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noikeee

noikeee's FM16 Euro/LatinAmerican Journeyman

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This is just pointless to report because I'm not in any kind of rush to reach the top of world of football, and am committed to staying in Dundee Utd for quite a bit longer, but it's nice to be wanted by one of the clubs I always wanted to manage and never had the opportunity to. Maybe in a few seasons...

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In other news, the board has taken a 1.8M€ loan to expand the stadium again... by just an extra 750 seats. Sigh. At least the work was done quite quickly over the Summer.

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2031/2032 - Pre-season update - Dundee United



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Transfers

(Transfers)

I didn't succeed in cutting down the wage bill, but I did get a massive profit from transfers that will hopefully be enough to pay for the squad's wages for the season or at least most of it. We lost 4 players from our starting 11, as I sold right-winger Luís Raínho (8,5M€), striker Mamadou Sall (2.3M€) and goalkeeper Adam Kalinowski (1.8M€), and also lost centre-back Ibrahim Altin as Everton wouldn't allow us to further renew his loan. I also sold midfielder Ben Wright (4.4M€) and right-winger Wayne Brook (550K€), overall getting a transfer income of 17.54M€ (although not really as some players had sell on fees, other clubs had small percentages etc). Young forward Sandy McIntosh was also loaned out.

Such losses of quality players could've affected the level of our squad, however I feel I have done pretty well in keeping the squad pretty competitive and even improving in some areas. To start off with, the whole reason I sold our keeper is because I found an even better one (in theory), Mark Hitchen who arrives from Leicester. He's 30 but that's a good age for a keeper. Centre-back was a position I did something a bit funny, as I loaned out a guy from Arsenal but only then noticed he had crap jumping so terminated his loan, brought in a guy from Barcelona instead, then our board signed an agreement with Barcelona to become their feeder club and I found out an even better centre-back there willing to join us - so I again terminated the loan from the previous guy, and brought in Óliver Velázquez.

Midfield was reinforced with Portuguese Rui Vicente, who should be Phil Drennan's backup as roaming playmaker; and as for the right wing where we needed 2 new players, Danish Ole Lauridsen was our most expensive signing (2,1M€) and is proving to be worth every penny, whilst we also loaned the fantastically named Fernando Ball from Man City. Speaking of loans from Man City, I was under the impression it was forbidden by the rules to have 2 players loaned from the same club, but I managed to also loan the hugely impressive French striker Sébastien Petit from them. And finally, we picked up a player that terrorized the Scottish league for Kilmarnock the last few years, Argentinian striker Juan Manuel Antón, and he has already started to score a ton for us too. And I'm not forgetting midfielder Kostas Xanthopoulos and left-winger Jakub Hrabina who were already here last year but on loan, now I signed both permanently.

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(Full squad for the 2031/2032 season)

Pre-season friendlies

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This year we had a very short pre-season, as we started the real matches very early in the Europa League qualification rounds.

UEFA Europa League

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It's been a good ride so far, with only wins (great for the Scottish coefficients). We started off vs Guria from Georgia, they held us off for 45 minutes, but then Juan Manuel Antón, Ole Lauridsen and Sébastien Petit all grabbed debut goals in a 4-0 victory. In the return leg, we allowed them to score 3 quite alarmingly, but scored 4 ourselves again, in a match better remembered for the day 18yo youth academy graduate David Montgomery grabbed his first goal for the club.

Valerenga were next, and gave us some problems in the first leg as despite our win they got 2 away goals. This made things uncomfortable for the trip to Norway, but thankfully we were inspired in front of goal then and beat them pretty easily 4-1. This put us in the playoff vs Thun from Switzerland. A Paul Polworth hat-trick in the first leg away pretty much sealed our qualification, and we added another 3-1 win at home with our other 18yo winger Colin Paton picking up the man of the match award.

We will be now in the group stage facing Stuttgart, Sporting CP and AA Gent - not a comfortable group, but one in which a little luck could make us advance.

Scottish Premiership

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Sadly my early focus in Europe and the congestion of fixtures, plus a few injuries, reflected in poor results in the league so far - a pattern I have seen in previous seasons. It all started in a match we were far better than Falkirk but somehow could only score once and let them equalize. The worse was to come as Kilmarnock beat us 3-2 with a 84th minute winner, and then a Jake Dixon red card at home vs Rangers proved immensely costly, Rangers scoring the winning goal 2 minutes later.

We had just 1 point from 3 matches, and at that point absolutely HAD to start recovering. A win over Partick Thistle was a start, but not without a major scare, as Partick had equalized in the 82nd and we needed a penalty in injury time to swing it back our way. We also started off the match at Hibs losing almost from the kickoff, but that ended in a happier 4-1 win. However the recovery was interrupted again with another game marked by a red card to one of our centre-backs, this time Joshua Watts. Again this resulted in conceded goals after the sending off, most frustratingly Aberdeen scoring their winner only in injury time.

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Summary

Just like last year, a good run in Europe is offset by a poor start to the league. I'm not panicking yet as we're just 5 points from the top, but I do feel we've become pretty dodgy defensively this season, the one player we lost I couldn't replace was centre-back Ibrahim Altin and we really miss him now. Good news is a mini-injury crisis is almost over now, and Celtic don't seem quite as scary as in the previous season, having swapped their manager again, so if we can get back to form and sort out our defending, I think we can seriously challenge for the title this time.

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Safe to say our lads are playing decently at the moment.

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2031/2032 - Mid-season update - Dundee United



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Scottish League Cup

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Shock, horror, we haven't crashed out early of the League Cup this year - despite fielding in weakened 11s for both matches. St. Mirren proved very easy opposition for the first match, and then in the derby vs Aberdeen they did resist for the first half, but then unusually left-winger Dean Morsley sorted out the day with a brace. This puts us in a semi-final vs Partick Thistle, which is interesting because it might allow us to get revenge on them for the Scottish Cup semi-final defeat of last year.

UEFA Europa League

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And here's another competition in which we are doing surprisingly well, despite the fact that in this group stage I decided to rest players too, in virtually every match. Somehow, we got away with it ridiculously well. It didn't start that promising with a draw in Belgium vs the weakest team in the group, but two really similar 2-1 home wins, where in both matches we had to come back from 0-1 results at half-time, put us unexpectedly top of the group. In Germany we did amazing to get a point, and clinched qualification with a 3-0 over Gent at home, Nicky Thomson getting use of a rare opportunity to start by scoring twice. Already qualified, a trip to Lisbon meant little but we still made that trip remarkable by pulling an incredible 5-1 win, where even 19 yo winger Colin Paton got on the scoresheet and became man of the match.

We got a pretty happy draw for the next round facing Dinamo Bucharest, but if we beat them the next opponent should be far harder, as we come across the winner of Dinamo Kyiv vs AC Milan.

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Scottish Premiership

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But the competition in which we are really flying at the moment is the league, as we quickly made a mockery out of that slow start by going on a very convincing recovery - exactly like last year. The difference is, Celtic seem a lot more vulnerable now! We did lose at Celtic Park in September, after having put 4 goals past both Inverness and St. Johnstone, but that was just a blip as we then started a sequence of 6 wins, the most remarkable ones being a 4-1 at Falkirk when our right-winger Ole Lauridsen pulled the ridiculous trick of making all 4 assists; and a 5-1 over rivals Aberdeen.

Our unlikely rivals for the league lead for the time being were Partick Thistle - they had us covered for quite a few weeks thanks to having played 1 more match than us, and managed to extend their stay at the top for just a little while longer when they held us to a draw in early December. However we quickly caught up on the calendar in this busy month and throughout the following 3 wins we took over the league table lead. We then lost the opportunity to dent Celtic's recent climb up the table over the last few weeks by failing to beat them, conceding a 89th minute equalizer; but finished the calendar year with another win over Kilmarnock and still remain at the top with a 6 points lead over Partick Thistle and 7 over Celtic.

