noikeee

[FM11] Barcelona’ing the way through the lower leagues – is it even possible?

547 posts in this topic

Welcome to my first journeyman career thread for the FM Career Updates forum. In this game I am going to try to have as much fun as possible (something which has been lacking from my other FM-related projects), whilst challenging myself to play some good football and hopefully, also travel through the world and up through the ranks towards some sort of successful, entertaining managerial career.

First, here’s a little personal background. My previous project – which is still active – was an attempt at finishing the Gundo Challenge in the CSE forum. That consisted in taking a lower league team from an uncompetitive nation to European domination. I also challenged myself to make an unorthodox tactic I had built (a 4-1-3-2 with wide midfielders) work. That failed miserably: I took my first team into relegation, and swallowed my pride to throw away the 4-1-3-2. With a 4-2-4 which I never particularly liked (I find it unrealistic) I slowly took another team up the ranks, and eventually, into total domination of the Croatian domestic scene. Until the fun eventually started to fade.

So to get me going again, I am doing another tactical challenge: make my name through the lower leagues whilst playing Barcelona-esque, entertaining, but realistic football. I have always wondered whether the commentators’ cliché of “only Barcelona can play like they do, because of the wonderful players they have” was wrong. Sure, you do have to have Messis and Iniestas to play that high a level of football, but I am confident that you can take elements of their approach and get it to work in the lower levels. You may not have a Messi, but your opponents won’t have world-class defenders neither. And since I don’t have the courage to quit my job as a software developer to dive into real-life football management, I’ll have to do with simulating this experiment in Football Manager.

Tactical approach

SportClubePraiensePraiense_Tactics.png

This is how my tactic currently looks, after the first pre-season in which I barely had to do any adjustments – the way I imagined it seemed to work instantly. As I said, we are going to emulate Barcelona but with a few twists. First, the formation is nearly identical, with the caveat that I am not telling either full-back to be as offensive as a Daniel Alves – sadly I don’t think that works very well in this version of FM as you can be heavily exploited down the wings. What I am doing, however, is playing with a trio of playmakers in midfield (1x deep-lying as DMC, 2x advanced as MC), and a trio of 2x inside forwards + 1x heavily modified trequartista role.

In terms of strategic instructions, the one thing I want absolutely clear is that I want a patient, intelligent side, with great freedom to search for space and exploit it to the maximum. That is with the ball. Without the ball, I want us to win it back as soon as possible. Therefore I obviously need to set a fluid philosophy, tell the players to “roam more”, set tempo to low and time-wasting to high (to make the team patient), and tell the players to close down often. The emphasis on patience and possession is also such that I have set the whole team to only try long shots rarely, and cross the ball rarely, except for the full-backs which have it set on mixed.

Now, the one thing that I really don’t want to be like Barcelona is the needless obsession with short passing all over the pitch. Yes, it’s beautiful to watch but with less technical lower-league players, particularly at the back, it’s a huge risk that they’ll pass the ball to an opponent high up the pitch. Therefore I have set passing slightly over mixed for the back 4 and the deep-lying playmaker, while the attacking 5 have it set to much shorter.

To make this work you need a specific branch of players. I have identified 5 key attributes that I want to have in my team as much as possible:

  • Decisions: with high creative freedom, this is absolutely crucial. I want intelligent players.
  • Composure: I want my team to be patient and this attribute helps the players to remain calm under pressure.
  • Teamwork: To emulate Barcelona’s style of play, the last thing you want is selfish players. I want my team to work as a unit.
  • Stamina: To ensure a high level of closing down won’t make my players too tired in the later stages of a game.
  • First touch: Any technical attributes help, but I believe this may be particularly key to keep more possession with a patient style of play.

Together with this, the players need to have their own key attributes for their positions, of course. The inside forwards and the trequartista need to have remarkably similar attributes, as they are meant to switch positions often. I want them to be quick, smart, good dribblers of the ball and good finishers. The midfielders aren’t all too different neither, only the emphasis is even more on their footballing brain, as mental attributes are absolutely key. The deep-lying playmaker needs to have extra defensive attributes like positioning, etc, and a good passing attribute for longer passes. The full-backs really need to be quick and have high stamina. And the centrebacks are possibly the one role where I don’t want them to be like their Barcelona counterparts at all. I just want them to be good in the air, to clear as many headers as possible and be a threat on set-pieces, and possibly to be quick too. Everything else is secondary.

Now evidently it’s going to be extremely hard to find players that are good in all these categories in the lower leagues, but by keeping these requirements in mind when choosing certain players over others, I am going to make my life much easier.

But that’s more than enough tactical talk; let’s get down to the management side of things. And that is for the next post.

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I started unemployed, and immediately applied to the available jobs. I wanted to start in the French tier 4 (the CFA) but after finding out that you can’t actually manage there even if the division’s active, I turned my attention to England, Spain and my home nation Portugal. The Spanish clubs turned me down, and it was between a job in the Blue Square North/South or in the Portuguese tier 3, the Segunda Divisão. I took Portugal, because for my first attempt at playing Barcelona-esque football at the lower levels, I wanted a slightly easier place to make it fit, as Portuguese football is more based on technique than British football.

Sport Clube Praiense

48131_ori_municipal_da_praia_da_vitoria.jpg

So I took charge of this small club in the Azores, based in the Terceira Island. There were some jobs available in my home Madeira Island, but after a look at the players this club seemed like a slightly better fit. We were expected by the media to finish 14th in the 16-team Segunda Divisão Zona Sul, which would get us relegated (the last 4 teams go down!!), so I had to make a small revolution in the squad to improve the quality of it. A few good, but wildly overpaid loanees were sent back to their home clubs, and I signed a massive bunch of 16 players:

(Transfers)

This may have been a little over the top, as my squad now has over 30 players (the maximum we can register), and looks like this:

(Squad)

Expected key players:

  • Diogo Luís – this left-back who started his career in Benfica about 10 years ago, is easily our better player but unfortunately got injured in pre-season.
  • António Alves – our Messi… sort of. Is more of a proper forward than a flamboyant trequartista but I expect him to be the focal point of our attack.
  • Adul – Young winger released on a free by Benfica, my ass-man thinks he can be a leading Liga Orangina player in the future. Highly promising. Scored loads of goals as a right inside-forward on the pre-season despite being right-footed.
  • Afonso Martins – Veteran midfielder who was a regular appearance for Sporting CP back in the 90s. A set-pieces god that can still keep up with the pace of the game at the age of 37.
  • Sérgio Rebordão – Great centre-back who too was available on a free.

