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Barcelona'ing the way through the lower leagues part II - FM15 edition

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Hi I'm back for another challenge in yet another FMCU career. I've been known to come back regularly to FM12 after several failed experiences with subsequent FM titles I've never come to terms with. But it's time for yet another shot - I caved in again to buying the latest FM knowing the last patch is out, and it just looks like it has a lot of cool new stuff. The difference is this time I didn't just jump straight in and started a career, I've had a go with a season with Inter Milan first. It ended horribly with a sacking but by the end of that season I was actually getting the hang of it quite well and learned a lot of stuff!

Another thing that little Inter experiment resulted in, was an unexpected development in my tactical setup - as I tweaked things in response to what happened in the games, I leaned more and more into a possession-based 4-3-3 with a single forward that drops deep. The remarkable thing is that this is SO similar to my very first FMCU career ever, back in the FM11 days - an attempt to get lower league teams playing like Barcelona.

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I reckoned I should just try to do the same in FM15, so I took my bags and travelled to the North of Spain in Galicia to take over Compostela, a team that about a decade ago was playing in La Liga facing Barcelona and Real Madrid but is now languishing in the third tier hell of Segunda B. This is hardly the lowest level ever, but it felt like the most adequate place possible to try and play some tiki-taka influenced football - getting some success in FM15 is already a big enough challenge for myself so let's not overcomplicate by taking over an unsuitable side, or applying some superstrict transfer rules as I've done in a few of my careers in the past...

This is the profile I'm starting with:

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Just focusing everything on adaptability as I shall be a Portuguese manager trying to build his career abroad!

And this is a glimpse of the football we've been playing - not too terrible for a tier 3 team, heh?

[video=youtube;Cm9pauNjvzY]

Review of the first season coming later...

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Career summary

Compostela (Spain) - 2014-2023

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Segunda División B Grupo 1 champions (2016)

Promoted from Segunda División B (2016)

Promoted from Liga Adelante (2022)

Kayserispor (Turkey) - 2023-2025

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Super League champions (2024, 2025)

Türkiye Kupasi winners (2024)

TFF Super Cup winners (2025)

Lyon (France) - 2025-2027

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Ligue 1 champions (2026, 2027)

Coupe de la Ligue winners (2026, 2027)

Coupe de France winners (2027)

Trophée des Champions winners (2027)

Full list of career results

[b]Season   League                   Cups                          International                   Player of the season        Notes
*****************************************************************************************************************************************************
Compostela (Spain)
*****************************************************************************************************************************************************[/b]
14/15    Segunda B1 - 3rd         ----                          ----                            Iván Pérez (AMR)            Lost in promotion playoffs
15/16    Segunda B1 - 1st         Rey 1st Rnd/RFEF Prel Rnd     ----                            Hicham Khaloua (ST)         Champion, promoted
16/17    Liga Adelante - 9th      Copa del Rey 2nd Rnd          ----                            Hicham Khaloua (ST)     
17/18    Liga Adelante - 5th      Copa del Rey 2nd Rnd          ----                            Iván Pérez (AMR)            Lost in promotion playoffs
18/19    Liga Adelante - 13th     Copa del Rey 3rd Rnd          ----                            Julio Pleguezuelo (DC)
19/20    Liga Adelante - 13th     Copa del Rey 2nd Rnd          ----                            Francesco Urso (MC)
20/21    Liga Adelante - 5th      Copa del Rey 4th Rnd          ----                            Luigi Falcone (ST)          Lost in promotion playoffs
21/22    Liga Adelante - 2nd      Copa del Rey 4th Rnd          ----                            Luigi Falcone (ST)          Promoted
22/23    La Liga - 11th           Copa del Rey 4th Rnd          ----                            Harold Villa (ST)
[b]*****************************************************************************************************************************************************
Kayserispor (Turkey)
*****************************************************************************************************************************************************[/b]
23/24    Super League - 1st       Türkiye Kupasi winners        ----                            Orkan Çinar (ML)            Champions, won the double
24/25    Super League - 1st       T. Kup. 1/2f, TSC winners     Champions League 1st KO rnd     Eduardo San Miguel (MR)     Retained the title
[b]*****************************************************************************************************************************************************
Lyon (France)
*****************************************************************************************************************************************************[/b]
25/26    Ligue 1 - 1st            CpFr 10th rnd, CpLg winners   Champions League 1st KO rnd     Igor (ST)                   Champions, won League Cup
26/27    Ligue 1 - 1st            TrdC win, CpFr win, CpLg win  Champions League 1/4 final      Igor (ST)                   Won all 4 national trophies

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Chapter 1 - Saints of Spain

2014/2015, Compostela

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Santiago de Compostela SAD are best known for their 4-season stint in La Liga from 1994/95 to 1997/98 in which they played every week against some of the best teams in the globe. Sadly, despite being one of the biggest teams in Galicia, these days are way past them now and they've managed to go as low as the 5th tier very recently due to financial problems. They're in recovery... but it's a very slow recovery. That 14000 capacity stadium is not getting anywhere near filled any time soon.

