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deltablue

[FM13] Second Star to the Right...

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noikeee   
2 hours ago, deltablue said:

I'd like to remind Noikeee that earlier in the season he said he was running out of superlatives, and that was when we were 5th with just 20% of the season gone. The current situation 2/3rds is surely on a higher level than that. I'd still be amazed if someone came from the future and said we'd go up, but at the moment I'm absolutely loving just being in the mix for so long.

Which is why I stopped praising your team, and just told you to stop whining and just get promoted. :D

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Well given we're doing a lot better than I expected and I started the career off by getting relegated after looking safe, can you blame me for not getting my hopes up ;)

I think I might be able to get through the rest of the season today so we'll see how it goes in the end. 

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DB08   
On 9/2/2016 at 23:34, DB08 said:

Another superb season. Well done. Good luck with the step up to the Superettan (or First Division Elite, as FM says). I hope you can keep out of the relegation play-offs.

Scrap that. We expect nothing less than promotion play-offs. :D

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21 minutes ago, DB08 said:

Scrap that. We expect nothing less than promotion play-offs. :D

Oh dear, looks like both the Indian and Madeiran fan clubs will be calling for my head... ;)
 

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fix16.thumb.jpg.56f01e2e7b3e471d7ac6f8e02753daa4.jpg

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Well, so much for that 3rd promotion you were clearly all expecting. The run-in got off to a decent start with a win over Orgryte but then came the disaster of the cup exit against Valsta Syrianska. It was one of those games we had a few of this season in that we found ourselves clearly behind early on before having to chase a result, and a couple more goals as we were trying to mount a come-back didn't help. I think it was one of the main stories of the season. I think we had the best defensive record in both our promotion seasons but this year was another matter entirely, and probably not just down to the higher quality of opposition. A lack of experience (Halil Barut and Per Olsson being 17 and 18 respectively) may not have helped.

Maybe the cup exit knocked us back a little. This has mostly been a season of fine margins. I was surprised to see as many as 8 of our 30 league matches were won or lost by multiple goals but 3 of those came in the last 5 matches so I hope the point still stands. I noticed after the cup game that we just weren't quite on the same level as before and the difference in points was considerable. It didn't help that we were away against the weaker teams and had to face the stronger ones in the home games leaving to a lot of 'borderline' matches on paper that we might have got a lot out of if we'd kept up our run of good days (on balance we probably held on to a lot more points during the season than we threw away, if you want to look at it that way) but couldn't with a run of mediocre ones. We lost 3rd and drifted further away from it, and after Hacken the promotion race seemed pretty much over as we were 7 points adrift of 3rd with 4 matches left.

I was delighted to get back to winning ways at Sirius, especially after we failed to beat them at home, and two more victories to finish the season allowed us to only just claim the 5th place that I had previously said I'd still be delighted with. Sometimes a strong end to the season helps make the next one a good year and it certainly lifted my spirits immensely. I'm still absolutely delighted with 5th after two promotions, especially since I had previously feared that consolidating in this division might be a class ceiling. With a rep and budget boost I hope we can strengthen further while our younger first-teamers continue to grow, and maybe promotion to the Premier Division will be achievable after all. I have suffered quite a bit of 'Second Season Syndrome' before, including the only other time I've been in this division, so it will be interesting to see what we can manage next time.

Star Player: It would be easy to pick one of the forwards, and they certainly deserve a lot of credit for hitting the ground running as a completely new partnership, but from early on I had Per Olsson in mind. Apart from a couple of matches he was a model of consistency in a sometimes unreliable defence, despite having to take on a bigger role in the team at a higher level while still being 18, very much justifying my faith, especially as he managed to improve on his average rating from last year. After just 2 full seasons he's already played 50 matches for the club, averaging a more than respectable 7.25 (in the league anyway) and the defence should get a lot better as he and the even younger Halil Barut continue to grow.

POlsson16.thumb.jpg.6b18c8b36c4e9bcc585f74a922329306.jpg

Squad Stats

stats16.thumb.jpg.401fa78e52365524f6bbfa2a1afdb14a.jpg

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Winter 2017

This year brought surprisingly slim pickings, though maybe not so slim given our position is still far away from our rep. Things started positively enough with the DoF securing the loan of Glasberg as a potentially excellent right-back from parent club Djurgarden but he was very much the exception. The rest of the activity was about making do with a few holes. The first was due to Bengtsson retiring, with Svensson not having the tackling to be a convincing replacement. In the end I could only find a player who was similar to either, keeping the left-back position as one we could use improvement on.

Central Midfield was a problem of my own making. Having to make decisions on contract renewals early in the season I felt 300pw was too much for Ekvall given the lack of opportunities he'd likely get. Even when he did get a chance to shine I still decided to let him to only to realize that Aberg (who had previously been a potential star but was now nowhere near good enough) as back up to Krmpotic, who happened to be injured for most of pre-season, making it a higher priority. Ottosson was already just as good as Aberg (who is set for a year on the sidelines before being released) having just turned 17, but I still plan to use Glasberg as backup this season, allowing Zivanovic back in at right-back. I could have gotten Ekvall back as he was still a free agent but he wanted far more than he was on previously, which helps explain the lack of a new club (and free agents pricing themselves out of the level of club that would realistically have them is something I'm familiar with this season.

