Mark Snellink

The Dutch Way (Challenge)

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The Dutch Way

Over the past fifty years, three clubs with three different philosophy and styles have dominated Dutch football. Ajax, Feyenoord or PSV have won the league almost every single year since 1961, with only a few exceptions and have been very succesful in international competition as well. Your challenge is to emulate their success.

The Ajax Way:

Ajax have always been famed for their Youth Academy, bringing in young and talented players as early as possible and guiding them to greatness. All of their most succesful teams featured talent that was brought in before age 19 at the club and brought into the first team, including Cruyff, Krol, Suurbier, Hulshoff, Haan, Neeskens and Piet Keizer in the 70's, Kieft, van 't Schip, van Basten, Vanenburg, Jesper Olsen and Rijkaard in the 80's, Bergkamp, Kluivert, Seedorf, Davids, Nwankwo Kanu, the De Boer twins, Overmars and van der Sar in the 90's and van der Vaart, Sneijder, de Jong, Chivu, Ibrahimovic, Stekelenburg, Elia, Heitinga and Vermaelen in the '00s. Of course, they have produced and found many more youth talents and have used players that weren't from their own youth academy with great success, but a focus on youth has always been an important part of their heritage. They also are famed for their use of the 4-3-3 tactic.

If you choose the Ajax Way, you must complete the challenge with the following restrictions:

1.) Your favorite team must be set to Ajax

2.) More than 50% of your first team players must have been with the club since before their 19th birthday due to their focus on young talent.

3.) At least ten of your first team players must be of domestic nationality (The nationality of the club you are managing) due to Ajax's commitment to producing Dutch talent.

4.) You must use a 4-3-3 based system (4-3-3, 4-5-1, 4-2-3-1 etc.) with only one central striker and two wingers (3-4-3 is also acceptable).

The Feyenoord Way

Feyenoord have a youth academy of their own, which in it's day has produced a number of talented players, including van Persie, Solomon Kalou and Buffel, but they mainly built their teams by signing talent from other clubs, often in the Dutch League, including Rinus Israels, Ove Kindvall, Ruud Gullit, Ed de Goey, John de Wolf, Julio Ricardo Cruz, John Dahl Tomasson, Paul Bosvelt, Pierre van Hooijdonk, Dirk Kuyt, Gio van Bronckhorst and Roy Makaay, to name a few of the players that have plied their trade at "De Kuip".

If you choose the Feyenoord Way, you must complete the challenge with the following restrictions:

1.) Your favorite team must be set to Feyenoord

2.) At least 70% of your transfers in must be players that have been a starter elsewhere for at least two seasons (have played at in least 50% of their team's games over two seasons), due to Feyenoord's scouting reputation.

3.) At least ten of your first team players must have played at least two seasons with another team in your league, due to Feyenoord's tradition of buying players that have been succesful in the Eredivisie.

4.) You must attempt each year to bring back a former great from your domestic national team (A player capped by the nation of the league you are playing in) from abroad.

The PSV Way

PSV have been labeled as a springboard for professional development for talented footballers from around the world. Their scouts find talent all over the world and that talent gets showcased at Philips Stadium before moving on to the greatest clubs in the world. They are the latecomer to the big three, but they have undoubtedly been the most succesful club in recent times, winning fourteen national titles in twenty-two years (over half!) from 1986 to 2008. In the eighties they had players such as Ronald Koeman, Eric Gerets, Søren Lerby and van Breukelen, all players that were in the prime of their career, but the real success came after scout Piet de Visser and his co-workers brought in Romario, Gheorge Popescu, Arthur Numan, Waterreus, Ronaldo (the Brazilian one), Luc Nilis, Jaap Stam, Philip Cocu, Zenden and de Bilde in the 90s. The success continued in the new millenium with the likes of van Bommel, Vogel, van Nistelrooy, Bruggink, Kezman, Hofland, Vennegoor of Hesselink, Robben, Park Ji-Sung, Lee Young-Pyo, Rommedahl, (Heurelho) Gomes, Farfán, DaMarcus Beasley, Bouma, Alex, Timmy Simons, Affelay, Carlos Salcido and Arouna Koné. Many of the players listed before joined before their twenty-third birthday and ended up playing in many of the biggest leagues around the continent.

If you choose the PSV Way, you must complete the challenge with the following restrictions:

1.) Your favorite team must be set to PSV.

