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[FM13] Granada Club de Fútbol - From Humble Beginnings

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We all have our favourite teams. Teams we've grown up supporting, teams we've admired or grown fascinated with over a period of time.

Sometimes though, we don't choose the teams... they choose us!

Part of the fun of playing Football Manager, is the wealth of teams we have at our disposal. Teams we've never heard of, or perhaps never even dreamed of looking at. Sometimes though, when choosing a team to play as, we can find ourselves taking more than a passing interest. Who are they? Where have they come from? What's their story and history in the real world of football?

With those questions in mind, as well as presenting a wealth of information about the club in FM13, allow me to guide you through the history of Granada Club de Fútbol

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Evolution of the club crest and the kits over the years


Follow the latest information from Granada CF via the official Social Networks:

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@GranadaCdeF (Spanish) or @GranadaCdeF_en (English)

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https://www.facebook.com/GRANADACF.es

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https://plus.google.com/+granadacf/posts

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From Humble Beginnings

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The very first Club Recreativo Granada team in 1931

6th April 1931, with little more a dozen shirts, half a dozen pairs of boots, three match balls, a selection of players and a love of the sport, a bold group of men decided to form a football club.

14th April 1931. A date which saw the proclamation of the Second Republic in Spain. A time of great social and political upheaval in the country, culminating in the outbreak of Civil War midway through the decade. On the very same day however, in the Civil Registry of Granada, Club Recreativo Granada was officially registered by first club president, Julio López Fernández. So began the history of a team that would ultimately become known as Granada Club de Fútbol. Fernandéz however, would pass the presidency over to Enrique Carmona, before the first game was played.

The first official match took place away at Deportivo Jáen on 6th December 1931, with the newly founded club competing in a four team group of the Regional Third Category. Playing in their original sky blue and white colours, Recreativo Granada got off to a winning start. A 1-2 victory, with both goals scored by Antonio Bombillar. In their first home game, the club enjoyed a 1-0 win against UD Andújar, at Campo de Las Tablas, a patch of disused ground which had been donated by the City Council. The first defeat for the club came with a 1-0 loss away at Deportivo Linares in the following match. Though Recreativo Granada would remain unbeaten at home, a second defeat away at eventual group winners UD Andújar, would see them finish their inaugural 1931/1932 season in second place.

With football rapidly expanding throughout Spain, plus new and restructured leagues nationally and regionally taking shape, the following 1932/1933 season would see Recreativo Granada compete in the six team Regional Second Category. This season would see the club finish second, gain promotion, whilst also recording what remains the biggest win to this day, the 11-0 thrashing of Xerez FC.

Two further landmarks would follow during the 1933/34 season. Recreativo Granada won Third Division B Group 3 and for the princely sum of 110,000 pesetas, they purchased the ground on which they would begin construction of their new stadium, Los Cármenes. The season would end in frustration however, as the team missed out on promotion to the Spanish second tier, losing their play-off final against Gimástico Valencia, over two legs.

The following 1934/1935 season Recreativo Granada played their first game at the completed Los Cármenes stadium, against Malacitano (now Málaga CF), enjoying a 2-1 victory. The season would end disappointingly though, finishing second from bottom in the league. During the 1935/1936 season, the team fared no better and again finished second from bottom and just managing to preserve their third tier status. The outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in July 1936 brought a swift halt to any sporting activity in the country. No football team would see a return to action domestically, until late 1939.

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Images of the first official match and the first goals, scored by Antonio Bombillar

The First Golden Age

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The 1940/1941 Squad, under the new name of Granada Club de Fútbol

December 1939 and the Civil War over, football resumed once more. The 1939/1940 season saw the Segunda Division reformed into five regional groups, with Granada Recreativo competing in Group 5. The 1940's would offer new beginnings, many milestones, as well as welcoming the first Golden Age for the club. Only one of the club's pre-war players could return to action and a new squad was assembled. Amongst them, Pepe Millán, a young Granadino who would go on to become a club legend. In an interesting turn of events, the club also changed their colours. Their suppliers in Madrid had no sky blue and white striped shirts available, so instead, sent red and white striped shirts. With no alternative, the club decided to accept the shirts and adopt these new colours. Suffering only one defeat all season, Recreativo Granada narrowly missed out on promotion, finishing a point behind group winners Cádiz CF.

The following 1940/1941 season saw two further milestones. Recreativo Granada changed their name to Granada Club de Fútbol, feeling it was more representative of the city of Granada. With the new title of Granada CF, which has remained the same to present day, the club looked to build on what they had started the previous season. Competing now in Group 2 of the Segunda Division, good performances saw the team finish one point behind Castellón, second place in the league and qualify for the promotion play-off league. Securing victories in the group of four teams, including Castellón, Deportivo La Coruña and Real Sociedad, promotion to the Primera Division was secured for the first time in the history of Granada CF. After ten years, having climbed up through the regional divisions, plus the enforced gap of the Civil War, Granada CF were now to rub shoulders amongst the elite teams of Spanish football.

For three seasons, Granada CF managed to hold their own in the Primera Division. Whilst never challenging for titles, they did start to develop somewhat of a reputation as “Giant Killers” with regular victories against Real Madrid and Barcelona. By the 1944/1945 season, Granadino Pepe Millán was a key figure in the Granada CF defence, building himself a reputation as one of the best defenders in Spain. He would become the first player from Granada province and to date, the only player to be selected for the senior Spanish national team, whilst wearing the colours of Granada CF. Disaster struck though, whilst making his international début in Portugal, when he was seriously injured during the match.

Losing such an important player impacted Granada's season and after a string of defeats, the club finished third from bottom in the league. In a promotion/relegation play-off, they were beaten by Celta Vigo. Following four seasons in the Primera Division the club was relegated back to the Segunda Division.

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1941: Fans flood Plaza del Carmen to celebrate promotion, plus the team & officials enjoy a celebratory meal at the stadium.

Back in Segunda

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Pepe Millán: Granadino legend who represented his beloved Granada CF for 14 years, even rejecting a move to Real Madrid.

Pepe Millán recovered from his injury and Granada CF managed to retain the majority of their key players. Even playing in the Segunda Division, Millán was still widely regarded as one of the best defenders in Spain. Both he and his club rejected offers from the emerging giants of Spanish football, including the repeated advances of Real Madrid. He even had a spell as player-manager, when the club dispensed with the services of the previous manager, after a bad spell of form during the 1946/1947 season. With Granada CF unable to push themselves back into the top-flight, eventually Pepe Millán could no longer resist the offers coming his way and at the start of the 1950/1951 season, he headed to reigning Primera Division champions, Deportivo La Coruña.

A new Club President arrived at Granada CF and new faces began to arrive in the team, but by the 1951/1952 season, the club only missed out on relegation to the Spanish third-tier, because the Spanish Federation restructured the league format once more. After two brief seasons in Galicia, Pepe Millán returned to his home club and Granada CF started to rebuild once more. The club came close to promotion, finishing third at the end of the 1954/1955 season, but couldn't ultimately make it through the play-offs. Having spent the majority of his career at the club, wishing it could have been with the club of his heart once more, Pepe Millán decided to have one last season in the top-flight, with Andalucian neighbours Real Jaén.

After twelve seasons in the second-tier, in the 1956/1957 season, Granada CF mounted a successful campaign, finished top of the league and won promotion back to the Primera Division. Incredibly though, they went through three different managers on their way to the Segunda Division Group 2 title.

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The 1956/1957 Granada CF team, who won promotion back to the Primera Division.

Primera Survival Fight & Push for the Cup

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Real Betis v Granada CF during the 1958-1959 season

Back for a second spell amongst the Spanish elite, life in the Primera Division was hard work indeed. Granada CF just about managed to keep themselves clear of relegation during the 1957/1958 season. No “Giant Killing” tag this season, but enough to survive for another year. The following 1958/1959 season could only offer another season of struggle, as the club again managed to keep themselves just outside the relegation zone. Some joy would come for the fans though, as the team enjoyed a great run in the Spanish Cup (then Copa del Generalísimo). Hungarian manager Janos Kalmar took his side to the final at Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, where they faced a mighty Barcelona side, who were looking to clinch a league and cup double. A great day out for the fans, but ultimately the opposition were just too tough, with the final ending FC Barcelona 4-1 Granada CF.