In goal, I felt we needed a keeper who wasn't the aging Sundsvall and the nowhere-near-good-enough Nilsson (who was signed as backup last year) and Gatara was the closest thing, similar enough to Sundsvall to potentially be first choice straight away, though like with the left-back position, not that convincingly. It says a lot that despite signing from a Second Division club (albeit on which has just dropped down) he wasn't that eager to come and needed a good contract as incentive.

There are still a few straws to clutch. Squad familiarity is one, especially up front, though that wasn't much of an issue last season so we'll see how much of a bonus we can eke from that. The very young first-teamers will have more development and experience, especially in defence where it's badly needed. Alamin is pretty much ready to step back as well. I always knew he'd end up being replaced up front but he'd still make an excellent defender and finally I can put that to the test. Since I first started using the role, the ball-playing defender as often been key so having a player of his ability there may make a big difference.

In terms of expectations I'll still be looking behind us for a while and looking to keep clear of trouble (with minimum expectations being mid-table) but beyond that last season sets an obvious bar to try and beat, or a least match, as tricky as that seems. I wouldn't mind a quieter year this time.

Signings

Gatara.thumb.jpg.1a36c9e9a6ce3debada431853562cc92.jpg

Glasberg.thumb.jpg.6e5a9273d73fb1ca355ac839c2fe4e8f.jpg

Klang.thumb.jpg.a4f9b41b9e5a0b5dd8d299d8b9c22bc1.jpg

Ottosson.thumb.jpg.74415a8ca40667529925fb139cf56edb.jpg

trans17.thumb.jpg.81a7248b24c8a31e917b75d80ce97288.jpg

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noikeee   

I don't think I've ever had a pre-season in which I only hired 4 players. :D

Tough luck to miss out on promotion at the end of the season, but still, another brilliant year. Allsvenskan football ain't far.

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DB08   

Unlucky to miss out on promotion this time but nonetheless, that was a great effort. Good luck, hopefully you will make it this time.

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8 hours ago, noikeee said:

I don't think I've ever had a pre-season in which I only hired 4 players. :D

Tough luck to miss out on promotion at the end of the season, but still, another brilliant year. Allsvenskan football ain't far.

 

7 hours ago, DB08 said:

Unlucky to miss out on promotion this time but nonetheless, that was a great effort. Good luck, hopefully you will make it this time.

I've definitely had fewer signings quite a bit in the past, but that was mainly with sides with very little room for improvement, which isn't the case this time.

I looked up where we stand in the reputation rankings. I was somehow expecting quite a few First Division North/South teams to be above us but we're only just beneath a couple of the relegated teams. In terms of where we rate among the teams in the division now, we're above the newly promoted teams but beneath everyone else, which sounds about right for now even if obviously I expect to continue to do well enough to keep improving on that. 

The season has started positively enough. I had thought that the Premier Division (or even making any sort of promotion challenge) would be a step too far but after last season maybe it's achievable after all.

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May 2017

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It's not bad going to far. I was worried whether we'd be able to get anywhere near the level as last year and so far the answer is 'yes'. We started the season without Maholli who was our top scorer last season and the third in the scoring charts for the entire division, and that didn't give me much optimism but up stepped Wikman to prove that he could cope as a goalscorer at this level.

Varnamo looked like a reasonable first match and we made the most of it with Wikman deservedly giving us the lead, while beating Lewicki to being the first player to score in all 4 seasons so far. They only occasionally challenged in the middle of the second-half and Mahou gave us a more deserving 2-goal winning margin. Having won the final three matches of last season we extended our streak to 5 at Angelholm, a side that looked seriously out of their depth. What was interesting was that in terms of the balance of play we were looking a lot more comfortable, even dominant, than for most of last season where there was a lot of holding out to be done.

Landskrona were another matter entirely. They had been tough (if unsuccessful) promotion contenders last season and looked like making a serious challenge again this year. It was soon clear that there'd be only one winner though it could have been worse. A close affair against GAIS saw Wikman give us the lead and though they equalized, we looked the more likely to make a breakthrough. We got it through an own-goal from a corner but we couldn't hold it, 2 dropped points I felt we'd rue whenever it was close (indeed not long after they would have seen us top). Maholli was back to go to Vasby (though he was soon injured again) and marked his return in style. He got the ball just inside the penalty area, let it drop to the ground, paused, then managed to fire home even though with the angle, the keeper and a couple of defenders he didn't have the clearest shot. Lewicki soon gave us another and it looked pretty comfortable but they eventually got a goal back to force me into defensive mode, just to be safe.

Vasby was destined to be our only win in 5. The trip to Degerfors was very frustrating. Olsson gave us the lead just before the break with a fantastic ranged effort after a long solo run, but we found ourselves 2-1 behind. Widlund (finally coming good) equalized but we fell to a 3rd goal. Now the defence was being properly tested it was still found wanting. The move of putting Alamin in defence really hasn't been working out and he's benched for now. The Kalmar draw wasn't quite so bad as they had just come down from the Premier Division and looked tricky but maybe having a single shot on target (out of 8) might have helped edge an uninspiring game.

