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noikeee

[FM12] Trip to Nostalgia Lane

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Hey guys I used to be a regular here a couple years ago, however with different priorities in life and a lot of disappointment in the releases of FM13 and FM14 which I've never got on with (I haven't even bothered picking up FM15), I stopped posting around. The version of FM that continues to be the most fun to me is still FM12 and I've just felt like starting a new career in it for personal enjoyment. Hopefully I don't get a lot of crash dumps which has been my routine frustration in previous attempts to come back to FM12.

Unlike previous careers I'm not planning to waste my time writing much (would rather waste time playing), to be honest this isn't really for showing off my career and making it an interesting read, it's more for personal documentation as after playing a few seasons I enjoy looking back at my previous teams and players. So I'm really only planning 1 post per season at the end of it to document my progress. But I've been known to getting carried away, starting with similar intentions and ending up with lots of massive walls of text so who knows.

My starting point will be with FC Eindhoven in the Dutch second tier (Jupiler League).

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2011/2012 - FC Eindhoven

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Transfers

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I've had rather decent finances to start with, however the club reputation seems pretty low and I've found very hard to attract players that could represent a decent improvement to the ones I already had. As such I signed exclusively freebies, the highest profile ones being former internationals Ugur Yildirim, Boubacar Diarra and Franck Songo'o. I also made some decent cash selling players that I found not that important.

Fixtures and standings

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I found this first season much harder than I expected, as over the years I accumulated enough experience in FM12 to be pretty confident I could get success fairly easily, but that didn't happen this time. I went through many different tactical variations of 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3, and only really stabilized on a setup by the last few months of the season, by which we had lost the pack at the front a long time ago. Thankfully the board didn't expect much and never put pressure on me, and we ended up in the exact 13th spot the media had predicted at the start. We also got knocked out of the cup by a lower level team on penalty kicks, rather disappointingly.

A weird breakthrough was when I dropped captain and star player Theo Lucius to the bench, he was an awful fit for the captaincy but I didn't want to unsettle the team by changing captains. As soon as I benched him the team started responding well to team talks, which they'd never done before!

This Jupiler League has some weird rules in which the season is divided in 4 periods and the top team in each period gets a playoff spot, unfortunately even by the last period when we had improved a lot, we weren't good enough to top the period table and qualify.

Squad and tactics

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My lack of confidence in the team is easily noticeable by the fact playing time is spread through a lot of players, few were consistent choices all season long. In terms of tactics I'm quite happy with the current 4-1-3-1-1 I eventually settled in, this is the counter variant I use for tough games (plus shouts Play Narrower + Work Ball Into Box + Pass Into Space), I also have a more adventurous control variant, but in general we tended to be a very defensive team that scored very few goals.

Top 5 players of the season

5. Gijs Cales (ML, AML) - A signing that proved surprisingly strong as I expected him to be backup to Kaltenberg on the left, still he's fairly old and I'm going to let his contract run out as I only signed him for 1 season.

4. Boubacar Diarra (DC) - Another signing, helped stabilize my defence.

3. Jens van Son (DM, DR, MC) - I have a large number of versatile defensive players and Jens was the most consistent performer of them all, be it in midfield or right-back.

2. Rob van Boekel (AMC) - Another surprise performer, started well down the pecking order but eventually got his spot at AMC and scored a couple of goals.

(http://i.imgur.com/Y2debm1.jpg)"]1. Ratko Vansimpsen (ST) - Dreadful the first half of the season and had a lenghty goal drought, but other strikers were even worse and by the second half he finally started getting the goals in. Ended as top scorer by far with 12 goals.

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Hey dude, welcome back!

I look forward to your career as I'm in the Dutch leagues with MVV

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I feel the same way except it's FM11 I've settled on. I think there's definitely a minority sticking or going back to older versions.

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Why am I not surprised that you're all still here lol

FM11 was great too, I think my best career was in that version of the game, but there's not much difference between '11 and '12. I really don't want to be the old fart that says "in my time things were better" and isn't open-minded to new things, but the new games just aren't as fun. :(

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Guest Darius Basu

Yeah, me too, FM 12 or FM 13. Pretty sure I won't get close to FM 14 in the next 8-9 months and certainly not buying FM 15.

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Nothing wrong with nostalgia!

Quite a tough start, but looks like you improved towards the end of the season.

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2012/2013 - FC Eindhoven

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Transfers

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We continue to be focused on the free transfer market, albeit we paid a minuscule fee for a loan. Our highest profile signings were the hiring of Martin Laudrup's son Mads, as well as Ajax's winger Jozefzoon (on loan) and the Senegalese winger Frédéric Mendy; but perhaps the biggest news were in terms of departures, as I gambled getting rid of Dutch international and captain Theo Lucius as I felt he was a bad influence in the team and underperforming, as well as Rob van Boekel who was one of our top players last year but I felt I got a good fee for him and could replace him adequately.

Fixtures and standings

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What a bizarre season. Our form fluctuated wildly as the year went on, with some very good periods and very bad ones as well.

The start was utterly disastrous. We had looked decent in the friendlies but I had mostly booked them vs small teams; when it came to starting the Jupiler League we only got 1 point in the first 5 matches. I think I did a major mistake assigning the captaincy to Frank van Kouwen, who seemed just as uncomfortable in it as previous captain Theo Lucius. I felt this was a factor in our lack of performance so risked giving it away to Jens van Son, which obviously annoyed Frank greatly who'll go away on a free at the end of the season.