This massive squad has made us bleed lots of money apparently, but I don’t plan to be at this level for long. I may be slightly cocky at the moment, because the pre-season worked out extremely well, even if I am aware that pre-seasons can deceive, and we often played lesser opposition:

SportClubePraiensePraiense_Fixtures.png

Will this surprisingly dominant form continue into the official matches? Let’s find out. Despite these extremely long opening posts, I only plan to make yearly updates (or whenever I move clubs), with minor intermissions for any particularly interesting bits, so it may take a while. Wish me luck.

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This post is reserved for easily tracking my progress, through stats and achievements, and for the technical specifications of the game.

Technical specifications

Database: 11.3 with Japanese league files and a few other minor tweaks to get rid of copyright/licensing issues.

Loaded leagues: Argentina (tier 1), Czech Republic (tier 1), England (tier 6), France (4), Germany (3), Italy (4), Japan (1), Mexico (1), Netherlands (2), Portugal (3), Russia (1), Scotland (4), Spain (3), Ukraine (1), Uruguay (1). Plus a lot of view-only leagues.

Total players: 75000. Medium database + retaining all players from top clubs all continents + retaining all current international players from all continents.

Other info: Fog of war enabled. Add players to playable teams enabled (to fill in the japanese clubs).

Career overview (club)

[color="#FFFFFF"][b]Season   Club (nation)         League (tier)                          Notes[/b]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
10/11    Praiense (POR)        2ª Divisão Sul (3) - 4th
11/12    Praiense (POR)        2ª Divisão Centro (3) - 1st            Lost in promotion playoff
12/13    Kettering (ENG)       Blue Square Premier (5) - 7th           
13/14    Kettering (ENG)       Blue Square Premier (5) - 22nd         Resigned mid-season
        Venezia (ITA)         Seconda Divisione Girone A (4) - 15th  Won relegation playout
14/15    Venezia (ITA)         Seconda Divisione Girone A (4) - 4th   Lost in promotion playoff
15/16    Venezia (ITA)         Seconda Divisione Girone A (4) - 3rd   Lost in promotion playoff
16/17    Venezia (ITA)         Seconda Divisione Girone A (4) - 1st   Promoted, Serie C Cup winners
17/18    Venezia (ITA)         Prima Divisione Girone A (3) - 6th
18/19    Dresden (GER)         3.Liga (3) - 8th
19/20    Dresden (GER)         3.Liga (3) - 13th                      Resigned mid-season
        Belenenses (POR)      Liga Orangina (2) - 10th
20/21    Belenenses (POR)      Liga Orangina (2) - 2nd                Promoted
21/22    Belenenses (POR)      Liga Zon Sagres (1) - 4th                 
22/23    Belenenses (POR)      Liga Zon Sagres (1) - 4th              League Cup winners
2023     Krylya Sovetov (RUS)  Prem'er Liga (1) - 10th                 
23/24    Celta (SPA)           Liga Adelante (2) - 4th                Lost in promotion playoff
24/25    Celta (SPA)           Liga Adelante (2) - 1st                Promoted
25/26    Celta (SPA)           La Liga (1) - 6th
26/27    Celta (SPA)           La Liga (1) - 7th                      Europa League winners
27/28    Roma (ITA)            Serie A (1) - 3rd
28/29    Roma (ITA)            Serie A (1) - 1st                      Italian champions, Champions League finalists
29/30    Roma (ITA)            Serie A (1) - 1st                      Italian champions, TIM Cup winners, Supercoppa winners
30/31    Roma (ITA)            Serie A (1) - 1st                      Champions League winners, Italian champions, 
                                                                     TIM Cup winners, Supercoppa winners
31/32    Roma (ITA)            Serie A (1) - 1st                      Champions League winners, Club World Cup winners,  
                                                                     Italian champions, Supercoppa winners,
                                                                     TIM Cup finalists[/color]

Career overview (international)

[b][color="#FFFFFF"]Years         Nation                Competitions[/b]
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2021-2022     Portugal Under 19s    Qualified for UEFA U-19 Championship, lost in Group Stage

2028-2030     Portugal              FIFA World Cup winners, Confederations Cup semi-finalists[/color]

Achievements

  • Portuguese 2ª Divisão Centro champion 2011/2012 (Praiense)
  • Seconda Divisione Girone A champion 2016/2017 (Unione Venezia)
  • Promotion from the Seconda Divisione Girone A 2016/2017 (Unione Venezia)
  • Coppa di Lega Pro champion 2016/2017 (Unione Venezia)
  • Promotion from the Liga Orangina 2020/2021 (Belenenses)
  • Bwin Cup champion 2022/2023 (Belenenses)
  • Qualification for the UEFA Under 19 Championship 2022 (Portugal Under 19s)
  • Liga Adelante champion 2024/2025 (Celta)
  • Promotion from the Liga Adelante 2024/2025 (Celta)
  • UEFA Europa League champion 2026/2027 (Celta)
  • Serie A champion 2028/2029, 2029/2030, 2030/2031, 2031/2032 (Roma)
  • TIM Cup champion 2029/2030, 2030/2031, finalist 2031/2032 (Roma)
  • Supercoppa di Lega Pro 2029, 2030, 2031 champion (Roma)
  • UEFA Champions League champion 2030/2031, 2031/2032, finalist 2028/2029 (Roma)
  • UEFA Super Cup 2031 champion (Roma)
  • FIFA Club World Cup 2031 champion (Roma)
  • FIFA World Cup 2030 champion (Portugal)

Managerial awards

  • Seconda Divisone A Miglior Allenatore dell'Anno 2016/2017 (Unione Venezia)
  • Liga Zon Sagres Manager of the Year 2021/2022, 2022/2023 (Belenenses)
  • Liga BBVA Mánager del año 2025/2026, 2026/2027 (Celta)
  • Associazione Italiana Calciatori Miglior Allenatore dell'Anno 2029/2030, 2030/2031 (Roma)

(This post is edited after each season, for a quick summary of how my career has gone)

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This looks really promising noikee - count me as a follower :)

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I am intrigued - especially as you have beeb realistic with the adapted passing style. do you have a download link for the tactic?