When we went to Falkenberg it was my 100th match in charge at Limhamn Bunkeflo, so I wasn't impressed at surprisingly going behind. A Lewicki penalty managed to put is back in it and despite having had to play the majority of the game with a severe knock, Olsson managed to give us the win. It's a pity he's so injury-prone, and picks up regular yellow cards, because he's genuinely brilliant, and he's still just 18! Assyriska were looking like one of the teams to beat in the promotion race, their top scorer having 7 goals already, so I was surprised when Olsson struck again to give us the lead at the start. Maheu (who has been rather sub-par since the first 2 matches) fired home a second before playing the ball neatly for Lewicki to make it 3-0! They started to threaten in the second-half so I just decided to go defensive and we managed to weather the pressure throughout the half.

I know I tend to be cautious but I must admit that after the opening 2 wins I couldn't help considering us potential promotion challengers, with all the cursing of bad results that involves. After the last 2 wins we're back on the tail of the top 3 but finishing any higher is going to be a tough task. The three teams above us can be considered heavyweights at this level (at least at this point in time), plus with our upcoming match against Halmstad being at home (I think) we've got to go to all three in the second half of the season, plus who knows who else might decide to put themselves into the mix? I suspect we'll really have to keep going strongly to have much chance but at this stage it's still within our grasp.

I also got my second offer, from Northampton in the conference, which I suspect was a consequence of failing to make the playoffs in the season just finished. Like with Burton last year, the budget was considerably better than here but otherwise I can't say it's the sort of thing I'd find appealing enough to leave Sweden for, even if I wasn't focused on this season. I've passed the 100 match mark here, will I end up remaining for 100 more?

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20 hours ago, noikeee said:

Looking good for another season of fighting for promotion.

Hopefully, though that looks like a tough top 3 to compete with. 

As a side note, I've just seen a news item about the European competition rankings and Sweden aren't doing well. The Premier Division has dropped into the 50's, between Slovenia and Belarus, though Serbia is down there as well. In terms of all divisions, it's just below League 1. The national team is also second from bottom in their World Cup qualifying group, behind Belarus and only above Moldova. 

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This is the table from the half-way point of the season, one of those situations that's just too interesting not to share...

jun17.thumb.jpg.558d41e547ac2701126fc2eb700b239a.jpg

As expected more teams decided to join in the fun, in this case Vasby United and Degerfors, leading to an incredibly tight top 6 separated by a single point. Not only that but I think we're doing a little better in the context of the promotion race than we were at this point last year and if we can avoid a repeat of our August/September slump then we might be in with a chance.

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10 hours ago, deltablue said:

Hopefully, though that looks like a tough top 3 to compete with. 

As a side note, I've just seen a news item about the European competition rankings and Sweden aren't doing well. The Premier Division has dropped into the 50's, between Slovenia and Belarus, though Serbia is down there as well. In terms of all divisions, it's just below League 1. The national team is also second from bottom in their World Cup qualifying group, behind Belarus and only above Moldova. 

The national team slipping sounds familiar. Norway were rubbish on my save, even when I was producing world class Norwegian talent at my club. Frustrating.

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22 hours ago, withnail316 said:

The national team slipping sounds familiar. Norway were rubbish on my save, even when I was producing world class Norwegian talent at my club. Frustrating.

Well it is a tight group with the Dutch as clear leaders, followed by Slovakia, Belarus, Greece, Sweden and Moldova and they could end up doing a lot better, 2nd is just 4 points away.

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Aug 2017

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Well that's what I get for deciding to go a month more. June didn't start that well either as we ran into some tough times against teams in blue, only managing a draw at Trelleborgs before having a bad day at Sundsvall. We had mounted 'too little, too late' comebacks before but Mahou's goal didn't trigger one. I wasn't looking forward to Halmstad but we really managed to raise our game with the much missed (up to that point in the season anyway Olsson and Maholli shining as we took them apart 3-0. Maheu had a bit of a drought early on but was on fire now, scoring 5 times in 2 games as Orgryte and Vasalund were no trouble, and even though we needed Wikman to rescue a point at Brommapojkarna, that was still enough to be 3rd at the half-way point of the season.

Lewicki did enough to give us a win at Varnamo but then we ran into trouble. Injuries and suspensions were taking its toll. Svensson and Glasberg got injured for about the same time. Ortiz had to make his first start at Landskrona which was less than ideal. We wanted to just hold on to a point but we couldn't quite do it. Angelholm were easy to beat to keep us in a good position but went a bit pear-shaped after that. Losing against Vasby United was bad enough but Maholli giving us the lead at GAIS couldn't stop us from losing that one as well. Before we made the First Division Elite we dumped teams from this level out in the second round both times, and Nacka marked the second time in a row where we met the same fate.

When we went to Kalmar we found ourselves being battered from the start, which didn't stop Lewicki from giving us the lead. We barely got the chance to try and hold on to it as a quick equalizer was then followed by possession being given away just outside our penalty area and they took full advantage to take the lead by half-time. We looked like we might do enough to equalize in the second half but I couldn't complain too much when they finished it off with a 3rd, even if a late penalty made it close enough to think 'What if?' A team meeting seemed to give us new life (similar to the way we ended last season) and we easily took apart Degerfors to put us back in the game.

I know I wanted to avoid a poor run in August but that wasn't the most comfortable set of fixtures. However we're just 2 points from bouncing back into 3rd and the remaining fixture list makes for far better reading. The trip to Halmstad stands out as the toughest one left (though Assyriska away is a clear second) but 5 of the other 6 matches are at home and we're facing mid-table teams at best. That gives us a shot at a strong finish to the season, one which gives us a real chance at 3rd at least, and maybe 2nd is still within reach if things really go our way.

