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Can cunning coach create Chimney Corner continental champions?

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9 hours ago, noikeee said:

Hang in there, you'll eventually catch a break in Europe.

I'd completely missed the hugely detailed post above about the tactic, that's why I asked you what had you changed! Looks as if you're still searching for the perfect system though. Watch out - sometimes it's easy to get drawn into tactical overthinking. I know I've spun my wheels loads in previous careers, moving from system to system! (in fact that's been the story of my current career so far...)

Thanks for your words of encouragement. I hear you...I'll be trying to simplify things from here on out. I feel that I need to take a more holistic approach to the save and keep things simple throughout until I feel comfortable enough to add layers of complexity. The next season review shows an improvement in our fortunes in Europe compared to previous seasons which is encouraging 

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chimney_corner_badge.png

CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

SEASON 2036 / 2037


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

20 years up and the Champions League title seems further away than ever, could this be the year we get through the group?


 
 
New_the_Season_logo.png
 

League Table - Encouraging signs here in the amount of goals we scored, we even managed to score 7+ goals in 3 games which shows promise. Linfield turned professional at the beginning of the season but that didn't prove significant and they actually finished a place lower than last season

UEFA Champions League - Not the land of milk and honey we wanted but progress nonetheless. Qualification was looking a little bit dicey when we fell behind to Malmo in the Playoff Round but we pulled it out after they received a red card and Ferguson slotted away the resultant penalty. The group started badly against Man City but they have evolved into somewhat of a powerhouse and even went on to beat Real Madrid 8-1 on aggregate in the quarter finals. Our fate wasn't going to be decided by our results against them so I took the beating and moved on. 
 
Next up came Shakhtar who I felt we could have beaten but had to settle for a draw after spurning some guilt edge chances. The two games against Rangers were somewhat disappointing as I felt we deserved better. In the first game we ended up losing to a corner goal where the ball ricocheted around the box like a pinball before falling to one of their players right in front of the goal. We had scored a blisteringly quick counter attack to equalize but it was to no avail in the end.
 
At Ibrox we gave them a good fight and we created some great chances including a few one-on-ones which were either blasted right down the throat of the goalkeeper or shot narrowly wide. Once again we succumbed to a corner goal, this time after a powerful header cannoned off the post and fell to the feet of their defender right in front of the goal. I had no complaints about the second they scored which was an absolute scorcher from distance powered into the roof of the net but we had our chances and couldn't convert. 
 
The return against Man City wasn't pretty but we were a lot more competitive this time and only shipped the three goals this time but it consigned us to the wooden spoon once again. The game against Shakhtar at the Donbas Arena was purely for pride but we simply weren't up for it. They scored two and probably should have scored more but by that point we were totally demotivated and had nothing to play for whilst they could look forward to the Europa League knockouts as they had secured 3rd. Overall, I'd say that the campaign has been an improvement. We played a lot better than previous seasons and with a bit of luck we might have been able to pick up our first win in the group stage, that has to be the target for next season

Domestic Cups - Only one cup to add the collection this season. We were 3-0 up in the Irish cup final and cruising but then threw it all away and lost after a penalty shootout, the way we crumbled in that final was so disappointing  

Reserves -  A good season for the B Team

Under 18s - They actually finished 3rd in their Champions League group which was a remarkable achievement for them. I never thought I'd say this but perhaps the first team ought to take a leaf out of the book of the youngsters
 
New_the_Players_logo.png
 
Squad – I think the first team at the end of the season is a lot stronger than the team we had during the Champions League group stage. We really need to strengthen the defensive positions as that has proven to be a great weakness for us. If we could just be a little bit more resolute defensively I'd say we would improve greatly. I'll be playing a hybrid of youth and reserves for the domestic cups and league games before mid-week Champions League games as the fixture congestion isn't helping us.
 
Transfers Part 1 / Transfers Part 2 – The two big money signings Rudd ML and Cooke DL look to be good acquisitions but the other cash deals in were flops. I really struggled to hold on to any of the young stars produced by the youth system as hard as I tried. Seeing that I was fighting a losing battle I decided to give in and slap on my customary 50% of next sale clause which has been providing the club with some decent income recently. The free transfer market was a great place for us to shop as we signed a number of great players after the end of the Champions League campaign. Andrews ST, Schiek CM & Horvath CD proving to be the best of the bunch. I hope for a great deal of activity in July as that is when the strongest players become available on the free transfer list and I want to sign them for the Champions League next season
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Alen Spadina – MR - Average Rating : 7.65
A very consistent and classy operator. If he had the PPM of Curls Ball and could take a decent free kick he wouldn't be far off emulating a certain David Beckham with this brilliant crossing ability and good technique to go along with it. He also had the honour of being named the DBP Player of the Year

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Ismael Lopez – DR - Average Rating : 7.44
A very competent player who seems to have a desirable penchant for belting the ball into the back of the net from free kicks which is surprising given his poor long shots attribute

New_the_Club_logo.png
 
Finances – No money for any facility upgrades there then. Linfield turning professional should hopefully help make the league a bit more competitive which would be a welcome change at this point
 
Facilities – I didn't have to ask this time and the board decided to put in another 689 seats which should bring the seated capacity up to 795. Our attendances at Windsor Park weren't very good but I would say that the expansion is certainly merited as when we returned home to Allen Park we were filling the ground and even sold out the 2100 capacity ground twice when we played Linfield and Cliftonville. Attendances have started to rise rapidly and so have the season ticket sales which are all great signs

Youth Intake – The standout star is Moore CM but given the way things have been going he probably won't even get to sign a professional contract before some English team will try and unsettle him in an attempt to poach him. When that happens there isn't an awful lot I can really do to defend against it unless I'm willing to have a huge amount of disruption to the teams morale which I'd rather avoid
 
New_the_Stature_logo.png
 
League Reputation – Still rising well and getting tantalizingly close to overtaking the Irish Premier Division and all the potential benefits that could bring
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Nothing much changed here
 
Club European Reputation – The team will be seeded all the way to the group but the seeding for the Playoff is becoming a close run thing now as we will just sneak in to the seeded pot this season. Hopefully a win or two in the group might rectify that before it becomes a problem
 
Edited by pheelf

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Definitely a little better in the Champions League.

One thing that confuses me is the massive amount of transfers you make every year. Is it impossible to hold on to players a little longer? I've always thought in FM that the process to find players that perform is a bit trial-and-error, so if you completely redo the squad every year you're always going to be stuck momentarily with the odd player that underperforms, and lose that trusted player you knew that always did well. Not to mention the losses in team cohesion and tactical familiarity.

I've always done a lot of transfers too but this is a whole new level!

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On 12/16/2016 at 09:38, noikeee said:

Definitely a little better in the Champions League.

One thing that confuses me is the massive amount of transfers you make every year. Is it impossible to hold on to players a little longer? I've always thought in FM that the process to find players that perform is a bit trial-and-error, so if you completely redo the squad every year you're always going to be stuck momentarily with the odd player that underperforms, and lose that trusted player you knew that always did well. Not to mention the losses in team cohesion and tactical familiarity.

I've always done a lot of transfers too but this is a whole new level!

I agree about the detrimental effects of so much transfer activity on team cohesion and would much prefer to keep talented players at the club over the longer term. The problem I have is that every time June rolls around the vast majority of the players I want to keep are wanted and usually by a large number of clubs who are in higher reputation leagues. Then what happens is that I'll be called by the player in question for a talk where they will say that they want me to accept any incoming offer from club X (they usually have a figure in mind also...which is a cheek considering they have no right to dictate how much money I should accept). Then I'm only left with one real option and in the end that is to agree to let them go.

If I tell them they won't get regular football they tell me that they have faith in their ability. If I tell them that no offer has been made they demand that should an offer be made that they be allowed to talk to club X. If I offer them more money to stay they take umbrage and say they want to leave anyway. If I try to delay them in anyway by saying that they should stay until the end of the season or wait until the youngsters develop or wait until I strengthen the team or even wait until I can replace them they aren't having it.

On the other hand if I try to be a b****** and say you're not going anywhere then I end up with a player who throws a strop for not a few days or weeks but months and there has been occasions when the player never gets over it. I tried it with one of my central midfielders and he just remained unhappy at the club the whole season claiming that he had lost faith in me and had very poor morale throughout before leaving for a free which is the worst case scenario for the club. Bigger teams always try and unsettle my players and once that ball has started rolling I'm relatively powerless to stop it so I just accept where we are as club and settle early for as much money as I can get. If I try to hold out for better offers what ends up happening is that the player becomes increasingly disgruntled and the buying team catches on to this and takes the opportunity to low ball me.

Perhaps my game setup isn't helping matters as the English leagues seem to be this giant magnet for my players which often leave for insultingly low money when compared to how much I'd expect to get if we were in a higher reputation league. Sometimes I even get offers where they want me to pay a contribution to the wages because of how much the players wages are as if I don't pay over the odds the player wouldn't have signed for us in the first place. I also have to be mindful of the fact that players which are improvements to the team tend to only sign if I promise them that they will be allowed to treat the club as a stepping stone, otherwise I don't get to offer them a contract which no doubt isn't helping this but if I don't get them into the club then the overall ability of the squad declines which has negative impacts on our performances.

Maybe a way forward is to whack on massive asking prices for players I want to keep excluding players with release clauses which is another unfortunate consequence of allowing the players to treat the club as a stepping stone. For those players I actually prefer the lower offers because I can then put in some clauses. I could try to also protest the board when they go over my head and accept offers which they say are too good to refuse which has happened a few times. I don't think there is a simple solution but perhaps a combination of actions might help.

EDIT : Sorry for the wall of text :lol:

Edited by pheelf

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Yeah I think you're particularly screwed for playing in Northern Ireland! These are issues all of us get when managing smaller clubs, but when you play in better leagues you quickly improve reputation, money, etc and it isn't as hard to keep the players. But you've gone for Northern Ireland for the challenge isn't it? :)

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39 minutes ago, noikeee said:

Yeah I think you're particularly screwed for playing in Northern Ireland! These are issues all of us get when managing smaller clubs, but when you play in better leagues you quickly improve reputation, money, etc and it isn't as hard to keep the players. But you've gone for Northern Ireland for the challenge isn't it? :)

That's right...we are on our way with the reputation we just need to rise a little bit more to begin to snowball

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TACTICS

I think that I have been reading too many guides which while done with the best of intentions have actually taken me further away from being able to build a coherent tactic.

Prescriptive statements such as "You must use at least one attack duty in the defensive line" and "If you are to use X specialist roles you must play with Y Team Shape" are not only unhelpful but they have been damaging for my understanding of the tactical side of the game.

Therefore much like a computer which is restarting after a crash I'm going to go back to the last known configuration which worked and that gives me the tactic below:

4_4_2_tactic.png

Image courtesy of www.lineupbuilder.com

The way I see a 4-4-2 working well is when the team collectively can cover every blade of grass on the field and is a shape that is built around teamwork while defending and quick transitions to attack. Therefore selecting roles which get in each others way such as FB (A) behind a W(S) wasn't smart. I have also come to see that the way I had it before with support duty full backs behind attack duty wingers was the right approach in a system with only 2 central defenders and no holding player in the DMC position.

I was tempted to change the mentality to attacking and during testing I had a fair amount of success with that approach but then thought against it as a general strategy to start games with. What I really wanted was to take the aspects of the attacking mentality which I liked and discard those which were not beneficial. Playing the attacking mentality adds the following TIs:

Play Much Higher Tempo

Push Much Higher Up

Close Down Much More

Play Much Wider

I like the idea of a higher tempo but didn't want the play to be too rushed as the players aren't capable of that I feel so opted for adding the 'Play Higher Tempo' TI to the Standard mentality. I don't want a higher line and to press teams a lot as I felt that would disrupt the defensive shape and make us easy to cut open especially when we play in Europe. In the Champions League, the players are faster so could take advantage of balls over the top and spaces left vacated when my players leave their position to press the opposing player so I have the standard level of closing down and defensive line. I don't feel it will hurt us domestically either as when we play against teams which want to camp it will afford them some time and space to come out and attack which should give us some opportunities to take them apart on the counter

I also didn't see the merit of asking my players to play wider as I have two wingers who are automatically going to do that anyway and the only effect the TI would have is to increase the horizontal spaces in between my defenders, two central midfielders and two strikers which I felt wouldn't help to foster the partnerships I was looking for. If my defenders are too spread horizontally when we have the ball then should we lose possession it's going to take a monumental effort for them to recover their defensive position which if they fail will leave huge channels open for the opposition to exploit on the counter attack. My strikers and central midfielders will already suffer from being vertically separated if I add in horizontal separation too they might find it difficult to link up effectively.