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Summary

The sun is shinning on us for now. We're in contention for the League Cup, are yet to lose in Europe after 12 matches, and also remain on a 12 match unbeaten run in the league where we're solid leaders. Is this our year?

However, an interesting subplot is finances and our utter unsustainability - despite the enormous profit in transfers earlier in the Summer, and the continuous prize money in the Europa League, our reserves in cash have quickly shrunk from almost 15M€ to 4.6M€ in just a few months. It makes sense to invest hard at the moment with a rare chance to become Scottish champions, but I'm considering selling someone in January just to make sure we don't run out of money before the season ends...

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OTOH, Champions League cash would go a long way to relieving the financial crunch.

(though, tbf, we're really talking about a group stage appearance)

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Champions League money (if we win the league) will potentially pay for NEXT season, and probably won't even be enough for that. Last year we got over 15M€ of CL prize money, adding the 12M€ you get for being part of the group stage, the 5 points we picked up on the group, and what we had gotten from the playoffs before. We started the season with a positive balance before all of that, and still needed an "investment" (ie, gift) from the board of over 5M€ just to finish the season without going bankrupt!

We're probably spending 2 or 3 times of what we should be spending on wages. The board are insane to let me do that, and I should know better too, but there's always a great player that's worth it, there's contract renewals, there's our expensive quality staff, etc...

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Dinamo Bucharest is a good Europa League draw.

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Flying in the league. The financial situation sounds quite worrying, though.

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Dinamo Bucharest is a good Europa League draw.

I'm hoping that's how it'll play out on the pitch...

Flying in the league. The financial situation sounds quite worrying, though.

It's far from ideal but manageable for now. We have a lot of valuable players, when things get tight I can just sell someone.

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2031/2032 - Late-in-the-season update - Dundee United



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Transfers

(Transfers)

To fund the rest of the season, I sold four players, two of them very high-profile: right-back Florent Clavel was gone for 6.5M€ and left-winger Jakub Hrabina for 5.5M€. Might seem crazy to let go of specially Hrabina who was player of the month in the league a while back, but I found him too inconsistent for my liking and still preferred Dean Morsley in his position - whilst we have a pretty sensational youngster in David Montgomery coming good in that position too.

The other two players we sold were third and fourth choices for midfield, namely Josh Broadhurst and Tiziano Antonini. I also made the fairly daft move of letting go on loan another youngster that's coming along really well, right-winger Colin Paton. He really wanted a loan so I thought I could cheekily let him go, then immediately recall him. Except, apparently I accepted a loan that can't be recalled. And now he doesn't even play for Milwall at all neither. This was even more daft given I just had terminated the loan of another right-winger who was here from Man City, Fernando Ball.

So with 6 players less, I still needed some extra cover, so for the right-wing I brought back a player that was here two years ago, Nolan Thibault on loan from Monaco again, and paid 1.1M€ for Northern Irish centre-back Martin McDermott who has been unexpectedly a bit crap!

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Scottish League Cup

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We were given a wonderful opportunity to avenge last year's memorable Scottish Cup semi-final defeat vs Partick Thistle (when we lost 3-4 after having gone 3 goals up), by drawing them again in a semi-final, this time in the League Cup. However Partick Thistle have developed recently into quite formidable opponents and surprised us again, with another comeback! JM Antón scored first for us, but they equalized still in the first half, and I watched in disgust/disbelief as they scored an unexpected winner in the 88th minute. We were perhaps a tiny bit unlucky, and missed another opportunity to reach a final.

Scottish Cup

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By contrast, the cup is going a lot better, largely thanks to easy draw after easy draw. Indeed Raith couldn't do anything as Nicky Thompson - our young striker specialist in cups - scored a poker vs them, and Dunfermline still resisted for a whole half but were soundly beaten 4-0. Annan next (another team from the Championship) posed a lot more problems, as we were right in the middle of a massive fixture congestion / injury crisis, which is doubly crappy given I've now reduced the size of my squad, and we also didn't enjoy their weirdly square-shaped pitch at all, as they held us off to a 1-1 draw and we barely looked like the side from a better division.

That meant a replay match, however in that one we just dumped all of our frustrations into them, as JM Antón scored an hat-trick within 4 minutes (!) and we were up 4-0 extremely early, eventually it finished 6-0. Amazingly we drew another team from the Championship for the semi-final, Dumbarton, and now we really need to mess it up incredibly badly if we're to miss another final again.

UEFA Europa League

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I think I hinted at Dinamo Bucharest being easy earlier. Ha! It did look that way when we were 1-0 up in Romania within the very first minute, and reached half-time 2-0 up. Tie over, right? Wrong, very wrong. They drew the match in the final 15 minutes, and it finished 2-2, still a decent result to bring back to Scotland. And sure enough, Sébastien Petit again scored an incredibly early goal, however the Romanians were on it and swung the match back their way with 2 goals, only for us to tie everything immediately back. We had more chances but it went to penalties. I feared it was over when Sébastien Petit missed the very first one, but they missed two and we didn't miss any more. We were through, to face Milan.

With the injury crisis at its peak, I dreaded the thought of having to play Milan however it kinda went alright. It was an even match in Scotland and midway through the 2nd half James Slater got a goal. A 1-0 would be great, but Milan drew in injury time getting the away goal. I brought no hopes to Italy, but incredibly we completely outplayed them. Which meant nothing, because somehow Milan got a goal from their 3 shots, and we got none from our 15 - and of course their keeper Marco Colonna, a 18 year old kid, got the POM award. European adventure over.

Scottish Premiership

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We started January on the league pretty well - beating the ever resilient Kilmarnock, then putting 4 past both Motherwell and Falkirk. However, spread between 4 competitions and with less players to rotate from than ever, our tired legs really did display themselves in this competition - a sequence of lose-win-lose-win-lose played itself in late January/February, as we picked up defeats at Kilmarnock, Hibernian and Aberdeen. This was obviously concerning, although meanwhile Celtic were happily doing a brilliant job of self-destructing and letting others emerge as our closest contenders.

Hosting St. Johnstone next - who were dead last at that point - was convenient, and that started a better run. We did lose our outright best player Phil Drennan in a terrible injury at Inverness (he won't play anymore for the rest of the season), and allowed Hearts to tie the game in injury time in a mad 3-3. But for once in our lifetime, we beat Celtic seemingly easily 2-0 AWAY from home (this was just a couple of days after they had sacked their manager!), and finished the regular season before the split with a big 4-1 win at Motherwell. More importantly, we're now 10 points clear of everyone else.

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Summary

Celtic's near 2 decades of dominance are seemingly coming to an end. It's largely their own fault, but we've emerged as clear contenders now - Dundee United's one and only title was no less than 49 years ago, can we repeat that after so long? We truly need to spectacularly fail in the final matches to mess that one up, and the same thing applies to our Scottish Cup run. But not only are my players very tired from an extremely long season, my teams have been known to fail just that badly in the past. Surely not this time?

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That table looks sensational. You're nearly there, man...

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Fantastic stuff in Scotland - hopefully Barcelona coming calling back in a few years! And you are right - Hamada is insane!

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Good luck getting over the finishing line.

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That table looks sensational. You're nearly there, man...
Fantastic stuff in Scotland - hopefully Barcelona coming calling back in a few years! And you are right - Hamada is insane!
Good luck getting over the finishing line.

Thank you guys. Final write-up of the season coming up in a while...

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An interesting news item. With Scotland not qualified for the Euros this time, I didn't expect many call-ups so 5 is a bit surprising. Most shocking is the fact we're putting 2 players in England's squad - surely not a usual occurence for a Scottish side! Neither are capped yet - goalkeeper Mark Hitchen has been regularly called up but seems to be just a 3rd choice, whereas centre-back Joshua Watts is a new appearance at this level.

