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About Jambo98

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    Third Team

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    Alongside a cold beer, somewhere.

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    Southampton (FMO) / Athletic Bilbao

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  1. [FM17] Heart(s) of a Lion (Rampant)

    National Team Update So not that much to update on in terms of games, since we have nothing to look forward to in the summer of 2018 Couple of friendlies, one a very good win over Belgium and one a hard luck defeat to Mexico, who came from 2 v 1 down late on to win after made a raft of subs. Overally, after the disgraceful end to the qualifiers, i tried to have a real look at the national squad and move on from some older players. The problem is we dont have many great national team ready youngsters, and in some positions we are completely bereft of any quality. I have promoted some younger guys, and worked in a few of my Hearts team, but we still seem short of what will be required to get to a major tournament. If i look at the squad position by position: Goalkeeper Craig Gordon is 35 and no longer first choice at Celtic, but probably still just about our best keeper. I wanted to get him to Hearts for the last year or two of his career but his wages are still too high. Marshall at least still plays every week for Hull, and at 33 still is ok for a keeper. Not much between those 2 really. McGregor has retired, so Jordan Archer is about our 3rd choice and he seems like he will never be more than a solid championship GK. Gunn is in there just as a former prospect who has stalled at City and despite having England U21 caps, was willing to accept my call up. Cant imagine he ever becomes more than a #3 keeper at best Prospect wise, there is little to be found. Robby McCrorie at Rangers is the best rated Scottish GK prospect, but he has played one game in 2 years and not been loaned so has not developed, and is now 20. My own Jack Hamilton has not really developed despite playing every week and there is pretty much nothing else Central Defence As i deploy a back 3, we need 6 players here. With us being blessed with 2 brilliant LWB, i have been using Tierney as a DC where is capable of playing and is our best defender basically. Mulgrew is back at Celtic and still pretty good as a cover in between the 2 other DCs. Beyond that, there is little to choose between the experienced Berra, Hanley who is a physical beast, but has played 9 club games in 2 years, Souttar and Wallace. If everyone i fit and playing, my starting 3 are probably Tierney / Mulgrew / Hanley In terms of prospects, we have one great kid who i highlighted earlier who came through the Arsenal ranks (Williamson )and my own Hearts prospect Paterson, but both are a good 2 - 3 years away at best from the national team. There is little in the way of U21 prospects who are both close to ready and have the required quality. Alex Iacovitti and Liam Lindsay are probably the only ones i would consider and i dont see either being top quality Wingbacks Arguably our strongest area. Robertson is excellent, although Liverpool loaned him out last season it was to Lazio! Kingsley has developed well and played 44 times for Swansea in the Championship last year. On the other side, Patterson has moved to Newcastle and is first choice for them in the Prem which is a positive. Phillips is more of a winger but can play WB and is good to have against smaller teams who are not attacking us. Guys like Anya and Craig Forsythe and Liam Palmer are around if we get stuck but dont really want any of them starting games for us. Prospects, we have a good LWB in Greg Taylor who moved from Killie down to Southampton, although was loaned to Hibs last year. Southampton also have a Scottish U21 RB who i dont think is a regen, called Kieran Freeman who looks like he might develop into something decent, if not spectacular. Central midfield Similar to my club side, i operate with just 2 CMs, so they need to be strong and we are ok here i think. Fletcher is clearly in his twighlight but still provides experience and plays a fair bit for Stoke. Cairney has been a late bloomer who has been consistently in form for Fulham. Gauld was the big hope for us when he went to Portugal, stalled a bit, but has really kicked on during some loan spells and is ready to start at International level. McGinn is a bit more borderline and probably the one of this 4 who might be rotated out, but he has done well at Hibs. On the fringes, guys like McCarthur and Morrison are getting older and never really performed for me or at club level. Stuart Armstrong cant get a game at Celtic and as good as Charlie Adam has been at Hearts, i have not recalled him for Scotland. Up and coming players in this position.....hmm a few at my club, Laing who is noted above and Nisbet who also came through my first intake, and the stand out Johnson from my latest intake who could be a top international player. Lewis McLeod is 23 now but has developed a bit so could still be a call up. Forwards (AMC / ST) I vary my formation between 2 AMC and 1 ST (sort of Conte formation) and 1 x AMC and 2 x ST. So grouped this lot together for now. Griffiths is the pick of the bunch, having had a brilliant club season and scored 44 goals. Burke is probably our best young player and has played up with Griffiths recently. In behind, Snoddy provides experience and is, somewhat strangely, playing regularly for Roma in Serie A! Behind those 3 in depth chart, its a bit of a mix. Kiltie is promising and is another who went from Killie to Saints, and was loaned back to the SPL. Vaughan has to be in based on his club season, and Cummings just beats out Jamie Walker. Outside of those there are a few good but not great options, in terms of the likes of Walker, Steven Naismith, Jordan Rhodes and Johnny Russell On the youngster side, we have my own Jack Harper, Adam Frizzell who was the 3rd Killie player to move to Southampton and at the younger age group Adam Morrice who i snapped up looks an international prospect potentially. Lots of work to do if the National team are ever to progress, is the summary!
  2. [FM17] Heart(s) of a Lion (Rampant)