There was also some positive news with the youth intake. Left-back remains a weak point but the intake threw up a really good one, even if he's not going to be an improvement in the short-term.

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1 hour ago, deltablue said:

Well it is a tight group with the Dutch as clear leaders, followed by Slovakia, Belarus, Greece, Sweden and Moldova and they could end up doing a lot better, 2nd is just 4 points away.

Ah I meant more long-term. Even with a spine of CL winners, Norway was ranked in the 80s, IIRC... the league was 7th, at least!

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It's still rather early in the save to look at the trend of now the national team are doing. I wasn't even really looking at it anyway, just seeing the item about the competition rankings and taking a look through that, followed by a peek at where the qualifying group stood, without even looking up the international rankings.

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4 hours ago, Deisler26 said:

Oof. Another collapse. Harsh.

Not yet, it's really going down to the wire.

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Oct 2017

fixoct17.thumb.jpg.9c5e50cf1b64ed2ff6e1bdd4bf62173e.jpg

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So we enter the final round of matches with 6 teams fighting for 3rd place, but it should have been ours for the taking. The run-in started positively enough as we easily saw off Falkenberg and Trelleborgs, which put us in 3rd with a 3 point margin, and saw the gap to Halmstad cut from 6 points to 3 as well. Unfortunately off the pitch we had a bit of a setback. Olsson was with the Swedish U21's while we played Trelleborgs (though he would have been suspended for that game anyway) and picked up an injury. We've struggled with him in the side before as well as shone without him but he's joint-second in the entire division for average rating and he was still a potentially crucial loss, especially with the tricky games coming up.

At Assyriska we looked like getting the draw that was fine by me, but then they took a late lead from a wide long-range shot which should never have gone in, as Gatara looked like he'd have it covered. My spirits were briefly raised when Mahou immediately equalized but they struck a winner just after that. We looked good against Sundsvall when Maholli managed to make a break and managed a brilliant solo run through pretty much all the opposition half with no real pressure before firing home, and when Mahou did the same (though not quite on the same scale) we looked like taking the win Unfortunately Sundsvall possessed the league's top scorer who was able to give them a comeback to share the points, which wasn't good for us. We managed to get a point at Halmstad (the match I was most worried about) but by that point any chance of second was slipping away and it didn't really help.

The win against Orgryte was simple enough, even if GAIS remained in 3rd, but it went rather wrong at second-bottom Vasalund. From the start they looked like being tougher than I anticipated, then Klang got sent off, reducing us to 10 men. Maholli going off injured even took us down to 9 and in a way I was glad not to lose, even though our chances of claiming a win were hampered. Frustratingly if we had won as expected, we would have taken advantage of Vasby United beating GAIS to move into 3rd instead of them.

The final round of fixtures looks like this...

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It's in Vasby United's hands but they could well drop points against Degerfors, in which case we can take it win over Brommapojkarna at home (which I'm fully expecting us to do). Hopefully Vasby United won't take a comfortable lead, especially early on, as that could kill the considerable dramatic potential of the final day but if they don't it'll be a very busy day for reporters around the grounds. Even if things do go our way we'll face a very tricky playoff but that's a bridge to cross if we come to it.

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noikeee   

That's incredibly tight. I do think you're in a good position though, you seem to have an easier tie than the team ahead, and with an excellent goals difference tie-breaker. Sure that's relying on the other result, and even if you finish 3rd there's still the playoff, but I wouldn't be shocked if you still manage to go up. 

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37 minutes ago, noikeee said:

That's incredibly tight. I do think you're in a good position though, you seem to have an easier tie than the team ahead, and with an excellent goals difference tie-breaker. Sure that's relying on the other result, and even if you finish 3rd there's still the playoff, but I wouldn't be shocked if you still manage to go up. 

I think so too. We won our game, but was it enough?

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final17.thumb.jpg.617d18e9825e2b20192506c8c6324f25.jpg

Sadly not. Sundsvall drew first blood in the race for 3rd and I was wondering how many teams would occupy that place over the course of the day, but it was nowhere near that interesting. Vasby took that all-important lead just before Mahou gave us the only goal in our match. It remained 1-0 until late on so I was keeping a close eye on things but a late second Vasby goal settled it. All the challengers ended up winning aside from Kalmar, so there wasn't much potential to take advantage of anyone else slipping up. As it happened all the playoffs resulted in the teams involved staying in the division.

It did feel like an improvement on last year, though there was only a slight increase in the number of points won. The defence certainly improved (though there's still room to be better) and at least we were in it right to the end. I would have taken very little extra to get 3rd (which is what I was thinking about as a realistic target for a lot of the season) but that extra is going to be hard to find, especially if we want to have a shot at doing more than just clinching a playoff spot. It's not been easy to upgrade the team much each year (though there has been gradual change) and we still have weak spots. left-back is the main one, but we could also use a much better keeper and probably a midfielder as well. On the right we'll be weaker with Glasberg's loan ending, especially with no chance of getting him back. He wouldn't come on a permanent deal (I tried) and Djurgarden rejected the idea of another loan.