I have chosen to keep the Flexible team shape as I feel that I need that to link the different strata of the team and give some creative freedom for my Deep Lying Forward. Playing more Rigidly would have exacerbated the gaps in the team and playing more fluidly would have given my players too much freedom and responsibility to be good at too many aspects of the game even though it would make us more compact. My strikers aren't great at building attacks, my defenders aren't great at that job either so Flexible affords us a good compromise between the two.

 

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chimney_corner_badge.png

CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

SEASON 2037 / 2038


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

Last season saw an improvement in the Champions League, can we continue that trend?


 
 
New_the_Season_logo.png
 

League Table - We scored plenty and even though Linfield gave a strong challenge we deserved our victory

UEFA Champions League - The 7-0 win in the playoff had our confidence soaring but we soon came crashing back to earth after being drawn into the group of death. I was impressed with our performances though, we could have easily grabbed a point at the Bernabeu had it not been for a great save after a 1-on-1 late in the game. The PSG home game was a bit of a non event but the fact that we were defending so much better had me encouraged. We suffered some bad injuries before the home game against West Ham which I feel contributed to our loss but were resolute defensively again when playing in the Olympic Park. The final two games were comfortable wins but not overwhelming so like in previous seasons. They didn't outplay us and depended on defensive errors and set pieces to break through while we created some chances of our own too. We're getting better and I feel the group stage win is getting closer

Domestic Cups - Clean sweep with some nice margins of victory sprinkled in for good measure

Reserves - They cleaned up too

Under 18s - They didn't clean up but did very well in the Champions League
 
New_the_Players_logo.png
 
Squad – We seem to be getting stronger which is great but at the same time we seem to have peaked. Barring a few players in the first team all of them have CA = PA which means that we need some new players in the club with room to grow otherwise we will begin to stagnate. That is why I have resolved to improve the team and get busy in the transfer market to sure up weaknesses in the team
 
Transfers Part 1 / Transfers Part 2 – I decided to change my approach and try to hold on to players which brought some angst in the dressing room but overall it wasn't too severe. My transfer policy will be focused on young prospects which are good enough for first team games straight away and shipping out players which have peaked to make further space on the wage budget. I also managed to make a huge profit this season by selling some clauses for ~ £6.5M giving us a nice transfer kitty for next season
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Ronan Stewart – MR - Average Rating : 8.13
I don't know what it is but I always seem to get great performances out of aging wingers. I find it strange, out of all the roles in the team, I would see the Winger (Attack) role as being the most physically demanding given the constant running up and down the wing. It doesn't seem to make a difference however and they tend to do wonders. Next season he is likely to lose his place to a new signing from the Barcelona youth academy but he deserves his accolade of being named the DBP Player of the Year

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Nathan Bird – GK - Average Rating : 7.20
Given that he is the only player 21 or younger in the first team this doesn't mean much. He was however decent when called upon when my best GK O'Donoghue suffered damaged cruciate ligaments and missed the majority of the season

New_the_Club_logo.png
 
Finances – The selling of clauses really helped us here and we look relatively comfortable. Not enough to pump further investment in facilities but enough to invest in some quality players for the first team next season
 
Facilities – We got the stadium expanded without having to ask which will bring the new capacity up to 3662. Another expansion next season and we may hit the expansion capacity of Allen Park which is 4000. I was especially pleased that we managed to improve the youth recruitment as I had been working on ways to improve that outside of the board request by signing some youth player club affiliations. I managed to get Waterford United (Established Y.R.) and Gap Connah Quay (Average Y.R.) who had the best youth recruitment of the options available which are still much better that ours

Youth Intake – Decent intake with 3 standout players but we've had better
 
New_the_Stature_logo.png
 
League Reputation – Not much progress but I feel a win or two in the group stage for us will probably make us a 3* league
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Still top and 0.5* clear. Incidentally, my work hasn't gone unnoticed and I was offered the N. Irish national team job which I refused as I'm not quite ready for that yet. Maybe once I've completed the challenge I'll dip my toe into international management
 
Club European Reputation – I don't see how we can improve much further until we start winning some group stage games
 
Edited by pheelf

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chimney_corner_badge.png

CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

SEASON 2038 / 2039


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

I feel that the Champions League group stage win is getting close, can we do it this season?


 
 
New_the_Season_logo.png
 

League Table - The challenge from Linfield didn't materialize this time and we had it sewn up by mid-March

UEFA Champions League - You know what they say about group stage wins, you wait ages for one and then two come along at once. We almost didn't make the group thanks to being unseeded for the playoff and had to rely on away goals to see us through against Dinamo but we did magnificently once we got there. Bayern are a cut above the other teams in the group so I was delighted to only lose so narrowly at home. I thought we may have got a win away at PSV as we did take a 2-0 lead but they fought back well and we had to battle hard in the end to rescue a point.
 
We had to depend on an own goal away to Chelsea and a red card from PSV in the last game but we got 2 wins which combined with the two draws gave us 8 points and a 2nd placed finish which was more than I could have hoped for. Atletico proved a step too far but we were really competitive against them and it took an absolute worldie belted into the top corner of the net to beat us in Spain. I'm seriously encouraged for next season

Domestic Cups - The reserves played in the Co. Antrim Shield and League Cup which showed as we didn't do well. The board wanted us to win the Challenge Cup so it was irritating to lose on penalties in the final although their disappointment may have been tempered somewhat by the Irish Cup victory

Reserves - Seeing as there was nobody in the team because of all the loans out it came as no surprise that they couldn't live up to the standards they set last season

Under 18s - Not bad
 
New_the_Players_logo.png
 
Squad – I spent big to strengthen the side and I feel that the result has been impressive. I tried to hold on to my best players which had mixed results and replace the weak areas. Looking at the squad I think that we could do with improvements across the midfield with perhaps a marquee striker but I feel that my focus is probably going to be about trying to keep our best players
 
Transfers Part 1 / Transfers Part 2 – The transfer windows proved to be a rather excruciating and vexing experience but at least we managed to bring in some quality youngsters who have a great amount of potential to develop. The board were a constant pain as they went over my head time and time again to accept bids for my players because the offer was 'too good to refuse'. We also lost our best central midfielder Mattuschka to a release clause in January having signed him in July. It wasn't ideal having to sell him but he wasn't irreplaceable so I wasn't too bothered by the prospect of losing him, the annoying part was that the bid was made at the last possible moment before the transfer window shut meaning I couldn't re-invest the money and replace him. Overall, I'm satisfied with the transfer business conducted as the players bought in have strengthened us significantly and I will be hoping for more of the same next season 
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Ronan Stewart – MR - Average Rating : 7.98
Class is ageless it appears. He got games because the Barcelona youth prospect was sold and didn't let the team down

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Angel Alvarez – DC - Average Rating : 7.61
The new signing was impressive and is only getting better with time

New_the_Club_logo.png
 
Finances – The extra £5M from the Champions League was helpful and allowed us to invest heavily in the infrastructure of the club. We have quite a lot of transfer debt but that should be fine as it is to be paid over the next 4 years
 
Facilities – The big balance we had at the end of the year allowed the club to spend £8.5M on upgrading both the training and youth facilities. The board also decided on their own volition to expand the stadium to bring it to its maximum size which should be finished before next season starts. Now I have to hope that the board is an ambitious one and that any potential new stadium has a lot of room for growth, if we could start with say a 10,000 all-seater which has ~30,000 potential expansion capacity that would be great

Youth Intake – Some interesting prospects but no world beaters here
 
New_the_Stature_logo.png
 
League Reputation – Still improving and best of all we have now overtaken our neighbours to the south which might make a work permit affiliation possible. Nearly a 3* league
 
Club Domestic Reputation – No major changes
 
Club European Reputation – The progress we made this season should make us seeded all throughout qualifying next season
 
Edited by pheelf

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This looks great. I did similar with Sport and Leisure on FM12. Did get to the Champions League final but only once.

Are you regularly selling out your stadium now?

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On 12/20/2016 at 22:02, olliep said:

This looks great. I did similar with Sport and Leisure on FM12. Did get to the Champions League final but only once.

Are you regularly selling out your stadium now?

Thanks, we do sell out regularly and can fill the stadium at least 90% even against teams which bring few away fans. My hope is that the board build a new stadium with a lot of room to expand as I can see us filling any new stadium rather quickly as we are due for a spike in support. I wouldn't want to be stuck with a stadium for 20 years which at its maximum capacity is no bigger than Windsor Park (18,000 capacity) as then we would be losing a lot of income from our home games in the Champions League

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22 hours ago, noikeee said:

Massive step forward in the Champions League, about time!

Damn straight....:brock:....I feel we still need to spend big again to close that gap even more and cover our weaknesses but with a bit of luck we might just be able to get on a run and go really deep into the Champions League

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chimney_corner_badge.png

CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

SEASON 2039 / 2040


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

Last season provided the breakthrough and our first foray into the knockout stages of the Champions League could we continue our progress?


 
 
New_the_Season_logo.png
 

League Table - A record breaking season with the concession of only 6 goals in 38 games

UEFA Champions League - A new record 21-1 aggregate score in the qualifiers was a highlight but the group stage was a let down after last season. Our injury stricken team suffered badly throughout the group but we probably deserved a win against Dortmund at home after they scraped a draw with a late equalizer

Domestic Cups - Forfar shocked us in the Scottish Challenge Cup but we won everything else

Reserves - The league was their only success this time

Under 18s - The 3-0 victory against Benfica was a superb way to start the group but they didn't win again in the U19 Champions League, they won everything domestically though
 
New_the_Players_logo.png
 
Squad – We appear to be worse off than last season even though the team was strengthened. I feel we aren't really getting much value for money with the wages we are paying some of the players such as Schroder ST, Andre CD and Stewart CM. As a result, I'll be looking to ship them out. I've also been giving my youth a chance which has proven to be a worthwhile approach as they have been developing quite well. I sense that I'm going to need to have a more structured wage budget and transfer policy which has led me introduce a £10,000pw wage cap and a maximum transfer fee of £1M. Adopting this should help us to find younger players before they join the bigger clubs and keep our wages under control
 
Transfers Part 1 / Transfers Part 2 – There was a lot of activity and I'd expect to see a lot of activity next season too. We made another loss in the transfer market which has to stop given our status as a selling club. We need to focus on unearthing high potential players early and developing them. For now, the club needs to buy cheap and sell high to build up the bank balance for reasons which I'll reveal later 
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Jamie Llewellyn – MR - Average Rating : 7.91
A very classy winger whose athleticism makes him own the right flank

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Stephen Rodgers – ML - Average Rating : 7.74
A product of the clubs youth system who isn't great from an attribute perspective but is more than good enough to play league games and put in good performances

New_the_Club_logo.png
 
Finances – We didn't have money to invest in the facilities and this is after we sold every possible transfer clause. However, the board have decided that they will be building a new stadium which is great news. They are in the planning stage at the moment so no details are available as to the capacity. I believe that details on the new stadium will most likely be announced at the end of next season which has given me time to try and influence the level of ambition of the new build. As a result I'll be looking to build the bank balance as much as possible by selling players and getting rid of the high earners and replacing them with either players from the clubs youth system or young players from outside the club
 
Facilities – No changes this season although hopefully in the next season review the new stadium will start to get built

Youth Intake – We might be seeing a couple of these players in years to come but I can't see the vast majority being able to forge a career here
 
New_the_Stature_logo.png
 
League Reputation – We are officially a 3* league!!!...We also have 3 professional teams in the top flight (us, Cliftonville and Linfield) which might help the other teams to do better in Europe and boost the nations coefficient points. We still remain the only N. Irish team to have ever competed in the group stage of a European competition. I feel that needs to change if the league is to rise further in the rankings
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Being a whole star clear of everyone else isn't good
 
Club European Reputation – We should be seeded all the way through qualifying although we are still some way off getting into the 3rd seeds in the group stage
 
Edited by pheelf

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Following this thread is like taking a chair outside at 10PM and sitting down waiting for sunrise. You know it's coming, you eventually see signs that it's coming, but it's going to take a bloody long time.