2.) At least 50% of your transfers must be players under the age of 23

3.) You must have at least 10 different nationalities in your first team..

4.) If you have the opportunity to sign back a former star, you must attempt to do so.

The Actual Challenge

Stage One - Predictably humble beginnings

Pick your path and then:

You must join a team in a small European League, one with no more than 4 European spots (check the UEFA Coefficients). The team you join must not have qualified for any European competition, but should be in the top tier of it's competition system.

Following the specific rules for the path you've chosen, you must bring consistent success to your club by winning trophies for three years in a row, either the national title or the FA Cup will do. You are allowed to mix and match (so, Cup, Cup, Title or three straight titles etc).

After you've achieved this, it's time to move on to stage 2

Stage 2 - Making your mark in Europe

Having proven your system worked at your first club, you must now find a job with any club in a mid-sized European league, any league that has five or six European spots, but not more (aka. Any league that's not Serie A, La Liga or the Premiership). Also you are not allowed to manage in the Netherlands due to the special stage mentioned later.

There are no restrictions to the team you can join in this mid-level league, if you get an offer to join league champions, that is perfectly allowed. In order to complete this stage, you must once again implement your system at the club and achieve a consistent level of success, which must include back-to-back titles and at least one domestic double (League and Cup as you all should know) and finally consistent European success as well, by reaching past the group stages of either European tournament three times (does not have to be consecutive) as well as reaching the final of either European Cup (bonus points for winning) once.

Stage 3 - Taking it to the bigs

Finally, having already done so much, you get the chance to show the world just what you can do with a superpower. Take over any club in one of the top leagues (EPL, La Liga or Serie A) and once again prove that your system works by doing that which is hardest: Winning the Quintuple. That is to say: Domestic Super Cup, European Super Cup, Domestic Title, Domestic Cup and Champions League, all in a single season. Good luck with that.

Special Stage - Your dream job

If and when the club whose path you've chosen has a job opening, you MUST apply and if the job is offered to you, you MUST accept it. I understand that there is a chance that it will mess up your progress in a stage. Depending on which stage you are on when you get the job offer, you have the following options.

1.) If you had not yet completed stage one, receiving a job offer from the club of your dreams may be considered validation enough and you will have completed stage one by default. You may then use your club (A, F or P) to complete stage 2.

2.) If you have completed stage one, but not stage two, you may simply use your favorite club to complete stage two, instead (while still abiding to your club specific rules, of course.)

3.) If you have completed stage two, but not stage three, you have the choice of repeating stage 2 with your favorite club and then re-starting stage three, or you may attempt to complete stage 3 with your favorite club.

4.) If through some bizarre turn of events you manage to complete all three regularly scheduled stages without ever securing the job at your chosen club, you may then use the "add a manager" feature to create the needed vacancy and apply for the job (there really isn't any real reason why you shouldn't get the job then) and then complete the requirements for stage two or three (your choice).

Bonus stage - International management

This stage is not mandatory due to the tedium associated with international management. You may attempt this stage at any time (though you may not create yourself an international manager right away), if you chose to do it at all. There is no restriction to what nation you can manage, the only goal is to win an international trophy (Euro Cup, African Nations Cup, Copa America, Asian Nations Cup or World Cup) using the philosophy of your favorite club as follows:

Ajax: At least ten of your selected players at any time must be under 24, at least five of those under 21 and at least three under 19

Feyenoord: At least fifteen of your selected players must be over 26, at least seven of those over 30 and at least one must be over 35

PSV: You may not select any players under the age of 20 or over the age of 30. You must use at least five players who play in the domestic leagues, and at least one of those must feature in the starting XI.

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If i had time i would try this. But with my sign up and career game i can't.

Just wanted to say congrats on creating what looks to be a great and detailed challenge, hope some people get involved, if not i would encourage you to still post updates as some people may join late :)

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this looks pretty interesting, i might give it a go. I think the PSV way is for me. are these leagues ok ??

Denmark

Portugal

England

Holland.

i cant have a lot of leagues as my laptop cant handle it.

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Mark, a couple of questions. When you say "More than 50% of your first team players must have been with the club since before their 19th birthday due to their focus on young talent." do you mean your matchday squad or you general first team squad for the season? Also, if the player was with the club before his 19th birthday, but moved away and then rejoined the club club after his 19th birthday, does he count?

