deltablue

[FM11]Deltablue Rising II: Delta's Darlings.

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Excellent results so far,hope you can keep Zilina at bay.

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A good run of form and a pretty emphatic win over Zilina :thup:
Some cracking results there. Good work :thup:.
Great going so far hopefully you can maintain it.
Excellent results so far,hope you can keep Zilina at bay.

It's fine at the moment, but will probably get much closer soon.

Nov/Dec 2036

Senec 1-3 Michalovce (D1)

We faced plenty of pressure, including a disallowed goal, at Senec. Abdul gave us the lead after 40 minutes, but they quickly equalized after the break. We didn’t have much attacking energy even after they had a player send off. Abdul was just about the only one of our players showing any life, and a late penalty from him restored the lead. Bilek did wake up as well to give us a 3rd in stoppage time.

Liptovsky Mikulas 1-0 Michalovce (SC QF)

We played Liptovsky Mikulas in the cup quarter final, away at first. Unfortunately Abdul went from hero to zero. Aside from a few late chances for us, his own-goal in the second half was the only event of a very lifeless game.

Banska Bystrica 2-3 Michalovce (D1)

Mballa getting flu forced one of a few changes I made to go to Banska, one of the tougher games of the season, but it worked. Kessou’s penalty gave us a 4th minute lead, but we didn’t do much else until they equalized after half an hour. We made a bit of a breakthrough early in the second half, Petrus and Bilek giving us a 3-1 lead, but though they got a goal back with 10 minutes left, we managed to avoid facing late pressure.

Zilina 1-1 Michalovce (D1)

Next was the game I wasn’t looking forward to, going to Zilina. While we’d still be top if we lost, a point’s lead would be nothing. Our 5 previous away league encounters had all been lost, conceding 23 goals and scoring just 4, which was also the least (and the usual) they scored every time. The early pressure wasn’t as bad as I expected, and in a pretty even first half, Kessou gave us the lead shortly before the break. They threw some more chances at us in the second half, again they’d done much worse in the past, but easily deserved the equalizer they got in the 79th minute.

Michalovce 2-0 Trvana (D1)

Bilek gave us the lead against Trnava in the 19th minute, but we had some chances from them to deal with before half-time. Abdul gave us a second goal in the 49th minute but otherwise we weren’t really on top of this one.

Michalovce 4-0 (4-1) Liptovsky Mikulas (SC QF)

I was confident that we could overcome the deficit when we played Liptovsky Mikulas in the home leg of the cup. It proved to be pretty easy. Bilek gave us the lead in the 12th minute, with Amoako following 5 minutes later. We seemed pretty satisfied with that, sitting back until late on where another Bilek goal, and Petrus, secured a 4-0 win with 10 minutes left.

Michalovce 4-0 Kosice (D1)

The last game before the break was against Kosice, who we would also play in the cup semi finals in April. On the evidence of this encounter they would be no trouble at all. Kessou pulled the strings in a man of the match performance to mark his 100th league appearance for us. Bilek gave us the lead after 17 seconds. Abdul extended the lead after 15 minutes, and in the second half Vagner (the right-back, not the winger) and Duris made it 4-0. That said, they had a very strong second half and could have had a goal or two.

League Table

Next up, ACN 2037...

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Great record so far!

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Still going strong. Good work :thup:.

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Great record so far!
Still going great!
Still going strong. Good work :thup:.

Thanks, still ages to go though, and already missed out on one of the two trophies I really wanted...

ACN 2037

I was pretty confident about doing well at the ACN in Angola, though after two final defeats I very much wanted to win this one, as hard as that would be. The past couple of years, I had noted the range of African nations who had a player in the World Player of the Year shortlist (Gabon had probably the best) with no Ghanaians. But we still had some very strong players, and great depth with a number of players either emerging or in their prime, and that combination had proved excellent, though admittedly not against strong opposition. Botswana (who we lost once to), being the only good side, however even given the lack of quality we faced, we’d managed some strong wins, including with less-than-full strength sides in friendlies, 9-0 over Swaziland being the last one. We were in a group with the hosts, Morocco (who we squeaked by in the quarter finals last time), and Congo.

Ghana 2-2 Morocco (ACN)

Morocco were first, they were favourites for the match, but we dominated early on. Frimpong had a goal disallowed in the 10th minute, before giving us the lead in the 17th. They suddenly pushed us heavily afterwards, but Owusu gave us a second against the run of play in the 35th minute. They kept it up after half-time, getting a goal back in the 57th minute, and equalizing in the 76th, reflecting an exciting and even game.

Ghana 6-1 Angola (ACN)

We were rather livelier against the hosts. Frimpong scored after a few minutes. They came close a few times to equalize, but the game turned in stoppage time when Diallo and Owusu got a quick pair of goals to give us a 3-goal lead. We kept it up in the second half. Owusu completed his hat-trick with two more goals (the second one, a penalty) by the hour mark, then after they got a goal back, the other Owusu, a full-back, scored to round off a 6-1 win.

Ghana 6-1 Congo (ACN)

Congo had lost both games, but still had a few incredibly strong players. They may have had Real Madrid’s star midfielder, but we had Frimpong, who scored a brace in the first half an hour. Abbey set Owusu up in the 36th minute. The forwards bagged an extra goal each between the 60th and 75th minutes (with a Congo goal in between), and chasing another, in the last minute a Gyamfi cross was deflected into their goal.

Ghana 1-2 Ivory Coast (ACN QF)

The quarter-finals would see us face the Ivory Coast. It didn’t help that we had our key midfielder Taylor injured for a month and a half against Congo. They scored in the 11th minute, and while we looked good to equalize, they suddenly hit us with another just before the half-hour mark. We rallied well in the second half. Frimpong got a goal back in the 76th minute, and we had a good go but couldn’t quite equalize. After 2 final defeats we got nowhere near this time, and again strong performances early on counted for nothing as we couldn't do it often enough.

ACN Groups

ACN Knockouts

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This is going down to the wire!

Feb/Mar 2037

Presov 2-2 Michalovce (D1)

Amoako had been sold over my head during the winter break, but I knew we could cope until the summer, when we would also be losing Abdul. In the first half at Presov we were very comfortable, Petrus scored after 22 minutes, and Bilek added to it in the 40th. They fought back well in the second half, scoring a 54th minute penalty, then a rather more questionable one in the 73rd minute to grab a share of the points.

Michalovce 6-0 Petrzalka (D1)

We bounced back against winless Petrzalka in style. Petrus scored, in the 1st minute, and Duris in the 3rd. Duris completed a hat-trick by the 50th minute. Helcelet (the main beneficiary of Amoako’s departure) headed in a 58th minute goal, and Bilek wrapped it up in the 73rd minute.

Ruzomberok 0-2 Michalovce (D1)

Ruzomberok often give us a tough time, but when we went to theirs this time it thankfully wasn’t the case. Kessou scored a penalty in the 20th minute, soon having another goal disallowed. We were always likely to get another though, Petrus getting it in the 48th minute. They had a player sent off late on but they weren’t much of a threat anyway.

Dubnica 0-3 Michalovce (D1)

The second Dubnica trip was rather less exciting than the first one on the opening day. Kessou had a goal disallowed in the first half, having failed to establish any sort of dominance. Kocian gave us the lead right on the stroke of half-time, and that woke us up more. Duris scored in the 73rd minute, and with a few minutes left, Bilek’s goal made it look far more comfortable than it had any right looking.

