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[FM17] Against All Odds - USL Dunkerque

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"Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs"

 

TjN792P.jpg

 

Almost everyone knows the name Dunkirk.  A fishing village a few miles away from the Belgian border, it has a long, colorful history.  Jean Bart, the corsair, used the town as a base of operations during the reign of Louis XIV.  and at various times throughout history it was ruled, conquered, and conquered again by the Counts of Flanders, the French, Burgundian's, the Hapsburg's, the Habsburg Netherlands, and Hapsburg Spain.  In an Interesting side note during the 'Western Schism' of 1378, English supporters of Pope Urban VI disembarked in the town capturing it and flooding the surrounding estates.  It took King Charles VI of France with his army in hand to drive them away, but the town and surrounding areas were greatly devestated.  Historians argue to this day whether or not this was the first recorded case of English "Hooliganism".  Well, not really, but you have to admit, a historical case could be made....

Most people know the name Dunkirk because of the retreat of the BEF and many French soldiers from it's shores.

Football addicts know of Dunkirk because it was the town, and USL Dunkerque was the team, Jean-Marc Bosman tried moving to.  RFC Lieges demand for a transfer fee quashed the move, Bosman sued, and in 1995 the European Court of Justice agreed with Bosman, leading to a major change in the structure of European Football.

Now, Wikipedia and FM do not agree on the clubs history.  Wiki says they were founded in 1919, and have never played higher than League 2.  In 1929 they made it to the semi finals of the Coupe de France, and made the quarters in  '30, '37, '68 and '71.  FM has them being founded in 1954 with French CFA-A and CFA trophy's.  Either way, they've been around for quite some time, and have not have a lot of success.  

I'm going to try and take them from the Championnat de France National, thru Domino's Ligue 2, and into Ligue 1, and once there, be competitive.  While playing in the Eurocups and the like are part of the journey, they are not the goal. 

Thanks for Reading and Following!

Jellico73

 

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This is me:

 

yCMClG5.jpg

 

Well, not really.  This is Thierry Davout, and as of 17 June 2016, he is the new head coach of USL Dunkerque.

This is how I set him up:

 

nwYI6o3.jpg

 

My thought process in setting Thierry up this way was as follows:

I threw a bunch of darts at a board with the stats on them and went from there.

Actually no, but that would be a fun thing to do in the future.  Now my logic, faulty though it may be, is this:

I am starting in a lower league team.  We are semi professional.    We are not that big.  I'm going to have a total of 5 coaches, including me.  And I've found in my short time playing FM that you cannot specialize as much as want to in LLM games.  That said, it's a heck of a lot easier to find a coach with good stats in Attack/Defend, or GK/Fitness.  Finding a Lower League Coach that has good Technical/Mental/Tactical skills?  Not so much.  So, my plan is that I will fulfill those roles, and my other 4 coaches can take the others.  Of course, Custer had a plan too, so will see how this one goes.

A little bit about me.  I'm middle aged in body, juvenile at heart.  That's what my wife says, and one does not argue with Household 6.  My dad was in the US Air Force when I was growing up.  I spent the 80's in England and Germany, and was able to watch a decent amount of football while there.  I saw quite a few Mildenhall FC and Newmarket Town FC games while in England, as well as watching a lot of football on TV.  Four channels back then, options were limited.  I once got trapped with my family on a Ferry to France with a thousand Everton fans who sang, drank, and sang the entire trip.  Could be why more often than not I follow Arsenal.  In Germany I watched a lot of Bundesliga games, because frankly there wasn't a whole lot on Armed Forces Network back then.  One channel, oh how I longed for the days of four, let me tell you.  I did manage to go to a couple of 1 FC Kaiserslautern games each year I was there, they were solidly mid table then.  I left Germany for the football wasteland of Montana in 1989.  The Berlin Wall fell, and of course Kaisersalutern won the League in 91.

I played soccer as a kid until high school, and then casually in college.  After that I moved around the US quite a bit.  I'm a big NFL fan, but did follow the Bundesliga and the world cup games when they were on.

My Major hobby is gaming.  I started out in the 80's with Battletech, and tabletop games like Kingmaker, Civil War, 3rd Reich.  That led to computer gaming, mostly strategic/tactical games such as Civ.   I'm not that good at them, but I like playing them.  These days it's Hearts of Iron, Stellaris, Call of Duty, Civ, and games with the kids too.  They love Sheriff of Nottingham and Pandemic, which I will admit is both cool and disturbing.  I listen to Youtube videos at work, and one of the guys I listen to for his Let's Plays is Quill18.  And one day he was challenged to play Football Manager by his Twitch crowd.  And I literally missed the start of a conference call because I turned my phone over to watch him play the game, and was like "How on earth have I missed this?"  Then I remembered, Montana, then Georgia, the Arizona, then Missouri.  Football meccas they are not (European Football that is)

Then it was watching/listening to FM Series on Youtube.  Then I bought the game mid November.  Lets call it the 15th. That's 2 months and 8 days, lets call it 70 days just to round up.   Since then, I've played...677 hours?  But I'm not an addict!

Well, maybe I am....

So, by day I am a GIS Analyst for the Oil and Gas Industry.  I'm married to a wonderful wife, have two great kids (but they're young, so I have time to screw them up), and live pretty close to where Sporting KC of the MLS play, but I've never been to a game there.  I must rectify that.

I'm not sure what possessed me to do this save.  I've been futzing around with Journeyman saves for the most part (I have a cracking Mansfield Town Regen save that going quite well, I made it to the Euros, and was in the same group as Bayern, Benfica and Arsenal!  And I scored a goal in each game!  Good times.  Good, Good times.....)

I'm going to make mistakes, I'm going to bottle a few games.  I'm going to have fun while doing it. 

Thanks for Reading and Following!

Jellico73

Edited by Jellico73
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Welcome to Union Sportive Littoral Dunkerque!

GRlJLzt.jpg

 

We are a Semi-Pro team in the Championnat de France National, with Basic Youth Facilities and Below Average Training Facilities.  A transfer budget of €0 (cut and paste Euro symbol for future use...) and an available payroll of €1.08K p/w.

I did not look at the roster before I started this save.  Why you may ask?  I don;t know really.  I'd put up a poll with the possible reasons but the results could be both unsettling and true.

But, here's what we are looking at, and its not that bad.

Yex7bKM.jpg

Club strength and weaknesses.  I'm liking what I see here, I'm just preparing myself for the roster.  With Pro's and Con's like this, you know the roster is going to be just...

And Wow, this is my Senior Squad:

zrEmnBb.jpg     and this is my Reserve Squad kJoqYeM.jpg
 

My youth squad is 8 players whose sum Potential is 13.5 stars.  They won't be around for long.

But wait, it gets even better, I think.

These are the attributes for the squads:

S5aj5zt.jpg     q2WSeGn.jpg

Red is bad, Yellow is average, blue is above Average, Green is Great.

And this roster, to me, is pretty good, especially for Lower League players.  And it gets better.

tw4N4QX.jpg   o8a1WOc.jpg

Only 1 player whose 'Unambitious'?  Only 1 Player who has 'Low Self Belief'?  And they are both Youth Squad guys.  And we're only supposed to finish 6th?  How is that?

My teams average Work Rate is 11.28, average Teamwork is 11.62, Determination 10.34, Composure is 9.8, Bravey is 11

These are the averages for my starting XI:

QfwvD4j.jpg

And were only supposed to finish 6th?  Don;t get me wrong, I can drive this team to the bottom of CFA no problem, but that's if I didn't put in any effort.  Why sixth?

Oh, I see....

Thanks for Reading and Following!

Jellico73

Edited by Jellico73

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I give you the Championnat de France National of 2016/2017:

EaxwtN1.jpg

 

I will be the first to admit my knowledge of football is not that good, and my knowledge of French Football even less, at best a powerpoint slide deep, maybe two.

And I know just from looking at this La Berrichonne and US Creteil-Lusitanos are not CFN teams.  They're Ligue 2 teams, and they were relegated at the end of last season.  USCL is supposed to finish 1st, and La Berrichone 3rd, because Paris FC is going to finish 2nd, if the pundits are to be believed.  And of the 18 teams in the CNA this year, they are the only three professional teams.  my €0 Transfer budget is looking better and better.  US Boulogne is predicted to finish 4th, they've been Ligue 2 (with a brief stay in Ligue 1) in the recent past, Chambly is predicted to finish 5th.

Top two teams in the League are promoted, 3rd qualifies for playoff.  Bottom 4 are relegated to the CFA.

Well...merde.  This could take a bit longer than I thought....

Thanks for Reading and Following!

Jellico73

 

Edited by Jellico73

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These are the two tactics I am going to start the season off with:

u3xdBTr.jpg    and  62cJOHl.jpg

 

As I've said in a previous post, my football knowledge is not that deep, so I just sort players by ability and put them where they go best.  If there's already another player there I look at potential.  Determination, Bravery, Work Rate, Team Work And Decision Making also factor in.  If I have a 28 year old 3 star ability/3 start potential guy, and a younger (early 20's) lower star ability/higher star potential player, the younger guy will get most of the starts.  I'm findsing in Lower League savers versatility is a good thing.

Here's the starting XI:

Thomas De Parmentier

Jean-Jacques Rocchi

Damien Fachan

Jeremy Huysman

Said Ait-Bahi

Jovanie Tchouatcha

Djibi Banor

Gaetano Muraglia

Malik Tchokounte

Marc Fachan

Jean-Cristophe Bouet

And a few of the more promising youngsters:

Bevic Moussiti Oko

Hugo Demory

 

Alexis Araujo and Romain Jamrozik are Loan players

The first seven reserves are all solid, but theres not a lot of depth.  Going to have to fix that soon.

Coaching wise we start with 5, inlcuding a HOYD.  One General Manager, no scouts, and a head Physio round out our staff.  I have one coaching spot to fill in the U19 team.  I've let the Chief Scout and HOYD go, they were terrible, but I think I can do better.

Dunkerque has one club legend, Nicolas Huysman, and of course he's our Director of Football.  He's not bad, but nothing really stands out about him.

Hat in hand, I go to the board and ask for more coaches, and they agree! However, our request for a Senior affiliate does not meet with approval.  I schedule a couple of more friendlies on some open dates, place advertisements for all my open positions, and save.

 

And we're off!  More to come tomorrow!

Thanks for reading and following,

Jellico73

 

Edited by Jellico73

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Well, training is over, and the friendlies have gone pretty well.  I did not remove and previously schedule friendlies, but added Portsmouth and Vimy.

C7ZuneN.jpg

The Reserves result was the inter team game when I first took over, and then I assigned most of my starters to the reserve team for the game.  Minor PBKAC error there.

The first few games I rotated almost the entire squad at the half.  

Lommel are a Pro Team from the Belgian Proximus B League, and we scored 2 goals after the half, more shots on goal, more on target, and had the possession advantage.  De Parmientier, Banor and Araujo scored.  Jean Jacques-Rocchi left with a twisted knee, out 3 to 4 weeks, which is OK, its preseason.

I played Portsmouth because I had the weekend open, the fee wasn't onerous, and I made a decent amount in return.  A Skybet League 2 team, I was hoping for a solid game.  I'm not sure Portsmouth took it seriously, as I was 2-0 up by the 45th minute, and scored a third right before the half ended.  Araujo with the brace, De Parmentier and Tchokounte also scored.  Portsmouth got one back on a penalty that, if it were regular season, I'd be protesting.  Portsmouth had one more shot than we did, but of our 10, 6 were On Target.  We also had the possession advantage, 52/48.  We really moved the ball well here, Araujo had a nice run down the line and turned his defender four ways in about ten seconds.  Jeremey Huysman suffered a calf strain, out 3-4 weeks.  Again, preseason injury that should be cleared by the time the season starts.  But, 4-1 against a a solid League Two team is nice, even if its preseason.

Tongeren are an Amateur team, and we oputclassed them from start to finish.  De Parentier had a brace, Tchokounte and Araujo also scored before the first half ended.  I rotated almost the entire team, and Ivo Leclerq scored two goals for Tongeren, against a defensive line made up of my youth team players.   We dominated on Shots, On Targets, and possession.  And no injuries!

Oostende are a pro team from the Belgian First League, and this was one of those games you try and win and can't.  We had twice as many shots, 13/7, but only 1 was on target.  Had the possession advantage 54/46, but they played us tight throughout.  Somehow we had more yellow cards than them, 3/0, but if you can count a 'Stern talking to' as half a card, then they would have the advantage there by about 5 cards.  Mikael Lesage was the ref for that game, and in his most recent match between Valenciennes FC and Chamois Niortais FC: 9 Yellows, 1 Red and a 4.9 rating.  Which leads me think Lesage may not be the best referee out there....Djibi Banor left with a damaged knee cap, but he's only going to miss two weeks.

