abulezz

Bromley FC (...And the Rest of the World)

817 posts in this topic

Great double, walked the league.

Keep it up!

Thanks! The Blue Square leagues are not much of a challeng if you can find some quality players on free, and thats what happened, thankfully.

Soon you'll be in your own CL updates.

Thats the plan! I hope so anyway!

In other news, the board decided to expand the stadium a bit as a reward!

stadiumexpansion.jpg

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Just got my first job offer! I would be tempted but Im doing a full Bromley save :)

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Going really well so far, well done :thup: Good luck in League Two!

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Good work getting the offer anyway.

I got another one!

Going really well so far, well done Good luck in League Two!

Thanks, Im hoping I'll be able to keep it up :)

I guess I must be doing soemthing right, this is the 2nd one!

joboffershandong.png

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CHAMPIONS CUP 2013

SEMI-FINALS

CSKA Moscow vs. Manchester United (2-2, CSKA Moscow wins on away goals)

Manchester United were hoping for their third straight trip to the Finals (the previous two times, they had lost to Barcelona), but they had to get by the Russians champions first, who had other plans. In fact, one can argue that they outclassed and outplayed Man United in the first leg in Moscow enroute to winning the match 1-0, thanks to Seydou Doumbia 6th goal of the tournament. They had more of the possession and more shots on goal, with the English team defending for most of the game. Add to that the stellar play of the MotM, GK Igor Akinfeev, and Moscow would go into the second leg at Old Trafford with a one goal advantage, having not allowed them to score any away goals. That would be the main point in their advancement into the Finals for the first time in their history, as Sekou Oliseh struck in the 26th minute to give Moscow the lead and force Manchester to score 3 goals in order to win. That was one goal too many, especially as Javier Hernandez got injured in the 63rd minute, and despite winning 2-1 thanks to goals from Jonny Evans and Wayne Rooney, it would not be enough, and there would be no repeat of the same Finals for the third straight year.

Lyonnais vs. Barcelona (2-6)

With the first game held in the Nou Camp in Barcelona, expectations were high that the two time defending champions would advance to the Finals for third rematch against Manchester United. Although they did dominate and win, the result did not reflect that, with only one goal being scored by Alexis Sanchez in the 21st minute. Despite 23 shots on goal, Barcelona was only able to convert one, thanks to the heroics of Hugo Lloris, the Lyonnais GK. He won the MotM with a 9.60 AR, and despite the complete control of the game the Spaniards had, they were only able to get away with a 1-0 scoreline, which, in Lyonnais' point of view, was quite managable heading into the second leg in Lyon. Unfortunately for the French side, Barcelona came into the second leg with their full offensive force, winning the match 5-2, with Villa scoring a brace and Sanchez and Iniesta getting the other 2 goals. For Lyonnais, Fofana and young Ishak Belfodil, who had scored 13 goals for them in the French league, got the goals, but the Catalan giants would advance to their third straight Finals, this time against huge underdogs CSKA Moscow.

FINALS

CSKA Moscow vs. Barcelona (0-3)

Going into the Finals at Wembley in London, England, Andre Iniesta was arguably the best player in the tournament, while CSKA Moscow's Vagner Love had 8 goals to his name, the most out of all the remaining players. David Villa, Barcelona's leading scorer, had 6 goals, with Alexis Sanchez also having the same number. The latter was also one of the favorites to win the Player of the Tournament award thanks to his performaces for the Spanish club in the knockout stages of the competition, while the Russians' best player was arguably Romanian Razvan Rat, who had provided steady contributions for them throughout the tournament.

Both teams had done well in the Group Stages, with Barcelona topping Group C and CSKA Moscow coming in a close second to Real Madrid in Group G. The latter overcame Porto and Ajax before putting away Man United, but their defense was a concern, conceding 8 goals over those 6 games. Barcelona defeated Chelsea, Bayern Munich, and Lyonnais before getting to their third straight Finals, and, save for Chelsea, had done so convincingly.

There were to be no upsets in the Finals, however, as Barcelona took to the match from the very beginning, scoring the first goal of the game in the 23rd minute through a David Villa penalty. Things went from bad to worse for the Russian side as their talisman, Razvan Rat, was sent off just 3 minutes later, effectively ruling out any chance they had left in the match. It remained all Barcelona after that point, with Villa scoring once more and Alexis Sanchez also getting in on the action, sealing the 3-0 victory for the Catalans. They did it without the injured Lionel Messi, but the talent between the 2 sides was noticeable. Barcelona became the first team since Bayern Munich in 1976 to win the title 3 times in a row, and it was also their 4th title in 5 years.

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AWARDS

Best Player of the Tournament: Alexis Sanchez – This was not surprising at all, as the Chilean was Barcelona’s best performer in Europe throughout the season. He scored in the Final, which was his 7th goal in the tournament, and he single handedly destroyed Bayern Munich at home during the Quarter-Finals, scoring a demoralizing hat-trick in a sublime performance.

Top Goalscorer: David Villa (8 Goals) – Barcelona’s second most important player during the competition, his tally was only half of Lionel Messi’s 16 goals in the 2011/12 season, but still the most of anyone, nonetheless. The 31 one year old was ever present for his club throughout, and scored an important brace in the Finals, not to mention also winning its MotM, to lift the club to its 3rd consecutive title.

championscupdreamteam.jpg

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CONFEDERATIONS CUP 2013 - BRAZIL

Group A: Uruguay, Ghana, Japan, Spain

The defending European and World champions were supposed to have an easy time with this group, but instead crashed out, managing to gain a measly 2 points out of their matches, which included a 2-0 loss to Ghana on Matchday Three. The result saw the immediate sacking of Spain head coach, Vicente Del Bosque, and the hiring of Barcelona legend Josep Guardiola, who was entrusted with the job of defending Spain’s title at the upcoming World Cup 2014. Japan finished 3rd in the group after managing to draw all three matches, which left Uruguay and Ghana as the teams that qualified to the Semi-Finals.

Group B: England, Brazil, New Zealand, Mexico

On paper, this was the less predictable of the two groups, but that was not the case. Both England and Brazil had 6 points by Matchday Three, knocking out a disappointing Mexican side and an unimpressive New Zealand squad and rendering their Matchday Three game meaningless, which Brazil won 1-0.