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They're based in the city with the same name, Santiago de Compostela, a place best known as a very popular pilgrimage destination for Catholic believers. As quite the skeptic myself this is a weird place to get my first managerial job, but footballing constraints called higher - I went through all the teams in the Segunda B to see which squads best fit my kind of football without being outright favourites for promotion, and Compostela fit perfectly. Media prediction was 9th place, I was quietly confident of being able to do better.

Transfers

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With the club on an extremely dodgy financial position, I could barely even hire free agents so raided the (unpaid) loans instead. Iago (CB), Samu (MC/AMR) and Antonio Marin (DR) would become 3 very good signings.

Fixtures and standings

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It was an extremely promising first season. The team clicked immediately with my style of play and I got 5 wins in my first 6 fixtures climbing straight to 1st place. As the season progressed Oviedo overtook us and it was obvious they were gonna be champions, but this is the notoriously difficult to get out of Segunda B, where nobody gets direct promotion, and the top 4 go into a playoff - my goal was now to at least qualify into the playoff.

We never dropped out of that top 4, but we had to put a bit of work to get there. The positive vibe around the club as we beat expectations was a big factor, and my ego got greater when I got praise from renowned past internationals:

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We were such a resilient side too, comebacks were one of our trademark traits, as this 3-0 to 3-3 at Zamora proves:

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It took a comeback to clinch that playoff position. Murcia in 5th were threatening to catch us and we found ourselves losing 2-0 away to them with 2 fixtures to go. We pulled the 2-2 draw and eventually ended 3rd.

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In the dreaded playoffs, we nullified Barakaldo's smashing threats from wide with some special tactical moves. There were still 2 rounds to go to clinch promotion though, and next we were up against Alcoyano. A very tough 1-1 home draw put us in a difficult position for the 2nd leg. It did prove difficult, as in an epic match we came back twice to draw 1-1 and then 2-2, and then we had a penalty to draw yet again as the scoreline was 3-2. In heartbreaking fashion our top scorer Borja Navarro blasted it over the bar and instead of going through in away goals, we were out of contention for promotion.

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What next?

I really enjoyed my first season for Compostela, we beat expectations by a long way, played some cracking football most of the time, and nearly got promoted. There are financial concerns as we're now 1.5M€ in the red, but I've renewed my contract in hope I'll beat the playoffs next year.

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Squad and tactics

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The squad is a bit on the short side (for my standards), this is because in the Segunda B you can only register 2 goalkeepers and 20 outfield players, plus any U19 players (when I don't have any decent youths at all). On top of that, there's a maximum of 16 players over 23. This is hard...

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Tactics-wise I kept things extremely simple - I used this formation as a starting point all season long, and then had 2 plans. Plan A is "counter", "structured", no shouts at all. Plan B is "standard", "structured", "tighter marking" and "close down more". Instructions set for the inside forwards to shoot less. That's it.

However I was very keen to change things as the matches went on and it wasn't unusual I'd go to defensive or attacking, to add a couple of shouts, or to apply a large bunch of opposition instructions. I react to the opposition and how the matches unfold a lot.

In reality we hardly ever used tiki-taka-ish shouts - retain possession, shorter passing, work ball into box, etc, we rarely used that. We often lost the battle of possession, too. However just the way the team is set up in terms of roles and formation does lead to a lot of team moves. Tiki-taka isn't really the end goal here, I just want to win and in this FM playing this way has been a bit of a sweet spot for me.

Top 5 players of the season

5. Jimmy (DL) - Jimmy crosses. Jimmy dribbles. Jimmy gives width. Jimmy gets assists, a lot of them (9). Jimmy is important. Jimmy's one hell of a full-back.

4. Paulo Teles (MC) - The only guy in the team I could have a decent conversation with without having to resort trying to speak some bad Spanish. My fellow countrymen started the season in insane form, I think he had a 7.67 average rating at some point or something like that. He badly dipped later on but was still important.

3. José Alcañiz (DC) - This guy was just the total boss of defence. Played every single minute, never got injured, never got tired, never stopped bossing around. He's a rough motherf*cker too, with bravery of 15, aggression of 13. Fear him.

2. Borja Navarro (ST) - People say you shouldn't play a complete forward unless you've got the b*stard child of Van Basten, Pelé, Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Bullsh*t, all you need is a Borja Navarro - a guy that can reasonably tick all the boxes to a basic level and unleash the team's potential as the lone forward. Backup forward Yacine Qasmi did well with 11 goals in the various periods Borja was injured, but this guy not only scored them but also created stuff for his team-mates. 18 goals, 9 assists.

PLAYER OF THE SEASON - Iván Pérez (AMR, MC)

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I'd like to give a small shout to the man on the other wing Alvaro Lemos who got 13 goals but Iván was at another level. Creator, finisher, free kick taker, unlocker of difficult matches, he was our star player no doubt. 11 goals, 15 assists, 6 player of the match awards, and just a whole lot of enjoyable moments watching him play. Thank you for a great season Iván.