It worked, even if I'm not sure Jens is a good influence himself. I did other things like changing tactical settings too, but the form improvement was sharp and remarkable, as we climbed all the way up the table from dead last to 2nd by December. It was spectacular.

Unfortunately whatever was clicking well, went away just as suddenly. I think a massive factor was a very serious injury to our striker Ratko Vansimpsen, winger Jozefzoon also stopped for a while, but from January, we were back to total ineptness. We would win only 2 games from then onwards. With a couple of draws in the final few fixtures it looked as if we were still going to be able to at least limp our way into the playoffs, but a narrow defeat on the final match put us out on... a goals scored tie-breaker.

At the end 10th was a slight improvement on last season, and there were glimpses of promise, but it wasn't the considerable step forward I imagined we'd be able to make this season.

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Decided to slice the season review post into 2 as I feel it becomes more readable:

Squad and tactics

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I slightly tweaked things to try to take advantage of our new wingers, and give the team new finishing outlets to not be so dependent on the striker. It worked really well... for a while. Then stopped working at all. FM12 is certainly proving tougher than I remembered it.

Top 5 players of the season

5. Ivo Rossen (DM, DC, MC) - Slightly inflated ratings due to taking the team's penalty kicks, but Ivo's defensive performances, mostly as DM, were good.

4. Frédéric Mendy (AML) - This experienced winger didn't have the impact I expected as I found him inconsistent, but he did show rare glimpses of excellence winning games for us.

3. Florian Jozefzoon (AMR, AMC) - The Ajax loanee was on great form prior to his mid-season injury, mostly providing assists (total of 8), but didn't come back from injury very convincingly as he never reached the same heights at the end of the season.

2. Sjors Paridaans (DL, DC) - I'd tried this lad at centre-back last year as I much prefer attacking wingbacks which he isn't in the slightest, but he was unsuccessful there. I caved in, moved him permanently to the left, and he's been doing very well as a reliable old-school defensive fullback.

1. Ratko Vansimpsen (ST) - Still the side's focal point, was doing well with 11 goals scored, but then had a very bad injury and didn't return from it yet. I'm afraid that will set back his progress as I felt he was developing well up until then.

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A few more goals wouldn't go amiss. It looks a very competitive league, too.

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A few more goals wouldn't go amiss. It looks a very competitive league, too.

I'm only midway through the next season but it's safe to say the goals problem has been solved. ;)

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I've decided to introduce some rules from next season onwards, some based on my past careers, others inspired by Tomtuck's Ajax career:

1. Maximum asking price for a player (must never refuse a bid for any player, without first negotiating to this value):

- players within 50% of the max value player - 2x their value

- players below 50% of the max value player - 4x their value

2. Must make a transfer profit every 3 years

3. Maximum of 10 non-homegrows in the full squad

4. Minimum of 2 club homegrowns in the matchday squad

This is to make the game more challenging; more realistic because in real life teams find it much harder to hold on to their players; and to keep my teams identified with the nation I'm playing in, without completely locking me out of the fun of dealing in the transfer market.

I'm considering making the rule #1 harsher, because so far I haven't sold any player due to it, which is what often happened in the careers I've played under a similar rule in the past. I also have a bit of a system as to what do when I receive bids that involve monthly installments or future fees, etc, it sounds complicated but really isn't, I can explain if there's any interest.

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2013/2014 - FC Eindhoven

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Transfers

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In early pre-season we hired 3 quality young Dutch defenders (van Nuland, Ligeon and Nieveld) and that was one of the main inspirations behind introducing the homegrown rules - we now had the players to do that. There were a few other interesting moves in the transfer market, for the first time we spent a fair bit of money in Veldwijk, Galozzi and Loohuis, coincidentally none of them proved very important. We resorted to Ajax again to provide us quality young wingers on loan, Jozefzoon for the second consecutive season.

But most controversially, we sold our player of the season for the last 2 years, Ratko Vansimpsen! I felt with the signings of Puljic and Veldwijk for the striker position, he would be relegated to merely 3rd option and even stand in the way of the progression of our young forward Sherry Kindo Kamara. The fans didn't like this move, but the team turned out fine without him.

Fixtures and standings

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From the very first day I had a much better feeling about this season, our new signings and the tactical adjustments I did to accommodate them, seemed to result in much better football. In particular, the goals now seemed to be coming from all over the team rather than just the forward. Still, we struggled to get some consistency at first. It wasn't until October and a nice run of 6 wins that we really started challenging for anything. With the league table remarkably tight, we surged from 13th to 3rd in just 2 weeks, knocked out Eredivisie side NAC Breda in the cup, and continued the run to immediately reserve a playoff place for outscoring all the other teams in the 2nd period.

We later briefly occupied 1st place, but struggled to get this sort of consistency the rest of the season, for whatever unknown reason. We kept within distance for genuinely fighting for first place and automatic promotion, but a series of 3 consecutive defeats in February/March set us back, and despite an attempt to come back in following fixtures, we were mathematically out by the penultimate match, and finished 5th.