    Season 2 - Season Summary Team Performance SPL Wow. Just wow! I did not expect to get anywhere near Celtic this year, had hoped to narrow the gap from last year and when we were neck and neck at January i was pleased but did not really expect we could keep up that level of performance. Infact we seemed to get even stronger, going on a great run to pull so far clear that we could have clinched the league right after the top 6 split. As it happened, we had a major wobble and ended up needing to go to the last game, but none the less........ WE ARE CHAMPIONS! Our fixtures post December show just what a great second half of the season we had. Blowing teams away at times Scottish Cup After losing out in the League cup at the Q/F stage to Celtic, and with Europe now finished as a distraction, i really fancied a go at the Scottish Cup. We had pretty nice draws all the way to the final, taking on Clyde, Dunfermline, Motherwell then St. Mirren which led us onto a final against Celtic which went rather well..... Player Performances Top Performers Lewis Vaughan - This years Jamie Walker, only even better. What a season. Goals galore and his performances at the highest level, in Europe, were amazing. Earned him his first cap and he looks like someone we can rely on for goals inspite of his modest attributes Charlie Adam - Gave us real quality in the middle of the pitch and also set piece expertese. 10 goals was surprising, although 4 were pens and a couple of others direct FK's. His main role was keeping the ball moving between defense and attack and he was great at that. Declining slightly but still should be good for another year at this level at least Jamie Walker - A couple of injuries, including one long term, meant he appeared in less than half our league games, but he was still a valuable contributor and creative force. Really excited if i can get him and Vaughan both fit for a spell in the team together. Young Players (1st team) Tony Gallacher - His development seems to have hit a bit of a plateau, but he is still a force for us going forward from LWB. 8 goals and 8 assists from there will do me nicely. Also signed a new contract to tie him down for a few more years. Matthew Knox - Loan spell was unspectacular but he is still only 18. He has a bright future but i need to find the right development path for him, given that he is not likely going to be first choice. If i can slot him in as a regular rotation player in my front 3 and get him 10 - 15 starts and another 10 - 15 off the bench, that will be good. If not, i might need to look for a better loan fit for him Tony Paterson - Graduates from "prospect watch" to first team as he was added to the squad for the final couple of months and made a few appearances. We have 4 solid centre backs in Berra, Souttar, McGhee and Wilson so his route is blocked. I will likely loan him out with a view to him replacing Berra from season 4 as Christophe gets to the end of his career. Prospect Watch Paul Laing - The pick of the intake from last year had a good first season in our U20s side and benefited from tutoring. He is not first team ready yet but might split his time between the u20s and on loan next year Adam Morrice - Jan signing from Motherwell didnt get much game time in our U20s, which i will need to address / manager closer, but he is still our best striking prospect Liam Johnson - The pick of this years youth intake and he looks a potential gem. Given 4 gold stars by all my coaches so could be one of our best by far. He had English as second nationality so i capped him right away Also gave him his first team debut off the bench in the final game of the season, but next year will be spent in our u20s and developing his skills Thats it for season 2 - keen to keep this going and see how far i can take a team of scots in terms of domestic dominance and even see if we can get into the CL groups and beyond. Will do the national team update in a separate post
  3. [FM17] Heart(s) of a Lion (Rampant)