[b]Season   League                      Cups                       International                   Player of the season        Notes
*****************************************************************************************************************************************************
Compostela (Spain)
*****************************************************************************************************************************************************[/b]
14/15    Segunda B1 - 3rd            ----                       ----                            Iván Pérez (AMR)            Lost in promotion playoffs

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Cheers folks. For season 2 I've got a much reduced wage budget with the club nearly bankrupt and several players given wage increases (oops - my fault for giving them those clauses), and a media prediction of 1st with the board wanting me to get the title. No pressure then. :eek:

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Great first season in Spain, unlucky in the Play Off's bu they are a nightmare to navigate at that level.

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I think I've just had the most ridiculous bad-luck match I've ever had in years and years of playing FM:

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I don't see much compost.

Or any Stella for that matter...

Shame about the playoff defeat, but nice to see someone implementing more complex tactics at the lower levels. It gives me hope that I will one day successfully incorporate my 4231 into a lower league save!

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Or any Stella for that matter...

Shame about the playoff defeat, but nice to see someone implementing more complex tactics at the lower levels. It gives me hope that I will one day successfully incorporate my 4231 into a lower league save!

I know what you mean but this isn't really all that "complex", my counter-attacking version of the tactic doesn't even have a single team instruction on.

I think I'm getting away with playing like this partly because I'm managing in a nation and a team that fits the tactic, and also partly because it just fits the current match engine, I've noticed ever since FM13 that even really crap teams are able to pass the ball around far more than what their level would hint at (but then you need some sort of edge to score goals, which in this particular ME works through the duo of IF/As). By all means experiment but I'd be very wary of playing a 4231 because it's such a open formation, I've had very inconsistent results the matches I used a 4231 at Inter Milan.

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2015/2016, Compostela



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I played this season a hell of a long time ago but ended up going on a long break from FM as soon as the season ended. Recently I picked up FM again, loaded up the save, and after a couple hours I realized I was well into continuing this career! To catch up here's a summary of what happened on season 2, but given all of this was played literally months ago I've got few memories of the details, so forgive me for not writing much and just posting a bunch of screenies...

Transfers

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We exploited the loan market even further with no less than 6 new loanees - we also renewed a couple of loans and signed Samu permanently (who was loaned to us the previous season).

Striker Hicham Khaloua would prove the pick of the signings, with centre-back Ibrahim Diallo and inside forward Javi Navas also immensely valuable.

Fixtures and standings

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After promising so much the previous year, this was the season we nailed promotion. First there was the regular season - we knew that in this extremely difficult league, even winning the title doesn't guarantee you promotion, but this time we did manage to win it, on equal points after slacking off the last few fixtures.

One thing the title gives you is a straight pass towards the playoff "semi-finals" whose name is completely misleading - win it and you're promoted. In two absolutely nerve-racking matches against Ponferradina where we never looked the better side and were without our star goalscorer Khaloua, we scrapped through with a 1-0 win on first leg, and a late equalizer on the second leg confirming promotion, the hero being midfielder Samu.

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The following playoff didn't go as well as we were beaten and outplayed by Cádiz quite badly on an aggregate of 0-4, but all it decided was the overall title of the Segunda B which is largely cosmetic as we had already won our league and gotten promotion, so I can't say I was too aggrieved by that...

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What next?

Next year is all about life in the Liga Adelante, I sure as hell wouldn't abandon the club at this stage when it's getting fun. As I've played half of the next season already, I can tell you it only gets better I promise...

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Squad and tactics

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I don't think I changed much in terms of tactics in season 2, it was pretty much the same base as in the first season. 4-3-3, fancy possession, it works well enough with this lot of players.

Top 5 players of the season

5. Ibrahim Diallo (DC) - Quite the fantastic loanee, this kid is imperious in the air and never really messes up.

4. Paulo Teles (MC) - I vaguely remember him being on fire in the beginning of the season, an average rating of 7.21 seems to confirm it.

3. Javi Navas (AML) - 12 goals and 13 assists was more than a decent turn out for this new signing.

2. Iván Pérez (AMR) - Not as amazing as in the previous season perhaps, but still easily one of our star players. 14 goals, 11 assists.

PLAYER OF THE SEASON - Hicham Khaloua (ST)

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Now this is a proper complete forward. 28 goals, 8 assists, I couldn't have asked for more at this level. A fantastic signing than I can already announce has renewed his loan for a further season, to my delight.

[b]Season   League                      Cups                       International                   Player of the season        Notes
*****************************************************************************************************************************************************
Compostela (Spain)
*****************************************************************************************************************************************************[/b]
14/15    Segunda B1 - 3rd            ----                       ----                            Iván Pérez (AMR)            Lost in promotion playoffs
15/16    Segunda B1 - 1st            Rey 1st Rnd/RFEF Prel Rnd  ----                            Hicham Khaloua (ST)         Champion, promoted

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2016/2017, Compostela



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Transfers

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There was a fair bit of movement in the market but it still hardly feels like the core of my team has changed - none of the new guys would really be that important except perhaps the Moroccan goalkeeper Munir who would play the whole season. Note that winger Pere Milla and centre-back Iago were already here last year on loan.