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This looks really promising noikee - count me as a follower :)

Thanks.

I am intrigued - especially as you have beeb realistic with the adapted passing style. do you have a download link for the tactic?

version 1

version 2

This tactic is a work in progress of course, as I developed it for this career and by playing it I'm finding out whether it works or not. Version 1 seemed to do well, but I wasn't entirely happy with it, hence I changed some stuff and named it Version 2. Coincidentally or not, since I did that my team entered a slump.

Don't expect to see anything like last night's show at Wembley. If anything my team seems to score more from set pieces than anywhere else, which surprised me. Occasionally they do make a good team move.

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Sounds very interesting, I'll be keeping an eye on this :thup:

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Praiense 2010/2011 - mid-season update

sc-praiense-logo-primary.jpg

I wasn't going to make a mid-season update and don't have the time to write as much as I usually like, but I feel like I needed to report back on how this first season is going.

First, this is how the league stands right now, with 12 games to go:

CampeonatoNacionaldaSegundaDivisoZonaSulInformation_LeagueTable.png

We are wildly overperforming compared to our board's expectations, both the chairman and the fans love me, but I still feel we could be doing better with the squad I've put together. I don't think Oriental and Pinhalnovense have a better group of players, yet we've let them escape and it's going to be very hard if not impossible to fight for promotion this season. We just can't make up 14 points in 12 games. I suppose we have to settle for fighting for 3rd place.

In the cup our run has been a little more satisfying:

SportClubePraiensePraiense_Fixtures-2.png

Scrappy wins over Benfica de Castelo Branco and Real Massamá (the team Nani originally came from!) led us to meet some bigger squads. We put perhaps our better showing in the season when we controlled Penafiel, who are one tier above us, and who I've recently picked to be our new parent club, in a spectacular 3-1 match. Then we faced Olhanense who are on the top division, and they were too much for us. Losing just 1-0 looks good on paper but in reality it could've been more.

Tactical watch

No we are not quite mimicking Barcelona yet, but the clues from their playing style are obvious in the game engine. Unfortunately our better team moves either don't lead to goals, or lead to scrappy goals (we had a beautiful one a few games ago that ended in an own-goal in our favour!), so I'm not bothering to upload anything to Youtube just yet. But here's a few observations to how things are going in this area:

  • In the first half of the season we strangely scored more through corners and set-pieces generally, than anything else. My centre-backs were bagging so many goals, it looked like I was using the corner cheat routine. I swear I left all instructions on default except for telling free kicks to be played to the "best header"! I just had the awareness to hire tall centre-backs and a good corner taker, as I know how important this is in FM.
  • Frustratingly my false nine/trequartista, my "Messi" named António Alves, isn't scoring many and has gone through a crisis of confidence. My goals all seem to come from my left inside forward Filipe Tavares, who incidentally has a finishing attribute of 6!!! You'd never guess it by watching this season.
  • Early in the season I was getting very ****ed off with my forwards who would frequently get into the area, then just stand there looking like they didn't know what to do with the ball. I even told them to start crossing from the byline to give them more options. But then I realized this wasn't a weakness, this was a strength. Thanks to my opponents! At a point it became really amusing to watch: my inside forwards would come into the area, stand there thinking "okay what am I supposed to do now, my manager says I should think like Messi, what would Messi do in this position?", and while he takes all the time in the world, some hot-headed defender invariably came in to do a panicky clearance, either conceding a corner (where we are so dangerous) or worse, a penalty kick. "Thanks a lot man", thought my inside forward. Again and again and again.

Financial watch

We are now 100K in the red. Woops. In my defence, while I am over the wage budget, we are not spending any more than the team was when I arrived. I may have signed 16 players but the loanees I sent back were being paid a ridiculous amount of money by the club. So with me or without me, the club would be in deep financial **** right now.

Perspectives for the remaining games

Little to play for in the rest of this season, but I'm going to see if I can hold on to the 3rd place. Unfortunately I have no idea on how to improve the club next year, the financial hole is getting serious, and I'm not finding better players who want to join us. Moreover, a lot of our key players are veterans....

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Sigh on my own remark on "not having the time to write much". I get carried away with this game. :D

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Decent start noikeee!

Really interesting to see how you develop this tactic with other teams. Its nice seeing the tactical side of FM emphasised in a career thread.

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Interesting thread, and very well-written opening post! Can't agree with your assertion that marauding fullbacks don't work as well on FM11, though, I just played a Champions League final with both DR and DL set to attack and won it 2-0. I'd definitely agree that it's a bad idea at lower levels though!

Good luck in the rest of the season, hopefully you can at least snatch second place.

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Decent start noikeee!

Really interesting to see how you develop this tactic with other teams. Its nice seeing the tactical side of FM emphasised in a career thread.

Thanks.

Interesting thread, and very well-written opening post! Can't agree with your assertion that marauding fullbacks don't work as well on FM11, though, I just played a Champions League final with both DR and DL set to attack and won it 2-0. I'd definitely agree that it's a bad idea at lower levels though!

Good luck in the rest of the season, hopefully you can at least snatch second place.

I just don't think it's worth opening up so much space on the back of my full-backs, when wing play can be so dangerous in this game. Specially when my team isn't much focused on having aerial threat on the box, I really don't need the full-backs to go all the way to the byline to cross. Even if I sort of like my inside forwards to be decent in the air, that feature reminds me of the wide forwards in the 1970s Holland/Ajax total football squad, but it's not the main priority, only one or two of my many forwards have that ability.

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This looks lovely. Very interesting approach to the lower leagues and great updates to match. Definitely one of the threads I'll follow very closely. :thup:

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I just don't think it's worth opening up so much space on the back of my full-backs, when wing play can be so dangerous in this game. Specially when my team isn't much focused on having aerial threat on the box, I really don't need the full-backs to go all the way to the byline to cross. Even if I sort of like my inside forwards to be decent in the air, that feature reminds me of the wide forwards in the 1970s Holland/Ajax total football squad, but it's not the main priority, only one or two of my many forwards have that ability.