Hopefully our reputation will see enough of a boost to open up some more doors because that's probably holding us back in terms of making realistic quality signings a rarity. Up until the mid-point of this season we've actually managed to be making a monthly profit at this level (a rare thing indeed that I've only otherwise really seen in the first few years after promotion to the English Premier League) and with the addition of almost 500k prize money at the end of the season we've ended with 1.3M in the bank, a transfer budget for next season breaking the 100k barrier, and 2kpw spare wage budget (which is a lot) so money certainly isn't the issue, if only there were players I could spend it on. Unless I can make at least a couple of proper upgrades in the right areas (though early pre-season signs are not promising) I think it's going to be very difficult indeed to make a successful promotion challenge, but in some ways it would feel like unfinished business if we didn't make it eventually.

Star Player: The Olssens have been our young aces in the hole for the last couple of years, and they were the top 2 in terms of ratings this time. Per was a bit of a left-field choice last season but for ages it was clear Jimmy would be heavy favourite this year. It's a pity he's rather injury prone, with suspensions and internationals being responsible for a few more absences, as he only started 18 out of 30 league matches (with 2 sub appearances while returning from injuries). Even at this age (and he only turned 19 in August) he's showing his undoubted star potential. If we can get even a little more out of him in future seasons than it could be critical in making the Premier Division dream come true.

 

Squad Stats

stats17.thumb.jpg.845ceb361cff20dbb7a7b1ab160599de.jpg

 

 

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I seem to have hit a minor setback. Trying to start the game this morning just produced a series of crash dump messages, though FM11 seems to be fine. I should still be able to continue as the save file is safe. Currently re-installing the game and even if that doesn't work, there's always this laptop even if that comes with a few drawbacks like less power (which may mean cutting nations) and not being able to take it anywhere (I've been playing a lot more out of the house than at home recently) so we'll see how things go. 

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noikeee   

Wait, the game crashes as soon as you click on FM13? Or as soon as you try to load the career?

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As soon as I click on the game, which also happens when I try and start it from steam.

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noikeee   

Very strange, a reinstall should fix that then as that sounds like a corrupted installation. If not, then a more drastic solution would be to format the harddrive...

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FM13 is go again...

Winter 2018

If we had 2-3 good signings in the right places we'd potentially be strong promotion contenders, but perhaps our recent failures to make the group stage of the cup is limiting the ability of our rep to catch up with our league performances. There have still been a few stars we've been able to get but for the most part our signings have either been depth or young talent, and it quickly became clear that this year would be no exception. If we wanted a Premier Division salad, we'd have to buy the seeds and grow the vegetables ourselves.

With left-back being one of the areas we'd need improvement, I was delighted to get Andersson in the youth intake but he'll need some development before he potentially becomes the solution, even if I decided to test the waters by giving him the No.3 shirt right away, scrapping the plan to use Rudolfsson as a stop-gap, at least until we can see how things go. Up front reinforcements were less of a priority but it was a case of whatever I could get. Djurgardens wouldn't let us have Glasberg again but they did send Selimovic, while Friberg was the standout young player, potentially the latest in a long line of quick and lethal poachers (Ramiro Linias, Szolt Nagy, Kristoffer Aakvik...) that I love to have in attack.

We had a couple of failed takeovers in recent months and a successful attempt occurred in February, right about the time of the trialists game, but thankfully I only had to wait a few more days for the transfer embargo to end and I was able to get Johansson, especially useful as a strong replacement for Olsson during the all-too-frequent times he's unavailable, which could make a big difference.

Signings

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Selimovic.thumb.jpg.778e2d650e88932f5e33dddf6fdca577.jpg

trans18.thumb.jpg.c763994d5e8bbd078fee55444f93b65e.jpg

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Just had an interesting experience. I'm running my FM11 'holiday' save, currently in 2049, and one of the news items (always relating to sackings) I saw in the background was Sogndal sacking Tobias Lewicki. Even during the phase of careers that I'm dealing with real players, they're often obscure enough that I usually only encounter them just that time so it's interesting to see his name pop up like that.

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May 2018

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This season appeared to start positively enough. Sundsvall were fellow promotion challengers last year so starting the season off with a win was a good gesture of intent, and despite a loss at Vasby we racked up 5 wins in 6 matches, sitting in 2nd with a 4 point margin and just a point off Kalmar, who looked like a tough team to stop already. However there were warning signs. We were suddenly a lot more solid at the back but goals were much harder to come by after 4 years of free-flowing scoring, Assyriska being a very lonely exception in terms of being able to turn on the style. Maholli in particular looked bad enough that he was soon dropped and Wikman suddenly looks like having a future at the club again, after Selinovic's loan expires and while Friberg develops. When the defense softened up again, it all went to pot.

Last season our promotion hopes were dealt a severe blow after a run of matches (strong teams at home, weaker teams away) which looked finally balance on paper but kept going against us, and we kept slipping on such banana skins again. The Degerfors match wasn't helped by Lewicki being suspended and Olsson going off early with an injury (and he'd be out for over a month), but still looked pretty even until they hit us with 2 late goals. Falkenberg had two goals disallowed in the first half and I couldn't begrudge them the win when they finally got on the scoresheet. The losing run was extended to three at struggling Varnamo and Kalmar was always going to be 4, especially after comfortably going 2-0 up, and getting a 3rd just after Widlund pulled one back, and with injuries reducing us to 9 men in the second-half I was amazed we kept it close in the end.