We did get a few thousand euros from the sale of Marcos Rodríguez (who I HAD to get rid off due to a very high salary) and José Morales later in January, but as a completely broke club there was absolutely no money for signings and we keep on moving only through loans and free transfers.

Fixtures and standings

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We approached life in the new division cautiously yet the beginning of the season was stunningly successful as we won no less than 10 of our 13 first matches. At that very point, the league table looked like this when I posted a thread in the Tactics Forum:

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I was asking for help because I could sense what was coming - there were warning signs the opposition were starting to figure out we were dangerous and setting up differently against us, and we were struggling. That great run ended right there and we took a very slow but steep trend downwards the table.

At some stage we were fighting to keep hold of 10th place which was quite disheartening after that fantastic start, and I started to really worry about just how good we were, and how competitive can we remain for the next season. But there was a positive minor turnaround in the last few months and we reached the last match still within an unlikely mathematical chance for stealing 6th place and the associated promotion playoff spot. Unfortunately we hit a brick wall against Tenerife to draw that match 0-0, and other results wouldn't go our way anyway.

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Compared to how we were top with a third of the season gone this is a little disappointing, but let's keep things into perspective - we had just gone up and had a media prediction of 18th, which would put us at risk of relegation. Instead we toyed with promotion up until the final match, and finished well up in 9th out of 22 teams, which must register as a very positive season overall.

What next?

I didn't really want to go up anyway, not yet at least. We are well well behind the standard a La Liga club should be at, completely unprepared in terms of the squad quality, youth quality, training facilities, staff, and above all, deep in debt - still 2M€ in the red as of right now. The money situation is particularly annoying because I think I made a mistake in setting my manager's attributes far too low at the beginning of my career, and now the club can't afford to send me to any coaching course to improve. This puts me at risk of not finding any decent job outside of Compostela if I wanted to move, so I'll definitely try to stay for the close future and try to sort out the debt as soon as possible.

I am also really worried about my board's massive ambition, last year nothing but promotion would please them, this year they wanted a midtable position straightaway, I've been meeting those goals but I wonder what happens when I don't - specially since I want to settle at this level for a while to sort out the club before attacking the top level.

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Squad and tactics

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Still pretty much the same tactical base with a few minor tweaks but I hardly ever used the more aggressive version of the tactic, at least not as a starting strategy - I almost invariably start every match on counter.

Top 5 players of the season

5. Iago (DC) - Plagued by injuries and with many other centre-backs rated higher by my staff, I overlooked him most of the season. Past the Winter break he started complaining about lack of first-team football so I caved him to give him a spot and I'm glad he did. Started just 13 matches but had a rating far above all other defenders in the squad, and scored 3 goals thanks to his aerial ability.

4. Yacine Qasmi (ST, AML) - Bit of a strange case, it's the 3rd season I manage him now and I've never rated him as a goalscorer, but the team often just played better as a unit with him upfront - despite that move forcing our top goalscorer Khaloua out wide. 4 goals and 8 assists is hardly hugely impressive even for a player I rotated a lot, but trust me, he was important. I think it's the aerial balls he wins.

3. Jimmy (DL) - Another weird case, I never imagined he'd still be keeping a place in the team by this 3rd season, his skills aren't all that great for this level but he just performs, giving the team great attacking depth from the back.

2. Iván Pérez (AMR, MC, ST) - Totally a class act, it was silly at a point how I kept rotating several highly rated players at AML and all of them absolutely sucked yet Perez on the other wing kept on doing the business. Seemed to go missing once in a while but the overall numbers just don't lie, 16 goals and 17 assists is superb for a guy I only tried once or twice upfront as a makeshift striker. Ended the season as MC as I think his pace is going down and he can still provide a lot in playmaking skills, plus his wonderful freekicks, plus his backup at AMR Pere Milla is pretty handy too.

PLAYER OF THE SEASON - Hicham Khaloua (ST, AML)

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Unplayable at the start of the season as he fired us to the top of the table with his goals, however I sensed we were a bit too dependent on him and as soon as his goals dried up our form plummeted. He was never quite 100% the same afterwards, eventually I ended up moving him to AML to accomodate Qasmi, yet remained as our top goalscorer and my pick as most influential player of the season. Trying to renew his loan for a 3rd consecutive year is now one of the biggest priorities in the management of my squad, as we might just be very screwed without him.

[b]Season   League                      Cups                       International                   Player of the season        Notes
*****************************************************************************************************************************************************
Compostela (Spain)
*****************************************************************************************************************************************************[/b]
14/15    Segunda B1 - 3rd            ----                       ----                            Iván Pérez (AMR)            Lost in promotion playoffs
15/16    Segunda B1 - 1st            Rey 1st Rnd/RFEF Prel Rnd  ----                            Hicham Khaloua (ST)         Champion, promoted
16/17    Liga Adelante - 9th         Copa del Rey 2nd Rnd       ----                            Hicham Khaloua (ST)       

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2017/2018, Compostela



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Transfers

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Lots of movement again, but this time I tried to prioritize free transfers over loans - not only was it getting harder to find good loanees, and harder to find good loanees whose teams were willing to hand them over for low or no wages, I also want to play a bit of Moneyball by bringing in players with re-sale value.