Uganda 1-2 Ghana (WCQ)

Internationals returned with the first game of the final World Cup qualifying group. After the ACN failures, and not qualifying for the last World Cup (having only got two away points in the final stage), I definitely wanted to make it this time. Nigeria would be tough, but while they beat us in the ACN final 2 years ago, they didn’t make it out of the group (admittedly they had the toughest one) this year, Uganda and DR Congo would be less so but we couldn’t afford to slip up. The first game was in Uganda. We battered on their door for what seemed like an eternity before Owusu finally scored in the 67th minute. They was quickly followed by a Diallo header. They got a goal back but otherwise it was a one-way traffic game that should have yielded a far bigger win.

Michalovce 2-0 Nitra (D1)

We maintained our stride in the league against Nitra. Duris scored first in the 17th minute, Kovac heading in another just before the break. They had a handful of chances in the second half, but Bilek’s goal 15 minutes from time wrapped up an easy win.

League Table

Apr 2037

Michalovce 2-0 Senec (D1)

Kessou had already broken the record for most assists in a season, as well as having scored a few, and he got another in the 39th minute against Senec. Duris playing poorly and Bilek going off injured meant that there were unlikely to be any more. A few minutes from time, they had a diving header ruled out, and Yakubu struck almost immediately to make it safe.

Slovan Bratislava 1-2 Mchalovce (D1)

The defenders took centre-stage against Slovan. Kovac gave us the lead in the 18th minute, quickly went off injured for Valenta, who extended the lead in the 24th minute. Both assisted by Petrus who appeared to be racing Kessou for assists this season, as he beat the record that had stood just one match. We were far less steady in the second half. They caught us napping after an hour, but while they came reasonably close to equalizing, they didn’t do enough to earn it.

Kosice 4-2 Michalovce (SC SF)

We went to Kosice for the first match of the cup semi-finals. Abdul was injured just a few minutes in, but Duris still gave us an 8th minute lead. They equalized almost immediately, and then the defence just had a massive collective failure as they got two more. Duris got one back just before half-time, but the defence let us down again to give them 4th goal in an otherwise even second half, giving us a big task in the home leg.

Michalovce 1-1 Banska Bystrica (D1)

From that we faced a tough match with Banska, and heads dropped when they took the lead in the 13th minute. It was a pretty even game, and after a lot of trying, Yakubu got the late goal that would keep us top, though only on head-to-head results.

Trnava 5-2 Michalovce (D1)

Keeping it that way would be tougher when we went to 3rd placed Trnava. They scored after just a few minutes, and again we were sitting ducks defensively as they took a 3-0 lead by half-time. A red card for Valenta meant things promised to get worse. They got a 4th goal before Kessou got one back in the 62nd minute, and after it became 5-1, Duris got the last goal of the game with a couple of minutes left. The following day, Zilina hammered Senec 7-0 to go 3 points clear ahead of our last encounter the following weekend.

Michalovce 2-2 (4-6) Kosice (SC SF)

Before that, we had the second leg against Kosice, making it 2 games to save our season. Petrus got us off to a good start in the first minute, giving us the lead. We thought we had gained the away goals advantage in the 22nd minute only to see Yakubu’s goal disallowed. They equalized soon after. A Kessou penalty restored the lead in the 53rd minute, but we still needed another. Instead they levelled the scores again, cancelling out the away goals, and as much as we tried we couldn’t score another goal to get close. Having made the final in each of my three full seasons in charge, we failed to make it 4.

Michalovce 3-2 Zilina (D1)

It didn’t bode well for the Zilina game. Duris gave us the lead in the 10th minute, but after that we faced the usual high pressure from Zilina, and they equalized before the half-hour mark, though their goalscorer generously put the ball in his own net just before half-time to restore our lead. Luptak unfortunately repaid the favour after an hour, but Kessou soon restored the lead, which we kept despite incredible late pressure. We were now top again on head-to-head, but the games against us were the only league points they’d dropped since September(!!!!!) so any more from us could likely cost us the title. While there we a couple games where we might drop points (mainly Kosice away, but also bogey side Ruzomberok at home), all 12 points from the remaining 4 games looked realistic.

League Table

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Everyone loves a tense and exciting title race! Good luck!

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Everyone loves a tense and exciting title race! Good luck!

Not sure I do ;) This one went down to the final few minutes.

May/June 2037

Kosice 0-3 Michalovce (D1)

We wanted revenge on Kosice for our cup exit. We had a nervy start as they were on top early on, while Zilina already had the lead in their game, but their dirty ways were their undoing. They had a player sent off after 22 minutes, soon followed by Petrus converting a free-kick, then scoring another goal in the 33rd minute. The numbers were levelled when Duris got sent off for a second yellow after the break, but Bilek (mercifully back from injury) made it 3-0 after an hour. After that they had a few patches of attacking threat, but we were safe enough and soon saw them off to comfortably maintain the winning margin.

Michalovce 4-0 Presov (D1)

We were all over Presov at home. Bilek scored after 10 minutes, and though they had a few early chances, Abdul extended the lead in the 20th minute. Bilek was the star, getting another in the 26th minute, then finishing off his hat-trick with a penalty early in the second half, and there were many chances for a 5th. This against a side who were one of the ones I feared early on.

Petrzalka 0-2 Michalovce (D1)

If Presov weren’t a problem, I didn’t expect much trouble from a trip to Petrzalka, who were set to go down without a single win, though they had held Zilina on the opening day. However we were very uninspired. First we kept throwing away chances, then we had fairly few to throw away. Petrus came to the rescue in the 73rd minute. They had a couple of chances to equalize and spoil the party, but a free-kick was headed in by Vyborny with 5 minutes left.

Michalovce 2-1 Ruzomberok (D1)

That just left the final day. A home game against the side in 10th may seem easy, but Ruzomberok were a side we somehow struggled against rather a lot (though we still sometimes found them as easy a win as you’d expect). It’s fair to say this would be a very bad time for that to happen again. We raced to try and get the lead before they had the chance to play party-poopers. We thought Yakubu had done it in the 15th minute only to see it chalked off. We kept at it for a while, but then faded. Then they scored in the 68th minute. Petrus rallied, and equalized 5 minutes later, but I knew we’d need the win. As time ran out, Petrus snatched the goal we needed with just a couple of minutes left! He had been one of the players I inherited (one of only four left), had survived being replaced by Tetteh and Abbey, had kept his supposed replacement Vagner out of the side for most of the season, and had utterly shone. Only Duris would have been a more fitting player to grab the win.

Final League Table

Ghana 2-1 Nigeria (WCQ)

It wasn’t quite the end, as there was still a key home international against Nigeria, probably the most important of the 6 matches. We managed to be the better side from the start, but not for the first-time, we showed a tendency to misfire when it mattered. Owusu was especially poor, up against a fellow Lyon forward on the other side, and missed a penalty in the 65th minute. Eshun gave us the lead just afterwards, and while they soon equalized, Adamu headed in a corner with 79th minute, and we managed to hold on.

I could scarcely believe it! I wasn’t so much excited as relieved. This was the best chance we’d ever have to topple Zilina and it would have been truely crushing to fail and end the season with nothing (having had high ACN hopes as well)., knowing we wouldn’t really be able to match it next year. They had a slow start, but after that were relentless, winning every game against everyone else after September, so as I feared, any points dropped meant them closing in, even avoiding anything that could be considered a downturn in form wasn’t enough. Thankfully 2 wins and a draw against them was just enough, and the league rules. They would have won if goal difference had been the decider.