Uruguay would face England in the first Semi-Finals, with Peter Crouch and Luis Suarez each having 3 goals. Steven Gerrard was the best player on Ancelotti’s team, while Suarez had helped Uruguay to the top of Group A. England won the match 2-0, advancing the Finals of the Confederations Cup thanks to goals from Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard. Brazil would also win their Semi-Finals matchup against Ghana 2-0, with goals from Neymar and 23 year old rising star Leandro Damiao of Internacional, setting up a rematch with England in the Finals. In the end, the host would claim victory over the English in a 1-0 win after Hulk scored the winning goal. Jordan Ayew of Ghana would lead the goalscoring charts with 4 goals, and the Best Player award would go to Marcelo of Brazil, who would deliver 5 assists in his 4 appearances.

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EUROPEAN U21 CHAMPIONSHIP 2013 - ISRAEL

Group A was the tougher of the two groups on paper, with Spain, England, France, and Switzerland drawn together, and it was the English and French who would qualify, knocking out defending champions, Spain. Switzerland’s striker Haris Seferovic (Fiorentina) did well for them, scoring 2 goals in his 3 appearances. In Group B, Germany made short work of its competition, qualifying alongside Croatia and knocking out the hosts and Ukraine. Roman Bezus (Vorskla), Ukraine’s 22 year old striker, was one of the stars of the group stages, scoring 2 goals.

In the Semi-Finals, Croatia shocked France by defeating them 3-0, thanks to a brace fromAndrej Kramaric (Dinamo, shortly afterwards sold to Osasuna), while Germany’s Ilka Gundogan (Dortmund) scored the only goal in their 1-0 victory over the English. For France, Gael Kakuta (Chelsea) was their best player, and for England it was Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace). In the Finals, Croatia would shock the Germans 3-1, winning the game in extra-time after Mateo Kovacic (Dinamo) and Kramaric both scored. The latter, along with Germany’s Kevin Volland (Hoffenheim) would tie for leading scorers at the tournament with 4 goals, while Stefan Bell (Mainz) would lead the Average Rating category with a 8.25 AR.

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A great deal of effort is going into these updates, well done!

Also good luck in league two!

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EUROPEAN U19 CHAMPIONSHIP 2013 – GERMANY

The defending champions, Austria, would not be participants this time around in Germany, and in Group A, it was the hosts and Slovakia who would qualify out of the group, knocking out Russia and Czech Republic. In Group B, it was Spain and England who would qualify, knocking out Denmark and Serbia, but not before 19 year old Danish striker Yussef Poulsen scored a tournament high 4 goals in his 3 matches.

The Semi-Finals pitted Germany against England, which the hosts would win 2-0, and Spain against Slovakia, which the Iberians would win 2-0. Spain would go on to win the entire tournament after defeating the Germans 3-1, with a brace scored by Ricardo Aguilar, who tied Poulsen’s 4 goals to lead the tournament. Other notable performers were Evgeny Yeremenko, Dejan Kovacevic. Jake Caskey, and Tekin Kusabacak.

WINNER: Spain

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A great deal of effort is going into these updates, well done!

Also good luck in league two!

Thanks! Hopefully we can maintain some respectability in the League Two.

Just as a note, I have pretty much every league playing, so any screenshots anyone is interested in, let me know, I would be happy to oblige!

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Fantastic effort with this career, looking forward to seeing how you go in League Two!

As for screenshots, would you be able to show me some of the Australian national team's key players? :D

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BROMLEY PRE-SEASON 2013/14

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Not surprisingly, we are being predicted to finish dead last, and with 6.5k wage budget and 25k transfer kitty, there is not much I can do to improve the team substantially. The wage issue is very worrisome, as my major players, such as Elliot Law and David Corrigan, each want wages double what the board will allow for full-time contracts. Now that the club has turned professional, we are only working on full-time contracts, and dear lord, they are expensive! I'm also starting to deal with agents and their fees - to put it simply, we are still much too small a club to handle all this extra costs.

That being said, I do believe there is enough quality in the side to keep us safely out of relegation. The stadium is being expanded to from 5,000 to about 6,500, so that will be extra revenue, and taking into account that the attendance should also increase substantially, I don't have any worries about turning a profit. With my most important players all being signed on for atleast 2 more years, I'm hoping that, with a solid performance and some financial benefits from increased attendance and such, the board will allow me to give the players the wages they are demanding and retain them.

We had a few important departures, in terms of club history, as both Conolly Edozien and Gary Wales left the club. Truthfully, neither was going to be play more than a bit part this season had they stayed, but their contributions in getting us to the League Two cannot be forgotten.

MAJOR TRANSFERS

Glen Baker: Came in from rivals Sutton for 5k, I had him pegged as a backup striker, but given the lack of talent down the left wing, he will start the season there. Hopefully he can prove himself a decent performer and build up some of those attributes.

Ben Dormer: The youngster cost me 6k from H&R, and in all honesty, I am looking at perhaps developing him and selling him for a hefty profit in a few years, unless he can prove to me that he is capable. He will get his chances, for sure.

Jaakko Alatalo: The free agent signing is perhaps my most important in the short term. He will partner Ekong in the defense, and hopefully we can maintain a decent defensive record.

KEY PLAYERS

David Corrigan - Stats : Our 2013 Player of the Year, no one means more to the club than the 17 year old, at this point. While our first contract talks did not go smooth, I am hoping the board will be more generous with their wage caps, because we have to keep him at all costs. Featured for the England U19 squad throughout the summer.

Elliot Law - Stats : A Bromley youth system product, he is up there with Corrigan in terms of importance to the club. Still only 19 years old, he is the other player that I cannot afford to lose.

Scot Thompson - Stats: The captain and our rock at the back. He turned 32 years old, but his ability is still at the same level. I expect him to be one of our top performers yet again.

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Fantastic effort with this career, looking forward to seeing how you go in League Two!

As for screenshots, would you be able to show me some of the Australian national team's key players? :D

Sure! Here is a screenie of Australia's top performers in the Asian Word Cup Qualifiers thus far. No computer generated players yet - let me know if you want a closeup at the stats and attributes of a specific one!

australiaplayersaug2013.jpg

Australia finished top of their group in the Qualifiers, by the way!

australiagroupaug2013.jpg

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U20 WORLD CUP 2013 - TURKEY

Group Stages

There were no real surprises to be had in the Group Stages, as the defending champions Brazil got the tournament started with a victory and just rolled on from there. The other favorites, France and Germany, both topped their respective groups, and surprise 2011 U20 World Cup Semi-Finalist Austria also qualified, albeit in 2nd place to the USA. The hosts also managed to qualify, as did Ghana, former U20 champions in 2009, who topped their group, winning all 3 matches. French striker Mbaye Niang stole the show in the group stages, scoring 4 goals against an unimpressive New Zealand side and registering a tournament leading 5 goals going into the 2nd Round. Brazil’s striker Leo, who is signed by Barcelona, also made an impression, scoring 3 goals and was one of the tournament’s best players during the early stages.

