enough to clinch the title. In the end, we managed to surpass that by getting a 3-2 win in the final game which made us champions to the delight of our supporters and to the dismay of the Glentoran fans who significantly outnumbered us at Windsor Park. Could this season be the straw that broke the camel's back when it comes to competition for the DBP? Only time will tell. UEFA Champions League - This was a massive let down after the exploits of last season. It started brightly with a hard-fought draw against top seeds Chelsea at home but then went downhill badly with two defeats. Thankfully, we managed to salvage 3rd thanks to a late goal for us on the final matchday against Valencia which allowed us to overtake Porto after they suffered defeat to Chelsea. Perhaps in hindsight, this is a fairer reflection of where we are as a club and last season was an aberration. UEFA Europa League - This was the perfect antidote to getting dumped out of the Champions League as we managed against all the odds to pull off an incredible victory. The first game of the Knockout Rounds was an all Irish affair and saw a number of our former players return such as Baherle and Garnier. It proved to be a tough tie for us with the lead we took into the 2nd leg proving pivotal. The next game came against Mainz who I expected to be a lot stronger than Cork City but to our credit, we managed to get past them rather easily winning both legs. Now into the business end with a powerful Watford side our opponents in the quarter-final. I would have been happy if we left England with a score draw so was ecstatic when we managed to score 3 times and go into the 2nd leg with a lead. It was hard going in the 2nd leg and with the scoreline at 2-2 late into the game I was concerned that we were going to bottle it and they might force the game into extra time. Therefore I reacted and parked the bus which killed off the game and we managed to sneak through into the semi-final. Now the nerves are really starting to fray as we could be drawn against Juventus, Newcastle United or Glasgow Celtic. Thankfully we managed to get the draw I wanted and faced Celtic in the semi-final which probably makes our run in the Europa League one of the easiest for traveling away supporters in the history of the competition although it didn't have that much of an impact on the attendances against Cork City and Watford. The ties against Celtic were a lot more tricky than I anticipated and we really struggled but we managed to prevail through the lottery of penalties thanks to a brilliant save from Tapia after a spotless sequence of penalties from both teams. Going into the final I wasn't holding out much hope of us winning the competition as our surprise opponents Newcastle United just looked a different class altogether given the way they sailed past Juventus. I wanted us to give a good account of ourselves but owing to some injuries and a lack of match fitness from some players I knew that we were going to be up against it and I fully expected Newcastle to attack us relentlessly and have us pinned back in our own half where it would just a matter of time before they broke us down. Then the formations came up before the game and I saw them fielding a flat 4-1-4-1 which had me rather puzzled. Could they be playing defensively? Well, I had to know the answer and switched up the level of detail for highlights and started the match. Needless to say, after the first half an hour the answer was a resounding no as they launched attack after attack and we were fortunate to avoid conceding. I did, however, spot something interesting while watching the game and that was the high press they were adopting. Then I decided to try something and made some tactical changes. The first was adding the TI to 'Pass Into Space' with the thinking being that when they are vacating their defensive shape while pressing that we could exploit that space. I also decided to add the TI to play more direct passes as I wanted to try and play over the press. Finally, I added Counter to the in transition instructions again with the view of getting forward quickly and exploiting the space in behind the press. After that point, the game completely changed. Where we were losing the ball in dangerous areas because of the pressure beforehand now we were managing to hold onto the ball better and their press was bring nullified. The result was brilliant, we scored shortly after the changes and after that point, they were unable to regain control of the game. They changed their formation halfway through the 2nd half to a 5-2-1-2 with wingbacks but if anything that worked into our hands as we managed to get the 2nd on a blistering counter-attack which practically killed the game. For the final 10 minutes, I shut it down not wanting to give them any encouragement to get back into the game and it worked. A remarkable season which sees the club lift its first European trophy, incredible. Domestic Cups - I stuck to my guns of playing a hybrid of youth and reserves in the cups and it worked out well in my opinion. They did exceptionally well to go all the way to the Irish Cup final and I was tempted to field a strengthened team in order to try and win the double but I decided against it and stuck with the players that had played throughout the tournament. It didn't work out this time but they didn't embarrass themselves by any stretch of the imagination and they can look back fondly at some brilliant results on their great run. Reserves - They managed their first of what I'm hoping is many cup wins by lifting the Steel and Sons Cup. Under 18s - A brilliant season from the youth team which saw them win the domestic double. I felt they were unlucky not to progress in the UEFA Youth League as 9 points are usually enough to get through the group but a defeat on the final matchday pushed them down to 3rd which was witnessed by 22 people. I think it's fair to say that the youth team hasn't quite caught the imagination of the locals yet. Squad - Speaking frankly, this team shouldn't be anywhere near winning the Europa League given the lack of depth and weaknesses in the team. There are some encouraging signs, however. For the first time ever there are wonderkids in the squad which should be good for the future. Another positive is the massive increase in the market values of the players which should mean that any sales we make should be lucrative for the club. It