    Fraser has been good for me, not a first 11 choice but gets plenty game time and has performed well His attributes have not developed loads since i signed him, but he has some good fundementals and the "plays one-twos" trait works well if i play him as AMC.
  4. [FM17] Heart(s) of a Lion (Rampant)

    Season 2 - The Transfer Window (Jan) So another window, and not too many needs in our squad at this moment. Transfers Out Not a lot to say. Durrant is a kid who will get some game time at East Fife. Pearson was retiring and was totally shot as a player, bad signing that one. Ross had been a handy utility guy but really was not good enough at this level. Knox i wanted to get more game time. I was surprised when Forrest came in offering for him as a rotation guy. However after 10 days, 3 games and him not even making the bench in any, i recalled him and sent him to Tannadice where he will be a first team player. Transfers In We had some budget available, but i was not intending to spend it for the sake of spending. Very few clear upgrades within our wage range and / or available. Adam Morrice (£230k from Motherwell) - A prospect whom was fairly highly rated by my scouts after he arrived in their intake last year, but has improved a bit in the eyes of my 3 best scouts. Can never have too many prospects, so i splashed some cash Ryan Christie (Loan from Celtic) - A bit of a last minute one. A good player but he was signed in a round about way because Alan Hutton is showing his age and fading. No really acceptable RWBs available, so Grant Gillespie, who i had been using in CM as a rotation player, has started to play a lot of RWB. Christie replaces him for depth in CM.
  5. [FM17] Heart(s) of a Lion (Rampant)

    Season 2 - Mid-Season (Sept - Dec) Team Performance SPL Well, we are surpassing even my expectations. I guess not having to rely on dross like Pearson, McFadden and Miller really does improve us! We lost on the opening day to Hibs, which was annoying, but we have been on a few good runs since. The odd blip, usually after Europa games, but we sit proudly at the top of the table as the calendar turns. The caveat, of course, is that Celtic do have a game in hand. Most impressively, we have achieved this largely without our best player. Jamie Walker picked up a damaged Achilles early in the season and has missed all but 9 games of our season, only just starting to come close to returning now Europa League In a tough group, we did not disgrace ourselves at all. Infact we started with a famous win at home to Udinese, with over 20,000 crammed into Tynecastle. We were actually in with a shout of qualifying going into the final games, but Lyon were just too good for us. Still, the run to the groups has given us a huge financial boost. Player Performances Top Performers Lewis Vaughan - Stepped in to take the place of Walker and has been sensational. Has split time between AMC and ST and scores from either position. His attributes are nothing amazing but he is getting it done Callum McGregor - Our big signing has largely lived up to his billing. A couple of separate injuries have cost him a few weeks, but when fit he generally plays, moving around between 3 positions at times but has the well rounded game to perform anywhere Charlie Adam - As hoped for, his experienced head in the middle of the park has helped us. In the SPL against most teams i can get away with playing him as my ball winner, and whilst he is not natural at that his game allows him to be effective from deeper Young Players (1st team) Tony Gallacher - Continues to impress and develop, even chipping in goals now. Going to be a struggle to hold on to him through Jan and into the next window i fear Matthew Knox - Has not developed as quickly as I hoped. I tried to send him out on loan on deadline day once i got McGregor, but no takers. He has had a reasonable amount of game time and tutoring but needs to kick on in his development Prospect Watch Tony Paterson - The close season signing has developed very quickly and nicely in our U20s side. He has yet to make his first team bow (the 4 "competitive" appearances are because our U20s play in one of the senior cups) but looks close. May be sent out on loan for 6 months as we are well covered at DC for the rest of the season National Team Update What an absolute shambles. We somehow scraped 2nd in our qualifying group but were denied a playoff place by virtue of being the worst of the second placed teams. We cannot complain about that, we were awful at times. With 2 games to go, it was in our hands. Needing only to beat Lithuania and Malta to get into the playoffs, we contrived to lose to Lithuania. Teams which lose games like that do not go to major tournaments. Quite why the fixtures arranger folks then chose to give us 2 friendlies with Iceland in 5 days is a mystery......presumably to rub it in that other teams were playing 2 legged playoffs at that point! Upside was that we tried out some younger players, with Greg Kiltie scoring 2 on his debut, and this gem of a regen being found at Arsenal. My scouts think he has 5 star potential and since he had english as a second nationality, i capped him right away!
  6. [FM17] Heart(s) of a Lion (Rampant)

