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[FM 07] Back to 2006 | UPDATE: 28/29 Club Review - Pep leaves City, Adams v Southgate, Stoke do it, Sunderland's fall & rise , Wilder's 20 year-reign, Iniesta in N. Ireland

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2028/29 - Man Utd Season & Squad Review

Premier League: 3rd
FA Cup: Quarter-Final
League Cup: 3rd Round
Champions League: Quarter-Final
European Super Cup: Runner-Up
Club World Cup: Winners
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Reserves and Under-18s

The reserves won their first title in 9 years, in a group containing Liverpool, who had won 4 of the last 5, and Newcastle.

As well as being top scorers, they were the only side to concede less than 29 goals in 18 games - only 16. Also the least amount of cards.

Not bad for a team that I accidentally forgot to set a manager for...

fletcher1.jpg

Darren Fletcher's Under-18s won their 12th title in a row.
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Confidence

The board are delighted with our stronger-than-expected league position. Also with our finances, which continue to grow now the club are back in the Champions League.

The fans are too. They expected a title challenge. We weren't quite there, but close.

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Records and Rankings

We broke the Premier League record for average attendance with 77,694, while our overall average of 76,179 was a club record. Those will be smashed next year after a full season with our newly expanded 92,212-seater stadium.

With our new capacity, we naturally broke our record for highest gate receipts for one match: the Champions League quarter-final against Newcastle United earned £4.4m.

Old Trafford will also break England's record attendance, due to hosting some Confederations Cup games in the summer.

We drop 8 places to 15th in the European coefficients, but that will rise after the club's 3 seasons of getting knocked out of the Europa League First Knockout Round expire. Newcastle and AC Milan remain the Big 2.

We rise from 10th to 6th in the Rich List and are now just behind Newcastle.

1 - AC Milan - £447m
2 - Bayern Munich - £424m
3 - Real Madrid - £399m
4 - Barcelona - £347m
5 - Newcastle United - £339m
6 - Manchester United - £322m

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Awards

Júnior wins Man Utd Fans' Player of the Year and shares the Golden Boot with 2 other players thanks to 15 goals, though he got it in the least amount of games: 27(5). It's the lowest amount ever scored for a Premier League Golden Boot.

English centre-back Burley, had the highest average Premier League rating by far with 7.50, 0.17 more than the rest.

They are Signing of the Season and runner-up for SotS respectively (both were free transfers), and came 2nd and 3rd for Players' Player of the Year respectively. They make the Team of the Year, while goalkeeper Bondarev is on the 'bench'.

I come 2nd for Manager of the Year.

For the 2nd season in a row, English winger Casey makes the Champions League Dream Team.

Free kick and long shot specialist Muller is runner-up for European Midfielder of the Year.

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Tactics

Tactics died a horrible, spectacular death this season as teams cowered in the now 92,000-strong Old Trafford. It was ridiculous. At our place, some teams just stuck 11 men in their box and waited. Infuriatingly, it worked, they would somehow score too!

We were already playing a 4-1-3-3 (more like a 2-3-5) to combat the increasing defensiveness of teams, but now we didn't even need any players in our own half as there was no one to mark! While we were good at winning aerial balls, other clubs were now buying very strong defenders (18+ in Jumping and Stength), so shoving 11 men into their half and hitting balls in their swamped box wasn't working, so a change in approach is needed next season. I already had a policy of buying players who were good AND physically strong, but there's a lack of quality strikers who are dominant in the air in the world right now, and my past 3 strikers to have standout seasons have been average in the air. So I'm going to try the opposite extreme and keep the ball on the ground and get attackers to dribble through the 11-man mass.

Because of this 11 v 11 in one half, I realised pace is now the top requirement for home defenders. If an attacker is breaking, they still have to run 50 yards to get to our goal, so pacy defenders have the time and space to catch up to him and tackle him calmly.

Teams continued to try to bamboozle us with the 3-3-2-1-1 formation. I already found the solution by playing a crazy man-for-man 1-1-2-3-3 formation, but even now I have to push the wingers even further forward.

Despite these suicidal tactics, I still kept a couple of men back... but whenever I did this, or went back to a sensible formation after taking a lead, the opposition would quickly score. So next season it's back to the original plan: keep everyone forward and outscore them, even if it means they get a few free shots.

In more sensible matches, we showed we could take a lead or nick a goal and defend it, especially away from home. Now that we're counter-attacking away, we're even better.

We're also scoring late winners and equalisers a lot more.