Kapellan are a Belgian Semi-Pro Team that we dominated from start to finish, 5 times as many shots, 5 times as many on goal, 55/45 possession advantage, and it took Nicholas Bruneel scoring in the 82nd minute to snatch a tie from defeat.  Not the result I was looking for, but noone was injured, which was a plus.

Hoogstraten VV are another Belgian Amateur Team.  We dominated on Shots and On Target, 13/5 and 7/1, they had the slight possesion advantage at 51/49.  Rocchi and De Parementier scored before the half, Fachan scored in the 90th minute, but I think the opposing goalie was walking out of the net in anticipation of the whistle being blown when it happened.

US Vimy is a Regional Amatuer Team, a tuneup opponent really.  We bossed them from start to finish, twice as many shots, 16/8, half of our were on target.  They had the possession advantage, but that's because we were more direct passing and they took their time moving up the field, especially in the second half.  Their goal came on a beautiful series of one-two passes that was fun to watch.  Tchokounte and Rocchi each scored, Moussiti Oko had a brace in the second half.

All in all, a good preseason.  

Now, ignore that music in the background, the tune foreshadowing ill portents and impending doom....

Thanks for reading and following,

Jellico73

 

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One of the things I like doing is signing players to trial.  Especially when you don't have a lot of scouts, or lack the budget to scout, you bring a player in for a few weeks, set them in the squad and get them some game time.  I am very week in the Defensive Midfield, so I bring in two players as trialists, Regize Canistan and Frank M'Barga.  Both can play Defensive Mid and Center Mid,  Canistan is a backup, with some decent potential for the CFN.  Get him some solid training and a good tutor, he'll be a solid rotation guy.   M'Barga is going to be a key backup, if not starter.  Good numbers in what I look for (Aggression, Bravery, Determination, Team Work, Work Rate) and his physicals are solid as well.

Squad registration for the CFN is July 31st to February 1st, which is nice.  However, trialists can't play in matches, so a week out I sign both players to contracts.  Canistan signed almost right away.  M'Barga isn't getting the salary he wanted, but I offered him a two year deal, with a 25% raise, and a bonus if we aren't relegated.  Oh, and a slightly higher signing fee.  Which he jumped at.

A week later, he still hasn't signed.  Which in a league where you can only name 5 subs and use 3, is slightly....aggravating.

After all, this is the start of my season:

l1AS0f4.jpg

 

Pau is not great (picked to finish 17th).

Vendee Herbiers is solid (picked to finish 10th), Bastia looks to be a solid mid table team (picked to finish 13th, and ASM Belfort are picked to finish 7th.

My other four opponents are supposed to be the top four teams on the table.  I figure I need 14 points out of these first 8 games, 12 minimum, to put myself in a position where I am not digging myself out of a hole if I want to try and challenge for promotion.

 

My season kicks off August 5th.  On August 3rd, this happened:

y8z6c2M.jpg

A talented Advanced Midfielder, 4 goals in the preseason as part of the rotation, out for three months.  On Loan from LOSC Lille, I'm not paying anything slary wise, but I can't send him back. I'll scout a few players, maybe try and get someone in on loan, but this was not how I wanted the season to start, but after such a productive preseason, could it start any other way?

Le sigh...

 

Thanks for reading and following!

 

Jellico73

 

Edited by Jellico73

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5yQBqDT.jpg

Je sens votre douleur Patrick. Espérons que ce n'est pas un signe des choses à venir.

 

And I've reached the limit of my French.

Against All Odds indeed.

Jellico 73

 

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So, a diversion if you will indulge me here for a moment.

 

As I alluded to above, I live in the midwest, Kansas City to be specific.  Before I moved here I lived in Phoenix and Atlanta.  When I lived in Atlanta I got hooked on baseball, and why not?  My dads company had tickets they gave away to employees all the time, and we went quite a bit.  The Braves were a great team, great pitching, good hitting, and always the bridesmaid in the world series until 1996.  Phoenix had the Diamondbacks, an expansion team that was fun to watch, and they were getting better when I moved to Kansas City, winning the World Series in 2001.

Kansas City has the Royals, who since the mid 90's have been at the bottom of the American League.  In fact, when there was talk of shrinking the number of teams in the conference, Kansas CIty was usually the team mentioned as the team going away.  After long time owner Ewing Kaufman died, the team was run by a council whose goal was to save money.  A brief moment of glory in 2003 before fading away late in season was the highlight of a twenty five year drought of no playoffs, and several consecutive 100 loss seasons.  An appropriate comparison for football fans might be Leicester, a team with loyal fans who could never put it together, for one reason or another.

When the current owner hired Dayton Moore as General Manager, Moore said he had a process.  It was going to be long, it was going to be hard, but have some patience.  He drafted well, the farm teams developed players, and in 2014 the Royals made it to the play in wildcard game.  It was, and is, the best game of baseball I have ever seen, and the Royals went on a magical run that took them to Game 7 of the World Series, and it was the start of a never say die attitude that continued into the playoff and the next season, a season in which they won their division, their conference, and then the World Series in 2015.  But they would not have made it to the deciding game of the 2014 Series if not for the performance of one young man, a fireballing slip of a pitcher from the Dominican, with a 100 mile per hour fastball and a Jack Russell attitude of "I don't care how big you are or how strong you are, I am coming for you."  He was a hot head, and the day before he pitched Game Six of the 2014 series, with the Royals down 3-2 in the series, Oscar Tavares, a promising young Dominican player who played for instate rival St. Louis, was killed in a car crash.  Ventura honored his fellow countryman with a memorial on his cap, then went out and pitched seven innings of 3 hit baseball against a dominant San Francisco team. It was one of the best pitching performances in the World Series, ever.  Ventura threw 100 pitches, 65 of them were 96 mph or faster.

2016 was an up and down year for Yordano.  He was one of the hardest working players in the club, but his youth and immaturity, and his competitiveness, got the better of him on more than one occasion.  Injuries and player losses saw the Royals contend but fall short, but this year, as the optimist in me says, the Royals were looking good.  And Ventura was making the news for all the right reasons, having signed a big contract not to long ago he was a key cog in the Royals starting five.  Players are coming back healthy and hungry, and you have to admit, the sports world is moving in mysterious ways.  The Royals winning the World Series?  the Cubs?  Leicester winning the Premiere League?  Can lightning strike three times?  Can the Royals win one more Series before most of their better players leave for bigger teams and contracts?

Then came the news this morning.  

Yordano Ventura, aged 25, died in a car crash in his home country, the Dominican Republic.  And to make things worse, Andy Marte, another Dominican pitcher, was also killed in a separate car crash.  And in an otherworldly coincidence, Marte's last game as a pro pitcher came against the Royals, and his opposing pitcher that day was Yordano Ventura.

As fans, we can go overboard in our love of team.  For some of us our team is life, moreso than school, work, or immediate family.  For Yordano Ventura, baseball was life, because it was a way out.  He fought and clawed his way out of the Dominican into an Amateur contract with a team that stuck by him, with fans who with one handed wanted to clap him on the back for a job well done while shaking him by the neck for his behavior with the other.  But he was a hard worker, perhaps the hardest on a team full of hard workers, always had a ready smile and a hug for his team mates, and was harder on himself when he was thrown out of games for his behavior.  He was a unique talent, albeit a frustrating one for us fans, with a bright future.  He was known as Ace, and without him we Royals fans would not have experienced the highs and lows of the past five years.  Yordnao Ventura was, as many in sports are, an unique and talented individual, with a love and passion for the game, and life.  And he will be missed.

 

RIP #30.

 

Jellico73

 

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RIP Yordano :(

As a St. Louis sports fan in general, I remember the Oscar Tavares memorial game against the Cardinals where he pitched an absolute belter

Edited by Deisler26

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Rest in peace, Yordano and Marte.:(

I guess the Dominican Republic may declare the national days of mourning by the local government for the loss of two baseball players. Is that right?

In the meantime, good transfers indeed! I will be following along to see if they are good!

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"Against All Odd's - Les Bleus et Blancs"

TjN792P.jpg

 

 

Well, six games into a 34 game schedule, and how are we doing?

Well:

6HRPtR8.jpg

 

We're winning.  Sitting top of the table, and I'm not sure how/why.

7teXNOV.jpg

 

1st game against Pau FC was a grind.  Malik Tchokounte, who is the better's favorite at 5-1 to be the CFN's top goal scorer, banged one in at range at 4 minutes.  Nicholas Bruneel banged another one from just outside the box of a corner kick.  Pau had 7 shots on goal to our 9, only 1 of which was on target.  They almost doubled us in fouls, 25 to 13, and had 5 Yellow cards.  We dominated possession 58/42.

 

Against Paris FC we struck first, 10 minutes in Tchokounte had a nice header from a De Parmentier cross.  39 minutes in Gaetano Muraglia scored on a nice give and go with Tchokounte in the 39th minute, but Paris FC scored a minute later, with a nice Camara goal.  Jean-Jacques Rocchi scored in the 59th minute, a strike from just outside the box on a series of give and go's that went Muraglia to De Parmentier to Tchokounte, who assisted with a nifty back heel.  Paris FC really started to press forward, so I sat back on counter, and then in the 70th minute Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi channeled his inner 'Cobra Kai' and tried sweeping Tchokunte's legs with both of his own, The ref was literally ten feet away.  Paris FC scored in the 80th when a misplaced header allowed them to kick the ball over my defensive backfield, and a streaking Jonathon Nanizayamo tapped it in .

 

Thomas De Parmentier scored 3 minutes in , a lovely header off an assist from Fachan, who took the inbound throw.  In the 8th minute,  our goalkeeper Bouet boomed a free kick down the right side, where three defenders watched it go over their heads as De Parmentier ran to it as it landed ten yards from the left corner of the box, where he tapped it forward a few yards and then crossed it to Tchokounte, who volleyed it in near post.  And I was feeling good.

By the 36th minute Vendee had equalized, a Ba goal in the 31st and a Jacuzzi goal in the 39th, and frankly it was all I could do to hold on.  Vendee outshot us 15 to 10, was On Target 10 to 6, had 9 fouls to our 19(!), and had the possession 53/47.  Bouet made some spectacular saves, I think we should have lost this game.  I was surprised when we didn't.

Now, I'm going to give you some numbers:

Shots - 22/2

On Target - 11/1

Fouls - 13/12

Yellow Cards - 3/1

Possession - 54/46

 

That was me against Le Berrichonne, and you'd look at those and say we bossed them from start to finish.  Boukari scored for the in the 12th minute, and we equalized in the 31st when a headed Tchokounte hit off the crossbar landed at Dmitri Boudad's feet and he tapped it into an open net.  The Berrichonne goal keeper, Remi Pillot, earned every bit of his €2,000 per week salary, if he didn't get a bonus I'd be upset.  This game was looking like a draw, but then Judicael Crillon, who was booked in the 4th minute, was booked agin in the 75th and sent off.  I went to attack right then and there, then overload in the 85th minute, but it too Nicolas Bruneel, scoring off a corner kick from outside the box in the 91st minute to secure the win.  Pillot almost got a glove on it too, but it banged in the upper left of the net, and we escaped with the win.

I planned on a hard match against US Creteil-Lusitanos.  However, as I am fond of saying, "Custer had a plan too."  We bossed them, and it was pretty evident from the start Creteil was in for a long day.  Tchokounte scored on a nifty one two from De Parmentier in the 29th minute, and then De Parmentier scored in the 36th minute when an attempt by Boudad on the edge of the box bounced off the defender and right in front of him.  He dribbled it to about 8 yards out and boomed it far post upper corner.  Creteil just could not get anything going, 18 fouls, 3 Yellows, and losing the possession battle 46/54.  They made it close in the 81st minute, when Serginho lofted a cross towards El Hamzaoui, Ait-Bahi headed it directly to Pape Gassama, who one shotted it off the bounce near post past a diving Bouet.

 

The game against Bastia was one of those where the numbers don't lie.  15 shots against 6, 5 On Target against 3, they had 23 fouls, we had the possession 55/45.  In the 6th minute, a Fachan Free kick to Muraglia, who tapped it to Tchokounte, who had the ball for less than a second as hit it to where a streaking De Parmentier was cutting though the defenders, never breaking stride as he boomed it in from just outside the box.  Fachan scored on a penalty kick in the 39th, and Bastias effort, at best, was desultory.

So, the stories thus far?  Well, us if course.  Bastia, predicted to finish 13th, is sitting in 2nd, and US Avranches, predicted to finish 11th, are currently top of the table.  