Small nations are generally seen as being easier and less impressive to win. In this case I’m not going to hear a word of it. Just as reminder that Zilina had won the previous 25 titles by an average of 12.5 points each. If that’s not a tough title challenger to overcome I don’t know what is. Plus there was the chasm of budgets, which I had the chance to see in detail when I was offered their job a couple of years ago. To say I’m operating on a 1/10 of their budget is probably understating the gap.

It was the club’s first title (and mine), and there’s something special not just about that achievement, but topping a club who had been as dominant as Zilina, who would now have to start their run all over again. I didn’t really expect a repeat next year, but I’d enjoy it for years to come. I’d also decided that next season would be my last in Slovakia, before leaving at the end of my contract, and chances were I’d receive an offer before that that I’d delay and accept at the end of the year.

Squad Stats

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Congrats on the league title! :)

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Congrats on the title :thup:

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pleased to see you topple Zilina, bet you're more pleased that Slovakia has never introduced goal difference as the method of separating teams though! :D

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Brilliant work winning the league :applause:.

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Congrats on the league title! :)
Congrats on the title :thup:
Well done winning the league!
Not impossible after all! Well done.
Fantastic, congratulations!
Brilliant work winning the league :applause:.
pleased to see you topple Zilina, bet you're more pleased that Slovakia has never introduced goal difference as the method of separating teams though! :D

This isn't the first time this career that the rules have come to the rescue, anyone remember my Sportist promotion? That happened due to one club in the top three being officially a feeder, so 4th place (which was us, on goal difference ironically) went up. Anyway, it genuinely feels like something to be proud of. Zilina can win the next 25 for all I care now.

Summer 2037

There was an odd feeling of relaxation around in the summer. Having won the title, I was just keen to enjoy it while it lasted, and enjoy what would be my last season at Michalovce. While a repeat title would be nice, I wasn’t feeling any weight of expectation to win it again, if Zilina kickstarted another run of titles, I wouldn’t mind too much, only if it looked really close late on would I really be eager to go out with another win. There were a few squad gaps to be plugged, indeed when I knew in January that I’d lose Abdul in the summer I moved straight away to secure a replacement. Having mostly left Africa alone for a couple of years, I focussed there a lot more early on, getting some gems, including a new first-choice keeper, and a couple who wouldn’t arrive until January.

At first we had players rejecting moves, Kessou looked like going when the board accepted a bid from Colorado just before we clinched the title, but he rejected them twice. Ivanovic also rejected a move, but late July saw Kessou go eventually, then Duris looked out of the door, but thankfully chose Hapoel Tel-Aviv over Red Star, and the Israeli club already being maxed out on foreign players saw the transfer cancelled. Later in August Ivanovic looked like leaving again, along with Bilek (whu signed for the side who had just knocked us out of Europe on the very same evening), and both did, though Duris (the jewel in our crown) was kept, thanks to the board having far greater resistance to bids now, in fact we could have kept Bilek as well if the bid hadn’t come in just before the Ivanovic transfer had gone through, as I was able to reject another bid that came in for him afterwards.

It was most frustrating, though having already decided to leave at the end of the year, I decided to just enjoy it and reach the 5-year mark rather than let it end like this.

Antonio

Karas

Khumalo

Kovarik

Palicka

Goore

Transfers

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Excellent work :thup:

Cheers.

July 2037

Michalovce 5-0 Kosice (SSC)

The season started very early with the Super cup against Kosice. It still hurt that they beat us in the cup semis, denying us the chance of a double, so it was pleasing that they were so tame. Kessou had twice rejected moves to Colorado, and as he scored in the 18th minute, I was pleased that it looked like he was staying. Bilek quickly followed it up a few minutes later. Duris got a goal either side of half-time, and Kovac finished them off in the 70th minute, and it really was as easy as that.

Dubnica 1-2 Michlovce (D1)

We got some new arrivals before going to Dubnica for the opening league game. It was a surprisingly dull start, but late in the first-half, Duris and Petrus gave us a comfortable lead. In the second half they got a goal back but never looked like getting anything else.

KR 1-4 Michalovce (CL Q2)

The CL draw (in the second qualifying round) was more favourable then our Europa League draws were, and we got Iceland’s KR. We took control in the first-half, or rather Bilek did. He got a quick brace just before the 15-minute mark, and completed a hat-trick shortly before the half-hour. They got a goal back in the second half but Duris rounded off a great win after 70 minutes.

Michalovce 4-1 Ruzomberok (D1)

Duris took over the star role as Ruzomberok were far easier than they were in the title-clinching game. He would have had a hat-trick in the first 20 minutes of the third one hadn’t been awarded as an own-goal. Bilek finished our scoring before we were even 25 minutes in. They got a goal with 10 minutes left but that was irrelevant.

Michalovce 6-0 (10-1) KR (CL Q2)

In the home leg with KR, the goals kept coming. Bilek scored after just over a minute, then Duris grabbed a pair before the 20th minute, either side of a Khumalo penalty. Kovac made it 5 in the 50th minute and Duris wrapped up a hat-trick in the 80th minute, sending us through 10-1 on aggregate to face Hearts.

Senec 1-1 Michalovce (D1)

Unusually Senec had made a slow start, and when we paid them a visit Bilek gave us the lead in the 16th minute. However they equalized 5 minutes later, and were very much on top on the second half as we survived to get a point.

Michalovce 1-3 Hearts (CL Q3)

Kessou had finally gone when we played Hearts at home. It also looked like it would be Duris’ last game. We tentatively proved them before their superiority told and they took the led just before the break. They got another in the second half, before Khumalo got sent off. Yakubu actually got a goal back but they easily got a third.

Aug 2037

Michalovce 2-0 Presov (D1)

We still had Duris when we played Presov, but he wasn’t himself, and we struggled to do anything for most of the game. Kovac headed us the lead in the 73rd minute, Bilek adding to it 4 minutes later, but those goals were the only real sign of life in a game that otherwise would have petered out into a draw.

Hearts 1-0 (4-1) Michalovce (CL Q3)

In Scotland, Petrus went off injured in the 21st minute, but otherwise we survived the first half unscathed. They pretty much confirmed our exit when they scored in the 58th minute, but we at least stopped them getting more, as hard as they tried.

Zilina 6-0 Michalovce (D1)

We had two away games with Zilina this season, and now had the first. They had a goal disallowed in the 2nd minute, but still surged to a 4-0 lead at the break, as it was clearly a return to ‘business as usual’. We held them off for most of the second half but grabbed two more late on.

Michalovce 3-1 Trnava (D1)

We hoped to pay Trvana back for the heavy defeat last time. Duris got us off to a great start in the 12th minute, but they soon levelled it. We pushed hard in the second half before Duris restored the lead in the 57th minute. We kept on going and Bilek made it safe in the 72nd minute.

Michalovce 0-0 Banik Ostrava (EL Q4)

In the Europa League, we faced Banik Ostrava, at home in the first leg. Antonio was most excellent in goal, in the way that M’Balla never was, keeping them at bay while we conducted regular raids on their goal. It would have been great to grab a cheeky winner, but I was definitely delighted to have shown such resilience.