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2031/2032 - End of season update - Dundee United



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Scottish Premiership - Championship Group

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Kilmarnock were one of our closest challengers so a win over them would be important to kick off the Championship Group. And that is exactly what we got, although it was a little trickier than I expected when we reached half-time winning 3-0 - Kilmarnock fought back and nearly got the draw. And with Patrick Thistle and Celtic both drawing their own matches the same day, now a single point vs Celtic the following fixture would give us the title.

That wasn't a problem. We were holding off to a 0-0, and results elsewhere were going our way too, when Danish winger Ole Lauridsen scored the single goal for us in the 82nd minute, although later Sébastien Petit also missed a penalty kick in injury time. DUNDEE UNITED ARE SCOTTISH CHAMPIONS AGAIN AFTER 49 YEARS!!! With the title in the bag, I used the final 3 fixtures to give chances to youngsters, and keep everyone fit for the Scottish Cup final.

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Scottish Cup

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The semi-final vs Dumbarton was tougher than expected. They scored on pretty much their first shot, and we struggled to break them down, although JM Antón tied the match still within the first half. We had to wait for the 73rd minute to finally go ahead, and then centre-back Jake Dixon confirmed the win in injury time, as I qualified for a cup final for the first time since I returned to Scotland.

However I knew the final wouldn't be easy - Patrick Thistle were our opponents, and they've become a bit of our bogey team lately, becoming one of our toughest opponents in the league and having knocked us out of 2 cups recently. My suspicions proved true as we conceded a goal on the very first minute. Frustratingly, they then decided to park the bus for the whole match and absolutely nothing was happening, until we finally got a goal out of the blue in a set piece in the 84th minute.

With both teams featuring a lot of very tired legs after a very long season, extra time didn't add much to the game. Except, when we were already preparing for penalties, in the 121th minute their French/Portuguese forward João Pereira was suddenly put through isolated and scored the winner. That's right - Partick Thistle scored in minute 1 and minute 121. And knocked me out of a cup for the third time.

Summary

It's party time in Dundee - at least for the part of the city who wear orange kits and scarves. 49 years later, Dundee Utd are champions again. I also suspect a large part of Scotland are with us, after being sick to death of 20 years of Celtic domination. However, I seem to have developed a special talent in this career for introducing a downer in even my greatest acheivements - what about that cup final 121st minute defeat, eh?

I am no longer trophy-less in Scotland but I remain cup-less (is this a word?). Perhaps that's something to aim for next year? Yeah that means I'll be staying for at least 1 more season here, the finances are rather annoying but there's trophies I haven't won yet. And I've been too eager to change jobs in the past immediately after league titles - could be interesting for a change to stay to collect the fruits of my success.

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2031/2032 - Season review - Dundee United



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Squad and tactics

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(Full squad statistics)

Same tactics as last year, the only tweak I did in some select matches was to turn off "close down more" and "push higher up", whenever I felt the opposition was finding it too easy to drag our defenders out of position.

Finances

(Finances)

Looking better than last year, the balance is positive after 2 pretty big chunks of income the last few days, from the Scottish Premiership prize money and the Europa League TV money. However, this year I really only kept the team afloat because of the enormous profit I made in transfers - I spent just 3,7M€ in transfer fees, and received over 30M€. This is still not a sustainable model as my players are not worth that much and we won't be able to get this much money for players every year, it was only possible this season because I severely cut down on squad size.

Youth watch

Finally, a good intake!! We have some quality facilities/coaching/recruitment, and this year looks like it paid off with a mini golden generation.

Darren Robertson (ST)

Kenneth Ross (D/WBL / ML)

Jay Strachan (DM, MC / DC)

Jamie Harris (DC)

Stewart Marshall (DC)

This was also the season when wingers David Montgomery and Colin Paton completely exploded as they broke into the first team. David appears to be hitting his potential already according to my staff, but has shown an unexpected gift for scoring, as he poached 10 goals! As for Colin, I rather misguidedly sent him on loan to Milwall on his request, before that he had gotten 3 goals, 4 assists and a average rating of 7.82 in 9 appearances for us. And there's still striker Nicky Thomson, who I started playing 2 years ago and at the age of 22 can still be considered a youngster, this season he scored 13 goals in 17 appearances.

Top 5 players of the season

5. Rowan Baxter (DR) - An excellent season from the attacking full-back I bought from Barnsley 2 years ago. He has always been quality for us but this season added a lot more assists: 11; as he also accumulated a great rating of 7.47.

4. Sébastien Petit (AMC, ST) - A highly successful loan signing from Man City who throughout the season fought with James Slater for the second striker role, and eventually emerged ahead as the better option of the 2 - it was hard to argue with the 24 goals he scored and the 6 assists. I've happily signed him permanently for next year, on slightly crazy wages that we really shouldn't/can't afford.

3. Juan Manuel Antón (ST) - Any other season and a striker that scored 34 goals would easily be player of the year for me. In fact, that's the first time in my career that any of my players scores over 30 goals for me in a year. Proved a great signing from league rivals Kilmarnock, and only loses out to the players above in my ranking because he had a period of a couple of months he stopped performing/scoring, which doesn't apply to them.

2. Phil Drennan (MC, AMC, MR) - An absolutely absurd rating of 7.86 as he played even better than last year, specially in his preferred roaming playmaker role, with also 7 goals, 11 assists, and 9 POM awards. Unfortunately, picked up an injury in early March that ruled him out of the final months of the season.

PLAYER OF THE SEASON - Ole Lauridsen (MR, MC)

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Slightly worse ratings than Phil, but benefits from the fact he played the whole season, and specially from an absolutely remarkable statistic - somehow, this Danish winger picked up an incredible 24 assists this year. Even played well when necessary occasionally as roaming playmaker, which was not what I hired him for at all. In fact, I hired him expecting him to be a slight downgrade on Luís Raínho who we sold at the start of the season, he ended up very much a upgrade.

[b]Season  League                            Cups                                        International                      Notes
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Berwick Rangers (Scotland)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[/b]
15/16   League 2 - 5th                    Cup 2nd Rd, LgCup 1st Rd, TrCup 1st Rd      ---                                Resigned at end of the season
[b]------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Loughgall FC (Northern Ireland)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[/b]
16/17   Championship 1 - 10th             IRC 6thR, LC 3rdR, ITC 2ndR, MUC winners    ---                                Sacked; won Mid-Ulster Cup
[b]------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Municipal Turrialba (Costa Rica)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[/b]
17/18   Ascenso - 4th (1/4f) / 5th        ---                                         ---
18/19   Ascenso - 3rd (fin.) / 3rd (1/4f) ---                                         ---                                Apertura finalists
19/20   Ascenso - 5th / 4th (fin.)        Copa de Costa Rica 1st Rnd                  ---                                Clausura finalists
[b]------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dolny Kubin (Slovakia)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[/b]
20/21   DOXXbet Liga - 8th / 1st (RlgSt)  Slovnaft Cup 1st Rnd                        ---
21/22   DOXXbet Liga - 3rd / 9th (PrmSt)  Slovnaft Cup 3rd Rnd                        ---
22/23   DOXXbet Liga - 5th / 2nd (PrmSt)  Slovnaft Cup 2nd Rnd                        ---                                Runners-up
23/24   DOXXbet Liga - 3rd / 6th (PrmSt)  Slovnaft Cup semi-finals                    ---
24/25   DOXXbet Liga - 1st / 4th (PrmSt)  Slovnaft Cup 1st Rnd                        ---                                East Group winners
25/26   DOXXbet Liga - 1st / 1st (PrmSt)  Slovnaft Cup finalists                      ---                                Champions, promoted, cup finalists
26/27   Fortuna Liga - 2nd                Slovnaft Cup 3rd Rnd                        ---                                Runners-up
[b]------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Austria Wien (Austria)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[/b]
27/28   tipico-Bundesliga - 2nd           ÖFB-Cup winners                             Europa League 2nd Qual. Rnd.       Runners-up, cup winners
28/29   tipico-Bundesliga - 1st           ÖFB-Cup 3rd Rnd                             ChLg GroupStg, EurLg 1st KO Rnd    Champions
[b]------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dundee United (Scotland)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[/b]
29/30   Scottish Premiership - 2nd        Scottish Cup 4th Rnd, League Cup 1/4 final  Europa League 3rd Qual. Rnd        Runners-up
30/31   Scottish Premiership - 2nd        Scott. Cup 1/2 final, League Cup 1/4 final  Champions League group stage       Runners-up
31/32   Scottish Premiership - 1st        Scott. Cup finalists, League Cup 1/2 final  Europa League 2nd KO Rnd           Champions, cup finalists

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Woah there. We sure do need the new stadium as this one is getting packed and doesn't give us enough revenue. But is it wise to get into this much debt when the club seems to be struggling with the debt it already has?