Another relegation battle was survived in 1959/1960, but heading into the new decade, the 1960/1961 season was a struggle too far. The fans “suffered” and the team finished the season bottom of the league, by a considerable margin. After their second four year stint in the top-flight, the club were headed back to the Segunda Division.

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The nearest Granada CF came to winning a major trophy, reaching the Spanish Cup final, but losing 4-1 to Barcelona.

Back in Segunda... Again.

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Granada CF legend Millán brought Pirri to the club. The midfielder went on to become a Real Madrid legend.

The 1961/1962 saw the club almost bounce straight back up, but defeats in crucial matches against direct rivals for promotion, saw the team finish third in Segunda Division Group 2 and just miss out. Just as during the early 50's, the club struggled to push their way back to the top-flight. Debts were mounting and the club struggled off the field, as well as on it. Whilst never threatened with relegation, they weren't able to push for promotion either.

Club legend Pepe Millán was even called in to manage the team during the 1963/1964 season, bringing with him a talented young player from Ceuta, José Martínez “Pirri”, a powerful central midfielder who scored 11 goals and enjoyed a remarkable season. Featuring at youth level for Spain and performing so well for Granada CF, Pirri quickly caught the attention of Real Madrid. At the end of the season he moved to Santiago Bernabeu, where he would go on to become a club legend for Real Madrid.

Unable to push for promotion still, drastic changes were required. Able to raise finances and clear much of the debt, the club rebuilt. Nine new signings and a return to the club for Hungarian manager, Janos Kalmar, for the start of the 1965/1966 season. Full of new hope and inspiration, Kalmar steered his team to second place. In the play-off against CD Málaga (later to become Málaga CF), Granada CF won the home leg at Los Cármenes, then held out for a draw in the away leg. For a third time in their history, the club had won promotion to the Primera Division.

The Second Golden Age

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The old Los Cármenes stadium is upgraded ahead of the 1969/1970 season.

Manager Kalmar headed for a spell in Sweden and the club made twelve new player signings. So many changes didn't help. Finishing third from bottom, the club faced a promotion/relegation play-off against Real Betis. Losing the games, Granada CF headed back to the Segunda Division at the end of the 1966/1967 season. Hardly the way to usher in a new golden age, but the quick relegation brought drastic changes. Ahead of the 1967/1968 season, long standing Club President José Bailón Verdejo was forced to step down. Cándido Gómez Álvarez won the Presidential elections and began to bring about swift changes to the running of the club and the team. By the end of the season, Granada CF were top of Segunda Division Group 2 and promoted to the Primera Division for the fourth time in their history.

Back in the top-flight once more, the club celebrated the expansion of their Los Cármenes stadium as the 1968/1969 began. Rather than struggle against relegation, as had been the case so many times before in the Primera Division, Granada CF rediscovered the “Giant Killer” tag of the 1940's. A mighty Real Madrid team were held at Los Cármenes, whilst Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Athletic Club Bilbao and Valencia, were all beaten on Granadino soil. A superb return to the top-flight this time around and an 8th place finish. After a great start to the 1969/1970 season, form inexplicably disappeared in the second-half of the season. A disastrous run saw Granada CF go fourteen games without a win. Finishing joint lowest scorers in the Primera Division with just 20 goals, fortunately their strength in defence saved them from entering the relegation zone. Crucial goalless draws at home to Barcelona and Real Madrid, saw them avoid relegation by a point.

The following season the team improved and finished back towards the middle of the table, then in the 1971/1972 season, Los Cármenes became an impenetrable fortress. Finishing 6th in the league, nobody could beat Granada CF on their home soil. In consecutive home wins, Athletic Club Bilbao were thrashed 5-1, Barcelona 2-0, Real Madrid 2-1 and Sevilla 3-0. Sadly though, away from home Granada CF couldn't get the points they needed to attempt a push for Europe. For the only time in their history though, one of their players finished highest scorer in the Primera Division, as Enrique Porta claimed the “Pichichi” award.

Fortress Los Cármenes was breached during the following 1972/1973 season and Granada CF found themselves at the wrong end of the table once more. Fortunately though, they managed to do enough to avoid relegation. The 1973/1974 season would however see the club achieve another 6th place finish in the league. More “Giant Killing” feats against the bigger teams which even saw Granada CF finish above Real Madrid, who finished the season uncharacteristically in 8th position. This season also saw the introduction of a change in kit design, from vertical stripes, to horizontal stripes. A design that has since become instantly recognisable with the club.

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1971/1972 squad and "Pichichi" award winning striker, Enrique Porta

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The 1973/1974 squad, plus Montero Castillo taking on Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff

The Beginning of the Decline.

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1975/1976: Granada CF squad and manager Miguel Muñoz, legendary former Real Madrid boss.

Having achieved their two best ever league finishes in the previous three seasons, Granada CF started to cast eyes on the possibility of pushing for European qualification. Big money signings were made, with international players such as Parits and Mazuerkiewick earning huge salaries for the time. Even with the big spending ahead of the 1974/1975 season, Granada CF found themselves in a relegation scrap they hadn't planned for. Manager “Joseíto”, the man who had guided the club to their best ever spell in the Primera Division during the previous seasons, was an early casualty, losing his post following a dismal spell. Granada CF managed to survive the season by the skin of their teeth. Finishing third from bottom, but level on points with CD Málaga, Granada CF survived by virtue of a better head-to-head record against their local rivals.

Concerned at the previous poor season, the board decided to spend further, in an attempt to steer things in a more favourable direction. Arguably one of the greatest managers in Spanish football history, was brought in to take Granada CF forward. Miguel Muñoz was the manager responsible for the greatest epoch of Real Madrid history: two European Cup wins, an Intercontinental Cup, nine La Liga titles, plus three Spanish Cup wins. Surely this man, widely regarded as the greatest manager in Real Madrid history, could help Granada CF realise their ambitions?

Unfortunately not. Granada CF made an excellent start to the 1975/1976 campaign, but during the following two-thirds of the season, everything fell apart. A spell of nine games without a victory was briefly interrupted by a win against Racing Santander. Following that, the team could only manage one win and a draw in the next nine games. Having scored the lowest amount of goals and conceded the joint second highest, Granada CF finished second from bottom and found themselves heading back to the Segunda Division. The second “Golden Age” for Granada CF, had gone up in a very expensive puff of smoke.

Convinced the club could spend its way out of trouble, Club President Cándido Gómez Álvarez brought in more expensive signings. Miguel Muñoz had departed and Héctor Núñez was brought in. Following a third defeat in the opening five matches of the 1976/1977 at home to Terrassa, fans called for the head of the Club President. He stepped aside and was replaced by Salvador Muñoz Rodríguez. Despite a change of Club President and three different managers during the course of the season, things never improved and the expensively assembled team limped to a disappointing 10th position. No bouncing straight back up this time.

The new Club President was unable to turn things around. To the derision of supporters, he steered the club even further into debt. A further season of mid-table mediocrity in the Segunda Division, fans remaining unhappy and Rodríguez was replaced as the head of the club. Under new leadership and yet another new manager, Granada CF narrowly missed out on promotion at the end of the 1978/1979 season. Remaining unbeaten at home all season, the final game was a trip to Real Betis. With both teams level on points, the winner would gain promotion. Real Betis won 2-1 and Granada CF would face another season in the Segunda Division.

Yo-Yo Club, Mired in Debt

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Local media report the club are "in ruins" & the 1979/1980 squad

The big outlays towards the end of the last Primera Division spell, along with continued spending to get the club back there unsuccessfully, had plunged Granada CF deep into debt. All these years later, fans still debate whether Granada CF were simply ambitious and unlucky, or over-ambitious and reckless with their spending. The club had enjoyed undoubtedly one of their most prestigious periods in the Spanish top flight, only a few short years earlier, but at what cost? More than obvious ahead of the 1979/1980 season, was that the club headed into the new decade, with serious financial problems.

The remaining internationals and big earners were sold or released. Cheap or free transfer replacements, on much lower salaries were brought in. Granada CF now had to cut their cloth according to the current situation. Two wins and a draw in the final three games, was enough to keep the club in the Segunda Division. The following season, things could only get worse and the budget team didn't fare any better than the previous season. Towards the end of the 1980/1981 season, the team failed to win any of their last seven matches, plummeting like a stone into the bottom four and relegation. European plans and dreams a few short years earlier, were now completely extinguished, as Granada CF descended another level, to the Spanish third-tier.