Michalovce 6-1 Kosice (D1)

Before the second leg, we played Kosice. Helcelet headed us into the lead in the 6th minute. They equalized a few minutes later but then the floodgates opened. Duris and Bilek (getting what could be his last goal for the club) made it 3-1 by half an hour. Vagner (finally getting his chance on the wing after Petrus’ injury) scored in the first minute of the second half, and got another after the hour mark, just after Helcelet’s own second goal. In the midst of so much frustration over the board looking like selling players, it was a nice reminder of how much I liked my Michalovce side.

Banik Ostrava 3-0 (3-0) Michalovce (EL Q4)

Ivanovic had gone when we went to the Czech Rep. We were on the defensive again in the first half, but a penalty right before half-time broke us. With the defence collapsing, they easily got a 3-0 win. Just after that, they signed Bilek.

Banska Bystrica 1-2 Michalovce (D1)

We went to Banska, one of the strongest sides around in the past year or two, and went behind in the 11th minute, however set pieces came to the rescue, Farkas heading an equalizer just before the break. A Duris header in the 59th minute allowed us to grab a winner.

League Table

Sept 2037

Mozambique 1-3 Ghana (ACNQ)

Ghana provided a nice break from the off-field nonsense going on in Slovakia. It started at Mozambique in an ACN qualifier (Uganda and Botswana also in the group). We were generally on top, but they surprised us with a disallowed goal in the 22nd minute. We managed to take control, Frimpong and Owusu scoring a few minutes later. They still had chances, getting a goal back in the 57th minute, but Owusu secured it in the 86th minute.

Ghana 3-2 DR Congo (WCQ)

World Cup Qualifiers returned with home games against DR Congo and Uganda. Diallo headed us into the lead in the 6th minute against DR Congo, but they had an excellent attack, equalizing in the 12th minute later. They did it again after Gyamfi restored the lead in the 18th minute. Abbey got our 3rd goal after half an hour, and while we were on top, there were still many close scares.

Ghana 3-0 Uganda (WCQ)

If we beat Uganda, and Nigeria failed to beat DR Congo we’d secure our place in next year’s World Cup. Gyamfi scored in the 3rd minute. Frimpong extended the lead in the 16th minute. The score in the other game was still level at half-time. Adamu’s header made it 3-0 in the 54th minute, and with nothing happening for Nigeria, with two games left we secured our place at USA 2038!

Michalovce 4-1 Nitra (D1)

Having beaten Trnava (and Kosice), we wanted to get revenge on the other side who beat us last year, Nitra. Yakubu got us off to a good start in the 14th minute. Early in the second half, Farkas and an own-goal put it beyond them, and a Vagner penalty in the 84th minute gave us a 4th goal, though there was still time for them to get a consolation.

Slovan Bratislava 3-1 Michalovce (D1)

Slovan had recovered from a poor bottom-half season last year, and would be a tough trip. They scored in the 17th minute. We were generally second best, but equalized from Yakubu in the 42nd minute, just after having one disallowed. However they took the lead again in the 62nd minute, and later got a third.

Dubravka 0-6 Michalovce (SC)

We went to non-league Dubravka in the cup. Farkas gave us the lead after 30 second. Duris got another in the 15th minute, but even though they soon went down to 10 men, more goals weren’t forthcoming until another Duris effort just before half-time. He completed his hat-trick in the 63rd minute, and got a 4th with 10 minutes left. Yakubu’s late penalty rounded off a 6-0 win.

Michalovce 3-1 Dun. Streda (D1)

At home to Dun Streda, an own-goal gave us the lead in the 21st minute. Drahno extended it in the 36th minute, and we romped home to another goal from Farkas in the 64th minute, despite an 80th minute consolation.

League Table

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Wow, that was a tense finish, last season. Turning out to be another humdinger this time too!

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Wow, that was a tense finish, last season. Turning out to be another humdinger this time too!

Sadly it appears not.

Oct 2037

Michalovce 4-0 Dubnica (D1)

At home to Dubnica we were in the odd situation of being on the back foot early on, but Duris struck in the 5th minute, and as we took control, Drahno (who was no Kessou, but was doing a decent job covering for his loss) extended the lead in the 44th minute. Yakubu stepped up to the mark in the second half, with a 57th minute penalty, and a goal from open play in the 85th.

Ghana 5-0 Botswana (ACNQ)

Another trio of internationals popped up, starting with Botswana at home in an ACN qualifier. We took them apart easily. Frimpong’s penalty after a minute set us on our way, Adamu headed in an Abbey cross in the 18th minute, before my former Michalovce player got a goal of his own in the 26th minute, and Owusu made it 4-0 before half an hour was up. We never really let the pressure off, but only got one more goal from Frimpong in the 74th minute.

Nigeria 2-1 Ghana (WCQ)

Trips to Nigeria and DR Congo in the World Cup qualifiers would be far tougher, so it was just as well that we were already guaranteed our qualification. In Nigeria, while we had our chances, they were very much on top in the first-half and eventually took the lead in the 40th minute. They kept at it in the second half while we countered to try and snatch an equalizer, and got another goal in the 70th minute. Only then could Frimpong score for us 5 minutes later.

DR Congo 2-3 Ghana (WCQ)

We wasted a good start in DR Congo and went behind after 20 minutes, an own-goal levelled it just before the break, and Frimpong gave us a 51st minute lead. They turned up the heat later on, equalizing in the 82nd minute, but Owusu snatched a winner with a couple of minutes left.

Rusomberok 1-3 Michalovce (D1)

Ruzumberok were surprisingly tame when we went to theirs, but being bottom with no wins will do that to even the most annoying side. Duris gave us a 14th minute lead, adding another in the 38th, and a long awaited 3rd came through a 71st minute own-goal. They started playing well after that, getting a quick goal back and might have got a second.

Michalovce 4-1 Lucenec (SC)

We had Lucenec at home in the cup. Duris scored in the 18th minute, followed by Yakubu a couple of minutes later. They pulled one back in the 34th minute, and the score was in danger of looking close, but Duris scored again in the 76th minute, and quickly completed a hat-trick with a penalty.

Michalovce 3-2 Senec (D1)

Duris was utterly on fire this season, with 23 goals in 22 games, and he added 2 more (already giving him the club record for most goals in a season) in the first 10 minutes against Senec (unfortunately then picking up a suspension-triggering yellow card). Things took a turn for the worst in the second half. In the first 10 minutes, they got a goal back, Vagner went off injured, Duris (already set for a suspension) got sent off for a second yellow, and they equalized. Thankfully a cross from very green left winger Jakubicka was turned in to their net in the 66th minute, but while we held out, it was at the cost of Drahno also going off injured, both wingers being out for a few weeks.

Presov 1-1 Michalovce (D1)

Without most of our attacking regulars, nothing happened in the first half at Presov. They had the occasional attacking burst in the second half, and it was surprising when Yakubu snatched a goal with 15 minutes left, not so much so when they soon equalized, but we still held out against further attacks to grab a point.

League Table

Nov/Dec 2037

Michalovce 2-0 Humenne (SC QF)

The cup quarter finals brought a home leg with non-league Humenne, who had our former player Stochl up front. Jakubicka gave us the lead in the second minute, but a goal disallowed for them a few minutes later was a sign that it would not be an easy victory. We still deserved another, which Duris got in the 64th minute.