Getting 3 professional teams is already a good step forward.

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17 hours ago, noikeee said:

Following this thread is like taking a chair outside at 10PM and sitting down waiting for sunrise. You know it's coming, you eventually see signs that it's coming, but it's going to take a bloody long time.

Getting 3 professional teams is already a good step forward.

It's one hell of a grind at the moment but there are reasons to be optimistic...a new stadium on the horizon, higher league reputation making quality signings easier and potentially stronger domestic teams to help the coefficient along

The game setup makes this career a lot harder than the one I had with Immaculata as I have to compete with the elite on a level playing field every season but it will make it all the more satisfying if/when we win the Champions League

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CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

SEASON 2040 / 2041


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

We need to perform better in Europe to pique the boards ambition so they make the new stadium as large as possible


 
 
New_the_Season_logo.png
 

League Table - They were engraving our name before March had finished

UEFA Champions League - Better than last season, we would have made the knockout rounds with a win against Porto on the final matchday. Unfortunately, we lost so had to settle for 3rd
 
UEFA Europa League - The late goal we conceded at home gave them the advantage in the tie and there was no coming back in Ukraine

Domestic Cups -  We are now the most decorated club in Scottish Challenge Cup history with 5 wins, our only loss in any of the cups came against Comber Rec who faced our reserves

Reserves - They won the lot

Under 18s - They got their now customary win in the U19 Champions League group stage but missed out on the U18s Cup
 
New_the_Players_logo.png
 
Squad – A young, talented and developing team is what we have and that's great. I would like to retain the core of the team next season and build with them but already I have a bunch of unsettled players so once again we could see a lot of changes next season
 
Transfers Part 1 / Transfers Part 2 – The profit I wanted was achieved and propelled us to 'Rich' status. I also sold a load of clauses which also bought in a huge amount of money. By buying high potential, lower ability players on the cheap and developing them I have hopefully set the club on course to becoming more sustainable
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Juan Jose Alba – MR - Average Rating : 7.99
A great player who unfortunately wants to leave because of what I consider to be a bug. He wanted to play more which I promised him, annoyingly, the satisfaction of that promise depends on the number of league games played in a given time period. The time period for the promise was at a time with hardly any league fixtures which made it seem like I wasn't fulfilling the promise even though I played him in every league game after I made the promise. The promise section could do with some revision and perhaps some further detail such as 'Player X expects to start at least 4/5 of the upcoming league games' as it stands it's a guess as to what is required

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Stephen Rodgers – ML - Average Rating : 7.80
He did well but has now peaked so will be relegated to the reserves next season and a replacement bought

New_the_Club_logo.png
 
Finances – I wanted to have as large a balance before the season end to try and nudge the board into building a larger stadium and I was successful as I managed to end the season with ~£40M in the bank 
 
Facilities – I'm rather disappointed with the new stadium if I'm being honest. It only cost £6.25M which meant that all the bank balance building was practically for nothing as it didn't influence the size of the new build at all. I feel the board have shown such a low level of ambition with this and the concern is that the stadium doesn't have much potential to be expanded. I wouldn't want to be stuck below the capacity of Windsor Park for 20 years but that may be what has happened. I mean, what were the board thinking? We won't even be able to use the stadium in Europe which means we'll still have to ground share with Linfield. We wont have proper home games in Europe until an expansion takes us over 8,000 which could take another 2 seasons at the earliest (1st season building, 2nd season moving in, 3rd season expansion). Well, at least I managed to max out the training facilities, upgrade the youth facilities and should hopefully see benefits from the upgraded youth recruitment that is now fairly basic 

Youth Intake – My HoYD seems to think that this is a particularly good crop of gifted players...time will tell
 
New_the_Stature_logo.png
 
League Reputation – It's remarkable that I can see the summit given how poorly the other N. Irish teams do in Europe. Our position appears artificially high and I feel that a fall is inevitable next season unless we can work wonders in Europe
 
Club Domestic Reputation – I really need the other teams to step it up in Europe and close the gap as if they can increase their reputation then it becomes a virtuous circle.
 
Higher Club Reputation => Better Players => Better Performances in Europe => Higher Club Reputation
 
Club European Reputation – We sneak into the top 50 clubs in Europe for the first time
 
Edited by pheelf

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Posted (edited)

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe where I'm not inept tactically....

europa_league_win.png

Europa_League_Run.png

In an attempt to understand why I hadn't made any significant progress in Europe I decided to pick up the save from the 1st Knockout Round of last seasons Europa League and give my tactic a rethink. It seemed to work out pretty well even though the alternate save won't be carried forward. It is frustrating to think that after years of struggle that the solution wasn't some magical abstract intense form of micromanagement involving constant changing of the mentality, formation or shape. All it took was some simple mathematics to achieve that and all with the 4-4-2 formation and the same players I had after the January transfer window. I'll elaborate further in my next post

Edited by pheelf

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Posted (edited)

TACTICS

Over complication is a crime that I have been guilty of throughout this whole save. Simplicity is both beautiful and elegant and is what I'm seeking.

The base tactic which I'll use remains the same except that it now has no TIs:

4_4_2_tactic.png

Image courtesy of www.lineupbuilder.com

What I've come to understand is that I wasn't really taking advantage of the flexibility that the 4-4-2 offers by playing it the same way game after game and not adapting it to the opponent. It has the ability to transform into any attacking shape you can think of and that is where its strength lies and that is what I should be looking to exploit.

Football is a simple game at heart. The key to success being the ability to control the two most important zones on the pitch which are the defensive zone and attacking zone shown in the picture below.

4_4_2_zones.png

The defensive zone is the area highlighted in blue and encompasses the DC and DMC positions.

The attacking zone is the area highlighted in red and encompasses the STC and AMR/L/C positions.

In order to gain control over the oppositions defensive zone when attacking the area must be overloaded. To overload the opposition defensive zone, the number of players attacking the zone must be equal to the opposition players in the zone +1 which is where the simple mathematics come into play. The additional 'free' player (as it would be impossible for the opposition to mark them out of the game) is the one which causes the damage. In contrast, in order to retain control over the defensive zone the number of defenders must be equal to the amount of attackers so no overloads can exist and then defending becomes a matter of winning individual duels with the opposition players.

Therefore, in an attempt to adapt the approach to the opponent the only changes that will be made is to the roles and duties of the players to gain the numerical superiority when attacking and ensure the opposition don't outnumber my defenders.

ATTACKING

If facing 2 players in the opposition defensive zone

2_players_in_defensive_zone.png

The base tactic remains unchanged as there are 3 players attacking the zone to 2 defenders, the AF(A), DLF(S) & CM(S)

If facing 3 players in the opposition defensive zone

3_players_in_defensive_zone.png

To generate the overload an additional player needs to attack the zone, this will be done by changing the LM to a WM(A) and adding the PI 'Cut Inside With Ball'

If facing 4 players in the opposition defensive zone

4_players_in_defensive_zone.png

To generate the overload 2 additional players need to attack the zone, this will be done by changing both the LM & RM roles to WM(A) and adding the PI 'Cut Inside With Ball'

If facing 5 players in the opposition defensive zone

5_players_in_defensive_zone.png

To generate the overload 3 additional players need to attack the zone, this will be done by changing both the LM & RM roles to WM(A) and adding the PI 'Cut Inside With Ball', the CM(D) will also become a CM(S)

Opposition teams never defend with 1 so that won't occur but should they defend with 6 players in that zone I'd put one of the full backs on the attack duty

DEFENDING

If facing 1 or 2 players from the opposition attacking zone

1_player_in_attacking_zone.png

2_players_in_attacking_zone.png

The base tactic remains unchanged as there are 2 defenders for the 1 or 2 attackers

If facing 3 players from the opposition attacking zone

3_players_in_attacking_zone.png

The RB has the duty changed from support to defend to give 3 defenders for the 3 attackers

If facing 4 players from the opposition attacking zone

4_players_in_attacking_zone.png

Both the RB and LB has their duties changed from support to defend to give 4 defenders for the 4 attackers

I have yet to encounter it but in the unlikely circumstance that the opposition attack with 5 in the attacking zone then I'll substitute a striker for another central defender

That's pretty much it...nothing complicated. All simple changes which can be made game by game once we know the opposition formation that don't impact tactic familiarity levels. Next seasons review will be the first of the new regime

Edited by pheelf

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Congrats on the Europa win to....... errrm, your alternate universe self, I guess.

I'm certainly guilty of going very overcomplicated and micromanaged with tactics, you're not alone there.

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On 1/4/2017 at 16:23, noikeee said:

Congrats on the Europa win to....... errrm, your alternate universe self, I guess.

I'm certainly guilty of going very overcomplicated and micromanaged with tactics, you're not alone there.

I've gone back to the 4-4-1-1 and scrapped the 4-4-2 and all the micromanagement highlighted in the previous post as results instead of improving were getting much worse. I was also finding it so difficult to get the right player for the DLF(S) role, given it is such an important component of the team (the attacking pivot) I was beginning to get frustrated with the poor positioning of the player in the role which often had the two strikers completely isolated and disconnected from any support from the central midfield. As a result I've decided to go with the following:

               AF(A)

              AM(A)

W(A) DLP(D) CM(S) W(A)

FB(S) CD(D) CD(D) FB(S)

              GK(D)

TI : Higher Tempo

PI on DLP(D) of 'Dribble Less'

PI on GK(D) of 'Distribute to Full Backs'

Mentality: Standard

Team Shape: Flexible

It starts out by defending like a 4-5-1 makes transitions like a 4-2-3-1 and attacks like a 4-2-4. Here's hoping it can make a difference

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Posted (edited)

chimney_corner_badge.png

CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

SEASON 2041 / 2042


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

I know this team is capable of achieving greatness, the hard part is making them fulfill their potential


 
 
New_the_Season_logo.png
 

League Table - Getting beaten by the likes of Carrick and Glenavon marked the end of the tactical experimentation

UEFA Champions League - Talk about a group of death!!...Manchester United went on to win the competition, Juventus were 6 time Serie A champions and Bayer Leverkusen were defending Europa League Winners. It started abysmally with a trouncing at Old Trafford but we recovered and even had hopes of making the knockout stages if we could somehow beat Juventus in Italy. We took the lead early which I thought might have demoralized them but it had the adverse effect and motivated them to score 3 against us and boot us into the Europa League
 
UEFA Europa League - We drew the eventual winners once again who battered Arsenal 6-1 in the final

Domestic Cups -  It was nice to beat one of our rivals 8-0 but the cup final loss was a fiasco

Reserves - A clean bill of health

Under 18s - Uninspiring and predictable given that we have become the parent club for the entire league with their constant asking for loans as soon as a player turns 17
 
New_the_Players_logo.png
 
Squad – We're good but just not good enough to mix it with the elite European clubs. I'll be looking to bring in a couple of quality players who can play in the AMC position, a couple of fullbacks and possibly another right winger. I may need to replace any leaving players also, I don't feel that we need to spend big but we need to spend wisely
 
Transfers Part 1 / Transfers Part 2 – The usual shipping out of players which wanted to leave and acquisition of younger high potential replacements. We made a reasonable profit and the new players have developed well
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Juan Jose Canales – ML - Average Rating : 7.88
A very consistent player who wasn't afraid to score and assist

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Jamie North – DC - Average Rating : 7.33
The youth product has blossomed into a quality central defender who still has a lot of room to improve. Other teams want him but I'll be desperately trying to keep him here, he's HG and could become world class if he stays. He also earned his first full cap for N. Ireland, the reason why he probably hasn't earned more is because of this guy

New_the_Club_logo.png
 
Finances – Compared to this time last season this is relative poverty which just highlights how money we lose every season and why we need to remain a selling club. The board want to leave now and a consortium wanted to buy us but the takeover fell apart as they didn't have enough money so we await developments on that front. We have spent money to max out the youth facilities but that should be the last of the necessary facility upgrades for a while. In the future, I want to keep a nice big balance at the end of each season so that I can expand the new stadium without having to resort to loans
 
Facilities – How you can fall behind schedule when building such a small stadium is beyond me but they have and we'll have to wait until November to get the keys now. We maxed out the youth facilities as I mentioned but didn't have the option to upgrade the youth recruitment which I feel can only happen when the club is 'Rich'

Youth Intake – Dunlop DM is easily the best player the club has ever produced and I will be looking to carefully prepare him for the first team. I will first need to retrain him to play in the MC position and might start to give him some first team exposure in the domestic cups next season, I don't want to rush him as he could in time become an Andrea Pirlo for us. I'm really excited about this young lad and the vultures are already circling as he has interest from Arsenal and Manchester United...he's going nowhere if I have anything to do with it!!
 