Promotion remained a possible but unlikely crapshoot that needed us to beat two teams over two legs, however we just got unbelievably lucky in the playoffs. Vs Almere at home we saw them miss several sitters, and ended up winning 1-0 with a 93rd minute goal. A professional defensive performance in the 2nd leg put us through with a 0-0. Vs Zwolle in the following match, it was even more remarkable as despite them having 5 clear cut chances we won 2-1. In the 2nd leg, I set up the team the most defensive I've ever attempted, that seemed to unsettle our opponents, and we won 3-1, including a total fluke goal by Puljic. FC EINDHOVEN IS PROMOTED TO THE EREDIVISIE!!

What now?

Despite coming 5th I am actually quite positive we can survive on the highest level - I wouldn't have said this last year, when I was much less convinced about my side. The biggest concern is whether I can maintain most of my players, as many of them are wanted by bigger clubs. The transfer rules might kick in at any moment, and I had a recent scare as under the rules I had to accept a bid for my keeper Brahim Zaari, but he refused a move to Scotland. Another problem is the wage bill, we've been remarkably stable financially so far, but many players have huge promotion wage increase clauses.

There is one thing that's keeping me very excited about next season - we have just signed a certain Italian player that goes by the name of Lorenzo Insigne!! He is not as good in FM12 as in real life, specially badly lacking mental attributes, but that's still one hell of a signing.

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Squad and tactics

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* denotes a player that is homegrown in the Netherlands, (H) denotes a player that is homegrown at the club. Remember that by my rules I now can only have 10 non-homegrowns in the whole squad, and must use at least 2 club homegrowns in each matchday squad.

A few players will soon count as club homegrowns too, and we've had a good youth intake this year. So I'm thinking of increasing the number of players in the matchday squad from 2 to 3, it might be feasible.

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Lots of changes on roles - inside forward on the left, wingback/attack role on the fullbacks, and deep lying playmaker on the MC. This is the control/press more version of the tactic, which also now uses the following shouts: Work Ball Into Box, Play Out of Defence, Retain Possession, Look for Overlap.

The counter-attacking version of this tactic doesn't have the "press more" instruction, the right-back is on support duty, the Look for Overlap shout is dropped as I use the shouts Play Narrower + Pass Into Space.

Top 5 players of the season

5. Jakov Puljic (ST) - Top scorer on 15 goals, and I believe in him that he can become much better and lighten up the Eredivisie, but it took a bit of insistence in order for him to get those goals. Inconsistent but a great player is starting to form there.

4. Korbinian Vollmann (AML) - He's the kind of inside forward that you'd expect from a 30 year old, not a 20 year old like him - hard-working and super reliable, but rarely dazzles. Still got 11 assists, the highest number in the squad. I hope Ajax lets me renew the loan.

3. Sjors Paridaans (DC, DL) - When I first arrived I tried playing him in the middle and he disappointed, this time his preferred position in the left was taken by new arrival van Nuland, so he had to go back to centre-back. Surprised me by playing a stellar season in there, and even scored a few important goals.

2. Lars Gulpen (AMC, MC) - Dipped greatly in form the 2nd half of the season, as a few injuries didn't help, but he was my favourite attacking player earlier, as he shown an unexpected great ability for scoring goals, besides his obvious playmaking abilities. 9 goals and a golden future ahead of him.

1. Jeffrey van Nuland (DL) - At the end I'm gonna have to give player of the season on average rating, because he was a fair bit ahead of everyone else. I don't know exactly what makes his ratings so consistently great, but he seems to get lots and lots of successful passes in each game. A wonderful ball-playing defender for this level who's actually natural as centre-back, but is just superb as an attacking wing-back in the left.

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Excellent work! Looking forward to the Eindhoven derby!

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2014/2015 - FC Eindhoven

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Transfers

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Pre-season I was mostly excited by the arrival of a certain Lorenzo Insigne, but forward Osariemen Giulio Ebagua also meant something interesting to me as he was hugely influential in one of my previous careers, for a season in Torino. The best signings however, would be Czech teenage midfielder Martin Klimek, and later in January, centre-back Hrayr Mkoyan. More on them later.

My transfer rules forced me to sell a player for the first time, he was backup goalkeeper Octavian Ormenisan, even if only for 95K. We had bagged a bit of cash earlier as I got rid of Lars Veldwijk for 240K - the striker wasn't performing to my standards.

Fixtures and standings

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What can I say, this was just a season that far surpassed my wildest expectations, and has to be up there as one of my best in any FM. I had this feeling from the start we were capable of holding our own despite having been promoted to the top league, that got confirmed when we drew away at Ajax, then we started going up the table and were 3rd by October.

We rarely lost, but when we did it usually went very badly though. A 1-5 at NEC marked our first defeat, and we had been knocked out by lower league Spakenburg out of the cup earlier, too. Anyway, the staggering thing was that we didn't stop by having a brilliant start of the season, we held firm in the table for a long time, too. Most of the season was spent bouncing between 5th and 7th, yet keeping ourselves close to the teams ahead who fought for the title.

As the season progressed PSV opened up well clear at the top, and the title clearly went way out of our reach, but a string of late wins amazingly put us in contention for Champions League places. An epic 3-2 win at Feyenoord's in the penultimate match gave us the golden opportunity of going into the final fixture in 2nd place, which would be enough for Champions League football. Sadly again we proved that when we lose we lose very badly, and we crashed out 5-0 to Vitesse who stole our place. Still, I'm more than happy with 3rd and Europa League qualification!!