In retrospective most of the new guys made for a successful bunch: centre-back Julio Pleguezuelo, left-back Gérson, strikers Zinho Gano and Rafael Xavier, wingers Geoffrey Tulasne and Giorgos Efraim all featured a lot. But possibly this season's best breakthrough was finding out about the Croatian market: midfielders Josip Misic and Damir Zlomislic, both signed from Rijeka, would play almost every match of the season.

I tried to get a bit of money for players whenever I could, best deal was certainly selling backup keeper Jens Grahl for 200K€, as soon as Valencia became unexplicably interested in him. Unfortunately a total 385K€ in transfer sales wasn't enough to even stop the club's debt from increasing.

Fixtures and standings

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If 16/17 had been a season of two halves as we started great and finished very underwhelmingly, this time it was the exact opposite. We started with some encouraging signs as upfront we were playing better, slicker football than ever, but somehow goals kept on leaking in on the other end and we really struggled to get any sort of good run going on. It seemed as if we spent an eternity bouncing between 11th and 15th in the table - clear above relegation as the board requested (I was surprised they didn't want anything more than that, given the ambition of previous seasons), but always at a distance from the playoff positions.

To make things worse Hicham Khaloua broke his leg in late November, and we couldn't find anyone half as good in the transfer market to replace him as left winger. Regardless, the turnaround point would come around January with a few subtle tactical switches and the signing of striker Rafael Xavier, originally to provide backup to Zinho Gano who had been playing really well in the beginning. Yet Gano's goals dried up and Xavier surprisingly kept on solving matches whenever I brought him in, whilst the rest of the team seemed to suddenly click too. We went up and up, eventually settling on 5th - good enough for the playoffs - for the final few weeks of the season. We did leave it to the final fixture to mathematically qualify for the playoffs, but it would take an unlikely combination of results to screw us and that didn't happen.

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We were now up against Sporting Gijon in the playoff semi-finals - without goalkeeper Munir and centre-back Ibrahim Diallo who had both been called up for the World Cup! In the first leg at home, we conceded an away goal first (or so I thought) before equalizing almost immediately. We were the best side on the pitch but found it difficult to break them down until a surprise injury time winner from Cypriot winger Giorgos Efraim put us ahead for the return match:

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All we had to do was hold on to a draw in Gijon, and so we did... for 89 minutes. Sporting finally scored then what I thought was the winner on away goals..... but NO! The game goes to extra time. So apparently the rules don't include away goals then. We held on for another 30 minutes with a completely exhausted team, managing to hold on for penalties. Except... another surprise. There's no penalties. Sporting Gijon goes through after extra time on higher seed (better league position). What the hell? I really should've read the rules, but still. This is just super weird, who the hell in the Spanish FA thought this would be a good idea?

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What next?

Moneyball. Moneyball. Emphasis on more money than ball. I really need to sort out our finances now. I think it was a great step to hire more permanent players with good re-sale value, but our wage bill is really high now and it's dragging the club down - up to 2.2M€ in the red! I think a couple important players need to be sold...

Going up to La Liga next year would be nice too, but I'm still not sure we're ready to face Barcelona and Real Madrid...

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Squad and tactics

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This season's tactical "secrets" were dropping Short Passing and adding Play Out Of Defence + Push Higher Up. Reasoning is, counter mentality already gives short passing to our attacking players, the TI would make it too extreme, we only need our defenders not to boot the ball high up. Push Higher Up makes use of our quick defenders, specially the covering CB Ibrahim Diallo. Surprisingly we started conceding a lot less after adding that, we were just playing way too deep and letting opponents walk into our area.

I also made the left-winger a winger instead of a IF whener Zinho Gano was playing, as that guy's a monster in the air. But I turned on "switch positions" for the AML/AMR to make our attacking play a bit more random and less predictable; and the IFs on the left kept on playing better than the pure wingers anyway so the roles on the wings just tended to change a lot.

Top 5 players of the season

6. Hicham Khaloua (AML) - It's top 5 players not top 6 but Khaloua deserves a mention. Shafted to the left to accomodate Zinho Gano, wasn't anywhere near as good as last year but still kept on contributing with goals, 7 of them. However broke his leg in November and I terminated his loan to save on wages (at around the same time I also terminated the loans of AMR Ismael and DM Borja Fernandez btw, they don't show up in the squad screenie because of that). That might've been a mistake - Khaloua's contract with Almeria runs out now and he's uninterested in joining us permanently, despite having grown a liking for the club.

5. Josip Misic (MC) - One half of a fantastic midfield duo we poached from Croatian club Rijeka. Misic was a supremely reliable deep-lying playmaker who also added 4 goals and 8 assists.

4. Damir Zlomislic (DM) - The other half of that duo, born Bosnian but also possessing Croatian nationality. Was a natural as MC but I retrained him as DM to take advantage of his tackling ability and he didn't disappoint.

3. Zinho Gano (ST) - Fantastic the first half of the season, seemed a very reliable goalscorer, mixing an incredible aerial ability with good teamwork and strong pace. But then he just decided to stop scoring, whilst picking up a lot of minor injuries too, and even lost his place to Rafael Xavier. Ended on 12 goals and 7 assists.