As a result of all this, we were the 2nd-highest scorers in the league (more than Newcastle!), and joint-least draws with 9. We also scored the most penalties with 5. It didn't feel like it! Only other major concern is getting only 1 goal from a corner, when it was usually a source of several goals. Although we got the joint-most from indirect free-kicks with 11.

Given this attacking and counter-attacking style, the 4-4-2 diamond, the stoppage time comebacks, the habit of winning penalties, the Old Trafford fear factor returning, the shock Champions League trophy and even a rotated front 4, it looks like my goal of emulating 1999 is coming to fruition!

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Staff

Assistant manager Tony Humes retires after 9 years at Man United. He started in 2020 as youth coach before I promoted him to assistant 3 years ago.

Brad-Friedel-training.jpg

His replacement will be Brad Friedel, the American international goalkeeper who spent most of his career at Blackburn before becoming a scout.

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Squad

The squad was a Europa League side when I arrived, then became a Champions League (winning!) side, and quickly a top 3 side. It's time to take it to the next stage and try to match Newcastle United.

(Only senior and first team squad players included)

GK

28. Alexey Bondarev - 23 years old, Russia (1 cap), valued at £3.4m - Played 47, Conceded 41, Clean Sheets 18, Man of the Match 1, Average Rating 6.94
17. Hamada Abdel Aziz - 24, Egypt (17) / France, £3.1m - P 7, Conc 8, CS 3, AvR 6.57
1. Thomas Butler - 25, England (U21), £2.7m - P 0

Bondarev started the season due to Abdel Aziz's injury and never lost the spot. At first his average rating was around 7.14, but a few so-so performances helped move it down. But, at last, I finally have a solid keeper.

Abdel Aziz was subbed off TWICE this season, though he had 'earned' a new contract as a backup after winning the Club World Cup. He's capable of world class saves and clean sheets, but we can't have a goalkeeper that can lose entire games, so the Champions League-winning keeper is going. Well, if anyone will risk having him.

No one wanted Butler on loan and he was injured 5+ times, including whenever he was about to get picked for a cup / nothing game, so he only played in the reserves. He's unhappy and requested a transfer, but I still have hope he's a future England #1.

Mahmoudi broke into the Iran squad; he has been travelling his pathway well.

(Next season's roles)
First Team - Bondarev
Backup/Out - Butler
Out - Abdel Aziz

It's a shame. We had 2 young keepers when I arrived, both looked world class, and neither have stuck around and reached their potential.
 

DR

12. (Renato Santos de) Souza - DR/C - 30, Portugal (4 goals in 49 caps) / Brazil, £4.7m - P 23(4), Assists 2, MotM 2, AvR 6.93
23. Simphiwe Makhubo - DR/C - 27, South Africa (9), £2.8m - P 19(4), Assists 1, AvR 6.83
+ Aleksandrowicz, (Rodrigo de) Souza

Makhubo started well, but overall wasn't reliable. I'd hoped he'd be an option in the centre too but, when I moved him there during a match, he made several errors and he was shoved back to the right for everyone's safety!

First Team -  (Renato Santos de) Souza
Backup - Aleksandrowicz
Backup/Out - Makhubo

 

DL

7. Steve McIntosh - Captain - D/WB/M/AML - 31, Republic of Ireland (11 in 56), £4.1m - P 33(1), G 2 A 7, MotM 3, AvR 7.24
5. Aktas Vezir - D/WBL - 25, Turkey (1 in 3) / Germany, bought from Valencia (La Liga) for £10.5m (valued at £20m) - P 15(1), A 5, MotM 1, AvR 7.06
+  (Rodrigo de) Souza, Viveros

McIntosh completed his transition to left-back and the captain led by example. He moved up to left-wing when Vezir came in and started getting goals and assists until his injury.

Thanks to a half-price minimum fee release clause, Vezir is McIntosh's long-term replacement. He's also being trained as a left-winger. He has so many 20s (see previous entry).

First Team - McIntosh, Vezir, Souza
Rotation - Viveros


DC

21. Elliot Burley - 30, England (3), £4.7m - P 43, G 3, A 2, MotM 10, 7.47
14. Richard Friar - 24, England (U21), £6m - P 28(1), A 2 MotM 3, AvR 7.31
25. Frank Larsen - 24, Denmark (5), £4.3m - P 17(1), MotM, AvR 7.44
6. Volker Kirn - 27, Germany (11), £4.8m - P 15(1), AvR 7.25
2. Jorge Padilla - 26, Ecuador (12), £2.3m - P 5, AvR 6.80
26. Giorgos Andreadis - 21, Greece (7), £3.4m - P 7, Avr 6.57
+ Aleksandrowicz, Makhubo, Souza, Souza

At first glance, you'd think Burley, Larsen, Friar and Kirn were rocks. I'm not sure how they got such crazy average ratings. In reality, Burley and Larsen made a few costly errors with poor marking, while Kirn was unassuming. Friar made a couple of errors, but was our most reliable defender.

