kipfizh

AI Experiment - what would happen if?

4,342 posts in this topic

I think they should include the Bandits in FM09. Not with all the superstars from the start, but with all of their star regens over the years.

It probably won't happen, but the thought of it is excellent. [img]http://community.sigames.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

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every time we sign players we seem to not improve much and when we sell, we do!

so im not too confident...

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Amazing! [img]http://community.sigames.com/customicons/icon14.gif[/img]

KUTGW Kip (and Ben Clayton I guess [img]http://community.sigames.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_razz.gif[/img] ) [img]http://community.sigames.com/customicons/icon14.gif[/img]

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Every season I fell like the tension between the updates gets stronger...i'm sure in a few years the Bandits will enjoy great success in Europe.

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Great Thread kipfizh! Just read it all in one go and i can't wait for update!

Thumbs up! [img]http://community.sigames.com/customicons/icon14.gif[/img]

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After four long days, I finally got here, to the last page... and it still hasn't ended!
Back at page 7 or 8 I was hoping page 21 would see the Bandits all-conquering. Unfortunately that seems like it might be a few more pages yet - though it could be soon!

Excellent thread, kept me going while I wait for FM08.

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I have just spent the last 2 hours reading this, amazing! It's like a soap opera, but in text form!!

Good work.

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[quote]Originally posted by kipfizh:
And since this post will be the 2000th reply to the thread (unless someone gets in their first), this seems like a apt time to say thanks to everyone for helping keep this going - I have no idea how less detailed and less interesting the reports would've been without all of your suggestions.

Nine months this has been going now, perhaps FM 08 should see a Bandits story....

(That's not to say this experiment is ending soon - it isn't) [/quote]

It had better not and it had better come to FM08! will be interesting to see the difference between the 2 games, especially if you keepit all the same....

keep it up kip.

you the man!!

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Update should arrive tomorrow, and in answer to the request for player links:

All player names in the Squad Analysis and First XI Summary sections will, from this report, be links to the players themselves.

So you can see the squad in all its glory [img]http://community.sigames.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

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[quote]Originally posted by kipfizh:
Update should arrive tomorrow, and in answer to the request for player links:

All player names in the Squad Analysis and First XI Summary sections will, from this report, be links to the players themselves.

So you can see the squad in all its glory [img]http://community.sigames.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] [/quote]

Groovy [img]http://community.sigames.com/customicons/icon14.gif[/img]

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Can't wait for the reply it just gets better and better.

I can really see the next season a a push on the top 5 and a real battle in the Cups.

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Bandits qualifying for the CL next season, reputation improving some more, another spending spree in the summer to come then a poor season start and Clayton getting the sack are my predictions for now.

Great update as usual Kipfizh, I can't wait to see what the first "Bandits in Europe" section will look like.

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Just read through all the season updates and must say this has been enjoyable. Look forward to hearing how the bandits do in Europe!! [img]http://community.sigames.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif[/img]

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Sorry folks, it'll be delayed - I haven't managed to finish it today and I'm away unil Sunday - two days to wait!

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Gutted!

Just sat down with a cup of coffee and a biscuit or 6 hoping it might be done already!

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[quote]Originally posted by CanaryLawn:
Gutted!

Just sat down with a cup of coffee and a biscuit or 6 hoping it might be done already! [/quote]

I've been checking all bloody day!

I am going to leave work now, and hopefully it will be up by the time I get home. Biscuits sound good. If only you could get Hobnobs here [img]http://community.sigames.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif[/img]

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[QUOTE]Originally posted by bignacboy:
I am going to leave work now, and hopefully it will be up by the time I get home. [QUOTE]

[QUOTE]Originally posted by kipfizh:
I haven't managed to finish it today and I'm away unil Sunday - two days to wait! [QUOTE]

That's quite some commute you've got there bignacboy!
:-D [img]http://community.sigames.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img]

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[quote]Originally posted by SpeccyMatt:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by bignacboy:
I am going to leave work now, and hopefully it will be up by the time I get home. [/quote]

[quote]Originally posted by kipfizh:
I haven't managed to finish it today and I'm away unil Sunday - two days to wait! [/quote]

That's quite some commute you've got there bignacboy!
:-D [img]http://community.sigames.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img] </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Damn, good point! Hadn't seen Kip's post [img]http://community.sigames.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

Sunday, bloody Sunday...

"b'dm tsh..."

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I'm obviously sad the update isn't ready but at least these last couple of posts made me laugh... I'll have to do what everyone else is doing and wait until sunday to learn that the Bandits finished top 4 and got the to UEFA cup 1/4 final... *fingers crossed*

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On 2007 a forum member of a norwegian forum made 22 CA/PA 200 players for andorra. They still wasn't able to win a single game in the qualifiersafter 3 qualifications were done.
Computer manager.
This is unresonable

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[quote]On 2007 a forum member of a norwegian forum made 22 CA/PA 200 players for andorra. They still wasn't able to win a single game in the qualifiersafter 3 qualifications were done.
Computer manager.
This is unresonable [/quote]

Whats your point?

Especially seen as that has nothing to do with this thread, I know its on the same sort of idea, but not really to the extent for you to post in here.

Yes, it is unreasonable; not winning a qualification match.

But, no, not in this thread.

[img]http://community.sigames.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_confused.gif[/img]

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*throws now soft biscuits in bin and makes some toast instead*

Drink is cold now though....

Bandits to win on a plastic pitch in Moscow in their first European game.

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Boohoo, just got home in a hurry to check out the Bandits update only to realize that it isn't ready yet... you're a tease Kipfizh! [img]http://community.sigames.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]
Come on Bandits!

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I think this is my first ever post. I'm a Yank who knows little about football, except what I've learned playing FM '06/'07 and watching a couple of years of Premiership action on Sky Sports.

It's an awesome game.

Anyway, while waiting for FM '08 to come out, I've been reading the forums. Came across this thread and read it all in one day. Huge Bandits fan. Looking forward to their first season in Europe. Absolutely fantastic game/thread.

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[quote]Originally posted by kipfizh:
Apologies - net connection was down - update later today (promise!!) [/quote]

Yey, that's just livened up an otherwise very boring working day for me [img]http://community.sigames.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

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[quote]Originally posted by GazTheDoood:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">On 2007 a forum member of a norwegian forum made 22 CA/PA 200 players for andorra. They still wasn't able to win a single game in the qualifiersafter 3 qualifications were done.
Computer manager.
This is unresonable [/quote]

Whats your point?