New_the_Stature_logo.png
 
League Reputation – The anticipated drop happened but it wasn't serious and with a good run in the Champions League could be repaired
 
Club Domestic Reputation – The other two professional clubs closed the gap which is great as it means they should be able to attract better players and strengthen the league as a whole. Maybe next season one of them can make the breakthrough into the Europa League group stage
 
Club European Reputation – Moving on up
 
Edited by pheelf

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Hey, haven't seen the thread in a while, just caught up with the updates.

I can really relate to your tactical struggles, I've been through most of what you described playing FM 16. I feel the same about guides too, the engine is not so full of rules and some things considered "wrong" certainly work.

About Europe, I can't help but think you should have a more defensive approach. Park the bus and hope for 3rd place until you have a stronger squad. A simple 4-1-4-1 might be the answer.

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This is starting to remind me of your FM16 career when you won the Champions League with Immaculata and then re-did your tactics. :D Surely it's best to go back to what you had in your most successful period (and you've been VERY successful - you're in the CL groups with a Northern Irish side!), rather than continuously reinventing new things in search of something tactically perfect?

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On 1/6/2017 at 14:47, jengaehassim said:

Hey, haven't seen the thread in a while, just caught up with the updates.

I can really relate to your tactical struggles, I've been through most of what you described playing FM 16. I feel the same about guides too, the engine is not so full of rules and some things considered "wrong" certainly work.

About Europe, I can't help but think you should have a more defensive approach. Park the bus and hope for 3rd place until you have a stronger squad. A simple 4-1-4-1 might be the answer.

Thanks for commenting, I have tried to be more defensive in Europe but it doesn't seem to help much. All that ends up happening is that the other team dominates more than before and we struggle to create anything at all. I still want to have a threat going forward while being defensively responsible. Finding that balance has been the struggle but I'm working on it

 

11 hours ago, noikeee said:

This is starting to remind me of your FM16 career when you won the Champions League with Immaculata and then re-did your tactics. :D Surely it's best to go back to what you had in your most successful period (and you've been VERY successful - you're in the CL groups with a Northern Irish side!), rather than continuously reinventing new things in search of something tactically perfect?

You know what, you're absolutely right. I'm going back to the 4-4-1-1 I was playing before with only slight alterations to enhance the style and this time I'm going to stick with it. As it could be quite a grind to assemble a squad good enough I'm also going to remove some leagues to help the processing time. R.O.I, Wales, Scotland will be gone in addition to all leagues in England except the PL. That way I haven't made the challenge any easier as all the elite teams will still be in a playable league. I'll post the tactic below

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Posted (edited)

TACTICS

I've decided to go back to the tactic which gave me success in FM16.

4_4_1_1.png

Image courtesy of www.lineupbuilder.com

Team Shape : Flexible

I experimented with Fluid but I observed some things which I didn't like such as the fullbacks getting caught high up the pitch and being unwilling to recover their defensive position properly which completely disrupted the defensive shape and led to a number of goals being conceded.

Mentality : Control

I've decided to be a bit bold here and commit to a way of playing before each match as opposed to Standard where I'm ceding the initiative in the game and instructing my team to react to how the opposition are playing. The Control mentality I feel suits the formation and style I want to adopt well. The 4-4-1-1 isn't a particularly defensive formation as it has no player in the DMC position and is all about getting the ball down and spraying it around the park until chances open up.

It is also a formation which only has 1 player constantly in an advanced position so needs to focus on working the ball up the pitch rather than playing overly direct. The Attacking mentality would be too risky for the shape as I want my midfielders and fullbacks to pick their moments more carefully as to when to go forward rather than constantly bombing forward and abandoning their defensive responsibilities regularly. 

GK(D) Added PIs: Distribute to Fullbacks

The Fullbacks tend to be unmarked and the style I want to create is all about working the ball up the pitch patiently so this should help enhance the style.

WM(S) Added PIs : Close Down More, Ease Off Tackles, Sit Narrower, Cut Inside With Ball

I've chosen the Close Down More instruction as I want to keep an even level of pressing from the entire midfield rather than having differing amounts which would result from having the CM(D) which has the instruction as default. I know my Wide Midfielders aren't great tacklers so while I do want them to press I don't want them flying into tackles so have added the Ease Off Tackles PI too. As the left midfielder is going to be overlapped by the left full back I've decided also to make them Sit Narrower and Cut Inside With Ball to help this.

CM(D) Added PIs : Dribble Less

The difference between the DM(D) and CM(D) role is that the DM(D) has Dribble Less as default and that is exactly the role I want to replicate from slightly higher up the pitch. It also makes sense as I don't want the player in the role losing the ball in dangerous areas by attempting to run with the ball

CM(S) Added PIs : Close Down More

Also done to keep an even level of pressing, I haven't added the Ease Off Tackles as I want the player to be more combative in order to help win the midfield battle

WM(A) Added PIs: Close Down More, Ease Off Tackles, Stay Wider, Run Wide With Ball

A similar story to the LM except I want the player to behave more like a winger as he has no player overlapping so he needs to provide the width on the right flank

AM(A) Added PIs: Roam From Position, More Risky Passes

I've added the Roam From Position PI as without it I feel the player in the role would be easy to mark out of the game especially when the opposition team field a DMC and seeing that the player is my attacking pivot that would be disastrous to our attacking potency. As he is likely to be in the best position to play the killer pass for the AF(A) I've also added the More Risky Passes PI. Defensively I hope that he'll drop deep and help to solidify the central midfield

I'm going to give the tactic a chance and see how we get on, early signs are encouraging

 

Edited by pheelf

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chimney_corner_badge.png

CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

SEASON 2042 / 2043


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

The first season in our new stadium, could we christen it with an improved performance in Europe?


 
New_the_Season_logo.png
 

League Table - A comfortable win but a far cry from our record breaking seasons of yesteryear

UEFA Champions League - I was encouraged to draw an easier group but couldn't get through it and had to settle for 3rd
 
UEFA Europa League - Once again we draw a near impossible team in the First Knockout Round with predictable results

Domestic Cups - A couple of cups to put in the cabinet

Reserves - Won it all again, the prize money is improving nicely too

Under 18s - Better than last season
New_the_Players_logo.png
 
Squad – We are probably a striker and 2 fullbacks (LB &RB) short of being strong enough to break through to the knockout stages of the Champions League. We really need a top striker to rotate with Anderson ST as when he dropped off his form toward the end of the season (the Irish Cup final especially) we really felt the lack of goals.
 
I'm somewhat furious about the whole Dunlop CM fiasco and the fact that when is 18 he will be leaving for Manchester United. As reported last season, Dunlop is the best player we have ever had come through our youth system and was attracting interest from some pretty impressive teams. Well, Man United put in a bid which the board went over my head with and accepted. I protested, they agreed and it seemed that I would be able to hold onto him. Unfortunately for us they bid again later in the season and this time there was no talking to the board and they accepted the bid. My gripe is that there was nothing I could do about it. As he was only 16 at the time I couldn't offer him a pre-contract deal so I'm going to lose for ~£5M a player who looks likely to develop into a world class midfielder...gutted  
 
Transfers Part 1 / Transfers Part 2 – Mofokeng ST is the star signing but I couldn't get a work permit so he will be loaned out until I can. I also bought a few former players back on loan to help us meet the HG criteria in Europe
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Jamie Llewellyn – MR - Average Rating : 7.90
The DBP Player of The Year who also featured in the Champions League Dream Team was nothing short of sensational

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Andreas Gustafsson – MR - Average Rating : 7.67
The young Swede was a very capable rotation option on the right wing

New_the_Club_logo.png
 
Finances – The takeover finally happened and if first impressions are anything to go on then the £8.5M they pumped into the clubs coffers is a very good omen for our future relationship. Financially, we are comfortable and even became 'Rich' during the season. I might decide to spend big on transfers next season but I am hoping to have a decent balance this time next season
 
Facilities – Becoming 'Rich' allowed the youth recruitment to be improved, it has now reached average which is still 4 levels below the maximum and still doesn't compare favourably with other teams in the top division. We got an expansion to the new ground straight away without having to ask. The expansion cost ~£3.2M and will mean starting from the season after next we will no longer ground share in Europe. The potential expansion capacity of the new stadium is rather disappointing though being a measly 11,000. We are going to reach that capacity really quickly and it is nowhere near the size of Windsor Park which isn't great. At least next season we get to ground share at Windsor Park which should give us a good indication of the size of our support

Youth Intake – No real stars this time although I'm hoping the upgraded youth recruitment will help future intakes
 
New_the_Stature_logo.png
 
League Reputation – To be the 15th most reputable league in Europe is something rather special considering that our team is the only one who has ever appeared in a European group stage. From the season after next owing to the improved coefficients we will enter a team in the 1st, 2nd & 3rd Qualifying Rounds of the Europa League instead of having 2 in the 1st and one in the 2nd Qualifying Round
 
Club Domestic Reputation – No real changes here
 
Club European Reputation – No change
 
Edited by pheelf

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Posted (edited)

chimney_corner_badge.png

CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

SEASON 2043 / 2044


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

We should be aiming to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League


 
New_the_Season_logo.png
 

League Table - We were unbeaten until Cliftonville ruined it in the penultimate match of the season

UEFA Champions League - We showed fight at times but were outclassed and rightly finished bottom of a tricky group. Our decline this season can't be allowed to continue, money has to be spent next season

Domestic Cups - Removing the Scottish Leagues meant no Challenge Cup fixtures, our attack was lousy in the Irish Cup final

Reserves - Missed out on the Steel & Sons Cup but won everything else

Under 18s - A more than acceptable showing from the youngsters

New_the_Players_logo.png
 
Squad – I'm not happy with this squad at all as there are a number of weaknesses all across the board. I think the cause of my failure to progress the team over recent seasons has been largely down to player recruitment. Restricting my signings to players 21 or under has helped to create a young and vibrant squad but it has come at the cost of success in Europe. The buy young and develop approach hasn't really been serving me well as I don't have enough time to develop the player and the level of the vast majority of games they play isn't of a sufficiently high level to make them develop quickly. Therefore from now on I'll be broadening my net and signing the best players I can regardless of age
 
Transfers – Of the signings I made, Myhrmann ST was overpriced and a mistake, Ramon RB & Alvarez AMC were great and Wolfe RM was inspired. The rest of the signings were my attempt to sign youngsters with decent potential but low current ability. They all flopped and it backfired spectacularly so I won't be repeating that policy next season
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Jamie Llewellyn – MR - Average Rating : 7.93
He's a icon at the club and it's not hard to see why. A wonderfully consistent player who did great when called upon

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Brian Wolfe – MR - Average Rating : 7.91
The former Dundalk player was both DBP Young Player and Player of the Year which tells you what kind of season he's had. He'll be leaving next season (thanks to an overzealous chairman who went over my head once again) but his solitary season at the club left such a good impression that he is already considered a favourite among the Chimney Corner faithful

New_the_Club_logo.png
 
Finances – After the screenshot was taken the board decided to pump in £10.25M which was very welcome indeed. Now that I have done all of the off the field improvements I can do for now I'll be using the money in the transfer market to get players into the club that we need to take us to the next level
 
Facilities – The upgrade to the stadium will bring it up to its potential maximum capacity so no further facility upgrades will be happening until either the training or youth facilities get downgraded

Youth Intake – A couple of potentially quality strikers and decent central defender is a nice improvement when compared to last season
 
New_the_Stature_logo.png
 
League Reputation – Unsurprising fall considering our abject performance in Europe, still waiting for another N. Irish team to make a group stage
 
Club Domestic Reputation – 3.5* reputation is fine with me, hopefully we can use it attract some quality players
 
Club European Reputation – A sharp fall but nothing that a good season in Europe wouldn't fix
 
Edited by pheelf

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I've decided to strip the game setup down to a true Gundo's challenge which should help me to power through the seasons more easily as the processing speed has been taking a hit recently. Only the N.Irish league system will be simulated from next season. It makes it slightly easier which is an unwanted consequence but on the other hand it improves the estimated game speed from 3.5* to 5*. 