I use it more to open up space in the box by stretching the opposition wider. My wingers are standard wingers, but they get shown inside, so it makes the box very congested. The fullbacks coming up high and wide will rarely put a cross in, but they stretch the play very effectively to make more space in the middle. They come into their own in an individual attacking sense when the opposition plays with just two wide players. The AMR/L pick up the opposition player, meaning my fullbacks are both totally free. If the opposition have both DR/L and (A)MR/L and are relatively good I'll tell them to stay at home, because they're less effective and have more defensive responsibility.

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I use it more to open up space in the box by stretching the opposition wider. My wingers are standard wingers, but they get shown inside, so it makes the box very congested. The fullbacks coming up high and wide will rarely put a cross in, but they stretch the play very effectively to make more space in the middle. They come into their own in an individual attacking sense when the opposition plays with just two wide players. The AMR/L pick up the opposition player, meaning my fullbacks are both totally free. If the opposition have both DR/L and (A)MR/L and are relatively good I'll tell them to stay at home, because they're less effective and have more defensive responsibility.

Sounds like exactly what I'm trying to do - use the full-backs as options to stretch the play, sort of like wide midfielders to rely on for an extra passing line. I even told mine to "hug the touchline" for that effect, which works alright. The biggest problem is that my inside forwards don't pick up the opposition full-backs, which means sometimes my full-backs are faced with a 2 vs 1 situation down the wings. Perhaps I should tell my inside forwards to man mark, to counter this.

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Great start :O you'l figure something out for next season. Hope the tactic works well in the future (y)

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Sounds interesting, after all, emulating Barcelona surely isn't a bad idea. Best of luck finding the Portugese Messi and rising up the leagues.

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Thanks all.

Only positive thing to come out from a 4-1 trashing from the team that we should be fighting with for 2nd place, Pinhalnovense:

[video=youtube;bH4QSCvX9so]

Whenever I set my match preparation to "defending", we can't score goals. Whenever I set my match preparation to "attacking", we concede goals like crazy. :mad: When you're in a slump it's so hard to get out of it because of morale...

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Praiense 2010/2011 - season review

sc-praiense-logo-primary.jpg

Transfer market

No news whatsoever after the pre-season revolution. I've found it very difficult to attract any decent players who want to join us, besides the ones that have already done so. The fog of war and the atrocious standard of my scouts don't help neither.

Domestic league

CampeonatoNacionaldaSegundaDivisoZonaSulInformation_LeagueTable-2.png

I am afraid that not only the dream of promotion faded even further, but we also lost 3rd place. It has been a turbulent second half of the season, with no consistent form either for the better or for the worse. We did have an extremely worrying streak of 15 consecutive games where we conceded goals, but we would sometimes score more too. That means I watched quite a few entertaining shows this season - this wildly unfair defeat to Operário, and this goal fest versus Madalena were the highlights. No surprises that we ended up as the 2nd top scoring team in the league.

The cup

This has been covered in the previous update. We had a nice run including knocking out our would-be parent club Penafiel, and then being eliminated by top tier team Olhanense.

Top 5 key players

(Full squad and stats)

5. Sérgio Rebordão (DC) - Good source of goals early in the season and one of the most reliable at the back, unlike his partner Paulo Monteiro who started making silly marking mistakes.

4. Diogo Luís (DL) - The guy that won't catch your attention when looking at in-game footage, but perhaps the best all-round player in my squad. Solid defender and grabbed 7 assists.

3. Nuno Pintassilgo (MC) - A pleasant surprise, I was expecting my other veteran MC Afonso Martins to be a star, but it was Nuno who was the champion of assists. Scored some good goals too.

2. António Alves (ST) - After so much criticism, my Messi came good late in the year and still just about managed to become top scorer of the team.

1. Filipe Tavares (AML) - Poor end of the season, but during a good two thirds of the year he was unplayable and scored so many vital goals - despite the dreadful finishing skills in theory. His runs cutting in from the left to blast it home were highly reminiscent of David Villa in the last World Cup for Spain.

Tactical watch

  • We're conceding far too many for my liking and I'm not sure how to fix it. Match preparation on "defensive" seems to do nothing but make us score less goals. I'm considering giving up one of my Barcelona-inspired principles, the whole closing down all over the pitch idea, to see if we can keep up a bit more of a shape. The opponents seem to often exploit well the space we leave open through our high closing down, which I wasn't expecting.
  • Telling my inside forwards to man-mark the opposition full-backs seems to mean in FM-engine terms: "go hassle them for a bit, but if they go forward enough to help the attack, just let them go". Bollocks. I'm not giving this up yet, but I sense it may be counter-productive.
  • I've been experimenting with a "control" strategy, a slightly higher defensive line, and a touchline shout of "keep possession" to see if we can not spend so many matches cornered in our own area. Also wondering if it's such a good idea to have my defenders on long passing, I don't remember them screwing up a pass ever, but they're also hoofing the ball up senselessly far too much for my liking. I might experiment with short passing all over the pitch.
  • After scoring like 8 or 9 goals from my center-backs through corners in the first half of the season, in the second half I think there was 1 or 2 goals. I have no idea why, haven't messed with the set piece settings.
  • I've told my full-backs to "roam from position" to see no benefit at all. In fact, by mid-season I told my MCs to do the same though I did seem to gain slightly more attacking power - wonder if these are factors in conceding so many goals?

Financial watch

80K in the red after the board injected 55K. I'm hoping there's going to be a nice cash gift from the council, or TV rights (I wish, lol), or something like that in the Summer, because otherwise I think for this club to profitable all of my players would have to play for free.

Career overview

[b]Season     League (tier)             Other competitions                       Notes[/b]
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[b]Praiense (Portugal)[/b]
2010/11    2ªDiv.Sul (T3) - 4th      Cup 4th rnd                              1st job, joined in June

Next year

Well frankly I'm in a weird position that I've very rarely felt in FM - I don't think I can improve this club for next season. My club is leaking money, nobody wants to sign for us, I've got several key players who are veterans, and I can't release crap players on a free without having to pay a bit, as everyone's contracted until the end of next season. But I want to stay for 1 more year just to see what happens. It's been the club's best season ever but we paid a price for that, I don't want to be the dick that claims all the credit for himself, then leaves to let someone else handle the debt.