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Second Round

The defending champions continued their domination over the competition with a big 4-1 victory over South Korea with Leo adding to his tally, scoring a goal in a solid performance. Nigeria did well to defeat Portugal 2-1, and it was the same result that Ecuador had to defeat the impressive Ghanaian side. South Africa defeated the USA 2-1 as well, with right back Thabang Gould leading the way for the African side. Elsewhere, the French went through against Greece, winning 3-0 with Niang delivering a brace and bringing his total to 7 goals. Colombia surprised favorites Germany, winning on penalties after a 1-1 draw in regulation time. Ivory Coast continued Africa’s strong showing in the tournament, defeating Austria 3-1, and in the last match of the Second Round, Peru defeated the hosts Turkey 3-0 in a surprisingly strong performance.

Quarter-Finals

Ecuador vs. Nigeria

Ecuador continued its surprising run in the tournament, defeating Nigeria on penalties after an exciting 1-1 draw was played out in regulation time. Although the Africans had more of the possession with 53%, Ecuador created more chances and looked the more dangerous team going forward, earning a deserved victory in a nerve wrecking penalty matchup. The MotM was 17 year old Nigerian defender Yusuf Godwin, the African nation’s best performer throughout the tournament.

Ecuador: 1 (Valencia) Won on Penalties 4-3

Nigeria: 1 (Aneke)

Brazil vs. South Africa

The defending champions came into the match with the expectation of comfortably winning, like they have been all tournament long, but the South Africans were their equal in every sense of the word, only falling on penalties to the South Americans. The match ended 1-1 in regulation time, and although the Brazilians did create more chances, possession went in favor of the African squad. Leo, who had been Brazil’s best player so far in the tournament, was held in check by the South Africa, and was finally substituted for the giant striker, Xaropinho.

Brazil: 1 (Admelison) Won on Penalties 6-5

South Africa: 1 (Mabaso)

Peru vs. Ivory Coast

Peru followed the trend of South American teams knocking out their African counterparts, defeating the West African nation 2-1 in an exciting match that thrilled in its last few minutes. Peru doubled their score in the 87th minute, but Ivory Coast refused to die, scoring in the 89th minute, but it was not to be. Peru advanced into the Semi-Finals at the expense of the Africans, joining Brazil and Ecuador and ensuring there would be at least one representative from their continent in the Finals

Peru: 2 (Lazo, Uribe)

Ivory Coast: 1 (Banvo)

Colombia vs. France

In keeping with the excitement the tournament had been delivering thus far, this match also went to penalties after an exciting 2-2 draw. France would finally win, but one could argue it was the Colombians who, perhaps, deserved to advance. Alas, it would not be four South American teams in the Semi-Finals in Turkey, although it was not by way of their best player Niang. Instead, it was 15 year old striker Joffrey Berthet who was their star, scoring their first goal and converted a penalty in the win.

France: 2 (Berthet, Tandia) Won on Penalties 5-4

Colombia: 2 (Saldana, Castillo)

Semi-Finals

Brazil vs. Ecuador

There were no surprises here, and the result did not really reflect what transpired during the match. Although Brazil won 1-0 against Ecuador, they were never really threatened, dominating possession and creating far more chances than their South American counterparts. Leo scored in the 23rd minute, and Brazil would have added more if it was not for the heroics of Ecuadoran defender Diego Rodriguez, who was also Ecuador’s most impressive player during Turkey 2013. For Brazil, Maicon was their best performer, registering his 5th assist of the tournament.

Brazil: 1 (Leo)

Ecuador: 0

France vs. Peru

France did their part, setting up a dream Finals matchup with Brazil after defeating surprise Semi-Finalists Peru 2-0 in a match they dominated. Joffrey Berthet converted a penalty to score his 4th goal of the tournament, becoming a fans favorite for his performances in the past couple of games for the French.

France: 2 (Barthet, Digne)

Peru: 0

Finals

Brazil vs. France

The climax of a highly entertaining tournament took place in Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, in front of nearly 81,000 people. Brazil showed their class by absolutely destroying the French 4-0 to defend their title, and win their 6th U20 title, equaling rivals Argentina in the record books. Ademilson scored a brace in a match where the South Americans controlled 66% of the possession, never giving the French a chance.

Brazil: 4 (Ademilson (2), Leo, Felipe Anderson)

France: 0

Awards

Best Player: Mbaye Niang - France (7 Aps, 7 Gls), followed by Leo – Brazil (6 Aps, 6 Gls)

Top Goalscorer: Mbaye Niang – France (7), followed by Leo – Brazil (6)

Golden Glove: Peter Adebayo - Nigeria

u20worldcupknockout.jpg

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2013/2014 SUMMER NEWS

June 2013: Hannover 96 was taken over by their former director, Stefan Mertesacker, replacing the outgoing chairman, Martin Kind. After exceeding expectations in the last couple of seasons, finishing 5th and 4th, they were hugely disappointing in 2012/13, finishing in 11th place when they were widely expected to fight for a spot in Europe. Mertesacker stated that he is relishing the opportunity to put the club back on track.

June 22nd 2013: After a disappointing Confederations Cup 2013, Spain sacked their manager Vicente Del Bosque and immediately hired Josep Guardiola, formerly the Barcelona manager. Del Bosque had led Spain to both the European Championship titles in 2008 and 2012, as well as winning the 2010 World Cup, but the Spanish FA felt that the time was right for a change. Guardiola took over having led Barcelona to numerous titles, including winning the La Liga 4 times in a row and the Champions Cup 3 times in a row.

June 24th 2013: In a move that surprised many, Harry Redknapp announced his retirement from football, leaving the post as manager of ex-Premier League champions, Tottenham. Having led the club to their surprising title win in 2012, the club faltered and finished 5th in 2013, but Redknapp had already cemented himself as a legend in the fans' eyes. He was at Tottenham from 2008 until the day of his retirement.

June 25th 2013: Some may call him the best manager to have ever lived, most say he is the greatest British manager of all time, and all know that he is living legend. A sad day for football as Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement from the sport, having led Manchester United to their 20th title, 13 of which were won while he was at the helm. He also won Man United 2 of their 3 Champions Cup titles, getting them to the Finals of that competition 4 times. He retires as potentially the greatest manager ever in football.

June 27th 2013: After the announcement that Josep Guardiola had taken over as head coach of the Spanish national team, Roberto Mancini put an end to a strenuous 3 year relationship with Manchester City by accepting the Barcelona job. In retrospect, many claim that Mancini time at the helm of the English club was a failure, with the only title coming in the form of the FA Cup, which they won in 2011. Despite being one of the most expensively assembled squads in the world, the team never finished higher than 3rd place in the Premier League.