Especially seen as that has nothing to do with this thread, I know its on the same sort of idea, but not really to the extent for you to post in here.

Yes, it is unreasonable; not winning a qualification match.

But, no, not in this thread.

[img]http://community.sigames.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_confused.gif[/img] </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I posted it because this thread was about AI experiments and didn't want to start a new thread just to mention that.
Point is the reputation of the club or nation is influencing gameresults way too much.
Just to test I started a game with Man Utd, sold of all the best players cheap, got them relegated and then resigned.
Now they got promoted and finished 3rd in the Premiership with really crappy players the next season.

The same way as Andorra couldn't win a single game with 22 of the best players in the (game)world.

Si really has to do something about this!

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[quote]Originally posted by JustinCase88:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by GazTheDoood:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">On 2007 a forum member of a norwegian forum made 22 CA/PA 200 players for andorra. They still wasn't able to win a single game in the qualifiersafter 3 qualifications were done.
Computer manager.
This is unresonable [/quote]

Whats your point?

Especially seen as that has nothing to do with this thread, I know its on the same sort of idea, but not really to the extent for you to post in here.

Yes, it is unreasonable; not winning a qualification match.

But, no, not in this thread.

[img]http://community.sigames.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_confused.gif[/img] </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I posted it because this thread was about AI experiments and didn't want to start a new thread just to mention that.
Point is the reputation of the club or nation is influencing gameresults way too much.
Just to test I started a game with Man Utd, sold of all the best players cheap, got them relegated and then resigned.
Now they got promoted and finished 3rd in the Premiership with really crappy players the next season.

The same way as Andorra couldn't win a single game with 22 of the best players in the (game)world.

Si really has to do something about this! </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Couple of quick questions that have arisen from my experiment:

1. Were all of the Andorran games played on full detail (they wouldn't be by default - you set this up on startup)? With the Bandits starting so low in my game, they would play Conference South teams and never score more than four with perfect players. This is due to the detail with which the game was played.

2. How do you know Man Utd had crappy players? In this experiment, reputation has had an enormous effect on what players want to sign, and therefore success, but Man Utd went down, had the best reputation in the Championship, so could create an entirely new decent team. They went back up, before a third relegation finally dented their reputation enough so that they didn't dominate the Championship. They've been there ever since (ten years).

3. After you left Man Utd, did they hire a really good manager? With their reputation, that seems likely.

I am almost certain that reputation has absolutely no effect on the actual match at all (although I suppose player reputation might make the opponents freeze? Big game temperament?). It does, however, have a massive effect on which players are willing to sign, which is obviously a pretty huge factor.

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[I][B]Bandits report – Season report[/B][/I]

After an active summer, the Bandits went into the new season optimistic. Their midfield looked strong, no major sales had been made, expectations were high, they were about to embark on a first European campaign, and even if things went horribly wrong, they’d get their wish of a sacked Ben Clayton.

After a few games, the latter option looked the most likely. With the team utterly reliant on Finley and McDermott for goals, a slow start by the pair saw four defeats out of four and 20th place for the Bandits.

All in all, that was pretty poor preparation for the first European match in their history, a UEFA Cup first round tie with Zenith Peterburg. But a 2-0 away win saw their season come to life, and even a 1-1 draw at home in the second leg didn’t dampen the spirits. They were in the group stages.

From there the league season recovered, albeit unspectacularly, as the Bandits moved themselves out of the relegation zone, settling for a position around 15th. Their League Cup defence lasted precisely one round, losing at Championship strugglers Lincoln, before the tough UEFA Cup group began – Obilic, Utrecht, Bremen and Osasuna lay in wait.

The group began in the worst possible manner – a defeat to group minnows Obilic meant that they would have to win two of the three remaining games, but they managed it – a 3-1 win at home to Utrecht was followed by a special night in Germany, Scott McDermott’s goal sealing a famous 1-0 win away to Werder Bremen. Already through, the final day home defeat to Osasuna mattered little.

Domestically, however, they were struggling. Never more than a few points from the drop zone, they could not seriously challenged the top half, and many fans began to worry that their excellent European campaign was going to be a great distraction from a relegation threatened season.

Their fears were not misplaced – when January rolled around the Bandits were 17th and struggling badly. The FA Cup campaign came to an abrupt end with a third round home defeat to Championship side Reading, their second experience of an early giant killing in one season.

With the league form stuttering so badly, and relegation becoming a serious concern, the fans began to turn on Clayton. He still had one shot at a turnaround – a UEFA Cup knockout tie with Deportivo, one of the most glamorous opponents they could’ve hoped for.

The home leg came first, and despite the Spaniards applying constant pressure, another famous result was achieved, winning 1-0 thanks to a goal from the new star striker, Michael Lancashire, who had started well since his arrival in January. But it wasn’t enough – three early goals in the second leg set Deportivo up for a 3-0 victory, and they never looked in danger.

Two games later, and the board had had enough. Clayton won his final match against Morecambe, but with the club now out of all cup competitions and struggling in 15th despite his attempts to break the bank in January, he was fired. The official reason was that he had lost the faith of the players – in truth he had lost the fans a good while earlier. The European journey was a welcome distraction, but despite achieving the first major trophy of their history, there was little doubt that the club were not progressing as quickly as another manager could manage. On March 5, he was gone.

Many were tipped to become the new manager, but it was to be another slightly disappointing choice. Former Sunderland manager, and experienced coach, Stuart Davies, was hired, but at 62 his best days were surely behind him, as a CA of 80 shows, in comparison to his PA of 113.

[url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/364/204445daviesdu7.jpg"]Stuart Davies[/url]

He is, however, an entirely different type of manager to Ben Clayton. The old manager was a good judge of a player, but not such a good judge of a player’s potential, and while his tactical knowledge was good, his actual coaching ability was awful.

[url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/193/204445claytonvu7.jpg"]Ben Clayton[/url]

Davies is the complete opposite. He is an excellent coach, and a job title of ‘first team coach’ rather than ‘manager’ would be more appropriate, but his managerial acumen – tactical knowledge, judging a player etc – is appalling. He cannot motivate either.