Also I'm not sure what I do with my career now. It'll only be built in 2 years time, I wasn't really planning on sticking around until then, I want to at some stage move to a bigger club. Sticking for just 1 more year seems double hard as the club will be starting off paying this massive new loan. And if I want to get the better out of the stadium, I need to stay for quite a few more years.

I need to think...

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Congratulations on the title!

I totally understand you being in two minds, but that debt is terrifying. I'd be considering getting out on a high, to be honest.

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Ole, Ole Ole! Ollleeeee, Olllleeeeee!

Congrats on the title - Ole had a fantastic season, as well!

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Congratulations on the title!

I totally understand you being in two minds, but that debt is terrifying. I'd be considering getting out on a high, to be honest.

Yeah I'm thinking the same. Would like to stay for another year or two, but I don't think there's much of a point unless I was comitting for a very long time to really enjoy the new stadium.

Ole, Ole Ole! Ollleeeee, Olllleeeeee!

Congrats on the title - Ole had a fantastic season, as well!

:D

It was a crazy good season from multiple players, Drennan, Antón, Petit were unreal as well. Even Montgomery's numbers were absurd for a fairly average youngster in theory.

Congratulations on the title fella.

Thanks fella.

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Chapter 7 - The Big Break Comes In Calcio



Monday, 31st of May 2032, Genoa, Italy

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Moving out of a club because the board is building a new stadium is a bit of a bizarre reason, but I think I've explained myself in previous posts. This allows me to finally take the next step in my career, after many rejected job offers and lots of speculation for years. However, it's a bit of an unplanned move outside of the script I had given myself. This career has been very much the tour of leagues I'd never managed in before, so to continue the theme I had two possible alternatives. Alternative a) was to go across the ocean again back into Latin America and try either the Brazilian or Mexican leagues. It's not much of a "Euro/LatinAmerican journeyman" if I'm doing almost my whole career in Europe, is it? Alternative b) was to go to Germany - the Bundesliga's the only major league I've never managed in my FMCU travels.

However I was limited by the available jobs, and none fit. I didn't want to resign from Dundee Utd and sit out of a job in waiting for a few months. And there was a perfectly sensible, logical vacancy in Italy. This is a club that, whilst I don't particularly sympathize much with, had right about the perfect profile I was looking for - it is wealthier than Dundee Utd but not ridiculously so, like the clubs without a manager in the Premier League. It is a big enough, stable enough club, but missing the edge to take them to the next level, as they've not been relegated out of Serie A for decades but have neither finished in the top 5 since 2010, 22 years ago(!). They have a hint of the fallen giants, as former Cup Winners' Cup winners, and Champions League finalists. I am, of course, the new manager of Unione Calcio Sampdoria.

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Someone does really need to do something to restore Sampdoria, or at least give them a big shake up, because their recent history is incredibly boring. The last decade in Serie A? 7th, 9th, 12th, 9th, 9th, 10th, 8th, 9th, 9th and now 12th. Time to rename the club into Unione Calcio Midtable? They of course are most famous for a wonderful 4 year period from 1989 to 1992 - reaching the Cup Winners' Cup final in 1989, winning it in 1990, winning the Serie A in 1991 (Sampdoria's only league title ever), and reaching the Champions League final in 1992. Ever since, they've not been up to much. Although they've just won their 5th Italian Cup 2 years ago in 2030.

Money-wise, it seems as if they've given away all their cash to sign me up with a massive 2,74M€ compensation to Dundee Utd, something that the media is picking on as a bit steep. This has given the club a negative bank balance of... 2,7M€. I also don't have a transfer budget at all, with a laughable 42K€ for transfers. I am a little surprised, given that I had signed up on the basis of the club having "Secure" finances. However, the one clear difference to Dundee Utd is the wages. I was running roughly a 1,6M€/month wage bill over there. Here in Genoa, the club's paying 5,5M€/month to the players, with the wage budget currently sitting at 6,4M€/month.

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Squad

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I am delighted to be about to manage some absolutely spectacularly talented players, although everyone that's really good wants to leave to a bigger club, and there's a few oldies on stupid wages too.

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Abdoulaye Meité (DL) - A wonderful attacking full-back, with the weird particularity of prefering to play on the left despite being right-footed. I'll be trying to adapt him to the other side. Also has worrying low ratings for the season that just finished.

Dalibor Pejovic (MC) - Almost perfect for the roaming playmaker role (I'd have liked slightly higher dribbling), which is handy as my current tactical system features a roaming playmaker. Is wanted by Portuguese league sensation Oliveirense, who are controlled by a tycoon. Pejovic has been in Sampdoria for many years, having been poached from Bosnia's Borac as a teenager, so counts as a homegrown player.

Mustafa Ozegovic (AMC / MRLC, ST) - Another player who was poached from Bosnia extremely young and is therefore "homegrown", I am however a bit unsure what do with him, I'd have liked better finishing for a second striker, better vision for a roaming playmaker, and better crossing for a winger. Wants to leave to a bigger club, and Inter are interested.

Diego Poncetta (ST) - Probably our biggest star at the moment, Diego just bagged 17 goals this season, having spent the previous year just finding his feet after the big move to Europe from Argentina. Also wants to leave but thankfully nobody's interested. Yet.

Goals

Getting to know the squad and sorting it out is the first major priority - with so many unhappy players, and players that may not fit my style of play, there may be sales, which in turn may fund whatever new signings I make, as I don't have money for any of them at the moment. In terms of competitions, getting Sampdoria out of midtable mediocricity and back to Europe would be good. I have big plans for them, but am yet to play in a major league in FM16 so will have to find my feet in here.

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Great move, great club, great country. Hopefully you can bring them some silverware.

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Probably a good idea to move.

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2032/2033 - Pre-season update - Sampdoria



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Transfers

(Transfers)

Let's get the big news out of the way - I couldn't resist the pressure from my players and ended up selling both of my really good homegrown midfielders: Mustafa Ozegovic went to Wolfsburg for 19,25M€ + some extras, and Dalibor Pejovic to Chelsea for 24M€ + some extras. There was just way too much turnmoil in the squad and specially Ozegovic had to go as his contract ended this season. I also got a few extra bucks selling South African defender Godfrey Mashishi for 7,75M€, midfielder Filippo Fabrizio for 2,2M€, 36 year old club legend Lucas Torreira for 1,5M€, and 34 year old fullback Federico Dimarco for 650K€. Total profit? A club record of 55,48M€.

Frustratingly, the board only allowed me to spend 35% of transfer revenue, and the original clubs gained an enormous chunk of the sales of Ozegovic and Pejovic due to clauses. Still, I did all I could to rebuild the squad as I want it, hiring 11 players. I wanted 2 left-backs and the first is a familiar face, a very reliable player for my Dundee Utd side over the last few seasons - Switzerland's Patrick Conne. The other left-back is Stefan Vendelbo on loan from Everton. I also stacked up on centre-backs with Denis Fiocchetti and Vicente Becerra, although I'm not convinced by either of them.