What now?

It's going to be very, very tough to improve on this. Our surprise factor is gone, so we might not be able to play our mostly defensive tactics for long. Also, we're reaching a ceiling in several different fronts - under my rules I can only have 10 non-homegrowns and that limits signings, we're also stretching our wage budget to max, AND we're maxing out our tiny stadium regularly. I'm going to try my best but the next season or next few seasons might not mean much progress...

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Squad and tactics

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* denotes a player that is homegrown in the Netherlands, (H) denotes a player that is homegrown at the club

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Having gotten promoted it was time to be more defensive and so we pulled back into a tighter formation, used our counter-attacking plan most regularly, and used the shouts Play Out of Defence, Play Narrower, Pass Into Space, Work Ball Into Box, Retain Possession. But the huge breakthrough was a modification of the ML role to best use our new star Martin Klimek - it's something I've used earlier in previous careers and works immensely well, basically like a inside forward in a deeper position: told to cut inside and run a lot. It worked wonders for our attacking dynamics and raised us to a whole new level, as the opposition just couldn't cope with it.

We also had a control strategy setup more similar to last year's tactics but this was rarely used.

Top 5 players of the season

5. Christopher Missilou (MC, DM) - A class deep-lying playmaker, who even sometimes takes the ball and runs around with it thanks a PPM and good dribbling skills. This type of player regularly has lower ratings in FM so it's remarkable he still got one of our higher rankings.

4. Hrayr Mkoyan (DC) - A great January signing as our defence clearly was lacking some ability to play at the required level of the Eredivisie. Even scored 4 goals, some of them important.

3. Brahim Zaari (GK) - He's been first choice since the start of my career, and I've felt he was important before, but never more so than this remarkable year. Did many great saves keeping us from conceding the number of goals you'd expect from a promoted team - the FM12 ME shows his great agility very well.

2. Jakov Puljic (ST) - Adapted himself well to the Eredivisie, and ended as our top scorer on 11 goals, some of them quality solo efforts. Could've scored more bar if it wasn't for a lengthy mid-season injury, which coincided with a bit of a dip in form from our team, of course.

1. Martin Klimek (ML) - The missing piece in our puzzle, this 19 year old Czech kid often terrorized opponents with his dazzling runs from deep, his late arrivals to the box, and when that all failed he'd add to his impressive numbers with his superb set piece abilities. 16 assists, 8 goals, and the scary thing is he's well short from his peak years yet. Could this be a worldwide superstar player in the making?

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Blimey! Only two points off the Champions League!

What a season! You're quite right; it's going to take something special to top it!

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Wow fantastic season :D

Thanks.

Blimey! Only two points off the Champions League!

What a season! You're quite right; it's going to take something special to top it!

We appear to have not only failed to top it, but went a bit further on the other direction as well... :( I've got 7 fixtures to play still, but can already tell with some confidence it's a letdown season.

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2015/2016 - FC Eindhoven

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Transfers

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Our Summer was rocked very early, still in June, by the news that our best player by miles Martin Klimek was off to Manchester City - the first big transfer market casualty under this save's rules. 2.2M€ was a pretty low fee for the hugely talented teenager, but that was twice his value so rules are rules. We signed Armenian winger Gevorg Ghazaryan as a sort of direct replacement, but I knew there was no way he'd be a match for Klimek.

Other notable signings included Argentinian striker Sergio Araujo that sadly failed to adapt to the Netherlands and was a pretty bad flop; Paraguayan midfielder/left-back Juan Nuñez; and a hugely exciting Dutch prospect named William Heus who can play right-back and centre-back and is 19 years old.

Fixtures and standings

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With our attention divided between the Eredivisie and the club's first ever European adventure, and our best player gone, I was already expecting a struggle. But we did okay for a while. We beat Steaua to go through to the Europa League group stage, and whilst our performance there was a little disappointing even given a tough group - we came 3rd tied in points with Hapoel Tel-Aviv and way behind Valencia and Saint-Étienne - we weren't terribly off the pace in the league. We certainly weren't hitting the heights of the previous season, but by December we held 7th and were well in contention for at least the playoffs that decided the final European place.

You'd think with the Europa League out of the way we'd be able to focus on the league and improve our form, but instead things just got worse. WAY worse. Our defensive record was never terrible but we just forgot how to score any goals, and would only record 3 wins in the second half of the season. Thankfully one of them came in the very final match that allowed us to salvage 11th, as we had dropped badly to a pretty stable 12th during most of the final months.

In the Dutch Cup we continued our tradition of being knocked out early in embarrassing fashion by lower league teams, something that has already happened a couple times before, even in far more positive seasons. A wacky tie vs Cambuur ended 3-3 after extra time, they beat us in penalties and that was it. We did field a couple of youngsters and backups but that's never an excuse.

What now?

3rd to 11th is a massive step back; I've done lots for this club already; the club has a tiny stadium that is preventing us from progressing financially. These are lots of reasons why in normal conditions I'd be pretty tempted to move out to a new challenge.

However, the rules I'm playing under, specially the homegrowns thing, only really make any sense to challenge myself in the long-term - can I build a class side with a core basis of homegrown Dutch talent; and can I do it under constant blows of the best players being poached by better teams, like they do in real life? My plan is to spend at least a decade in the club - 5 more seasons maybe. And for next year, I've got an extra motivation as I'm planning to do a major tactical overhaul - more on that in just a minute.