I take it you can figure out that I'm going to go the Ajax way :D

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this looks pretty interesting, i might give it a go. I think the PSV way is for me. are these leagues ok ??

Denmark

Portugal

England

Holland.

i cant have a lot of leagues as my laptop cant handle it.

I suspect both Denmark and Portugal to be Stage II leagues. (I'm not sure, as it might be different depending on your database), I would suggest swapping in Austria, Finland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovenia or Slovakia (any one of those should be Stage I) for one of those leagues :)

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Mark, a couple of questions. When you say "More than 50% of your first team players must have been with the club since before their 19th birthday due to their focus on young talent." do you mean your matchday squad or you general first team squad for the season? Also, if the player was with the club before his 19th birthday, but moved away and then rejoined the club club after his 19th birthday, does he count?

I take it you can figure out that I'm going to go the Ajax way :D

Your first team, not matchday. So if you have, say, 24 first team players, 12 of those or more have to be "home grown", so to speak. If a player was with the club before his 19th birthday and was re-signed after it still counts as a youth product as far as I'm concerned

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Started this with NK Zagreb in Croatia, following the Ajax way (which is the only good way!). Currently working on that 50% thing and on not sucking too much. Second part is going to be harder, at least until that nice academy starts coughing some decent young talent.

One name to follow in future seasonal updates: Besart Abdurahimi. Lad looks quality after only three friendlies.

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I suspect both Denmark and Portugal to be Stage II leagues. (I'm not sure, as it might be different depending on your database), I would suggest swapping in Austria, Finland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovenia or Slovakia (any one of those should be Stage I) for one of those leagues :)

ok, i will do a new game and load in austria or something, but i looked on the uefa coefficients and i think denmark had 4, but i dont mind as i dont really know the danish league apart from copenhagen and i cant play as them anyway lolz

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I've started this with FC Midtjylland in Denmark, following the Ajax way. As Dalbeider will gladly tell you, Denmark only has four European places at the start of FM10, the version I'm using. I won't be able to reach the second point of the Ajax way until next season at the earliest. Of my 25 man starting squad, only 9 fit the pre 19th birthday requirement. Another two in the reserves do, but they're both out injured for the whole season.

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I've started this with FC Midtjylland in Denmark, following the Ajax way. As Dalbeider will gladly tell you, Denmark only has four European places at the start of FM10, the version I'm using. I won't be able to reach the second point of the Ajax way until next season at the earliest. Of my 25 man starting squad, only 9 fit the pre 19th birthday requirement. Another two in the reserves do, but they're both out injured for the whole season.

No problem, just use some of your U19 hopefuls (any 2+ star prospects) and give them some playing time throughout the season ;)

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No problem, just use some of your U19 hopefuls (any 2+ star prospects) and give them some playing time throughout the season ;)

To describe my U-19 squad as pathetic would be quite polite.

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To describe my U-19 squad as pathetic would be quite polite.

Better scout for some quality free agents then eh?

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Going to start this in Israel, then Ukraine for Stage 2 and finally England (hope Norwich is in the premiership by then) for Stage 3 following the Ajax way of course.

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Wow, that is exotic to say the very least! Good luck with that, Cuddlefish :)

So I'm going to always need 6 of my starting 11 to be Club Home-grown and 10 to be Nation Home-grown?

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So I'm going to always need 6 of my starting 11 to be Club Home-grown and 10 to be Nation Home-grown?

No, out of all the players in your first team (Aka, not counting players in the reserves or U19s), at least ten must be the nationality of the league that you're in (aka, in your case Israeli), while half of the players need to have been with the club since before they were 19 years of age. (So if you have 24 players in your first team, 12 must have been at your club before their 19th birthday), however, the matchday squad is under no restrictions.

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No, out of all the players in your first team (Aka, not counting players in the reserves or U19s), at least ten must be the nationality of the league that you're in (aka, in your case Israeli), while half of the players need to have been with the club since before they were 19 years of age. (So if you have 24 players in your first team, 12 must have been at your club before their 19th birthday), however, the matchday squad is under no restrictions.

People could easily cheat though and just dump all of their U19s into their first team.

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POST BOMB!

Pre-season update 2009

Ignoring pre-season results as they dont matter but a thing!

The Ajax Way: Marc Overmars @ ZTE Football Club (Hungary)

A club on the rise in recent years, ZTE have been in existance since 1920, won the league for the first and only time in 2002 and in the past three years have consistently been in the top half of the tables in the Hungarian Division I, finishing 3rd in 2007, 7th in 2008 and 4th in 2009.