However, we have seen many fading managers succeed towards the end of their careers. Perhaps it is their experience, but it is not rare. If Davies could push the Bandits onwards for a couple of seasons, using his coaching ability to allow his existing players to reach their fantastic potential, then his retirement could enable a younger manager to take the reins. But on the face of it, it seems another disappointing appointment.

At least it did at the time. From the moment Davies took over, his honeymoon period kicked in. An excellent end to the season saw the Bandits become a dangerous force again, slowly climbing the league and finishing ninth – their final day win against QPR putting them in their highest position for the entire season. Nicely timed.

The top seven qualified for Europe, but with eighth placed Chesterfield turning down the opportunity to enter the Intertoto Cup, the Bandits gladly accepted. Their season will start extremely early next season, but having got one taste of European football they want more.

All things considered, the season must be deemed a success. They managed to get Clayton out, yet recover their season so impressively after he departed that they have another crack at European football. I didn’t think that combination would be possible. The only disappointment is the ability level of the new manager, but he has started exceptionally well, and while I fear his transfer dealings, which promise to make Clayton look like a genius, he is at the age where retirement must be being considered.

This summer will be very interesting. What will the new man do? Do you fear, or hope? And can the Intertoto Cup be successfully negotiated?

[B]Honours:[/B] League Cup (2044)

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[I][B]Bandits report – Season summary[/B][/I]

2006-07, English Conference South - 1st, FA Trophy - Winners
2007-08, English National Conference - 7th, FA Trophy - Final
2008-09, English National Conference – 7th
2009-10, English National Conference – 9th
2010-11, English National Conference – 6th
2011-12, English National Conference – 18th
2012-13, English National Conference – 5th
2013-14, English National Conference – 1st
2014-15, English League Two – 21st
2015-16, English League Two – 21st
2016-17, English League Two – 6th
2017-18, English League Two – 6th
2018-19, English League Two – 7th
2019-20, English League Two – 6th, Johnstone’s Paint Trophy – South Semi Final
2020-21, English League Two – 10th
2021-22, English League Two – 1st, Johnstone’s Paint Trophy - Final
2022-23, English League One – 13th, Johnstone’s Paint Trophy – South Semi Final
2023-24, English League One – 11th, League Cup – Final
2024-25, English League One – 11th, League Cup – Semi-Final
2025-26, English League One – 18th
2026-27, English League One – 17th
2027-28, English League One – 14th
2028-29, English League One – 20th
2029-30, English League One – 1st
2030-31, English Championship – 14th
2031-32, English Championship – 10th, League Cup – Final
2032-33, English Championship – 12th
2033-34, English Championship – 8th
2034-35, English Championship – 21st
2035-36, English Championship – 2nd
2036-37, English Premiership – 17th
2037-38, English Premiership – 12th
2038-39, English Premiership – 15th, FA Cup – Semi-Final
2039-40, English Premiership – 11th

2040-41
English Premiership: (Pos 14), P 38, W 11, D 15, L 12, F 52, A 62, GD -10, Pts 48
(Media Prediction: 16th)
FA Cup: 3rd Round
League Cup: 2nd Round
2041-42
English Premiership: (Pos 13), P 38, W 14, D 9, L 15, F 55, A 55, GD 0, Pts 51
(Media Prediction: 18th)
FA Cup: 3rd Round
League Cup: 3rd Round
2042-43
English Premiership: (Pos 11), P 38, W 15, D 7, L 16, F 58, A 68, GD -10, Pts 52
(Media Prediction: 15th)
FA Cup: 3rd Round
League Cup: 3rd Round
2043-44
English Premiership: (Pos 6), P 38, W 16, D 9, L 13, F 47, A 47, GD 0, Pts 57
(Media Prediction: 14th)
FA Cup: Quarter-Final
League Cup: Winners
[B]2044-45
English Premiership: (Pos 9), P 38, W 14, D 10, L 14, F 60, A 53, GD +7, Pts 52
(Media Prediction: 8th)
[url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/1549/204445epvh5.jpg"]League[/url]
UEFA Cup: 1st Knockout Round
FA Cup: 3rd Round
League Cup: 3rd Round[/B]

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[B][I]Bandits report - Best and Worst[/I][/B]

[url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/1227/204445banditsgeneralpa2.jpg"]General[/url]
[url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/2181/204445banditsstatsmr8.jpg"]Stats[/url]

[url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/1858/204445banditsfinanceswd5.jpg"]Finance Overview[/url]

New records:

Total Transfer Spending: 61m

This season:

Best player – Paris, 7.51
Top scorer – Finley, 23
Worst player – Bell, 6.36

The Bandits remain in second place in the rich list.

[url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/1955/204445richclubsob7.jpg"]Rich Clubs[/url]

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[B][I]Bandits report - The ‘Ryan Morley’s of the world[/I][/B]

34 year old Ryan Morley slowed his decline this season, dropping just ten points of CA to fall to 121. But he is still a wonderful talent – he started twice and came on as a substitute three times for Chelsea, but even in that short time scored four goals and averaged 8.00. Time is nearly up for him though – he plans to retire this summer.

Paul Dove gained the remaining four points of CA to reach his huge potential of 171, but makes only one substitute appearance for Arsenal all season. At 24, he needs to move clubs.

22 year old Luke Hallett gained another eleven points of CA, reaching 161, still 23 short of his potential. He makes fourteen starts and twelve appearances from the bench for Chelsea, but plays poorly despite comparisons to Toni Halonen, one of the original ‘starlet tips’.

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[B][I]Bandits report - Team analysis[/I][/B]

[B]Goalkeepers[/B]

[url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/5213/204445owenparishj7.jpg"]Owen Paris[/url] (28, 154/156) continued in goal, and carried on from where he left off last season, playing superbly well, and remarkably averaging over 7.50.

Behind him, he was ably backed up by [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/434/204445billbeckhamve0.jpg"]Bill Beckham[/url] (25, 153/161), who played very well when called upon, and the improving [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/5050/204445chriswadeqb9.jpg"]Chris Wade[/url] (23, 153/158).

[I]Summary: [/I]Same trio as last season, without any of them getting too old – they are fine here.
[I]Genie Scout’s Suggestion: [/I]Bill Beckham (GK)

[B]Defenders[/B]

For the first half of the season, Wes McAusland became first choice left back for the Bandits, after [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/5308/204445stevelancasterxj9.jpg"]Steve Lancaster[/url] (33, 129/178) faded badly, but when he left in January, the gifted [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/7969/204445luispizarroma1.jpg"]Luis Pizarro[/url] (30, 159/159) was brought in, and played supremely for the rest of the season. There is no other backup, however.