June 28th 2013: Tottenham announced the appointment of Manuel Pellegrini as the man to replace the retired Harry Redknapp. Pellegrini, who was at Almeria before accepting the post, led the club out of the Liga Adelante and into the La Liga, where they finished a respectable 12th place in 2012/13. He will be expected to lead the former Premier League champions back into the Champions Cup at the very least.

July 1st 2013: In a surprising move, Martin Jol was named as successor to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, resigning from his post at Fulham after leading them to 7th place in the Premier League. The announcement came as a shock to a lot of people, with perhaps a manager with a bigger reputation expected to take the helm, but the defending champions were obviously impressed with what the Dutchman accomplished at Fulham.

July 4th 2013: After nearly 2 years at the helm, Alan Shearer resigned as manager of Newcastle after leading them back into the Premier League and took over the Manchester City job, following Mancini’s departure. Shearer, who is from Newcastle, will be looked on to lead Man City to the title, as no less will be expected from its owners.

July 11th 2013: Fulham hired Welsh manager Eddie Niedzwiecki to replace Manchester United bound Martin Jol, a promotion from within the club. The Welshman served under Jol as a youth coach, and this job would represent the first time he has taken the role of manager of a club.

July 12th 2013: Newcastle continued with the trend of the summer, hiring 32 year old Fitz Hall as their manager, taking the place of Alan Shearer, who took the helms of Manchester City. Hall was serving as a coach at Bolton before getting the call up, and he will have the task of leading Newcastle in their first season back in the Premier League after being relegated.

2013/2014 SUMMER MAJOR SIGNINGS

June 13th 2013: In their biggest signing in years, newly crowned Premier League champions Manchester United signed 22 year old midfielder Eden Hazard (29 Aps, 9 Gls, 10 Asts, 7.64) from Lille (who finished a disappointing 10th in the French league) for 34.5 million pounds. The Belgian star, who had won several accolades during his time at Lille and was a crucial part of their 2011 French league championship squad, called the move "a dream come true."

June 29th 2013: One day after taking over as head coach of Tottenham, Manuel Pellegrini splashed 17.5 million pounds on 23 year old Venezuelan striker Salomon Rondon (36 Aps, 20 Gls in 12/13) from Malaga. The Venezuelan striker had made a name for himself the past couple of years in Spain scoring 35 goals in 67 appearances.

July 6th 2013: Sevilla fans were in an uproar as the club announced it was selling its favorite son, Jesus Navas, to AC Milan for just under 20 million pounds. The right winger, who will be getting 135k per week for his new club in Italy, had suffered a frustrating season, spending large of amounts of it on the injury list. He was fantastic when he did play, and no doubt the Milan faithful will be excited to see him in action.

July 9th 2013: Despite never having played a match for the French national team, AC Milan paid 18.25 million pounds for Etienne Capoue. The 25 year midfielder was Lille’s Player of the Year for the 2012/13 season, and Milan manager Frank Rijkaard was known to be a big fan. Capoue was bought for just over 9 million by Lille in 2012 after being named Toulouse’s Player of the Year in 2011/12.

August 9th 2013: Two years after nearly joining their rivals, Manchester City acquired 29 year old Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder for 27 million pounds. The player took the opportunity to lash out at his former boss, Inter manager Baresi, stating that they had not seen eye to eye and that he had welcomed the move away from Italy. Sneijder was a big part of Inter’s 2013 Serie A title winning campaign, and was also part of the team that lifted the 2010 Champions Cup. In total, he won two Serie A titles while in Milan.

August 30th 2013: Real Madrid made their biggest signing of the season late in the summer transfer window, acquiring Kwadwo Asamoah from former Serie A champions Udinese for the price of 16.25 million pounds. The 24 year old Ghanaian was an integral part of the team that won the 2012 Serie A championship, as well as the Ghanaian team that won the African Cup of Nations in 2012, as well. He was also Udinese’s Player of the Year in 2013 after the club faltered and fell to 5th place in the Italian league.

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Hazard to United, Sneijder to City, exciting times in Manchester.

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Hazard to United, Sneijder to City, exciting times in Manchester.

Yes, and Hazard has had a storming start to the season!

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A great thing about the detail you go into is that it will surely help with identifying transfer targets as Bromley grows, you have an eye on all the tournaments! :)

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A great thing about the detail you go into is that it will surely help with identifying transfer targets as Bromley grows, you have an eye on all the tournaments! :)

That is true and its the main reason I follow all the youth tournaments so intently! Look at these 2 prospects: Xaropinho and Joffrey Berthet

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Yeah, I noticed Xaropinho in your U20 World Cup update, Berthet is great as well!

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I'd pick Berthet, Xaropinho has some great attributes, but I like my players a little more well-rounded, although he could be a quality trequartista. Berthet looks like he could turn into a great poacher.

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Tough one, but Xaropinho for me as someone who mostly looks at technical (and sometimes relevant physical) attributes, he blows Berthet out of the water in that regard.

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Premier League Review 2012/13

Sir Alex Ferguson may have lost a shocker in the Semi-Finals of the Champions Cup to underdogs CSKA Moscow, but in an all too familiar scenario, he wrestled the Premier League title back from his competition to give the club a record 20th championship. It was an interesting season, to say the least, with Chelsea leading most of the way, but in typical fashion, the Red Devils managed to pull away at the end and claim the title as theirs, once again. Wayne Rooney (34 Aps, 17 Gls, 10 Asts, 7.73) had another outstanding season, being named to the 2013 World Team of the Year, as well as getting 3rd Place in the World Player of the Year award. It was 24 year old Croatian, the 15 million pound signing from Benfica, Milan Badelj (33 Aps, 7 Gls, 13 Asts, 7.48), who might have been the catalyst, however. Chosen for the 2013 Premier Division Select, the midfielder's contributions were second to none in the midfield. After another maddeningly inconsistent season from the likes of Nani, Antonio Valencia, and Ashley Young, the Croatian was a welcome relief and one of Ferguson's most trusted agents. A hip injury kept Nemanja Vidic (22 Aps, 5.43 TpG, 7.43) out for a big chunck of the season, but the 31 year old was still class when he played. At right back, 22 year old Rafael (30 Aps, 7 Asts, 3.80 TpG, 7.35) really came of age, turning out a fantastic season and solidifying himself as the starting right back for Man Utd for years to come. Who Vidic's partner in the center of the defense was going to be was a concern for Ferguson before the season began, but by the time it ended, it was clear who Rio Ferdinand (16 Aps, 6.83) was going to be: 23 year old Chris Smalling (26 Aps, 4.96 TpG, 7.28). Already having earned 5 English caps, the defender became Ferguson's first choice after putting forward some solid performances, especially in Europe. Those players allowed Manchester United to concede only 25 goals the entire season (first in the league), a vast improvement from the 41 goals they allowed in 2011/12. Of course, Javier Hernandez (26 Aps, 16 Gls) had perhaps the most eventful season of all the Manchester United players, winning the 2012 Olympics with the Mexican national side and grabbing the Premier League Young Player of the Year award to boot.