Left-winger position is filled by one of my better signings, Batista from Brazil on a extremely cheap 1,8M€. Young Norwegian Matias Bjerkas, formerly of Tottenham, shall be his backup, whereas for the right-wing I picked up another high profile signing, the experienced Nigerian international Sunday Garba who had been released on a free by Inter. Finally, I needed players to occupy the central positions left free by the sales of Ozegovic and Pejovic. For the roaming playmaker role, I picked up on deadline day the Venezuelan international Juan Benitez who looks quite good, and previously I had also poached Robert Stella on a free. And for the 2nd striker / attacking midfielder role, the main signing is Víctor Manuel Griñón, with experienced Nico Rodia coming as a backup.

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(Full squad for the 2032/2033 season)

Pre-season friendlies

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Friendlies were highly encouraging as we won every single one of them, and we even finished with a 9-1 win. None of them were against any meaningful opposition, however...

TIM Cup

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And then, my official debut as Sampdoria manager. An easy home fixture against a Serie B side, right? Well, I watched in absolute shock as my players conceded one, then two, then three, then four and we were losing 0-4 after 65 minutes. We still salvaged a slightly less damning 2-4 scoreline, and really, it was still hugely exaggerated, but it made for a very bad debut in Italy and cup exit.

Serie A

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Fresh from the cup disaster, we had two fairly nice fixtures to kick off the season - Frosinone have become a good side and beat Sampdoria in the league table last year, but are hardly world beaters; and Cittadella at home next was one of the easiest matches of the season as they've just been promoted. But, with morale down from the cup and all the transfer requests; a massive injury crisis that took out our 3 strikers; and a total fail from myself as I'd set up training wrong and tactical familiarity was going down instead of up, we lost both matches without scoring a goal. Even if we probably deserved more, specially from the Cittadella match in which we had the better chances, and their goal came seconds before the final whistle.

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Summary

It's a very bad start, and the fixture list over the next few weeks is now looking tougher, which won't help. I'm also rather annoyed I ended up caving in and losing 2 of our best players. However, I expect a large improvement once the team starts gelling, once we actually start learning our tactics, and once the striker injury crisis is over. I'm not going to lose sleep over 3 defeats on a few weeks when a lot of bad things were happening that explain it.

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Great move, great club, great country. Hopefully you can bring them some silverware.

Right now I just hope I don't get sacked, given how this started. :D

Probably a good idea to move.

Yeah I think I'd have just grown frustrated in Scotland with all the financial troubles.

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Time to cash in on one of the clauses for Ozegovic already. Whilst he's highly talented and his value can greatly increase, I find it unrealistic he'd ever be sold by more than 50M€, which is what would be needed for it to pay off mathematically. Specially when he's already unhappy in his new club. I think it's a bit too easy to get cash from selling these clauses in this version of FM...

Frustratingly the board isn't letting me spend almost any of it. I've cut off the wage bill considerably with my dealings this Summer, and with all the sales too, we now have a wonderfully positive bank balance of 33M€. However my current transfer budget is just 2,5M€, and I'm close to maxing the wage budget too. This seems like the exact opposite of what I had in Scotland where we didn't have any cash, yet the board would happily let me spend way beyond what we should - in Italy it just sits in the bank unused, waiting to be taxed.

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2032/2033 - Mid-season update - Sampdoria



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Serie A

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In severe need of a win past the disastrous start to the season, a trip to Rome to face last years champions seemed an unlikely fixture to do that. But weirdly we matched Roma that day and Diego Poncetta got the one goal. Remember this name - the guy just went on a silly goalscoring spree, scoring a brace vs Verona and then a hat-trick vs Bari as we got 3 straight wins. Worryingly, nobody else seemed able to score goals for us and this reflected on a slightly less convincing sequence - losing to Inter, and then getting 3 home draws in-between 2 away wins. Fabiano was the first to score other than Diego Poncetta (who scored all of our first 11 goals in the league!), but playing on the same position, same role, and it was only by late November in the big win (3-0) over Chievo that finally someone other than the poacher scored.

What was holding everything together was our defence, which was surprisingly playing quite well, and making up for our lack of goals or at least goal diversity. Thanks to this, we were well in the fight for European places. However there was a bit of a crash in late November/December as we suddenly lost 3 matches in a row and started conceding more goals. A team meeting was called up and this spurred our players to stop the run of defeats with a great 3-0 over Napoli, who are leading the table.

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Summary

A poor start has been put well behind us, and Sampdoria is back to a very familiar table position, as 7th place is the exact kind of midtable position the club has been at for a decade. It's still a good position to be in as we're within a decent range of the European places, but I feel we lack that extra bit of quality to truly put a fight against the better teams in the division. The incredible dependence on our poacher Diego Poncetta is particularly worrying, and once the board allows me to start spending the cash we have on the bank, I need to start searching for more players that can score and make a difference.

I'm now going on holidays so there'll probably be no further updates for a week.

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I've just received an enormous amount of money after selling 2 players in the January transfer window, and we currently have a profit of 62M€ in the current FFP period, you blithering idiots. Ffs. :mad:

I think this is a bug, but I'm seriously starting to consider buggering out of here already if I don't have a good transfer budget for next season.

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2032/2033 - Late-in-the-season update - Sampdoria



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Transfers

(Transfers)

Hey, what if I sold my two best players, including the only guy that scores goals at all, and made a ridiculous amount of money? It didn't quite come out of my initiative, but first I received a really good offer for full-back Abdoulaye Meité. And I figured I didn't *really* need him - Nicão was playing quite well at right-back anyway, and I didn't quite like playing Meité on the left as he's right-footed. So off he went to PSG for 28,5M€ plus a few clauses. Then, later in the month, bids came flying in for our superstar Diego Poncetta. I entertained them negotiating to ridiculous prices, and before I knew it Bayern were approaching them. I figured this season was a write-off already (we're not going to win anything are we), and Poncetta only had 2 more years in his contract with very slim chances of renewing. And I knew he was going to get unhappy if I refused a move again. So a 48,5M€ bid plus clauses seemed like a good deal. Meanwhile, our other forward Fabiano also went to Corinthians for 4,6M€ and veteran Maxi Romero was let go on a free.

Despite the ridiculous income, as we made an insane total 137M€ just on player sales this season, the board is letting me spend only a small fraction of it. Still, I tried to use it as much as I could, picking up 6 players in January. I get to manage right-back Florent Clavel again after I'd done so for a season at Dundee Utd (he's the second former Dundee Utd player in my squad, after picking up Patrick Conne earlier this season for the other fullback position); youngster Marijan Saric was a steal at 525K€ and reinforces the centre of defence; Mateo Katarebe and Juan Marcano boost up the midfield on loans; and the real big news is the two guys I picked up for our attack to replace Poncetta and Fabiano - Sebastian Drews formerly of Bayern is our new striker, and 2nd striker Petar Ostrek became the club's most expensive transfer ever at a 10M€ fee.

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Serie A

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On the pitch, January wasn't a great month. We started with 3 draws, 2 of them at home which isn't great, Diego Poncetta picking up his last 2 goals for the club vs Atalanta. The squad was in turnmoil with all the sales and it reflected in a loss to Cittadella, but next vs Roma we had all the new faces already and we beat them 3-1. This was followed by another two rather convincing wins away, 3-0 at Verona and 5-2 at Bari. It was a great sign that we after all weren't missing Poncetta that much, and my decision to sell him hadn't been catastrophic.

But that was a short phase. Faced with some tougher fixtures vs Inter and Juventus, we lost both matches 0-1 and also lost Petar Ostrek to an injury for a few weeks which I think weakened our side. We then beat Juve Stabia, picked up two draws, and finished March with an away win at Foggia, to climb back to 7th in the league.