After a mid-table season of adjustment to their new surroundings, Granada CF looked for ways to climb back upwards. One option attempted in January 1983, was the sale of the Los Cármenes stadium to a development company, in order to clear all the debts in one swoop. Having agreed a price and terms, the City Council rejected the proposals, forcing the club to look at alternative options. They then came up with a plan to sell 20 year “socios” to supporters. This alternative initiative was taken up by around three-thousand fans and the club was able to avoid closure by its creditors. The debts weren't cleared completely though and the club would have to continue working to a tight budget.

With light seemingly at the end of the tunnel, on the field the team managed to enjoy a good 1982/1983 season, winning Segunda Division B2 and promotion back to the second-tier. Back there, the team finished 8th and close to the play-off positions, in what looked like a solid season of consolidation. A terrible start to the 1983/1984 season was too much to recover from, even with rallying run of wins towards the end of the season, Granada CF again found themselves relegated to the third-tier. In the third-tier once more, the club was unable to service outstanding debts, including unpaid salaries to players and staff. Faced with the possibility of severe sanctions, the club managed to secure a further loan, which was transferred at the last minute to the Spanish Football Federation, in order to avoid punishment. Again, the club had to rebuild the team, with a complete change of coaching and playing staff, in order to cut costs. All things considered, creditable 8th and 7th positions in Segunda Division B were the best the fans could have hoped for. Given the tight budget, the team then exceeded all expectations during the 1986/1987 season by managing to finish 3rd and winning promotion back to the Segunda Division.

1987/1988 season underway, the Club President announced that Granada CF had reached a deal to sign Lalo Maradona. Not only that, to celebrate the signing, the club arranged a special friendly, with his brothers Hugo and Diego Maradona, at Los Cármenes against Swedish side Malmo, who were managed at the time by current England boss, Roy Hodgson. Such was the interest generated in seeing all three of the Maradona brothers playing together in a match, that the game proved to be a huge marketing coup for Granada CF. Indeed, it's estimated that TV rights and sponsorship interest alone, covered the cost of Lalo's signing for the club. The novelty of having a “Maradona” helped for a short while, as the side made a good start to the season. When the novelty factor wore off, the side slumped and finishing the season with 19 defeats and 11 draws, finished second from bottom and relegated back to the third-tier. Lalo Maradona packed his bags and Granada's struggle continued.

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Video (in Spanish) of the Granada CF v Malmo match, featuring all 3 Maradona brothers.

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When the Maradona's came to town - The 1st time the brothers played together in the same team.

Third Tier Torment

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1989/1990 Team didn't live up to expectations - 1992/1993 Team missed out on promotion.

Still flirting perilously with debt and back in the third-tier, fans were wondering if things could possibly get any worse. Unfortunately, they could. A promising looking team failed to deliver as the 1988/1989 season turned into chaos. Manager Eduardo Gómez was replaced, with a second manager, who was incredibly then replaced by a third, then a fourth manager. If things couldn't get any more ridiculous in the dugout, the fourth manager of the season was also relieved of his duties... and replaced by the manager who'd started the season, Eduardo Gómez. Thankfully, he managed to finish better than he'd started, by steering the club away from relegation to the fourth-tier. For the following three seasons, Granada CF would finish in the top-half of the table, but never realistically come close to promotion. A third place finish at the end of the 1992/1993 season gained a place in the promotion play-offs, but the team faltered and missed their chance.

Flirting with the play-off zone throughout the 1993/1994 season, Granada CF ended up in 6th place and facing yet another season in Segunda B. On a more positive note however, planning was approved for a new municipal stadium to be built and in March 1994, the first stone was laid at what would become “Nuevo” Los Cármenes. A poor 1994/1995 season saw Granada CF finish just four points from the relegation zone in 13th place. Meanwhile, with construction of the new stadium complete, the club ended the season with their last game at the “Old” Los Cármenes stadium with a 1-1 draw against Sevilla B.

Out with the old and in with the new, the 1995/1996 season in new surroundings brought new hope to the team and the supporters. A thirteen match unbeaten run saw the team propel themselves into a 2nd place finish in the league, but as happened a few years earlier, the team faltered when it came to the play-off league. Again, an opportunity for promotion had been missed. After many years either as Club President or on the board, Cándido Gómez Álvarez stepped down from his position, claiming lack of sufficient “socios” or support from the City Council. Still mired in debts, a new management board was appointed, following a failed attempt to turn the club into a privately run business entity.

A further three seasons saw the side qualify for, but fail yet again in the play-offs, before eventually finishing 1st in Segunda B4 in 1999/2000 and qualification once more for the promotion play-offs. Having won three and drawn two of their promotion group matches, including a 2-1 win away at Real Murcia, the players, the fans and the city were prepared to celebrate the end to such a long wait in the third-tier, with promotion at last. Euphoria turned to despair however. Needing only a draw to win promotion, Granada CF lost 0-1 at home to Real Murcia in that crucial game. Adding to the woes of the Granadino fans, it was former Granada CF player Aguilar who scored the winning goal to give Real Murcia promotion.

The team couldn't repeat their league exploits of the previous year, with a 5th place finish the culmination of the 2000/2001 season. A cup run did give fans something to cheer about, with their reward being two-legs against Atlético Madrid in the quater-finals. Inevitably Granada CF bowed out of the competition at that stage, to an aggregate score of 4-1.

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The "New" Los Cármenes stadium replaces "Old" Los Cármenes, home since the 1930's.

Into the Darkness

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2001/2002: Granada CF suffer administrative relegation - 2002/2003: Team featuring the young Manolo Lucena, still with the club today.

Although many were positive heading into the 2001/2002 season, the team never quite managed to get a run together and finished a disappointing 10th in the league. Far worse was to follow at the end of the season however. Still mired in financial difficulties, having failed to make wage payments and unable to meet the requirements of the Spanish Federation to clear the debts owed, the club was demoted to the Tercera Division, the Spanish fourth-tier. Having suffered the mediocrity of the third-tier for so long, loyal fans could hardly have believed things could sink even lower.

With the club in an even worse financial state, a businessman from Jaén took control of the club. Whilst debtors sought the closure of Granada CF, a new manager was hired and a side quickly assembled, without even having the benefit of a pre-season to prepare. Amongst the group of mostly young players, a Granadino through and through, emerged from the youth team, Manolo Lucena, (who remains with the club to this day, now as club captain in the Primera Division). After a slow start whilst the team adapted, a late push towards the end of the 2002/2003 saw the team clinch 4th place in Tercera Division Group 9 and the final play-off position. Too much too soon for the young team though, finished third in the play-off group and missing out on an immediate return to the third-tier. In the following 2003/2004 season, on the pitch the core of the previous season's team was retained and performed admirably. A 1st place finish in Tercera Division Group 9 was unfortunately followed by an away goals defeat, in the final play-off match. Off the pitch, Club President Pedro Ruiz received a vote of no confidence, after the players continually went unpaid and had protested along with prominent fan groups. A management board was then appointed amidst the chaos, with the aim of trying to balance the books.

In 2004/2005 and amidst boardroom rows off the field, on the field the team couldn't repeat their previous season's efforts. A 5th place finish and a point outside the play-off zone as close as they could get. Eventually arguments and changing leadership in the boardroom, lead to the arrival of former Real Madrid President Lorenzo Sanz accompanied by his son Paco Sanz, who would assume the Club Presidency with the offer of investment. At last, a ray of light emerged, as the club prepared for a fourth season in the Spanish fourth-tier.

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New Hopes, Old Fears... Fool's Gold

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Paco Sanz & his father Lorenzo Sanz arrive at the club... but all was not as it seemed.

With backing from the Sanz family and their investors, Granada CF headed into 2005/2006 season invigorated and keen to make a fresh start. Amazingly, having struggled for financial support for many years, a group of businessmen in the city bought the rights to Guadix CF and founded Granada Atlético, a new rival team and project, looking to attract supporters away from Granada CF. Granadinos remained loyal to Granada CF however, though there's no doubt that interest was piqued by the new rivalry of teams, who would also share the same stadium. Neck and neck throughout the season, Granada CF and Granada Atlético jostled for position at the top of the league. By the very tightest of margins, the league campaign ended with both teams on 78 points, but Granada CF claiming 1st position with a superior goal difference.