The defending champions, Tottenham, disappointingly finished in 5th place, out of Champions Cup competition, taking a major step back under their saviour, manager Harry Redknapp. Despite investing nearly 60 million pounds in Edison Cavani (34 Aps, 25 Gls, 7.50), Ryan Shawcross, and GK Fernando Muslera, who only featured in 15 games despite 15 million being paid for him, the London club could not manage to put a winning streak together long enough to stay in the top four. Cavani's first season with the club was nothing short of a revelation, surpassing Adebayor's 20 goals in 2011/12 and winning the Premier League Top Goalscorer as well as being named to the 2013 Premier Division Select. Luka Modric (28 Aps, 5 Gls, 8 Asts, 7.82) had another fantastic season, being named in the Premier Division Select for the 2nd straight season and coming in 2nd Place in the English Player of the Year award. Rafael van der Vaart (21 Aps, 5 Gls, 7.57) also contributed the same this season, but a fractured wrist kep him out of the last 6 weeks of the season. The disappointment, however, was the regression of 2012 English Football of the Year, Gareth Bale (36 Aps, 4 Gls, 7.39). He did not have a bad season by any means, but after being propelled into the superstar category in 2012, having led his team to a surprise Premier League title, this season seemed very muted. Still only 23 years old, perhaps it was unfair to expect so much from a player who is still so young, but it is no coincidence that Tottenham's failure to keep up the pace of last season happened at the same time as Bale's regression. Still, it was not a completely lost season for the fallen champions, as they won the FA Cup and the League Cup, a reasonable consilation for losing their title and a Champions Cup spot for the upcoming season.

The Runners-Up for the 3rd year in a row, Chelsea, did so this year under a new manager, Tony Pulis, who took over from Andre Villas-Boas in December of 2012. The former Stoke boss 20 of the 30 games he was in charge of, and earned owner Roman Abrahamovich's vote of confidence going into the 2013/2014 season. It would not have been possible with 2013 Premier League Player of the Year winner, the 34 year old Frank Lampard (35 Aps, 6 Gls, 21 Asts, 7.92). He led the league in assists and delivered one of his finest seasons to date, nearly leading his club to a Premier League title. Of course, he had some help along the way, namely in 24 year old Argentine, Sergio Aguero (31 Aps, 22 Gls, 7.64). After a dismal season in 2011/2012 with Manchester City saw him sold to Chelsea for 39.5 million pounds, the Premier League's most expensive signing of the season found his footing in a big way, and was named the 2013 Players' Player of the Year as well as getting selected to the 2013 Premier Division Select. His partner in the Chelsea attack, Fernando Torres (28 Aps, 15 Gls) also did his part, although, once again, he was mired by some inconsistent performances. The 2012 African Footballer of Year, defensive midfielder Jon Obi Mikel (28 Aps, 4.65 TpG, 7.56), delivered a similar season to the last, anchoring the midfield and delivering stellar performances throughout. He was helped by the fact that Nigeria did not qualify to the African Cup of Nations, allowing him to stay with his club side through the season.

In Arsene Wenger's (now French national manager) last season in charge of Arsenal, the club finished in 4th place and looked like they had reached their potential. Enter Louis Van Gaal, who, in a transitional year, brought the club up one spot to 3rd place and has the Arsenal fans more hopeful than they have been in quite a while. Before a late season dip in form, Arsenal had maintained a position in the top two, and despite disappointingly falling out of there, the team still finished higher than most would have expected. The 24 year old Marek Hamsik (32 Aps, 12 Gls, 7.60) was a Van Gaal signing, having set the club back 21.5 million to bring him from Napoli, but he more than lived up to his price tag as he was easily one of Arsenal's most important players during the season. It was also another stellar season from English left back Leighton Baines (31 Aps, 9 Asts, 3.18 TpG, 7.69) allowed Arsenal to have the season it did, and the 28 year old has become one of the best at his position in the world, having been named to both the 2012 and 2013 World Team of the Year. At the other full back position, 30 year old Backary Sagna (36 Aps, 4.23 TpG, 7.82) had perhaps the most impressive season for an Arsenal player, consistently spectacular down the right flank of the pitch, and was justly rewarded with a spot on the 2013 Premier Division Select. The 2012 Young Player of the Year, Marouane Fellaini (28 Aps, 8 Gls, 8 Asts, 7.48) was Hamsik's partner in the midfield and has become one of Arsenal's most important players after coming in from Everton during the 2011/12 season for a bargain 7.5 million pounds.

Although they improved on their 2011/12 season, a 4th place finish was still considered a disappointment by the Manchester City owners, whose aspirations of competing for the Premier League title would have to wait at least for another year. Manager Roberto Mancini retained his position after the end of the season, but he rumors again swirled that his time at the head of the club was coming to an end. There was no repeat of the previous years' spending, with the only transfer of note being Yuri Zhirkov, who came in the January window for 21 million pounds. David Silva (26 Aps, 6 Gls, 7.51) was perhaps the club's best player, along with defender Vincent Kompany (33 Aps, 5.24 TpG, 7.45). Their leading goalscorer was Bosnian Edin Dzeko (35 Aps, 15 Gls), and they also had solid contributions from Danny (32 Aps, 7 Gls, 7.36) and Samir Nasri (35 Aps, 10 Gls, 8 Asts). Man City is a solid team that has no real weaknesses, but somehow they just could not manage to compete for the title, this year atleast. Still, a Champions Cup spot over former champions Tottenham and Liverpool was something to cheer about.