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Summary

It's not the most interesting season of my career, but we're in quite a tight fight for 6th with Frosinone, Inter, Lazio, Genoa, and perhaps Roma and Verona too. The good news is we surprisingly don't seem to have felt the loss of the incredible Diego Poncetta; the bad news is that the calendar has been kind in recent weeks, and will become considerably tougher for the remaining 8 matches.

Ultimately this season feels largely like a write-off in preparation for better things, which is why I wasn't too fussed by selling off 2 of my best players in January - I've already got 3 good talents lined up for next season on Bosman transfers. However, if my board doesn't start letting me use some of the large sums of money I've accumulated throughout this season, I don't see much of a point in staying for next year.

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2032/2033 - End of season update - Sampdoria



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Serie A

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April started great. We beat Lazio with a Petar Ostrek brace, and smashed Chievo away 5-2. However, we disappointed our fans losing the derby vs Genoa despite having scored first very early on. And the remaining fixtures were a cause for concern rather than optimism - we were about to face three title contenders (Milan, Napoli and Atalanta) all away from home.

Indeed we were humbled by Milan as we went 3 goals down by the first quarter of an hour, and a 3-1 defeat in that scenario actually looked like we salvaged something. We did beat Torino at home, resisting to being a man down for the final half hour, and this gave us a small boost. But despite our best efforts we failed to hang on to a goalless draw at Napoli, then lost quite surprisingly at home to Fiorentina 3-1, and finished the season with a third defeat, as again we failed to cheekily put a dent in a title contender's hopes - we were beating Atalanta but they turned it around. At the end, we finished 8th, and Atalanta just missed out on what would've been a shocking first title ever.

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Summary

I'm delighted this season is finally over. My game is taking ages to process (I'm going to remove a few leagues to see if it helps), my team is inconsistent, we weren't fighting for anything meaningful, and my board wants to keep the pile of money I've made this season all for themselves. I can't really pretend that I enjoyed this year much.

I am linked to the Juventus job as their manager was sacked, that is a possibility but I feel expectations at Juventus seem to be a little too high and I don't like moving to big sides that have already won a lot anyway, I prefer to try to make history in other clubs. I'm going to have a look around for what's on offer, but may also stick with Sampdoria, it will depend on whether they'll continue giving me laughable budgets or not.

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2032/2033 - Season review - Sampdoria



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Squad and tactics

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(Full squad statistics)

I tried to use the same tactics as I did in Scotland the last few years. It kinda worked but it's not magic.

Finances

(Finances)

We're filthy rich! Now, can someone PLEASE inform my board so they can up my budgets? I just recently sold the remaining clauses on Diego Poncetta, and made even more money - a ridiculous 52,6M€ are sitting in reserve.

Youth watch

Absolute crap intake. This is our "best" (read, less bad) guy:

Luca Bartolini (GK)

I don't have a lot of real homegrown youngsters in my senior squad neither. The closest thing is Slavisa Delic, who was hired so early in his teens from Serbia that he's already considered homegrown at the age of 20. He's described as a "wonderkid" but doesn't suit my tactics and hasn't played particularly well neither.

Top 5 players of the season

5. Sunday Garba (MR) - A good signing who did well on the right wing, but I was more impressed by the lad I hired for the left.

4. Petar Ostrek (AMC) - An excellent Winter signing, even though he picked up an injury, and then tailed off in the final streak of matches. 4 goals and 5 assists in 12 matches is decent.

3. Robert Stella (MC, AMC) - A surprise overperformer as roaming playmaker. I hired both him and Juan Benitez for that position, but expected Juan to claim the spot as he looked clearly more talented. Instead Robert's ratings were really impressive whereas Juan was more inconsistent.

2. Batista (ML) - My favourite signing. Whilst I could do with better finishing (the left-winger gets a LOT of chances in my tactical setup), he was great at running past opponents all year long and finished the season with 6 goals, 11 assists, and a superb 7.74 average rating.

PLAYER OF THE SEASON - Diego Poncetta (ST, AMC)

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No contest. Diego was insane in the 1st half of the season with an absolutely incredible 20 goals in 18 appearances. Indeed for the first two months or so he was the only player who had scored any goals at all for us. We looked incredibly dependent on him, yet I took a giant gamble to sell him to Bayern Munich in January for 48,5M€; plus I added 4,6M€ as I sold extra clauses on him later. His substitute Sebastian Drews was a significant downgrade as Diego was able to score more than a goal per game, and Sebastian only got about 1 in every 2 games; but we still survived Diego's transfer better than I expected as goals came from elsewhere.

[b]Season  League                            Cups                                        International                      Notes
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Berwick Rangers (Scotland)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[/b]
15/16   League 2 - 5th                    Cup 2nd Rd, LgCup 1st Rd, TrCup 1st Rd      ---                                Resigned at end of the season
[b]------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Loughgall FC (Northern Ireland)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[/b]
16/17   Championship 1 - 10th             IRC 6thR, LC 3rdR, ITC 2ndR, MUC winners    ---                                Sacked; won Mid-Ulster Cup
[b]------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Municipal Turrialba (Costa Rica)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[/b]
17/18   Ascenso - 4th (1/4f) / 5th        ---                                         ---
18/19   Ascenso - 3rd (fin.) / 3rd (1/4f) ---                                         ---                                Apertura finalists
19/20   Ascenso - 5th / 4th (fin.)        Copa de Costa Rica 1st Rnd                  ---                                Clausura finalists
[b]------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dolny Kubin (Slovakia)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[/b]
20/21   DOXXbet Liga - 8th / 1st (RlgSt)  Slovnaft Cup 1st Rnd                        ---
21/22   DOXXbet Liga - 3rd / 9th (PrmSt)  Slovnaft Cup 3rd Rnd                        ---
22/23   DOXXbet Liga - 5th / 2nd (PrmSt)  Slovnaft Cup 2nd Rnd                        ---                                Runners-up
23/24   DOXXbet Liga - 3rd / 6th (PrmSt)  Slovnaft Cup semi-finals                    ---
24/25   DOXXbet Liga - 1st / 4th (PrmSt)  Slovnaft Cup 1st Rnd                        ---                                East Group winners
25/26   DOXXbet Liga - 1st / 1st (PrmSt)  Slovnaft Cup finalists                      ---                                Champions, promoted, cup finalists
26/27   Fortuna Liga - 2nd                Slovnaft Cup 3rd Rnd                        ---                                Runners-up
[b]------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Austria Wien (Austria)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[/b]
27/28   tipico-Bundesliga - 2nd           ÖFB-Cup winners                             Europa League 2nd Qual. Rnd.       Runners-up, cup winners
28/29   tipico-Bundesliga - 1st           ÖFB-Cup 3rd Rnd                             ChLg GroupStg, EurLg 1st KO Rnd    Champions
[b]------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dundee United (Scotland)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[/b]
29/30   Scottish Premiership - 2nd        Scottish Cup 4th Rnd, League Cup 1/4 final  Europa League 3rd Qual. Rnd        Runners-up
30/31   Scottish Premiership - 2nd        Scott. Cup 1/2 final, League Cup 1/4 final  Champions League group stage       Runners-up
31/32   Scottish Premiership - 1st        Scott. Cup finalists, League Cup 1/2 final  Europa League 2nd KO Rnd           Champions, cup finalists
[b]------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sampdoria (Italy)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[/b]
32/33   Serie A - 8th                     TIM Cup 3rd Qual. Rnd

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The board has given me a good transfer budget (17M€) for next season so I decided to stay.

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2033/2034 - Pre-season update - Sampdoria



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Transfers

(Transfers)

Give me money and a squad I was unhappy with, and the result can only be a ridiculous amount of transfers - we hired 13 players, 12 of them of my initiative and then my DOF picked up a crap kid named Alessio D'Aniello without me noticing.

Our defence needed an extreme makeover, so I got rid of 3 centre-backs, including the 2 starters of last season - Mohamed Boukhari, Sebastián Arroyo and Vicente Becerra were all gone. In came Mike McKenna from West Ham, Tom Barriere from Bayern and René Dickgießer from Schalke (who can also play DM and RB). Kevin David also arrived from Brazil to compete for the left-back position.