Michalovce 1-5 Zilina (D1)

Zilina had only dropped points twice this season, so I wasn’t too bothered about trying to catch them. That was just as well as they were definitely reasserting their dominance. They had beaten us away already, we had another (probably fruitless) trip to come, and they looked odds on for a treble when they were all over us in our home game. They eventually scored in the 23rd minute, an own-goal extending it a few minutes before the break. Helcelet got one back in the 49th minute, but while we were up for more, they suddenly hit a third in the 55th minute, racing to a 5-1 win in the end. And Duris picked up another suspension, presumably his Senec sending off meant he stayed one yellow card away.

Trnava 5-3 Michalovce (D1)

A trip to Trnava didn’t start well, they took the lead in the first minute and extended it in the 7th. Rada and Yakubu scored to level it by the 15th minute. They retook the lead in the 23rd minute, and looked on top. Rada equalized in the 46th minute, the Argentine-Czech having been a back up since he arrived a few years ago, but taking his chance today, but it wasn’t enough, and they retook control with a pair of goals from the 67th minute to win 5-3.

Humenne 2-4 (2-6) Michalovce (SC QF)

We had the second leg at Humenne. They raced out of the blocks, having an early goal disallowed, but getting a 2-0 lead by the 14th minute, levelling the aggregate scores. We realized how embarrassing it would be to go out to them, and a pair of Yakubu goals before half-time levelled the scores in the night and put us in pole position again with a 2-goal lead in the tie and an away goals advantage. Rada have us the lead in the 66th minute, and Yakubu secured progress and his hat-trick in the 88th minute.

Kosice 2-6 Michalovce (D1)

We had another poor start when going behind at Kosice in the 2nd minute. An own goal in the 14th minute levelled it, then Duris returned to form with a first-half hat-trick, though later went off injured, missing the last game before the winter break. They dominated in the second half, getting a second goal in the 50th minute, and how we managed to stop them getting any more I’ll never know. We were rewarded with a pair of Rada goals in the last 5 minutes, making it look deceptively easy.

Michalovce 1-4 Banska Bystrica (D1)

The last game before the break was Banska at home. We definitely had an issue with starting slowly, going behind in the 18th minute. However this time we failed to get going afterwards. They extended the lead in the 32nd minute before Goore scored a goal back for us. That was our only bright spot. They got a third in the 53rd minute, and a controversial penalty finished us off in the 72nd minute.

Meanwhile the World Cup draw hadn’t been too kind for Ghana. Costa Rica weren’t too difficult, Spain definitely were, and a very strong Russia side, highlighted the very high standard of a lot of international sides, and would make qualification a tricky task.

League Table

World Cup Draw

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Just fallen off the pace. Still, at least you have no problems scoring.

As for the World Cup...well, same old story. We get the Argies and Brazil get an easy group.

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unlucky in European qualifiers and so far in the domestic league, hopefully you can stop conceding as many goals and grind out a few wins to catch Zilina up and over take Slovan Bratislava.

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Kept up a good chase up until December. What's your attendances like?

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Not too far off from the top. Think it's achievable to take it in the second half?

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Just fallen off the pace. Still, at least you have no problems scoring.

As for the World Cup...well, same old story. We get the Argies and Brazil get an easy group.

If I do get through the group, Brazil are who we (Ghana) will probably get so not expecting a long stay in the competition.

Kept up a good chase up until December. What's your attendances like?

Average of 4073 in the league, slightly more overall, which is most of a 4200 capacity, the highest percentage in the league. It's 7th highest in the league, with the next three above within 50%, 2nd and 3rd (Banska and Trnava) between 10,000 and 15,000, and Zilina racing away on over 31,000.

unlucky in European qualifiers and so far in the domestic league, hopefully you can stop conceding as many goals and grind out a few wins to catch Zilina up and over take Slovan Bratislava.

Not too worried about goals conceded, Zilina responsible for a lot of those anyway. You have to have the attacking power to take down just about everyone else to get close to them so that's really the only way to go to compete, except in games against them but they're too strong to try to contain even then. Definitely want to beat Slovan to second, Zilina on the other hand...

Not too far off from the top. Think it's achievable to take it in the second half?

Nope. Zilina aren't in the habit of dropping points very much so even if we win most of our games we won't get that close to them I don't think. Still, I broke their run, am leaving at the end of the season, so just winding things down rather than being too worried about retaining the title.

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Tought World Cup draw but Im sure you can make a good effort at it.

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Tought World Cup draw but Im sure you can make a good effort at it.

Hopefully, but Russia are seriously strong so not too confident.

Feb/Mar 2038

Nitra 0-0 Michalovce (D1)

We returned with a trip to Nitra. Both sides struggled to get going in the first half, and when we woke up a bit in the second, we still failed to get that close to a goal so had to settle for a very dull 0-0.

Michalovce 0-3 Slovan Bratislava (D1)

We needed to step up and beat Slovan at home to retake pole position in the race for 2nd. On a less relevant note, a win would also give us an equal head-to-head record since the start of the game. We were bright enough in the first half that we had high hopes of taking the lead, but suddenly they hit us with a goal before the break (and another disallowed). That as our cue to collapse as they scored a couple of quick goals early in the second half to stroll to victory.

Dun. Streda 0-2 Michalovce (D1)

With 3rd place also under threat, we stepped back up a few gears at Dun Strada. Rada got us going in the 5th minute, with Khumalo adding another in the 19th. The defence took a hammering early in the second half. Goore got a harsh red card, Kovan had already gone off injured, and his replacement, Kovarik, also went off injured. If Kovanic (who came on for him) got arrested mid-game I wouldn’t be that surprised. Thankfully the local police stayed off the pitch, and Streda were far too weak to take advantage as we remained on top.

There was definitely trouble in Slovak paradise. Aside from the recent form dip, Duris (who had been rubbish of late) would be following me out the door as given I’d alienated half the agents in the country but not letting them go and not giving them new deals just for that (always a problem with so many players much in demand), he wouldn’t sign a new deal and was confirmed to be going to Brugge. Then having told Goore (who hadn’t played much at the time) that he needed to earn a new deal (having ages to run on his current one anyway, which would be my usual response, he decided that just after being sent off was a good time to moan about claiming I’d broken a promise. I was starting to look forward to leaving so much more now.

Dubnica 1-2 Michalovce (D1)

We slightly surprisingly went down in the first half at Dubnica. It would have been an embarrassing defeat so we fought back, Yakubu equalizing in the 66th minute. We were still very much at risk of losing, but in the last 5 minutes Drahno and another Yakubu goal gave us a relieving win.

Michalovce 3-2 Ruzomberok (D1) 200th Michalovce match!

A home game with Ruzomberok was my 200th Michalovce game. We were on top in the first half, but had to wait until an own-goal in the 55th minute to make a breakthrough. Khumalo gave us another goal in the 76th minute. We looked home and dry but a pair of goals in the last few minutes somehow allowed them to draw level. Thankfully Helcelet headed us a last-gasp winner in stoppage time.

Senec 0-4 Michalovce (D1)

Going to Senec, we were unlikely to get a 4th straight win. I was very surprised to see very strong first-half, with Vagner converting a free-kick in the 6th minute, followed by a Drahno cross being converted by new Ghanaian forward Amadu in the 10th minute, and Amadu got another just a couple of minutes later. Mballa was back in goal as Antonio was away on international duty, and had a very easy time of it. Drahno even made it 4-0 at the end of the half. The second half passed very quietly.