On the right, Robbie Watts was sold, and for the first half of the season, [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/3586/204445alibellny7.jpg"]Ali Bell[/url] (26, 141/152) stepped in. However, he was atrocious, and in January Clayton dipped into the transfer market again and brought in [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/802/204445steenhansendq0.jpg"]Steen Hansen[/url] (25, 155/172), who was considerably better. But they are the only two players in the squad able to play at right back.

In the centre, the main partnership was again [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/4487/204445charliemorganxe9.jpg"]Charlie Morgan[/url] (32, 170/173) and [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/2927/204445thibaultpichetap7.jpg"]Thibault Pichet[/url] (24, 156/161), but there was a massive difference between the pair – Morgan was immaculate but Pichet was error prone and unsteady.

[url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/2475/204445phildixonhm0.jpg"]Phil Dixon[/url] (25, 151/157) played a lot of games too, but his were split between defence and midfield, while the rest of the backup was supplied by [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/4640/204445peterhenrywl6.jpg"]Peter Henry[/url] (22, 142/154) and [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/3035/204445garysmallvv0.jpg"]Gary Small[/url] (28, 148/167).

[I]Summary: [/I]In the centre they have the same set of players as before, and still need backup, while at left back there is only a quickly fading veteran to back Pizarro up. Right back also needs cover.
[I]Genie Scout’s Suggestion: [/I]Luis Pizarro (LB), Steen Hansen (RB), Charlie Morgan (CB), Phil Dixon (CB)

[B]Midfielders[/B]

After [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/3991/204445danijeliviczp4.jpg"]Danijel Ivic[/url] (32, 148/161) had held down a first team place at left wing for so long, he was comprehensively ousted from his position by the outstanding 14.75m signing from Man City, [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/6876/204445romanorlovfm4.jpg"]Roman Orlov[/url] (28, 169/169). The Ukrainian went on to have a fantastic season.

Ivic backed him up, along with [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/9394/204445ralphwrightzr9.jpg"]Ralph Wright[/url] (24, 143/152), while the talented young Welshman, [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/5343/204445andyparkinjm8.jpg"]Andy Parkin[/url] (23, 151/179) may well push Orlov hard for a place over the coming years. For once, the Bandits don’t need any more left wingers.

On the right, summer signing [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/7716/204445barrygarrardqs3.jpg"]Barry Garrard[/url] (29, 160/169) became first choice on his arrival, but this only lasted until January, when new signing [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/5716/204445philipkingjt1.jpg"]Philip King[/url] (26, 177/177), now the club’s best player, replaced him in the side. Last season’s first choice, [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/5785/204445stephenmcneiljb8.jpg"]Stephen McNeil[/url] (29, 137/137) is demoted to third place and transfer listed, but after this position being a massive weakness last season, it has been spectacularly rectified.

In the centre, [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/7998/204445fabienvincentoj6.jpg"]Fabien Vincent[/url] (26, 162/181) continued, but now looks unlikely to reach his full potential, while he was again partnered by [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/4872/204445shaungibbstb1.jpg"]Shaun Gibbs[/url] (29, 156/158), who seems to be beginning to fall away from his peak. No-one else really got much of a look in, but [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/2127/204445peterwattmk0.jpg"]Peter Watt[/url] (25, 154/156) is an able deputy, while defensive midfielder [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/241/204445leepeacockty0.jpg"]Lee Peacock[/url] (24, 148/161) is moving on in the summer.

Youth prospect [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/4692/204445adamwilliamsongg1.jpg%5B/URL"] (18, 106/189) has the highest potential of any Bandit in history, while attacking midfielder [URL=http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/6/204445pauldonaldsonth8.jpg]Paul Donaldson[/url] (22, 138/150) also has the makings of a decent player.

[I]Summary: [/I]Wingers are no longer the problem, but with the central midfielders not performing particularly well, new blood there would be a bonus.
[I]Genie Scout’s Suggestion: [/I]Andy Parkin (LM), Philip King (RM), Shaun Gibbs (CM), Roman Orlov (CM)

[B]Strikers[/B]

The strike partnership was again [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/4416/204445tomfinleyjh1.jpg"]Tom Finley[/url] (24, 169/169), who bagged 23 goals, and [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/2100/204445scottmcdermottgf2.jpg"]Scott McDermott[/url] (27, 159/159), who added 19 of his own. Once again, these two pushed the Bandits to heights they otherwise would never have reached.

This season, though, they have excellent backup in the shape of [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/2100/204445scottmcdermottgf2.jpg"]Michael Lancashire[/url] (24, 161/169), who after joining in January managed six goals in limited appearances.

[url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/5466/204445paulspicerho4.jpg"]Paul Spicer[/url] (29, 156/156) remains but wants a new challenge, but after that the backup is poor.

[I]Summary: [/I]Finley, McDermott and Lancashire make an excellent trio, but that’s it. They need a fourth.
[I]Genie Scout’s Suggestion: [/I]Scott McDermott (ST), Tom Finley (ST)

[B]Last season’s shopping list:[/B]

Left Back – signed (Pizarro, but McAusland sold)
Right Back – signed (Hansen, but Watts sold)
Centre Back – not signed
Left Winger – signed (Orlov, Parkin)
Right Winger – signed (Garrard, King)

They are still short on centre backs after the sales from two years ago, and while they bought full backs they also sold the previous first choices, so they still need those. At least wingers are, for once, not the problem.

[I]Summer shopping list:[/I] Left Back, Right Back, Centre Back, Striker

The defence must be sorted quickly, while the strike trio needs a fourth member.

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(Balls, I knew I'd get at least one link wrong - the paragraph that looks stupid above is supposed to be[img]http://community.sigames.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]

Youth prospect [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/4692/204445adamwilliamsongg1.jpg"]Adam Williamson[/url] (18, 106/189) has the highest potential of any Bandit in history, while attacking midfielder [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/6/204445pauldonaldsonth8.jpg"]Paul Donaldson[/url] (22, 138/150) also has the makings of a decent player.