To be honest I'm pretty certain I could get a better job because apparently since I set my reputation to "Automatic", I gained National reputation from the beginning. Have even been linked to the Rio Ave job (they're in the 1st tier). To counter this, I'll restrain myself to only make realistic small steps in my career, until things get serious in bigger clubs (if I manage to go that far). I'm thinking of maybe a move one year from now, to the italian Serie C2 or the BSP in England. If I'm not able to get Praiense promoted, in which case I'll stay.

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Folks, my game is starting to get a bit too slow. I think I loaded too many leagues. :(

Would going up from 4GB of RAM to 8GB make a good difference in terms of processing speed? I was under the impression my setup was already good enough: my processor is a AMD Phenom II X4 940 (3.0GHZ). I suppose I could overclock it as well, but my computer has been acting a little funky regarding power supply (USB ports stop working randomly, computer shuts down sometimes), so I don't want to push things too much in that direction.

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If you use a 64 bit operating system, then you may see benefits from upgrading to 8gb, but its expensive,n not worth it in my opinion. if your using a 32 bit system you wont benefit from more than 3.5gb. sounds like your comp has a good setup. i use 3 nations max, and it takes me around 8 or 9 hours to do a season(over days). but i like to smash through it and normally stick to lower league english teams.

good luck mate!

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I'm pretty sure FM only runs in 32-bit mode, so 4 gigs of RAM is the maximum. The best idea to improve it would be to get hold of a solid-state drive, I think.

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Would a faster processor help in this case? I ask because I dont know myself, but it would help the speed out surely?

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Bugger. The folks in GD already told me the same, 8 GBs won't make much difference. :( Even if I do have a 64bit system. I'm quite tempted to make a full-blown update and buy an I7 CPU or something insane like that, but I'm saving for slightly less futile things. :D The most sane option is to just deal with the game being a bit slow - even if it sucks arse in the transfer window now.

I think as an alternative I'm going to go release my frustrations by going insane on my team and terminating the contracts of a few useless players, though it's going to cost us a bit in compensations. Hopefully it'll open a space in the wage budget and let us hire someone that's actually good.

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Praiense 2011/2012 - pre-season

sc-praiense-logo-primary.jpg

(Transfers)

Unable to find many talents eager to join our club for the miniscule wages we are able to afford in the middle of our financial crisis, I signed 7 squad players in the hope that overall, they'll improve the quality of our team. I don't think any of them are going to slot into the starting 11 straightaway, but I'm mostly excited about the argentinian teenager Alexis Quintulén who was released on a free by Sporting. Veteran midfielder José Carlos Lima, who comes on a loan from a luxemburguese club(!) is also interesting, and should help in our team's most fragile area, the midfielders: since I released the overpaid, aging Afonso Martins on a free and last year's MC star Pintassilgo is going way down on his physical skills.

(Squad)

Therefore here's the team that we'll attack the next season with, no major changes as you can see. An interesting fact is that we've been moved from the Sul (South) zone to the Centro (Centre) zone of the 2ª Divisão. I'm not entirely sure how these moves are calculated - presumably through regional proximity altho the Azores is as further away from the Centre of Portugal as possible! -, but it's not a promotion or a relegation, merely a side-step.

Financial nonsense

My board just injected 28K and then 55K which is great. We'd be pretty much bankrupt without that. But it sort of feels like cheating, surely I can't just accumulate monster amounts of debt and wait for the board to pay it from their pockets? I've seen stuff like this talked about in many lower league careers across the forums, how come nobody's annoyed at how unrealistic it is?

But hey. It's not as bad as the corner cheat, or using FMRTE to make everyone a wonderkid. I'm only trying to manage the club as best as I can - I'd have to have every player and staff working for free to stop this club bleeding massive amounts of money. That's not realistic neither, surely in real life Praiense, as crap as they are (they were bottom and got relegated this season), have some sort of funding that pays at least a part of their expenses?

The wonders of lower league management (no, not LLM) in FM!

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Veteran midfielder José Carlos Lima, who comes on a loan from a luxemburguese club(!)

Luxembourg represent. :cool:

Both good players those, and very much in the mould of the team you're trying to emulate.

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Luxembourg represent. :cool:

Both good players those, and very much in the mould of the team you're trying to emulate.

Yes, not sure they're any better than the players I already had though, even if Lima has started the season well. You're from Luxembourg?

I let this upload overnight - the very first goal of the season in the league:

[video=youtube;7lprrPAQeps]

FM says it deflected off the defender, but I'd like to think it didn't and it was all intentional. What a goal!

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Yes, not sure they're any better than the players I already had though, even if Lima has started the season well. You're from Luxembourg?

I let this upload overnight - the very first goal of the season in the league:

[video=youtube;7lprrPAQeps]

FM says it deflected off the defender, but I'd like to think it didn't and it was all intentional. What a goal!

Live there. I'm Dutch/Italian.

Lovely goal, and some nice passing just before it. :thup:

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Praiense 2011/2012 - mid-season update

sc-praiense-logo-primary.jpg

15 games gone, 15 games to play. Let's take a look at the league table.

CampeonatoNacionaldaSegundaDivisoZonaCentroInforma  tion_LeagueTable.png

I guess things have sort of been going well. :D I am amazed with this level of success, haven't seen anything like this since the days of CM03/04 and the cheat tactic Diablo. The team has just clicked perfectly, and it's so rewarding to watch them win by playing good football. It completely took me by surprise because I'm not doing anything wildly different to last year. All I have is a slightly tweaked tactic (decreased slightly levels of closing down for every player), 3 or 4 different players in the starting 11, and a new selection policy of sticking to the same guys every game because they're performing!

I'd also like to give a shout to my veteran winger Filipe Tavares, who clearly must think he's Cristiano Ronaldo or something. His performance has been astonishing. Judge for yourself (the video should've started like 2 seconds earlier, the way he knocks the ball past the defender in the 1st goal is sensational):

[video=youtube;ZDQneEJq8yE]

In the cup we got knocked out by Boavista (who got promoted to the Liga Orangina last year) in the second round, but I don't really care. I'm more than happy enough with the performance in the league.

Immediate future

My original idea was to go away at the club at the end of the year, unless something unlikely happened and I'd get promoted. Well... We have not attained promotion yet, because even if we win the league we still have to go through the playoff, but I'm quite excited about my team now. Think I'm going to ask the board for a 1-year contract extension.