    Thanks, yeah its a slow process, not helped by a few of them being old Hopefully a good Europa run would generate some cash to buy the younger guys. Missed out on some of the best talent to the Premier League, but my hope is most will sit on the bench for a year then be willing to return.
  7. [FM17] Heart(s) of a Lion (Rampant)

    Season 2 - The Early Going (June / July / August) Team Performance So we start a new season with hopes high. We probably are not going to get close to Celtic, but another trophy would be lovely and we want to see if we can do a run in Europe. SPL Bit of a shakey start, as we try to balance the Euro games and also slot in new signings. Early going though, so not much to learn Europa League Yeah baby! What a great run. The Leicester games were insane, the second leg especially. so topsy turvy but somehow we got through. By comparison, the playoff was mild and straightforward. Group stages a huge boon for us, should sort the finances big time. Transfer Activity Going into the summer, we knew we had to move out the remaining non Scottish players. We also wanted to improve depth and hopefully attract some good talent Transfers Out Not much to say here, mostly just youths being released, older players retiring and non scots being offloaded. Was really disappointed at the price i got for Goncalves, considering he was valued at £1m and not a high wage, but he had to go so i accepted what i could. Managed to retain all my scottish talent, although Gallacher was subject of a £1.6m bid from West Brom which we rejected. Transfers In So the first 5 on the list are all youth signings. Given the lack of talent, once i got my youth intake i scouted litterally the intakes of every team in scotland outside the top 6 in the SPL. Methodically reviewing anyone who was 3 star or better and picking those who could be had for a reasonable price. Most are just 3 gold star potential so really its a bit of a lottery, but Patterson looked the pick of the bunch at 3.5 stars, reflected in the price i had to pay. Of the non youths: Jack Harper (£275k from Malaga) - Was pleased to get him. Had him on loan last season and he is one of the few really promising Scottish talents, and at a position we needed to bring more in for. He will be a regular starter for us: David Ferguson (Bosman from Ayr) - Freebie from Ayr, signed purely for depth as he looks good enough to be a 5th DC and had a little potential left to fulfill. I had looked at him in Jan and he was going to cost £200k so getting him on a bosman was a decent deal Rohan Ferguson (£20k from Ayr) - Signed purely to be a 3rd choice keeper and has moderate promise. Probably never be more than a backup, but we needed a 3rd keeper as one of youths was polish so had to go Jamie Mackie (Free Transfer) - Signed to bring some experience and depth to our forward line, which is made up mostly of younger players since the retirement of Miller / McFadden Charlie Adam (Free Transfer) - Still feel like he has some quality so a free worth a bit of a gamble. He can play a few different roles in CM for me Callum McGregor (£525k from Celtic) - A deadline day signing. I did not have an obvious need for him but he is too good to pass up on at his age and at this price. A step up in quality from the likes of Holt and Vaughan etc, so he will find plenty game time. National Team Update n / a (No games in this period)
  8. [FM17] Heart(s) of a Lion (Rampant)