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[B][I]Bandits report - First XI Summary[/I][/B]

GK: [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/5213/204445owenparishj7.jpg"]Paris[/url] (28, 154/156) – [B]7.51[/B]
LB: [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/7969/204445luispizarroma1.jpg"]Pizarro[/url] (30, 159/159) – [B]7.40[/B]
CB: [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/2927/204445thibaultpichetap7.jpg"]Pichet[/url] (24, 156/161) – [B]6.40[/B]
CB: [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/4487/204445charliemorganxe9.jpg"]Morgan[/url] (32, 170/173) – [B]7.36[/B]
RB: [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/802/204445steenhansendq0.jpg"]Hansen[/url] (25, 155/172) – [B]6.79[/B]
LM: [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/6876/204445romanorlovfm4.jpg"]Orlov[/url] (28, 169/169) – [B]7.37[/B]
CM: [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/7998/204445fabienvincentoj6.jpg"]Vincent[/url] (26, 162/181) – [B]6.72[/B]
CM: [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/4872/204445shaungibbstb1.jpg"]Gibbs[/url] (29, 156/158) – [B]6.81[/B]
RM: [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/5716/204445philipkingjt1.jpg"]King[/url] (26, 177/177) – [B]7.06[/B]
ST: [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/2100/204445scottmcdermottgf2.jpg"]McDermott[/url] (27, 159/159) – [B]7.30[/B]
ST: [url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/4416/204445tomfinleyjh1.jpg"]Finley[/url] (24, 169/169) – [B]7.40[/B]

Average age – 27.2 (up from last year’s 27.0)
Average CA – 162.4 (up from last year’s 156.8)
Average rating – 7.10 (up from last year’s 7.06)

The side got a little older, but spectacularly better – a rise of nearly six points of CA per player, over sixty points of CA in total. There were huge improvements in certain areas of the team, but the key is that last season, their average CA was 156.8, the [I]lowest[/I] CA is now 155.

They also played better than last season, which is an excellent sign for times ahead. Some of these players were January signings so helped rescue the team from their poor first half of the season, and if they continue this form next season they could be right up there.

There is anxiety about what the manager will do in the transfer market this summer without the greatest amount of ability, but if he gets it right, the Bandits could be a real force next season.

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[I][B]Competitions - Other stats[/B][/I]

The European Championship provided a feeling a déjà vu for England, as they slipped out in the semi-final stage, 1-0 to Belgium, mirroring the World Cup final from two years earlier. In the end, the Belgians were denied the international double, losing on penalties to the Czech Republic in the final.

A strange record was set in the competition – the Turkey v Poland group stage match became the most watching European Championship match in history, the match selling 80698 tickets despite not being the Portuguese hosts’ biggest match. Elsewhere, Swiss winger Frank Weikl became the youngest players in the tournament’s history, six weeks short of his 17th birthday.

England have begun a tricky World Cup qualifying group in style, with four wins from four and no goals conceded.

Sheff Wed won the Premiership, for the first time in 115 years, ahead of the resurgent Liverpool, while usual winners Chelsea and West Ham were back in fourth and fifth respectively. Arsenal had an appalling season, but not as bad as Man City or West Brom – the two sides that often challenged at the right end of the table both dropped to the Championship. Meanwhile, the Bandits again extended the average attendance record that they’ve owned for years, from 102647 to a new high of 104940.

In the Championship, Man Utd stopped challenging for promotion and finished 19th, and are also now in debt. Theirs is a club in trouble.

West Ham clinched the FA Cup, beating Charlton in the final, but it was League Two Sheff Utd who provided the magic, knocking out two Premiership teams on the way to the quarter finals, where they lost to the eventual winners. The League Cup was won by Chelsea, edging past Liverpool in the final.

Bayern Munich appeared in their fourth straight Champions League final, but for once the opposition was not Real Madrid, it was Paris St Germain, and the Germans won their third title in four years, beating the French on penalties. Bayern still managed to put Real Madrid out, hammering them in the quarter finals, which was also where the last English club, Aston Villa, fell.

In the UEFA Cup, Monaco beat Seville, also on penalties, to win their first ever European trophy. England had a much improved season, with three clubs making the quarter finals, although they all lost at that stage.

The Bandits were not unnoticed in the competition though, their first season in Europe breaking the UEFA Cup average attendance record, setting it at 80490.

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[I][B]Player reports – the original Bandits[/B][/I]

[I]Goalkeeper 1 – Retired from playing 03/07/2032[/I]
2032-, Sunderland (scout), CA 170, PA 170
2033-2034, Liverpool (scout), CA 170, PA 170
[B]2034-, West Ham (assistant manager), CA 166, PA 170[/B]

Remains West Ham manager, as they have a decent season, climbing back up to fifth and winning the FA Cup. His abilities are beginning to fade.

[I]Goalkeeper 2 – Retired from playing 27/06/2032[/I]
2032-, Tottenham (scout), CA 170, PA 170
2033-2034, Birmingham (assistant manager), CA 170, PA 170
2034-2042, Leeds (assistant manager), CA 169, PA 170
2042-2043, Leeds (manager), CA 170, PA 170
2043-2044, No Club, CA 170, PA 170
[B]2044-2045, Arsenal (manager), CA 170, PA 170[/B]
[B]2045-, No Club, CA 168, PA 170[/B]

Hired by Arsenal last summer, his club had a shocking season, finishing 13th in the Premiership. After fan pressure, he was fired after the season ended, and is currently without a job.

[I]Left Back 1 – Retired from playing 30/06/2030[/I]
2030-2031, Scunthorpe (fitness coach), CA 110, PA 110
2031-2034, Tottenham (assistant manager), CA 110, PA 110
2034-2035, Tottenham (coach), CA 110, PA 110
2035-2041, Tottenham (assistant manager), CA 110, PA 110
2041-2042, Tottenham (manager), CA 109, PA 110
[B]2042-, England (manager), CA 95, PA 110[/B]

Had a decent European Championships with England, where they reached the semi final, so he continues on the World Cup trail, where they have a perfect qualifying record so far. Looks on course to reach the World Cup, but his CA is dropping badly.