On the midfield I sold two of our DMs, Lisandro Carrizo and Roberto Monti, to sign permanently on our new record most expensive transfer ever (10,25M€), Mateo Katarebe, who was on loan from Lyon here last year and impressed me. The left-wing saw backup Milos Aleksic leave with the highly promising Renatinho arrive from Brazil; but the right-wing will now be composed entirely of new players: I always planned to sell Juan José Soler who was inconsistent, but a 10,25M€ bid from Juventus for Sunday Garba came unexpectedly as he was one our better players. I accepted as he had just one more year of contract, was 30 and unhappy. This opened up 2 RW vacancies and I believe I made 2 stellar deals to pick up Mark Moonen and Patrice Songo'o both from the Bundesliga.

But I haven't even gone into to all the changes in forwards. Víctor Manuel Griñón had to be sold after a disastrous season, backup Nico Rodia's contract also ended, so I needed a new second striker. And I was thrilled to be able to hire back my former Dundee United player of the season James Slater!! Upfront, I had lined up two 23 year old Spanish strikers arriving on frees - Natalio Sarabia and Emilio Moreno -, so to clear up space for them I sold our starting striker Sebastian Drews for 9M€.

It looked as if that was more than enough moves, and somehow I still made money at the end of all of this. But then my scouts found an unbelievably good 33 year old player who has been doing his whole career in Korea and Australia(!!). I couldn't help but hire him despite there being a zero need for even more strikers - Sampdoria fans, meet the incredible Caner Gedik.

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(Full squad for the 2033/2034 season)

Pre-season friendlies

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This was a slightly unconvincing pre-season, I didn't expect to get beat at Virtus Entella! I'm going to pin that down on the turnmoil of transfers that were happening at the time. We did end with a huge 9-0 win which was great for morale.

Serie A

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This was a nice way to start the season, for whatever reason we seemed to do well vs Roma last season and beat them again with a Batista brace, despite Roma having had a few chances. Then a trip to Cittadella didn't look particularly difficult but they frustrated our attack and somehow went a goal up in their only shot on target. We still drew the game though. The scorer? Caner Gedik, on his debut for Sampdoria, on his debut on a major European league (having been ignored by Chelsea for years earlier in his career), at the age of 33.

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Summary

For a change this was lots of fun. I think you can tell I like hiring players. I believe we have a hell of a lot more talent in the team now, but not necessarily in the starting 11, where the upgrades have been subtle. The real boost is in the sheer depth of young, hungry, talented players we now have. My goal is to return Sampdoria to the European competitions this season, and am quite confident and excited about it.

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2033/2034 - Mid-season update - Sampdoria



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Serie A

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After that optimistic start, things took a turn for the worse. Inter away and Torino at home were neither easy fixtures, but we lost both. Unbelievably everything ticked together for a 4-0 win away at Fiorentina with a Natalio Sarabia poker, but we were stupidly inconsistent. A loss at home vs last year's surprise package Atalanta followed, then a big 3-0 win away at Spezia, then two absolutely disastrous 0-3, 0-4 defeats vs Bari and Napoli. It seemed like we were switching between awesome and rubbish at random.

A win over Sassuolo followed, and a draw away at Lazio wasn't bad, but we nearly lost the Genoa derby at home, drawing with a late goal, then our defenders looked like clowns at the San Siro in a 3-5 defeat. We were slipping away again. I decided it was time for a slight tactical switch, and a change for a more defending setup resulted in a surprising 3-1 win over Juventus with a Caner Gedik hattrick and then another win vs Bologna. I thought we were finally clicking, but the rest of December wasn't as good. We could only get a 0-0 at Catania, a 3-3 at Perugia who are dead last in the league (with another Caner Gedik hattrick, he's been on fire with tons of goals recently), and a more disappointing 0-0 at home vs Verona. I suppose three draws give us 3 points but it's enough to keep on fighting for Europe as we slowly dropped to 10th place.

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TIM Cup

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For whatever reason, we joined the cup a lot later this season (probably due to the league position we finished in last year). With a congested run of fixtures in the league, I decided to rotate a lot of players. It didn't go well. It was an even game but Roma got the goal in the 1st half and we could never turn it around despite having a couple of clearer chances later on.

Summary

This is turning out to be a disappointing season. I expected to be slightly better than last year, instead we seem slightly worse. I'm not entirely sure what's the problem, I have recently switched to a slightly more defensive setup as I suspect this Sampdoria side just doesn't have the quality to play that open style of football I used at Dundee United and since the switch I have only lost 1 match (the cup game with backups), but I've also only won 2 out of 6 matches. Let's see if after the short winter break things get better, I also have a big, familiar signing about to arrive so maybe he'll help us.

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2033/2034 - Late-in-the-season update - Sampdoria



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I stopped playing this for a while because I wasn't feeling it, but I'm gonna try to get back into it. Here's a quick update since these matches were played a long time ago and I don't remember everything.

Transfers

(Transfers)

Two returns of known names! Midfielder Mustafa Ozegovic had been sold when I first arrived at the club because he was unhappy and his contract ran out soon, I now poached him back from Wolfsburg for a club record fee of 18.5M€, I think this is still particularly good business because he's homegrown. The other return is centre-back Ibrahim Altin who I managed at Dundee United for 2 seasons with a lot of success.

To make way for Ozegovic I sold Juan Benitez, whilst striker Emilio Moreno and centre-back Marijan Saric were loaned out.

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Serie A

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Unfortunately we continued to struggle in Serie A even after tightening up my 4-4-1-1 slightly, with two consecutive 2-3 defeats away at Frosinone and Roma. A win over Cittadella offered us brief relief, but we conceded another load of goals with 0-3 and 1-3 defeats to Inter and Torino.

At this stage I was getting desperate and threw the tactic away and brought back a 4-1-4-1 based on what I used to play when I managed in Slovakia and Austria. This is much cagier and boring to watch but suddenly gave us results with a fantastic streak of 1 win, 1 draw, then 3 consecutive wins. I was suddenly excited and thought I had finally unlocked the secret to success in Italy, but then March ended with two unexpected heavy defeats, 0-2 at Sassuolo then 0-3 at home vs Lazio. After all the ups and downs, it averages out to still remaining 10th in the league.

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Summary

My time in Italy is just not going well, I'm not disgracing myself but struggling to find any real competitive edge. The latest tactical switch seems promising, but suddenly halted by the 2 consecutive defeats, I'll try to insist in it for the rest of the season and then I'll figure out whether to remain in Sampdoria or sail somewhere else.

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Cheers for the encouragement lads.

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2033/2034 - End of season update - Sampdoria



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Serie A

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My insistence in the dull 4-1-4-1 eventually paid off with a magnificent 3-0 win at the Genoa derby at the beginning of April. Happy days! We then embarked on an epic streak of 1-1 draws, doing it vs Milan and Juve was good, but not so much vs Catania and Bologna. Losing at home to Perugia was even worse. A 0-0 draw away at Verona was okay; and I finished my campaign with Sampdoria with a 3-1 win over Frosinone which I guess was a nice send-off.

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Summary

I don't have a lot of good things to say about these two seasons with Sampdoria. There was never a hint of consistency and it all fizzled out to two midtable finishes, this one being slightly worse than last year with 3 less points and finishing 3 positions lower.

I could insist further, indeed I even recently renewed contract for another season, but there does come a point where one has to accept defeat and move on to a hopefully happier place. I will, therefore, offer my resignation from the club.

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2033/2034 - Season review - Sampdoria



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Squad and tactics

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(Full squad statistics)

The 4-1-4-1 I was playing at the end of the season, quite close to a few setups I used back in Slovakia and Austria. I also took some ideas from this thread in the tactic downloads forum, and at this stage with how frustrated I was with this team, I'm seriously considering scrapping my own systems and just loading up that tactic.