Although the top four has become the big six, Liverpool continued to find that they simply did not have the quality to match the others. Kenny Dalglish continued to do an admirable job with the talent he had, finishing 6th in an ultra-competitive league. That being said, they won the EURO Cup against Roma in the Amsterdam Arena, beating the Italians 2-1. Luis Suarez led the team in scoring (32 Aps, 18 Gls, 7.31) and was perhaps the team's best player, as well. Injuries continued to keep the aging talisman Steven Gerrard (28 Aps, 4 Gls) in and out of the lineup, but they could rely on GK Pepe Reina and Dirk Kuyt (30 Aps, 5 Gls, 7.22). Perhaps the most encouraging thing to come out of this season was the performance of 19 year old English left back Jac Robinson (13 Aps, 4.64 TpG, 7.42). Liverpool's biggest signing of the season was 27 year old Frenchman Yohan Cabaye, who cost the club 17.25 million pounds but rarely lived up to his pricetag.

Fulham exceeded their expectations, grabbing 7th place on the back of Rasmus Elm (33 Aps, 3 Gls, 9 Asts, 7.27) midfield play, and they were followed by Wolves, who hired David Moyes at the tail end of the 2012/13 season. Stoke made huge improvements, jumping from 16th in 2011/12 to 9th, with new manager Paul Lambert in charge. Peter Crouch (38 Aps, 19 Gls) continued his resurgence in domestic football as well as the international level, and was a big part of their improvement. Aston Villa also showed steady improvement, finishing 10th, under new manager Steve Kean, with left back Mikael Dorsin (23 Aps, 4.21 TpG, 7.68) being one of the best fullbacks in the league during the season.

Sunderland were the most disappointing team of the season, dropping from 10th place in 2011/12 to relegation in 2012/13. Steve Bruce was sacked in December of 2012, and Brendan Rodgers was hired, but they did not fair any better. Bristol City, expectedly, finished last, and in between them was newly promoted Birmingham.

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I'd pick Berthet, Xaropinho has some great attributes, but I like my players a little more well-rounded, although he could be a quality trequartista. Berthet looks like he could turn into a great poacher.
Tough one, but Xaropinho for me as someone who mostly looks at technical (and sometimes relevant physical) attributes, he blows Berthet out of the water in that regard.
I'd go for Berthet. Pace and off the ball, he'll be a great poacher.

I'd agree that Berthet fits the mold of a dream striker, with pace, power, and abiity with the ball, but I have never seen a player like Xaropinho in any of my FM games yet. I dont think you'd be able to get his pace up to acceptable levels, but can you imagine what that height, aerial abiity and technical prowess could bring? I have to say I am more than intrigued, and AC Milan just got themselves a complete bargain, buying for 1.7 million!

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Hope it doesn't harm your form too much.

So far its been OK - we have been exceeding all expectations and we're in the Top 3!

Ive made 2 more signings - the second is especially interesting: Ahmad Benali and Niko el Maesto(!!)

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Siigggghhh at England. Needless to say, Ancelotti got sacked.

England Fail to Qualify - Manager Sacked

After failing to lead England into the World Cup 2014, getting knocked out in their Qualifying Group by Montenegro and Ukraine, the English FA promptly sacked Carlo Ancelotti from his position as head coach of the national team. The Italian had been at the helm for just under 10 months, taking over from Fabio Capello when he retired from football. The lack of World Cup action is sure to hit the country hard, and the likes of Gerrard, Lampard, Ferdinand, and Cole will not be around to see another World Cup. England were Finalists in the Euro 2012, beaten only by Spain, and also were Finalists during the summer at the Confederations Cup 2013, where they put on a solid performance against eventual winners, and World Cup favorites, Brazil. It was a loss against Montenegro in Podgorica 2-1 that sealed it for them, with Stevan Jovetic scoring a sensational brace and running circles around the English.

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Stuart Pearce Hired as England Manager

October 20th 2013: After the heartbreaking failure to qualify to the World Cup, the English FA have appointed an English manager for the first time in over 5 years, after going through Capello and Ancelotti. The appointment of Stuart Pearce has been met with cautious optimism, but there have been some criticism that England should have hired a more accomplished manager. Pearce will be given the opportunity to lead England to the Euro 2016 in France.

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England never qualified for WC 2014 in my save either! I hope that's not a sign of things to come!

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August - December 2013 Happenings

Awards

WORLD GOLDEN BALL: Lionel Messi, Barcelona – For the 5th year in a row, Lionel Messi captured the award convincingly. Barcelona won the European Champions Cup for the 3rd time in a row, but due to an injury, Messi could only feature in half of the season. For the year, Messi ended up with 26 goals in 42 appearances, and had 10 assists with an 8.08 average rating. The 26 year old also captained Argentina to the World Cup 2014, qualifying top of the South American qualifying group.

WORLD PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Mario Gotze, Dortmund – Stopping Lionel Messi from winning the award 3 years in a row, the 21 year old German was simply amazing throughout the year. His injury kept him out of the early parts of the 2012/13 season, but his form was outstanding once he returned. In 37 appearances, he scored 11 goals and had 23 assists, also recording an 8.15 AR. Gotze was the main part of Dortmund’s back to back titles in 2011 and 2012, and they topped the league going into 2014.

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Team Acquisitions

September 4th 2013: Montpelier Herault SC was bought by Michel Menzy from Louis Nicollin after prolonged negotiations that stretched for the best part of the summer. The club had found some success in recent years, placing 6th and 5th place the last two seasons in the French Ligue One, and had some substantial investments by Nicollin before he left, installing undersoil heating and upgrading the club’s youth facilities.

October 28th 2013: Spanish club Zaragoza has been bought out by the Zaragoza Supporter’s Trust, led by local businessman Victor Gutierrez, from former owner Agapito Iglesias. The acquisition puts the ownership of the club into the hands of thousands of fans, led by Gutierrez. It is unclear, as of yet, what investment the trust have planned for their beloved local club, but even after the acquisition, the club’s finances remain in a dire state.

December 23rd 2013: Mike Ashley completed the sale of Newcastle United to Alex Clark, a local businessman. Newcastle had seen some instability the last few years, seeing the return of Alan Shearer and his departure after their promotion to the Premier League. Their current manager, Fitz Hall, is a first time head coach, and currently had Newcastle in 14th place. Ashley twice tried to sell the club unsuccessfully before the acquisition by Clark.

Manager Movement

October 7th 2013: After failing to lead England into the World Cup 2014, getting knocked out in their Qualifying Group by Montenegro and Ukraine, the English FA promptly sacked Carlo Ancelotti from his position as head coach of the national team. The Italian had been at the helm for just under 10 months, taking over from Fabio Capello when he retired from football. The lack of World Cup action is sure to hit the country hard, and the likes of Gerrard, Lampard, Ferdinand, and Cole will not be around to see another World Cup. England were Finalists in the Euro 2012, beaten only by Spain, and also were Finalists during the summer at the Confederations Cup 2013, where they put on a solid performance against eventual winners, and World Cup favorites, Brazil. It was a loss against Montenegro in Podgorica 2-1 that sealed it for them, with Stevan Jovetic scoring a sensational brace and running circles around the English.