For the first time in the save a certain team has been promoted into the playable leagues

return_of_the_mac.png

The temptation to leave is stronger than I thought it would be probably compounded by the lack of progress recently at the Corner...It's bothersome that I'm even considering it :idiot:...hmmm

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There's no shame in going for a different/new challenge if you're getting bored of this. However, I don't think there's necessarily an impossible ceiling to break past, in the Champions League group stages. It's looking difficult but it's not impossible.

I find it strange you struggle so badly to hold on to players. Are they unwilling to sign long contracts? Insisting too much on release clauses?

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On 1/10/2017 at 10:43, noikeee said:

There's no shame in going for a different/new challenge if you're getting bored of this. However, I don't think there's necessarily an impossible ceiling to break past, in the Champions League group stages. It's looking difficult but it's not impossible.

I find it strange you struggle so badly to hold on to players. Are they unwilling to sign long contracts? Insisting too much on release clauses?

I was tempted but in the end I opted to stay...gone too far not to see it through...the Mac did alright though finishing 3rd in the PIL so maybe they'll rise through the divisions without my intervention anyway

I can get the players to sign long deals but often after a 6 month period of good performances they get itchy feet and want to leave causing massive disruption to team morale if they can't and performances suffer. There has also been numerous occasions when the board just goes over my head and I am forced to sell.

I don't like the massive turnover in players the club has, especially given the investment made into developing the players but the club just isn't big enough yet to be able to hold onto players. Given the way the FFP is looking it's likely I'm going to have to sell players anyway, losing even one season of European money at this point would be a catastrophe for the club

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chimney_corner_badge.png

CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

SEASON 2044 / 2045


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

I decided to spend big to try and make strides in Europe, it's essential we at least make the knockout rounds


 
New_the_Season_logo.png
 

League Table - It was a good thing that we didn't have to depend on our late season form as it was atrocious, so bad in fact that Cliftonville nearly caught us

UEFA Champions League - Another menacingly difficult group which thanks to our magnificent results against CSKA Moscow had us finish 3rd. We didn't seem to have an issue with scoring against the big guns in the group but our defending leaves a lot to be desired 

UEFA Europa League - The furthest we have gone yet which is encouraging. We knocked both Glasgow clubs out but the Milan giants battered us

Domestic Cups - The loss in the final of the Irish Cup was the final straw for the tactic

Reserves - Did well although the loss to Cliftonville Olympic was disappointing

Under 18s - A brilliant season for the youngsters

New_the_Players_logo.png
 
Squad – We're getting stronger and more competitive in Europe. We're going in the right direction but the threat of financial problems may derail us and force us into making sales
 
Transfers Part 1 / Transfers Part 2 – We seemed to get better value for the players we bought cheaply and two of the best signings were free. Wolfe, Alvarez, Ramon & Myhrmann were all sold by the board and Perrot was a release clause fee. I think that highlights the issues we have in trying to build and retain a squad of strong players, it's very difficult when the rug keeps being pulled out from under me 
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Imanol Martin – ST - Average Rating : 7.70
The DBP Player of the Year was a goal scoring machine. 53 goals in a season is nothing short of sensational and could have been better if the tactic was up to scratch

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Steven Young – DC - Average Rating : 7.50
He has developed really well during the season and I've named him captain given his exceptional leadership and resolute nature. I truly hope that we can hold onto him for a while longer

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Finances – Even though we ultimately passed the FFP that red bar is really concerning along with the whopping great loss we made this season. The wage budget has ballooned and that is something that we need to address before it gets out of hand
 
Facilities – Get used to this screen as it will not be changing for a looooong time

Youth Intake – According to my HoYD Sean Boyd is the most gifted player to have come through the youth system in a while...I beg to differ
 
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League Reputation – After last seasons fall the lack of movement is fine
 
Club Domestic Reputation – The gap has widened which isn't great, Warrenpoint Town will become the 4th N. Irish team to turn professional as they sold their youth facilities and will join us in the top flight after getting promoted from the Championship
 
Club European Reputation – Our European run propelled us back into the top 50
 

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TACTICS

After the collapse I observed at the end of last season I decided to make some further alterations

4_4_1_1.png

Image courtesy of www.lineupbuilder.com

I've decided to strip out all the player instructions bar one with the only PI left being the GK instruction to 'Distribute to Full Backs'.

I was finding that the Advanced Forward was getting isolated from the midfield which wasn't helping our attacks so I have decided to change the role to a Deep Lying Forward (Attack). The thinking behind it being that he should start in a deep enough position to contribute to the build up play more which should work well with the Control mentality that is based on patience when in the attacking third. I have come to see that the Advanced Forward as a lone striker wasn't a wise choice without immediate support around him such as in a 2 man strike partnership or a system with 3 supporting players in attacking midfield.

In my opinion, the Advanced Forward is better suited to a more direct style of play and taking advantage of opposition defenders who haven't recovered their positions. That way he can use his dribbling abilities and speed to devastating effect by either running on to through balls and crosses or running into the space vacated by the defenders. Therefore the role isn't suited to the style of play I was adopting as by the time the ball has worked its way up to him the defense will have recovered position and often he would be dribbling and having to take on more than one player which often led to him losing the ball.

The Attacking Midfielder is given a Support duty instead of an Attack duty in the hope that the player in the role will behave as a more efficient attacking pivot and be in a position to be more involved in the build up rather than being ahead of the ball during transitions. It should also help the team to dominate the central midfield easier and increase the amount of passing lanes available for the player as runners should be able to get beside and ahead of him on the flanks.

I've also decided to put both the full backs on support duty as I'd rather they focused on their defensive responsibilities first and foremost. We also don't lose anything in an attacking sense from them as they will still get into advanced positions when they feel it's safe to do so as opposed to how it was before. The left back would be getting forward constantly and regularly leaving a massive hole on that flank which was exploited easily on the counter attack when our attacks broke down. 

I feel by removing the PIs from all the midfielders that I extend to them a greater freedom and an unpredictability. That way there is no fixed pattern of our attacks which the AI could try to counteract as our own players won't even know precisely how they are going to attack which should make our play develop more organically. Sometimes the wide midfielders will cut inside and other times they will run wide, sometimes they will dribble with the ball and then others times they will look for the pass and make off the ball runs. My hope is that this unpredictability allows the team to craft many different types of scoring opportunity with a variety of goals and goal scorers.

I wanted to try and create a system which isn't overly dependent on one player to get all the goals (like Martin last season), or one player to provide the bulk of assists (usually the player in the RM position). When the team is so dependent on individuals then if they have a bad game for whatever reason the whole system falls apart which has a devastating ripple effect on the whole team. Every team has stars and players of lesser ability that need to be carried but placing additional pressure on the star players in the team can stifle them which is what I want to avoid and is the reason why I haven't chosen any play making roles and reduced the mentality gap between the forward and the midfielders. By sharing the responsibility of chance creation and scoring among the team more equally my hope is that it gets the best out of all the players.

For the first time I actually feel comfortable with a tactic and the way it plays on the pitch so I'm hoping that no further major alterations will be needed. The elements for success appear to be in place and it all appears to be coherent. The Flexible shape meshes well with the Control mentality, the Control mentality seems best suited to the 4-4-1-1 formation, the roles and duties in the formation compliment each other and reinforce the strategy. Here's hoping 🤞
 

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CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

SEASON 2045 / 2046


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

Continual progression is the aim so Champions League knockout stages should be seen as a minimum requirement


 
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League Table - A lot more convincing this time around

UEFA Champions League - We seem capable of beating the 2nd tier European teams but look to be so far off being competitive with the top tier. The record 8-1 defeat to Man United was painful to watch and could have been so much worse in the end. The team put in a respectable fight against Real Madrid but that first Champions League crown seems so far away

Domestic Cups - It felt nice to lift the Irish Cup again

Reserves - They did well and almost managed a clean sweep

Under 18s - The performances of the youth team can be downright baffling at times. They top a difficult Champions League group to then lose to Southampton's U18s

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Squad – The player values are somewhat inflated in the screenshot and I feel that helped me to hold on to players but that protection has gone as the values fell again at the end of the season. The problem I have is that strengthening the team will require getting players from better leagues which will need a massive outlay of money in terms of transfer fee and wages. Unfortunately for us we don't have that sort of money or the means to generate it which limits how much the team can be improved. The squad is stronger than ever but I sense an almighty struggle to hold onto my best players next season
 
Transfers Part 1 / Transfers Part 2 – Not the frantic activity of previous seasons thanks to higher market values. Kettle CD was overpriced in retrospect but we desperately needed a solid central defender, the rest were fairly mediocre or haven't really had a chance to impress yet
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Petar Jambrusic – ML - Average Rating : 7.62
He's quality, he's class, as for his career at Chimney Corner, well...I fear it won't last. The vultures are circling :(

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Steven Young – DC - Average Rating : 7.41
He performed well but was better last year. It is somewhat concerning that my coaches think he has peaked already as while he does have good rounded stats he isn't exceptional (18+ attribute) at anything, maybe in time he will be although I can't imagine I'll get to see the benefit of it given the ridiculous amount of interest from other clubs

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Finances – Long gone are days when this was in the tens of millions. We passed the FFP but the appearance of the red bar still alarms me. This season the clubs income was £56,935,927 with £21,721,423 of that figure coming from Champions League prize money. Now compare that with the £58,414,901 which we spent and we can clearly see the problem. We are allowed to make a loss of £4.3M over 3 years, the board project the club to make a loss of £3.24M. It is the fact that these numbers are so close which is concerning as under performing in Europe could tip the club over the edge and mean that we fail the FFP at the end of next season which could ruin the club given there is no guarantee that the board would pump in the money to make us pass the FFP. We're going to need to tighten our belts a bit
 
Facilities – The training facilities downgraded but the clubs lack of funds means it will have to wait

Youth Intake – For the investment that has been made in the youth system this is pretty poor, the level of youth recruitment is really holding this club back
 
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League Reputation – Back up to 15th which is great. Still we await another N. Irish team to make a group stage. That is the last major obstacle that is preventing the nation from gaining extra spots / later entries in European competition
 
Club Domestic Reputation – No major changes
 
Club European Reputation – Into the top 40
 

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TACTICS

I've decided to make a few little tweaks based on what I was observing during the games.

Mentality changed from Control to Standard

A large number of the goals we conceded were balls over the top which I feel were exacerbated by the higher line of the Control mentality. As we don't deploy a player in the DMC position when the opposition plays a through ball from deep it left my central defenders exposed as the screen that is my Central Midfielder (Defend) can't get there quick enough to help. I was seeing it time and time again especially against Man United in the 8-1 defeat as they were able to effectively isolate my central defenders. When you have players with better attributes as they have then there is only one outcome in a one-on-one battle and we were punished severely because of that, lesson learned!!

Added 'Play Out of Defence' Team Instruction

I decided to do this after observing the actions of my central defenders when in possession. One of them would intercept the ball and then instead of playing a simple pass to one of their teammates that are close and unmarked in central midfield they often decided to belt the ball up the field to nobody which just handed the opposition the ball. I was surprised at first because none of my defenders are limited defenders and given their default PI of 'Fewer Risky Passes' I assumed that they would always opt for the simple shorter pass. Evidence pointed to a different reality and I'm hoping that the TI will discourage such wasteful behaviour in future. Of course it doesn't come without risk as should the opposition press high then it could become an issue. However, some chances you have to take and given how many passing options they generally have close to them they shouldn't need to dawdle on the ball too much to create a major problem although I'll need to monitor it nonetheless

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A suggestion - do you adapt to your opponents with your tactics, or just leave a system untouched playing out over a season? I'm asking because I've found I haven't really nailed a perfect system yet (and keep going in circles between some settings similar to yours, like between "Standard" and "Control"), but have found a rather big advantage by tweaking things to exploit opponent weaknesses according to their formations, and by watching matches and adapting to how those formations on paper play out on the pitch. 