Padilla's a fine defender, but we have so much depth and he failed to achieve in a cut-throat season. He requested a transfer anyway.

Andreadis signed as a wonderkid but, despite what the scouts said, he's evidently nowhere near our level yet.

Rotation - Burley, Friar, Kirn, Larsen
Youth - Andreadis
Out - Padilla


M/AMR

8. Ivan Hristov - D/WB/MR, DM/MC - 28, Bulgaria (22), £8.25m - P 28(7), G 3, A 4, AvR 6.91
4. Bartosz Aleksandrowicz - Vice-Captain - D/MR, DC, DM/MC - 26, Poland (31), £5.25m - P 29(14), G 1, A 5, AvR 6.81
22. Roddy Pressley - WB/M/AMR - 32, Scotland (1 in 41) / England, £3.5m - P 9(5), AvR 6.79
15. (Rodrigo de) Souza - DRLC/DM/MRLC - 23, Germany (1) / Brazil, bought from Real Madrid (La Liga) for £15m (£21m) - P 11(1), G 3, A 1, AvR 6.92

Hristov didn't repeat his incredible form of last season and had a few injuries, Pressley showed he wasn't an alternative and Aleksandrowicz is simply a defensive midfielder.

So, after a failure to capture him in the summer, I was finally able to pay Souza's minimum-fee release clause in January. He scored both goals in a debut win but unfortunately, as with all the good players, he was regularly injured. Maybe I'll tweak everyone's training...

I sold Pressley to Leicester for £3.3m. He had earned a new contract by the end of last season with his sub appearances helping lift the Champions League, but this season he made 0 assists and scored none.

First Team - Hristov, Souza
Out - Pressley


M/AML

11. Andy Casey - 23, England (U21), £8.5m - P 26(10), G 1, A 5, MotM 2, AvR 7.03
3. Juan Pablo Viveros - WB/M/AML - 34, Chile (3 in 67), £350k - P 22(12), G 1, A 3, Avr 6.91
+ McIntosh, Souza

Casey just needs to get more assists (or goals), but he's still young.

Viveros actually played more games than last season, with no drop in average rating, earning a new 1-year contract.

Rotation - Casey, McIntosh, Souza, Viveros


DM/MC

16. Sebastian Muller - DM/MC - 26, Germany (2 in 13), £8.25m - P 43(2), G 9, A 9, MotM 3, AvR 7.07
+ Aleksandrowicz, Artime, Hristov, Souza, Tsotetsi

Evidently, Muller is the engine of the side, providing defensive cover and goals equally. He enjoys scoring free-kicks and long range 'worldies'. We experimented training him into an AMC as his long-range ability made him perfect for home games against parked buses, but it had no impact. He finds joy coming in deep from central midfield so there he will stay.

With 2 new right-wingers in 3 transfer windows, Aleksandrowicz can now stay away from right-midfield and try to establish himself as a DM, but Muller is stiff competition.

First Team - Muller
Rotation - Aleksandrowicz, Artime, Souza


AMC

13. Luis Roberto Artime - MC/AMC - 24, Spain (2), £5.25m - P 27(13), G 3, A 1, MotM 1 AvR 6.82
24. Reginald Tsotetsi - MC/AMC - 24, South Africa (2 in 15), £5.5m - P 26(9), G 5, A 3, AvR 6.86
+ Popovic

After 11 assists last season, Artime only got 1 this year, but a slightly higher average rating despite several sub appearances.

Tsotetsi's contributions as AMC, an often quiet position, continue to plod along with the odd big goal, but he's still highly regarded by those in the game. Hopefully he begins showing more.

While used more as a striker during his few appearances, Popovic's lack of aerial ability mean's he's best as an AMC running at defences. Whether he can finish more chances will decide whether he becomes a United legend.