appears that finally, my intention of turning the club into a selling one is potentially coming to fruition which is great. I will not be resting on my laurels though and will be looking to strengthen once again in the summer as I seek to get us back into the knockout rounds of the Champions League. Transfers - There was some excellent business done this year with the free transfers brought into the team probably being the best signings of the bunch. It is also great to see the club generate some decent money through sales although I was gutted to lose Cavaco for his release fee as I don't think I have adequately replaced him. In July next season another free transfer GK will be joining who looks good which should provide some healthy competition to Tapia who was great in between the sticks in his debut season. We definitely need to look to strengthen next season although funds are tight so we may have to sell before we can invest. Derek Clegg - ST Average Rating: 7.30 The top scorer once again who proved his value to the squad. The only problem I have with him is that he doesn't like playing in big matches and it showed with his lackluster performances in Europe even though he did manage a reasonable amount of goals. The vultures are circling but I don't see him as being irreplaceable especially with wonderkid Gueye waiting in the wings. Lee Vasey - MC Average Rating: 7.01 Another good season from the central midfielder although his average rating did drop a bit. His preferred duty keeps flipping between Defend and Support which is pretty much in keeping with the type of player he is. The problem with that is I need to have players that are exceptional at one facet of the game rather than all rounders who can do both decently if we are to make progress as a squad. As a result, his days could be numbered, additionally, I didn't like the stink he kicked up when I refused to let him leave during the January transfer window and perhaps the sooner we are shot of him the better. Finances - This doesn't look too healthy but it was after the facilities money was taken out but before the CL coefficient money came in which was £7.95M which pushed us up to around the £10M mark. As a result, we are going to need to be very astute in our transfer dealings next season so that I can continue the investment in the facilities. Facilities - Another pair of upgrades which gets us closer to the state of the art facilities. After last seasons DBP title the average attendance rose significantly alongside the season ticket sales, I'll be interested to see how much further it can increase now that we managed to retain the title and win the Europa League. As it stands we are at around 35% of the capacity of Windsor Park, I'd quite like to be pushing 50% next season which is optimistic but we need to really start to see the growth of our fan base if we are to become a major force in European football. We need to at least be selling out all our homes games in the Champions League. Youth Intake - We've had a lot of decent strikers come through in recent times but not much of anything else. Hopefully, Beckett ST and his promotion into the first team at 18 might act as an inspiration for the youth players by showing there is a pathway into the first team from the youth team provided you are good enough. We also need to cultivate more HG players as European registration has become really problematic. League Reputation - Another flat season for the other N. Irish clubs although there were some bright spots. Larne defied expectations by getting into the Champions League group stage although they finished bottom of their group so hopefully, the money they earned will help them given they won't be getting any CL money next season. Glentoran had a reasonable season reaching the 2nd Knockout Round of the Europa League but got hammered by Celtic which was disappointing. They also seem to be playing managerial musical chairs which don't help given the constant upheaval. The rest didn't even make it through the qualifiers. The gap to the nations above shrunk a bit but we are still miles behind. Club Domestic Reputation - Up to 4* which is great for us, not so great to see Glentoran lose their 5* status but it has been a long time coming. Hopefully, we can get that extra 0.5* which might just cancel the affiliation with Rangers as I really want us to move away from being a junior club in any respect. Club European Reputation - We are really high in the rankings which is great and have almost overtaken Glentoran. I really hope that Glentoran can navigate their way into the group stage of the Champions League next season as if Larne can do I see no good reason why they can't and we need them alongside us earning coefficient points. 
  7. Linfield F.C. SEASON 2051 / 2052 Continue to qualify for the Champions League, make the group stages and try to close the enormous gap to Glentoran. League Table - This has to go down in history as one of the most compelling seasons I have ever experienced in FM which had me captivated from beginning to end. We started brilliantly and led the season up until late December where a few poor results allowed surprise title challengers Larne to gain the initiative and by the time we had reached the split they held a 3 point advantage over us although we had a significant edge on goal difference. Our first game of the split was away to Glentoran which saw us get beaten 3-0 which had me concerned that we might have thrown away our shot at winning the title but then a few days later my hopes were reignited as Larne suffered a shock 1-0 reversal at Coleraine. We then played Glenavon at home where we recovered well from going down a goal to hold a 2-1 lead late in the game only for them to grab a late equalizer which was another set back but then came some great news from Ballymena United as once again Larne slipped up suffering another 1-0 defeat which reduced their lead to 2 points. At this point, given our terrible form, I wasn't convinced that we could genuinely win the title so I was just hoping that we could take it to the final day where we played Larne at home. I knew that they still had to play Glentoran so I was targeting that game as the one where they could possibly drop points and in the end, my instincts proved right as they drew that game whereas we won the next 2 which handed us the advantage going into the title showdown. Owing to our vastly superior goal