Finances

(Finances)

Ozegovic's purchase took up quite a bit of cash.

Youth watch

Totally rubbish.

Andrea Scibilia (DM, MC)

Giancarlo Beccaris (DM / MC)

Top 5 players of the season

5. Batista (ML) - Quick word out to a 6th player, Petar Ostrek who looked class briefly in the 1st half of the season before I moved to systems that didn't include a AMC. As for Batista, I felt this was a disappointing year compared to the previous in which he performed to a much higher level, but still contributed 10 goals and 6 assists.

4. Patrice Songo'o (MR, MC) - A good first season from the young German winger, who I also occasionally played through the middle. 6 goals and 8 assists.

3. Mustafa Ozegovic (MC, ML, MR) - A quality player that suffers from not being quite a perfect fit anywhere - I played him mostly as CM/A, but also occasionally put him on either wing. Through the middle he got better ratings, through the wings he got a couple of goals. Ultimately it was a good signing to bring him back, but I was still expecting him to contribute with a clearer edge to our game.

2. Caner Gedik (ST, AMC) - The Turkish forward that was lost in the Korean league, finally had the chance to perform at a major league at the old age of 33, and delivered. Whilst at the beginning of the season I preferred Natalio Sarabia in the striker position, Caner eventually grabbed the place and scored a satisfying 19 goals.

PLAYER OF THE SEASON - Robert Stella (MC)

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No doubt there's some sort of bias in the match engine that gives ridiculous ratings to roaming playmakers, but some roaming playmakers are more amazing than others. In Robert's case he is most definitely a passing machine and his 7.84 rating this season is not in reach of everyone. It's remarkable because his abilities aren't THAT good on paper, but he had become one of the players I relied on the most.

[b]Season  League                            Cups                                        International                      Notes
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Berwick Rangers (Scotland)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[/b]
15/16   League 2 - 5th                    Cup 2nd Rd, LgCup 1st Rd, TrCup 1st Rd      ---                                Resigned at end of the season
[b]------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Loughgall FC (Northern Ireland)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[/b]
16/17   Championship 1 - 10th             IRC 6thR, LC 3rdR, ITC 2ndR, MUC winners    ---                                Sacked; won Mid-Ulster Cup
[b]------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Municipal Turrialba (Costa Rica)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[/b]
17/18   Ascenso - 4th (1/4f) / 5th        ---                                         ---
18/19   Ascenso - 3rd (fin.) / 3rd (1/4f) ---                                         ---                                Apertura finalists
19/20   Ascenso - 5th / 4th (fin.)        Copa de Costa Rica 1st Rnd                  ---                                Clausura finalists
[b]------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dolny Kubin (Slovakia)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[/b]
20/21   DOXXbet Liga - 8th / 1st (RlgSt)  Slovnaft Cup 1st Rnd                        ---
21/22   DOXXbet Liga - 3rd / 9th (PrmSt)  Slovnaft Cup 3rd Rnd                        ---
22/23   DOXXbet Liga - 5th / 2nd (PrmSt)  Slovnaft Cup 2nd Rnd                        ---                                Runners-up
23/24   DOXXbet Liga - 3rd / 6th (PrmSt)  Slovnaft Cup semi-finals                    ---
24/25   DOXXbet Liga - 1st / 4th (PrmSt)  Slovnaft Cup 1st Rnd                        ---                                East Group winners
25/26   DOXXbet Liga - 1st / 1st (PrmSt)  Slovnaft Cup finalists                      ---                                Champions, promoted, cup finalists
26/27   Fortuna Liga - 2nd                Slovnaft Cup 3rd Rnd                        ---                                Runners-up
[b]------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Austria Wien (Austria)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[/b]
27/28   tipico-Bundesliga - 2nd           ÖFB-Cup winners                             Europa League 2nd Qual. Rnd.       Runners-up, cup winners
28/29   tipico-Bundesliga - 1st           ÖFB-Cup 3rd Rnd                             ChLg GroupStg, EurLg 1st KO Rnd    Champions
[b]------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dundee United (Scotland)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[/b]
29/30   Scottish Premiership - 2nd        Scottish Cup 4th Rnd, League Cup 1/4 final  Europa League 3rd Qual. Rnd        Runners-up
30/31   Scottish Premiership - 2nd        Scott. Cup 1/2 final, League Cup 1/4 final  Champions League group stage       Runners-up
31/32   Scottish Premiership - 1st        Scott. Cup finalists, League Cup 1/2 final  Europa League 2nd KO Rnd           Champions, cup finalists
[b]------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sampdoria (Italy)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[/b]
32/33   Serie A - 8th                     TIM Cup 3rd Qual. Rnd
33/34   Serie A - 11th                    TIM Cup 1st Rnd

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Chapter 8 - In Search of Sunshine



Sunday, 4th of June 2034, Seville, Spain

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I must admit this is a bit of a random move based on the available options, Spain wasn't high on the list of possible destinations - indeed my favourite next stop was Germany. However, it was hard to resist the idea of managing Sevilla FC.

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A constant presence in the Spanish League top 5 for the vast majority of the past 2 decades, I arrive in Sevilla after a pair of disappointing seasons that saw them finish 7th both years. It's essentially the same challenge I had in Sampdoria - to try to restore a relatively bigg-ish club to a major high it only had briefly in its history. Sevilla were Spanish champions one single time in 1946; although its major European successes have come much more recently - with 4 Europa League trophies in 2006, 2007, 2014 and 2015; and a presence in the UEFA Champions League final of 2018-2019, which they lost to PSG. The manager at the time was... David Moyes.

One small detail I might've overlooked before signing for this club is that they're 24.3M€ in the red currently. Oops.

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Squad

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I'm NOT happy at all with the squad I've just inherited, it seems horrendously unbalanced for what I want to do. I seem to have a zillion strikers. My current plan is to play a single false nine as per those tactics I've downloaded... erm, not so sure this is a brilliant idea anymore.

These are our best players, notice there's a bit of overlap in a certain position:

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Eladio Martínez (ST / AML) - Fabulous 21 year old target man. Wants to move to a bigger club. Is wanted by Kerkyra of Greece. What?

Pedro Valero (ST) - Fabulous 22 year old... poacher. Well, okay this is getting awkward then. Another misfit for the plan.

Santi (ST / AMC) - No, this is the guy that's perfect for the false nine role. 20 off the ball, 20 composure, "plays one-twos" PPM... surely I can just get rid of the 2 other guys and play him? Oh wait, he's 32 years old. Damnit.

Thamis Katsaros (DM, MC / DC) - Nice deep-lying playmaker. I surely can find him a place in the starting 11. Crap. He's 33.

Goals

All I'm aiming at is to make something out of this team that gives me some fun from FM again...

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Interesting move, although it looks like you've got your hands full with trying to reshape that squad.

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Interesting team you've inherited. Best of luck in Spain

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Let's hope things go well, or you'll be in Sevilla trouble!

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It's gone catastrophic. I'm about 6 games into the season IIRC and haven't won a league match. Considering just giving up on FM16 tbh, just not feeling it, a part of it is my incompetence given I'm so used to world-beating supertactics on previous FMs and there doesn't seem to be one this time, but I'm mostly frustrated about the regens, for example attacking fullbacks are very effective in this match engine but good luck finding one affordable fullback that can cross and isn't incompetent at everything else by 2034 (meanwhile technically inept fullbacks that can defend incredibly well are available everywhere). Also inside forwards don't exist. Also midfielders can't finish. Also quick goalkeepers that are good on one-on-ones don't exist (essential for a high defensive line). Also the previous manager hired me a top class centre-back with a jumping attribute of 5 (cheers for that). Etc, etc. Almost every player I need doesn't exist or is extremely rare, every team I take over needs an extreme makeover and it takes years until it clicks if it ever does.

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