Despite that we haven't lost as much ground as I feared we would, and we're only 3 points off 3rd so getting good form again could still put us right back in it. We were looking like making another promotion push, and a really strong one so if we end up staying too far adrift it would be a pretty depressing experience indeed, and if we were off the pace for too long (not necessarily a single season, but probably multiple years) that would give me a strong sense that I'd done all I could and it was time to move on. As things stand there's still a lot of hope in the bank but it's at risk of draining away.

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noikeee   

Erm, what the hell happened in May? 

I get the feeling you'd try to get a move to another club if promotion doesn't happen this season. 

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On 02/10/2016 at 12:01, noikeee said:

Erm, what the hell happened in May? 

I get the feeling you'd try to get a move to another club if promotion doesn't happen this season. 

The same thing that always happens to us at some point, and I suspect the absences of both Jimmy 'the wonderkid' Olssen and Lewicki really haven't helped at all.

I won't be leaving this year, but if we fail to really improve next year then it will be time to go. 

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World Cup 2018 - Russia

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So far the World Cups on the save have been very interesting. Wales were the reigning world champions and managed to reach the quarter-finals again this time, while Ecuador took the crown after a win on penalties over Romania! I wonder if having an even larger and wider game world is having an effect. The first round saw France, Argentina and Brazil all go out. France weren't quite the World Class team I was expecting (not even Pogba) but they were still strong enough that you'd expect them to easily qualify ahead of the Russians and Tunisians (even if the North Africans actually had some good players). Brazil and Argentina were that good and even though they lost out to pretty good Romania and Serbia teams, they were still clearly superior on paper.

Belgium are often hitting their peak at this point in saves in recent versions so their first round exit was also a shock (especially given Nigeria didn't look that strong, Mikel aside). Still at least they made it, unlike Portugal who lost out on second place in their qualifying group to Romania after finishing level on points. Having been runners-up in the last Euro's Ukraine were arguably a bit of a shock absence (and they can be pretty strong in FM, Turkey as well), finishing 4th in a group that saw Georgia make the playoffs. Champions Ecuador only made the competition after a narrow 4-3 playoff win over Canada (which could be considered a achievement for the Canadians). Mexico can also be delighted with a run to the semi-finals after beating Germany and holders Wales, while the USA went out in the first round.

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Aug 2018

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The bad news just kept coming as we went behind at Trelleborgs. Mahou was the one player looking like emerging from the season with much credit and he converted a free-kick to equalize but we didn't have any chance to celebrate being level before being sunk again. We hoped to take advantage of a match against bottom club Syrianska and we did, just. They actually took the lead shortly before half-time but there was still enough of an opportunity for Mahou to equalize before the break. We looked the more likely team to go on to win and Mahou managed to slot home in the nick of time to give it to us. We were beaten at home against Brage and Orgryte without putting up of a fight so it was time to tweak things a little. In my experience, being more ambitious has always worked a lot better than being cautious, and when I have started off with the latter approach, it's usually been abandoned to let my teams push on to the next level. We were already leaning towards being attacking, but given the low level we started at, creative freedom was another matter, so I decided to take the shackles off.

The first match with the new system was at Norrkoping, and it seemed to make an instant impact. It started off with Zivanonic (who despite being only 24 could be considered one of the veterans of the team) and a penalty, followed by Maholli looking like his old self again after a poor season so far, scoring after a great run. The pulled one back before Mahou made it 3-1, and another goal just before half-time led to a second half of having to fight hard to keep out an equalizer. I had hoped that would be the beginning of a revival but it didn't quite happen that way. Our performance level was definitely improved but we couldn't take advantage of good chances, especially prevalent at Trollhatten where the shot stats (even on target) were overwhelmingly in our favour but we lost 2-1. The bad run continued and we were getting very close to the relegation playoff places, to the point that I was giving the possibility and our chances in a playoff some serious thought.

A terrible run of just 2 wins in 13 matches (not far shy of half a league season) finally ended at Assyriska. Maheu gave us the lead, then Wikman burst into life, triggering the start of a great goalscoring run and finally ending the troubles we'd had in that position. We managed to get back to back wins for the first time since April, and we did it at table-topping Degerfors! Wikman and Krmpotic gave us an early 2-0 lead, and we could have had a 3rd when Mahou got on the end of a perfectly struck free-kick but couldn't quite control the header. Much like in the previous game, we conceded a late goal but had bought enough time to keep all three points. We easily beat Valsta Syrianska in the cup to get to the group stage for the first time in 3 years then ran GAIS and Falkenberg ragged at home, looking far better even than our early good run.

 

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Oct 2018

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Unsurprisingly our strong revival run came to an end at Kalmar, who were set to go up. It looked like we would pick it up again after a win against Trelleborgs but after long runs of great and poor form this season, we ended with a mixed bag. We only took 1 point from what should have been an easy few matches against Varnamo, Syrianska and Orgryte (and it's interesting that until the final match we had won more away games than home games) but beat Brage away and finished off with a big win against Norrkoping. We had still done enough to rescue the season after having been deep in the mire of the bottom half, and we were very close to matching our 5th place finish from a couple of years ago.

The feet are starting to itch. I was happy with the way we managed to climb back up the table after relegation was turning into a possibility but it was still a step back after a couple of promotion challenges (even if the first one ended up dropping off before the climax of the season) and while I'm still feeling motivated enough to have another go, I'll probably go off in search of something new afterwards.