Rotation - Artime, Tsotetsi, Popovic


ST

20. Júnior - 30, Brazil (2), £16m - P 35(9), G 21, A 7, MotM 6, AvR 7.20
18. Kenny Reilly - 27, Scotland (9 in 22), £16.5m - P 10(8), G 4, A 2, MotM 1, AvR 6.83
9. Neil Sibiya - 25, South Africa (24 in 25), £25.5m - P 23(14), G 6, A 1, MotM 1, AvR 6.78
10. Santos - 27, Brazil (6 in 27), sold for £20m to Inter Milan (Serie A) - P 5(4), G 0, A 1, AvR 6.33
19. Jan Krpec - 24, Czech Republic (1 in 7), £6.25m - P 25(9), G 5, A 5, MotM 1, AvR 6.74
43. Predrag Popovic - AMC/ST - 23, Serbia (1 in 1), £5.75m - P 7(4), G 4, A 1, MotM 1, AvR 7.09
10. Stefan Schneider - 29, Germany (10 in 28), loan from Bayern Munich (Bundesliga) (valued at £9.5m) - P 5(2), G 3, MotM 1, AvR 6.86

Every season seems to see a new striker arise. My first 2 seasons, Sibiya was our star striker. Then last season Reilly was the hero. This season, free transfer Júnior became my first player to win (well, share) the golden boot while others faltered.

After a heroic Champions League-winning season, Reilly was dogged by injuries and we barely saw him this season. Naturally, with Sibiya and Reilly both being star strikers, there was wonder on whether they could play together. Naturally, they probably can't. That's how football works!

After scoring on 10th January, Sibiya missed a penalty 4 days later and never scored again in his last 8(6) games (838 minutes).

Santos failed to score at all for club or country in the first half of the season. Needing money to buy Souza, it was time to cash in. He did score 36 goals in his other 81(31) games for United.

Normally the 'home' striker, Krpec appeared in more away games, but his only problem was a failure to convert his many chances, only getting 5 goals from 28 shots on target, from 61 shots overall.

8 goals in 13 in Belgium followed by an international debut winner against Brazil was enough for Popovic to earn a work permit and join the team. He then got 3 in 2 for the reserves, so he couldn't be ignored and made his debut in the Club World Cup. Of course, he scored the late equaliser on his Premier League debut and a hat-trick on his FA Cup debut. A breakout season or flash in the pan?

Schneider isn't a future transfer.

First Team - Junior, Reilly, Sibiya
Rotation - Krpec
Backup - Popovic
Out - Santos

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Congratulations! 

Regarding the opposition parking the bus-have you ever experienced a situation at home, when the AI starts a defensive 4-4-2 with no arrows and then in case of an injury (even at your team) the AI subs off one of its strikers and goes ultra defensive 5-4-1 even when the result is e.g. still 0-0 and the minute is 5th? :D

The high average ratings of your DC's is probably due to their percentage of aerial battles won. Countless of times these ratings deceived even me and I continued to play them- closing one eye even when they made costly mistakes. Yeah, in regen era, finding a top aerial targetman is very hard, as you said, and focusing to pace will be key . Maybe you can find some good pacey AMCs with good off the ball attributes and retrain them to ST? 

Edited by Ales

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5 hours ago, Ales said:

Congratulations! 

Regarding the opposition parking the bus-have you ever experienced a situation at home, when the AI starts a defensive 4-4-2 with no arrows and then in case of an injury (even at your team) the AI subs off one of its strikers and goes ultra defensive 5-4-1 even when the result is e.g. still 0-0 and the minute is 5th? :D

The high average ratings of your DC's is probably due to their percentage of aerial battles won. Countless of times these ratings deceived even me and I continued to play them- closing one eye even when they made costly mistakes. Yeah, in regen era, finding a top aerial targetman is very hard, as you said, and focusing to pace will be key . Maybe you can find some good pacey AMCs with good off the ball attributes and retrain them to ST? 

Yes, that 5-4-1 is the 3-3-2-1-1 I mentioned. They use it in other scenarios too, like if it's 0-0 after 45 minutes or if they take a lead. Bus parkers start with the flat 4-4-2, but so do teams who are actually playing football. It's starting to become less obvious at the start who's playing for 0-0.

I know the rating goes up if a defender makes lots of interceptions too. I'm not using defenders who make errors now that we have money. I don't have to get players who are free or good value. Instead I can pick and wait for the right guy within reasonable price. I'm taking the Liverpool / Van Dijk transfer approach rather than the (real life) Man Utd one.

The only other time I went far in FM 07 I did have strikers with high Jumping, though they cost world record fees to take from rivals. It seems silly to worry about that now though if Newcastle's 36-goal striker has Jumping in 14 and my top 3 strikers have 15/16. I didn't look at pace because it didn't seem much use against busses, but I did buy a striker with I think 20s in Finishing, Composure, Dribbling and Strength. Also a 19-year-old midfielder who doesn't have the Pace or Strength yet, but has high red numbers in nearly all technical attributes, plus all the good mental ones, so worth a go. Both Brazilian, naturally!