[I]Right Mid 1 – Retired from playing 25/04/2026[/I]
2026-2027, Aston Villa (youth coach), CA 130, PA 130
2027-2035, Chelsea (assistant manager), CA 130, PA 130
2035-2037, Chelsea (manager), CA 130, PA 130
2037-2038, Roma (manager), CA 130, PA 130
2038-2042, Chelsea (manager), CA 129, PA 130
2042-2043, No Club, CA 130, PA 130
[B]2043-, Milan (manager), CA 126, PA 130[/B]

Remains Milan manager, as they reach the semi finals of the Champions League before losing to eventual winners Bayern Munich.

[I]Centre Mid 1 – Retired from playing 02/07/2030[/I]
2030-2032, Liverpool (youth coach), CA 110, PA 110
2032-2039, Reading (coach), CA 109, PA 110
2039-2040, No Club, CA 108, PA 110
[B]2040-, Yeovil (coach), CA 105, PA 110[/B]

Continues as Yeovil coach, as they slip two places to 18th in League Two.

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[B][I]Premiership Analysis - Teams and Managers[/I][/B]

[B]Premiership[/B]

1 (2). Sheff Wed, Oliver Norwood (54, 105/107)
2 (16). Liverpool, Niko Kranjcar (60, 119/130) (new manager)
3 (15). Tottenham, Ian Hare (49, 120/120)
4 (1). Chelsea, Turgay Tufan (50, 156/156)
5 (8). West Ham, David Bullimore (53, 107/110) (new manager)
6 (12). Sunderland, Matthew Sadler (43, 131/131) (new manager)
7 (14). QPR, Michael Chopra (61, 100/103)
8 (5). Chesterfield, Adam Pullen (51, 120/120)
9 (6). Bandits, Stuart Davies (62, 80/113) (new manager)
10 (7). Derby , Mark Nicholson (43, 119/119)
11 (13). Leeds, David Quinn (43, 170/170)
12 (P). Scunthorpe, Eric May (45, 120/120)
13 (10). Arsenal, no manager
14 (4). Aston Villa, Ben Clayton (51, 93/93) (new manager)
15 (P). Wycombe, Tony Reed (43, 95/95)
16 (P), Charlton, Brad Ryan (61, 109/120)
17 (9). Morecambe, Adam Pearson (56, 107/109) (new manager)
18 (3). West Brom, Wayne Heard (51, 117/120)
19 (11). Coventry, Terry Arthur (57, 105/114)
20 (17). Man City, Joel Lynch (57, 108/113)

Oliver Norwood completed Sheff Wed’s rise to the top of the Premiership, while behind him two sleeping giants shot back up towards the top – Liverpool and Spurs, having both finished in bottom six last season, ended up second and third.

The talented Tufan missed out this year but retains his job, while Matthew Sadler is heading Sunderland back in the right direction. The Bandits, meanwhile, went from having one of the worst managers in the league, to having the very worst. At least they have a manager though, unlike Arsenal.

David Quinn has begun the process of improving Leeds, while it’ll be interesting to see how Ben Clayton does at Aston Villa, without the huge budget he was afforded at the Bandits.

Finally, Wayne Heard will need to start next season very well if he is to avoid the chop.

[B]Promoted from Championship[/B]
1 (13). Crystal Palace, James Reynolds (47, 106/106)
2 (12). Stoke, Lewis Flanagan (53, 138/138)
3 (R). Barnsley, Gary Doyle (47, 120/120)

Under Lewis Flanagan, Stoke have a decent chance of staying up, while the other two are not bad managers either.

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[B][I]Premiership Analysis - Reputation[/I][/B]

(league position in bold)
1 (1). Chelsea [B](4)[/B] – 8471 (-46)
2 (9). Liverpool [B](2)[/B] – 8177 (+1118)
3 (5). Sheff Wed [B](1)[/B] – 8128 (+628)
4 (2). West Ham [B](5)[/B] – 7856 (-144)
5 (6). Aston Villa [B](14)[/B] – 7491 (+63)
6 (3=). Arsenal [B](13)[/B] – 7454 (-216)
7 (7). Sunderland [B](6)[/B] – 7246 (+8)
8 (16). Bandits [B](9)[/B] – 7174 (+513)
9 (8). QPR [B](7)[/B] – 7129 (-50)
10 (13). Chesterfield [B](8)[/B] – 7093 (+405)
11 (-). Charlton [B](16)[/B] – 7085 (-3)
12 (12). Tottenham [B](3)[/B] – 7071 (+323)
13 (14). Derby [B](10)[/B] – 7013 (+331)
14 (11). Leeds [B](11)[/B] – 6985 (-6)
15 (15). Morecambe [B](17)[/B] – 6831 (+164)
16 (-). Scunthorpe [B](12)[/B] – 6770 (+56)
17 (3=). West Brom [B](18)[/B] – 6547 (-1123)
18 (-). Wycombe [B](15)[/B] – 6264 (+87)
19 (10). Man City [B](20)[/B] – 5790 (-1231)
20 (17). Coventry [B](19)[/B] – 5621 (-846)

[I]Promoted sides[/I]
Crystal Palace – 6105
Stoke – 6232
Barnsley – 6264 (+715)

There were some massive gains and losses this season, at both ends of the table. Chelsea stay top despite losing the Premiership, but Liverpool’s resurgence sees them gain over a thousand points and leap up to second. Champions Sheff Wed are also big gainers, rising to third.

Behind them, a few teams shuffle around, before the Bandits make a huge eight place rise up the reputation league, into eighth, off the back of their debut European run.

At the foot of the table come West Brom, Man City and Coventry, who all suffered enormous losses with their relegations, while Wycombe somehow stayed up.

Of the promoted sides, Barnsley match Wycombe’s reputation, but all three will seriously struggle for players.