What I'm doing isn't too different actually, from what you were doing a few seasons back with keeping a numerical defensive advantage compared to the opposition formation. But there's a few extra nuances that can really push it up a notch, such as messing with defensive line, width, team shape (ex. to stretch the opposition or exploit the space behind offensive fullbacks), and the odd role change or two (to move focus to where you have more space, for example move a playmaker further back or forward depending on the AI formation).

Obviously when you're playing such a long-term career it'd be a pain in the arse to go this much in-depth, for every single boring league match vs weak Northern Irish opposition, but you could go a long way if you did it in the big European ties. 

By the way I also found a DLF/A to be much superior to a AF/A as a lone striker for me. However I don't use a AM behind him so the dynamics could be different.

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8 hours ago, noikeee said:

A suggestion - do you adapt to your opponents with your tactics, or just leave a system untouched playing out over a season? I'm asking because I've found I haven't really nailed a perfect system yet (and keep going in circles between some settings similar to yours, like between "Standard" and "Control"), but have found a rather big advantage by tweaking things to exploit opponent weaknesses according to their formations, and by watching matches and adapting to how those formations on paper play out on the pitch. 

What I'm doing isn't too different actually, from what you were doing a few seasons back with keeping a numerical defensive advantage compared to the opposition formation. But there's a few extra nuances that can really push it up a notch, such as messing with defensive line, width, team shape (ex. to stretch the opposition or exploit the space behind offensive fullbacks), and the odd role change or two (to move focus to where you have more space, for example move a playmaker further back or forward depending on the AI formation).

Obviously when you're playing such a long-term career it'd be a pain in the arse to go this much in-depth, for every single boring league match vs weak Northern Irish opposition, but you could go a long way if you did it in the big European ties. 

By the way I also found a DLF/A to be much superior to a AF/A as a lone striker for me. However I don't use a AM behind him so the dynamics could be different.

In the next season which I'll post about I have been trying to be more flexible in Europe by making certain tweaks. For example, if the opposition plays with a defensive midfielder as I'm playing 4-4-1-1 then I add the PI of 'Roam From Position' to my AMC or if I feel that they are going to attack us heavily I'll change my LM from an attack duty to a support one.

The change to a DLF (A) appears to have made a difference but it doesn't seem to have solved the problem of the disconnect between the midfield and attack. I'll have to keep working on a solution to that one

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CHIMNEY CORNER F.C.

SEASON 2046 / 2047


SEASON EXPECTATIONS

We can do nothing more but keep trying to make progress in Europe, knockout stages once again should be seen as the absolute minimum


 
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League Table - We are simply untouchable at the moment although we still can't seem to manage an unbeaten season

UEFA Champions League - Errr...what?...where the heck did that run to the final come from? I don't know what it was but when I beat Real Madrid at home on the 1st matchday of the group I just had this feeling that it might turn into a special season and it certainly did. If I'm being honest I don't feel we deserved to go as far as we did. The foundations of our success lay with me trying to be more adaptive to the situation and that's what gave us a slight edge although I will concede that luck played a huge role in the run. In every game throughout the knockout rounds we were battered but seemed to get away with it, especially in the games before the semi finals where we only let in 2 goals which when compared to the number of shots we had to face really is an impressive achievement.

The semi final was an epic contest with Inter, we took the lead in Milan in the 24th minute with a left footed drive from the edge of the area which deflected in off the post from Stewart. At that point I was ecstatic and thought that maybe the dream of making the final was going to come true. That dream was soon crushed however with 2 second half goals from Inter giving them the advantage in the tie. Even though we had an away goal I thought our chance had gone as I couldn't see a way that we could win by scoring and not conceding a goal. I have never been more happy to be proven wrong. We came flying out of the blocks and by the 9th minute had taken the lead through a header into the top corner by Smajic after a devastatingly quick counter. Expecting an onslaught by Inter I was then further taken aback when we scored again in the 59th minute with a Mulder free kick from the edge of the area that got deflected into the net. The second goal was helpful but I knew that a goal from Inter would send us into extra time so I was left in a bit of a quandary as to what to do next. Do I go for the third and try to kill off the game or do I try to protect what we have.

I decided to be bold and keep with the game plan and it worked, 70th minute rolls around and Stewart buries the ball into the bottom corner from a cross from the right which gives us some comfort. They then score in the 73rd minute to strip that comfort away after a botched clearance from Young which lands at the feet of their defensive midfielder Patacas who guided the ball into an unguarded net. That put us under considerable pressure for the rest of the game and after seeing the pressure they were exerting on us I even went as far as to put the mentality on Contain for the last 5 minutes of the game. I also took off my attacking midfielder for another central defender and changed the striker to a target man upfront on his own in an attempt to give the players somebody to find with their clearances. It worked and we booked our place in Turkey for our first Champions League final.

I would like to go into depth about the final but it was about as anticlimactic a conclusion to our historic run as you could ever hope to see. They just did to us what Bayern and PSG failed to do and that was be clinical with their finishing. If we are being real about it the scoreline actually flatters us as they absolutely battered us throughout the whole 90 minutes. We were never really in the game and they put on an exhibition for the Mancunians which made the trip to Istanbul. I'm disappointed to lose the final in that manner but also immensely satisfied with our magnificent run and my players who performed well beyond their ability to get us that far. I take great encouragement from their example and feel that maybe our first win isn't as far away as I thought last season

Domestic Cups - Bupkis this time around

Reserves - They got extended an invitation to the Youth Club Invitational which was staged in Italy and they did us proud by getting all the way to the final. What a fantastic effort from the backup players

Under 18s - Another of our teams which seem to be excelling which is great. Given that so many of the players get loaned out this is very encouraging for the future of the club

 

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Squad – I can't really fault them at all as they did so well. I won't be resting on my laurels though and will be looking to retain our best players where possible and add players to toughen up our weaknesses which I feel lie in our attacking midfield and the central defenders. If I could just find that wonderkid AMC it would make such a difference to our attacking potency
 
Transfers – Even though we still had a fair amount of player turnover I'm quite happy with the transfer dealings this season. We made a nice little profit and we haven't been weakened significantly and have managed to bring into the club a bunch of young talented players which are improving
 
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Paul Davies – MR - Average Rating : 7.92
A magnificent winger who doesn't mind scoring, can't ask for more than that

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Robert Stewart – ST - Average Rating : 7.13
I'm absolutely delighted with the youth system graduate. Not only did he win the DBP Player of the Year but he is now considered to be a wonderkid. I can't wait to see what the future holds for the player who has already broken into the N. Ireland national team. Him along with Dunlop are going to propel them to new heights and it's going to take an exorbitant amount of money to pry him away from the club

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Finances – Loadsa money!!!...I'd say that our run in Europe has put any worries over failing the FFP to bed for now and we can use this money to strengthen the team and hopefully get us closer to that first Champions League trophy we so desperately want
 
Facilities – The improved financial situation has meant that we could not only afford to max out our training facilities again but got granted another improvement to our youth recruitment (was granted after screenshot was taken) which is going to be hugely beneficial to the machine which has produced some real quality players over the last few seasons

Youth Intake – No stars in this intake but they will be given time to prove themselves and some might surprise us when given the chance to train at the best youth facilities available, you never really know with these things
 
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League Reputation – Our run in Europe has been superb for the country overall and has put the league on the cusp of being 3.5* which is fantastic. We also got the great news that from the season after next we will gain an extra Champions League place which is going to make the battle for 2nd place between Linfield and Cliftonville next season absolutely fascinating. Given the improvement to the coefficients, surely the nation wont have to wait too much longer to see a second team grace the group stages of a European competition
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Cliftonville are catching up reputation wise which is no bad thing. It might help them to attract some better players which hopefully will improve their fortunes in Europe
 
Club European Reputation – Unsurprisingly we go rocketing up to 26th place, the screenshot I feel encapsulates precisely why we lost the final to Man City, look at how far they are ahead of 2nd place which just shows how out of our depth we were in that final
 
Edited by pheelf

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TACTICS

After last seasons miraculous run in Europe you may be wondering why I have decided to make further changes to a system which on the surface appears to be giving what I want. Well two reasons really, firstly, the run in Europe was exceptionally lucky and we easily could have got beaten at any stage during the knockout rounds had it not been for some unusually poor finishing from the opposition. Secondly, I'm kind of tired of trying to make something work which simply wont given the current match engine. Playing the 4-4-1-1 with a flat 4 in midfield is almost like playing with a handicap defensively and I'm under no illusions that the reason why teams could so easily dominate us is because we were constantly losing the midfield battle which is crucial in gaining the upper hand in the game. As a result I have decided to park the 4-4-1-1 for now (until I get out of the match engine what I've inputted into it) and change to a 4-2-3-1 with two DM.

4_2_3_1_Deep.png

Image courtesy of www.lineupbuilder.com

I've carefully selected each role and gone with a Standard Mentality and no TIs. I'll be getting the unique flavour that I'm looking for from my PIs so I'll be going through each role in the team and my expectations for the player and how they fit into the overall structure of the team.

GK : Goalkeeper (Defend)

Added PIs : Distribute to Fullbacks

After considering the alternative of a Sweeper Keeper I've decided to stick with the Goalkeeper. I'm not going to be playing a high line so there is no need for my goalkeeper to sweep up behind the defensive line. I've decided to keep the distribution to the fullbacks as they are likely to be the only ones that are unmarked although as it is only a tendency it wouldn't be a problem if he occasionally pumps the ball long provided that the target is in space and the pass is accurate enough to reach them

DL : Full Back (Attack)

Added PIs : Fewer Risky Passes

Given the presence of a Defensive Midfielder close to him who is going to stay deep and will cover for when he goes forward I felt that I could give him that extra freedom to bomb forward more in order to create the necessary width on the left flank. I considered other roles but as I still want a solid defensive contribution from him and given the lack of support he's going to get from my Inside Forward I decided to stay away from roles which encourage dribbling which I consider a high risk means of working the ball forward as if he were to lose the ball up the pitch after a failed dribble it could have bad knock on effects. An off the ball runner is what I want who keeps it simple and plays passes to the more capable passers in the central areas so that is why I opted to add the Fewer Risky Passes but stopped short of asking him to Dribble Less as given the right opportunity it wouldn't be a terrible thing for him to do but he needs to do so sparingly

DCL / DCR : Central Defender (Defend)

Added PIs : None

I could have tried something fancy by doing a Cover / Stopper partnership but thought against it as I don't really need that from them and would much prefer for them to stay in a solid line with the other defenders. The fact that they should have 2 players in close proximity to them at all times shielding them should work well with their default instructions and give them readily available targets to pass to in order to reduce the need to pump the ball long and surrender possession of the ball.