US Creteil is sitting in 11th, with their 1st and 3rd best defensive players out for 2 and 5 months respectively.  Game Stats wise they are doing better than their opponents, they just aren't getting the results.  Their last game against Pau FC is a good example, 13/6 in shots, 7/1 in on target, 55% possession advantage, and yet Pau won the game 1-0.  

Paris FC is sitting 12th, having won just a single game.  A man up against Beziers and they couldn't score.  A 2-2 tie against Pau saw their starting AM(L) go out with an inury for four weeks, against a 10 man Vendee Herbiers team missing its best D(C), they managed a 0-0 draw.  Paris FC has six players injured, including their starting AM(C) and D(L), and their backups.  They have only played 5 games though, I expect them to move up.

Le Berrichoine is sitting 15th, but to be honest, they have 12 players with major injury, and by that I mean out at least four weeks plus.  Yes, 12.  9 Defensemen (Five D(C)'s), their starting winger, starting AM(L), and starting striker.  They have two doctors, and their head Physio has a 19 in Physiotherapy, but he can only do so much.  

The biggest shocker for me is USBCO (US Boulogne Cote d'Opale, hence the abbreviation).  Picked to finish 5th, they sit at the bottom of the table.  No wins, 3 draws, 3 losses.  No major injuries.   Group Sportif Consolat blitzed them 4-0, and yyet USBCO had more shots, more on target, fewer fouls, and dominated possession 59/41.  In 6 games they've scored 1 goal.

I'm looking to finish top of the table.  34 games means you need about 43-45 points to be at least mid table.  Next six league games, and the 5th Round Coupe de France game, are going to be telling.  The game against US Concarneu, currently sitting 8th, is going to be a bellweather game for us, as I am planning on using a mostly rotated squad, seeing as how the Coupe Game is two days later.

 

So far, Against All Odds, we're doing well.  

Can we keep it going?  Lets find out.

 

Thanks for reading and following!
 

Jellico73

Edited by Jellico73

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Couple of notes on the season thus far.

Transfer wise no moves involving money were made.  Free's and Loans.

Budget wise, I'm doing OK.  169K balance, current season profit of 91.43K.  Against a budget of 29101 I am currently spending 29,174.  I've some dead weight on the team, but I couldn't move them during the transfer window, but then I didn't try selling any of them for free either.  

The one thing I am struggling with is the bench.  CFN rules say you can have a bench of 5 and use 3, which means your players both on and off the field have to be versatile.  Which means trying to get the young Striker whose only a ST(C) and playing time of consequence is hard.  Araujo was a good player for me because he's a natural Attacking Mid Center and Attacking Mid Left, and he could play striker or Mid if you wanted him to.  Dmitri Boudad can play all three attacking mid spots, but he's 29, his numbers are falling, and he's a better sub at this point than starter IMO.  De Parmentier can play Attacking Mid, but then my Attacking right is Romain Jamrozik, a Loan Player from LOSC who only plays Attacking Right with any degree of skill.  So, I hit the scouts, and they couldn't find anything.  So I hit the Loan wire, and found Theo Lucbert, who was listed by Sociedad.  Good News is I'm not paying for him, and he can play both Mid and Advanced sides with a high degree of competency.   My coaches say he has 4 star potential, those stats say 4 star CFN potential, not La Liga.  But a decent backup.

The other area I have no depth really if Defensive Back.  Oddly enough, almost all of my DB's are also competent in other positions, just not on the Defensive Back line.  My D(L)'s can play M(L), my DC's can play DM and M, but only a couple can play say, D(L) and D(C), and even then playing them at their second choice causes the pucker factor to increase.  So, I hit the wire and found Steeve Joseph-Reinette.  Oddly enough, I couldn't scout him, but I could bring him in on trial.  Yes, he's been around awhile, started with En Avant de Guingamp, then spent a season with Atletico Roma, a season with FC Ploiesti, a season with Slavia Sofia, a season with Sibr and then two with Krylia Sovetov.  He's average 12 or so starts for the past seven seasons, but more importantly, he can play any position on the Defensive Back line.  Not a starter, but a valuable back up IMO.

 

Against All Odds, we move forward.

Thanks for reading!

Jellico73

 

 

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These are the tactics I am using so far.

Four of the games I've used the 4-1-2-3 DM Wide.  Against Le Berrichone I used the 4-2-3-1 because my scout said they were vulnerbale to it, and against Creteil I used the 4-3-3, but took one of my Center mids and made it an attacking mid at the half, turning it into a 4-2-3-1.

I generally adjust the role to whatever the player is best at, expect in the Defensive Mid and Midfield, I try to keep a combination of BBM, BWM and CM going

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And these are the starting instructions I use:

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Now, I usually just watch key highlights in the game, but I also have windows for the opposing team open as well, their stats and composure.  I also have a lot of my assistant manger messages turned on, and will make adjustments as the game goes.  Usually it's tempo, or closing down.  If the crosses aren't working I'll take them out and work the ball into the box, or exploit a flank if the defender on that side is not having a good day.  One tactic I have found is later in games, look at an opponents fitness and his comfort level.  If it's low, go into your player defending him, and set it to mark tighter and tackle harder.  Often times you can force the opposition into a mistake.  

Oddly enough, as direct a passing team as we are, I still have a possession advantage in most of my games....

Thanks for looking!

 

Jellico37

 

Edited by Jellico73

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Keep going. Those subs must be a nightmare

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4 hours ago, Deisler26 said:

Keep going. Those subs must be a nightmare

Not a nightmare, just a problem to solve.  A nightmare would be not having anyone on the bench to sub in, and I've been there before!

Thanks for reading,

Jellico73

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"Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs"

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Well, the next six games sort of went how i expected, just not in the order I expected them too, and I have noone to blame but myself for that.

 

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  The first goal came from a lovely assist by Tchokounte, 

Thomas De Paremtier was a man who would not be denied when playing against ASM Belfort.  A Hat Trick, and he would have had two more if not for the woodwork hits, one of which I am positive left a dent.  The first goal came off a lovely assist by Tchokounte, the second came when Muraglia intercepted a defensive rebound and hit him with a cross in stride as he cut through the defenders,   ASM Belfort scored on a great header by Regnier, from an equally brilliant cross made by Cuskic off the counterattack.  The third goal came when Tchokounte bombed a kick from the left edge of the midline to the opposite side corner of the box, De Paremtier footing it in stride and scorching it past a hard charging goal keeper.  The game was never really in doubt after the half, Belfort tried fouling their way to success in the second half, picking up 15 of the 20 fouls then.

Until the 79th minute, CS Sedan Ardennes was a loss.  Ardennes Winger Ange-Freddy Plumain struck in the 27th minute, and then they held on.  We were in poor form, four yellows by the 79th minutes, when Steeve lofted a cross from the right corner to a hard charging Rocchi, who headed it in.  I was OK with a draw, in fact I changed my tactic to Defend and pulled the line back, when after a questionable tackle by M'barga just outside out box allowed Boudad to tap it to De Parmentier, who then ran with the ball nearly 60 yards down the right flank, where he flat out deked a charging defensemen, then whipped a cross past two other defenders to Tchokoube, who volleyed it in past the diving goalkeeper on the near post.  Snatching Victory from a Draw we did.  And the penalty was questionable, I had 14 fouls and 5 yellow cards then, including M'Barga who had just been booked three minutes before this tackle.  I thought for sure he was going to be sent off.

The next two games I have noone to blame but myself.  In fact, I overthought things so much I ended up making the wrong decision.  You'll notice I played US Concarneau on the 6th in a League game, and then on the 9th I played US Mesnil/Franqueville on the 9th in the Fifth Round Coupe Game.  I want to do well in the Coupe, and despite Mesnil being a lower league Amateur team, I wanted to make sure I won (Having beaten Newcastle outright and losing the as League Two Mansfield in the Checkatrade, I know upsets can happen.)  So, against all valid argument and reasoning, I played a very rotated side against then 3rd in the Table US Concarneu.  Using mostly players whose playing time has been minimal and whose match sharpness is subpar, I had a plan.  And of course, so did Custer.  I'd like to say my plan met with more success than Custer's, but then that's just quibbling.  I played a defensive 4-3-3 in structured, sat the line back, went to counter, dribble more, keep possession, and it was going well, Concarneau was moving the ball up, but we were clearing it away.  In the 35th minute Concarneau lofted a free kick into the box, and Killian Valderrama (wearing the C for the game) jumped up and headed it away, and on the way down brushed against Concarneaus Captain, Guillaume Jannez.  Jannez promptly fell down, looked like he was having a seizure, and the penalty was called.  Jean-Phillipe Belet literally charged the ref he was so mad, only Valderrama intercepting him before he touched the ref stopped the situation from becoming worse.  Concarneu banged the penalty home, then parked their own bus.  My teams youth and inexperience came to the fore, as we had numerous fouls, and then as I went on the attack in the 70th minute, things were getting better, with several shots on goal being made.  Then, inexplicably, Said Ait Bahi took a running start and from the back slid at least ten yards into a Concarneu player at the midfield.  Red Card was never in dount, and now we were a man down.  A weak attempt easily saved by Concarneau in the 91st minute was our last chance, and we lost.

 If there is an upside to this, it's that we completely owned US Mesnil.  24 to 5 in shots on goal, 8 to 1 on Target, 55/45 in possession.  Mesnil scored a nifty goal in the 89th, but I put my foot on the gas and never lifted it, and the game itself was never in doubt.  Hindsight being 20/20, I should have started my regulars against Concarneau and my rotated squad in the Cup.  Might have won both games then...

Next up was US Avranches, who have been at or near top of the table since the season started.  This game was, at best, apathetic for both sides.  A deep ball to Tchokounte allowed him to pass it to Rocchi, who whipped a cross right in front of the Avranches goalkeeper to Boudad, who volleyed it in at an angle I am not sure is mathematically possible.  Avranches equalized four minutes later on a nice header, and the rest of the game neither side was really interested in scoring.  Avranches woke up in the 88th minutes, but Bouet was on his game and stopped everything that came his way.

So, where do we stand?

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Still top of the table, at 8W, 2D, 1L.  Concarneau are 3 points back, thanks to my help. Creteil are making a move, and Paris FC is two games behind everyone else, so they can move up quickly too.  I fear Le Berrichone may have to resort to animal sacrifices to get any sort of movement out of the relegation zone.

The next six games will go a long way in letting us know where we stand.  

Against All Odds, I out thought myself and lost a game.  My wife said she could hear the gears grinding.

Thanks for reading and following, and be sure to nominate Guillame Jannez in the 'Best Actor' category on your 2017 Cesar Award Ballots.  He should win hands down.

 

Jellico73 (who saw better acting at his sons Cub Scout Campfire skit....I'm just saying.....)

 

 

 

Edited by Jellico73

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"Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs"

TjN792P.jpg

 

This is that time of year when the stress levels start to rise.  Midway through the season, club is doing well, but there are cracks starting to show.  Can we keep it together?
 

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We've been lucky, that's for sure.  And there have been some strange things going on...strange things.

We did well against Quevilly Rouen Metropole.  Tchokounte toed a moon shot over the defensive line, and Djibi Banor volleyed it so hard of his right foot my laptop shook.  Quevilly equalized in the 33rd minute, Bouet blocked the header of a corner kick, but the rebound landed right in front of Guezoui, who just had to tap it in.  On the ensuing kickoff Muraglia skied a ball towards the corner of the box, De Parmentier headed it to Tchokounte, who volleyed it near post.

Then I saw something, I swear I had to stop the game and replay it agains just to make sure it happened.

In the 41st Minute, Quevilly's DM Stanislas Olivera triiped Tchokounte and was given a yellow.  On the ensuing free kick, Fachan tapped the ball to Banor, who then tapped a pass towards the Tchoukounte.  A second after the pass, Olivera comes in and trips Banor.  Full on kicks Banors feet out.  In 3-D it looks like something out of the old Hanna-Barbara cartoons, Banor kicks the ball, a second later Olivera is there, then you see Banors legs flying in the air as he faceplants the turf.  Two yellow cards, in less than a minute.  Olivera must have really wanted the rest of the day off.

 

The score doesn't reflect it, but from the opening whistle to the end we bossed USBCO.  16 shots to 5, 6 On Target to 1, 57/43 possession advantage.  USBCO's Camara misplayed a header at midfield, allowing Muraglia to boom a kick over the defense to Tchokounte, who dribbled it thru the box and tapped it in far post.  Alexis Araujo, our promising loan player, is back from injury, and missed a penalty in the 78th, but he shouldn't have.  The Ball boomed of the keeps chest, landed between them, and for what seemed like ten seconds they both started at it, until a USBCO player streaked in and kicked it away.  