    Season 1 - 2016 / 17 - The Climax (Feb / Mar / Apr / May) The business end of things. When the men are sorted from the boys. The biggles from the algys. We embraced the challenge, going on a run and not losing a game in 2017 until mid March, when Celtic were too strong for us. We quickly established ourself at the had of a battle with Hibs and Partick for 2nd and 3rd place. A run of 4 wins after the Celtic defeat made 2nd place safe, and made the post split fixtures pretty meaningless, although we did induce my rage by losing 3 v 0 away to Hibs in the final Derby of the season So second place and European football. Not bad for a team made up of 10 Scottish players post Jan. They were a bit of a rag tag bunch at times but we gelled well and produced some good football. We also went on a Scottish Cup run and got a bit lucky in avoiding Celtic, and then having a tense semi final win on pens against the Hibs, before absolutely crushing Aberdeen in the final. A pot to show for our first season! Not bad at all! The Squad The full squad picture, showing our last 3 remaining non Scots, who will all be gone before we play another game. Goncalves going to be a huge loss and tough to replace but the rules are the rules. Key Men (Scots only!) Jamie Walker had an unbelievable season playing mostly as a #10 in behind either 1 or 2 strikers. Goals everywhere, a few hatties and international recognition. Suspect he will be tough to keep hold of Jason Holt slotted in nicely back at Tynie and was somewhat of a creative force, supplying plenty assists Youth Development 2 key youngsters were targetted with getting some first team exposure, both signings i made since our existing youth / U20 side are absolutely shocking with no prospects even worthy of mention. Tony Gallacher is probably my best prospect and he got thrown in the deep end post Jan when Dixon was released and Holt was injury prone. He did brilliantly and has really developed already. I think we have our starting LB for next season Matt Knox had been loaned out and got a few games when he came back and did not really impress but his attributes have kicked on a bit. Off season transfer work will determine whether he starts next season as a rotation option for me or is sent out on loan. Youth Intake Not a brilliant intake, but 2 players the Ass Man noted to me. Paul Laing, who might develop into a box to box type Kerr Nisbet probably an even better prospect and every chance he could partner up with Laing in a few years, as a more creative type. National Team Update Just 2 games over these 4 months, and they went poorly. The England game was a disgrace of a performance. I gambled on giving Jamie Walker his debut and he was awful, we had a couple of injuries so John Souttar also played and we were never in it. Only saving grace is that we have now played them twice so our remaining fixtures are more winnable. The Nigeria friendly was a lot of rotation and we didnt really deserve to lose. Along with Walker, Ryan Gauld has been called up for the first time So on to season 2 and a 100% scottish squad and staff!
  9. [FM17] Heart(s) of a Lion (Rampant)

    Faddy giving me 1 day notice that he is jacking it Never mind Jamsie Boy, we will always have Paris...........
  10. [FM17] Heart(s) of a Lion (Rampant)