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Squad and tactics

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* denotes a player that is homegrown in the Netherlands, (H) denotes a player that is homegrown at the club

Notice we are hitting a bit of problem that most of our club homegrowns aren't good enough. Lars Gulpen and Jens Van Son are the 2 guys I usually name in my match squad but I don't rate for this level and for my ambition. Meanwhile I don't trust the generation of players of Sherry Kindo Kamara, Vinnie Vermeer and Joep van Vroenhoven - none of them look like they're going to become truly useful players unless they do a massive step forward, and I'm not willing to give them the lots of game time it would take for them to possibly do that step.

However, there is nothing in my rules that say the players need to have come out of my youth academy, just that they need to be homegrown at the club. That means, Dutch players that are hired very young and spend 3 years under my command, do qualify. Lars Gulpen is already under this criteria, and there are 2 guys that could have a very bright future at the club through this: Daan Wever looks like a really good DM in the making and will qualify for next season; whilst William Heus is already a star and if we manage to somehow hold on to him for 2 more years, he will too.

Beyond these, we have a problem as none have shown up in recent youth intakes that convince me at all. I will post screenies of all of these homegrown players in a separate post in just a minute.

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Tactics-wise I tried to stick to last year's setup as it had been so amazingly successful, but it quickly became obvious its success relied pretty badly on Martin Klimek, and Ghazaryan was a poor substitute being a different kind of player. I tried tweaking a few things but nothing ever really worked.

For next year I have 2 hugely exciting players signed up already, one AM LC / ST and one M/AM RC / ST. They can play out wide but I believe both are better in the middle. Meanwhile one the guys we're playing wide - Insigne - can also play in the middle, and the only guy that can only play on the wings is Ghazaryan who isn't performing that great and is overpriced in the market. I've therefore already lined up a lucrative move for him, and am planning to reshuffle to some sort of narrow 4-4-2 diamond! I've had huge success with a 4-3-1-2 in a previous career in Argentina and can't wait to try it again here in the Netherlands.

Top 5 players of the season

5. Lorenzo Insigne (AMR, ST) - His unconvincing mental stats lead to a lot of balls lost, poor decisions and poor ratings, but he was still by far our most influential attacking player with 13 assists.

4. Gevorg Ghazaryan (ML, AMR, AML) - Goes a long way to show how bad we were, that a player I've just criticized wildly through all I've read still was comfortably one of our 5 best players. Never terribly exciting, but did get 4 assists, 6 goals and decent ratings; and the alarming thing is with those 6 goals he came only 1 short of being the team's top scorer - it was a really bad year for our strikers.

3. Christopher Missilou (MC, DM) - The other influential player I already know we're gonna lose next Summer (beyond Ghazaryan's 1.6M€ move to Huddersfield), he is leaving on a free. That is highly unfortunate as I feel he's an hugely important player of immense talent, but I was just unable to make him sign a new contract neither ever got any decent fee for him.

2. Hrayr Mkoyan (DC) - Very few players came out of this shambles of a season with an increased reputation, Hryar certainly was one of them. By far our best defender and one of the best signings I've made yet. Important upfront as he scored 5 goals, most of them in the first half of the season.

1. Brahim Zaari (GK) - Immense. Remember a few years back when people complained FM had a "superkeeper bug"? Well the bug played for us all season, and it was a major factor in why we didn't go even worse into relegation territory despite scoring so few goals - because at the back very few balls went in. 4 MOM awards and best average rating in the squad, which is amazing when you consider keepers always get crap ratings.

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The homegrowns

These are the 5 club homegrowns in the squad:

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And these 2 guys are the ones that will soon count as club homegrowns too:

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Remember the rules:

- in the match squad I must name 2 club homegrowns (youth intakes or trained in the club for 3 years before the age of 21)

- in the whole squad I can only have 10 non-homegrowns (total foreigners to the Netherlands)

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That's my kind of challenge! You might want to look to my thread - I play with Ajax and use self-imposed rules (don't buy any players, rely on youth team only, have to sell player if there's sufficient interest and £8m+ bid for him, don't pay over £50 000 p/w to any player).

Ajax is obviosly a lot better starting point in terms of money, organisation, youth system quality and initial squad, but competition and expectations are also tougher. I'm now in 2024 and managed to win Europa League twice in past 10 seasons.

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That's my kind of challenge! You might want to look to my thread - I play with Ajax and use self-imposed rules (don't buy any players, rely on youth team only, have to sell player if there's sufficient interest and £8m+ bid for him, don't pay over £50 000 p/w to any player).

Ajax is obviosly a lot better starting point in terms of money, organisation, youth system quality and initial squad, but competition and expectations are also tougher. I'm now in 2024 and managed to win Europa League twice in past 10 seasons.

I hadn't noticed your thread yet, looks very interesting, will try to have a proper read one of these days. I based some of my rules out of Tomtuck's career which is also with Ajax and also very similar! Main difference is neither me nor Tomtuck are doing youth-only, we can buy players but restricted to some extent.

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Doing well Noikeee.

Cheers Nobby. "Well" might be an exaggeration for last season which was crap, but as I'm midway the next one I can safely say we've bounced back to European places contention. :thup: 3rd as I currently post with half the fixtures done, fingers crossed we can hold on for the remainder of the year.