Uganda 1-3 Ghana (ACNQ)

The day after, Ghana had a game in Uganda. We were just about on top in the first half, though conceded a sloppy goal near the end. In the second half Mohammed came off after 3 years on the sidelines, getting an almost immediate equalizer, and putting us ahead in the 61st minute. We were firmly in control now, and Frimpong gave us a final goal in the 78th.

League Table

Apr 2038

Michalovce 2-2 Presov (D1)

We hoped to add to the winning run against the least threatening Presov side (they were down in 10th) I had encountered. Yakubu looked like getting us on our way in the 5th minute. However we completely lost focus. They soon equalized, and we didn’t look like doing anything else until they took the lead in the 55th minute. Farkas at least gave us a point in the 68th minute though we pushed on and should have had more.

Michalovce 3-2 Nitra (SC SF)

We hoped to beat Nitra in the cup and reach a 4th final in 5 years. Drahno set us on our way in the home leg, scoring in the 9th minute, followed by Farkas in the 20th. After Amadu made it 3-0 in the 50th minute, they got a goal back, and threatened to get another, which they just managed to do in the 88th minute, so we weren’t home and dry yet.

Zilina 6-2 Michalovce (D1)

I expected a trip to Zilina to be a bit of a farewell hammering. They were perhaps tired by a run to the Europa League, but while they weren’t dominant in an even first half, they were no less efficient. They broke us in the 35th minute, then got two more before half-time. Drahno got a goal back in the 47th minute, but that was quickly followed by their 4th, and as the defence were overran, they cruised to a 6-2 win (Vagner getting our other goal after their 5th). Not sure I’d miss them too much.

Michalovce 2-1 Trnava (D1)

Despite losing Right-Back Vagner (as opposed to the Right-wing one) to injury in the first minute against Trnava, we kept attacking and were rewarded by going behind just before the break. We weren’t standing for that. Amadu equalized early in the second half, and Other Vagner gave us the lead after an hour. They were still very troublesome indeed, but we managed to stop them snatching anything.

Nitra 1-2 (3-5) Michalovce (SC SF)

We had the return leg against Nitra, and probed occasionally in the first half, managing to stop them getting too close. Just one goal would give them an away goals advantage, and they got it in the 52nd minute. A quick Amadu double after an hour turned the tide, and levelled the away goals situation as well as giving us a 2-goal lead in the tie. There were some hectic exchanges afterward but no more goals meant we were reasonably comfortably in the final to face Slovan Bratislava.

Michalovce 3-0 Kosice (D1)

Encouraged by this, we decided to take Kosice to the cleaners. Duris’ first goal for an age gave us a 10th minute lead. He set up Drahno to extend the lead before half an hour was up, and Kovac wrapped up a 3-0 win by the 40th minute.

League Table

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Probably fair to say the title is out of reach now, but hopefully you can grab 2nd, which would still be good.

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Hopefully you can grab 2nd place.

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2nd should be good and is a great achievement :) Best of luck.

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Probably fair to say the title is out of reach now, but hopefully you can grab 2nd, which would still be good.
Hopefully you can grab 2nd place.

Sadly not, did get something better though.

May 2038

Banska Bystrica 1-2 Michalovce (D1)

Banska Bystrica were able to threaten our 3rd place if we lost at theirs. After an edgy first-half, Rada gave us a 59th minute lead. Farkas added another a few minutes later. Banska got a goal back with 8 minutes left but otherwise we comfortably strode to win.

Michalovce 1-0 Nitra (D1)

Battling Slovan as we were for 2nd, there was great relief when Duris livened up a dull game at home to Nitra with a goal just before half-time. Though rather less so when he got sent off near the end. However we were strong enough on the day to deserve the win.

Slovan Bratislava 5-1 Michalovce (D1)

The penultimate game at Slovan was utterly crucial. With both sides wanting the win, we both went at each other, and it was Yakubu who broke the deadlock for us in the 25th minute. However we looked vulnerable and it wasn’t surprising that they equalized, in the 41st minute, just before having a goal disallowed. After an hour, the defence messed up and they got a pair of goals, strolling to a 5-1 win.

Michalovce 3-2 Slovan Bratislava (SC Final)

We needed to do a lot better when we played them in the cup final. Indeed we made the brighter start and Duris gave us the lead after 10 minutes. They equalized almost immediately, and the game quietened down a bit until we resumed the pressure, and a Vagner shot was turned in for an own goal. They levelled it again 5 minutes before the break. Duris gave us the lead for the 3rd time in the 47th minute, and we were just about on top for most of the second half, though had the obligatory late close chances to survive. It felt great to go out with a trophy win.

Michalovce 5-0 Dun. Streda (D1)

My last Michalovce game was at home to Dun Streda, and it turned into a fitting farewell party. Yakubu scored in the first minute. Vagner made it 2-0 in the 5th minute, and it became clear that we were headed for a big win. Yakubu scored again just before the half-hour mark, followed by Drahno 5 minutes later. Valenta headed in a corner in the 56th minute, and all that was missing was a Duris goal, that being his last game for the club, having made his debut at the beginning of my first season, and giving us 102 goals (33 this season) in 149 appearances.

Final League Table

I had mixed feelings about my last year at Michalovce. Despite off-pitch troubles it had mostly been a very strong season, with the exception of a poor middle stint which cost us 2nd, and even a crack at 1st given that Zilina faded a bit in the Spring. I felt liberated by the lack of pressure and expectation, and was delighted to go out with a second cup win from a 4th final in my 5 years there. However now was most definitely the time to go out. It’s all been rather lovely.

Cup Final

Squad Stats

And so it’s ‘Farewell Slovakia’. For the most part it was a fantastic 5 years, in terms of matches (though not seasons) my longest stint at a club yet (212 matches, about 10 more than Sportist, where I was at for a season longer). However from early on it was clear I could already do better than a 12kpw wage budget and 4200 capacity (plus having to face such a local Goliath as Zilina). Biding my time, winning a couple of cups and piping Zilina to the title, all the club’s first major trophies, had been very worthwhile, and opened far greater doors than early on.

Recently I had been favourite for Serie B and Adelante clubs as big as Torino and Betis (and to a lesser extent, Bilbao, Reggina and Brescia), then a couple of big, rich Russian clubs, ensuring a good job at that level league at least, even Werder Bremen in February, and while I wasn’t favourite, at least linked to Marseille and Arsenal. That was before the last cup with which boosted my rep to ‘Continental’. While I felt the big clubs were still out of reach, it seemed clear to me that there was still a great opportunity out there with my name on it. The post World Cup manager changes might yield something.

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World Cup 2038

Ghana 1-0 Mozambique (ACNQ)

Before the World Cup began, we first faced a useful warm-up in the form of an ACN qualifier against Mozambique. We had a few injuries up front, but were expected to still win comfortably. We had consistent, though not very intense, pressure throughout the game, but found scoring a rather different matter. Mohammed scored the only goal of the game in the 77th minute to considerable relief. Unfortunately one of our first-choice defenders, Diallo, went off injured and would miss most of the World Cup.

So to the World Cup itself, held in the USA. We had a very tough group with Spain and Russia, but also the more manageable Costa Rica. The FA expected to reach the Second Round, I felt they were going to be disappointed. Thankfully we were pretty much at full strength.