difference, all we needed was a draw and when we took the lead early it looked promising for us but then a late equalizer from them made for a nervy end to the game given that another goal would hand them the title but we showed great character and held on to claim our first DBP trophy in 35 years. Hopefully, we won't have to wait as long for our next although I can't see Glentoran remaining this weak again next season as they had a shocking season. UEFA Champions League - If winning the DBP was impressive this was even better as we not only qualified from our group for the first time we actually managed to win a knockout tie which was an extraordinary achievement given the gulf in class between us and the teams we beat. We really had some appalling attendances in this competition which was worrying, only 157 people could be bothered to turn up and see us get through to the quarter-final and they only had to travel across the Irish Sea. A great campaign which I hope can be replicated next season. Domestic Cups - The board don't particularly care about these competitions so neither did I as I fielded a hybrid of youth and reserve players. I am actually pleasantly surprised that they managed to go so far and keep the scorelines respectable against Glentoran as it gives me encouragement about the quality of player that is emerging through the clubs youth system. Reserves - A decent season for the backup players given how many members of the squad were put out on loan. Under 18s - For all the good they may have done in the senior domestic cups they were fairly poor in the youth competitions. Squad - I would be lying if I told you that I expected this team to bring home the title and go as far as they did in the Champions League but nevertheless here we are. I think there were a few factors which contributed aside from the obvious one with Glentoran having a stinker of a season. The first being the addition of a quality GK which really helped us given how many clean sheets he kept, another being the switch back to a 4-4-2 which had a very positive impact on players like Clegg ST who managed a far better haul of goals this season compared to the last. Additionally, the spine of the team was significantly strengthened with players like Cavaco DC & Vasey MC having great debut seasons alongside the more established members of the squad who also had very good seasons. Finally, I was more sparing with the amount of rotation I did which really helped us to get into a rhythm and become more consistent. In previous seasons, I would rotate the entire squad after mid-week games or during busy periods which disrupted our flow so in future I'll keep starting players provided their condition is >90% which I think is reasonable as well as continuing to field a hybrid of reserve and youth team players in the domestic cups. Transfers - The transfer business carried out this season was excellent as I feel the team has been strengthened and all at a price which didn't break the bank. I was a little bit disappointed to lose Baherle DR but he wanted to leave and the price we received was brilliant as it netted the club a nice profit. Given the resources we have at the club now I'd quite like to start to invest in the wonderkid market next season and start really building for the future. Rosic ST and Unsal DR will both be leaving at the end of the season so my first priority will be finding another quality right back to compete with Becker. Joao Cavaco - DC Average Rating: 7.24 He is just what we were looking for from a central defender in a 4-4-2. Strong, brave and a good reader of the game. The only concern I have with him is the amount of interest from other clubs but hopefully, we can fend them off and hold onto him. Lee Vasey - MC Average Rating: 7.12 He was exceptional in his debut season in the league. I'll never forget the screamer he scored from 25 yards out late in the game when we looked like dropping points against Coleraine in the penultimate game of the season. That goal was priceless as it turned the tide in our favour for the title showdown, for that and his consistency throughout the year he more than merits this accolade. Finances - LOADZA MONEY!!! I'm really hoping that now we've pulled off the miracle of winning the DBP that we can begin to see an improvement in our attendances. A good early sign would be increased season ticket sales next season as we need to increase the size of the fan base if we are ever to build this club into a European giant. Facilities - It's great to be able to continue investing in the training and youth facilities while simultaneously investing in the first team. Youth Intake - This intake was a lot worse than last season but I suppose it's unrealistic to expect a potential star to emerge every year. Having said that Eggleston MR could be decent if he can develop well. League Reputation - No changes in position although it wasn't a great year for the N. Irish clubs in Europe. Glentoran finished bottom of their Champions League group which was largely in keeping with their terrible season. More concerning was the deterioration of Glentoran's financial status to just 'Okay' which is an ominous sign given they aren't going to get any Champions League money next season either. They need a rebuild as their squad is aging with a number of overpaid players they need to get rid of otherwise this blip could turn into a serious downturn which would be potentially damaging in the long term although it would make our life easier in gaining domestic dominance in the short term. Larne also didn't qualify from their Europa League group which meant that without us flying the flag this season we might have dropped a few places. Club Domestic Reputation - It's good to have improved our reputation which I'm hoping will have a positive impact on attendances and also on the quality of player we can attract to the club. I'm happy to see Glentoran retain their 5* status although I do wonder how much longer that is going to last if they don't start to improve in Europe. Club European Reputation - We did actually manage to get seeded for the 3rd Qualifying Round this season but thankfully we won't have to worry about that this time around as we go straight into the group stage. I'm seriously doubtful that Larne is going to make it through the best-placed route so we may only have the one representative in the Champions League group stage next season. 