Into the play-offs once more and Granada CF were paired with Guadalajara in the final. A 1-0 away defeat meant the return leg would be a tense affair. 18,000 packed Nuevo Los Cármenes though, an attendance unheard of in the 4th tier of the Spanish football, to back their team. Roared on by the home fans, Granada CF managed to get the tie back on level terms, but with the aggregate score 1-1 after 90 minutes, the tension mounted as extra-time was needed to decide the outcome. Two more goals came and Granada CF finished 3-0 winners on the night, 3-1 on aggregate. They'd done it! After four hard years in the very basement of Spanish football, they'd managed to at least make it back to the third-tier and the Segunda B4. The team and the fans celebrated long into the night, for finally, there was hope that the long years of suffering were over.

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The 2005/2006 team & fans celebrate play-off win against Guadalajara - Back to Segunda B4.

Retaining virtually the whole of the promotion winning team, with few new additions and backed by large crowds, Granada CF headed into the 2006/2007 campaign in Segunda B4. A fair start to the season, followed by long spells of inconsistency, saw the team finish the season in 13th place. Good consolidation, considering the modest nature of the squad. 2007/2008 and the squad was strengthened, as ambitions began to grow. Heading into the final day of the season, Granada CF won 1-0 away at Linares, but were also reliant on results elsewhere, to clinch a play-off place. Merida also won their final game and with only a point difference, they secured 4th place, whilst Granada CF finished 5th. Leading goalscorer with 18 goals, was Gorka Pintado. After such a good season and having attracted attention from a number of clubs, he ended up securing a €300,000 move to Swansea City.

The following 2008/2009 season would see further changes to the squad, with the aim of promotion, but also a return to upheaval in the boardroom. A poor start to the season was disappointing, given further investment in the squad and the team struggled to find any consistency. The poor results, coupled with the reappearance of financial difficulties, saw the players go unpaid. In an iconic statement against the Club President, ahead of one match, players ran out wearing T-Shirts emblazoned with “Paco Sanz, Pay Now” - then when the game started, the players took to their knees, hands behind their backs as if tied. Protests by the players and supporters gained momentum and eventually Paco Sanz stepped down from the Club Presidency. As the season drew to a close with Granada CF finishing mid-table, hopes of a new era had soured and with no new investors, the club looked like it was heading into insolvency and the real threat of closure. Once more, financial difficulty had returned to haunt the club, with them left staring into the abyss.

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"Paco Sanz, Pay Us Now" - Players protest at non-payment of wages.

Italian Saviours & Journey to the Promised Land

The following is taken from an article I wrote for The Watford Observer, as the Pozzo family were in the process of taking over at Watford FC this summer.

Crippled with debts and struggling in the dungeon divisions of Spanish football, and literally weeks from closure, many fans of Granada CF had considerable doubts when a delegation from Udinese arrived in the city. Things began to change very quickly. Quique Pina, their Spanish representative, was installed to run things as club president. In the background but ever busy was Gino Pozzo, the son of Udinese supremo Giampaolo Pozzo. Debts were quickly cleared and the books were balanced, a good sign for starters. Shortly after, Granada CF were loaned numerous players from Udinese, including several "investment" signings, bought specifically by Udinese to send to their new affiliates. The rapid changes were impressive off the field, but on the pitch, things weren't as impressive as hoped to begin with.

With the target an immediate promotion to Segunda, manager Miguel Ángel Álvarez Tomé was dismissed midway through the season, with the team struggling to stay near the top of the table. His replacement was Fabriciano Gonzaléz, a battler in the lower leagues, who would ultimately steer them to promotion at the end of the season. Back in the second tier of Spanish football, after an absence of 22 years.

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Thousands of travelling fans invade the pitch at Alcorcón, hoisting Odion Ighalo aloft - The squad celebrate at Nuevo Los Cármenes.

The following season, there were more player changes and arrivals from Udinese, including more "investment" signings. The fans were euphoric with promotion the previous season, but at best, they were looking forward to a season of consolidation in the Segunda. A poor start to the season was perhaps predictable, with so many player changes once more. The side started to gel and the stands started to swell at their Nuevo Los Cármenes home, whilst results gradually started to come. A fantastic home record saw Granada climb steadily up the table and end up clinching the final play-off spot. Whilst I'd certainly thought the team were capable, I don't think any of the fans could quite believe their fortune. Proud to have reached the play-offs, the fans cheered their team past Celta Vigo in the semi-finals, after a penalty shoot-out victory, and went on to beat Elche in the final on away goals. For the first time in 35 years, Granada CF made their return to the Primera.

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Magic Moment: Ighalo rounds the keeper to score the crucial goal - Fans hoist Ighalo aloft, celebrating promotion to the Primera.

Back in the top flight, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid, some fans were perhaps a little unrealistic in their expectations. Many hoped for big-name signings. Indeed backed with additional financial support from the Pozzo family and their investors, Granada CF made ambitious approaches for numerous quality players. Sadly, having been outside the top-flight for so long, few of the big name players they approached, had faith that the "project" was anything more than a flash in the pan. Key players from the promotion winning side remained, several of them contracted to Udinese, but the club also forged relations with Benfica, signing a number of players either on loan, or on free transfers. Whilst good additions were made, it was mainly the lack of attacking potency that made things difficult.

Struggling by January and in the bottom three, promotion-winning manager Fabri was relieved of his duties, in a move that genuinely split the opinions of the fans. Abel Resino was appointed with the task of keeping the club in the Primera and he made a great start. Ultimately a lack of fire-power couldn't lift the club clear of the relegation scrap. But Granada CF survived on the final day as Atlético Madrid sent Villarreal down.

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2011/2012 Granada CF squad - First season back in the Primera Division, after 35 year absence.

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10,000 Granada CF fans invade the Bernabéu - "We're Proud of You" - The team thanks the fans for their support.

With the new season beckoning and Granada CF having remained in the top-flight, the "project" looks set to continue growing. Quique Pina is to remain as club president, whilst in the background, Gino Pozzo guarantees further investment. Having been sensibly managed financially, without overstepping their boundaries or risking debt, the club is now in a position to assemble a strong side for the season ahead. Romanian international Gabriel Torje, on loan from Udinese, amongst the first of the expected arrivals. Meanwhile it's not just the first team that have benefited from investment. The youth system has enjoyed great support and development. The B side gained promotion to the fourth tier, where the first team were not so long ago. The youth teams at all levels have enjoyed excellent seasons and has focused principally on developing players from the province.

In Granada and Udine, fans of the respective clubs are already welcoming the latest "brotherly" addition to the "family" - Watford FC. Few can doubt what the Pozzo family have achieved at both Udinese and Granada CF.

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Udinese Calcio, Granada CF & Watford FC - The three clubs backed by the Pozzo family.


Credits

All content translated and written by Heath Chesters, with the help of the following sources:

Granada CF

Inside Spanish Football

ElCentrocampista

5000 y Un Ramos

14 Abril 1931

Granada CF 1931 Blog

Ideal Granada

The Watford Observer

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Granada CF - 2012/2013 Season

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Welcome To Granada CF

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On your first day in charge, you'll be welcomed to Granada CF by Club President, Quique Pina - a football man through and through.

Once a lower league footballer, before becoming a businessman and player representative, in 1999 Quique Pina realised his dreams to found his own football club, Ciudad de Murcia, who began life in the regional 5th tier of Spanish football. Under his leadership, this new club gained immediate promotion to the Tercera Division, then a second consecutive promotion to Segunda B4, the Spanish third-tier. They were now a professional football club and a 5th place finish in only their third season of existence, pushing for another promotion, mirrored the ambitions of the owner. The following season, those ambitions were realised, as Ciudad de Murcia gained promotion to Liga Adelante, the second tier of Spanish football. For the following two seasons, life was tough as Ciudad de Murcia battled to avoid relegation. Quique Pina strengthened the squad and the young club were incredibly knocking on the door of the top flight, with a 4th place finish.