 

I'm still trying to explain the performance against Group Sportif Consolat.  GSC's Frank Madou scored and a nice header in the 21st minute.  in the 67th minute Bouet skied a kick from the edge of the box to De Parmentier, who was running towards the left corner of GSC's box.  Amri missed the defensive header, allowing De Parmentier to gather the ball, take it to the line, and cross it to Boudad, who rifled a kick in off the bounce.  The shoe would have gone in, but deflected of GSC's Nicodeme, so it counted as an own goal.  The rest of the match was pretty listless and uninspiring.  Jeremy Huysman, channeling his inner Olivera, received two yellows in the space of 5 minutes and was sent off in the 80th minute.  I think my excuse for this game is going to be the kit GSC wore.  

RUOIlYN.jpg

 

That green yellow combination left an afterimage on my retinas I am still seeing, even with my eyes closed.  I can only imagine my players reacted the same way.  But it was a good opportunity to see if anyone on the pitch was green/yellow colorblind.  Wow....

 

SAS Epinal scored in the 27th minute, Sahki being the third player to volley/header the ball in front of the net, but scoring.  Epinal then sat on everything.  We had 29 fouls this game, but only one yellow card.  I had started a few players who weren't entirely match fit, and had used my three sub byt the 65th minute.  De Parementier scored the equalizer in the 72nd minute, redirecting s Fachan whipped cross into the near post from just outside the 6 yard box.  We were charging again, when Fachan decided a two foot lunge was the best way to dispossess an Epinal player, and he was sent of in the 81st minute, and the game ended in a draw.  Again, we dominated in match stats.  And again, that didn't matter.

Things got better quickly in our Seventh Round Coupe de France game against AS Ornans, a semi-pro team in the CFA 2 League.  Rocchi had a Hat Trick in 38 minutes, Fachan and Tchokounte also scoring in a game we handled quite well.  Ornans could not muster much in the way to stop us.\

The first half of the Lyons-Ducherre match was a total snoozefest, no highlights at all.  The second half more than made up for it.  Oko scored on a fine header in the 50th.  Banor skipped his shot past 5 players and a defending Goal Keeper, then Fachan scored off a nicely set up corner cross in the 82nd minute.  They got a goal in the 91st minute, useless at the end of the days for them.  To his credit, Boeut was hacked at losing the game afterwards.  In other game news, Said Ait Bahi, one of our defensive stalwarts, tore his groin muscle, and is out for the next 3 months.

And then after the match ends Dmitiri Boudaud asks to meet with me and declares he's achieved all he can at this level, move him or else.  So I start to list him, and get no offers, and he's upset?  I did all I could, its not my fault other teams dont want you.  I offered him a chance to coach, but he's not ready to retire he says.  

AS Beziers had the better of us stats wise, except in fouls, where we had 28.  And thats after I took off the tight marking and closing everyone down.  De Parmentier scored a fine goal off a Muraglia pass that split the defense, and Bouet stepped up big when he blocked a penalty shot in the 81st minute.

 

So, the season is nearly half over.  Le Berrichonne fired their coach after the last match, and both Paris FC an Creteil are chargin up the table.  I suspect we would be the story of the year if US Avranches,  picked to finish 11th, was not challenging for the top.  We are only 4 points ahead of them, but if they stay in their current form, they will be in the fight.  I didn't plan on challenging for Promotion this year, but now I want it.  As long as the injuries don't get worse, and team chemistry is upset by others, I have a shot.

 

Against All Odds, I haven't bottled this.  Yet

 

Thanks for Reading and Following,

 

Jellico73

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Well, maybe I spoke too soon.  This just happened, the the very next match.

 

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Injured, in the 92nd minute of a 93 minute game.

After scoring two goals.  He's been my second best player this year, 11 goals, 8 assists, 7.26 average rating.  

Bevic Moussiti Oto is a capable backup, now he needs to step up.  Because my only other option is a 37 year old striker who started the season at 3 stars and is now 1 1/2.

 

And the odds just got greater,

 

Jellico73

Edited by Jellico73

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Well...

 

So, I'm picking up the save this afternoon, and it won't load.  There's some sort of error in it, that crashed everytime I try and start it.

So I have by V2 save, which is saved right before the FC Dieppe game in which Tchokounte gets injured....I don't have my editor enabled, and while part of me says I should sit Tchokounte for the ten weeks because of the injury, the squad disharmony and like resulting from sitting your best player for "Reasons....", I'm going to have to play as if the first FC Dieppe game didn't happen.

So, on one hand I dodged a sizable bullet. Which means there's a trainload of Karma headed my way.

Jellico73

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"Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs"

TjN792P.jpg

 

 

 

To quote a somewhat famous Philosopher "Karma, tu es une chienne sans couer."

Despite our best efforts, we're still top of the table.  But we really shouldn't be.

 

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FC Dieppe, A CFA B Team, took us to penalties.  Dieppe scored in the 51st Minute on a nice pass, and Rochi tied the game in the 81st minute.  In the 1st minute of overtime, Dieppe scored on a penalty kick from 5 yards outside the box.  I salvaged a tie by using what I call "l'evier de le cuisine."

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I set this up in the tactics screen in the 100th minute, in the 102nd minute I clicked submit, put the team on overload, gave an assertive "PUSH FORWARD" touchline talk, and in the 103rd minute was a red wave (Away Kits) running up the field.  I swear, the game literally paused and blinked, then started again, and in the 104th minute, Tchokounte tied it again with a volley off a nifty cross from Tchouatcha.  I cannot say that five times fast, can you?  Bouet was a hero in the penalty kicks phase, blocking two shots and securing the win.

Chambly-Oise completely bossed us, yet we managed to take a 0-0 draw into extra time.  Four Minutes of Extra time.  In the 93rd minute, Tchoukounte headed in what I thought was the winner.  Less than a minute left on the clock.  Ensuing kickoff starts at 93:22, Benmeziane hits it to Padovani, who taps it back to Rocher at 93:26, who kicks forward about 20 yards to Santelli at 93:28.  Santelli passes the ball to Doucoure at 93:30, who toes it over the head of Cvitkovic (who was moving forward for reasons only God Knows), to Benmeziane, who volleys it off the bounce past a diving Bouet into the far post at 93:33.  

11 Seconds.  I cursed so loud my wife came in and gave me the evilist of eyes because not only did my kids hear it, but so did the neighbor kids who were playing outside.  And I didn't say "Fudge"....

Oh, and Karma called:

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My fine AM(L), 8 goals, 3 assists, 3 POM's when this happened.

Next came Paris FC, who are charging up the table.  FC's Camara scored in the 33rd minute, and in the 55th minute De Parmentier managed not only to equalize, but to twist his ankle while kicking the goal.  
Paris took the lead in the 76th minute, but at this point i believe I was still in shock from the Chambly game and failed to make any adjustments, and we lost 2-1.  Oh Yeah...Karma came by again for a quick visit.

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Entente Sportive Viry - Chatillon are a CFA B squad that hung in and kept fighting.  Tchokounte scored in the 65th minute, and the last ten minutes saw Bouet and the defense turn back at least 5 attempts.  We were lucky to get out of there with the 1-0 win.

After Rocchi's 26th minute goal against Vendee Herbier, my teams give a damn done broke.  Lifeless, listless, mistake prone, and a solid effort by my DC's and Bouet kept us in the lead, but if you bang and a wall enough times, it will break, and Vendee equalized in the 83rd minute on a nice goal by Bonnet.  I ripped into the team with the the team talk and individually, to the point the next day team captain Stjepan Cvitkovic gave me the french version of "Jeez Ward, you may have been a bit harsh on the Beaver last night..." speech.  To which I typed in "You guys throw away another game I'll bench youu all and start the youth the rest of the season." which, oddly enough, the game did not display.  

We fell back to 2nd in the League after this tie, 1 point down to Avranches.

Oh, and Karma came knocking again:

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Before the Le Berrichonne match Melvin Renquin came and asked for playing time.  He's on my youth squad, an AM(C) with 1 1/2 current and 3 1/2 potential that I just have not found a way to get playing time.  But I figure Le Berrichonne are bottom of the table, and I'm getting a bit thin and some guys could use a rest, so why not?  And he rewarded me with a fine goal in the 25th minute, after Berichonne had scored first in the 11th minute.  Jason Gibon, a recent FA acquisition I brought on for depth purposes, scored in his debut game with a hard strike in the 47th minute, and Alexis Araujo, coming back from injury, finished the trifecta of goals with another haqrd shot in the 50th minute.  Berrichonne's Tounkara scored in the 85th minute, then banged one of the crossbar about ten seconds before time expired.  Avranches ties in their match, and we took possession of 1st place again.

Things appeared to be going well against US Creteil, when Rocchi, back from injury, blasted one past the goalkeeper in the 2nd minute.  That was the highpoint of the match for us.  22 fouls and 88 minutes later, Creteil had equalized in the 19th minute, and then went ahaead in the 50th.  Our one saving grace has been Avranches has also stumbled too, and we remain 1 point ahead of them at the top of the table:

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US Creteil-Lusitanos is making a move, at 36 points they are tied for 3rd, and there's 13 games left.  

Oh, I I didn't look at the date, and realized as I was checking out the scores and prozone data from my Creteil game on 1/28 I play AS Beziers in the 10th round of the Coupe de France on the 31st, now with a tired squad.

I'm not invested in the Coupe, but they are a league opponent, and I would like to beat them.

Against All Odds, I haven't bottled it, but there's still 13 games left.  

 

Thanks for reading and following!

 

Jellico73

Edited by Jellico73

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Oh, I forgot to mention, after beating FC Dieppe I got a new contract.

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Somehow I suspect had they waited after I had gone 2-2-2, the pay wouldn't be as high.

Jellico73

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"Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs"

TjN792P.jpg

 

The last few weeks of game time have been...whats the French word for Brutal?  Oh, it's Brutal

4ifIT6Y.jpg

Our Coupe match was against AS Beziers did not start out well.  Atassi scored in the 2nd minute, Faranbe scored in the 47th minute, tthis after I riped the team at half time and they all reacted positively.  I must have made a touchline talk every three minutes, but something clicked.  M'Barga scored in the 54th, and a surefire Tchokounte goal was slightly misdirected by Beziers own Gavory for an own goal, and we tied.  And I was thinking I could live with a tie, then realized its a Coupe game, extra time.  And I yelled some more.  And my boys went out and ripped off three goals, M'Barga in the 95th, Gibon in the 96th, and De Parmentier in the 101st.

It may well be the high water mark for the season.

We followed that up with a nice 3-2 win against CA Bastia.  De Parmentier scored off a nice cross (apparently my team scores so many goals off the cross the National Press has noticed) in the 2nd minuted, and Bastia's own Le Picard scored an own goal off a particularly horrible header that was so bad, Jean Luc Picard gave it two hands to the head.

Jeremy Huysman scored in the 40th minute, and I "Stationne Le Bus", so much so 15 of the 21 Bastia fouls cam in the 2nd half.  Bastia scored a meaningless goal in the 92nd minute, a nice shot past a diving Bouet.

Although the stats are very similar, ASM Belfort were clearly the better team.  Thomas Regnier scored a brace of goals for Belfort, one in the 19th and the second in the 28th minute.  De Parmentier put us on the board in the 48th minute with a strong shot, but Belforts N'Diaye put it away in the 68th minute with a nice header.  An Arisi own goal in the 80th minute was no help for us, and we not only lost the game 3-2, we went down to second place, based on record.

Of a deeper concern is that many of my defensive players are now in Yellow Card trouble.  In the CFN, if you get a one match suspension for every three yellow cards, but only yellow cards from the last three months are used.  So, get a yellow card in January, March and April, you are fine.  Get a yellow card in January and two in March, you miss a game.  Huysman, and Ait-Bahi were booked this game, and they had to miss the next game as a result.

I didn't realize it until the press brought it to my attention, but USBCO's head coach is Didier Santini.  Who's he?  Well, he's only the former coach of USL Dunkerque, the man I replaced.  Revenge Match?  Maybe.  This was a counterpunching game, and they got the last one in.  Deparmentier scored for Les Beus in the 11th, Hebras countered for USBCO in the 18th.  Tamboura scorched one past Bouet in the 40th, Oko equalized for us in the 43, then Hebras hit the winning goal in the 61st minute.  A tough match from start to finish.  Avranches won, pulling ahead.

CS Sedan Ardennes was still wearing those hideous green uniforms.  I started the game and walked away, even in 2d they left spots.  The first half was a big bucket full of "meh", noone really tried to do much of anything.

Jean-Jacques Rocchi scored off, what else, a cross on the 73rd, Gaetano Muraglia added a 2nd point in the 80th minute.