  8. Linfield F.C. SEASON 2050 / 2051 We managed a first for the club last season by qualifying for the group stages of the Champions League. I would like to repeat that and finish 2nd in the DBP so I can keep the money flowing in as I strive to build the club both on and off the pitch. League Table - We managed to secure 2nd but only just as Larne gave us a real challenge. It's interesting to note that we scored far fewer goals this season than last but managed to gain 4 more points. It probably is a result of me fielding a 4-4-1-1 for the majority of the season but I will be reverting back to the 4-4-2 for next season. It was a shame to see Distillery get relegated but the money they have gained from being in the top flight for so long should enable them to bounce back easily. The gap to Glentoran is still enormous and is going to take a lot of work to overcome. UEFA Champions League - It was a real struggle but for the 2nd consecutive season, we managed to get into the group stages. Once we got there we were only really competitive with Legia Warsaw which was enough to see us finish in 3rd and gave us a crack at the Europa League knockout stages. UEFA Europa League - We could have drawn a far easier tie in the 2nd Knockout Round but instead we got Arsenal which pretty much killed our chances of making history by getting to the quarter-final for the first time. We did well to hold them to a draw at Windsor Park but once we went onto their turf the difference in class between the two teams was clear to see and we were resoundingly beaten. Domestic Cups - Felt good to beat Glentoran in the Irish Cup on the way to lifting the trophy. Reserves - A massive step backwards after the progress shown in recent seasons. Under 18s - Another team in decline it would seem. Squad - The team is improving but we are miles away from where we need to be in order to start really challenging Glentoran for domestic supremacy. We don't score enough goals and didn't have a single player break the 20 goal mark this year and only had one get double figures. If we compare our record with Glentoran we scored 29 fewer goals and conceded 11 more which is a huge deficit to make up. If we are serious about competing we need to be more ruthless in front of goal and our midfield needs to provide an awful lot more in terms of assists. On both fronts, I think the players we have aren't up to the standard and we are going to need to look into the transfer market to bring in the quality we need. Transfers - I was very active in the transfer market this season given the increased financial resources available and overall I think the net result has had a positive effect on the ability of the squad. The signing of the season was probably Carson GK as I had to depend on him for the entire season and he didn't let me down. Monkhouse ML was a bit of a let down given his hefty price tag so I'm hoping that he manages to make a dramatic improvement next season. I didn't really want to sell Garnier ML but he wanted to leave as did Lengyel DR but at least I managed to bring in a quality replacement for him. Sutton ST left as he was becoming a pain after I didn't select him for the Champions League squad, £1.5M was decent money so I shipped him out. Alfredo Palatella - DC Average Rating: 7.36 Another solid season from the central defender. I think he is the prototype for the kind of player I should be looking to build around. He's a good age, has reasonable wages, a decent personality and is consistent. If I can continue to add that sort of player into the squad we should start to improve at a quicker rate. Markus Ehlers - MR Average Rating: 7.20 A decent player although he suffers from the same problem that the rest of my midfielders have and that is a lack of assists. I expect a lot more from him and he should really be tearing up the DBP. I'm hoping that next season will see Svenningsen start to exert some pressure on him for his spot in the team which might have the effect of pushing him on to perform better. Finances - This was the balance after all the investments in the facilities were taken out but before the Champions League coefficient ranking pool money came in which was around £6M. The club is in a very good financial situation and I'll be looking to take advantage of this to bring in the quality of player we need to move forward. I am getting really concerned about the shrinking of the size of the fan base. The average league attendance fell by over 30% which is huge and deeply troubling when you consider that ticket prices have remained rather stagnant. We really need to start challenging for the DBP soon as it's beginning to feel like we are declining as a club rather than growing. Facilities - Both the youth and training facilities will be getting upgraded. I did request to expand the stadium but given the situation that has developed with the fans staying away, that seems pointless at the moment as we look to be moving further away from being able to fill Windsor Park. Youth Intake - Beckett ST looks a real star in the making and I'll be interested to see how he develops. Tumelty AMC looks decent although his position will need to be retrained. Outside of those two, the rest aren't great and the majority were released once their trials ended. League Reputation - Holding steady is all I want for the foreseeable future as we need to keep our 2nd Champions League spot for as long as possible. Glentoran reached the 2nd Knockout Round of the Europa League where they lost 4-1 on aggregate to Fiorentina, Larne were beaten by PSV in the 4th Qualifying Round of the Europa League, Ballymena United finished 4th in their Europa League group and finally Coleraine were understandably beaten by Newcastle United in the 3rd Qualifying Round of the Europa League. Overall, an average season for the N. Irish clubs in Europe which helps maintain the nation's position. Club Domestic Reputation - Very little movement with Glentoran retaining their 5* reputation status even though they haven't won a European trophy for a while. To elucidate the extent of the mountain we have to climb, Glentoran sold £232M worth of players this season and brought players in for £128M. We sold £7.75M worth of players and brought in players for £14M. We are literally worlds apart although if we look at Europe as a whole that isn't enough to have Glentoran competing in the later stages of the Champions League. Club European Reputation - Even with this high coefficient I still don't feel it will be enough to get us seeded at any point during the qualifiers. 
  9. It's just a shame they can't seem to translate that into qualifying for a World Cup where I think they could be decent with the squad they have. I have previously been offered the N. Ireland manager job but didn't take it as I'm struggling with the volume of fixtures I'm currently playing, adding more per season would be too much for me.