    Season 1 - 2016 / 17 - Mid Season (Nov / Dec / Jan) This is the time of the season when the grind starts, injuries hit and squad depth is tested. We certainly suffered a lot of injuries. Our two main strikers missed time, Faddy is done for his career likely, Pearson out long term again, Berra missed a month, Dixon done for the season. It goes on Overall, we are hanging on in the race for Europe. Celtic are miles clear as expected, and it looks currently like us, Partick and Hibs. We also remain in the Scottish cup although its early days but we have knocked out Caley Thistle in the 3rd round. With january, comes the window and time to move our team further towards our goal of "All Scottish". Firstly, the transfers out: This was all about moving out the non Scottish lads, and also raising some funds and pruning the squad. Stockton, Grzelak and Nowak are all non Scots who were also not near the first team anyway so got rid. Reid and Godinho youths with no promise or future. Cowie was taking up a wage and not in my thoughts and Dixon was out for the season and out of contract at the end of the season so we mutually terminated. Lafferty obviously the big sale, he is not Scottish so had to go and we got a good fee for him which was good. This now leaves us with only 3 non scottish players - Aaron Hughes (NI) who will be out of contract at seasons end and is my 5th choice DC. Michael Smith (NI) who is my backup RB who i have tried to get rid off with no joy so far, and Isma Goncalves (POR) our main goalscorer. He will be a big loss at seasons ends, but he will be gone come what may! Transfers In Danny Wilson (£135k from Rangers) - Another former Judas returns, having deserted us for Rangers a couple of years ago. he was transfer listed and i got them to pay half his wage, so a worthwhile signing for depth. Gives us 4 decent DCs which is important when playing a back 3. Scott Fraser - (£240k from Dundee Utd) - A bit of an expensive signing by our standards, but i am hoping he can be worth it. Only 21 and good attributes, although my scouts are a little sceptical on how much growth he has left. But if i can get him in the team and scoring at worst there should be sell on value. Looks quite similar to Walker and might form a partnership with him behind a lone front man as we deal with the loss of Lafferty Jack Harper (Loan from Malaga) - Cant turn down the chance to take that rare Scottish talent who came through the ranks at Real F'king Madrid! Ok, so Harper never quite made it and was a flop in England but he still has pedigree and i will take half a season of him. I doubt i can afford to, or convince him to sign permanent Alan Hutton (Free transfer) - Kept an eye on him as he was listed at villa but on 30 grand a week. Eventually they released him and i snapped him up for under a grand a week. A few years removed from being a EPL level RB and top international, but at 32 i am hoping there is a year or two left in the tank Overall good business, got us a bit younger and feel the squad is not in bad shape. National Team update Bit of a quiet time, just the one qualifier which was an important one and a big win for us away in Slovenia with Griffiths getting it done. The draw with Luxembourg was an embarrassment but i had made 11 changes and we didn't care much about the game Have freshened up the squad a bit with the likes of John Souttar, Liam Palmer and John McGinn being capped. McGinn looks like he could be a long term asset, as could Soutar if he kicks on in his development. Palmer more of a stop gap / squad filler. The U21s i am keeping a close eye on obviously. Kingsley, Fulton, Kiltie, Quitongo and Cummings are all players i plan to work into the main squad when i can, although the latter has not started a game all season at Forrest On to the final stage of the season - Thanks to everyone who commented on both the original post and the recent update
  11. [FM17] Heart(s) of a Lion (Rampant)

    Looks like that might be a career for Faddy
  12. [FM17] Heart(s) of a Lion (Rampant)

    Season 1 - 2016 / 17 - The early going (Aug / Sept / Oct) First on the agenda into August was some additional re-reinforcements for the first team. A bit of a motley crew, but what can you do! We needed a bit more depth and had little cash left. Nick Ross (Free Transfer) - Not really much quality or pedigree, but his player traits caught the eye and i am retraining him to play RWB where we have no other scottish options really. He can also cover other spots which helps and is relatively young Paul Dixon (Free Transfer) - This was a case of needs must really. After my plan B for LWB got injured (Pearson) i needed someone else in that position and Dixon was all i could find / attact. Will possibly just about do as rotation until Gallacher has a season under his belt Kenny Miller (Free Transfer) - Yes, really...... Rangers released him as they always do, and i felt so desperate for backup in the forward areas that i have gambled. My squad is really old and he doesnt help that but maybe he has some goals left in him. Outwardly, we sent young Matthew Knox out on loan for some game time, and managed to give away the unwanted Martin to reduce our foreign number by 1 at least. So onward to the real action, the first 3 months have been predictably a bit mixed. We have not fully gelled and our lack of quality has been shown up on occasion. We are out of the betfred cup at the quarter final stage on pens to Dundee, but i dont care about that mickey mouse cup and was making 11 changes every time it came around so..... League wise, we are tucked in nicely but we need more consistency National Team Update Our campaign got off to a reasonable start when we drew with England, and we followed up with an impressive friendly win over Norway. A disaster of a performance away to Slovakia set us back but we recovered to beat Lithuania The national squad is largely made up of established players at this stage. I have introduced Oli Burke to a few games and Murray Wallace has a cap, but beyond that they are the same motley bunch that Strachan has, for now. Onwards and upwards
  13. [FM17] Heart(s) of a Lion (Rampant)