DR : Full Back (Support)

Added PIs : Fewer Risky Passes

A similar story to the left back but as the defensive midfielder on his side will also go forward I don't want him venturing too far up the pitch and getting caught out. Given that there is a winger in front of him he doesn't really need to provide width in the final third and instead should be focused on stretching the oppositions midfield to help open up channels for my Defensive Midfielder (Support) to exploit. Given that I also don't want him trying any Hollywood passes either I gave him the instruction to take less risks with his passing also and he shouldn't need to anyway as he should always have decent support around him

DMCL : Defensive Midfielder (Defend)

Added PIs : Fewer Risky Passes

He is going to be the stalwart which protects the back line and covers for the attacking fullback. I had considered other roles but none of which I thought would be suitable. I don't want an Anchor Man as I need him to be fairly mobile to improve the efficiency of his linkup play with his defensive midfield partner and also so he can go over and cover the space left vacated by the left back. A Halfback would have been useless in this setup, a Ball Winning Midfielder would have been a terrible holding player and a Deep Lying Playmaker wouldn't have been good either as he would have attracted the ball too much and may have tried overly ambitious balls from deep which I didn't want. I also wanted the player in the role to focus on his defensive responsibilities first and foremost and felt that adding the need to be a playmaker may have overloaded the player. As long as he defends the golden zone (thanks to Rashidi for that one) and blocks off passing routes I'll be satisfied. I also like the fact that the role comes with the Close Down More PI as default as that is exactly what I want him to be doing, harassing opposition players who want to penetrate into our golden zone and forcing them to rush their play

DMCR : Defensive Midfielder (Support)

Added PIs : Close Down More

In our defensive posture he too will be tasked with defending the golden zone and I feel that by keeping the level of pressing consistent between the two defensive midfielders that it should provide a more consistent line of defence. I'm also happy that the player has a Tackle Harder PI as default as that is exactly what I expect him to do. That is, kick the s*** out of the opposition midfielders before they get anywhere near our goal. If he gets a yellow card or two for his troubles then so be it and I'll have to be mindful of that by either changing his role or subbing him off. His role is to delay, disrupt and frustrate the opposition midfielders so that we can maintain control over our most vulnerable area. My hope is that in every game he lays down a marker early by leaving a bit on an opposition player with a late tackle to discourage teams from trying to attack our golden zone and instead forces them to funnel their attacks out wide. I don't have the player I want for the role yet but I know that Bravery, Tackling, Marking, Decisions, Work Rate and Positioning will be vitally important if the job is to be done right. A Vinny Jones type player would suit the bill here with a Claude Makelele type player to his left. As for attacking contribution I'd be happy enough if he just plays the role of a late runner from deep to overload the oppositions central area, for that reason I haven't altered his passing instructions as he may take up more advanced positions where he could do damage with a dribble or a risky pass

AML : Inside Forward (Support)

Added PIs : Close Down More

How I see his role playing out is that of a distraction runner. Get the ball out wide and drag opposition players inside with you which should create space for the overlap by the left back. I also see him as a supplier for my Advanced Forward in the later stages of an attack as he should be the second player that gets close enough to him to link up with him. Defensively I want him to pin back the attacking wing / full backs by harassing them hence why I added the Close Down More instruction, hopefully that should put him in a good position to take advantage of any mistakes. He will be my second player attacking the golden zone and I suspect he'll get his fair share of assists and goals by doing so. He will also be a useful target for crosses from the other flank as he will be running on to them from a deeper position which might make him difficult to pick up by the defenders

AMC : Attacking Midfielder (Attack)

Added PIs : Close Down More, More Risky Passes, Shoot Less Often

He is a vital component of the formation and is the guy who I expect to be in the golden zone the most and expect him to use the opportunity to wreak as much havoc as he can get away with. I decided to take some of the instructions of the Advanced Playmaker as that is how I see him operating without him being the attacking pivot of the team.  I didn't want to play with a playmaker role as that would have been tantamount to putting on the TI of Exploit The Middle which I didn't want. By leaving the role generic all three players in the attacking midfield strata should see the ball which should create some variety in the attacking play. I chose an attack duty as I want him to be as close to the Advanced Forward as possible for better linkup play. His movement should really be a thorn in the side of the opposition as he creates space for the Inside Forward and has his channel opened up by the Winger who should pull players out of position. I have to try to get the best player I can for this position as the strength of our attacks depends on him, with the right player our attacks could become lethal

AMR : Winger (Support)

Added PIs : Close Down More

I needed someone on the right flank to provide the width and he does that. He movement will also be great in opening up the channels for the Advanced Forward and Attacking Midfielder to the left of him. When he crosses from a deeper position he will also have the advantage of three (possibly four if the left back has come up) targets to aim for which should be attacking the box from different angles and times which will of great benefit to him. I chose the Close Down More Instruction as I wanted to keep an even line of pressure across the attacking midfield. The AML & AMR take care of the fullbacks and the AMC takes care of any defensive midfielders. I am also hoping that his position in between the lines drags opposition central midfielders out to meet him which may create space for my Defensive Midfielder (Support) to make runs from deep

  STC : Advanced Forward (Attack)

Added PIs : Close Down More

I've tried every single type of striker that you can think of as a lone striker but have come to realize that this is the best role for this system provided you have players close enough to him to help which my Attacking Midfielder (Attack) should be. The Deep Lying Forward (Attack) suffered from the fact that given he is the most advanced player who is he creating chances for? If I then dropped the notion of having an Attack duty attacker I would then be expecting my goals to be coming from either my wide players or attacking midfielder which I don't want as they aren't capable of being my main goalscorer. So therefore my only option was to use an Advanced Forward as Poacher I feel would be too limited. I hope that by remaining so high up the pitch all the time that he stretches the gap between the oppositions defensive and midfield strata enough by pinning back the central defenders so that it creates vertical space for my Attacking Midfielders to operate in. That way they can use their lateral movement in turn to open up channels for him to operate in which is the hallmark of the role.

That's it for now...next season will be the first with the new tactic and I'm hoping with the right acquisitions in the right areas that it will be successful

Edited by pheelf

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Posted (edited)

TACTICS

Formation

I'd ask readers of the thread if they could kindly disregard the last post as I've decided to have one last shot at making the 4-4-1-1 work. It's the favoured formation which is selected in my mangers profile so I think it's only correct that I attempt once again to get a sensible version of it up and running.

I'm going to break my creation process into three posts and attempt to take a thorough root and branch approach. I'll start with the formation, then another post establishing the overall style of play through team instructions and then finally a post which discusses the assignment of roles and duties to cement how we are going to attack.

Let's start....here is the formation

4_4_1_1.png

First things first...lets compile a list of positive and negative aspects of this as a formation

Positives

1) Unlikely to ever be outnumbered in the middle of the park and if it is (4-4-2 Narrow Diamond for e.g.) then there will be huge space on the flanks to exploit which plays into another strength of the formation

2) Will never be outnumbered on the flanks

3) Has a player consistently in the 'pocket' of the opposition

4) Should benefit from having two solid lines of defenders

5) Incredibly versatile and can be made to function in a huge number of different ways

6) The best horizontal coverage of the pitch you can get

Negatives

1) No defensive midfielder meaning that opposition teams will have space in a very dangerous area of the pitch and the formation will struggle against teams which have players in the AM strata

2) Having only one striker means that isolation could potentially become a issue

3) While the formation is versatile it doesn't have a specific style of play which suits it given that it is neither top heavy nor bottom heavy. With a top heavy formation, the idea would be to dominate play in the opposition half supported by a more aggressive mentality. In a bottom heavy formation, that would work best when designed to draw the opposition out and hit them on the counter suiting a more passive mentality.

4) Will have problems against teams which adopt a DMC as the AMC could easily get marked out of the game

5) Could suffer greatly on the counter attack 

6) A very demanding system in terms of vertical coverage of the pitch which could really struggle with lazy players. Tiring players could also be a huge problem when they can no longer as effectively cover the spaces

These are the aspects of the formation that I have spotted. I'm sure there could be more but 6 positive and negatives seems enough to start with. The next post will be about how I'm going to use the Team Instructions to establish a base with the aspects highlighted above taken into consideration.

Edited by pheelf

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Wait... what... you made the CL final? Really? :eek:

Amazing job there regardless of luck.

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Posted (edited)

How do I want it to play?

In this section I'll pinpoint the positive and negative aspects I've highlighted earlier and formulate a plan of how I intend to take advantage of the strengths while trying to cover the weaknesses inherent to the formation.

First let's start with the positives.

1) Unlikely to ever be outnumbered in the middle of the park and if it is (4-4-2 Narrow Diamond for e.g.) then there will be huge space on the flanks to exploit which plays into another strength of the formation

As a result of this it would make sense for the playmakers to be assigned to the central midfield zone (CM/AM). Additionally, it would not make much sense to have runners in any of the roles as the idea is to dominate that zone of the pitch, keeping the players in close proximity to each other should facilitate this

2) Will never be outnumbered on the flanks

Therefore my runners should be on the flanks given that the central midfielders aren't and there needs to be players breaking the lines. I should play a system which makes full usage of the flanks with the intention that the width creates space for the central players

3) Has a player consistently in the 'pocket' of the opposition

Therefore the role of the AMC should be one that attracts the ball regularly whilst being mobile. Therefore I should play a mentality which will get the best out of this player.

4) Should benefit from having two solid lines of defenders

In my opinion, to take best advantage of this the lines need to be close together and also operating in a manner where they press the opposition

5) Incredibly versatile and can be made to function in a huge number of different ways

I feel the best way to take advantage of this is substitutions which change the interpretation of the role, to achieve this the aim should be to try to keep the number of instructions to a bare minimum. That way more of the individuality of the player can come through and the style of attack becomes more unpredictable

6) The best horizontal coverage of the pitch you can get

As a result I need to take advantage of this by adopting a mentality which stretches the opposition over the whole pitch, by playing with width it forces the opposition to defend wider too which should grant space to my central players

Now for the negatives.

1) No defensive midfielder meaning that opposition teams will have space in a very dangerous area of the pitch and the formation will struggle against teams which have players in the AM strata

To try to circumvent this problem the D & M lines should be closer together. Therefore the defensive line will need to be pushed up and the shape will need to be one which gives vertical compression. Hence a more aggressive mentality and greater fluidity should help.

2) Having only one striker means that isolation could potentially become a issue

As a result the striker will need to have a role which gets him involved more in the buildup play, it will also be essential that he is able to hold up the ball and wait for support while also being our main goalscorer

3) While the formation is versatile it doesn't have a specific style of play which suits it given that it is neither top heavy nor bottom heavy. With a top heavy formation, the idea would be to dominate play in the opposition half supported by a more aggressive mentality. In a bottom heavy formation, that would work best when designed to draw the opposition out and hit them on the counter suiting a more passive mentality.

Even though this is true I'm going to tip on the side of it being a shape which should be played with an aggressive mentality. I don't believe it will be very good at soaking up pressure very well so I'm going to have it take the stance of attack is the best form of defence. Saying that, I don't wish it to be too aggressive as it doesn't have a huge amount of players in advanced positions immediately available so rushing the play to get it forwards wouldn't be beneficial

4) Will have problems against teams which adopt a DMC as the AMC could easily get marked out of the game

The role of my AMC will need to mobile and I will need other players stretching the pitch horizontally to assist him in finding space to operate in

5) Could suffer greatly on the counter attack

As a result playing an ultra aggressive mentality is out of the question as if I over commit players this could exacerbate the problem. Some degree of it is unavoidable but I will need to keep enough players back at all times to prepare for it

6) A very demanding system in terms of vertical coverage of the pitch which could really struggle with lazy players. Tiring players could also be a huge problem when they can no longer as effectively cover the spaces

This probably comes down to player recruitment at its heart, better game management will also help this by prioritizing substitutions on players that are tired / injured before under performing players

Given this analysis these are the TIs I have come up with:

Mentality - CONTROL

In my opinion this fits the bill perfectly.

It increases the tempo which I feel will be needed given that our build up play will be naturally slowed due to the formation and players will need time to get into advanced positions and support attacking moves. The idea is that the increased tempo will come into play in the final third as often defending teams will have consolidated therefore I need the increased tempo to unsettle them.

It increases the width which is ideal as I want to take full advantage of the very good horizontal coverage the formation offers. The increased width should also help to open up the central zone more as it forces the defending team to get pulled wider

The defensive line gets pushed up which will help to decrease the space in behind the midfield while not so much as to allow masses of space in behind the defenders

The increased closing down will help to mitigate the poor vertical coverage of the pitch from the formation by putting pressure on opposition players who are in between the lines

The attack duty players will pass more direct and the defend duty players will pass more shorter. Therefore I'm going to need to balance where these duties will be on the pitch for the best effect

The control mentality also increases roaming which is needed for my more advanced players

Team Shape - FLUID

The formation suffers from poor vertical coverage so by adopting a fluid shape I've increased the vertical compactness to mitigate that. The increased creativity is also essential as the vast majority of our attacks will be made when the opposition has recovered defensively so I'm going to need to grant my attacking players the ability to use their creativity to unlock defences. 

Team Instruction - CLOSE DOWN MORE

I felt this was needed as the best way of defending given the huge amount of space my players are going to need to cover every game. I want to engage the opponent early and reduce the time they have on the ball in dangerous areas. It also pushes up the defensive line slightly and increases the tempo slightly but they should still be lower than if I had selected the attacking mentality.