  10. Cork City have been excellent in this save. They got floated on the stock exchange and built a new stadium in 2038. What impresses me the most about them is that they have managed to rise so high based on hard work and haven't had a tycoon or any assistance to get them there. They have won the IPL all bar 5 times since the save began and have currently strung together a run of 16 in a row. They regularly compete in the group stages of the Champions League and overall are a very well run club which benefits from being in the R.O.I. where the work permit rules are a breeze so they can recruit from far and wide which they have done. The N. Irish national team have been rather disappointing. They haven't qualified for a World Cup at all in the save which is surprising given that qualification should be a lot easier given the increase in the number of spots available. Since 2036 they have however qualified for every European Championship which is good. They have made the 2nd Round twice but have progressed no further. They have become a yo-yo team in the Nations League constantly flipping between Group A & B. All the best
  11. Cheers Not a bad idea, perhaps I can add a little more information in the league reputation section every season. Since I've left the club they have sold players worth £609M and spent £373.685M on bringing in players leaving a net income of £235.315M. Interestingly, their finances are only considered Secure which shows how unsustainable they are having to work with the income from a 30,170 capacity stadium while servicing an astronomical wage bill of nearly £60Mp/a. In comparison, Larne have a wage bill of just over £7.25Mp/a while we have a wage bill of just over £4Mp/a (although I expect that to increase dramatically over the coming years). Below is their record in Europe since I left, 2045/46 - Finished 3rd in Champions League group and knocked out in 1st Knockout Round of Europa League 2046/47 - Beaten in 1st Knockout Round of Champions League 2047/48 - Beaten in 1st Knockout Round of Champions League 2048/49 - Finished 3rd in Champions League group and were runners up in Europa League 2049/50 - Beaten in 1st Knockout Round of Champions League Overall, they have declined significantly from the position I left them in but not too badly as they do contribute a reasonable amount of coefficient points every year. They haven't really done anything too reckless in the transfer market although they have opted to focus on the older side when it comes to bringing in players and as a result, no longer have any wonderkids in their squad at all. I think the interesting period for them will be the next few seasons when they can no longer generate as much money from player sales. I don't wish for them to decline but if we could emerge as the dominant force in the country and dominate domestically I think it will ultimately be for the best as there is still a lot of room for growth at Linfield whereas Glentoran has peaked until they can build a new ground and increase their revenues. The Scottish teams aren't great in Europe as the only Scottish team to win a European trophy was Glasgow Celtic in 2043 with the Europa League. What they are good at is maintaining their position and investing the money they get from Europe wisely into the infrastructure of their clubs which they can do more easily as the money they generate domestically is quite good. That is why I feel it's going to be incredibly difficult to overtake them. As Scotland gets 3 Champions League places and 3 Europa League places they have a much greater opportunity to gain coefficient points. I'd really like to be in the situation that I could help the other N. Irish teams competing in Europe by supplying them with players but we are way off that being a possibility at the moment. The current nations coefficient table is as follows, 6th Scotland 52.250 7th Portugal 47.800 8th Northern Ireland 38.000 9th Russia 33.575 10th Switzerland 30.025 As you can see the gap is still large although it is shrinking. If I can draw Dundee again in the Playoff next season and knock them out that will be incredibly helpful in reducing the gap even further.
  12. Linfield F.C. SEASON 2049 / 2050 Getting into the Champions League group stage is the game changer that is needed to start growing the club so the focus will be on achieving that. I'd also like to grab Champions League qualification for next season by finishing 2nd but would rule out a title challenge as we are too inconsistent to compete with Glentoran for the moment although it would be nice to start closing the gap. League Table - This was a tough battle all the way with Larne as they showed a massive improvement on last season where they slumped to 4th. We had a slow start as I put all my efforts into the Champions League and we were playing catchup for the majority of the season but we just about did enough with Glentoran doing us a massive favour by drawing with Larne in their final fixture which for some reason was played a week after all the other final day games. The fact that we have qualified for the Champions League two seasons in a row could be a massive turning point in our battle with Larne. It was also pleasing to inflict upon Glentoran one of only 2 defeats they suffered all season as it shows the gap is shrinking. UEFA Champions League - The only thing that mattered was getting to the group stage and we did it thanks to a pair of narrow aggregate wins. I knew keeping a clean sheet at home would be key to winning the ties and the players did exactly that which gave us a great foundation to build upon. I didn't hold much hope of getting through the group stage. We performed largely as I expected although we did manage a win and a draw which meant we held hopes of finishing 3rd if we could beat Glasgow Celtic on the final matchday but it just wasn't to be. A great season in Europe from my perspective and the prize money we generated is going to be exceedingly helpful in getting us in the group stages on a regular basis. The attendances were a bit low though, I would have expected a far higher attendance against Dundee in the playoff given the importance of the game and the opportunity for the club to make history. Domestic Cups - No trophies to lift this season but I wasn't too bothered by it. Reserves - A very good season in the cups but still miles behind in the league. Under 18s - They had an excellent debut season in the UEFA Youth League and managed to retain the U18s League which was pleasing. Squad - We were very unlucky with injuries this season with Okoro GK suffering a pre-season injury which meant he missed the majority of the season. I didn't have any headroom on the wage budget so had to bring in a loan to cover his position. Generously, AS Monaco decided to allow us to have Minatchy at the club for no wage contribution which was critical for us as without him we would have had to depend on a youth player all season which would have been hugely detrimental to our performances. Dixon MC broke his leg and El Hamdaoui MC also suffered damage to his cruciate ligaments which really has ruined him as a player. I decided to go back to the Advanced Forward instead of the Poacher as the Poacher wasn't contributing enough for my taste. I sense the problems with us scoring enough goals are deeper than the roles we have upfront and are likely not tactical in nature at all and probably stem from the personnel we have in the team. There are a number of areas where we need to improve the squad so that we can start to consolidate our position as regular group stage participants. I will be releasing all the players whose contracts expire at the end of the season and look to replace them with young talent. We will need a GK, DR (Lengyel had his release clause triggered), possibly a DC if a decent offer comes in for Palatella, a defend duty MC, a support duty MC, a pair of wide midfielders and a couple of strikers. Basically, a rebuild is required although the run to the Champions League group stage should allow me to do it, expect a very different squad this time next season. Transfers - The vast majority of our action was done in the free transfer market and I'm very pleased with the players we managed to pick up. Clegg ST was a bit expensive but he did chip in with 8 goals which in a tight race for 2nd could have been critical in getting us over the line. I decided to get rid of Zehle ML as he never really got over not being registered for the Champions League and I had Garnier who was more than adequate as a replacement. Alfredo Palatella - DC Average Rating: 7.32 A remarkably good player who cost us nothing to bring into the