Transfers in:

GK Bo Antal (HUN, 17) from Watford for £5K - A talented young goalkeeper, whose great height (1m96) helps him dominate in the air. He will be plying his trade in the "ZTE II" team.

AM/F C Péter Szucs (HUN, 18) from Vasas for £120K - A technically gifted and quick forward who is very close to being good enough for the first team, will spend the season on loan at Division II side Slófok.

D/WB/M L Lajos Bertus (HUN, 18) from Kecskemét for £120K - Fast, nimble and great with the ball at his feet, this hard-working youngster will certainly see some first-team action.

AM R/ ST András Gosztonyi (HUN, 18) from MTK for £170K - Extremely athletic and fairly developed in attacking affairs, he will certainly be able to pose a serious threat on the right wing.

GK Róbert Ambrusics (HUN, 17) from Leicester for £1K - A strong goalkeeper with naturally safe hands, he will have the chance to develop in the U19s.

ST Eugene Sepuya (UGA, 26) from Cukaricki on a Free Transfer - A tall, strong and very sturdy striker who is an all-round talented goalscorer who is expected to really light up the league.

The first team squad:

Goalkeepers: Géza Vlaszák (HUN, 35) and Gábor Sipos (HUN, 28).

Defenders: *Gergely Kocsárdi (HUN, 33), Milan Bogunovic (SRB, 26), Leon Panikvar (SVN, 26), Matej Miljatovic (SVN, 30), Djordje Kamber (25, BIH), Nedad Todorovic (26, SRB), *Imre Bozsoki (20, HUN), *Péter Keszei (HUN, 18).

Midfielders: Péter Máté (HUN, 29), Guyla Illés (HUN, 26), Marián Sluka (SVK, 30), *Lajos Bertus (HUN, 18), *Márk Petneházi (HUN, 20), *Martin Kámán (HUN, 17), *András Gosztonyi (HUN, 18), Tamás Szalai (HUN, 29), Levente Schultz (HUN, 32) and József Magasföldi (HUN, 24).

Forwards: *Zsolt Balázs (HUN, 20), *Ádám Vittmann (HUN, 17), Darko Pavicevic (MNE, 21) and Eugene Sepuya (UGA, 26).

Minimum of 10 Hungarian players: 16

* Minimum of 12/24 'home-grown' players: 9

Current formation: 4-2-3-1

The Feyenoord Way: Pierre van Hooijdonk @ Györi ETO FC (Hungary)

Györ had a succesful run in the eighties, winning two league titles and finishing in the top three a total of five times during that decade. Their most recent signs of success were a third-placed finish in 2008 and a cup final the previous season.

Transfers in:

AM/F C Jószef Sebök (HUN, 34) from Nafta (SVN) for £35K - A veteran striker who spent over a decade in the Hungarian Division I before a move to Slovenia, now back in his native Hungary, for whom he made 24 national appearances and scored four goals, his experience and skill will surely be a great asset.

AM C Jószef Kanta (HUN, 25) from MTK for £350K - A two-time Hungarian international, Kanta is a multi-faceted threat on the offensive side of the ball. He's a free kick specialist, a sure thing on penalties, can strike the ball with tremendous power and precision from any range and is dazzling with the ball at his feet. His only weakness? He's tiny and not very strong. Having proven his worth over the past four years at MTK, the diminutive midfielder will now have a chance to shine for Györ.

D/WB R Csaba Bernáth (HUN, 30) from Debrecen for £9K - A first team regular for the better part of thirteen seasons at current title holders Debrecen, the veteran fullback was deemed surplus to requirements and will be seeing out his career at Györ, who will surely appreciate his intelligent play and still quick pace.

DM/M C Vladan Savic (HUN, 29) from Kecskemét for £55K - Snapped up by Kecskemét at 27 years after a seven year pro career at all levels of Serbian football, he helped his new team gain promotion and adapted well to the higher standard of play in the Division I, the born leader in midfield will now have a chance to test his abilities at one of the bigger clubs in Hungary.

The first team squad:

Goalkeepers: *Sasa Stefanovic (SRB, 34) and **András Sánta (SVK, 24)

Defenders: **Csaba Bernáth (HUN, 30), *Ottó Szabó (SVK, 28), *Lazar Stanisic (SRB, 25), *Vladimir Djordjevic (SRB, 26) and *Valentin Babic (CRO, 28).