CS Sedan's own Kante was booked in the 81st minute after giving up Muraglias goal, and was sent off for a second yellow in the 92nd minute.  Maybe he was upset his team was losing, I maintain he wanted to get out of his jersey faster than anyone else on his team.

However, Avranches lost, and a win put us withing striking range of taking first.  

Our Coupe run came to and end against Valenciennes FC, a Ligue 2 team that's bigger, stronger and faster than us.  That scored first, a nifty Butin goal in the 7th minute.  Tchokounte evened things up for us in the 19th minuted, and we went into half with a 1-1 tie, and I'm thinking I have a chance.  That ended quickly, as De Costa scored in the 49th and 57th minute, Fulgini socred in the 54th minute, and Butin scored his 2nd goal in the 67th minute.  We fought back, De parmentier scoring in the 55th minute and Reinette in the 80th, but two goals in ten minutes was asking too much, and we bowed out of the Coupe with a 5-3 loss.

US Concarneau were 3rd when out match started, but a lackluster perfomrance by both sides saw the game end in a 0-0 tie.  I had more yellows than I did shots on Target, and now have three players missing my next match, which I can not afford to lose.

As you can see in the screenshot below, I'm definitely avoiding relegation.  But, having been in or at the top of the table for so long I want that promotion, I want it bad enough to taste it.

And I'm not really a fan of French Cuisine.

wDznVsO.jpg

Four teams (and maybe up to six) fighting for three spots.  8 games left, I figure 16 points in 8 games will either secure me a win or a chance to play for promotion.  But we're tied, our ranks are thin, and accruing yellow cards are taking away some of my best defenders.  I can't change my style of play, it's what got me here in the first place.  

Our next game is going to make or break our season I think.  1st place Avranches awaits us.

Against All Odds, can we hold on?

 

Thanks for Reading and following!

 

Jellico 73

 

 

 

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"Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs"

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With 8 games left, I figured I would need 16 points to stay in the top 3.

How did we do?

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With a game to go, we clinched the Championnat National.

I was aiming for a mid table finish, considering the strength of some of the other teams out there, but once mid season came around and I held onto first place, I didn't want to give it up.  We cam close to throwing it away, but in the 8, the last 8 games went very well for us:

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Avranches was a game for top of the table position, and on a gusty day at Stade Marcel Tribut, we pulled a 2-1 victory.  Tchokounte scored a goal in the 10th minute, and De Parmentier, whose been the rock of the team this season, scored in the 60th.  Mayulu scored for Avranches in the 87th minute oin a penalty, but the game was an equal maych, we just hit 2 of our shots.

 

The game against Quevilly Rouen Metropole was a 0-0 draw, and it shouldn't have been.  Quevilly's Rogie was sent off in the 6th minute for a particularly bad lunge, and we could not capitalize.  They out shot us 12/8, and had the possession advantage.  We committed 23 fouls, and I had 4 players booked.  We tried very hard to lose this game, believe me.  A draw was a miracle.

SAS Epinal fought until the end.  Epinals Gbegnon own goal put them behind in the 27th minute, but they equalized in the 61st minute, a De Parementier goal off a (what else) Tchoukounte whipped cross put us ahead.  And I had 3 more players booked, two of whom missed the next match.

The game against Lyon-Duchere AS was frustrating to say the least.  With 20 minutes left in the game, we were ahead 2-0, with goals by Tchokounte and Rocchi putting us ahead.  I went defensive on my tactic and tried to slow the game down.  Instead Lyon scored 2 goals, one in the 71st minute by Atik, the equalizer in the 82nd minute by Tuta.  And I had 5 players booked.  Maybe it's a late season thing, but man, I haven't seen this much yellow since my nieces Cotillion Dance.

I'll be honest, I left the Groupe Sportif Consolat match to my assistant coach.  I just cannot stand those uniforms.  I clicked start and walked away, and came bac a few minutes later to a 3-2 Victory.  De Parmentier scored in the 13th minute, Rocchi in the 32nd, and Banor in the 36th minute.  Sportif had made a game of it early, a Sergio goal in the 3rd minute putting them ahead, but the only other goal they scored was a Niangbo shot in the 55th minute.  Oddly enough, no Yellow Cards for my team here today....hrm....

Our game against AS Beziers was a rainy affair, and the home team came out in a listless fashion.  A Tchokounte goal in the 40th minute put us ahead, and Rocchi added another goal in the 62nd minute, securing the 2-0 win for us.,  I managed this game, and had 4 more Yellow Cards....I'm sensing a trend here.

Five minutes into our game against Chambly-Oise and I was expecting us to run away with it.  Tchokounte scored in the 1st minute, in the first five minutes we had six shots on goal, four of which were on target.  85 minutes 6 Yellows Cards (!) later, we eked out a 2-0 win, and Araujo put back giving us some insurance.  Winning this game is what gave us the trophy.

Our final game against Pau was anti climatic.  With the season in hand I started a very rotated squad.  Jeremey Blaizel, a young AM(R) who will not be here next season, scored in the 76th minute, and that proved to be the winner.

 

The fight for the final two spots was the talk of the league.  In their last 16 games, US Creteil went 11 wins, 2 drawsm and 3 losses.  For a week they were top of the table, and beating Avranches 1-0 with three weeks left put them in 2nd place.  If I had stumbled at all, they could have taken the top spot.

Avranches were the talk of the League all year, or they should have been.  Predicted to finish 11th, they charged to the top of the table, always a spot or two behind us, and a couple of times tying us or sneaking ahead for a week.  The last 10 weeks of the season they fell off the cliff, Winning 1, drawing 2, and losing 7.  Their last six games they went winless (2 draws and 4 losses) and didn not score any goals.  Their one tie was the result of a Le Berrichone og.  They are in 3rd place, and playing Stade Lavellois MFC in the Playoff.  Win and they are in Ligue 2, lose and they stay in the CFN.

 

Against All Odds, we did it.

 

Now, can we stay up?

 

Thanks for reading and following!

 

Jellico73

 

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Some other news and notes from the season.

4ucyoK0.jpg

 

This was my primary tactic and lineup throughout the season, I used it during 30 of my 34 games.  When I felt the need to go a bit more defensive, I'd pull Araujo out and replace him with whichever DM hadn't started the game, and played a 4-3-3.

Team MVP is, hands down, Thomas De Parmentier.  I didn't realize the skin I am using shows hidden attributes...frack me, may have to change that next season.  17 goals, 17 assists, 8 POMS, 7.36 rating, he did it all for us the season, and was the lynchpin of the offense.  

Malik Tchokounte had a great season as well, 17 Goals, 10 Assists, 3 POM and a  7.17 Average Rating, and that's having missed 6 weeks worth of games as well.  

Our unsung hero of the year without a doubt, is Jean-Cristophe Bouet.  Of the 41 CNF and Coupe games we played this season, Boeut started 40 of them.  45 goals allowed, 13 shutouts, 66 Saves held, 1 POM and a 6.84 Rating, the 33 year old was brilliant we he had to be, and steady always.  And he proved to be an inspired tutor for our younger goalkeepers as well.

12 goals, 10 assists, 4 POM and a 7.12 rating would be tops for many teams in the CNF.  For Jean-Jacques Rocchi, thats good enough for 3rd best on Les Bleus et Blancs.  More often than not, it was a Rochi pass that started the De Parmentier of Tchokounte cross that ended in a goal, and he was a steadying presence throughout the season.

I had planned on using Alexis Araujo as a rotation player and spot starter, but when Rocchi took the AM(L) job as his own, I began to rotate him with with my starting AM(C), Boudad,  After Boudad stormed into my office and demanded a transfer to a better club because he felt he wasn't appreciated at Dunkerque, Araujo began to start some more.  When I placed Boudad on transfer for €0 and noone bit, and he stormed into my office and blamed me for not transferring him, Boudad found himself on the reserves and Araujo was starting most of the games he was available for.  Tutoring helped his composure, training helped him learn how to place shots.  He has a future, but not with us, LOSC wanted €3.1 million euros for him.  I'm going to try and get him on loan again.

 

My youth intake, in the immortal words of Bart Simpson, both "Sucked and Blows."

AbJ0kyN.jpg

 

My youth game ended in a 0-0 draw.  I didn't keep any of these players, Langlois has some good numbers in the areas I like, but everything else about him was a 2 or 3, and thats just not going to cut it for me.

 

So, hows next season looking?

Whats the French word fro Grim?  Oh, it's Grim.

 

I have an older more experienced squad, All of my 3 1/2 star plus players are 28 or older.  45 of my 5 3 star players are 25 or older.  I have some very exciting younger players, Oko, Valderrama, Renquin, Demory, but if I am going to stay up, I need to hit the transfer market right, and have my youth players develop and prosper.  And how did my under 19 Team do this season?  Bottom of the table.  3 wins, 5 draws, 22 losses, and a massive goal differential in the negative 40's.  in 1 Four game stretch they lost to the Stade Brestois, Red Star FC, Stade Rennais FC and PAris Saint-Germain under 19 squads by a combined score of 22-2.  My youth players are for the most part, merde.  They aren't going to be around long.  

The club isn;t going professional.  I don't want to ask, if we stay up next season I will ask.  

Next seasons budget is very nice.  €42.22K weekly Salary,  €648K transfer salary.  The big problem is team finances are dismal.  The entire season I've stayed under wage budget, kept the staff salaries reasonable, and were losing , on average, €60K a month.  For the season were are in the red €1126258.  

Our stadium has a lot to do with that.  It's old, built in 1933.  Average condition, 4200 seating.  Now, I had toyed with the idea of asking for new youth facilities, when this message came across the inbox:

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If they can't fund a stadium expansion, they can't fund youth facilities, and I'm not going to ask them for either, I'm too afraid they will say yes and take out a loan that will saddle the team with debt.  And I don't want that.

So, it appears next year I will be white knuckling it, trying not to be relegated.  But I'll be building the team up as well, so if we are relegated, I expect to be right back as well.

 

Against All Odds, we made it.  Now we have to stay.

 

Thanks for reading,

Jellico73

Edited by Jellico73

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And no sooner did I hit "Submit" on the above, continue a day in my save, and this cropped up:

7JHBMM6.jpg

Yay(?).  I realize there are some great benefits.  I think waiting a season may have been better.  But I am relatively new to this game.

And a new contract.  Three contracts in less than a year.  They like me, they really like me.

nLNHkGT.jpg

 

You know what, lets take some of this reputation for a spin, and see what happens.

Jellico73

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8 minutes ago, Jellico73 said:

You know what, lets take some of this reputation for a spin, and see what happens.

Jellico73

Without money, reputation is nothing.

No to my request to increase scouting range, no to a senior affiliate, no to more scouts....

Le sigh.

 

Jellico73

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And the next day my scouting range is increased.

Neurotic in french is, hey look, its neurotic...

Maybe I should ask about that senior affiliate again...

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"Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs"

 

USL_Dunkerque.jpg

 

As you may have seen on my other thread, promotion was a bit unexpected.

At some point you realize you have a chnace and you want to fight for it, then you get promoted, become a professional team, get a nice salary increase and a transfer budget (which you didn't have before), and then you take look at Ligue 2 and realize, staying here is going to take some luck this year.

So, going about and laying the groundwork.  

 

Step One, cleaning up the roster a bit.

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Of the exits, all of them were barely CFN players.  I was ready to let Civkovic walk, when Slaven Bulupo came in with a 5K offer.  FOr a 35 year old D(C) with declining skills?  I'll take 5K.

Oddly enough, most of the players I let go have retired from playing, and have gone into scouting or coaching.

 

Hugo Demory I picked up on a free, then immediately transferred out, he's a potential piece for the future and there's little playing time here.

Frank M'Barga was a player I picked up on Free last season, and he was our best pickup.  He's solid, but he's not getting any better, and I am hoping to move him before the year ends, but I want to showcase him as well.  He's getting a decent amount of playing time with Avranches, who have made some noise about keeping him.  

Jean Ambrose I picked up on a free, and then sent him off to learn how to play D(R).  He's big, strong, can jump for miles, but that determination.  At 24 he's on the cusp of never improving there, but he went to Union SG as a D(C), and has turned into a respectable D(R).  At worst he's a solid back up, or I'll get some money for him.

Of the in's..well, I may have gone a bit overboard there, but I wanted a full Under 19 team, and a solid group of reserves, And I think I picked up more than a few keepers.

 

After making a run to bring Araujo wearing "Le Bleus et Blancs" full time, and after falling out of my chair when LOSC asked for 3.9 MILLION...I said "I'll take him on loan again", and they said sure.  LOSC is definitely getting a better player back.  He's been solid for me this year, when not bothered my small injuries, stat wise like many of my players the step up in competition has gotten to him.

