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Bradley's Babes. Anyone who reads any of my threads will be aware that the main focus of any of my saves is Youth Development and as a result, very much centered around Youth Intake Day every season. I like doing something a little different with my threads and I want this to be completely focused around Youth Intake Day with very little attention paid to whether we win, lose or draw matches, (yes, I know, I'm weird). I'm actually running this alongside my career that I'm updating in my "Music" thread, but I don't envisage there being any crossover at all of players between the 2 clubs. Stade Rennais are battling at the top of the French League and I really have no reason to even look at a club who were mid-table in League 2 when I took over. If the Sunderland experiment goes well then the Stade Manager in me might want to sign some of the hot Sunderland prospects, but the Sunderland manager will be none to keen to let them go. I really don't think there is going to be any cross-over between the 2 at all. I am really enjoying my time in France, but unfortunately it is not the ideal structure for a Youth Save. For a start you can only loan out 7 players in 1 season to other French clubs. (Well that's no good. I want loan out 57 never mind about 7). The fact that players come through the Academies so young there, (14/15), is good, but it can be frustrating having to wait 2 years to give a starlet his debut. My plan for this thread is to not really bother with updates about how the club is doing, and instead concentrate on individual players. I might even do no updates at all other than Youth Intakes and comparisons to see how players have progressed. Brexit. I can't remember exactly what the deal was with Brexit, but I know I got a harsh one. I wasn't managing in England so I didn't really pay too much attention to it at the time. What do the League 2 rules say I wonder? Make of this what you will. I won't be buying players anyway. Background. Sunderland are languishing in League 2 and it's this that made them an attractive proposition to manage. I'm not really sure why they are struggling so much. Their squad is a little unbalanced in my opinion, but they certainly have enough quality to be doing better and financially the club seem to be on a sound footing, presumably because the Sunderland fans are still turning up in large numbers. Facilities. The Stadium of Light might have very well seen better days, but the fact still remains that if we can give them something worth watching, it's possible to cram 48,707 paying bums onto seats. Our average attendance in League 2 this season has been a quite remarkable 23,549, with a whopping 27,056 punters turning up to watch us draw 0-0 to Carlisle early in the season. The facilities that really matter are the Youth based one's and these are decent. Finances. Surprisingly, (at least to me), we are doing ok money-wise, and I would guess this is as a result of such phenomenal support in League 2. Bright prospects. I wouldn't have say that we have any Superstars hidden in the ranks, but we certainly have a reasonable amount of quality. We are after all playing in League 2, so they don't have to be amazing to look good. I haven't checked yet, (I am about to), but I suspect that we have produced better players via the academy in recent years, but anyone with any real quality would have been snapped up pretty quickly. Stewart (NIR) (Bal) HG is a player I really like. He featured only fleetingly under the previous Manager, but has already become an important part of the team under me. I have obviously extended his contract immediately. Tinnion (Perfect) HG is another who has been offered and accepted a contract extension. Actually he's quite an interesting player for me because I am not sure that I have any experience at all with Perfectionist personality. He's a very good player for League 2 and should be with us for a good few years. Perfectionist Pro 18-20, Det 18-20, Amb 18-20, Tem 1-9 (Remember that these templates I'm quoting are the old one's from Cleon's Ajax thread and some are now out of date. I don't know if anyone has created new one's for FM18 yet). Ed (Bal), Gough (Res) , Rock (F.Loyal) and Martin (IRL) (Jovial) are all decent players, but they are not products of our Academy so I'm not going to bother talking about them. They will be replaced as soon as I can. Dowson (Bal) HG hasn't made his debut yet, but I will soon start rotating him with Gough (Res) until such time as I can cash in on him and then Dowson (Bal) HG will be 1st choice. He's just a little on the slow side, bujt otherwise looks decent. Bell (F.Pro) HG is a winger and I just don't plan on using them. When we have a good player like this, I will probably look to loan them out somewhere right from the off just to give them games. Karl (F.Pro) HG is probably my favourite player at the club. I just love the fact that he is a natural BWM. I've been trying and failing to shoe-horn players into a BWM role in my Strade Rennais save for a few years now and this bloke is just perfect for what I want. I like him, but he's not worth £800,000. Is he? Either way, hands off. He's got a 2 year contract with an option for 3 more. Before my arrival. Things were not going well, (hence the sacking of the previous Manager). They actually weren't playing badly, they were just drawing too many games. They were languishing in 12th place though and that just wasn't good enough for the Chairman, (and rightly so). The FA Cup and Carabao Cup didn't bring any respite from the League 2 woes unfortunately. The abomination that is the Checkatrade Trophy offered a small amount of light relief, but it was actually, (somewhat surprisingly) the loss to Sheffield Utd on penalties that cost the previous Manager his job. Since my arrival, (let's be completely straight here and admit that I am not even bothering with the IR button and instead just went straight on holiday), things started off slowly, but our fortunes soon started to improve. After going winless in our opening 4 games, we are now unbeaten in our last 9.