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2028/29 Club Football Review

Biggest Transfers

Marco Di Vito (DR/C/DM/MR/C, Italian, 26) - Roma to AC Milan - £33m
Róbson (ST, Brazilian/Italian, 21) - Man City to Arsenal - £28m
Gérard Sola (DR/L, Swiss, 27) - Arsenal to AC Milan - £21m
Guillermo Blanco (ST, Mexican, 28) - Bayern Munich to Juventus - £20m
Santos (ST, Brazilian, 27) - Man Utd to Inter Milan - £20m


Champions League

adams-tony-adams-tony_3372864.jpg?201511

Tony Adams' shock disloyalty, when he left Arsenal to join AC Milan after only 2 weeks in charge, was rewarded as they matched Real Madrid's 10 Champions League trophies, with a 2-0 win over Gareth Southgate's Bayern Munich in the final.


England

England.jpg

Premier League & FA Cup

Marcelino García Toral retired after Newcastle United won their 2nd league & cup Double in a row. After arriving in September 2025 as the long-term successor to Sir Steve McClaren, he won back-to-back Champions Leagues, 3 FA Cups, and won the league in all of his full seasons. The gap had closed slightly due to a resurgent Arsenal and an improving Manchester United, however Newcastle have never been affected by manager changes before, so no bets are being made on a new champion any time soon.

At Arsenal, Simon Stewart (Adams' replacement) was sacked in his 2nd season with the team struggling for 4th and after an embarrassing Europa League exit to GAK, failing to even reach the group stage. But he was replaced with PSG's manager, whose first 19 games saw 3-0, 4-0, 5-0 and 6-0 wins and a run of 7 clean sheets in a row.

Former Bayern Munich, Man City and 2-time HSV manager Thomas Doll returned to management after 3 years away, taking charge of Premier League Norwich. They were 3rd by Christmas, but eventually finished 9th.

pep-wave.ashx?width=1024&height=576

Pep Guardiola's time at Manchester City lasted barely over a year, as he left at the end of the season to join Torino. In his only full season, City actually finished 2 places lower with 1 less point than last year.

Sheffield United lost their manager to Atlético in September, but replaced him well with Feyenoord's Yildiray Basturk, who got a debut 3-0 home win over Arsenal. Unfortunately, when their on-loan Man Utd striker was injured and recalled, they subsequently failed to score in 7 games then again failed to score in their final 6 games, causing them to be relegated for the 2nd time in 3 seasons.

Football League

26634.bin?w968h681

After 44 years away, Stoke City return to the Premier League after finishing 2nd in the Championship. Their manager joined a decade ago with the side battling relegation from League One.

Sunderland's dramatic fall and rise through the football league finally ended with a return to the Premier League as playoff winners. After the yo-yo club's last relegation from the top league in 2017, they dropped to League Two 5 years later. Phil Parkinson took charge with them midtable back in League One and got them promoted twice in 4 full seasons.

image.jpg?width=640

Chris Wilder resigned after 20 years and 13 days in charge of Stevenage. In that time he had taken the promotion-chasing Conference side down to Conference South, before going back up and finally reaching the Football League for the first time in 2020. They've stayed in League Two ever since, but Wilder resigned in March with the club in the relegation zone. They was no 'new manager bounce' under Phil Robinson and they went down.


France

France.jpg

This season's surprise title challengers were Dijon, who were in the 3rd tier only 8 seasons ago. They were top in February when their manager left for a second-tier Mexican side. Kennet Andersson came in and, on the final day, they had to win and hope back-to-back champions PSG lost.

A 90th-minute winner saw PSG's unlikely loss come to fruition... but Dijon also choked and lost, so PSG became the first club to win 3 titles in a row since Lyon's 2002-2006 dominance.


Scotland

Scotland.jpg

It was a nostalgic season harking back to the 'Big 2' Glasgow-dominant era, as Atillo Lombardo's Rangers were top for most of the season, before Celtic rose and it was neck-and-neck on the final day. Rangers could only manage a draw, but Celtic failed to find a winner, so Rangers won their first SPL title in 7 years.


Northern Ireland

GB-NIR-Northern-Ireland-Flag-icon.png

15645842757567.jpg

Andrés Iniesta was sacked by Northern Irish side Banbridge Town only half a season after becoming a hero by winning the league title and being one lost final away from a domestic treble. This with a side that had only ever won 1 league title, never reached an Irish Cup final and only 1 League Cup final before.

Edited by git2thachoppa

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