Yoann Gustarimac was brought in, and let got not to long after.  Same with Dylan Lammonier.  N'Goma is on the Reserves, but if he sees first team time it's a sign the team has really hit the rocks.  Rosier was In and gone.  

Leroy-Jacques Mikels is one of those players that could be a huge asset in the French Leagues, he plays all 7 front field positions very well.  He's just not going to get any better. I've tried loaning him out, but noones taken a flyer on him.  

Lucas Thoor started his career at Dunkerque, but was let go by the previous staff.  I brought him back because he has young, has potential, and can play 3 positions very well.  The fans hate him, because he did nothing the first time he was with the team.

Boeut was solid for me in goals last season, but he's 34 years old, and he's getting worse.  My scouts found Ibrahima Sy, and I could not be happier.  He's an excellent sweeper keeper, solid physicals, better than average goalkeeping skills, and a 15 Determination.  And he and Bouet are getting along like gas and flame tutoring wise.  He's missed part of the season with a broken arm, and he's had some off games, but he started the season at 2 1/2 starts, after 13 appeareappearancestarts , and getting better.  

Francis Onwuzo.  Young, German.  Going to be a solid backup in 5 different positions.  

Johnathon Isambart was brought in for two reasons.  First was organizational depth.  Second was to bring him in on a 2 year contract, and sell him after year one if I could find another capable AM(C).  I got him for free, if I can get him for half his current value, or even a third, I'm ahead, and I'm ok with that.

Gijs Brouwers is a young Belgian with loads of potential, but if his determination doesn't get better he'll be a carrier backup for us.  Allan Boubadier is a promising young striker, who if I could get loaned, could be an even better promising young striker.  

I was worried about what to do with my AM(C) worries if I couldn't Araujo of his early season injury bug, and my scouts said "No worries, we have Ahmed Al-Sadi, from the ASPIRE Academy of Sports Excellence in Qatar."

I didn't think I was scouting Qatar, but he's certainly solved my depth issues on the Attacking mid line.

I'd be happier about Nicolas Icardi if his Determination was higher.  He's got a load of potential, but that red number just glares at me everytime I see it.

 

So, I have one overriding goal this season:  AVOID relegation.  And thus far I've played to the winter break.  So how has it gone?

We started off well.

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Avranches came up with us from the CFN last year.  Talent wise, their squad is very much out equal, but first game of the season, Tchokounte picked up where he left off, scoring two goals.  Rocchi also has a nice goal.

Stade Brestois 29 was our first big test.  They are supposed to be in the promotion fight, Edouard scored on a mistake by my Defensive Line, but we held our own with the Le Brestois.

ESTAC Troyes are 2 seasons removed from Ligue 1 play, and I don't think they took us seriously until it was too late.  Banor scored in the 6th, Araujo in the 35th, being 2-0 up at half was daunting to say the least.  Rocchi goals was a dribbler the Troyes goalie just whiffed on, Huysmans came of a De Paremtier cross from a corner kick.  D Troyes essentially gave up after that, with a player getting sent of in the 88th minute for a second yellow.  Stats wise we just owned Troyes, 23/11 is Shots, 9/2 in Shots on Target, 53% possession advantage.  

Valenciennes came in 3-0 top table leaders.  We punched them in the face, De Parmentier scoring in the 5th minute, a header off a lovely cross from Rocchi on the counterattack, Banor scored on a strike from 30 plus yards out that I'm sure would have broken the sound barrier had it traveled farther, Araujo scored 6 minutes later, running between three defenders, grabbing the Tchokounte pass and dekeing the goalie out of his cleats from ten yards out.  Tchokounte scored in the 40th on a nice near post strike.  Valencieness managed a goal in the 26th minute on a strike eerily similar to Banor's in distance and speed.  Going into half with a 3 goal lead I was expecting Valenciennes to come out fast and furious, instead they sat back in a deep 4-4-2, and we left with a nice 4-1 wine.

Stade Malherbe Caen has one of the cooler logos I've seen in FM.  Picked to finsih 2nd, they are one of the leagues strongest teams, and we should have beat them handily.  20 shoats against 8, 56% possession advantage.  We had a 1-0 lead going into the last quarter of the game, of a nice Tchokounte header in the 44th minute, However, in the 61st minute Caens' Ivan Santini had a run down the right side that was Messi-esque in the way he avoided five of my players, split two defenders at the top of the box with the dribble, and then tapped a soft cross to Arnaud Souquet, who sent it home top corner.  Caen was lucky to escape with a tie, and I'm reasonably sure they knew it.

So, Five games in were 3-1-1.  Maybe Ligue 2 isn't as hard as it appears?

 

Against All Odds, we're doing pretty darned good.

 

Jellico73

Edited by Jellico73

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"Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs"

USL_Dunkerque.jpg

 

 

Yeah, Ligue 2 isn't as hard as it appears.

It's harder.

 

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FCSM, FC Sochaux-Montbeliard, didn't take us seriously the first half.  When Gaetano Muraglia scored for us in the 42nd minute, it didn't just wake FCSM up, it woke them up mad. Yelling was heard from their team room at the half:
"Nous ne serons pas défaits par quelques canaux de canaux de renouveau en Coupe de Ligue deuxième tour!"  head coach Jan Ceuleman was heard yelling.  FCSM came out all cylinders firing.  Talented TM Steve Mounie, scored 3 goals in 14 minutes, and Thuram's goal in the 90th minute was more of a "Go away you little CNF" team slap in the face than anything else IMO.  

Four weeks after their 4-0 pasting, Troyes came back with revenge on their minds.  6 minutes into the game Dennis Van Vaerenbergh had scored 2 goals, and they would have had three more if not for the defensive abilities of our left crossbar.  That thing was solid throughout the game.  Troyes just owned us.  We had our chances, but couldn't make anything of them.

In the immortal words of Bart J Simpson, the Fédération Française de Football (hereafter known as 'Ces autres bâtards parisiens') rules on reserves and substitutions "Suck and Blow".  Five Reserves, can only use three.  Do you keep a goalie on the bench?  Do you risk it?  

8 minutes into our game against AC Ajaccio Ibrahima Sy broke his arm, and I didn't have a goalie on the bench.  Steeve Reinette went from D(C) to Goal, and I parked the bus.  Ajaccio scored in the 18th minute, a fine goal by Videmont, Tchokounte equalized two minutes later, and we went into the half 1-1. Ajaccio's better atheletes ran us into the ground in the 2nd half.  Fikeche with two goals, Madri and Bannaser with a single goal a piece.  Stats wise it looks to be a close game, 13/10 Shot in favor of Ajaccio, 6/4 On target in favor of Ajaccio, we had the possesion advantage 53/47.  But in this case, the numbers don't tell the whole truth.

Havre Athletic Club put more shots on target tha we did, and two of them were fine goals by Geoffrey Malfleury.  Boeut made a couple of great saves as well, but try as we might, we could not get anything going.

US Orleans Lorient, if you believe the media, are a relegation team.  They've been boncing back and forthe between the CFN and Ligue 2 almost 6 years now, I suspect if I were to break out the editor and take a peek, we'd be equal in most areas.  They fought hard though, the numbers were equal in all areas but one, we out fouled them 15/11.  Oh, and we had 5 yellows to their 3.  Isambart got the scoring off with strike from just outside the top middle of the box, set up by a deft backheel pass from Onwuzo.  Orleans equaled in the 54th minute, a nice header off a free kick by Belkalem.  Araujo and Rocchi both bounced shots of the Orleans goal in the last three minutes of the game, but we had to settle for the draw.

We played Creteil next, and I was expecting a grind of a game.  I got one, and also got 5 more yellow cards as well.  Reinette scored a 41st minute goal when Creteil sent six men to guard my 3 forward midfielders.  You could tell it had been awhile since he had scored (almost 5 years), he was wide open, noone but the goalie within 15 yards, and he stopped his dribble to set the ball up and drive it home far post.  If he had missed I think he would have died of embarrassment.  Youseffe Niakate equalized in the 55th minute, and the rest of the game was essentially both sides daring the other to advance the ball past midfield.

Nimes Olympic came out of the gate looking for a footrace, and 45 minutes later when the game was 1-1, they realized we could keep up with them, especially with Bouet performing very well in goal, most of their 2nd half shots were well outside the box.  They had 4 on target going into the game, and 5 when it ended.  

AJ Auxerre started the game by punching us in the face.  Not literally, but 9 minutes in their young backup Striker Florian Aye had scored 2 goals.  De Parmentier got one back in the 15th, and an own goal by Auxerres Boucher (which would have been an Isambart goal anyways IMO), equalized the score.  Aye got his hat trick in the 43rd minute, a series of beautiful passes led to an easy far post tap in.  Auxerre parked the bus in the second half, and we took it to them, but couldn't break thru.  End of the game stats were 20/6 our favor in shots, with 10 on target, 5 clear cut chances and 4 half chances, and the possession advantage.  We fought to the end, just fell a little short.

Going 0-3-5 in our last 8 games looked to be disheartening, but there were a couple of things in our favor.  One is that the league is very equal in strength after the top three teams are removed.  As I type this we are 20 games into the season, and the difference between 9th and 17th place is 6 points.  The other is, I believe, my squad makeup.  Growing up in the environment I did, you hear stories of soldiers and sailors who never gave up.  (As an example, check out Alexey Maresyev.  He puts regular hardcore Russians to shame IMO, and that's saying something).  I prize high determination players.  In fact I make it a point (usually) that when I send out a scout, anything less than a 12 I don't want to know about.  I had a Striker in a regen save I was playing, was a great Complete forward except for one thing, his determination was a 1.  The first season I played with him his stats were OK, but the 2nnd season I noticed a trend.  When we scored first, or came back to equalize the game), he played better.  When we were down, he didn't.  His scores that season ranged from 5.9 to 8.8.  I thought it was something I was doing, because I was very new to the game then, but the more I read the more I realized this player could not handle adversity whatsoever.  And the more I started tracking my other players, I noticed the same thing.  So, for my money's worth, I'll always take a lesser skilled player with a better than average adversity, because I know in the long run I'll get more out of him.  My teams average Determination is a little down this year because of a few new signees, but my starters and bench players Average is 12.3  Which means they will keep fighting until they are down, then they'll fight harder.

That said, I wanted to prove to the guys they still had it, and they responded by scoring 9 against French Regional team US Marquette.  In Friendlies 'Ces autres bâtards parisiens' say you can have 12 and play 12 on the bench, so we rotated almost the entire team at half.  Marquette came away with €2500 Euros for their pasting I think.

FCSM came in and tried to blitz us, but our defense held fast.  A mounie goal in the 15th minute was equalized by us in the 24th, Tchokounte scoring on a cross from Rocchi that was set up by a midfield bomb from Banor.  Ogier scored for FCSM in the 34th, Huysman equalized in the 55th of a set piece corner kick.  I swear FCSM went overload in the 60th minute, the last 30 minutes were a barrage of shots and long passing plays, but my guys held on, Sy in particular making several good stops by rushing out towards a charging player.

Dijon FC are midtable, but were predicted to finish 3rd.  This game was a footrace from beginning to end.  Dijon scored first, a Thiam goal in the 32nd minute, while Araujo equalized in the 70th with a fine penalty kick.  Dijon had more shots, and ultimately more on target and more half chances, but Sy and the defense held firm.  Rocchi banged one of the pole, the rebound landing right in front of a wide open De Parmentier, but the whistle blew before he could kick it.  In fact, a lot of my last few games ended with us having a chance.

Stats wise we were pretty even with RC STarsbourg Alsace, but Khalid Bouatib had a fantastic game for 'Le Racing', scoring twice, both very nice shots.  Tchokounte had us on the board first, with a strike in the 24th minute, but the defense was off its game today, with Milan and Bouatib scoring within two minutes of each other in the 2nd half.

But, at the end of it all, we were in 15th place, out of the relegation Zone.  

Against All Odds, we're still standing.

 

Jellico73

 

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"Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs"

USL_Dunkerque.jpg

 

Jonathon Isambart.  Backup Advanced Mid.  Determination 14.  

Thomas De Parmentier, Advanced Right Mid.  Determination, 13

Gaetano Muraglia, DM/M.  Determination, 14.

 

OGC Nice was predicted to finish 1st.  Remi Garde, their coach, was none to kind to me and my boys in the pregame press conference, saying we didn't belong in Ligue 2.  The first half was a back and forth affair, and we headed indoors at half time in a 0-0 tie.

In the 58th minute Nice scored when Tobias Figueirado headed in a lofted free kick.  Eleven minutes later Nice scored again when Vincent Koziello struck a fine volley off a cross.  

The commentary said it was a hole you couldn't crawl out of.