If we get promoted, things in the Liga Orangina should be much harder, and it's going to be a massive test to my tactics - I suspect they're not as good against clearly stronger teams. Looking forward to that test.

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Wow, great progress! Good concept, too.

In FM07 or 08 I've tried a very patient passing game at Tenhult of the Swedish lower tiers - simply because all I had was good passers. We went up from the fourth to the second tier in 4 years but hit a brick wall then - we played nicely but that wasn't enough. My players could give a string of passes together leading to nowhere quite expertly at the end :D

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A real illustration of how things can just click when you keep faith in a tactical philosophy over a period of time! I really hope you get promoted because it'd be great to see just how much a team's faith and comfort in their style of play can bridge the gap of ability.

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I'll be following this with close interest as I'm managing the same team myself currently.

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Wow, great progress! Good concept, too.

In FM07 or 08 I've tried a very patient passing game at Tenhult of the Swedish lower tiers - simply because all I had was good passers. We went up from the fourth to the second tier in 4 years but hit a brick wall then - we played nicely but that wasn't enough. My players could give a string of passes together leading to nowhere quite expertly at the end :D

A real illustration of how things can just click when you keep faith in a tactical philosophy over a period of time! I really hope you get promoted because it'd be great to see just how much a team's faith and comfort in their style of play can bridge the gap of ability.

Thanks.

I'll be following this with close interest as I'm managing the same team myself currently.

You're the second guy already that I find in these forums that's managing Praiense. :D I'm afraid you might not like my next update too much though...

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Congrats dude. Always nice to see another manager in Portugal

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Well.. that was a nice surprise, seeing you & your side top the table :)

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Praiense 2011/2012 - season review

sc-praiense-logo-primary.jpg

Transfer market

No moves in January again. My team seemed more than good enough at that point.

Domestic league

CampeonatoNacionaldaSegundaDivisoZonaCentroInformation_LeagueTable-2.png

This was a much tougher second half of the championship, as our run of wins ended right at the 16th match, and a particularly shaky point after two defeats to Gondomar and Pinhalovense, gave Gondomar the opportunity to close the gap to 6 points. Thankfully, we then hit a good patch while Gondomar had a terrible few results, and we clinched the title with 3 games to go. I wonder if the difficulties we felt were because I agreed with the board to adjust the objectives mid-season to "win the title" - adding pressure to the team. Perhaps that was a mistake, but we still comfortably finished in 1st place.

Unfortunately, the way this league is structured means that we had to go into a playoff together with the winners of the North and South zones, where the top two teams would be promoted. My opponents were Freamunde (who were paying about 3 times higher wages to some of their players compared to mine), and Marítimo's B-team, who I didn't even know were allowed to be promoted. It became clear to me that this would be a very difficult task after being comprehensively outplayed in the first home match to Marítimo B, losing 1-0. Things got tougher when Freamunde beat Marítimo, and we could only scrap a 1-1 draw away to Freamunde.

The trip to Madeira to face Marítimo could decide everything then - they were the team we most likely had to beat to secure 2nd place. Edivândio scored early for them, then in the 2nd half Adul had a chance from the penalty spot to tie the game for us, but missed it. A desperate few tactical measures in the dying minutes did let us score one but Marítimo scored two more, 3-1 the final result. Now we were not only dependent on beating Freamunde in the final game, but Marítimo had to win away at Freamunde. The opposite result happened and our hopes were shattered. A sad late 2-1 home defeat to Freamunde made for my farewell match to the Azores.

CampeonatoNacionaldaSegundaDivisoZonaCentroInformation_LeagueTable-3.png

The cup

(Fixtures)

As covered in the previous update - early exit but we were not expecting anything more.

Top 5 key players

(Full squad and stats)

5. Rafael Couto - Can't believe he was my 3rd choice for striker last year. I gave him a chance in the early season as António Alves was injured, and he started playing well, so I stuck with him. Not a goal machine, but in my team the role is as much to facilitate play for the others, as to score himself.

4. Sérgio Rebordão - Another fine season from the goal-scoring centre-back ended with 9 goals and plenty of good defensive performances. Well backed up this time by new signing Nuno Correia, who made for a good reliable partnership.

3. Diogo Luís - A superb season from my top class left-back as he ended with 13 assists (albeit most from corners), and a few man of the match performances.

2. Adul - Could very well have been picked as my player of the year, as 18 goals + 12 assists was a superb record for my young inside forward - but many of those were from penalty kicks or corners. Finished joint top scorer of the regular season in the league with 15 goals.

1. Filipe Tavares - Absolutely astonishing first half of the season. Join top-scorer together with Adul with 15 league goals, and that's from a 33-year old man playing as an AML, with 6 for Finishing and 9 for Pace. Embarrassed full-backs on a remarkably regular basis. Total legend. I picked him as player of the year over Adul due to the higher average rating and the 9 man of the match awards.

Tactical watch

  • As soon as things clicked so well in the early season, I just left everything alone for the rest of the year. Version 5 of my tactic is clearly the best so far, but it's remarkable that it's so good when all I'd done were minor adjustments. Slightly decreased closing down to everyone. Shortened passing instructions for the defensive players. Moved strategy from "balanced" to "control". And there you go, domination ensued. Until the playoffs... Anyone interested in the tactic, just ask, I'm just lazy to upload right now.
  • Perhaps another contribution was to set my match preparation to "team blend" all year long - and to stick to the same 11 guys religiously. In a tactic where teamwork is vital, this may have been helpful but there's no way to quantify its importance.

Financial watch

A new board arrived, took a loan of 90K and injected 45K into the club. So that means we actually end the season in the black, which is news.

Career overview

[b]Season     League (tier)             Other competitions                       Notes[/b]
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[b]Praiense (Portugal)[/b]
2010/11    2ªDiv.Sul (T3) - 4th      Cup 4th rnd                              1st job, joined in June
2011/12    2ªDiv.Centro (T3) - 1st   Cup 2nd rnd                              Lost in promotion playoff

My future

I accepted a 1-year contract extension right before the playoffs, because I was afraid that if I rejected it, I might not get another chance. Turns out we lost in the playoffs, and like I had said, I have no intention of sticking to this club for longer unless we got promoted. It was fun while it lasted, but spending another season at the same level waiting for the decisive playoff to arrive does not sound fun to me. I will hand over the resignation letter to the board immediately, leave the Azores, and search for a new job. Nothing's planned yet, but my preference would be a move to Italy, Spain or France. Let's see what happens.