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j0DMLld.jpg

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This guy's career for us was just lolz:

- arrived in the Summer as the BIG signing on a free, I even made a whole new tactic to best fit him

- scores in the first minute of the first friendly

- picks up a 3 month injury in the same friendly

- returns from injury but is homesick, given a leave of absence

- returns from Cyprus but is STILL homesick, given another month off to home

- is FINALLY settled in Holland and happy but by now it's the winter break and he's suddenly poached by a record club fee by Watford (3M€ + clauses), which was above my must-accept-fee as per the rules

I'm mostly bummed I never got to properly try him as I saw him as the perfect deep-lying forward for my new system. He's also worth way way more than 3M€ and could have been a gem on the pitch, but rules are rules.

This guy also went:

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He was my best young Dutch talent - soon to count as homegrown, too - and was having one hell of a season. Leaves for same fee as Konstantinou as per the rules also, but without the extra clauses. I'm quite annoyed we lose him to a team that's behind us in the table instead of an actual big club overseas...

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HOLY F*CKING SH*T I just had the greatest goal ever.

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Frame from the exact moment in time Jesé shoots over a slightly mispositioned keeper. Yes that is Jesé Rodriguez from Real Madrid (more on that later). I don't recall ever scoring a goal from over the halfway line like this??

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2016/2017 - FC Eindhoven

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Transfers

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This was a season of very high transfer activity, with lots of ins and outs, including many important players. Missilou and Ghazaryan were the stars going out, meanwhile Real Madrid reject Jesé Rodriguez and wonder regen Giorgos Konstantinou were the headline signings. Konstantinou would become pretty much the only flopped signing, with most of the others proving very important! Argentinian defensive midfielder Claudio Yacob was another new class player and he'd form a brand new base of midfield trio together with veteran Bas Sibum, and Wesley's brother Rodney Sneijder. South African left-back Thabo Matlaba would claim his position easily, and teenage forward Wim Eekman became this season's sensation as an unlikely prolific goalscorer.

January things were shaken up again with the big sales of William Heus and Konstantinou, this gave us a bit of money, I decided to invest in a new exciting forward named Blaise Loweya Manubia. To open up a spot for him I let go Jakov Puljic - our main striker for the last few seasons - which pissed off our fans. He was having a good season actually with 5 goals in 9 matches but it was time to let him go for a better player.

Fixtures and standings

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We started a bit slow with 2 defeats in the first 3 fixtures, but the team was adjusting to our new tactical system, and I felt things were on the right track. I was correct as we slowly picked ourselves up and would nail a spectacular long sequence of 14 unbeaten matches, which lasted beyond the hectic January transfer market and put us momentarily in 2nd, just ahead of Ajax and only a few points below leaders and city rivals PSV. It was an excellent, exciting revival after the rather mediocre season last year.

But then, The Big Catastrophical Failure Of Amsterdam suddenly happened.

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The worst defeat I can ever remember having on FM, without any warning whatsoever. I've no idea what did we do so wrong, but Ajax were incredibly effective and Perisic was just demonic and punished us badly with 5 goals by himself. It was a crazy one-off match, but obviously dented our morale and we slipped away for the remainder of the season, with a difficult run of matches right after this not helping us neither. Vitesse soon passed us as well, and we cruised to a lone settled 4th place for the last few weeks of the season, qualifying for the Europa League.

As a side-note, we got knocked out of the cup by a lower league tier team YET AGAIN. Sparta are pretty decent for a Jupiler League side, but losing 4-1 to them was embarrassing.

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What now?

Two years ago we claimed a spectacular 3rd right out of having gotten promotion to the Eredivisie. This season we came just short of that in 4th - but unlike then, I feel we're far more settled and prepared for the future. The club's financially much sounder, we've got far more talent in the squad including a handful of interesting youngsters (and a few signed up for next year already), and most importantly we're playing far better football now, regularly in control of the situation, instead of trying to get lucky every match. There is an exciting future in Eindhoven for the coming seasons!

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Squad and tactics

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* denotes a player that is homegrown in the Netherlands, (H) denotes a player that is homegrown at the club

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As promised I did a total revolution of the tactical setup, switching to a narrow 4-3-1-2, much alike one I've played in a previous FM12 career in Argentina. The secret trick behind this is telling both strikers to tight-mark the opposition full-backs, not allowing them to overload us down the flanks. It worked like a charm, just like I remembered it.

Top 5 players of the season

5. Lorenzo Insigne (AMC, ST) - A much better season for the irreverent short Italian, after two unconvincing seasons out on the wing - the move to the middle did good to him. He was hugely influential for a large chunk of the season, but inexplicably disappeared in the last couple of months. 6 goals and 7 assists.

4. Wim Eekman (ST) - No doubt the surprise player of the year! When I hired him in the Summer I thought he'd be one for the long future, he quickly proved me wrong when I gave him a go through an injury to my then main striker Puljic. He started scoring and never really stopped, becoming our top scorer with 14 goals. Did I mention he's 18 and packed with potential?

3. William Heus (DC) - I'm still bummed Twente poached him from us in January. I moved him from full-back to centre-back as my new tactic needed attacking full-backs, and the move did great for him as his form increased sharply. Since the move, I've been using the experienced Cheikou Kouyaté and it's just not the same at all with much lower ratings.