Keen to repeat the experience, Quique Pina strengthened further and again the club pushed for promotion, but again finished in 4th place in Liga Adelante. Pushing the local council to support the club, help provide them with their own stadium and training facilities in order to grow and survive, he found that no assistance was forthcoming. Frustrated, he controversially sold his club to Granadino businessman Carlos Marsá, the President of regional level team, CP Granada 74. Marsá announced his intentions to merge Ciudad de Murcia with his own club and relocate them to the city of Granada. Fans protested at the sale of the club, but to no avail. The new owner couldn't continue the success though and CP Granada 74 flopped spectacularly, suffered consecutive relegations and eventually folded.

Quique Pina meanwhile remained actively involved in football. Still a businessman and agent, whilst also friends with Gino Pozzo, the son of Udinese President Giampaolo Pozzo, Pina forged close ties with the Italian club by becoming their Spanish player representative. With Udinese and the Pozzo family actively looking to invest in other clubs and countries, having been approached with the idea by the management board at Granada CF, Quique Pina brought the Italians to the table and their investment saved the club from closure in the summer of 2009. Shortly afterwards, he was voted in as Club President and so began his new project.

A highly ambitious man with a tunnel vision for football, Quique Pina has continued to court controversy following his sale of Ciudad de Murcia and his arrival at Granada CF. Often involved in arguments with the City Council in Granada, his primary focus is on the growth of the football club he feels responsible for. Were it not for his intervention though, Granada CF would not exist today and with his leadership, the club is now enjoying its second season in La Liga. After further arguments with the City Council recently, he managed to negotiate a renewed deal with them for the use of the Nuevo Los Cármenes stadium and has also received the support of the Provincial Council with the provision of training facilities.

Driven and hardly renown for his patience, Quique Pina oversaw the hiring and firing of an incredible 17 different managers in 8 seasons, whilst owner of Ciudad de Murcia. During his tenure as Club President at Granada CF, there have been 4 managers in 4 seasons. Whilst obviously not the most popular figure amongst fans in his native Murcia, following the sale of his former club, Quique Pina enjoys the strong support for all he's achieved at Granada CF, amongst the vast majority of their fans.

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As you will have gathered by now, your Club President (Chairman), is an ambitious and demanding man. Whilst the club has good backing from the Pozzo family and their investors, you will be expected to meet the minimum objectives set by Quique Pina, at the very least, in order to retain your job. Show promise and you will get good backing and strong support when approaching the board for infrastructure upgrades and staff improvements. The club is also keen to continue improving the youth football infrastructure, so be mindful of the the board philosophy of "Develop players using the club's youth system" and don't be afraid to ask for further improvements here. You should always get approval for your youth system related requests and the club will often favour your searching for talented young players.

Quique Pina may occasionally interfere with transfer dealings, but for the most part, should leave you to your own devices.


Club Information

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Finances

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The board run a tight ship at Granada CF. Since the arrival of the Pozzo family, their investors and Club President Quique Pina, the club has cleared outstanding debts and is managed very responsibly. A good example and in stark comparison to most Spanish football clubs, who are mired in debt.

Whilst there's no additionally available wage or transfer budget available shown in the finance screen, at the start of a save, there is just over €16,000,000 in the bank. You will find that there's a certain element of leeway available when it comes to transfer spending and with a surplus of over €100,000 per week available in wage budget, a chunk of this can be put towards increasing the transfer budget. The healthy financial situation at the club, also helps facilitate initial infrastructure improvements with much more ease.

Facilities

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For a modest club, Granada CF have pretty decent facilities to begin with, especially the training facilities. As already mentioned though, with an ambitious chairman and board in place, I would recommend seeking further infrastructure improvement as soon as possible. The board will normally be willing to agree to most if not all of your requests. Priorities will be to ask for further upgrades to training facilities, plus youth facilities, junior coaching, scouting range, youth recruitment network. In addition, don't forget to ask for more staff. Sometimes they may reject, but more often than not the board will agree to increase staff numbers in all areas. I also found them willing to increase staff wages, when prompted.

Essentially, just keep asking... and you should keep getting positive responses. If not, just try again a little later.

Stadium - Nuevo Los Cármenes

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Click on the image above, for a virtual tour of Nuevo Los Cármenes

Affiliate Clubs

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Granada CF B

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Like most Spanish football clubs, Granada CF have a B team. Currently, Granada CF B play in Tercera División Group 9, in the Spanish fourth-tier. Whilst that makes them unplayable at the start of the game, if you're fortunate, they may get promoted to Segunda B4 and become more useful. The majority of players that feature in the B team will be of little use to your first team plans, but can be sold at a profit or simply retained as you see fit. One thing I like to do, is sign reasonable young free agents as "investments", providing I can bring them in on low salaries. I'll then distribute the younger players to the U19 squad and the older players to the B team.

Tip: If you're impatient and want a more meaningful B team, you can "promote" them to Segunda B4 with the editor. Simply swap Granada B from Tercera División Group 9, with either Almería B or C.D. Loja of Segunda B4. Alternatively, look out for the date when the season rolls over and save/reload until Granada B "appear" in Segunda B4.

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C.D. Santa Fe

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The affiliate deal with C.D. Santa Fe is a local youth partnership. Santa Fe is a town bordering the city of Granada. Last season, Granada CF reached a mutual agreement with C.D. Santa Fe to share youth scouting, facilities and for first option on the best young players to come through their ranks. Currently Both Granada CF Juvanil A (U19's) team and C.D. Santa Fe Juvenil A (U19's), play in Division Honor Group 4, which is one of the four regional divisions at the highest level of youth football in Spain. In the real terms, this means that as well as having their own youth A team playing at this level, they also have a local feeder club at the same level too.

In FM terms, whilst there's little interaction you can have, they are worth retaining as a decent youth feeder club. They may produce some good young players, which you'll have first option to sign.

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Udinese Calcio

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Udinese Calcio are effectively the Italian "parent" club of Granada CF. You may already have noticed that the club has received large numbers of players on loan from them over the last few seasons. This season, there are 6 players "on loan", though some of them have actually been at the club for three or four years.

In FM, having Udinese Calcio as a parent club, should help facilitate the loan of further players and possibly facilitate easier transfer dealings, if you want to make some of the loan signings permanent. They also have amongst the best scouting networks in the world, so it's always worth keeping a close eye on players they sign. Any good youngsters they sign might be available on loan. Additionally, if they improve their own squad, more established players might also be available to loan, or buy at a favourable price.

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Watford FC

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Watford FC - the latest member of the "Pozzo Family". Currently, Watford have Ikechi Anya and Daniel Pudil on loan from Granada CF, along with a host of Udinese players. Hopes are that they'll follow a similar trajectory to Granada CF and achieve promotion to the Premier League. In real terms, the Pozzo family and their investors now have three options for where they can send signings, in Italy, Spain and now England.

In FM, they will be a useful feeder for you to send players on loan, to gain good match experience at a team who are playing at a high level, when comparing league reputations in Europe. If Watford manage to gain promotion to the Premier League, even better.

Tip: I find that the board at Granada CF are usually open to requests for further affiliate clubs. Easiest to request, is a feeder club in Spain and they'll usually come back with options of teams in one of the Segunda B groups. Although I haven't tried yet, they may be open to the other options you have, such as increasing profile overseas (for financial benefit), ties with a successful youth system (for first choice on talented young players), or to improve scouting knowledge (for a scouting knowledge boost in another country). Always work asking every so often and more affiliate clubs are always useful, for many and varied reasons.

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Backroom Staff

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You'll start at Granada CF with a good compliment of staff already. Whilst most of us tend to reshape our backroom team completely, in order to get exactly what we want, from coaches with high star ratings, or scouts with particular scouting knowledge, I'll draw your attention to a few existing staff members, who you may want to consider retaining.

Director of Football - Juan Carlos Cordero

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Juan Carlos Cordero is effectively the "right-hand-man" of Club President, Quique Pina. The two have worked together for many years, both at Ciudad de Murcia and at Granada CF. He is a key figure at the club and heavily responsible for the recruitment of players.

Whilst in FM his visual attributes aren't great, his hidden attributes are very strong. Some indication of this is visible however, in his "information" screen. With a 100% bars in club knowledge, recruitment and youth development, along with 91% bar in squad management, he can be trusted to do a very good job for the club. It's also worth considering that in real-life, Juan Carlos Cordero and Quique Pina are best of friends, which is also indicated in the "Favoured Personnel" screen in FM.