October 20th 2013: After the heartbreaking failure to qualify to the World Cup, the English FA have appointed an English manager for the first time in over 5 years, after going through Capello and Ancelotti. The appointment of Stuart Pearce has been met with cautious optimism, but there have been some criticism that England should have hired a more accomplished manager. Pearce will be given the opportunity to lead England to the Euro 2016 in France.

October 21st 2013: After finding themselves in 19th place, Auxerre have sacked manager Francis Gillot, who had been at the helm a year and a half ago. Gillot led them to 8th place in 2012/13, but failure to get the season started on the right footing led to the sacking.

October 23rd 2013: Shortly after the sacking of Gillot by Auxerre, French club Toulouse followed suit and sacked their manager Philipe Montanier, who had been at the helm for a short few months. He took over in April 2013 after Alain Casanova left to Lille, and the club finished in 7th place in 2012/13. However, a terrible start to the season grew the Toulouse board’s patience thin, and after their latest loss, let Montanier go.

October 27th 2013: Thierry Froger, who last managed Nice and had been held a post for two years, has been named the new manager of Auxerre. Following the sacking of Francis Gillot, the club chose to hire Froger, who was also head coach of the Togolese national team before taking over at Nice. Auxerre are in last place, and Froger will be expected to lead them out of the relegation zone and into safety by the season’s end.

October 28th 2013: The Bundesliga’s first managerial casualty of the season was Thomas Schaaf, who was sacked by Stuttgart, who were in 10th place. Shaaf took over at the end of February 2013 after the team sacked Sasha Mihajlovic, and they ended up finishing a respectable 5th place in 2012/13. However, a rough start to the season and a disappointing mid-table position were the end of Schaaf, with the club expecting to compete for a European spot this season.

October 29th 2013: Toulouse FC have hired recently sacked Auxerre ex-manager Francis Gillot to lead them, a few days after announcing their own sacking of Montanier. Gillot had been underachieving at Auxerre this season, but the Toulouse board believes he is the right person to right the ship and lead the club back into respectability after a bad start to the season.

November 2nd 2013: Frankfurt manager Armin Veh has resigned from the club to take the helm at rivals Stuttgart, who had recently sacked Thomas Schaaf. Veh took over at Frankfurt during the summer of 2011, and won the German Second Division in his first year, leading the team into the Bundesliga, where he finished a surprising 6th place during the 2012/13 season. His accomplishments with Frankfurt have not gone unnoticed, and Stuttgart will be hoping he can lead them into a European place this season.

November 6th 2013: Claudio Ranieri has been sacked by Sevilla, becoming the first casualty of the Primera Liga in the 2013/14 season. The Italian had been in charge of the club since the summer of 2012, and led Sevilla to a 3rd place finish in 2012/13, higher than their expectations. He led the club to the Quarter-Finals of the Euro Cup last season, but his failure to qualify from the Champions Cup Group H, coupled with a disappointing 13th place in the Primera Liga, led to his sacking.

November 9th 2013: With Armin Veh, formerly of Frankfurt, taking over Thomas Schaaf’s old position at Stuttgart, Schaaf has returned the favor and taken the helm of Veh’s former club. Schaaf was sacked by Stuttgart because of a disappointing start to the season, but had led them to 5th place in the 2012/13 season, higher than their expectations. Frankfurt are currently in 12th place after finishing 6th in their first season back in the Bundesliga, and will be hoping Schaaf will be able to bring them back up to a European spot.

November 9th 2013: Blackburn has sacked manager Keith Millen after a disappointing campaign so far in the 2013/14, finding themselves in 17th place. The club was expected to be in a comfortable mid table position, and possibly even challenge for a Euro Cup spot, but Millen, who was hired in February 2013 and finished 11th place, could not find the proper motivation for the players, who have also been underachieving. Blackburn is only the second managerial position that Millen has held, having previously managed Bristol City for three seasons before joining Rovers.

November 11th 2013: Benito Floro has been sacked by Getafe after finding themselves in 17th place. Floro has been in charge for just under a year, and led Getafe to an 11th place finish in the 2012/13 season. However, the club stated that their current position was unacceptable, and have such let Floro go.

November 12th 2013: Replacing Claudio Ranieri in Sevilla will be former Chelsea and England boss, Carlo Ancelotti. The Sevilla board stated they were going to go after a big name, and they got one of the biggest on the market. Ancelotti’s reputation still precedes him despite the England fiasco, where he failed to lead them to World Cup qualifications.

November 13th 2013: One week after being sacked by Sevilla, Claudio Ranieri has replaced Benito Floro at the head of struggling Getafe. Despite leading Sevilla to 3rd place last year, the club was not impressed with his accomplishments this year, and replaced him with Carlo Ancelotti. Ranieri will have a chance to right the sinking Getafe ship, who are perilously close to the relegation zone.

November 24th 2013: In a double casualty, both Leverkusen and HSV sacked their managers, Ralf Rangnick and Robin Dutt, respectively. Dutt, formerly in charge of Leverkusen, had only been 6 months at the helm of HSV, but his performances thus far this season led to the early axing, as HSV found themselves in 17th place. Rangnick, also just 6 months in charge of Leverkusen, had the team only one place higher than HSV, in 16th place, but equally unacceptable by the club’s board.

November 27th 2013: After finishing 4th and 7th place in the last two seasons with Atletico Madrid, Gregorio Manzano has been sacked by the club after what they considered an underachieving season thus far. Currently in 13th place, the Madrid club released the manager from his obligations two and a half years after he was hired from Sevilla.

November 28th 2013: Napoli Luciano Spaletti resigns, leaving the club in 11th place.

November 30th 2013: Jos Luhukay leaves Kaiserslauten for Leverkusen.

December 1st 2013: Bruno Labbadia leaves Braga for HSV.

December 5th 2013: Rafa Benitez sacked by Valencia after they fell to 15th place.

December 5th 2013: Hector Cuper leaves Mallorca for Atletico Madrid.

December 6th 2013: Michael Laudrup sacked by Bayern Munich after faling to 9th place.

December 7th 2013: Inter Milan sack Guisseppe Baresi after they fall to 10th place.

December 12th 2013: Valencia hire Gregerio Manzano.

December 13th 2013: Inter appoint Nicola Frustalupi, formerly the assistant manager.

December 14th 2013: Ralf Rangnick appointed new manager of Bayern Munich.

December 14th 2013: Fulham hire Michael Laudrup.