2. Rafael Xavier (ST) - I've no idea what makes him good, just seems very average on paper but not on the pitch. Arrived on January to make a decent bench alternative yet kept on scoring vital goals until I had to make him the main starter. 10 goals and 7 assists on pretty much half of Zinho Gano's playing time.

PLAYER OF THE SEASON - Ivan Pérez (AMR, MC, DL)

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Looking at the average rating this is hardly Ivan's greatest season, indeed both strikers Gano and Xavier were rated marginally higher. What that doesn't tell you is that he spent most of the first half of the season either as a failed experiment at MC; or as a desperate alternative for left-back when both Jimmy and Gérson were injured. When he was brought back into his original position of AMR, he just exploded, despite now missing a fair bit of pace due to his age. Finishes the season as top scorer on 14 goals and also most assists on 11.

[b]Season   League                      Cups                       International                   Player of the season        Notes
*****************************************************************************************************************************************************
Compostela (Spain)
*****************************************************************************************************************************************************[/b]
14/15    Segunda B1 - 3rd            ----                       ----                            Iván Pérez (AMR)            Lost in promotion playoffs
15/16    Segunda B1 - 1st            Rey 1st Rnd/RFEF Prel Rnd  ----                            Hicham Khaloua (ST)         Champion, promoted
16/17    Liga Adelante - 9th         Copa del Rey 2nd Rnd       ----                            Hicham Khaloua (ST)      
17/18    Liga Adelante - 5th         Copa del Rey 2nd Rnd       ----                            Iván Pérez (AMR)            Lost in promotion playoffs

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nice read

Thank you.

Making steady progress.

It's been interrupted by a very bad start to the following season but I think I rescued the team from total catastrophe now. Update soon as I'm some 10 matches from finishing the season.

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2018/2019, Compostela



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Transfers

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An exercise in futility. I became focused on overcoming the club's debt, so selling players seemed like a good idea. Hence we sold a handful of them, some very important like keeper Munir and striker Zinho Gano (and midfielder Misic in January - let me write a little bit more about that in just a second...), and recouped a total of 1.2M€. Which is all fine, but if only I'd have been even slightly restrained in wages... by the end of the year we were in the exact same financial position (2.2M€ in the red), but with worse players now.

Few of the new players - which we all signed on frees, of course - proved particularly good. Perhaps centre-back Zoran Nizic was the most talented (with us taking advantage of the Croatian market again), midfielder Danilo Sousa Campos also turned out surprisingly well, and Giorgi Makaridze (keeper) and Federico Piovaccari (striker) became the direct replacements for Munir and Gano, as, well, someone had to play there. But overall it does feel like I haven't upgraded the team at all and might've even regressed a little.

Fixtures and standings

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Oh dear. It was all so nearly a catastrophic failure. One day, my handling of the squad at the beginning of this season will be in every squad management textbook as a perfect example of what not to do.

Notice how up until late November we only had 2 wins in the league? This is what happened. I was focusing everything on the whole Moneyball idea and tried to shove out of the club every player with high wage or high value. This pissed off several players and brought morale down. But, conversely, I really didn't want to lose Josip Misic who had very low wages and was a brilliant player. He wanted a new challenge and other clubs became interested. I was convinced I could hold on to him so turned down a 400K offer.

All fine except I FORGOT HE WAS THE CLUB CAPTAIN. As soon as that offer was turned down, I had pretty much total rebellion in my squad as more than half the players sided with Misic. Plus the low morale that already existed, plus all the new players who hadn't gelled yet and were hardly better than last season's players anyway, our start to the season was horrendous. We were dead last at a point, and the only reason I kept my job was that the board were still a little grateful for my work the previous seasons. My job status never went below "stable" but the crisis was only really over when I finally agreed to let Misic go. His contract ran out at the end of the season and his value kept plummeting, so by late November I ended up accepting a 110K offer from a Russian side. Almost 4 times less what I had been offered in the Summer, and having costed 3 months of horrific team form and morale on top of it.

From that point forward I had a different team. We still wobbled a little and were never fully convincing, but soon we were out of the relegation places and eventually settled on a boring 13th, way ahead of danger and way below the playoff spots. The defence improved immensely, becoming one of the best in the league, but the attack never did, and the final 6 matches were a farcical display of dullness, as we scored ZERO, conceded 3, and finished the season on a delightful run of three 0-0s to cheer up our fans.

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What next?

I still believe sorting out finances is a priority. But I need to play this differently, clearly selling everyone doesn't work if I then spend a billion on wages on crap players. So first priority is, don't give high wages to anyone who isn't a spectacular player. From then on, we'll see. If last year we could get into the playoffs, there's no reason we can't repeat that if I don't screw up massively somewhere again. At least I've now learned that annoying the club captain isn't a great idea, so I'm unlikely to repeat that. Hopefully.

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Squad and tactics

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Notice the smaller squad as I became desperate to cut wages whilst somehow trying to improve my team.