If, after reading some of my long-winded drivel, you somehow find that you could do with more of my drivel to read, then a lot of my stuff can be found in the following threads. Some of the threads will be mine, and others will have shared contributions. Either way, if you like what you read in this thread, then the following threads might be enjoyable too. If on the other hand you think I am boring, need to get a life, and what the hell is it with all those nicknames and will you just shut up about Professionalism, tutoring and just go and buy some players, then the following is probably not for you. [FM17] Football, fire and ice: The inside story of Iceland's remarkable rise. In the build-up to EURO 2016, I was reading a Guardian article that I was linked to on twitter, and while the whole article was great, there was a single little paragraph that resonated with me and the way that I play FM. https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/jun/08/iceland-stunning-rise-euro-2016-gylfi-sigurdsson-lars-lagerback?CMP=share_btn_tw "Take some small task and do it to death". That sounds like my mantra for FM. The concise very definition of the way I play. From a Target Man winning 67 consecutive headers in FMwhateveritwas, (just because someone said it couldn't be done), and San Marino winning the World Cup, (again, you can't do it without cheating!), to goal-scoring GK's, (that's ridiculous, you will never get past 50!) and Youth only saves, (boring, I stopped reading at the top of page 1), I suppose the way I play FM has always been...... unusual. So Iceland seemed to suit me, (and of course I have never managed there which is an attraction too). Another attraction is that we rarely see others managing in Iceland. San Marino is all the rage now, (at least it was last year, even when you kept getting sacked 8 years into the NT job), and Gibraltar is popular with the official structure add-on being released every season now. But Iceland are neither too rubbish to be a "proper challenge" for idiots like me, nor good enough to be managed in more commonly. As for which club I was going to be, well I was torn. Initially, my plan was, (as usual), to go on holiday for 1 season and then select one of the teams that were promoted into the bottom playable League, but this was different. The article I linked to above mentioned Breidablik specifically and how, with the arrival of the economic meltdown, they were the 1st to discard expensive foreigners and rely on home produced Youth *** I was reluctant to start with a team in the Úrvalsdeild, (that's the Premier League to you and me), so instead I looked lower down in 1. deild karla, (that's the First Division to you and me). Semi-Pro, (check), Synthetc pitch, (check), Council owned stadia, (check), Great youth facilities, (check) and Well established youth recruitment, (check). Predicted to finish 7th of 12 teams in the FM16 game. No affiliated clubs, (so they're not a feeder which I was worried about), not a single non-Icelandic player, (check), and just 1 single player with senior International experience. Jóhannes Karl Guðjónsson doesn't ring any bells to me, but he has played at Villa, Wolves, Leicester, Burnley and Huddersfield. I may not recognise the name, but I certainly recognise the career. That's Joey Gudjonsson to you and me. Handknattleiksfélag Kópavogs is a bit of a mouthful, but thankfully they are more commonly known as HK. The club dates back to 1969, but was officially established on 26 January 1970. Originally only a handball team, with the football team established in 1992. The summer of 2007 saw the football team play for the first time in the Icelandic top division, the Úrvalsdeild. The club were relegated in their second season to the second tier and were again relegated to the third tier in 2011. I've been going through the current (ISL) senior International squad and seeing how many, (if any), have been produced by HK. Hólmar Örn Eyjólfsson is a centre-back who moved from HK on to West Ham before joining Bochum in Germany and onto Rosenborg in Norway. Rúrik Gíslason is a winger who moved on to Anderlecht and Charlton, before going through Viborg and OB in Denmark before settling at FC Kobenhavn. Kolbeinn Sigþórsson is one of the stars of the current (ISL) National side and although the big striker is currently at Nantes in France, he was snapped up by Dutch side AZ after just 5 games and 1 goal for HK in his debut season as a 16 year old. Good performances for AZ brought a £4.3M move to Ajax, but despite a decent scoring record in Holland, he was sold at a loss to Nantes last year, (where he certainly didn't set the World alight). So there is some degree of pedigree to the players that the club has produced in the past and certainly enough to fill me with optimism. I wonder if we produced a certain young man by the name of Orri Freyr Oskarsson though...... No. It seems that he was produced