Ghana 2-1 Costa Rica (WC)

We at least managed to open up with the easier Costa Rica game. For a lot of the first half, it looked only a matter for time until we converted pressure into the lead. However they struck instead in the 34th minute. We were able to fight back in the second half, Frimpong and Abbey giving us a quick pair of goals after an hour, but by that point they were a genuine threat, looking as likely to equalize as we were to get a third, but we got a hard-fought win, while the other game in the group was a draw.

Ghana 0-2 Russia (WC)

Russia would probably be the key game. We had most of what few chances there were early on, but sadly their superiority told and they took the lead after half an hour. A second half comeback was cruelly nipped in the bud when they got another in the 48th minute, and while we could have got a goal, we were clearly second-best after that.

Ghana 2-1 Spain (WC)

I doubted we’d get the win over Spain, one of the competition favourites, that we needed to progress. A couple of suspensions didn’t help either. Surprisingly they made a slow start, and an Owusu penalty gave us the lead in the 15th minute. As we kept probing, Adamu extended the led by heading in a corner in the 33rd minute. I’d faced too many Zilina games to rest easy though, especially as we had to get the win. It didn’t take many second half chances for them to get a goal back in the 55th minute, and my heart started really racing as they hit us with regular chances, getting pretty close late on, which was expected, while we had occasional chances to put it beyond them. It took all sorts of things, close shaves, last ditch-tackles, good saves, even a goal-line clearance or two, but we survived to get a fantastic win and progress!

Ghana 1-0 Brazil (WC R2)

I knew when the draw was made that if we scraped through in second, Brazil would await us, and so they did. I was even less confident than I was against Spain, but knew nothing was impossible. The game got off to a pretty slow start, the only time either side had a strong patch in the first half was later, and from them. They gradually picked up the chances in the second half, and it appeared like there would only be one winner, especially when Frimpong went off injured with 10 minutes left, leaving us a man down. However with a couple of minutes left, full-back Musah took advantage of a defensive mixup to head in a corner, and after facing a couple more Brazil chances, we pretty much stole the win, but I didn’t mind too much.

Ghana 0-1 Holland (WC QF)

Again we were on the tough side of the draw. Bosnia, Tunisia and Greece were still in, but we got Holland instead. Owusu had a goal disallowed in the 16th minute. We didn’t have too many chances after that, then they took the lead in the 31st minute. We still had a few brief phases of fight, and they had a goal disallowed of their own in stoppage time. The early phases of the second half went back and forth. We had an early burst, then they were awarded a penalty which our keeper Awal saved, then survived the goalmouth scramble that followed. We really went for it in the middle of the second half, and had another burst late on, and though we failed to grab a goal, we went out with heads held high.

When I saw the draw I doubted we’d make it past the group, after losing to Russia I was sure we were heading out, I felt Brazil would get us if we did make it out, but somehow we managed to dispatch two sides I felt we wouldn't have a hope against. Just one of those wins would have made for an excellent world cup. Holland weren’t quite as strong as those two on paper, but while they were still too good, we certainly gave a good account of ourselves anyway, and the tournament in general as reaching the Quarters was always going to be seen as a good showing whoever we faced, and you can’t say we had it easy.

World Cup Groups 1

World Cup Groups 2

World Cup Knockouts

Someone was clearly taking notice, as even before the World Cup was over (but after we were out) I had a very surprising job offer landing in my inbox, that I didn't hesitate to accept. I knew I'd be able to get a reasonably good club when I left Slovakia but never expected one as big as this. For the club I was now manager of was... A.C. Milan!

Admitedly they had been stuck in mid-table for at least a few years, so weren't as strong as the name suggests, but it was still quite something to get, and I was delighted.

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BIG move to A.C Milan! Good luck getting them back to their former glory days!

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WOW :eek: Quite a move from Slovakia to AC Milan,good luck.

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BIG move to A.C Milan! Good luck getting them back to their former glory days!

Very much looking forward to it, one of my most enjoyable stints on FM was after taking over a Juventus side just above the drop zone on FM10, and eventually grabbing Serie A (though it was hard work), though not the CL, though trying to do the same with a mid-table Inter on FM11 didn't go so well.

WOW :eek: Quite a move from Slovakia to AC Milan,good luck.

No kidding. While it's not too far above what I thought I might be able to get, it was still a massive shock getting the offer. While I haven't technically moved directly from Slovakia to Milan, it still counts as probably the biggest step up I've ever made. However Milan's history makes surprising reading. The game has lasted for 28 years so far. In that time they've not won a single thing. In fact they've only once finished in the top 3 of Serie A, and their only final appearances are a couple of Italian cup finals followed by a Europa League final about 20 years ago. Not exactly been giants of the game then.

Budget is pretty good, 36M, and 1.2Mpw (using 1M), but 24M in the bank doesn't look that much for a club like this, especially as for the most part, good youngsters at a high level don't come cheap, so rebuilding, and moving out of mid-table and simply into regular European qualification won't be as easy a process as people thinking 'Oh he's at Milan, they won't be too much of a challenge' would imagine.

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I don't know, £24m isn't too bad and you should be able to slash that wage bill to get that rising. Depends whether you can generate some income on the transfer market. No debts by the sound of it? That's the main thing with the big clubs I've found. Surprised they've done so badly in your save, but with a big stadium and a big name you should be able to push them into Europe's elite.

Cracking move by all accounts, hope it goes well for you.

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You are BIG TIME now! Who knew that the Slovakian Cup was held in such high regard by those in Milan ;)

Good luck at the San Siro!

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I don't know, £24m isn't too bad and you should be able to slash that wage bill to get that rising. Depends whether you can generate some income on the transfer market. No debts by the sound of it? That's the main thing with the big clubs I've found. Surprised they've done so badly in your save, but with a big stadium and a big name you should be able to push them into Europe's elite.

Cracking move by all accounts, hope it goes well for you.

It isn't too bad a sum of money to work with, but the prize money isn't very much in Italy so I was more thinking about how it's unlikely to replenish very quickly when it's used up this summer even with a 80,000 capacity stadium (with recent average attendances being 50,000) so future improvements would be much limited. The new players are on pretty small wages so at least keeping that relatively low will also help.

You are BIG TIME now! Who knew that the Slovakian Cup was held in such high regard by those in Milan ;)

Good luck at the San Siro!

Indeed, would have been bigger if they'd won anything all game, or even been in Europe in the past 10 years. Still, A.C. Milan is A.C. Milan.

Summer 2038

I had a pretty busy summer ahead with a Milan side that had been a mid-table side for rather a long time, though at least had reasonable budgets to do it with. And we weren’t quite at such a high level that there weren’t a few strong options out there. However a fairly strong first choice side meant that I had to hold off bidding until I could better prioritise.. I decided to push the boat out in terms of not being afraid to go for players who’d take a reasonable chunk out of the budget, rather than try and spread it around quite a few players, which I often try to do and while it meant that short-term improvement would be limited, however there had been lots of transfer activity both ways before I arrived so there still would be squad gelling issues. What was worrying was that I went for a 16yr old from Brazil, though I otherwise wasn’t interested in players that couldn’t sign immediately and he rejected us. For Maribor!!! It’s not like they had dominated Slovenia in the way that Zilina had Slovakia. He was a genuine wonderkid and will be wasted there from the start.