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Barely anything changed, I switched the left winger from IF/S to IF/A on a desperate attempt to get more people into the area to score goals; and I often toyed with "Much Higher Defensive Line" instead of "Push Higher Up" which is my default TI, along with "Play Out Of Defence".

Top 5 players of the season

5. Ivan Pérez (AMR, AML, MC) - Starting to go past his peak now. Somehow still became our top scorer on 11 goals, which is great for a guy on the wing, but his ratings were invariably underwhelming, he stopped making any assists at all, and by the end of the season I found I often preferred to play new signing Manuel Lazzari instead of him, and Lazzari hardly played great. I might have a problem for next season as Pérez is the new captain...

4. Josip Misic (MC, DM) - Yes, the guy that started the whole rebellion that nearly got us relegated and myself sacked. Despite all that, despite his awful morale, he was STILL one of our best players. I only regret things didn't work out differently, as I haven't been able to replace him appropriately.

3. Zoran Nizic (DC, DR) - If our attack really disappointed, our defence did much better, once the problems with captain Misic were over. We were really solid and this guy I've signed from Croatia (where else...) was important, making a great partnership with Pleguezuelo. The last few matches I decided to give him a go at right-back to accomodate Iago as centre-back who was having some great ratings, and I feel this hurt Nizic's ratings a little as he played better in the middle.

2. Danilo Sousa Campos (MC, DM) - This season's only pleasant surprise. I hired him not expecting much, as there weren't many alternatives in the market, his attributes don't look all that amazing. He turned out to be a perfect fit for the CM/A role, with a magnificent run of form in the middle of the season that earned us a bunch of wins. 5 goals, 7 assists, 5 player of the match awards.

PLAYER OF THE SEASON - Julio Pleguezuelo (DC)

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I could only ever award this to a defensive player, given the circumstances. The only player to have finished this season with a rating above 7.00 (!!), I played Julio whenever I could, as he proved immensely important as a covering centre-back, now that Ibrahim Diallo was gone, as I was unable to renew Diallo's loan at the start of the season. I really hope I can renew Julio's loan from Ipswich, as not only he's our best player, we're also paying zero wages to him...

[b]Season   League                      Cups                       International                   Player of the season        Notes
*****************************************************************************************************************************************************
Compostela (Spain)
*****************************************************************************************************************************************************[/b]
14/15    Segunda B1 - 3rd            ----                       ----                            Iván Pérez (AMR)            Lost in promotion playoffs
15/16    Segunda B1 - 1st            Rey 1st Rnd/RFEF Prel Rnd  ----                            Hicham Khaloua (ST)         Champion, promoted
16/17    Liga Adelante - 9th         Copa del Rey 2nd Rnd       ----                            Hicham Khaloua (ST)      
17/18    Liga Adelante - 5th         Copa del Rey 2nd Rnd       ----                            Iván Pérez (AMR)            Lost in promotion playoffs
18/19    Liga Adelante - 13th        Copa del Rey 3rd Rnd       ----                            Julio Pleguezuelo (DC)

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Oh dear. Hope you can bounce back next season.

I'm pretty confident I will, this was pretty much a once-in-a-lifetime special screw-up. I've revamped the squad and it's looking better now, wages are a little down, new left-back, centre midfielder and left winger all look great, I think we're only missing a proper top striker (for our level) now.

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A disappointing 3rd season in Adelante there but at least you turned it around and avoided a return to the depths of Segunda B which are notoriously difficult to get out of. Interesting that your choice of formation is 4-1-2-2-1...do you find this tactic works better in Spain?

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A disappointing 3rd season in Adelante there but at least you turned it around and avoided a return to the depths of Segunda B which are notoriously difficult to get out of. Interesting that you're choice of formation is 4-1-2-2-1...do you find this tactic works better in Spain?

I don't know, I haven't been playing anywhere else. :D Or with any other formation. I remember a few months ago I had an Inter save and eventually settled on this shape which seemed to work well, but by then I had stuffed up earlier on messing with tactics and got sacked.

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I don't know, I haven't been playing anywhere else. :D Or with any other formation. I remember a few months ago I had an Inter save and eventually settled on this shape which seemed to work well, but by then I had stuffed up earlier on messing with tactics and got sacked.

Was just wondering about other people's experience with formations as I've found that the 4-1-2-2-1 or 4-2-3-1 work a lot better in Spain than any other tactic.

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2019/2020, Compostela



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Transfers

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We were unfortunately unable to hold on to our duo of star centre-backs, as Julio Pleguezuelo finished his contract with his parent club (and was unwilling to sign permanently for us), and Zoran Nizic pushed for a transfer with 1 year left on his contract. We also grabbed a bit of cash for a few other players whose wages were high or were not that important.

As for the new signings, this time we extensively scanned Italy instead of our usually preferred Croatian market, hiring 4 new Italian players in Calabresi (DC, DR), Falcone (AML), Luppi (AMR) and Urso (MC). We also took a punt on a Brazilian left-back we were unable to scout, named Allan Patrick, and renewed our entire lineup of strikers bringing in Frenchman Moussa Sao, Scottish Jack Harper, and Croatian Marin Jakolis later in January.