club. If a good enough offer were to come in I wouldn't have any problems in selling him but if he remains here I wouldn't be too disappointed. Loic Minatchy - GK Average Rating: 6.95 He really pulled us out of the fire and played an instrumental role in getting us into the group stage of the Champions League. I tend not to want to bring in loan players as I loathe developing players for other clubs but in his case, I had to make an exception given the grave situation that we were in. He kept 23 clean sheets which no doubt contributed heavily to us performing as well as we did. Finances - It feels really good to have this as the balance after investments were made into the infrastructure of the club. The wage and transfer budget have become huge and I will be utilizing them as much as possible to bring in the quality of player needed to get to the group stage once again. I think that we are a few seasons off from competing with Glentoran for the title but we have taken significant strides forward this season. Winning the DBP would enable us to build the fan base size quickly but as that looks beyond us the focus now has to be to pull away from Larne and the rest and consolidate 2nd every season. If we can manage to get into the group stage of the Champions League for a few years in a row that should be enough to establish a huge gap and secure the club financially. Facilities - All the facilities were upgraded and progress toward improving into a Champions League standard club has started. Our lack of ability to fill Windsor Park remains a concern as it is the one area where we already have an advantage but as our fan base is so small we can't exploit it. As a result, we are missing out on a huge amount of income. Youth Intake - A couple of decent strikers but not much depth outside of that although I have been impressed with the performances of the youth team of late so maybe they are a lot better than my assistant thinks. League Reputation - New ground was broken for the first time as 2 teams from N. Ireland competed in the group stage of the Champions League (us and Glentoran) and 2 teams competed in the group stage of the Europa League (Larne and Ballymena United). As a result, the gap between us and Scotland has reduced significantly although it still remains rather large. Club Domestic Reputation - We deserve to be there in 2nd given we have managed to finish 2nd for two seasons in a row. Club European Reputation - The club is flying up this table although it won't be enough to give us seeding for the 3rd Qualifying Round of the Best Placed route so we are likely to have to beat a European giant to get through. 
  13. Linfield F.C. SEASON 2048 / 2049 There isn't much I can do to dramatically change our fortunes given the financial constraints I'm forced to operate within. We have to keep plugging away and trying our best to make progress in the Europa League while trying to fight for Champions League qualification in the DBP. League Table - A much-improved performance from the team although the gap between us and Glentoran is immense as they became invincibles. I decided to get rid of the Advanced Forward role in the tactic and change it to a Poacher and it really helped us to score more goals. I think having both strikers 'Move Into Channels' is too detrimental to our scoring ability. I need the Deep Lying Forward (Support) to be an offensive pivot by positioning himself deeper off the ball as it is critical to our system. As a result, I decided that it would be best if I allowed the DLF(S) to be the one that does the lateral movements while restricting the lateral movements of his strike partner. The early signs are promising so I'm hoping with better players we'll score even more goals. UEFA Europa League - A decent group stage which saw us scrape through in 2nd but once we drew EPL opposition in the next round I knew the writing was on the wall. Domestic Cups - Another first for me at the club as we won the Co. Antrim Shield. Everything else was won by Glentoran which shows how dominant they are. Reserves - They had a reasonable season given the players in the squad. Under 18s - A fantastic job from them to clinch the league title and perhaps the investment in junior coaching is beginning to pay off. Squad - All the players highlighted in red will probably be leaving at the end of the season which should free up some wages for me to go into the transfer market. I think I need a fresh approach to bringing in players as we simply aren't in a position to spend money on players given the limited interest from other clubs in buying our players. I'm going to have to be more willing to go into the free transfer market as I have been mainly buying players 23 or younger who have value in excess of £100K. That strategy can only work and generate profit if you can sell on those players which we can't. The central midfield is in need of strengthening along with the attack and wide midfield so I will be prioritizing those areas. Transfers - The transfer market is practically dead at the moment which is preventing me from turning the club into a selling one. This is a huge problem as there is no other way I can really build this club. Spacek DC was an excellent signing and more than an adequate replacement for Rajkovic who wasn't missed as much as I thought he would be. As we qualified for the Champions League I will be trying my utmost to strengthen enough to challenge for a spot in the group stage as only that influx of money is going to enable us to really become a significant player in the transfer market. Marc Lynch - ML Average Rating: 7.17 He had a decent season although I would have liked a few more assists from him. In FM18 my wide midfielders were king of assists but in FM19 they aren't nearly as effective. I'll have to see what I can do to get them firing. Emrah Unsal - DR Average Rating: 7.16 A player that has developed quite well given the increased exposure to first-team football. Sometimes he can be a bit unreliable and makes some costly mistakes but overall I am satisfied with his performances this season but I feel he will need competition to keep him on his toes. Finances - This is a major obstacle we need to overcome. The only way I can see us building the balance enough to start investing into the club is by getting Champions League money. All the other avenues for boosting our income appear to be closed. Glentoran is too powerful for us to really challenge them for the DBP for the foreseeable future which would increase our fanbase and improve our income domestically. The other alternative of using player sales to bring in significant income also appears to be a dead end as teams aren't even interested in our best young players which I don't really understand. Signing high profile players like the board want is too expensive given our wage structure and any impact on attendances and income would be minimal. As a result, I'm left with the one option, so we need to be doing everything we can to get into the Champions League group stage as without that money we are going to really struggle to make any progress. Facilities - Junior Coaching has improved again and after the screenshot was taken I managed to upgrade it to the highest level. Youth Intake - Another decent crop of players in my opinion. I don't think these players will be good enough to contribute to the first team but I would like if we could sell them on in future for decent money. League Reputation - We recovered the 2 places we fell last season which was pleasing. It was another stellar year for the N. Irish clubs with Larne making it to the 1st Knockout Round of the Europa League along with us and Glentoran managing to make it to the final of the Europa League after finishing 3rd in their Champions League group. They were beaten by Bayer Leverkusen in the final but that's the best they have performed since I left which is very pleasing. It would be such a game changer if we could just scape through the Champions League qualifiers and have two N. Irish representatives in the group stages. Club Domestic Reputation - No changes is a little surprising given that Larne finished 4th in the DBP. Hopefully, their relatively high coefficient might help them navigate the Europa League qualifiers next season with some easier ties which would mean 4 N. Irish teams with group stage action, a first for the country. Club European Reputation - We won't be seeded for the 3rd Qualifying Round of the Champions League but there are a couple of teams which I wouldn't mind drawing which should give us a chance of making the playoff which we would be seeded for. We just have to hope for a bit of luck. 