Coach - Javi García

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Javi García was a player for Granada CF for many years, until injury cut his career short. Upon hanging up his boots, he went straight into coaching with the club and became assistant manager as Granada CF rose from the Segunda B4l, to the Primera Division.

Whilst not currently listed as an assistant manager in FM, he is now what would have been previously considered in FM as a head coach. He has good attributes for an assistant manager and as a coach, particularly in tactics. Certainly worth retaining, as he also has good tactical knowledge, which you can call upon for pre-match advice for things such as opposition instructions.

Head of Youth Development - Pedro Peso

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Pedro Peso is another long serving member of staff at Granada CF, involved with the youth system at the club for many years.

In FM, his overall attributes make him ideally suited to remain involved with either your youth system in some capacity. Checking his information screen, you will note that he has 100% bars in all the key aspects of youth development and recruitment. He is also a good candidate for promotion to assistant manager, or as a first team coach who can offer good man management and motivational advice.

U19s Manager - José López Molino

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José López Molino is the current manager of Granada CF Juvenil A. In the last few years, he has guided the team to Division Honor, playing in Group 4 of what is the highest level of youth football in Spain. Now into their second season at this level, the Juvenil A (U19s) continues to improve, after an impressive 4th place finish in their first season at this level.

In FM, he has very good attributes and checking his information screen, you'll also note that he's perfectly suited to his current role.

Staff Recommendations

We all have our own preferences for particular staff we go for, based on what specific tasks we want them to undertake. It's pretty much a given that we'll all tend to go for coaches who provide the highest star ratings possible, but we may vary when it comes to other roles. Mindful of that, I'll simply provide an image showing the staff changes I've made.

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It's worth noting that I was successful in board requests to increase the number of staff allowed, for coaching, scouting and physiotherapy. Each of the coaches offers between 4 and 5 star ratings for their particular coaching task. For my Chief Scout and Head of Youth Development, I look for the highest attributes I can find, across the board in all the suitable areas. These two roles will then effectively become the most important to me, when it comes to getting a final scouting verdict on any and all players I look at. Whilst it is beneficial to have the highest possible JPA and JPP for the rest of my scouts, I do also look at lower attributed scouts who have a good varitety of scouting knowledge in different countries. Essentially my aim with the "common" scouts, is to have as broad a knowledge of as many countries around the world, as possible.

Tip: Don't forget that just like players, staff members can see their attributes rise over time too. Mindful of that, I often tend to look for the best of the younger staff members I can find. As a couple of pointers: Existing coach Javi García is only 35 and has a lot of potential to improve. If you happen to have a browse of the staff at the Granada CF B team, you'll spot Chief Scout David Peláez, who is only 21 and already has very good scouting attributes. He too has good potential, so you might want to retain his services, or indeed, promote him to work with the main club staff.

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First Team Squad

Click on the player images for their FM13 attributes

Goalkeepers

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Defenders

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18Lucena-1.png · 20BorjaGoacutemez-1.png · 21JuanmaOrtiz-1.png

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Tactical Analysis

4-2-3-1 Formation Variants

The main shapes used by Granada CF, are one of a number of 4-2-3-1 variants, where either the shape itself or the player roles are changed slightly. The main benefit to having flexibility within a base formation, is that the players can adapt quickly to role changes individually, as they're not changing shape much as a team. The lines remain more or less the same.

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Version 1: If I think that my team can impose themselves on opponents more, then this tends to be my preferred starting shape of the 4-2-3-1 variants, as it is more attacking by nature. An orthodox stopper/cover flat back-four, with a defensively focused central midfielder, alongside a more supportive midfielder. Further ahead, the central attacking midfielder is effectively a deeper second striker and can be more team oriented with the Attacking midfield role, or even more focused on attacking as a trequartista floating in the hole. The wide players look to hit the byline and provide plenty of crosses into the box, though you may note that Torje on the right has a tendency to cut inside sometimes. Utilising a target man role up-front, I'm looking at someone who not only leads the line, but is capable of playing in the attacking midfielder or the wingers around him.

Version 2: A slight variation to Version 1, insofar as I have the two central midfielders dropping deeper and the attacking midfielder in a more supportive role, as more of a team player. This is a more compact variant, which looks to help protect the defence from opposition counters, whilst also retaining possession as much as possible. The attacking midfielder will also drop deeper to help out more in midfield, or make his runs from slightly deeper positions.

Version 3: This is a narrower version of the 4-2-3-1 which is aimed more at controlling possession and overloading the middle. The wide players tuck inside to become inside forwards, but will still provide a good element of width, just not so tight to the touchline. The central midfielders are again deeper in order to help cover when opponents counter. This is helpful as the real width and deeper crossing options, will be provided by the full-backs, who will be offered more license to push forward. With a more compact midfield, the team should dominate possession more, though when in the final third pushing forward, space will be tight if opponents are sitting deep. This shape is most effective when trying to overload a weak opposition central defence, particularly one that doesn't have defensive midfielders playing ahead of it.

The players selected in each of the three variants, are those I feel are most suited to the positions and roles. There's a lot of options and flexibility in the 4-2-3-1 variants though, plus there's a lot of position and role flexibility amongst the players in the squad, so it's possible to try even further variants.

4-4-2 Formation Variants

Ahh... the good old 4-4-2 formations. Not very commonly seen in the highest levels of Spanish football these days, but one or two managers still like the shape, along with the basic lines it offers. Many use it as an alternative option, if they're chasing a goal and wish to deploy two strikers.

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Version 1: Pretty orthodox, but a little more attacking 4-4-2 variant with more advanced wingers. The intention here is to keep pressure on opposing full-backs and is particularly effective against wingerless formations, or where opponents are pushing their own full-backs forward. Passing movement is most often executed in triangles, if using a more possession based strategy. Most effective use of the shape tends to be when using a more direct strategy, where the aim is to get the ball as quickly as possible to the wide players or the strikers. I tend to use this shape mostly with a counter-attacking strategy. The main flaw with the shape however, is when opponents are using central attacking midfielders, who may look to exploit the space between your central midfielders and defenders. Given that's quite common amongst the Spanish teams, this variant might be considered somewhat of a risk v reward shape. You need to be sure that each player is perfectly suited to his role and the strategy you're using, for optimum effect.

Version 2: Slight variation in the 4-4-2 shape, but one that's based upon the strengths of certain key players. In this case, the main difference is along the left flank, looking to exploit the great attributes of Guilherme Siqueira. He likes to get forward from the full-back/wing-back position often, so with his attacking mentality and pulling the left-winger back, I'm offering him the opportunity to do that. If he gets forward and a move breaks down, obviously he runs the risk of being caught out of position if the opponents counter. Pulling the winger back deeper offers some protection, as he will then be more likely to drop back into the space vacated by the full-back. Interesting one to try nonetheless, just to see if you can make Siqueira as dangerously effective, as he was last season for Granada CF.

Again, players in these variants are those I feel are most suited to the positions and roles. Two banks of four can be quite useful defensively, whilst the extra striker can be potent against opposition defences. In Spanish football though, I tend to be wary of opponents getting too much free time and space, if deploying DMC's and/or AMC's.

4-5-1 / 4-3-3 Formation Variant

Depending on your preference, some of us call this shape 4-5-1, whilst others call it 4-3-3. Ultimately, I think it depends on the roles you're using, as to which is the most accurate name. A popular shape, but one that I've never really had much luck with in FM over the years.

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Version 1: Attacking inside-forwards with a single striker, offering a trio of attacking players. Obviously the main aim here is for the inside-forwards to try darting runs inside the opposition full-backs, whilst their central defenders are busy trying to keep a check on the striker and any central midfielders pushing forward. As an added bonus, many of the Granada CF wide players are capable of playing on both flanks. This could offer the possibility of utilising the swap-position instruction to good effect, between the two wide players. What I particularly like about this shape, is the roles it offers the central midfielders. Mikel Rico is a cracking box-to-box midfielder, whilst Fran Rico alongside him, can utilise his creative talents and range of passing as a deep-lying playmaker or advanced playmaker. As a defensive midfielder or anchor man, you're pretty much spoiled for choice, with Iriney, Moisés Hurtado and Manolo Lucena, all perfectly well suited. With inside-forwards darting infield, the full-backs have the opportunity to get forward on the overlap. Giving Guilherme Siqueira a wing-back role will give him license to do this more often.