Fixtures and standings

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It all started happily enough with a decent run, our new Italian lads scoring goal after goal, and we spent our first few months of the season well in the playoff positions. I did notice we hadn't quite nailed it with the new signings for the striker position though, as first choice Moussa Sao had an annoying tendency to strike way too many long shots, and Jack Harper seemed completely useless, with a conflicting personality as well. Later signing Marin Jakolis would prove even worse.

As the season went on we seemed to lose quality. A sequence of 3 losses in November was the first serious warning but I reckoned it was just a blip in form. We kind of recovered, but then from February it went all wrong. I never really understood what was the main problem. Certainly a streak of injuries to several of our starting attacking players didn't help, as did Davide Luppi's steep decline in form - he'd saved us with a few goals earlier in the season. The defence got worse too, and we struggled to retain a clean sheet.

And then as it already looked difficult to recover back to the playoff positions (although we spent most of the season within reasonable distance of them), we ended the season in a run just as bad as last season's finish, with 4 defeats and just a single goal scored in the last 5 matches. In the end, we dropped to a pretty disheartening 13th - the exact same position we finished in last year.

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What next?

I'm getting seriously frustrated with the lack of progress. What's worse is that the financial problems remain as bad as ever, in fact the debt increased a little bit this season from 2.2M€ to 2.4M€, even if I thought I'd done a good job cleaning up the wage bill a bit. This is becoming not very fun at all, and the way I see it there's 3 options:

1. keep on trying to do what I'm doing, and hope I eventually find the right players for my system to click again - but I'm struggling to attract better players with our financial limitations, and our best players constantly want to move

2. revamp the tactics, perhaps emulating someone else's setup - but my squad is adapted to my tactics, and this would mean a lot of transfer movement and trial-and-error with players again

3. call it a day at Compostela and search for a new job - but my reputation is still pretty low and I worry I would only get employment in smaller clubs

At the moment I'm leaning towards option 1) for one more season as I've got one more year in my contract, then we'll see.

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Squad and tactics

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Same as last year. Only thing is I cannot decide whether we do better with 2 IF/As or with 1 IF/A and 1 IF/S...

Top 5 players of the season

5. Luigi Falcone (AML) - A good inside forward, scored 8 goals, but spent too much time injured and was always a little inconsistent.

4. Moussa Sao (ST) - Joint top scorer with 10 goals and our best forward. However his "Shoots from distance" PPM is extremely annoying as it prevents him from combining with his team-mates as I want him to, and he picked up a 4 months injury later in the season.

3. Mauro Lucero (DC) - Our best centre-back but certainly not at the level of last season's much better pairing of Pleguezuelo and Nizic. His lack of concentration makes me not trust him that much.

2. Allan Patrick (DL) - It's very telling that I'm not even all that happy with the guy I nominate as the 2nd best player of the season. He's definitely got the talent, he had the best rating of all of our defenders, but I miss the number of assists some of our much more rudimentary attacking left-backs in previous seasons were able to get.

PLAYER OF THE SEASON - Francesco Urso (MC)

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Best player by miles, 10 goals from a midfield position is just a fantastic return. I hired him for the DLP/S position but after finding out about his PPMs (specially "gets forward whenever possible") I changed my mind and made him the CM/A. Saved our bums a lot of times, in what was otherwise a dire season. Also, his surname means "bear" in Portuguese which gives him extra points for me.

[b]Season   League                      Cups                       International                   Player of the season        Notes
*****************************************************************************************************************************************************
Compostela (Spain)
*****************************************************************************************************************************************************[/b]
14/15    Segunda B1 - 3rd            ----                       ----                            Iván Pérez (AMR)            Lost in promotion playoffs
15/16    Segunda B1 - 1st            Rey 1st Rnd/RFEF Prel Rnd  ----                            Hicham Khaloua (ST)         Champion, promoted
16/17    Liga Adelante - 9th         Copa del Rey 2nd Rnd       ----                            Hicham Khaloua (ST)      
17/18    Liga Adelante - 5th         Copa del Rey 2nd Rnd       ----                            Iván Pérez (AMR)            Lost in promotion playoffs
18/19    Liga Adelante - 13th        Copa del Rey 3rd Rnd       ----                            Julio Pleguezuelo (DC)
19/20    Liga Adelante - 13th        Copa del Rey 2nd Rnd       ----                            Francesco Urso (MC)

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I feel it's worth trying to make a few tactical changes.

I ended up going for that - option 2. My first few matches seem extremely promising and entertaining, if a little inconsistent. Let's see how the new setup does in the long run...

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Ivan Pérez retires



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My most influential player the past 6 years, and the only one who remained from my original squad, has retired. Iván was a bit over the hill as the screenies will show, as he used to put in loads of goals and assists, but I certainly didn't forget his wonderful performances in the previous seasons. I'm just a little disappointed I didn't get to arrange a testimonial match, I thought this was an option in FM15?

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I'm just a little disappointed I didn't get to arrange a testimonial match, I thought this was an option in FM15?

Only if the player has been at the club for 10 seasons... :(

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