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[B][I]Premiership Analysis – Team Ability[/I][/B]

(league position in bold)
1 (1). Chelsea [B](4)[/B] – 73.88 (-0.07)
2 (3). Arsenal [B](13)[/B] – 73.18 (-0.15)
3 (4). Liverpool [B](2)[/B] – 72.17 (-0.30)
4 (2). West Ham [B](5)[/B] – 72.08 (-1.41)
5 (5). Man City [B](20)[/B] – 71.54 (-0.64)
6 (7). Tottenham [B](3)[/B] – 71.21 (+0.71)
7 (8). Bandits [B](9)[/B] – 70.63 (+0.60)
8 (6). Sheff Wed [B](1)[/B] – 70.46 (-0.08)
9 (10). Aston Villa [B](14)[/B] – 69.72 (-0.26)
10 (9). Derby [B](10)[/B] – 69.60 (-0.42)
11 (13). Sunderland [B](6)[/B] – 69.31 (+0.24)
12 (12). Leeds [B](11)[/B] – 69.26 (-0.21)
13 (15) West Brom [B](18)[/B] – 68.63 (-0.09)
14 (-). Scunthorpe [B](12)[/B] – 67.72 (+0.48)
15 (11). QPR [B](7)[/B] – 67.63 (-2.03)
16 (18). Morecambe [B](17)[/B] – 67.00 (-0.15)
17 (16). Chesterfield [B](8)[/B] – 66.97 (-1.45)
18 (-). Charlton [B](16)[/B] – 66.88 (+0.15)
19 (19). Coventry [B](19)[/B] – 66.25 (-0.64)
20 (-). Wycombe [B](15)[/B] – 64.41 (-0.13)

[I]Promoted sides[/I]
Crystal Palace – 64.67
Stoke – 64.35
Barnsley – 65.12 (+2.38)

The whole top five of the Premiership’s best teams got worse, so the gap within the league closed considerably this season. Chelsea still lead the way, while Arsenal should be faring far better than they are with such a good squad. The Bandits are now seventh on the list, their highest position, while at the bottom, West Brom went from overachieving to underachieving and getting relegated.

Wycombe did remarkably well not to go down, with comfortably the worst side in the league. All three promoted sides are in trouble – it’s probably three from four, with those three and Wycombe all favourites to go down.

[B]Overachievers : Sheff Wed[/B]
[B]Underachievers : Arsenal, Man City[/B]
[B]Title Prediction ; Chelsea to take the title back[/B]
[B]Relegation Prediction : All three promoted sides to go straight back down[/B]

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[B][I]Around the clubs - Man Utd watch[/I][/B]

Man Utd had an abysmal season, finishing 19th in the Championship, just two points and two places away from the drop zone.

Their estimated value dropped from 89m to 86.5m, but they got their loan debt down from 35.5m to 10.5m – this time next year it should be gone.

[B]Reputation – 5083 (-74) (11th in Championship)[/B]
United drop two places to eleventh in the reputation stakes after another really poor season, so attracting good players to the club isn’t getting easier.

[B]FM Genie Scout Rating – 65.06 (+0.76) (4th)[/B]
Showing just how poorly their team has been managed, they are actually the fourth best side in the league, a rise of three places from last season. But they dropped nine places to nineteenth in the real league.

[B]Finances – -0.9m (-3.2m) balance (22nd), 0m (-23.6m) transfer fund (23rd=)[/B]
After dipping into debt for the very first time, United dropped from 19th to 22nd on the ‘rich list’, although promoted Stoke are one of the two teams behind them – they’ll be fine after a season in the Premiership.

The transfer budget was the best in the league last season, but with no money it was removed entirely, an ‘honour’ they share with Portsmouth.

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[B][I]Summary[/I][/B]

It was nearly the perfect season for the Bandits – the script was so close to being carried out to the letter.

The side started badly, putting immense pressure on Ben Clayton, who duly signed a fantastic set of players in January, before being fired soon afterwards. Somehow, the team managed to raise themselves to a position where they have another shot at Europe next season, albeit through the Intertoto Cup.

The only downside was the appointment of Stuart Davies. Once a great manager, he has an impressive track record, but his CA has faded badly and he is probably only a couple of years from retirement. But he brings a lot of experience, and he certainly started well. More worrying is his apparent ineptness in the transfer market, so the Bandits fans will be chewing their fingernails all summer.

Some of the best players the club has ever seen were brought in, and if retained the club could be extremely powerful next season. With a considerable reputation rise, they can also continue to sign stars. The future appears bright.

It was Sheff Wed’s season in the Premiership, while former challengers Man City and West Brom found themselves back in the Championship. For once, all three promoted clubs stayed up, an impressive feat in itself.

Man Utd might struggle in the Championship now that the strength of the division has gone up again, and without any sort of transfer budget after they slipped into debt. What is next for the former giants?

The ex-Bandits are still mostly doing well at management, except for Goalkeeper 2, who doesn’t appear suited to the task, being fired by Leeds and Arsenal in quick succession. Who’s next?

Next season could be extremely interesting.

[B][I]Bandit’s former manager watch[/I][/B]

Justin Edinburgh has retired.

Steve Brackstone has retired

Gary Perry has retired.

Dean Glover has retired.

Martin Lawton has retired.

Danny Gamble was sacked last summer by Arsenal, and has not found work since.

Phil Edwards has retired.

Ben Clayton was hired by Aston Villa after the season ended.

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[B][I]World View - Ones to watch[/I][/B]

Your annual guide to the stars of tomorrow:

Guillaume Charton (18, 141/194) is a product of the Auxerre youth academy, and the young goalkeeper has a remarkable CA for his age, with the potential to get even better in time. At the age of 18, he is already their first choice keeper.

Juan Perez (15, 88/194) is a young Mexican right winger playing in his home country for Atlante. A real star in the making, he made an uncomfortable start on his club debut, and only appearance to date, coming on as a substitute and managing only a four.

[I]Previous tips[/I]

Carlo Lupo (29, 196/198), the Italian centre back, had the best season of his career, averaging comfortably over an 8 for Milan. His CA may be dropping but he remains an incredible player.

Toni Halonen (29, 178/187), the Finnish centre back, regained one point of CA this season after heavy losses last time around. He has finally broken into the Chelsea team, but still wants a new challenge. At 29, he may be leaving it late to rescue his ailing career.

Patrick Schmidt (27, 184/184) the German right sided player, had a better season for Valencia, but is still averaging only just over seven, not good enough for a player of his ability.

Marian Badea (28, 170/189), the Romanian left wing back, lost another four points of CA, and is struggling for form at Inter. Another who hasn’t fulfilled their stunning potential.

Pereira (28, 178/187), the Portuguese defensive midfielder, fell away from his peak early, losing nine points of CA, and after one fine season for Bayern Munich, reverted to normal, averaging below seven.

Aleksandras Stazys (27, 185/186), Lithuania’s left back, became a regular at Inter, but an average rating of just 6.79 is a poor return.