Once more, the players I have selected best suit the positions and roles. There's a lot of experimenting that can be done with this shape, along with the players in this Granada CF squad. A lot of possibilities and a shape I'll be looking to experiment with more, given the newer match engine in FM13.

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Now open for business!

Enjoy playing as Granada CF. Feel free to share your experiences and if you need any more information, or think I've missed anything, just ask. :thup:

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Absolutely briliant thread Heath! A hell of a lot of work been put into this, tempted me to start as Granada :p Bloody hell I hate friendlies! Torje has had his ankle broken and is out for 3/4 months :(

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Torje has had his ankle broken and is out for 3/4 months :(

Ouch... that's not fun. Still, you can always have Jaime Romero on the left and Fabián Orellana on the right. Both will do a good job, but losing Torje so early is somewhat of a blow. Brahimi or El-Arabi can both play on the right though, so they could also cover.

Wingers seem really effective in FM13. Torje playing as a right winger has so far got an average rating of 7.61 in 12 games, along with 6 goals and 5 assists. Jaime Romero on the left, has played 12, scored 5 and 5 assists, with a 7.55 average rating.

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Good thing I have Adryan coming in, he can go in the CAM slot and Orellana can mover over to the right wing.

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Good thing I have Adryan coming in, he can go in the CAM slot and Orellana can mover over to the right wing.

Haha... stuffy bugger. I bid for Adryan too, but his agent made astronomical demands I couldn't afford.

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Great thread Heath, took a lot of inspiration from it to create mine. Enough anyway to make me want to start a game with them alongside my current one.

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They're a seriously decent squad to work with this year. If had great success with El Arabi in past FM's playing him on the left as an inside forward. Looking forward to eventually getting one started with them and using him especially.

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Interestingly, Granada CF tried to sign El Arabi at the start of last season too, but he headed for the $$$ in Saudi Arabia for a season instead.

My honest thoughts were that during pre-season, he was carrying a few extra kilos and had lost some pace. He's worked hard and it's starting to come good for him now. With Granada CF he tends to play either as the striker or behind the striker in a 4-2-3-1. That said, he has played as an inside-forward from the left a couple of times too. Hasn't been as effective there as playing centrally so far, where he has three goals in the last three league games.

In FM13, I've been trying to mirror how he's played positionally for Granada CF for real and he's done pretty well playing wide on the left, in AMC as AMC "attack" or as a Trequartista. Has also done fairly well as a poacher, advanced forward or target man.

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Jaime Romero has been absolutely superb for me so far. His attributes have also grown really well too, since the start of the season and now at the end of November in 1st season.

At Start:

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End of November, season 1:

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Needless to say, am currently negotiating with Udinese, to see if I can make his loan move permanent. Currently looking as though he'll become one of the better left-wingers in the game.

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Great thread Heath, took a lot of inspiration from it to create mine. Enough anyway to make me want to start a game with them alongside my current one.
Best thread I've actually ever seen on the forums, so much great work put into it!

For that sole purpose I'm now starting up a Granada save. Lets see how it goes.

Fantastic thread. You have to love this Udinese - Granada - Watford link up don't you? :)
WOW, one of the best team threads I've seen in a while! Well done

Thanks :)

I think that this is the first time that the history of the club, has been translated or written about in as much detail, in English. A rather cautionary tale, riddled with irresponsible club management, which is far from uncommon in Spanish football. Thankfully, the current management are running the club superbly off the field, even if the team have made a somewhat slow start, on the field.

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So, just finished first Month-ish of the game. Played 3 competitive league matches. I feel it's going quite well.

Not made any transfers none in or out. Wanted Wellington Nem but he went to Betis. (shakes fist)

I'll give you a run down of my results though.

Sun, 19.8.2012 - Rayo 2-2 Granada (Odion Ighalo x2)

Sun, 26.8.2012 - Granada 4-2 Sevilla (Jaime, Ighalo, Arabi, Siqueira)

Sun, 02.9.2012 - R.Madrid 2-2 Granada (Ighalo, Nyom)

Decent results. Particularly happy with the result at the Bernabeu. Lead 1-0 at HT.

Nyom had goal of the week in the week we played Madrid, followed closely in 2nd by Ighalo (against Madrid)

Ighalo is an absolute monster.

That's it so far :)

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Ighalo is an absolute monster.

Believe it or not, I actually downgraded him during research... but he's still doing the business in FM.

15 goals in 17 games for me so far & joint leading scorer in La Liga with Nélson Oliveira of Deportivo... with no Messi or Ronaldo in the top 5 scorers. :eek:

What's making me chuckle the most though, is that Messi is on 65x the wages Ighalo is on. :lol: I've actually agreed a deal with Udinese that will make his signing permanent though. €550k + €1.3m over 48 months and €10k p/w salary, which will go up to €15k p/w if he makes 10x international appearances for Nigeria.

Closing in on the end of December in my save now. Hoping I'll get some transfer money as a bonus for over-achieving, as I also want to make a permanent move for Jaime Romero. Haven't been able to negotiate less than €8m so far, but I'm willing to go to that, as he's been outstanding on the left-wing. Torje has been excellent too, but I doubt I'll be able to get him permanently.

I'll do a full update once I've reached the halfway point in the league season, which is 12th January 2013 in-game, just after the away match at Getafe.

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For anyone that fancies trying it out... give Guilherme Siqueira a go on the left-wing now & again.

Currently playing a match against Atlético Madrid away, resting Jaime Romero and Siqueira is utterly destroyed their right-back. So much so, they dragged him off at half-time. :D

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Lovely post. Nice to see the "can move freely" option has gone. Not sure ill be playing as Granada this time round (unless it pops up on my journeyman career) but ill be following here anyone who starts with them!

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I'm on these boards for 4 years and this is by far the best team guide I'v seen in here. :applause: Congratulations Heath. :thup:

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Two months into my save so I thought I'd post a little update. Started really well, by really well I mean unbeaten! This "honeymoon" period will probably end soon.

Rayo (A) W 6-0 [El Arabi, Rico, Ighalo 2, Flores 2]

Sevilla (H) W 4-3 [Flores, El Arabi 2, Ighalo]

R.Madrid (A) W 2-1 [iriney, Gomez]

Deportivo (H) W 2-0 [ighalo, Nyom]

Barcelona (A) D 1-1 [siqueira (pen)]

Celta (H) W 3-2 [ighalo, El Arabi, Flores]

Mallorca (A) W 3-2 [ighalo, Flores 2]

Sitting pretty at the top of La Liga with 19 points, Athletic Bilbao follow on 16 points with Barca 3rd and R.Madrid 4th both on 14 points. (I started like this on an Almeira save last year too)

Probably getting too far ahead of myself but I'm already planning for January! What with Cavani, Fellaini and Lars Bender transfer listed who wouldn't! But they will probably all screw up the wage structure and I would hate that. May settle for Ademilson, Lucas Ocampos and another Romanian winger.

EDIT: Yeah there we go the "honeymoon" period is over, we went down to 9 men and lost 2-1! Still top on goal difference though!

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Past the half way mark in my first season, we're currently sat 3rd in La Liga on 45 points, behind the big boys (Barca & Real) who are currently on 55 and 52 points respectively. I'm pleased with both games against R.Madrid and Barca because we took all 6 from R.Madrid and took 4 from Barcelona!

We went out of the Copa del Rey in the 5th round to Real Sociedad. I brought in Ademilson in January for £5.25M (scored his first goal against Barca, turns out it was the winner). I had offered pre contracts to Salvatore Bocchetti but he went to Chelsea. Ospina wanted wages that I was not willing to pay, Llorente was not interested and went to Chelsea. But I do have Weiss and Sanogo coming in July. While Roberto, Lucena, Lopez and Mainz will all be moving on to pastures new.

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Lovely post. Nice to see the "can move freely" option has gone.

Yeah. That was something we tried in research with FM12, trying to replicate the Udinese-Granada relationship & player movements better. Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out as hoped. Seems much better so far, with Udinese-Granada-Watford.

Toughest part will be getting some of the better loan players back from Udinese if you want to. If they do really well in the first season, Udinese won't likely loan them back, as they'll become 1st team players for them. I made Jaime & Ighalo permanent moves, so wasn't a problem for those two.