2. Jesé (AMC, ST) - Divided between trequartista, deep-lying forward and advanced forward, the talented former Real Madrid player was a bit inconsistent for a long chunk of the season, but bit by bit improved his form and started winning a few matches with key goals. Overall, our most influential attacking player. 10 goals, 7 assists, 5 man of the match awards.

1. Hrayr Mkoyan (DC) - You cannot play an attacking tactic convincingly without a decent basis on the back holding the team together. Thankfully, Hrayr used the higher demands on the defence to shine even higher than he had in previous years, controlling well the space around him, and scoring 6 goals on attacking set pieces.

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Fantastic season and getting Europa League spot :thup:

Thanks. Meanwhile, for next season we've made our big sale already:

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2.4M ain't great for what was a hugely talented player but that was per the rules. It was myself who pushed the transfer anyway by offering him out - because I needed the cash to hire this guy:

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He looks slightly the lesser player, but keep in mind he's Dutch which means this opens up one of our 10 foreign spots (per my rules). Also, Blaise Loweya Manubia whilst talented wasn't really performing that amazing (4 goals in 12 matches last season) so I could afford to let him go.

I'm now likely to field a duo of teenage Dutch forwards upfront in 19 year old Hans Kuipers and 18 year old Wim Eekman!

And these are 2 other monstruous regens I've hired for this new season:

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1.9M for the centre-back, 1.2M for the midfielder. Pretty damn happy with both deals...

I'm in pre-season at the moment and can't wait to get the matches started.

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Kuipers looks really good and how many goals are you expecting from him this season? Both players looks brilliant.

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Kuipers looks really good and how many goals are you expecting from him this season? Both players looks brilliant.

He already got 4 in his first 5 matches, considering the guy he replaced had gotten 4 in 12 that's already an improvement, and anything more will be a bonus. :thup:

Unfortunately the team's form has been a bit iffy in this start and we got thrown out of Europe at the preliminary round, but I sense we're starting to improve as the new signings gel.

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January Sale

So I'm midseason and just like last year the big clubs came sniffing at our players, and with my rules there's a constant danger any player might be poached at any time. I got lucky the only guy that they got this time was the monster CB I'd hired at the start of the season:

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This was pretty stupid from Fiorentina as not only was I gonna sell by as low as 4.6M (per the rules), he also had a minimum fee clause of 5.5M. When the bid came flying in at 6.5M I didn't even have to click accept, the board chairman did that for me.

Looking for a replacement I got this kid:

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It's a considerable downgrade but also for a small fraction of the fee I'd gotten for Mahinou. And Mahinou wasn't playing that amazing tbh (although he is a fantastic talent).

As for how the season's going, it's been about average. I'm just after the January transfer window, and we're currently 4th again after recovering from a slow start in recent matches. Full review coming at the end of the season as usual.

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2017/2018 - FC Eindhoven

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Transfers

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Most of what happened transfer-wise this season I've already talked about, but we saw a Summer of relatively high activity with the main move being the hiring of young Dutchman Hans Kuipers who replaced directly Blaise Loweya Manubia; and the signing of exciting youngsters Camilo Guzmán (Colombian midfielder), Abraham Mahinou (Cameroonian centre-back) and Milorad Kostic (Serbian midfielder). We also boosted the Dutch ranks with a few new experienced squad players, namely Gilliano Wiljnaldum (left-back), Daan Bovenberg (centre-back) and Willem Janssen (attacking midfielder); and made a straight swap of foreign defensive midfielders with Paraguayan Juan Núñez moving out to open up a place for veteran Nigerian Femi Ajilore.

Come January the one massive move was the sale of Mahinou to Fiorentina for a club record fee of 6.5M€, New Zealander Paul Bright was the replacement at a cut price of 750K€. With this huge income it meant we made a profit on transfers this year yet again.

Fixtures and standings

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It's not unusual for new signings to unsettle a team and that's pretty much what happened here again. We were unconvincing for the first couple of months in the season, and disappointingly fell apart in the first round of the Europa League despite being favourites vs Jablonec of Czech Republic. There were fleeting encouraging signs like beating Ajax (who smashed us 9-1 last year, remember), and by November we started to get some momentum going. By mid-season we were in a mighty scrap of several teams ranging from 3rd to 7th place in the league.

A fantastic run of form after returning from the Winter break, made us push clear of this pack. We even beat local rivals PSV for the first time in 4 years of Eredivisie! However Feyenoord climbed the table along with us and soon we were battling them for 3rd place. Despite our sensational performances, losing 1 single league match since December, it was not enough to beat Feyenoord and we could only repeat last year's 4th place. A few more matches and we might have even got 2nd and a Champions League place, though - Vitesse finished merely 2 points ahead of us.

But the big breakthrough this season was in the competition we usually neglect and do terrible in - the Dutch Cup. A series of lucky draws gave us easy tie after easy tie, and soon we were into the final for the first time ever! Having to face the current 6-time champions PSV, I set up defensively and it was working very well as we held on 0-0 for long and I already was planning for penalties. But Adebayor nicked a 92nd minute winner for PSV in a corner and gave them the double, to our dismay.

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What now?