  14. Linfield F.C. SEASON 2047 / 2048 We were excellent in the Europa League last season so I'd quite like a repeat of that and to try and push for 2nd and Champions League qualification in the DBP. The board would once again be satisfied with a top half finish. League Table - It seems we are slipping back further rather than closing the gap at this point. Glentoran was unstoppable but I'm disappointed that we scored fewer points and lost 11 times this season. I think I'm going to go back to the first tactic which served me so well at Glentoran. I sense I will be better served by focusing on improving the quality of the players rather than trying to tinker my way to success with constant tactical changes. UEFA Europa League - This was a very poor performance in comparison to last season. We started badly throwing away a lead in Dundee and although we improved to give ourselves a chance of qualifying if we could win on the final matchday it was a tall task to win in Germany which we couldn't muster. We need to improve our away form if we want to make further progress in the competition as our home form is actually fairly good. Domestic Cups - Well at least we didn't end the season empty-handed as we won the Irish Cup which is the first trophy of my tenure. It was a cracking final, just a shame there was nobody in the 'Unknown Stadium' to witness it. Reserves - Another poor season in the cups but at least they are maintaining their position in the league. Under 18s - They're just not very good and it looks like remaining this way until I can get enough money together to start investing in the youth department. Squad - Slowly but surely I'm transforming this squad into a young and vibrant team but the rate of progress is akin to a glacial pace at the moment. The lack of fluidity in the transfer market is playing a huge role as few teams appear to be interested in buying our players although Rajkovic DC will be leaving for Dunfermline for £2.9M in the summer. Another factor is the strength of Larne who have exceeded all my expectations by keeping together a strong and functioning team making it hard to get into the Champions League qualifiers. The makeup of the squad in places doesn't suit the style of play I want to adopt either which is making it difficult for us to be consistent in the league. We don't score anywhere near enough goals and when we have to rotate we are significantly weaker so I will need to work on bringing in quality and having sufficient depth to maintain as strong a challenge as possible on all fronts. Transfers - I spent a bit of money and overall I'm satisfied with the signings although Valentini ST was overpriced. I am dismayed by the lack of profit in this area though as that is the lifeblood of this club. If we can't get into the Champions League then there is more pressure on this area to provide the income the club needs to invest off the field and improve the standard of the first team. It's not all bad news though as I feel that we could be at a turning point given the money we will raise from the sale of Rajkovic, it could mark the beginning of turning the club into a selling one. Manny Dixon - MC Average Rating: 7.40 A player which has done everything that I've asked of him by providing a good amount of assists and scoring a fair amount of goals from central midfield. The issue I have is that he is the only decent passer of the ball I have in the central midfield and when I had to rotate him out of the squad to give him rest his absence was noticeable. That is an issue that definitely needs to be addressed next season as the 2 central midfielders in the 4-4-2 are critical to the success of playing the formation. If the team can't transition the ball from the back to the front line effectively it really hampers our attacking potency which goes some way to explaining why we don't score enough goals. Noah Zehle - ML Average Rating: 7.48 The fact that he is our top scorer is deeply concerning to me. I do like his contributing on the scoresheet but I'd much prefer if he was providing more assists instead. Finances - The balance gives me very little room to manoeuvre which has meant that I've been unable to build the club. I'm hoping that the transfer market starts to generate some funds so I can start improving the infrastructure of the club. We need to do everything in our power to get into the Champions League as that is the only way we are going to be able to accelerate the growth of the club. The falling attendances are a bit concerning so I'm hoping that the Irish Cup win might just encourage more fans to turn up. Everything seems to be flatlining or declining at the moment which we need to reverse as soon as possible. Facilities - I did ask to improve the junior coaching but the request was rejected citing the clubs poor financial state which is understandable. Youth Intake - As good as Lynch MC and Bickerstaff AMC looks I have no confidence that we are going to be able to develop them to fulfil their full potential or even close to it. The facilities and staff aren't good enough and their personalities aren't exactly great with Bickerstaff being Balanced and Lynch being Fickle. I'll try my best with them but I can't see them having a long term future here. League Reputation - We actually fell a couple of places which is a little discouraging but at least we maintained our position in the nations coefficient table. Larne had a good season in the Europa League finally getting knocked out in the 2nd Knockout Round by Hoffenheim. Glentoran also did well to get through their Champions League group although Manchester United soundly beat them in the next round. Club Domestic Reputation - It does seem right that we should fall behind Larne given their stranglehold on 2nd place for the last couple of seasons. Club European Reputation - Still rising and we should be able to rise even higher once the remaining 2 poor seasons drop off the coefficient calculation. 