Midfielders: **Vladan Savic (SRB, 29), **Zoltán Fehér (HUN, 28), *Marko Dinjar (CRO, 23), *Mario Bicak (SVK, 29), *Linas Pilibaitis (LTU, 24), Adám Dudás (HUN, 20), Ellis Samuel Ato (GHA, 20) and **József Kanta (HUN, 25).

Attackers: **Péter Bajzát (HUN, 28), **József Sebök (HUN, 34), **Tibor Tokody (28, HUN), *Rati Aleksidze (GEO, 30) and *Tarmo Kink (EST, 23).

* Minimum of 14/20 players with 2+ years first team experience at other clubs: 18

** Minimum of 10/20 players with 2+ years first team experience at other Hungarian clubs: 8

At least one returning Hungarian star from abroad: József Sebök

The PSV Way: Ronald Waterreus @ FC Fehérvár (Hungary)

A bit of an oddity, Fehérvár may have no national titles to their name, but they did once make it to the UEFA Cup final in 1985. They have also won the Hungarian Cup (2006) and Hungarian League Cup (2008) and have finished sixth in '07 and '09, while finishing fifth in 2008.

Players out:

Goran Vujovic to Ujpest for £110K

Gábor Horváth to MTK for £30K

Marko Andic to MTK for £120K

Players in:

AM LC/ F C Emre Sahin (BEL, 17) from Westerlo for £300K - A very raw talent from Belgium, with Turkish dual nationality, who is part of the Turkish U21 setup. His sheer pace makes him a threat on the wing and hopefully he will develop on the technical and mental side of the game.

GK Vinicius (Bra, 17) from Fiorentina for £9K - Capped once already for the Brazilian U20 side, the small-statured but agile goalkeeper makes up for his lacking physicality with cleverness and talent by the boatload. If he develops well, he could be a good goalkeeper for the future.

The squad:

Goalkeepers: Zsolt Sebõk (HUN, 30) and Vinicius (BRA, 17)

Defenders: Pál Lázár (HUN, 21), Róbert Varga (HUN, 22), Ádám Présinger (HUN, 20), Ilija Radovic (MNE, 24), Zoltán Lipták (HUN, 24), Zsolt Bencze (HUN, 19)

Midfielders: Balázs Farkas (HUN, 29), Ákos Elek (HUN, 21), Gábor Demjén (HUN, 23), Dániel Nagy (HUN, 24), Dénes Szakály (HUN, 21), Zsolt Dvéri (HUN, 32) and Emre Sahin (BEL, 17)

Attackers: Illés Sitku (HUN, 31), André Alves (BRA, 25), Milan Purovic (MNE, 24) Balazs Farkas (HUN, 21) and Silva Alison (BRA, 21)

Minimum of 1 of 2 transfers in under the age of 23: 2/2

Minimum of 10 different nationalities in first team: 4 (:()

--------

So, all teams are currently non-compliant with the season about to kick off. Ossum.

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People could easily cheat though and just dump all of their U19s into their first team.

Well, the idea behind taking on a challenge is to do it the right way. No real point in cheating as you're only cheating yourself.

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You can all mock me now. I was just setting up the save for a crack at Mark's Challenge. I forgot to load a country. I'll leave you to work out which one! :o

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Right, think I'm going to give this one a go starting in Norway - they have 5 European qualifiers this year but only due to Fair Play rubbish, and I don't plan on picking any of them - I assume this is OK? Going to run it with Norway for Stage 1, France and Russia for Stage 2 and Spain for the final step, maybe Italy as well. Oh, and I won't forget Holland :D

EDIT: Is there any easy way to find players at other clubs who started at yours? Even after drafting anyone with more than 1.5* potential into the first team squad at Viking I'm woefully short of my 'Ajax' quota, and I don't really fancy selling my first XI just yet!

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I see no problem with that, if the extra spot isn't coefficient related. Who are you starting with?

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Starting with Viking FK as they looked to have plenty of Norwegians and a decent setup in terms of stadium and finances. Struggling to find enough home-grown players at other clubs at the minute, but I'm sure something'll work out...

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Really like the look of this challenge Mark, I must give it a go with it being what I deem too be a 'proper' challenge :D

Nice update too - will be following.