by Þór and whether it was as a result of a collapsed lung, or a change in name, he was never able to reach the heights in real life that many of us, (including myself), saw him achieve in game. Some say he was greedy, but I put this down to him actually being deaf in one ear, (it's true I tell you!) The reason for his decline from scoring 48 goals in 92 games for Þór could well be down to the serious issue of a collapsed lung, but it's equally probably that it's as a result of his pre-match diet of hamburger, chips and Pepsi, (again, I tell you it's true!), but you also have to remember that the (ISL) leagues were sponsored by..... yes, you guessed it, Pepsi, back then. I have had a look at the FM16 HK squad and it was pleasing that although all were Icelandic, we did have a single solitary 2nd Nationality. (I love a 2nd Nationality for some reason, possibly because I am English but to Irish and Scottish parents). That the 2nd Nationality was Nepalese, (yes really), is just a bonus, because I have never seen a single Nepalese FM player ever never mind about had one in my squad. I hope he's still in the FM17 squad. The first thing that jumps out at me, (looking at the FM16 HK squad), is that where as the default setting for a Serbian player in FM seemed to be between Balanced and Fairly Ambitious, (neither of which I am keen on at all), the default personality for an Icelandic player, seems to be between Balanced and Fairly Sporting. Fairly Sporting Spo 15-20, Pro & Det & Amb & Loy all 1-14 That doesn't look good at all. (Pro) and (Det) both at 1-14. If it was Sporting rather than (F.Sport), things would be better because it would look like this. Sporting Spo 18-19, Det 1-9, Pro 5-20 Potentially lower (Det), but potentially higher (Pro). Looking at the squad, (again, I am talking about the FM16 squad, then I have 1x (F.Pro) player, and that's it. The actual make-up of last season squad is as follows. 14x (Bal) 1x (L.Hearted) 1x (F.Pro) 10x (F.Sport) 3x (F.Loyal) 1x (F.Det) 3x (F.Amb) 1x (Amb) 1x (Sport) 1x (Resilient) 1x (Honest) 1x (Spirited) I think it's safe to say that we are going to need some tutors on the hurry-up. With that in mind, I need to have a think about what my self-imposed rules are going to be. In my Partizan save I started off by saying that I would only sign Serbian players, but then relaxed it to allow myself to sign non-Serbian non-playing tutors, but obviously Iceland doesn't have quite the infrastructure that Serbia has. I'm tempted to relax my initial rules to include all Scandinavians, (and still allow myself to sign non-playing tutors from absolutely everywhere), but with the idea being that I will slowly wean myself off non-Icelandic Scaninavians and then ultimately, even non-home-grown Icelanders. I'm not sure how realistic this is going to be, but that's my thinking anyway. Having never managed in Iceland, (and only just becoming aware that they have a rule of a maximum of 3 non-EU players in the squad, (why don't England do that?), I'm not sure at this stage what sort of players are going to appear on my scouting list, but I guess I will use the above as a start and maybe refine/relax things as I go depending on how I am getting on. I just have a Senior squad and an U19 squad which is a little strange for me, so it seems that from quite an early stage in the save I am going to have to improve at selling/releasing players and/or get a feeder club going in order to get some of the fringe players loaned out and playing competitive football. We will probably need to get promoted before we can loan players out into a playable league, (and there is absolutely no guarantee of that), and even then the 1.deild, (Icelandic 2nd League), has a rule whereby each match squad can only have a maximum of 4 loan players, (so 1 single feeder club in the league below is just not going to cut it). Maybe I shold load the Faroe Island sructure, but that isn't going to be playable from the off so I guess that's a no-go. Decisions decisions decisions. Something that should be mentioned at this juncture is that in real life it takes 7 years for foreigners to gain Icelandic Nationality, (but only 4 years for other Scandinavians). It should also be mentioned that being born in Iceland to non-Icelandic parents does not in itself entitle you to Icelandic citizenship. The next... problem, predicament, whatever you want to call it, is that because it's very cold in Iceland, their season actually runs from May to September, so by the time I start my save, we will in all likelyhood, gone through pre-season and...... actually, hang on, that's not right. If their season finishes in September, and the game doesn't come out until Novemeber, then in my FM16 save, why am I looking at a fixture list which says that we have already gone through pre-season, and played 6 out of 7 Deildabikar Group B games? (No, I don't have a clue either but we will see in the 2nd season I guess). Ok. This is a disaster. I have just looked to extend the contract of 1 player and the option for an additional "option" on the player did not exist. Is this an Icelandic thing? This could kill the save before it begins! Right from the off my plan is to select players based on PA rather than CA, and hope that I have enough guile about me in order that we don't get relegated and I don't get sacked. Based upon previous saves, this is not a foregone conclusion. 2 go down from a league of 12, so I just have to finish higher than 2 others. That's doable, (even with 16 year olds, isn't it....)