Random stuff

Mourinho was sacked by Real, sacked by Man City and is now back to Chelsea. Barcelona won last year's Champions League, were runner-ups this year (to a surprising Lyon!!), and then nearly missed out on a CL spot by coming 4th in the league. Their new manager is, erm, Carlo Ancelotti. Guardiola left to manage the spanish national team as Del Bosque had messed up the Euro qualifying big time, but a 87th minute playoffs goal from serbian Nikola Zigic eliminated Guardiola's Spain, who won't defend their trophy in the Euros!!

More weird stuff in England as Man Utd, Man City and Liverpool have all qualified to the... Europa League. Tottenham and Aston Villa beat them to Champions League places, Arsenal clinched the title.

Also check out this forward that Barcelona bought, totally in their mould of player. :confused:

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Congrats dude. Always nice to see another manager in Portugal
Well.. that was a nice surprise, seeing you & your side top the table :)

Thanks.

Meanwhile, I got this offer, after being laughed at by all the spanish clubs in the Summer. :(

CludioAlegriaNews_Inbox-3.png

I never heard of the club actually, but think I'm going to take it. They're 1 point ahead of the relegation zone in the Conference, with 11 games played - despite being expected to finish 7th by the media. With a wage budget roughly 4x bigger than the one I had in Praiense, it's kind of a step up even if I'm going from a 3rd tier to a 5th tier. What do you guys think, take it or wait for better?

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I'd take it. You never know when (or even if) you will get another offer.

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Managed them once for two seasons and it was a fun game, so I'd take it.

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Congratulations with topping the league but unlucky with the promotion playof loss.

English leagues would be a good place to try out your tactical approach and Kettering are offering a better budget so it may be worth trying your hand with them

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Kettering Town FC - 11th of October 2012

KetteringTFC.png

Time to move from the Azores to the Northamptonshire, this is my new home, Rockingham Road:

3061480168_c7832c7abd.jpg

That is a very nice, bright picture I found on the web. Unfortunately things are not so bright in the league standings:

BlueSquareBetPremierInformation_LeagueTable.png

To counter this I have a number of not-so-exciting players to rely upon, let's take a look at who I believe may be most useful from who's already at the club:

  • David Donald (DR) - Looks like my best player is again a full-back. He's not as quick as I like my full-backs to be, but clearly very talented for this level.
  • Tendaya Darwika (ST/AMR) - Pretty good candidate for an inside forward, being a left-footed AMR. Fine player other than lacking a bit in dribbling and decisions.
  • Luke Graham (DC) - As always, I like my defenders to be good jumpers. Can see him getting a few goals from corners.
  • Gary Smith (ST) - Does not have the profile that I'm looking for in his position, but will have to do for now as he's our best ST.

And here's a screenshot of the full squad. Lots of scots, weird. An interesting fact is that my assistant manager is Marlon King. Seems to have retired as a player at the age of 32! He has a motivation stat of 4 which worries me because I let my assman do all the press conferences and team talks.

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Shame you missed out on promotion with Praiense, it looked like everything was going so well until the playoffs!

Good luck with Kettering, they look like they're in a bit of a mess at the moment but still only ten points off the promotion playoff places :thup:

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Hi jut going to start something similar to this do you have a link to your version 5 tactic seemed to work really well?

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Shame you missed out on promotion with Praiense, it looked like everything was going so well until the playoffs!

Good luck with Kettering, they look like they're in a bit of a mess at the moment but still only ten points off the promotion playoff places :thup:

Yeah it actually seems possible to bridge that gap. I've only played 3 or 4 matches last night for Kettering but the performances made me quite optimistic (apart from some atrocious defending). I got a few *AWESOME* short-term loanees that improved the team a lot.

Hi jut going to start something similar to this do you have a link to your version 5 tactic seemed to work really well?

Yeah sure, but I don't have the tactic here with me, will upload later tonight.

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Great career you're building here noikeee :thup:

Unlucky with Praiense, i'll be following with interest to see how you tackle the English Leagues on wet and muddy pitches :p

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Shame on missing out on promotion with Praiense :/ might be a blessing in disguise though? :O

gl at Kettering

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that was some seriously bad luck in the play-offs..... good luck with Kettering.

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Tks guys. Here's the tactic:

(version 5 download)

I use some touchline shouts along with this:

  • Retain Possession - For when the team doesn't have enough of the ball for my liking, which happens in like, 3 out of every 4 games. If by some rare chance you actually get 60%+ of possession, don't use this - your team will be more dangerous without it.
  • Take a Breather - For when you've given the previous shout, and the team is STILL having less ball than the opponents. I believe what this does is drop the tempo a little further.
  • Push Higher Up - For the matches when you're being constantly cornered in your own area. Beware though - it's not a good idea to use this against pacey forwards, particularly when your defenders are slow. I've already noticed it's a bad idea to be using this at Kettering, as tectonic plates move faster than my defenders.

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Kettering Town FC - mid-season update

KetteringTFC.png

This is just a quick update to show how things are going. And wow, has it been a busy season. Tons of games, tons of transfers, tons of goals (both conceded and scored!), and an absolutely schizophrenic, inconsistent squad that you can never predict how it will perform the next game.

BlueSquareBetPremier-crop.png

As you can see, we've been climbing up the league but my initial hopes of still reaching the playoffs are starting to look a bit optimistic. It's not impossible as there's 15 games to play and 8 points to recover, but if I knew I could rely on my team it'd be different. Instead, I'm managing the most unpredictable bunch of muppets I've ever seen. Here's a glimpse of our fixtures between November and January to show what I mean:

KetteringTownKettering_Fixtures.png

Can any of you make any sense out of this?? We can be knocked out of the FA Trophy (which we were the holders of, by the way!!) in the very first round by a lower league side, then humiliate Gainsborough with an absolutely epic 7-2 away win, then lose at home 2-0 to mid-table Farnborough. Then hammer Histon 4-0!!! All of this within roughly 2 weeks.