Going to start this in Israel, then Ukraine for Stage 2 and finally England (hope Norwich is in the premiership by then) for Stage 3 following the Ajax way of course.

Up the Norwich boys!

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So with the first season finished, Viking surpassed their predicted 8th place by claiming 3rd and a spot in the Europa League qualifiers, as well as reaching the Cupen quarter-final. The squad is now completely Norwegian bar one Serbian home-grown at the club, and the average age is 19 thanks to my rafts of teenage signings and academy products. I've moved on some of the more experienced players in the off-season so it'll be interesting to see how the side copes without the old heads, but with a year's experience under their belts I reckon we can push for the title this year...

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Great challenge idea. I'm going to be doing it the Ajax way, along with 'my own brand' of high tempo, ultra-attacking Total Football.

Loaded top league only from Sweden (stage I), and top two leagues from Germany (stage II), England (stage III) and of course the Netherlands.

Starting in Sweden (of course) with Malmö FF - a club notable for reaching the 1979 European Cup Final, which they lost to Brian Clough's Forest. On the decline in recent years, they are out of European football this season, and are predicted a meagre fifth. However, they have the infrastructure, fan base and history for their new manager, Edgar Davids, to feel he can turn things around.

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Mark,

A great idea! I'm going to give this a bash this evening. Not sure on what philosophy to follow just yet, but watch this space!

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OK, I've gone for the Feyenoord way and have decided to pick Sweden as my starting point.

Roy Hodgson's old haunt, Halmstads are the first stop...

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Cool to see two ppl starting in Sweden. I've got a bit of time in the Allsvenskan myself, a year and a half at IFK Goteborg and two years now at Malmo for a different challenge. Swedish football league is fun to play for sure.

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@ EvilDave: Best of luck to ya in season #2! That is a crazy young squad though, average age of 19, hopefully they'll keep it cool in the big matches without veteran leadership!

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Mark I have a question about the PSV way, when it says 4.) If you have the opportunity to sign back a former star, you must attempt to do so. Is that a former club star or an International star?

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Mark I have a question about the PSV way, when it says 4.) If you have the opportunity to sign back a former star, you must attempt to do so. Is that a former club star or an International star?

Club star, though international star is possible too

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Club star, though international star is possible too

Ok cheers, I've started the PSV way at Crusaders in N.Ireland had to sign a few players to get the 10 Nationalities in total I've signed 8, 4 of which are under 23.

Leagues loaded

N.Ireland (Stage 1)

Scotland (Stage 2)

England (Stage 3)

Holland (Special Stage)

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Good luck mr Jim, in your Home Nations attempt :)

Edit: I'm very pleased to see all three ways being attempted

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Edit: I'm very pleased to see all three ways being attempted

Yeah it appealed to me more, I prefer buying players who are nearing their potential so that ruled out the Ajax way and it seemed like too much hassle having to check every players history, to see if they were regular starters, before deciding to sign them in the Feyernoord way. Although N.Ireland seems a really weak league so attracting players for consistent success is definately going to be a challenge.

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September 1st 2009 - Update

AJAX WAY: Marc Overmars @ ZTE (Hungary)

ZTE is starting off in mixed form. In the League Cup, they're second in their group of six and doing well, but in the league they've struggled to win games, only securing one win, while grabbing three draws and losing twice, putting them in 11th out of 16 in the league six games into the season.

A few more players were brought in, a number of them for the Reserves and U19s, but also first teamers Thomas Frandsen (DEN, 33), Daniel Edusei (GHA, 28), Marcell Molnár (HUN, 18) and Bálint Gégéni (HUN, 17).

Minimum of 10 Hungarian players: 18

Minimum of 14/28 'home-grown' players: 11

Current formation: 4-2-3-1

FEYENOORD WAY: Pierre van Hooijdonk @ Gyor (Hungary)

Currently the most succesful of the three teams, Gyor is on top everywhere. They are first in the league and first in their League Cup group, having won 9 out of their eleven competitive games, losing only one league game and one cup game.

Four more players were added to the first team, left back Alfred Arthur (GHA, 22), a one-time Ghanaian international who'd yet found consistent football in Europe, right back Emmanuel Olete(NIG, 25), who'd previously played in Germany's Regional Division for Eisenstadt and at Spartak SV in Serbia. Next in was winger Kazuo Homma (JPN, 29), who's been a solid performer in the Hungarian Division I with two different clubs. Lastly, center midfielder Richard (NIG, 25), who had long impressed with Bulgarian side Levski, before winning a big move to Russian side Khimki, where he never really took off, so Gyor snapped him up on a free after the Russians let him go.