    Season 1 - 2016 / 17 - Pre-Season (June / July) Of course, the main order of business in pre-season is squad shaping and transfers. This was going to be a bit of a different challenge since, well, there is not exactly a huge pool of Scottish talent, let alone those who i can both afford and attract. Luckily, we do start with a small budget and there are one or two of the non Scottish players i can move on right away. (Editors note - the transfers dated 4th June are all me using the in-game editor to update my team to be as it is in real life at the close of the transfer window - i have an updated DB but it turned out not to be fully updated - this is why there is one non Scottish signing on loan - Connor Randall). Transfers On the "out" side, Buaben and Djoum were sold to give me some more cash to spend, as well as of course not being Scottish. Likewise Zanatta. The others were just squad pruning and moving no deadwood where i could Transfers in were the main focus, so who did we bring in. James McFadden (Free Transfer) - Although his days as a premier league player are surely gone, I will always have a soft spot for him after Paris. He can still come off the bench or fill in for the odd low importance game and can tutor kids. He will also serve as our U20s Ass Man. Tony Gallacher (£60k from Falkirk) - Very opposite end of the spectrum to Faddy. He is one for the future, a potentially talented LB which is an area we are very weak in. There was interest from Rangers so i was pleased to snap him up for not much cash. He will start the season in the U20s but we might need to call on him sooner than we would like Matthew Knox (£42k from Livingston)- Another for the future, a good young talent who also had interest from some reasonable sized clubs. He will also sit in the U20s and will try and work him in for some appearances as we manage to sell our non Scottish strikers Fraser Fyvie (Free Transfer) - An ex hibbee, but i can't really be took picky at this point. He was free, and can do a job in midfield for us Grant Gillespie (£275k from Hamilton) - Cost me some money but he is a solid young player with SPL experience. he can cover a few positions as well. Hamilton have a few good Scottish players, but Gillespie was the most affordable Kevin Holt (£100k from Dundee)- Not great quality, but we literally have no natural LWB and i plan to play a back 3. Holt was one of the few i could find who can potentially hold that position down until hopefully Gallacher develops Stephen Pearson (Free Transfer) - A real flier to be honest, he looks completely done, but he has some ability to play LWB so might be an alternative to Holt at times. Not sure i would trust him in a big game thought at this stage Lewis Vaughan (£275k from Raith) - A bit of an overpay, but i really need a young close to first team ready Scottish Striker. Vaughan can play either AMC or ST which will come in handy in my system and i hope can develop a bit Jason Holt (£425k from Rangers) - A bit of a Judas in the eyes of the fans after he left us, but he fills a need and is essentially a Scottish replacement for Djoum. He has some holes in his game but i hope i can get the best from him That is it for transfers so far, we have minimal funds left and could use a striker and possibly another LWB option, or an RWB option so i can send back the non Scot Randall but i think we will need to go with what we have for now. Pre-season games So far we have flipped between 2 formations / tactics, variations on the same theme. Always a back 3 with wingbacks, and 2 solid CMs (BWM / BBM). Ahead of that i either go 1 AMC and 2 ST, or 2 AMC and 1 ST. Our personnel largely fit nicely into this shape and it gives us variation. Fixtures wise, i generally will class the betfred cup nonsense as being "pre-season". Overall not much to note, standard stuff: Only real news was with 2 games of pre-season to go, Stephen Pearson suffered a damaged spine and is out 5months. So that was a good signing........ we will need to scout around for another LWB it seems as the season gets underway