Tony Allison (25, 181/192), the winger and forward, gained three more points of CA, but didn’t have such a prolific scoring record for West Ham, given his high standards, managing just twelve goals.

Barry Low (26, 176/195), the attacking midfielder, gained four points of CA, and improved on last season’s abysmal 5.95 average rating, rising to 6.61 this year, but is still not performing to the required level.

Ronnie Blundell (24, 181/195), the central midfielder, gained five more points of CA, and moved from Arsenal to Real Madrid for a massive 19.75m, struggling to settle in Spain.

Hugues Guichard (23, 191/195), the French striker, gained a massive twelve points of CA this season, closing in quickly on his he potential, and scored an excellent 21 goals in 29 games for Bayern Munich. He could be a star for years to come.

Bjorn Strand (22, 185/193), the Norwegian striker, rose another seven points of CA, scoring another 16 goals for West Ham and playing outstandingly. He is fulfilling his potential.

Ante Bacic (23, 186/189) the Croatian central defender, gained another seven CA points, flying towards his potential after moving from Werder Bremen to Inter for a massive 23m. He is struggling to adapt to Serie A.

Henrik Berg (22, 165/188), the Norwegian left winger, slowed down his improvement at Aston Villa, adding six CA points, and averaged just under seven for his club.

Luke Hallett (22, 161/184), the centre back or central midfielder, gained another eleven points of CA, but played very poorly for Chelsea whenever he got the chance.

Umit Abdulkadir (20, 174/199), the Turkish striker, gained another thirteen points of CA, not slowing down on his seemingly unstoppable march to being the best player in the world. Remarkably, he is still at Trabzonspor, outclassing the Turkish league.

Sergey Sergienko (21, 174/193), the Russian central midfielder, rose another eleven points of CA, and had another decent season for Dinamo Moscow, a club he will surely outgrow soon.

Reiner Helbig (19, 154/199), the German defensive midfielder, gained sixteen CA points, and had a reasonable season for Stuttgart, without setting the world alight.

Leonardo (18, 149/185), the Brazilian striker, gained another sixteen points of CA, and averaged over eight for Internacional, scoring eight goals in eleven matches.

Peter Schulz (20, 167/188), the German striker, gained fifteen points of CA this season, scoring 28 goals for Hamburg in a stunning season. His record for the German Under 21s is astonishing, with eleven goals in only five matches.

Gary Cooper (19, 160/182), the English centre back, gained fifteen CA points, and finally made his big move, joining Arsenal from Gillingham for 2.2m. He has played a reasonable amount for his new club, but is yet to make a big impression.

Fabrizio Bucci (19, 141/199), the Italian striker, gained 22 points of CA this season, and scored a few goals for Inter as a squad player.

Joe Galloway (18, 128/190), the English left back, gained a massive 34 CA points, and moved from Huddersfield to West Brom for 525k, making just one substitute appearance for his new club.

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[B][I]World View - World beaters[/I][/B]

Maia (27, 199/199), the Portuguese central midfielder, holds on to the top spot for the second season in a row, but you would never believe it. He plays appallingly for Milan, averaging just 6.10, and as a result is axed from the team. He may have more footballing talent than anyone else on the planet, but he isn’t showing it.
[url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/2206/204445maiawc9.jpg"]Maia[/url]

Carlo Lupo (29, 196/198) starts his inevitable CA fade, losing two points this season, but in contrast to his Milan teammate Maia, the Italian has the best season of his career, averaging an incredible 8.13, and picking up fifteen man of the match awards. He may have been toppled on this list by Maia, but at the same club he averages over two rating points better every match, a ridiculously wide gap. What a player.
[url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/2743/204445lupodx7.jpg"]Carlo Lupo[/url]

Hector Ceballos (30, 191/192) returns to the list having regained the required CA this season after a late resurgence in his career. Still at Real Madrid, the Argentinian centre back refuses to let his ability fade even into the thirties.
[url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/1797/204445ceballosan8.jpg"]Hector Ceballos[/url]

Rounding off the world beaters is a newcomer, and a former ‘one to watch’ tip. Hugues Guichard (23, 191/195), the French striker, was prolific for Bayern Munich, scoring 21 goals in 29 games. At only 23, he should be on this list for at least the next five years.
[url="http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/1720/204445guichardyv0.jpg"]Hugues Guichard[/url]

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[B][I]World View - Distribution of 180+ CA players[/I][/B]

[I]The clubs[/I]

Inter – 4 (+1) (188, 187, 186, 185)
Real Madrid – 3 (+1) (191, 186, 181)
Valencia – 3 (-) (185, 184, 181)
Chelsea – 3 (-) (185, 184, 183)
Milan – 2 (-1) (199, 196)
Bayern Munich – 2 (-) (191, 184)
West Ham – 2 (+2) (185, 181)
Arsenal – 1 (-) (184)
Barcelona – 1 (-1) (184)
Juventus – 1 (-) (182)
Sevilla – 1 (+1) (181)
QPR – 1 (-) (181)
Roma – 1 (+1) (181)
America (Mexico) – 1 (-) (181)
Liverpool – 1 (+1) (180)
[B]Total – 27 (+5)[/B]

For the first time in a few years, there is a higher number of star players than the year before, a rise of five this time around.

Inter move to the top of the list, while the spread is pretty good, no one team running away with all the stars. West Ham, Sevilla, Roma and Liverpool all enter the list.

[I]The leagues[/I]

Italy – 8 (+1)
Spain – 8 (+1)
England – 8 (+3)
Germany – 2 (-)
Mexico – 1 (-)
[B]Total – 27 (+5)[/B]

The top three leagues in Europe now split 24 of the star players evenly, yet English clubs continue to struggle in the Champions League. Mexico hang on to their one star.

[I]The nationalities[/I]

Spain – 5 (+1)
England – 4 (+3)
Portugal – 3 (-1)
Italy – 3 (-)
France – 2 (+1)
Argentina – 2 (-)
Holland – 2 (+1)
Germany – 2 (-)
Croatia – 1 (+1)
Norway – 1 (+1)
Lithuania – 1 (-)
Nigeria – 1 (-)
Paraguay – 0 (-1)
Turkey – 0 (-1)
[B]Total – 27 (+5)[/B]

Spain pull away from Portugal at the top of the list, but England enjoy a resurgence, quadrupling their number of stars, which bodes well for next summer’s World Cup.

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