 

Jonathon Isambart.  Backup Advanced Mid.  Determination 14.  

Thomas De Parmentier, Advanced Right Mid.  Determination, 13

Gaetano Muraglia, DM/M.  Determination, 14.

 

In the 81st minute Thoor stole the ball from a lackadaisical Nice midfielder and boomed a ball that split the defensive centers.  Johnathon Isambart never broke stride, and hit home a powerful strike,

In the 83rd Minute De Parementier took the corner kick at the fattest part of the D, squared up and blitzed the ball in past 8 Nice players

In the 91st minute, De Parentier, again off the corner kick, rocketed one in that bounced of Muraglia, who was crowding the near post, and the ball went in.

Final Score, USD Dunkerque 3.  OGC Nice 2.

 

And Garde was still sour in the press conference.  

 

4/6/2018.  We see Nice again.  Relegation could be at stake.  And we are going to thump Nice.  I'm calling it now.

 

Jellico73

 

 

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"Against All Odds - Les Bleus Et Blancs"

 

USL_Dunkerque.jpg

 

And the grind continues:

25gP6Pp.jpg

As mentioned above we beat OGN Nice 3-2, and their manager could not stop complaining about it.

The next few games were rough, to say the least.  Racing Club Beat us 3-1.  De Parementier scored first, Lois Diony equalzing 13 minutes later.  In the 46th minute, right before the whistle, Cesar Zeoula hit a shot that Sy deflected, but not enough.  Diony scored again in the 66th minute, and while Rocchi and Banor both had chances near the end of the game, we could not find the back of the net, and lost 3-1.

Losing 1-0 to Amiens was rough.  After a scoreless first half, Amiens got their point off a very nice Manzala goal.  In the 59th minute Dibassy was booked on his second yellow and sent off, and even though I went to attacking, we could just not put anything together.  The boys got a right bollocking for that afterwards.

The boys responded to said bollocking by going out and losing to Chamois Niortais FC, 4-1.  Nordin scored twice, Slidja once, Agouazi once as well.  Tchokounte cleared the clean sheet in the 74th.  Camois goalie Saturnin Allagbe was an absolute hero this game.  Les Bleus had 18 shots, 12 on goal, and came away with 1.  Not our best effort.  This was also the last time I started Bouet in goal.  He was a hero for us last season, we wouldn't have been promoted without him I think, but if I am going to lose, it's going to be with a goalie who can only get better.

Red Star FC was the cure for what ailed us.  They had been struggling, and after De Parmentier scored in the 15th minuted Red Star just looked....listless.  Rocchi scored in the 24th minute, and Huysman put away the third goal in the 89th minute.  Red Star had 6 shots the entire game, and only 2 on target.  Red Star fired their coach two weeks after this game.

We exacted our revenge on Racing Club with a 2-0 win.  Bruno had an unfortunate own goal for racing, and Ahmed Al-Sadi had a very nice goal.  Racing fought until the end, we put more of our shots on target for the win.

Stade Brestois was top of the table when we faced them, and it showed.  Pinhiero scored in the 15th minute, Yann Karamoh scored in the 18th and 44th minute.  We kept fighting though.  De Parmentier score in the 74th minute, and Banor scored in the 83rd, and with 7 minutes left we were a goal down and charging.  A poor cross let Brestois go on the counterattack, and Adnane scored on a scorcher from the top of the box in the 86th minute.  Stat wise it was a close game, Stade had 22 shots to our 17, but we had more on target 11 to 9, and possession was 52 to 48 Stade.  They knew they were in a fight.

With the Christmas break upon us I didn't want the boys getting to soft and fat, so a couple of friendlies were in order.  We won both pretty handily, and it allowed me to get some playing time for most everyone on the team.  They boys were primed to start the New Year off well.

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First We stumbled out of the gate.  

Then we fell.

We were playing well, but we weren't scoring.  

Against Valenciennes we had twice as many shots, twice as many on target, a 55/45 possession advantage, and managed a draw.

Tchokounte had a hat trick in the Stade Malherbe Caen game, and luckily for us the last one came in the 85th minute, which salvaged a 3-3 draw.

ESTAC Troyes had no problems defending my new 4-1-2-3, with Raphael Caceres scoring 3 goals in the first 24 minutes.  Araujo and Tchokounte scored to make it sort of interesting, but this game was lost by the end of the first half.

Our game against AC Ajaccio was nonstop "what the Hell is going on here!?" action.  Here's the sequence of events:

De Parmentier scored in the 2nd minute, 1-0 USD

Rocchi injured in the 6th minute, replace by Al-Sadi

Banor scores in the 32nd minute, 2-0 USD

Videmont scored for Ajaccio in the 35th minute 2-1 USD

Ladislas Douniama scores in the 38th minute, 2-2 draw

Bennasser scores in the 46th minute, 2-3 Ajaccio

Toure score in the 50th minute 2-4 Ajaccio

Al-Sadi scores in the 52nd minute, 3-4 Ajaccio

Toure scores in the 57th minute 3-5 Ajaccio

Caddy scores in the 78th minute, 3-6 Ajaccio

Araujo scores in the 81st minute, 4-6 Ajaccio

Al-Sadi scores in the 88th minute, 5-6 Ajaccio

92nd minute Thoor passes to Al Sadi, who tries a midfield cross tha'ts intercepted by Hebert, who clears it right back to Al Said.  Sadi passes it to Banor, who give it straight back to Sadi as he breaks through the defensive line on the left side of the box, hits a strike past the outstretched arms of the Ajaccio goalie, and just wide.  Whistle blows.  Game ends.  I cursed, my wife came up and asked what was wrong, then walked away when I began to tell her.  I love her dearly, and she indulges my hobbies, but sometimes for her its just to much, you know?

With such a match it was inevitable the next game was going to be a let down, and Havre obliged with a 4-1 bollocking.  If fouls were points we would have won twice over, and Havre had 12....Al-Sadi thus far has been a capable replacement for Rocchi, with a goal scored in the 23rd and several nice crosses.

By this point we had dropped into the relegation zone, and we needed to start winning.  I held a team meeting and said just as much, and many of my players reacted well.

US Orleans fired their coach the same time Red Star fired theirs, and they came out of the gate fast.  Luckily they could not place any of their shots, with 16 attempts only 2 were on target.  We werent much better, but an Araujo penalty kick in the 66th minute gave us a much needed win.

Things began to pick up with the Crfeteil game.  Araujo got of us the mark quickly with a nifty goal in the 5th.  Cretei lequalized in the 54th minute on a penalty, but the ever steady Tchokounte put the game away in the 87th minute when Sy boomed a kick from the top of the box that landed at his feet 10 yards downfield the mid circle in between the two central defenders.  A couple of dribbles later he laser the shot home to right corner from the center of the D.

Against Nimes Olympique we were lifeless and listless, even my yelling at half time didn't work.  Ait Fana put Nimes on the board with a fine shot in the 56th, but Araujo saved the match with a nice shot from a Tchokounte assist in the 71st minute.

We were on the defense against AJ Auxerre the whole game.  They pressed high, marked up close, ran fast and tackled...hard.  A clean match (18 total fouls, 4 yellows for the game), but they were doing everythign they could to score.  I moved back to a 4-4-1-1, a formation I've never used with this club, sat my guys back, set the ones I could to defend, and wasted as much time as I could.  One of the few times we sent the ball down on the counter result in a nice series of passes between four of my players, the last of which went to De Parmentier, who scored in the 47th minute.  That seemed to take it out of Auxerre, when they came out after half they weren't as aggressive, nor were they pressing as high.  I stayed on the defense, why risk it?  and we left with a 1-0 win.  We also clawed our way out of relegation with this win.

I started getting job offers around this time as well.  A couple of teams in the CNF wanted me to interview, as did Debreceni Vasutas, FC Winterthur, and Vibor Fodsports.

I started hitting the waiver wires and transfer markets as well.  Still haven't been able to figure out the transfers mechanism (more on that later), but I've had some success with Free Transfers.  

Makan Traore came in on a free.  He's been at Stade Lavallois and Paris Saint-Germain, then was shipped to the PSG Reserves team.  He had 16 appearences, 1 goal and 3 assists, and averaged a 6.93, and they let him go.  I brought him in on trial. not only because he can play the entire left side of the field, but because he'll be a good tutor.

Fankaty Dabo also came in on a Free, young and versatile he spent 7 years in the Chelsea youth system before they let him go.  He may never be a full time starter, but a solid backup off the bench would not bother me in the least either.

So, we have 9 games left in the season.  

Against All Odds, can we hold on to our Ligue 2 spot?

Thanks for reading,

Jellico73

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"Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs"

USL_Dunkerque.jpg

 

Nine games left.  How did we do?

You tell me:

TNPM08c.jpg

Yes, I know, the result of the OGC Nice game, the game I guaranteed a victory against, is blocked out.  More on that in a bit.

The match against FC Sochaux-Montbe was a grindfest.  Their goalie was injured in the 36th minute, and we could not capitalize.  Of our 12 shots on goal, only 1 was on target.  I take a little solace in that of their 6 shots, none was on target.  It was a game neither of us deserved to win, so neither of us did.  Gaetano Muraglia, whose been a solid DM/M for me this season, went out with damaged knee for a month.

We started off well against Fijon FCO, with Banor scoring in the 14th minute.  Tavares equalized in the 40th minute for Dijon, and their defense held strong, and we left with a 1-1 draw.

Banor got us started again in our match with RC Strasbourg Alsace, scoring in the 27th minute.  Tchokounte added another goal in the 31st minute,  Starsbourg got on board on the ensuing kickoff, when a Novier cross hit Jeremy Huysman in the back and careened into the goal.  De Parmentier out the game away in the 74th minute with a nice shot.

Remi Garde, the OGC Nice coach, was complaining in the press again before our match, sure that were were going to go back to the CNF.  To say I was a bit miffed at him, and thru him his team, is a bit of an understatement.  I wanted this game, So I came out in a 4-2-3-1, after playing 15 or so matches on a 4-1-2-3, with everyone who could attack attacking, and put the boys on Overload.

So, how did they do?

Lets see, 'Mic Drop' in French is..well, oddly enough "Goutte de micro"

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I did a little happy dance.  When the wife wasn't looking of course. 3-1 at half, Garde didn't know what hit him.  And I was none to complimentary of him in the press as well.  I hope he got the message.

Amiens was a game we deserved to lose.  15 fouls, 4 yellows, and Traore getting sent off in the 36th minute for a dive that was inexplicable as it was stupid.  He had just gotten his first yellow 5 minutes earlier.  Channeling his inner Stanislas Olivera I suppose...

Ibrahim Sy, whose really coming into his own, blocked a penalty in the 22nd minute.  De Parmentier scored on a nice goal in the 40th, after about fifteen passes between other Les Bleus teammates at the top of the box he broke through the defense and tapped Isambart's assist clean by the Goalie.  With this win we've clawed our way clear of the relegation zone, but the season wasn't over yet.

Chamois Niortas fought until the end, but it wasn't enough.  De Parentier scored in the 30th minute, and Banor added another just before the half.  Browers was given an own goal when a cross from Romain pinged of his leg and past Sy.  We hit back a minute later, with Araujo banging one in from the top of the box.  The pucker factor went up in the 82nd minute when Slidja scored for Chamois, but we held on for the 3-2 win.

I was more than a bit surprised when I saw this after closing the game screen:

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Apparently everyone we needed to lose or tie did, in some combination.  And with three games left in the season!  Nice!  I exhaled quite a bit when this happened.

I probably shouldn't have worried.  Stats wise against Red Star we were pretty much equal across the board.  but more of our shots found the back of the net.  Huysman and De Parmentier both had goals, and Araujo had a pair.  A 4-0 win here would have elevated us out of relegation, but as we were already out, we went up four spots

It was 51 and rainy in Lens when our match started.  Racing Club was finishing mid table, I was no longer worried about relegation, I started the game and nothing happened in the first half.  No highlights at all.  STarted the second half.  No highlights until the 92nd minute, when Sy saved a well struck shot.  This was also Deji Oshilaja's first match, and he was solid for us.  I got him on a free, his agent came knocking, I took him on trial, and once I saw his stats I couldn't sign him fast enough.  My D-Line is going to get a major overhaul this off season, and he will be one of the rock I build my foundation on.

Last Match of the season was against our old CFN counterparts, US Avranches.  Respectivley we were picked to finish 19th and 20th in Ligue 2 this year.  We're both staying.  I'm pretty happy with that.  I like to think I have a friendly rivalry with them, their coach has been nothing but complimentary of me and the boys, and I return the favor when I can.  Are you listening to that Remi?  We won 3-2, in a pretty ugly game.  29 fouls, 7 total yellows.  Muraglias broke the 2-2 tie in the 83rd minute, and the season ended.