I'm on these boards for 4 years and this is by far the best team guide I'v seen in here. :applause: Congratulations Heath. :thup:

Cheers Fabio. Thought I'd float the boat a bit this time & delve into the history more.

Great thread Heath! What happened with the Cadiz link-up?

Long story short... Quique Pina wanted to continue the deal, invest more in Cádiz, but also wanted more control in return. The Cádiz wanted his investment, but weren't willing to relinquish more control, so Quique Pina pulled out and took the players with him.

Past the half way mark in my first season...

Sounds like you're flying! Given the start to the season, how much money did you get in January, with the option to change expectations? Changing mine to a European place finish, I got about €19m and a wage budget increase.

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Sounds like you're flying! Given the start to the season, how much money did you get in January, with the option to change expectations? Changing mine to a European place finish, I got about €19m and a wage budget increase.

Wasn't asked if I wanted to change my expectations :(

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Season 1 - January Update


Fixtures

Fixtures19.png

In all my years playing FM, I've boasted an uncanny record. Whoever I've managed, I've never once lost to Real Madrid... until now!

Superb form overall though, with just that one away defeat in the league against Real Madrid. Comfortable victory for them and my team barely had a sniff at goal. That result hit the morale of several players, so as there was an international break between then and my next match, I had a morale-booster friendly against the U19's.

From there on, an unbeaten league run spanning 16 matches.

Particular highlights:

1-0 away win at Barcelona. A proper backs to the wall game, where we nicked a goal from a set-piece

4-1 away win against Atlético Madrid. A good thrashing dealt out and actually should have scored more.

3-0 at home against Valencia. Great overall performance, but Siqueira stole the show with a super solo effort. Dribbled from left-back position, cut inside then through the defence and smashed the ball home inside the box.


League

League19.png

Top of the shop and obviously delighted.


Spanish Cup

Comfortable wins against Girona and Levante, took us through to the Q.Finals, where we would face our new nemesis... Real Madrid. Demolished away in the first leg, Siqueira scored a late goal to give a little hope for the second leg. At home, the team performed much better and with an early goal, just needed a second to lead on away goals. It never came though and Real Madrid won 3-2 on aggregate.


Squad

Squad01.png

The whole squad is performing well and rating highly.

Note: Unfortunately I've discovered a 'bug' here. I signed Ighalo & Jaime permanently (they start at the club on loan from Udinese), then when the deals completed in January, their stats for the season inexplicably reset to zero.

Ighalo has actually scored 14 goals in 15 games, whilst Jaime has 8 goals in 25 games, in all competitions for both players.


General

Board very willing to agree to my requests. Training and youth facility improvements approved and underway. Staff numbers, scouting range, youth scouting and coaching, all improved. Wage budget increase also improved.

Requesting an additional feeder club, the best option amongst the Segunda B teams offered, was Eibar in 2ªB2. I accepted the deal and began signing free agent veterans, plus a few "investment" signings. My aim in supporting them with players, is to help them get promoted to Segunda. If they do that, I then have a good feeder club in the next division down, who I can send my better young players to for first team experience. Currently at the mid-way point in the season, they're top of 2ªB2 and well on the way to promotion.

Upon reaching the January transfer window, given the league position, I was asked if I wanted to re-evaluate the season expectations. Having originally opted for "mid-table finish", I decided I'd change to "European places". This offered me an additional €18m in transfer funds, plus an increased wage budget.


Transfers

Transfers01.png

I've filtered the image, just to show the transfer dealings worthy of note.

Ignore Steffen Iversen... He was amongst a host of signings, all of which were otherwise free agents. A mixture of veterans and low wage "investments", they were packed off to my additional feeder club, Eibar. None of these players will ever feature for my club, but serve a purpose in helping the feeder club.

Main signings at the start of the season, were Noël Makombo-Eboma (a good youth prospect for my U19s) and Andile Jali, another young player with potential, who is now pushing Iriney out of the MC(d) slot in the 1st team.

In the January transfer window, I made permanent moves for Odion Ighalo and Jaime Romero, but also dropped a clanger... I forgot to renew the contract of Íñigo López, who promptly agreed terms with Osasuna and leaves on a free at the end of the season. A bit of a kick in the teeth, because he's performed superbly as my central defensive "stopper".

Having failed earlier in the season to agree contract terms, I was please to capture Adryan for his €1m release clause from Flamengo, plus for much lower wages than he'd requested at my first approach. Great prospect for the AMC slot.

My priority now is finding a suitable central defensive replacement for Íñigo López. Plenty of options out there, plenty of much younger central defenders with good potential. Several targets shortlisted, but so far, unable to agree fees with their clubs. The bidding and the haggling, continues...

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That remains to be seen. Several players currently out through injury or international call-ups for the African Cup of Nations.

Looks like I've found my central defensive replacement for Íñigo López though...

MuntildeozSigning.png

Cost €7m to sign him from Italian side Palermo, on a €20k p/w contract until 2017. Good all-round central defender and has some potential to improve further. Will likely have some training focus on his jumping, heading & marking.

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Heath are you using more or less the same tactics as on last years game? Or one of the variations in your OP?

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Heath are you using more or less the same tactics as on last years game? Or one of the variations in your OP?

Pretty much the same as last game, though with a little more flexibility, using the shapes shown in the OP.

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How's the Trequartista performing in the hole?

In the main, it depends entirely on the suitability of the player. If and when I use a Trequartista, I use El Arabi in that role. Otherwise, I'm using Orellana as Attacking Midfield Support/Attack.

When pushing for a goal, then the 4-2-3-1 shape with MC positioned central midfielders works well. Otherwise and useful against stronger teams, is keeping things compact. I'll then utilise DMC positioned midfielders. Fortunately with the Granada CF starting squad, most of the existing central midfielders are more than capable in both positional situations.

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Your wingers are performing like that on support roles? (Going by your OP images) If so that's surprising, how's Ighalo doing at TM (A)?

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Your wingers are performing like that on support roles? (Going by your OP images) If so that's surprising, how's Ighalo doing at TM (A)?

Yes, the wingers are doing really well with goals and assists. Having them on "support" keeps the shape more balanced. Many of their goals come from either dribbles into the box and finish, or arriving late at the far post. With "support", even from a more advanced AML/AMR position, they'll help track back defensively too.

Ighalo is doing very well as Target Man "attack". 18 goals in 18 games, league and cup. The combination of the role, the system I'm using, plus his attributes, seems to be a good match. He's kept Floro Flores out of the team, who's loan I terminated in January, to get the €30k p/w off the wage bill. He's also kept El Arabi and Machis on the bench. Others getting a chance now though, as Ighalo has been called up by Nigeria for the African Cup of Nations.

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Now that my full copy of the game has landed & I'm carrying on the save from the beta version, here's a rather delightful goal I've uploaded, from Guilherme Siqueira :brock:

[video=youtube_share;KRoqmmGTZZA]

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Now that is some goal! Funnily enough Siqueira heads my scoring chart with 18 goals in all competitions. Only the 5th of december in my 2nd season and I've been dealing with somewhat of an injury crisis. Iriney 6 months with knee tendonitis (4 months until hes back), Mikel Rico 3 months with a broken wrist (back in light training), Jordi Amat 1 month with a groin strain (back in light training) and Adryan 6 months with a broken leg (6 weeks to 3 months until he is back).

Despite all that I'm 2nd, with league leaders Real Madrid still in touching distance (only 2 points clear), and a point against 3rd place Arsenal at their place will see me into the Champions League KO rounds at their expense.

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My personal unbeaten FM record against Real Madrid (playing as any team) went early in this FM13 save, in the away league match. They also knocked me out of the Spanish Cup in the Q-Finals. Have just played them at home though and leading 3-2, bloody Özil popped up with an equaliser in, last kick of the game 90+1.

Still 3 points ahead of them though. Barcelona also 3 points behind, but they have a game in hand and a slightly better goal difference. Will remain top via head-to-head though, having beat them away early in the season.

The team really is performing heroically, but it's taking a lot of attention to detail and a variety of shouts during matches, as matches are getting very difficult now.

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Be interested to know what philosophy you're employing Heath, are you taking the game to people with the control strategy with high closing down and shorter passing?

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