Star Player: In what was an often disappointing season, Mahou managed to shine very brightly indeed. He scored over 45% of our league goals, which is a rather scary reliance, and it's just as well he got enough to be second in the league's goalscoring charts. He arrived at the club as a free agent after just 2 mediocre appearances in 3 years for Landskrona in this division but he's had a much better time here, with 49 goals in 86 league games.

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Squad Stats

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noikeee   

Shame progress has stagnated lately, but you've already done a lot for this club, consolidating them 2 divisions above where they were. I think you can afford to leave with the feeling of job done.

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Time to move on DB, I reckon. You've done great things for the club, they are in a much better position than when you arrived, so I don't think anybody could begrudge you moving on to pastures new. 

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2 hours ago, noikeee said:

Shame progress has stagnated lately, but you've already done a lot for this club, consolidating them 2 divisions above where they were. I think you can afford to leave with the feeling of job done.

 

2 hours ago, withnail316 said:

Time to move on DB, I reckon. You've done great things for the club, they are in a much better position than when you arrived, so I don't think anybody could begrudge you moving on to pastures new. 

True, but I've grown rather fond of my team, and in the past I've been rather impatient regarding a lack of progress in earlier careers. The time to move on is approaching but I want to be sure that I've done all I can first.

I'm also not sure how big a step up I can take, certainly even BSP sides were offering much bigger budgets, and just before the end of the season Bournemouth became the first team above 'League 2 stragglers' to make an approach, with what looked like a promising team as well, and I might have taken it if the timing was different. It should end up being fine but I can't get anything that good yet, otherwise it would be a clearer choice.

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Oh you have got to be kidding me!!!!!

I was so excited when he popped up in the youth intake for a couple of seasons ago as we were crying out for a genuinely good left-back and while he unsurprisingly failed to look too convincing in his first year, I was hoping he'd be able to make much more if an impact this time. What's really annoying is that I didn't even notice it happening until weeks later, probably because it occurred at a point in the year where I'm just cycling through scout reports and progressing through time, rather than paying much attention to anything. Not that I could have done anything about it but it would have been less of a shock to find I no longer had him. The 65k fee is 13 times greater than the previous record sale but we've been in an excellent financial position for a few years so it really doesn't help in any way.

While this is hardly a new experience, the surprising lack of interest in my players (aside from a few 10k bids for Per Olsson) probably lulled me into a false sense of security regarding being safe from this sort of thing here. I was already set on leaving at the end of the season, and theoretically we haven't really been weakened (at least in the immediate term) so it's still worth having that one last go, but this just confirms that it's already been as good as it's likely to get.

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Winter 2019

Yet again, it looked like a pretty slow pre-season in terms of transfer activity. We managed to get a loanee from Djurgarden but for a long time it looked like he'd be alone, and the Andersson situation didn't help, especially after taking steps to reduce the squad size over the past few years (since it was stuffed with youngsters and dead wood for a while) we were reduced to 19 players which wasn't critical but still not great. As things stood we still couldn't attract better players to help turn is into strong promotion challengers, and it seemed a bit of a paradox that we'd probably have to get promoted to do so.

Even with getting younger players, those at Premier Division clubs just wouldn't come. Zivanovic was very much an exception coming from Malmo when we were in the Second Division but Per Olsson and Andersson were youth products, Jimmy Olsson and Ottosson were signed from Second Division Fassberg and Hassleholm respectively, Friberg from Nike... Mahou and Johansson were free agents whose previous clubs were Landskrona and Falkenberg, who are bigger names but not Premier Division clubs at the time (indeed Falkenberg have just been relegated even further) and while we did get Skarp from Landskrona as a Premier Division side, they have only been up there for a year so far so can't be considered to be 'established'

It's frustrating having a lot of money (1.5M and rising) and not having anything to do with it. In some ways it's preferable to be in the opposite situation having the players available but being a bit too expensive. That way there is still a chance that there are more affordable good players occasionally and more quality signings are there for the taking if you can get more of a budget. I've also wanted improvements for the training facilities for the past couple of years but the board still don't consider us to be able to afford it (even if they agree in principle to it being a good idea).

I was delighted to finally be able to use some money and wage budget on a couple of useful players to shore us up a bit more, keeping us in decent shape on paper. Regarding Tillman it's still depressing seeing players from lower division signs needing a big incentive to come. In recent months the feeling of reaching the end of the line here has kept growing stronger, but I like to be certain and feel able to set these things out in advance when I can (those who have followed me for long enough that my departures are rarely spontaneous and usually determined ages ahead of time) , so I'll still see this season through then feel that I'm 100% done here.

Signings

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Since I want to have a less-Eurocentric and more global game world I thought I'd show all the other continental international competitions, aside from Oceania as that're rather predictable (though my FM11 holiday save threw up one year where New Zealand not only failed to win, they weren't even in the top 3). Starting with Africa...

ACN 2013

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ACN 2015

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(messed up part 2)

ACN 2017

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ACN 2019

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Gold Cup 2013

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Gold Cup 2015

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Gold Cup 2017

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Now this is interesting. I expected USA and Mexico to exchange titles as whoever won would be in the Confederations cup instead of the following tournament but it's not worked out that way so far. The first edition saw Honduras beating Jamaica, with the USA not even making the semis, then winning again over Mexico last time out. Their victories throw open the idea of USA-Mexico contests and having lost out in 2015, the Mexicans are still win-less in the save.