December 14th 2013: Wolves sack David Moyes, in 17th place.

December 15th 2013: Genoa sack Sinisa Mihajlovic, in 13th place.

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Bromey Mid-Season Update 2013/2014

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Save for a few results, things could not be going better for the club. I made a couple more signings which have worked out. We got through the Elliot Law injury by keeping in promotion contention, and now that he is back, I expect the results to get better. Its no coincidence that our last few games have produced great results - he was back in the line up. I am disappointed with Andy Dixon's performances between the posts, and the defense is letting in too many goals, so the aim is to solidify our back four, even if it means bringing in some defenders. I expected a mid-table finish, but now, anything less than the playoffs for a chance at promotion will be viewed as a disappointment. Speaking of disappointments, David Corrigan has not been doing the job required of him, scoring only 3 goals in the league. He needs to step it up.

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Impressive how quickly you're rising.

Thanks! But things might not be so rosy after this:

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Looking great so far :thup:

Corrigan must be one hell of a talent if Milan are coming in to sign him!

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World Cup 2014 - Brazil: Group Tables

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The excitement building up to the most important sporting event on the planet is already building up after the Group Tables were made known. Group A looks pretty straight forward for the hosts, while Group B seems to be, on paper, this tournament's group of death. The defending champions should not have any problems getting through Group C, and France will have an easy time, as well, in Group D. Much like their neighbors, Germany should also have no problems in Group E, while in Group F, there looks like no clear cut favorites. Group G should see Italy and Argentina both come through, and finally, Group H looks like the weakest group in this year's World Cup. Notable absences are England, 2010 Semi-Finalists Uruguay, 2010 Quarter-Finalists Ghana, Nigeria, and Serbia.

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January 2014 Transfers

January 5th 2014: Arsenal paid a staggering 20.5 million pounds for Christian Fuchs from the German Bundesliga champions, Shalke 04. The 27 year old Austrian won the clubs Player of the Year during their title campaign, and was Runners-Up in the league’s Defender of the Year award, behind Dortmund’s Mats Hummels. He was also named in the 2013 Bundesliga Team of the Year, thanks to his versatility. Fuchs is adept at playing anywhere down the left flank, and Louis Van Gaal, who many consider to have overpaid to get him, will be looking to utilize him down the left wing.

January 8th 2014: Santiago Carzola (15 Aps, 3 Gls, 3 Asts) made the move from Malaga to Arsenal for 22 million pounds, as the club continued to strengthen itself in hopes of snatching the Premier League title. Carzola has been having a typical season, and the 29 year old Spanish midfielder will be looked upon to contribute across the midfield.

January 20th 2014: Not to be outdone by their rivals, Chelsea have signed Sime Vrsaljko[/b] for 22 million pounds from Malaga. The 22 year old Serbian is a right back by default, but has the ability to play all over the midfield, as well. He had made 17 appearances in the league this season, recording 3 assists with 7.31 AR. He had been bought by Malaga from Dinamo in 2011 for 4.4 million, and was their Player of the Year in 2012/13 (30 Aps, 2 Gls, 8 Asts, 7.35).

January 22nd 2014: Despite 3 inconsistent seasons at Atletico Madrid, Manchester City have shelled out 17.25 million pounds for 26 year old midfielder Arda Turan (12 Aps, 2 Gls, 6.96). Turan, who made his name at Galatasaray before moving to Spain, will be expected to contribute on the wings as well as the center of the park.

Round-Up: Brazilian Jucilei made the move from Anji to Zenit for 14.25 million...Aiden McGeady joined Liverpool from Spartak Moscow for 15.75 million...Seydou Doumbia was sold by CSKA Moscow to Inter Milan for 15 million...Matias Ezequel Scheletto switched from Ajax to Paris Saint-Germain for just under 10 million...Tottenham signed Tim Matvz from PSV for 9.5 million.

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Thanks! But things might not be so rosy after this:

625K is going to go along way in pushing you even further up the leagues. There is no 'i' in team after all. :D

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Looking great so far

Corrigan must be one hell of a talent if Milan are coming in to sign him!

He was my brightest prospect - he certainly had the potential to lead the line and become a very good poacher type player.

625K is going to go along way in pushing you even further up the leagues. There is no 'i' in team after all.

The money softens the blow a bit, but Im sure one league higher, and a couple of years more of development, and we could have seen milions for him!

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Champions Cup 2013/2014 - Group Stages

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Group A: AC Milan nearly were knocked out by Norwegian champions Rosenborg, but in the end pulled it through. The defending champions, Barcelona, were perfect – 6 wins and 0 goals conceded. Danish league runners-up FC Kobenhavn were disappointing, finishing with only 3 points.

Group B: Ukrainian champions Dynamo Kiev surprised and finished top of a competitive group that saw German giants Bayern Munich knocked out. Joining Kiev were Marseille, with Cypriots Larnaca playing the role of whooping boys of the group.

Group C: After reaching in the Semi-Finals and Quarter-Finals in 2012 and 2013, respectively, Ajax were knocked out in the group stages by Manchester United, who conceded an uncharacteristic 9 goals, and Germans Wolfsburg. Russian club Lokomotiv Moscow were also knocked out along with the Dutch.

Group D: The most impressive team in the group stages was Louis Van Gaal’s Arsenal, who won all 6 of their matches, scored 18 goals and conceded none. Porto barely squeaked by Belgian champions Club Brugge, and Greek champions AEK Athens failed to win a game.

Group E: A competitive group that between 3 talented teams, it was Chelsea and Roma who knocked out Paris Saint-Germain and Czech champions Viktoria Plzen. Paris Saint-Germain were disappointed with the result, but they lost out to two teams that had slightly more to give than the French.

Group F: No surprises out of this group as both Real Madrid and Manchester City advanced comfortably, knocking out Scottish champions Rangers and Serbian champions Red Star. Real Madrid, how did not advance past the Quarter-Finals the past two years, will be looking to improve on that, and Manchester City, who were knocked out in the 2nd Round in 2013, will try to do better under new manager Alan Shearer.

Group G: The most surprising result came out of this group, with Finalists CSKA Moscow finishing bottom and Italian champions Inter Milan also knocked out. It was Portugal champions Benfica and Turkish team Trabzonspor qualifying on their expense.

Group H: French champions Lyonnais and German champions Shalke 04 made short work of this group, qualifying at the expense of Sevilla and Danish club OB. The latter failed to make an impression, recording only 1 point in those 6 matches, while Sevilla was underwhelming at best, recording only 5 points.

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Lol at Group G, almost exactly the same as real life, except Lille are in it not Benfica.

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