It's proving stubbornly difficult to move into another level past 3rd/4th place, and start getting some Champions League action, but even if it was a baby step I still felt this was a season of progression. My plan is to do a full decade with this club before moving and this was season number 7, so possibly I'll do here another 3 seasons to see if I can get Champions League qualification and/or some title, then move to another country.

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Squad and tactics

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* denotes a player that is homegrown in the Netherlands, (H) denotes a player that is homegrown at the club

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No changes from last year other than minor adjustments. In occasional difficult matches we used a slight variation of formation, by moving the MCL and MC into DMCL and DMC positions.

Top 5 players of the season

5. Hrayr Mkoyan (DC) - All of our centre-backs had an excellent season - Mkoyan, the big sale Mahinou, and the replacements Bovenberg and Bright who rotated between each other the rest of the season. Mkoyan had the worst average rating of the 4 by a small margin, but was still the guy I had more confidence in and played by far the most matches.

4. Jesé (AMC, ST) - Pretty terrible the first half of the season, then morphed into some sort of Zombie Jesus/Chuck Norris/the Bogeyman crossover for a brief period in January in which he scored 7 goals in 4 matches! Did reasonably well since, but as he was moaning he wanted to leave and I wanted to open up spots for new foreign players, I've already arranged a transfer for him back to Spain. 13 goals and 5 assists.

3. Thabo Matlaba (DL) - Surprising. I was expecting new signing Wijnaldum to steal his place, but after a few terrible performances I switched back to the veteran South African, and he did even better than last season that had already been pretty handy. 7 assists is a pretty good stat.

2. Camilo Guzmán (MC) - Best signing of the season by a long way. This Colombian kid took 2 or 3 months to settle, but then morphed into a fearsome assist machine, scoring a new club record of 18 in the season. Sure, a LOT of them were thanks to the fact he takes all my set pieces, but it's not his fault he's an absolutely excellent set piece taker.

1. Wim Eekman (ST) - The teenager from Dordrecht had already been a surprise classy performer last season, this year he stepped up an extra level to command our attack all year long. 24 goals, 18 of them in the league, these were new club records.

Career overview

[b]Season   League                      Cups                       International                   Player of the season        Notes[/b]
*****************************************************************************************************************************************************
FC Eindhoven (Netherlands)
*****************************************************************************************************************************************************
11/12    Jupiler League - 13th       KNVB Beker 2nd rnd         ----                            Ratko Vansimpsen (ST)
12/13    Jupiler League - 10th       KNVB Beker 2nd rnd         ----                            Ratko Vansimpsen (ST)
[b]***** INTRODUCED HOMEGROWNS/TRANSFER RULES FROM HERE *****[/b]
13/14    Jupiler League - 5th        KNVB Beker 4th rnd         ----                            Jeffrey van Nuland (DL)     Promoted via playoffs
14/15    Eredivisie - 3rd            KNVB Beker 2nd rnd         ----                            Martin Klimek (ML)
15/16    Eredivisie - 11th           KNVB Beker 2nd rnd         Europa League group stage       Brahim Zaari (GK)
16/17    Eredivisie - 4th            KNVB Beker 4th rnd         ----                            Hrayr Mkoyan (DC)
17/18    Eredivisie - 4th            KNVB Beker final           Europa League 4th qual rnd      Wim Eekman (ST)

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Summer Sale 2018

Houston, we have a problem.

All 4 players went under the transfer rule. Add to that the fact I decided to sell Jesé and Insigne on my own decision, before any of these moves, and our attack was pretty much completely wiped out.

That would be worrying enough, except my board decided now was the time to expand the stadium. This was long overdue, but they invested a fair bit of money there and I was left with little to replace all of these star players. I juggled finances the best I could and got these guys:

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These new players have some talent in theory, but not on par with the guys they replaced, and I'm struggling to get the best of them at the start of the new season. Moreover, there's now very little depth to the squad when any of the starting 11 are unavailable. This is going to be a long season...

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The transfer rule?

I find it too easy to hold on to players in FM, so I play by a rule that if a bid comes that's twice the player's value, I have to accept the bid.

To be honest this time it was a bit too over the top. One thing is making the game a bit more challenging, another is selling a pack of 4 potential world class players for a combined total value of about 10M€. That's not realistic, that's just stupid. Thinking of changing the rules a bit...

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Rules change

1. Maximum asking price for a player (must never refuse a bid for any player, without first negotiating to this value):

a) none (can refuse all bids)

- if the player is homegrown for the club

b) can ask at most for 4x his value

- if the player's below 50% of the max value player

- if the player is homegrown in the nation

- if I've already sold 2 players in the same season under the rules

c) can ask at most for 2x his value

- all others

2. Must make a transfer profit every 3 years

3. Maximum of 10 non-homegrows in the full squad

4. Minimum of 2 club homegrowns in the matchday squad

The bits in red are new. Basically, it's realistic for a club to sell 1 or 2 of their best players to make a profit each year, but not a whole batch of them like what happened this season, that's just bad management. It also makes sense to protect more the homegrowns, given that I'm building my squads all around a homegrown concept. I've been watching my Dutch stars be sold at low prices to other Dutch clubs...

I know this sounds all convoluted and complicated but it makes the game more challenging.

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Stadium expansion

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We can now fit 6824 spectators. It's still a tiny stadium, but hopefully a few more bums on seats will allow us to spend slightly more on wages. I believe the stadium is the single biggest factor preventing us from expanding our club to a bigger level.

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