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Copa America 2015

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Copa America 2016

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2 wins out of 2 for Argentina, with Peru being surprise finalists the first time, and Uruguay getting revenge for their previous quarter-final defeat at the hands of the Peruvians to take their place as beaten finalists the second time.

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Ipswich really are a load of idiots in this save. They blew what looked like possible automatic promotion in the first season before changing managers on an annual basis to get out of relegation trouble, what seemed like a sure playoff place this time was blown by 4 defeats in the past 4 games. I've only seen them in the Premier Division under AI management a couple of times in all my saves, not to mention one time (in FM07 I think) where I actually won the title with them only to see them struggling in League 2 some time later. Well done SI for managing to capture our tendencies towards mediocrity and disappointment.

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May 2019

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After the frustrations of last season it was nice to get a better start this season and I was surprised when Lewicki and Wikman (the survivors of the old guard) gave us a 2-0 lead against Premier Division Atvidaberg in the first cup match. However the tide turned against us as we had to settle for a 2-2 draw, then went behind at Trollhattan before pulling it around to win. Had we kept the lead against Atvidaberg, we'd have only needed a draw (as unlikely as that would have be) at Hammarby to win the group and go through to the last eight, and while we ended up getting torn apart, maybe it would have been different if we were in a position to park the bus, and 2nd in the group was still decent.

In the league we expected to open up with a win against newly promoted Kristianstad, though we made heavy weather of it. A trip to Sundsvall was one of those trickier games where we'd rarely get anything and they took the lead with a penalty. We equalized with one of our own to give us a handy point. We made a much better start at home to Trelleborgs with Wikman and Mahou taking us into an early 2-0 lead, and eventually decided to sit on it, with a Trelleborgs goal later on being too little, too late, the latest installment in a regular pattern that our wins seemed to be taking, giving us 7 points from the first 3 matches.

We went to Trollhattan for the second time this season and took the lead from Maheu. Lewicki made it more comfortable before we were able to close the game down, at least enough to give us the win. Assyriska was one of those 'Will accept a point' matches and while that had so often been wishful thinking in the past, we now seemed able to make these things come true. We managed to go even better at Orgtyte, who were right up there with us and it looked like we'd get a pleasing point before Maheu (proving to be just as effective this season as last, with a better-performing supporting cast) gave us a surprising win. We were in a great position with a few tough matches already having been played!

After that we expected to beat Varnamo (kind of like the division's version of Sunderland without the 'late burst of form to secure survival' bit) but found ourselves under a lot of pressure early on. We managed to recover our bearing but not enough to win. We looked to have put it behind us when managing to take the lead against Gefle (the first ever league encounter between the clubs) from Maheu. We might have been able to hold onto something with better defensive solidity but they equalized right before half-time, when a well-taken free kick was met by header that was just as good, then dominated the second half to win, and the could easily have got a 3rd. After that I felt we needed to win at Sirius and we looked good when Lewicki gave us the lead. It didn't last but Maheu wasted little time in making it 2-1. They levelled it again and even took the lead before Maholli rescued a point.

Despite being without a win in 3 games we were still in a pretty good position, though an extension of our bad run will potentially see us drop down quite a few places. Hopefully unlike last year we can stay in promotion contention a lot longer and it's looking like a positive final season in Sweden, and maybe there is still a bit of a promotion dream left after all.

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Aug 2019

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It was going so well... A good victory at Orebro put us top and we managed to consolidate our position with further wins over Brommapojkarna and Brage. The latter was an especially good win as it was a away '6-pointer' with Maholli having returned to favour after almost a year and half, with a fantastic hat-trick finished off by taking the ball around the keeper to slot home. It was a considerable surprise to be so shocking against GAIS with a run of tough away games coming up. We lost to Vasby and looked like doing the same against Norrkoping before Maholli rescued a very late point and that potentially saved us from a longer slump.

Beating Kristianstad was a pretty functional performance but I was amazed at what we managed at Trelleborgs, 2nd at the time. Maholli gave us the lead before Mahou looked to make it safe. A penalty allowed them to get one back but they had little time left to equalize and Maholli managed to put it beyond them. A win against Sundsvall (with Wikman returning to make the difference) gave keep us joint-top with Gefle (a team enduring their first season outside the top flight for 15 years) and giving us a 6-point safety margin over 4th. Unfortunately having raised our game considerably in a lot of the tough matches, we were still failing to get what should have been plenty of easy points and suffered that fate against Trollhattan, a match we really should have won before they managed to score from a shot that went in off the post and sink us.

We still looked in a good position after beating Orgyte but a terrible cup exit against Umea proved to be both a physical and mental blow, as well as a few injuries that were racking up, and we were easy prey for Assyriska. Varnamo should have gone a lot better but in our current state they managed to beat us very deservedly, and yet again a promising promotion challenge is being thrown away, which is pretty much the story of the First Division Elite years. However we're still only a point off 2nd with 8 games left so it's not anywhere near as bad as the past few games have made it feel. I'm glad I stayed for this season as even if it doesn't result in a happy ending, it should at least provide a good note to move on with.

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Read the thread so far from start to finish and as always I am enjoying it, your threads are so unpredictable at times in the sense that at one point I thought you would get that 3rd promotion 2 seasons running and then had the blip but this season you are looking like at least a challenge again :thup: Not going to jinx it by praising the season so far by any more than that though :D 

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