* Minimum of 5 of 8 players brought in with 2+ years of first team experience at other clubs: 7

** Minimum of 10/20 players with 2+ years first team experience at other Hungarian clubs: 9

PSV WAY: Ronald Waterreus @ Fehérvar (Hungary)

Fehérvar had a mixed start to the season, struggling in the League Cup, losing three out of five games, while winning the other two, putting them fourth out of six in their group (which they share with ZTE and Gyor), while in the league they've only lost a single game in six, but they have drawn three times, while winning twice, leaving them in seventh place.

On the transfer front, Waterreus has been busy, signing wingers Halidou Douva (CAM, 23), Quentin Crommen (BEL, 18), Chakib Tayeb (HOL/MOR, 22) and Bragança (POR, 26), to give the team some more strength on the flanks, as well as striker Lawrence Aidoo (GHA, 27) and center midfielder José Luis López (CRC, 28).

Minimum of 5 of 10 transfers in under the age of 23: 7/10

Minimum of 10 different nationalities in first team: 10(!!!)

So, the PSV way is in compliance, while the Feyenoord and Ajax ways are getting close.

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Looks like an interesting start there Mark, impressive going getting all three sides just about there on the regulations as well - do you reckon Gyor can keep up their good start and win something at the first attempt?

I've just wrapped up my second season in charge of Viking using the AJax method, and we managed to repeat last year's 3rd place as well as winning the Cup, my first bit of silverware! We finished five points off the title and really could have won it had we kept our heads on a couple more occasions, but I guess that's the risk you take with such a young squad. Got a few more 16-18 year olds on the shortlist that I'm going to move for in the off-season, just got to hope I can stop Europe's bigger sides turning the heads of my brighter talents. Can't help but feel I'll end up a bit like Arsene Wenger on this save - next year could be our year!

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Very nice, and remember, cup wins count as well, only need some sort of silverwear two more years running ;)

PS. Super Cups don't count ;)

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So if I win the County Antrim Cup in N.Ireland does that count as a cup win for the challenge?

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If it's a national cup (Aka, if it features all clubs from at least the top two divisions of football) I don't see why not. The point is that you have to beat the best teams in your country in one competition or another three years running

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Thanks Mark - only one season away from the move now as Viking claimed their first league title since 1991 in my third, pipping Valerenga by a single point after being 13 points behind at the halfway stage! Cup defence was poor, losing out to a second tier side in the 4th Round, but it doesn't really matter when you're champions :D

One thing I have noticed however - not all of my signings (all made before the age of 19, without exception) are being counted as 'homegrown at the club.' I'm currently assuming this is some sort of problem as it seems entirely random as to who is and isn't gaining the status, so am pushing on regardless. Any ideas why it might be though? Also, sold my three most experienced players at season's end, so now have only one player above 24!

I've also decided to break my Norwegian-only policy by extending my scouting to the rest of Scandinavia - got a 15-year old Finnish winger and two promising Icelandic defenders on the books now, so even if I leave at the end of this season Viking should be set for a while. As for the next stage, it looks like I shouldn't have too much difficulty getting a job - I've been offered the Rayo Vallecano job, as well as being made favourites for Marseille, Feyenoord and Vitesse in the last year. Really enjoying this challenge, really satisfying to achieve with such a young squad!

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Well in the game it requires your players to have trained with the club for a certain amount of time (2 years I think?) before a certain age (18 or 19?), not entirely sure, it's explained somewhere in the game. My requirements aren't related to that at all, just so long as they were under 19 when they signed with you, that's all.

Meanwhile: Congrats, looks like things are going well in Norway!

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Pretty sure it's 3 years at the club before their 21st birthday to qualify for being actually home-grown.

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Thanks Mark - only one season away from the move now as Viking claimed their first league title since 1991 in my third, pipping Valerenga by a single point after being 13 points behind at the halfway stage! Cup defence was poor, losing out to a second tier side in the 4th Round, but it doesn't really matter when you're champions :D

One thing I have noticed however - not all of my signings (all made before the age of 19, without exception) are being counted as 'homegrown at the club.' I'm currently assuming this is some sort of problem as it seems entirely random as to who is and isn't gaining the status, so am pushing on regardless. Any ideas why it might be though? Also, sold my three most experienced players at season's end, so now have only one player above 24!