  14. Ah Heart of Midothian. My seductress. My temptress. My passion since my formative years. Every year you drag me back into this sordid love affair. Every time, after a wed night defeat away to Partick Thistle, I swear we are over. Done. No more. Enough of this rubbish, time to move on to better things in life, with more meaning. Then 3 months later i find myself on the freezing cold terraces at Dens Park belting out Hector Nicol's famous tune in a lager induced delirium. Waving my maroon scarf with pride and excitement. Part of the problem, nowdays, ("I tell ya, its not like when i were a lad"), is that the guys who wear the Jersey are just so hard to identify. Where are all the real "gorgie boys"? I mean, we had a youth development system which was the envy of our nation not a decade ago. We produced players who went on to big money moves and great things. Players like Naysmith, Gordon and before them Alan Johnston, Paul Ritchie. I am not taking ancient history here, i am talking since the turn of the millenium, give or take a few years. And we around those times, the time i was growing up supporting Hearts, we were famed for scalping good young Scottish Talent and making good on it. Neil McCann, Andy Webster, Colin Cameron. Those of you reading with any knowledge of Scottish Football will no doubt be aghast that i seem to be limiting my descriptions of "how it used to be" to basically 1996 onwards.............but that is my point. I mean, we know football can't go back to how it was in the 60s, 70s, even the 80s. Hearts produced some magnificent teams and players back then and beyond (Also some absolutely awful ones to be fair, particularly in the 80s). But surely we have not moved on so far in the last 20 years that things need to be so different. When did we start relying by default on foreign imports? It started with Jim Jefferies (actually, it did not, technically it started with Roald Jensen in 1965, and we have many overseas players down the years.....but that is not the point), and I was there. I remember it. Jim had taken over an abject Hearts team full of guys like David Winnie and Alan Lawrence. We were going nowhere and after around 8 games of the 1995/96 season, big Jim had enough. Before a seemingly run of the mill game against Falkirk the club announced from no-where, 3 new signings. French Goalkeeper Gilles Rousset, Italian defender Pasquale Bruno, and Swedish Striker Hans Eskilson. Two of those, by the way, went on to be Hearts legends / cult heros. The third remains to this day the most useless striker i have ever seen. That day set the scene for the Jefferies reign and although he was behind many of the Scottish signings mentioned earlier, big JJ was never shy from then on to raid the continent. This trait continued for the 22 years or so which followed under a long list of managers, many of whom were not Scottish either. We did, of course, have the odd Lithuanian during this time as well....... We flirted with the home grown approach a couple of years back, through necessity. We were skint, in administration and driven to the brink of extinction. Big Vlad packed up and went on the run and we couldnt pay our foreign lads wages in what is an all too familiar tale in Scottish football (Hello Dundee, Livingston, Motherwell). We relied on home grown youth, some of which was rubbish, but we fought back as a club. We got back to the big time, and money came back in. We spent it on guys like Malaury Martin, Andras Struna and Isma Goncalves........... Enough is enough. This great club was founded on wonderful Scottish name. Bauld, Wardhaugh, Conn, Ford, Mackay, Walker, Robertson, Jefferies and so on. We have had some wonderful iconic overseas players both before my time and during. Flogel, Adam, Rousset, Skacel, Fyssas, Guarin and well once upon a time in a cold frozen hell, Mo Berthe for 45mins. But we are the Heart of Midlothian. Midlothian being, of course, one of the historic areas of Edinburgh, capital of Scotland. Scotland. Our nation. So it is time to start to take this wonderful club back to its roots, and to fill it once again with Scottish Talent. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Concepts / rules for this save I will, rather obviously, be managing Hearts. It is not a journeyman career, my entire career will be spent at this club For a bit of variety, linked to the main theme, i will also manage the abomination which is the Scottish National Team Throughout my career at Hearts, we will sign only "Scottish" players "Scottish", for the purpose of this save, will be defined as being eligible for the Scottish National team, even if the player has not utilised that eligibility - I get that there are more "pure" definitions of Scottish, but this is the one i have chosen We will of course rely heavily on our youth system, given the lack of general Scottish quality As Hearts start with quite the bunch of Johnny Foreigners, during season 1 i will accept that the team will contain non Scottish players. We will sell or release all of these by the end of season 1 Staff members will also be all Scottish, but again some existing staff will remain for season 1 until they can be replaced So, that is it. This might fall flat, or it might be fun.