  15. Linfield F.C. SEASON 2046 / 2047 The board would be happy with a top half finish but I have loftier ambitions in mind for the season. I'd quite like to put in another challenge for 2nd and attempt to qualify from our Europa League group as I don't feel we have the squad to get through the Champions League qualifiers. League Table - We started the season brightly but as we began to get bogged down with our European commitments we really started to struggle and handed the initiative to Larne in the battle for 2nd. There was a period where we managed only 3 points out of a possible 18 which really damaged our chances and led me to make some tactical changes. It improved things and we were much better post-November but the lead proved insurmountable. Even though there is an EC icon next to Glenavon they didn't qualify as Ballymena United won the Europa League Playoff. Lisburn Distillery survived again which was good although I thought they would be a lot more established in the top flight by now. UEFA Champions League - As expected we drew a very tough opponent which gave us little chance of getting through. We managed a creditable draw in the 2nd leg but the harsh reality is that they outclassed us and we were lucky to keep the scoreline down in Portugal. UEFA Europa League - An excellent campaign which saw us go further than ever before. The highlights were the win over Lazio and the draw we managed away at Anfield. More of the same would be welcome next season. Domestic Cups - Another season where we ended up trophyless thanks to Glentoran who knocked us out of every competition. The Irish Cup final shows with most clarity the massive gap we have to make up to be competitive for the DBP. We were never in that game and they beat us easily. Reserves - A much better performance from them but they are still way behind the best sides. They finished 27 points behind league winners Larne Olympic in a 22 games season, that's a massive deficit. Under 18s - If their performances are indicative of the quality we have in the youth team I wouldn't expect to see anything coming out of the youth department for a long time. Squad - I tried to make improvements where I could but we still have a lot of work to do. Thankfully, a lot of the players that I need to move on have contracts that are expiring at the end of this season or the end of next season which should free up some wages and afford me some flexibility when bringing in new players. The average age of the 1st team is 25.41 years which is too old for my liking as the majority of players at that age are fully developed and can no longer improve. At least I managed to increase the number of talented youngsters in the squad and I have my eye on a number of others that I'd like to bring in. Transfers - I think I did relatively well in the transfer market. It was a bit annoying to lose Meer DR but as he had a release clause of £900K and he didn't want to negotiate a new deal I felt it better to move him on for slightly lower than the release clause so that I could add some clauses to the deal. I'm pleased with his replacement Unsal DR as he looks a bright prospect. The other players I brought in all came for a reasonable fee which I'm hoping will lead to big profits when it comes time for them to leave. I'm very much trying to build a selling club but unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be much interest in our players which is understandable given the age profile of the squad. Hopefully, as I begin to incorporate more young players into the squad and develop them with game time we should see an increased interest from other clubs. This should start to generate profit from the transfer market and begin a virtuous circle with the money generated being invested into better players who in turn are sold on for ever greater profits. Anthony De Jonge - MR Average Rating: 7.27 A good player who had a very productive season by laying on the most assists in the team. I don't feel his attributes are very good to be an attacking winger. In my opinion, to be a great winger you either need to be lightning quick or technically brilliant he's neither and is unlikely to improve significantly. As a result, he is unlikely to have a long term future at the club but will have to stay until I can identify someone better who is affordable. Noah Zehle - ML Average Rating: 7.17 He had a very good debut season for us which has seen him establish himself as our first choice left midfielder. He is very talented and I'll be interested to see how much progress he can make next season. Finances - The takeover went smoothly and even though my job status reduced to 'Precarious' they decided to allow me to stay. Our income was better than ever before but as you can see it didn't have much of an impact on the overall balance. As a result, I am unable to invest in building the infrastructure of the club. The only way I'm going to be able to do that and build the balance is if we become a selling club but as I stated earlier we have very little interest in our players which is making that process exceedingly difficult. Facilities - I managed to convince the new board to upgrade the youth recruitment and junior coaching but no other improvements were possible. It's a pretty bad sign that the average attendance in the league is falling but I feel the only way we can build the fan base is by winning the league which we are miles off at the moment. We have to be patient and slowly build the club. Youth Intake - A decent crop of players with a couple of players which could develop into useful first team players if all goes well. League Reputation - The nation managed to recover 2 places in the nations coefficient table which pushed us back up to where we were last season. Overall, it was the best season ever for the N. Irish football teams in Europe. Us and Larne made the 2nd Knockout Round of the Europa League. Glentoran also qualified from their Champions League group although they came unstuck again Bayern Munich in the 1st Knockout Round. Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come and the teams can continue their improvement. Club Domestic Reputation - The reputation table isn't a fair reflection of where all the teams are in the league. Larne is still ahead of us by a considerable margin so we need to work on closing that gap. Club European Reputation - A vast improvement in position with a record-breaking coefficient haul this season, still got a long way to go before we have a decent coefficient but we're doing well for this early stage of my time at the club. 
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