There wasn’t an awful lot of pressure, the board merely wanting a mid-table finish, which they’d been managing for a while. I wanted to be in the top half but would be casting my gaze up at the European places, especially as they hadn’t been in Europe for 10 years. At least I didn’t have to worry about another Zilina. Catania were champions, but Palermo had 7 of the past 11 (but just 2 before that), with Juventus and Roma forming a sort-of top three, occasionally broken by Inter and others, so while collectively they’d be tough to get many points from there was more room to challenge any one of them if we got that far. However that would be a while away at best. For now while we looked decent, after some reasonable deals for pretty good players, we wouldn’t be making waves for the time being. We’ll have to see where we stood next season. If ever there was a club in need of a restoration of fortunes, this was it, and I was very much looking forward to trying to do that.

Hoffmann

Katsikas

Kunisch

Larsen

Lovell

Toninho

Transfers (Only stuff from 17th July is me)

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Very nice career progression :thup:. Looks like you've been busy in the transfer market too.

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Very nice career progression :thup:. Looks like you've been busy in the transfer market too.

Not as much as it looks, that's why I mentioned where my activity starts. 6 players in and 9 out is hardly a quiet summer but most of the club's activity was from before I arrived.

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AC Milan! Welcome to the big league :)

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Fantastic work with the AC Milan job, bit of a surprise no doubt :D Some solid transfers there, Toninho and Katsikas especially look like they could become class players :thup:

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AC Milan! Welcome to the big league :)

Great to be here. Was watching 'The Prince of Egypt' on Monday and couldn't help but think of a villain song from that movie, 'Playing with the big boys now' regarding this move.

Fantastic work with the AC Milan job, bit of a surprise no doubt :D Some solid transfers there, Toninho and Katsikas especially look like they could become class players :thup:

Definitely a surprise, good to see that I could still get a few strong players I didn't need to pay large amounts for (though Katsikas was expensive enough that I held off biding for a while, massive talent or not, until I felt the central midfield was a priority).

Aug/Sept 2038

Milan 1-2 Roma (A)

The first game was a difficult one, against Roma. Brazilian forward Chumbinho gave us the lead in the 5th minute, but while they weren’t that impressive, we were very sluggish, which perhaps isn’t surprising given how many players had been brought in even before I arrived. They easily took advantage to get a 2-1 lead by the 35 minute. They had another disallowed early in a reasonably even second half, where we had our chances to snatch a point, so it wasn’t all bad.

Botswana 1-6 Ghana (ACNQ)

It was straight from that to Ghana, who had an ACN qualifier in Botswana. Left-back Owusu got sent off in the 9th minute, and they quickly took the lead. It took time for us to get back into it, but after Abbey equalized after half an hour, a pair of Frimpong goals in 10 minutes gave us a comfortable lead at the break. After the 70th minute, 3 goals in 10 minutes (an own-goal, Frimpong completing his hat-trick, and the forward Owusu) gave us a great 6-1 win that secured our qualification with a game to go.

Parma 0-3 Milan (A)

The first Milan away game was at Parma. Defender Traore headed in a free-kick after 35 minutes to give us the lead. Right-winger Bertoni extended the lead in the 43rd minute, and while we weren’t that impressive, we strolled to a third goal from Larsen early in the second half, then resisted a bit of pressure and kept a clean sheet as well.

Atalanta 1-1 Milan (A)

The game at Atalanta was a nervous affair. Chumbinho gave us the lead in the 34th minute, as the only event of the first half. We had another disallowed in the 52nd minute, and the game never really livened up so it was no surprise that they snatched a 66th minute equalizer to reflect the fact that neither side did much to earn the win.

Milan 2-0 Fiorentina (A)

We were thankfully far better at home to Fiorentina. We were pretty comfortably on top. Forward Di Gregorio gave us the lead after half an hour, Chumbinho adding to it just before half-time to give us a deserved 2-0 lead. Injuries to Larsen and young right-back Ambrosi couldn’t stop us from cruising in the second half to the win, though there were no more goals.

Bologna 2-2 Milan (A)

We were similarly bright early on at Bologna, and could have had a penalty, however they took the lead in the 20th minute, and a penalty of their own extended the lead in the 32nd minute. Bertoni got a goal back in the 32nd minute, but they were dominant enough that trying to get another goal was hard work. Traore headed in a corner in the 69th minute to equalize, and the wind was very much in our sails for a bit, but in a hectic final phase of the match on balance we were just about the more relieved to get the single point.

League Table

Oct 2038

Milan 2-2 Juventus (A)

Table-topping Juventus were a very hard test next. They had a strong start, then we gradually started to take control, and began to hope for a good result. Eventually they scored after a goalmouth scramble in the 39th minute, and things got worse when our keeper Alberti put the ball in his own net. However we weren’t quite out of it. We started to fight back with Chumbinho scoring in the 68th minute, and Di Gregorio gave us a surprising point in the 82nd minute.

Ghana 2-0 Uganda (ACNQ)

The final Ghana ACN qualifying match against Uganda was a dead rubber, which was just as well as we had a few players missing. We were still comfortably on top. Owusu scored in the 22nd minute followed by Frimpong in the 35th, and that suggested that we’d win by a far greater margin, and we weren’t lacking the dominance and pressure to do so. After that we moved to into the top 10 of the world rankings, getting 8th and just beating Cameroon and Tunisia as the best African side.

World Rankings

Chievo 0-2 Milan (A)

We had a bit of a scrappy time of it at Chievo, but settled a bit when Chumbinho gave us a 14th minute lead, and Di Gregorio extended it after half an hour. The game was pretty even and pretty safe afterwards as we beat one of my most disliked sides, since as Crouchy knows, Hellas are the only ‘true’ Verona side.

Milan 0-2 Palermo (A)

Palermo were our next test, the winners of 7 of the last 11 titles, so probably the strongest side in Italy in recent times and currently top. We kept it even for a bit, but they smashed home to take the lead in the 24th minute. Within 10 minutes, a Kunisch own-goal gave them another. Unlike against Juventus, a second-half comeback never really materialized, and we lost for the first time since the opening day.

Milan 5-1 Giulianova (CI)

The first cup game was at home to Serie C1 side Giulianova (though they had some players that definitely looked strong Serie B). Di Gregorio set us on our way in the first minute, followed by Kunisch heading the ball in the right goal this time in the 20th. The scoring resumed in the second half from Chumbinho in the 49th minute, and another Kunisch header 4 minutes later, with Chumbinho getting another 10 minutes from time. Their only response was from a penalty with a few minutes left.

Pescara 1-2 Milan (A)

We next had a trip to Pescara, who were the surprise package so far this season, being expected to be in the bottom half (14th to be precise), but who were currently up in 3rd. Chumbinho gave us the lead in the 4th minute, but after they equalized in the 16th, we were on the back foot until an own-goal restored the lead just before the break. We were able to keep them off in the second half, and even going down to 10 men after Lovell went off injured in the 82nd minute didn’t cause any problems.

League Table

Good start so far, especially with so many transfers happening even before I took over, and as we'd faced 4 of the 6 sides above us (admitedly mostly at home) and just 1 of the bottom 5, so I think European qualification (which doesn't sound very good for Milan but would be the first in 11 years by the way, so would count for something right now) is on the cards, probably a single-digit finish (which hasn't happened for the same amount of time) anyway.

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Good start and hopefully things can better when your players finally gel.

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Decent start, room to grow.

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Nice work getting the Milan job.

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