I've also decided to break my Norwegian-only policy by extending my scouting to the rest of Scandinavia - got a 15-year old Finnish winger and two promising Icelandic defenders on the books now, so even if I leave at the end of this season Viking should be set for a while. As for the next stage, it looks like I shouldn't have too much difficulty getting a job - I've been offered the Rayo Vallecano job, as well as being made favourites for Marseille, Feyenoord and Vitesse in the last year. Really enjoying this challenge, really satisfying to achieve with such a young squad!

I'm pretty sure to be considered Homegrown a player must have spent 3 years between the ages of 15 and 21 I think at a club in that country.

So if you signed a player under 19 with no previous playing history he may not qualify as Homegrown yet.

Hope this helps.

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Love this idea btw, I think I'll definitely give it a go tonight, will have to think about which club or country though, perhaps Croatia or Serbia

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sorry, uppage here, this is a great challenge. attempting it on FM11. loaded the following leagues - holland, germany, italy, england, iceland, norway, sweden, austria

PSV Way: Valur (Iceland)

First assessment of squad gives me a tonne of Icelandics and not many other nationalities. A smattering of Faroese and one Irish striker make up the numbers. It's time to bring in the foreigners with the intention of bringing up the foreign quotient to make this season eligible with what I believe are prospects of immediate success (ha!). Some of the transfers may be utterly rubbish, but until I'm established I can't see me being able to scout wider, and I'd also be looking to big clubs releasing players abroad to pick up to improve the squad.

In: Thomas Husby Saether (Free, NOR, 25, KFUM Oslo), Nicolai Jorgensen (Free, DEN, 30), Gael Regades Rivera (£4k, ESP, 19, KFUM Oslo), Bjarte Richardsen (Free, NOR, 20, Floy), Olexandr Spivak (Free, UKR, 35), Marc Olsen (£14k, DEN, 24, Hvidovre), Ali Al-Gashamy (Free, IRQ, 20), Omar Koroma (Free, GAM, 20), Mustafe Ahmed (Free, SOM, 23), Tomasz Mazurkiewicz (Free, POL, 28)

Out: None except shedding a load of crap on frees from the reserves.

Huge Squad:

Goalkeepers: Haraldur Bjornsson (21 ISL), Asgeir Magnusson (18 ISL)

Defenders: Jonas Thor Naes (23 FRO), Ellert Eiriksson (20 ISL), Nicolai Jorgensen (30 DEN), Atli Thorarinsson (30 ISL), Thomas Husby Saether (25 NOR), Einar Marteinsson (20 ISL), Stefan Eggertsson (25 ISL)

Midfielders: Haukur Pall Sigurdsson (22 ISL), Runar Sigurjonsson (19 ISL), Ali Al-Gashamy (20 IRQ), Sigurbjorn Hreidarsson (34 ISL), Mustafe Ahmed (23 SOM), Olexandr Spivak (35 UKR), Thorir Gudjonsson (18 ISL), Gael Regades Rivera (19 ESP), Bjarte Richardsen (22 NOR), Tomasz Mazurkiewicz (28 POL), Jon Akason (23 ISL), Gudjon Lydsson (22 ISL), Andri Fannar Stefansson (18 ISL), Matties Gudmundsson (29 ISL), Arnar Svienn Geirsson (18 ISL), Marc Olsen (24 DEN)

Strikers: Diarmuid O'Carroll (22 IRL), Hordur Sveinsson (26 ISL), Omar Koroma (20 GAM)

Conditions

Min 5/10 Transfers under-23s

10 nationalities represented in squad - Iceland, Faroe Islands, The Gambia, Ireland, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Somalia, Spain, Ukraine

We are in compliance. A quick tour of England and then we're straight into action in the Upper League Cup - our first chance of some silverware!

I'm going to find out former stars for the next transfer window.

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Tried this last year and got through a season and a half with Malmö FF. I love the idea and found it a shame that I stopped playing so soon.

Loading up the top leagues in Switzerland, Italy (yes they're behind Germany now), England and Holland.

Edgar Davids will be arriving in Switzerland, managing Neuchâtel Xamax. As an old Ajax favourite, this is of course the route he'll be going down...

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