Team Instruction - WHIPPED CROSSES

Given I don't have any target men and wingers tend to be diminutive it made no sense to leave it on mixed and have the possibility of floated crosses. Additionally low crosses wouldn't have been of much benefit and would require lightning speed of all my players attacking the box which I felt would be too predictable

Assessing the other possible TIs I decided against adding any more. The TI I felt closest to adding would have been using the offside trap but given the flat back 4 anyway and playing a higher line, playing players offside is likely to occur regularly anyway without further instruction. I also considered look for overlap but then thought that may slow my buildup play too much. I'm always open to further changes but for now that it is the base that I'll be working from.

Now that I have my formation and team instructions the next step is stitching it all together with player roles and duties

Edited by pheelf

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1 hour ago, deez0r said:

Glad to see you back!

Thanks deez0r

35 minutes ago, noikeee said:

Wait... what... you made the CL final? Really? :eek:

Amazing job there regardless of luck.

It was a bit of a fluke if I'm being honest and we got trashed in that final. It is however encouraging though and perhaps a Champions League victory isn't that far away. 

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Posted (edited)

Finishing off

Now that I have my defensive shape (formation), style of play (TIs) locked down the final step is to define exactly how the team is going to attack which will be done with player roles / duties and PIs.

I'll start from the back and the Goalkeeper position

Position : GK

What do I expect from the player in the position?

A player who exerts control over his penalty box and works well with the central defenders in front of him. I don't wish to bias his distribution in any direction as I want him to use his intelligence to decide the best way to distribute the ball. Additionally, by asking him to only distribute it a certain way it may make my buildup play too predictable and allow the opposition to anticipate ways to deal with it. For e.g., if I were to ask him to distribute to the fullbacks as I have previously done all the opposition would need to do is press us high and immediately we are under pressure, similarly, if I were to demand that he kicks it long all the time the opposition could just man mark my players up pitch. The opposition not knowing I feel will be the most effective as the opponent can't prepare. A case could be made to play a Sweeper Keeper given the higher than usual defensive line but I've always considered the Sweeper Keeper to be most useful at the extremities of high defensive line, I won't rule it out but for now I'll stick with the Goalkeeper 

Role and Duty Assigned : Goalkeeper (Defend)

Position : DCR / DCL

What do I expect from the player in the position?

I expect my central defenders to protect my goalkeeper and work together and make it as hard as possible to break through them. A stopper / cover combination wouldn't work here as I want to have 1 line of defence rather than 2 and given the high line it could be asking for trouble to split it up in that manner. Additionally, I would like my central defenders to avoid just pumping it long aimlessly and conceding possession. In some respects the system is built around playing the ball up from the back so a defensive centre back wouldn't be suitable as they wouldn't care about getting the ball to another player as they are focused on just getting the ball away, similarly, a ball playing defender wouldn't work in this system either as they would be looking to bypass the midfield and pump the ball long. Therefore my only suitable choice is a Central Defender (Defend)

Role and Duty Assigned : Central Defender (Defend)

Position : DL / DR

What do I expect from the player in the position?

Given that one of the main strengths of the 4-4-1-1 formation is its wide play I think it makes sense to have my wide defenders judiciously attacking and providing extra width in the system. Given the control mentality, their job is to overlap once the team is in control of possession and provide width late in attacking moves. I think this will work well as once the first stage of the attack is complete and all the players are in their attacking positions what is then needed is the creation of space for them to progress the attack further. That is when the full backs come into play to disrupt the oppositions defensive shape. Which then leaves the opposition defenders with a decision to make, do they challenge the fullback and potentially leave a gap in their defence or give him the space to measure up a cross or get in behind. I feel the role should focus more on defensive contribution than attacking threat so that is why I've opted for the fullback which provides a good compromise between the two aspects of the game

Role and Duty Assigned : Fullback (Support)

Position : MCL

What do I expect from the player in the position?

I need a defensive pivot in order to solidify the early stages of an attack. The Central Midfielder will often drop deep which should enable my central defenders who have less risky passes set as a default to always have somebody to give the ball to lessening the need to play it long and concede possession. I would like to see him working as an effective double pivot and aggressively press opposition central midfielders to provide protection to the central defenders

Role and Duty Assigned : Central Midfielder (Defend)

Position : MCR

What do I expect from the player in the position?

I expect to see a slightly more aggressive press from the player in the role in effect producing a cover and stopper partnership in the central midfield. In effect what I hope to achieve is a double pivot with the emphasis being on ball retention and recycling possession while my more attacking players do the business. He should also seek to get into advanced areas when the team is secure in possession and offer a threat by attacking the box from deep late in moves to provide an extra target for crosses. He should be effective in this aspect as the team should be fairly spread by that point in attacking moves which should give him the space he needs to attack the golden zone

Role and Duty Assigned : Central Midfielder (Support)

Position : ML / MR

What do I expect from the player in the position?

My hope is to see the Wingers attack the flanks while also dribbling into the channels between opposition central defenders and fullbacks. Their job is to open up the golden zone for my supporting central midfielder and AMC by stretching the opposition and pulling apart their defensive shape. I also expect them to contribute greatly to the goal scoring charts by arriving in the box and getting on the end of the opposing wingers far post crosses. I'll have to watch how often they take shots as given their advanced position they will take them on but I don't want to see a large amount of shots from rakish angles and would prefer them to pass or cross. I don't expect anything from the players defensively when it comes to the middle third but I do expect them to press opposition players in an attempt to force them into mistakes

Role and Duty Assigned : Winger (Attack)

Position : AMC

What do I expect from the player in the position?

The purpose of my AMC is to be the attacking pivot for the team. He will need to have players getting beside him and beyond him to be most effective. I feel that has been achieved with the roles I have already selected. He'll have a Defend duty central midfielder and Support duty central midfielder behind him if he wishes to recycle possession, two players on the flanks and two fullbacks out wide and a striker ahead of him. That should give him plenty of passing options which will help get the best out of him. The control mentality and Fluid shape should also help him to overcome situations where he may be man marked and the width created by the wide players should give him a bit more room to express himself. The attack duty was chosen as I want him to support the striker more closely and provide a goal scoring threat by attacking the box from the pocket

Role and Duty Assigned : Advanced Playmaker (Attack)

Position : ST

What do I expect from the player in the position?

As I mentioned earlier, I need the player to get involved in the buildup play whilst being able to hold up the ball and wait for support and being the main goalscorer. This role and duty offers precisely what I'm looking for. He will be the most advanced player at all times but he will drop off the front and position himself in space to receive the ball whilst not roaming so much that he loses the position of spearheading the attacks. I expect him to link up with the Wingers and occasionally try to be a provider for other players bursting from midfield. 

Role and Duty Assigned : Complete Forward (Attack)

Here is how the final tactic looks.

4_4_1_1.png

That's pretty much it...lets see how it performs

Edited by pheelf

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Posted (edited)

chimney_corner_badge.png

Chimney Corner F.C.

Season 2047 / 2048


Season Expectations

If we can get anywhere near last seasons run to the Champions League final it would be a good achievement


 
New_the_Season_logo.png

League Table - Undefeated and scored for fun

UEFA Champions League - The final day loss to Dundee in the group proved pivotal as it pushed us down to 2nd which meant we drew a group winner in Man Utd who were too strong for us

Domestic Cups - All was going swimmingly until our players failed to turn up in the Irish Cup final...probably thinking about their summer holidays :lol:

Reserves - Penalties stopped them making any finals

Under 18s - Played well in Europe but another team which suffered penalty shootout heartbreak

 

New_the_Players_logo.png
 
Squad – We are stronger than we have ever been but the vultures are already circling around my better players and it could be a struggle to keep this group of players together
 
Transfers – A nice profit with a couple of decent loans in which are not shown here but I anticipate greater activity next season
 
Player Of The Season
Paul Davies – MR - Average Rating : 7.83
The England international and DBP Player of the Season has been nothing short of sensational, add the fact that he was our top scorer and assisted the most goals shows his importance to the club

Young Player Of The Season
Robin Skogly – LB - Average Rating : 7.76
The wonderkid has been incredible but he's disgruntled and has interest from the powerhouses of Europe. I can't see him being a Chimney Corner player for much longer but a nice way to bow out

New_the_Club_logo.png
 
Finances – We're comfortable and fears of failing the FFP have all but disappeared
 
Facilities – The youth facilities needed updating again but outside of that no changes

Youth Intake – A crushingly disappointing intake
 
New_the_Stature_logo.png
 
League Reputation – The league is now officially a 3.5* league which is fantastic. Additionally, no more qualifying for the Champions League and an automatic Europa League group stage spot too...:)
 
Club Domestic Reputation – I'm hoping that once some other N. Irish teams get the exposure of playing in a group stage that the gap will shrink which should benefit the league as a whole
 
Club European Reputation – With a bit of luck perhaps next season we can push on through into the top 20
 
Edited by pheelf

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How are the others getting on in Europe? Anyone make group stages or anything yet?

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, deez0r said:

How are the others getting on in Europe? Anyone make group stages or anything yet?

For the season just gone:

Linfield got knocked out in the 3rd Q. Round of the EL by Spartak Moscow 1-0 on agg

Cliftonville got knocked out in the 3rd Q. Round of the EL by Zulte Waregem 3-2 on agg

Coleraine got knocked out in the 3rd Q, Round of the EL by Heerenveen 5-0 on agg

No other team has made a group stage yet and rarely threaten to do so with Linfield making the Playoff once during the save and Cliftonville making the Playoff twice with all games usually ending in a trashing for them. No other team has done anything of note. My hope is that now we get an automatic group stage spot that they might just be able to pick up a few more coefficient points but if any further improvement is to be made I feel it's going to lie very much on our shoulders (unfortunately...:()

Edited by pheelf

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chimney_corner_badge.png

Chimney Corner F.C.

Season 2048 / 2049


Season Expectations

We should always aim to go one step further than last season so a Quarter Final place in the Champions League should be the ambition


 
New_the_Season_logo.png

League Table - We had to wait until the final matchday to secure the title, the fact it was so close highlights the danger of having insufficient squad depth

UEFA Champions League - We suffered serious injuries to both first team LM which kept them out of the entire group stage which didn't help, the performance in Liverpool was horrific 

UEFA Europa League - Once again badly timed injuries, this time to our central defenders scuppered our chances of making progress

Domestic Cups - Was nice to get revenge over Glenavon in the Irish Cup final

Reserves - Reclaimed the cups but lost the league

Under 18s - Our recent poor intakes are beginning to take their toll on our perfromances

New_the_Players_logo.png
 
Squad – Slow incremental improvements but given the number of fixtures per season and poor scheduling (games every other day at times) we need to have at least 3 players for each position to ensure adequate cover
 
Transfers – I was pleased with the players bought but I expect to be active next season should any of my best players want to leave. Thankfully, rising player market values should ensure our ability to replace them
 
Player Of The Season
Miguel Robles – ML - Average Rating : 7.91
Considered our best player in the early part of the season but then he suffered a damaged achilles tendon which kept him out for 5 months and our entire CL campaign. His absence damaged our chances in the group

Young Player Of The Season
Robert Stewart – ST - Average Rating : 7.42
As he is a HG option who is one of our best players I'm hoping that we can keep him but even though he has a £17.5M release clause he is still attracting interest which is concerning

New_the_Club_logo.png
 
Finances – We seem comfortable and I can see this balance rising significantly next season although there isn't an awful lot more beside player acquisition that we can really spend the money on
 
Facilities – An upgrade to the youth recruitment is desperately needed given the poor quality of our recent intakes but there is nothing else to upgrade until the 20 years have passed and we can request a new stadium

Youth Intake – Another dismal intake, I don't expect a wonderkid every intake but we aren't even getting any players who could be decent for the first team which is terrible given the amount of money invested
 
New_the_Stature_logo.png
 
League Reputation – Given our relatively poor season to hold position is very welcome. Now that Linfield will participate in the EL group stage my hope is that they can begin to help us out with the nations coefficient
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Portadown is coming back to the top flight which is nice to see
 
Club European Reputation – Rising into the top 20 in Europe is brilliant, the next 3 above us don't seem that far away so maybe with a good run in Europe next season we can overtake them
 

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Jesus, 0-9 to Everton? What the hell happened that day? Seems utterly out of character with everything else.

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