It doesn't help that, completely unlike at Praiense, I can't have an established starting 11. This because I've been far too reliant on short-term loans, I think I've loaned like 15 players so far. And when they're established stars, their contract is up and I have to find replacements. This policy does allow me to have a few players so awesome for the BSP that it's ridiculous, which makes me think I'm climbing up the table due to the sheer quality of my players and not because of the tactical approach at all. Then again I sort of felt like that at Praiense too. And as long as I'm successful, who cares if it's the tactics or the transfer market policy?

And there's SO MANY GAMES. You can't have the same 11 players playing all the time, they'll be clinically dead of exhaustion by the end of the season.

Tactics

I had to make a brand new V6 version of my tiki-taka wonder strategy, which consists in the revolutionary idea of, erm, dropping the defensive line a few notches and then pressing the "save" button. This because my defenders were so lethargic compared to the opposition's strikers that it's not even funny. It's like every striker in this division has awesome pace. The quality of play here is laughable compared to the Portuguese 2ª Divisão, it's a disjointed mess of long kicks up the field, long throws, aggressive tackles and mistakes all over the pitch. Sadly, this chaotic strategical approach of most of our opponents, instead of giving us an organizational advantage, makes me feel like I never have the control of any matches. Hence so many goals conceded, and scored.

It'd be a ridiculous stretch to claim that we're playing actual tiki-taka in the middle of this mess, but sometimes there's the very rare moment of magic. Like this bit of passing that can barely be seen at the beginning of this video:

[video=youtube;0Az1UaySuCo]

Finances

We'd been pretty much bankrupt if our kind board didn't inject some cash every once in a while, last time they even gave us 100K. When I arrived we were around 230K in the red, and we're down to 301K now. Nothing I wasn't used to at Praiense then, only with bigger numbers. I haven't done absolutely anything that helped us reduce the inflated wage budget.

Goals for the rest of the season

Get as close to the playoffs as much as possible, and pray for a miracle that'd allow us to take part in them. Start thinking of building an actual squad for next year, that isn't made of a billion players on 3-month loans.

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Kettering Town FC 2012/2013 - season review

KetteringTFC.png

Transfer market

(Transfers)

Loans, loans and loans. A lot of them. Does this qualify as cheating? I know a few of you are against loaning in the english leagues.

Domestic league

Right after I posted that 8 points were too much to close down, we made a fantastic recovery and within a few matches we were 2 points away from the playoff places. We even hammered the future BSP champions Burton 5-2 in the proccess. Surely closing those final 2 points in about 8 matches would be doable, right?

But then things went downhill. A home defeat to promotion rivals Mansfield opened up the gap again, even if another two wins on our own closed the gap back to 2 points again. But with 2 draws and 2 defeats in our final 4 matches, we watched Mansfield open up a colossal lead, Fletwood beat us for 6th place and we were even quite lucky not to lose 7th. A single goal on goal difference was enough there.

BlueSquareBetPremierInformation_Stages.png

At the end, it can be said to have been quite a positive participation on the league. We recovered from 22nd to 7th under my command. My work has not been quite recognised because Kettering were predicted to finish exactly 7th by the media, but I'm happy with our league performance.

Cups

(FA Cup fixtures)

Now this is where things did not go quite so well. The FA Cup was alright, we beat Solihull and Southport to advance 1 further round than my board expected, then were defeated predictably by League 2 side Oxford. However our FA Trophy participation was really poor. Kettering had won the title last year under the management of Martin Law, but this time we crashed out in the very first game to mid-table BSN side Hinckley, losing 2-1. I'm not bothering to show a screenshot of that.

Top 5 key players

(Full squad and stats) - at the end of the season, when many of the loanees had returned much earlier.

5. David Donald (DR) - Highest average rating of the season from the non-loanees, yet I didn't even notice it in the games. Steady but anonymous.

4. Jacob Walcott (AML) - Quite good while he played for us, 6 goals and 6 assists in 17 matches.

3. Ryan Thomson (MC) - Reliable midfielder with a strange appetite for goals, often showing up late in the area to finish moves.

2. Scott Anderson (ST) - A ridiculously good player for the BSP, unfortunately a major injury ruined his short loan for us, but still, 4 goals and 9 assists in 9 games. Best guy I've seen playing the sort-of-Messi-like role in my tactic yet, despite the lack of pace. Wonderful at creating chances.

1. Tendaya Darwika (AMR/ST) - Hard to pick a star in this stupidly disjointed team, but was top scorer (on only 8 goals though!) and got the most assists for us, that strengthens his bid for player of the year.

Tactical watch

Nothing new to say here since the mid-season update. The BSP is still an inconsistent, incoherent tactical mess and so is our team.

Financial watch

Further down to 336K in the red, even after the board injected 100K again. Looking good then. :o

Career overview

[b]Season     League (tier)             Other competitions                       Notes[/b]
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[b]Praiense (Portugal)[/b]
2010/11    2ªDiv.Sul (T3) - 4th      Cup 4th rnd                              1st job, joined in June
2011/12    2ªDiv.Centro (T3) - 1st   Cup 2nd rnd                              Lost in promotion playoff
[b]Kettering (England)[/b]
2012/13    BSP (T5) - 7th            FA Cup 2nd rnd, FA Trophy 1st rnd        Joined in October

Future

I had to beg twice to get a new contract, which they did offer me, after this slightly bizarre conversation. It kinda hurt to read that my performance "hasn't deserved a contract extension". I took the club from 22nd to 7th you morons. But you can't quite say that to the face of your boss.

My idea is to stick with Kettering for a little longer than Praiense. If I want to progress in my career, it's time to get a club promotion or 2 in my CV. But I'm not looking to climb the whole ladder in England, I'd rather like to try the lower leagues of many different countries, if possible - even if I know that's much harder.

Meanwhile, I've been linked to many jobs back in Portugal, ranging from the top tier to going back to the 3rd tier there again. Again, it'd probably be easier for my career to go back to Portugal and reach the top there before moving out, but I don't want to do that.

Old club watch

Praiense sucked arse this season, and are currently in 8th with 1 game to go, thanks to a late season good streak of form. Battled against relegation for a while, and have been playing dull, bog-standard 4-4-2.

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