 

Against All Odds, we stayed up!

 

Jellico73

Edited by Jellico73

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So, theres bad news, OK news, Good news and Great News.

First, the bad news:

hQ2ptQZ.jpg

This is the second year in a row that's happened.  This time last year they were going to address the issue, this looks as if the board are kicking the can down the field.  Our stadium was built in 1933, and we need a new one.  I'm hoping any extra money we briong in via the Ligue and Coupe competitions will help with this, otherwise I could be in for a long journey.

The OK News:

Finance wise were are OK.  We could be a lot worse.  We could be a lot better.

Balance wise we are 729K in the red, and our current season loss was 269K.  Some of that was me, at least until June 30th when a lot of my contracts come off.

Budget for the next season is 84.12K p/w.  I'm spending 58K p/w now, and that's going to go down when a lot of my deadwood goes.  I'm going to try and play in the transfer market with my 601K budget, but after my last attempt to do so, I may just stick with frees and loans for the future.

The good news:

In 34 games, we went 14/12/12 with a Goal Difference of 1.  We scored 67 goals, 2nd highest in the league.  We allowed 66th, 2nd worse in the League.  77 Yellow cards, 3rd highest in the league.  OK< those last two aren't so good...

We finished the season with 9 wins and 4 draws, a 13 game unbeaten record that broke the clubs old one.

Thomas De Parmentier was our player of the season.  Playing Winger for the season, he had 41 appearences, with 15 goals, 14 assists, and 3 POMs.  And a 7.23 rating.

Alexis Araujo, on loan from LOSC, was our young player of the year.  32 appearences, 11 goals, 5 assists, 3 PK's, 2 POMs, 6.97 rating.  I may try and get him again, I won't be able to get him on transfer.

Malik Tchokounte had 17 goals, 10 assists, 4 POM's and a 7.26 rating.  

Ibrahima Sy was my signing of the year.  On a Free, he stepped into goal, and while he had some rough games, he's also one of, if not the biggest, reason we didn't lose a game our last 13 matches.

Left is when I signed him, right is when the season ended:

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Honestly, if I could get away with it I'd move him to sweeper and make him a Libero, but needs must.  He stays in goal, especially with Bouet leaving soon, I'm going to need him more than ever.

Oh, yeah, the great news?

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Sorry about the size.

OGC Nice finished 4th, 1 point out of the playoff!

To which I say "Vos larmes goût plus doux que le meilleur champagne Remi!"

 

Jellico73

 

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So, it's a good thing we scored as often as we did, because our defensive line was horrible.  My priority this off season is doing what I can to shore that up.

If I can't get Araujo on loan again, Johnathon Isambart will be his replacement.  He had a solid season, 23 appearances, 3 goals, 8 assists, 4 POM's and a 7.12 rating playing as the Enganche.  I may play him more as a Trequartista, at 5'4 and 125 he's not much of a defenseman to begin with.  In fact, if I am interpreting them correctly, his Player Traits lend themselves to him being a better Treq than Enganche.  Or I could just play him as the Advanced Playmaker he wants to be.

Our other big problem is age.  De Paremtier is 28, Tchokounte is 28, Rocchi is 28, and Rocchi was hit by the injury bug this year.  Torn groin, ligament damage...he played 24 games, but was not in the same form he was last year.

So, its May 15th.  Preseason starts the 25th, I have 10 players leaving for sure, taking just shy of 6K in wages with them.  Jovanie Tchouatcha is a youn D(L) with 4 star potential.  He alreadys gets forward whenever possible, Knocks the ball past his opponent, Avoids using his weaker foot, and hugs the line.  He started 19 games.  Why only 18 you ask?  Because in 19 games he received 15 yellow cards.  He never earned a double yellow or a straight red, but every three cards earns you a suspension.  Thats not worth 1.2K a week.

I'm going to shake up the coaching staff as well, especially try and get a new youth development guy in. 

Looks like at least two years in Ligue 2, build up the roster, get some younger guys in to take over when the old guys leave, and then we make our push to Ligue 1.

Jellico73

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"Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs"

USL_Dunkerque.jpg.8119c9623f097fa8fdd99b9b691d573e.jpg

 

Well, LOSC wanted me to pay all of Araujo's salary, and I sad no, so he is sitting on LOSC's bench.

In looking over my roster, I came (rightly or wrongly) to the following conclusion:  I have a good Ligue 2 Squad.  If A few things go my way, I could get promoted early to Ligue 1, but then would probably be relegated again quickly because all of my better players are on the wrong side of 28.  So I need to bring in some players, and then figure out a way to get those players playing time, while at the same time not sacrificing anything in Ligue 2.  I am perfectly fine with a mid table finish this year, and next year as well.  As much as I would like to bring those players who were with me from the beginning to Ligue 1, they wouldn't be starters.

So, I spent the better part of two weeks game time doing nothing but scouting, and looking at teams for players I could bring in.  And I think I had a pretty good hit rate.  And then most of the players I brought in went out on Loan:

So, in game time, I am about halfway through the season, so this is almost all the moves I've made so far

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Thaylor Lubanzadio is my type of player, able to play many positions well, and with some solid potential.  He's starting to get some playing time replacing De Parmentier on the AM(R).

Valentins contract with Leonesa had expired, and I brought him in on trial.  He only plays one position at the moment, but if he's not at least capable backup/spot starter, I will move him and get something back in return. 

Paolo Valagussa isn't going to get any better, but with my better M/DM's approaching or on the wrong side of 30, he's a quality backup and starter.  Thus far a very nice rotation between him, Fachan and Banor has worked out quite well.

Luan Sabayo is probably never going to be more than a spot starter rotation player for me, and I've had it out with the team I've loaned him too for not playing him.  I'd bring him back, but I have no playing time for him.  And I'm not sure bringing him back from loan only to loan him out again is a good thing.

Stefan Milosavljevic, in all honesty, was a panic sign.  Ibrahim Sy is my GK for the present and future, but I let Bouet go because he was getting older and was no longer a reliable backup.  Florian Verplank, my Reserves keeper, was going to be Sy's backup and the primary reserve GK, but he didn't want to sign.  Milosavljevic came up, and I swear he was three stars across the board during my scouting, and when I signed him, two stars.  He made some noise about playing time, but when I gave it to him, he squandered it.  He's holding a spot on the bench for now.

Amilcar Silva came in on a free, and went on loan almost the same day.  I'd like him to be my D(L) of the future.  Part of me thinks he might be a half decent Libero, but that part is also highly optimistic. 

Max Barnofsky is my first ever successful transfer.   Since I started playing this game, all of my player moves have been loans or Free's, but Barnofsky was on the transfer list, and I took a flyer on a proposal that was immediately rejected.  After picking myself up off the floor, 200K deal that will go to about 250K, for a DC that can play all three back line positions with skill.

Hervaine Moukam.  He's my primary cover for Rocchi and De Parmentier.  He's not going to get any better, but he's quality depth, and a capable starter for the future.

Garissone Innocents presence on my squad is a direct result of Milosavljevic play.  Sy is still young, and my hope is tto bring Innocent along until he's a quality backup.  He's my Under 19 GK, and my U19 team is terrible, but he's done OK.\

Kouadio Yves Dablia was out of contract, month to month as part of the AS Monaco system.  He did well for their Reserves Team in the CFA-D Ligue, but he wanted first team playing time apparently.  My defense this year is still porous, and a potential 4.5 star player who's younger than many of my starters, and he plays a solid DM.  Why some other team didn't snatch him up, I am not sure.

 

I've 11 players on loan.  Some of them are younger players who weren't going to get any playing time here.  Other's are players who aren't good enough to be starters here, and I'm a believer in getting younger players in backup positions for possible first team playing time.  A few of the players on loan probably don't have a future at the club, but I'd rather get them playing time somewhere than having them languish on the bench.

 

If I do have one big worry, it's finances.  We're still losing money.  The club has delayed a stadium upgrade for the 2nd year in a row, and I'm not sure what the penalty is if we don't meet Ligue standards.  We're getting 4.9M for TV rights, and while salary increases, bonus's and the like have eaten some of that, there still should be a decent amount left.  I'm 13 Ligue games into the season, I've used 200K of my 624K Transfer budget. I'm 15K under my salary budget, and the team is currently in the Red, with a balance of -1.12M euros, with a season loss of -1.04M .  If I get promoted and the team goes into administration, I'm not sure what I'd do...

I did bring in a new HOYD.  Olivier Perrin is quite a bit better than the previous man, and about half as expensive.  And my last two youth intakes were absolute stinkers, I don't think Perrin could do worse if he tried.  

Season Three started as Season Two ended:

5rtd4Bm.jpg

Colchester wasn't a stumble per se, they played their A team the entire game, and it took a 90th minute penalty for them to come away with the win.

The season started out well.  

De Parmentier had a brace of goals, and Deji Oshilaja scored his goal in the 92st minute, when Caen was still shellshocked from De Parmentiers 89th minute shot.  Stade is expected to challenge for promotion this season, they came out very listless.

We were off to the races against Red Star.  Muraglia, Isambart and Tchokounte all scored before the 25th minute, and Red Star never recovered.  A Mhirsi goal in the 48th minute off a misplayed header was their only goal, the rest of the game they were completely outclassed, 17/7 in shots, and 57/43 in possession.

FC Sochaux-Montbéliard were also put on the back foot quickly.  Tchokounte scored in the 5th minute, but the FCSM equalized in the 21st minute.  Tchkounte out us ahead in the 57th minute, and Valagussa put it away for good in the 69th, and we won our Coupe de la Ligue First Round match

GF 38 bossed us from beginning to end, putting our non losing streak to the end.  The score makes it look close, but it wasn't.  They but us on goals, Shots on target, had a 57/43 possession advantage.  Tchokounte scored in the 84th minute, and Marc Fachan scored in the 92nd minute to at least make it look respectable, but it really wasn't.

In stark contrast to our previous game, our match against AJ Auxerre was very close stat wise.  However, a pair of Adama Ba penalty kicks in the 84th and 87th minutes put the game out of reach.

Our Second Round Coupe de la Ligue match against Dijon FCO started slowly, had an exciting middle, and then ended quietly.  Tchokounte scored in the 31st minute, Rocchi scored two minutes latser, then we had about ten minutes where both sides made and missed numerous shots.  Dijon got on the board with a Tavares goal in the 57th minute, but Valagussa put the game out of reach in the 70th minute with a very nice shot.  And by winning our Second Round game, we met at least one of our goals set by the board this year.

Nimes Olympique came in, put their shoes on our neck, and kept them there the entire game.  Slimane Sissoko had a hat trick, and Azouni drove the final nail in with and 87th minute shot.  Les Bleus were embarrassed, I was embarrassed, and the club got a massive bollocking over it.  

I was going to give them the next week off, but after the loss I thought a nice friendly would be in order.  Hamburg St. Pauli agreed, and then came in and brought the hammer down.  March Fachan and Tchokounte scored, but we were a goal down by half.  Damien Fachan got himself sent off, getting two yellows within 6 minutes.  Luckily for him, he didn't whine about the two week salary penalty.  Thus far we're either winning games well, or losing them badly.  That does not bode well for the rest fo the season.

Against all odds, I made a transfer!!!  An Actual transfer!!!

And the teams losing money faster than the state government of Venezuela.  

Thanks for Reading!

Jellico73

 

 

Edited by Jellico73

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19 minutes ago, K Sherlock said:

Congratulations for the promotion!!

Thanks.  I wasn't expecting it, and to be honest I wasn't really forward to it.  Staying up was harder than it was getting there, that's for sure.

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"Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs"

USL_Dunkerque.jpg.8119c9623f097fa8fdd99b9b691d573e.jpg

 

My board remains relatively quiet, probably because they are tired of me pestering them for stuff like Trial Days, Affiliates, and classes for me and my coaches.

However, I must be doing something right, as six teams have come to me for interviews.  Videoton, De Graafschap, Seraing Utd, Gefle IF, and Parana came asking for interviews.  I said no.

If this was a journeyman save, Samdoria came asking for an interview.  Italian Serie A, Great Youth facilites, Superb Training facilities, but their roster is shattered and they're looking to avoid a relegation fight.  I made a save at that point, it could be fun to go there and see what happens.

Anyhow, onwards with the season!

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USBCO came in and didn't really try.  We had twice as many shots, twice as many on target, a 10 point possession advanatge, the game went well.   Rocchi scored in the 73rd minute, Tchokounte in the 87th minute, and Isambart scored in the 93rd.  It was a good game to get back on the winning side of things.

We bossed Havre from the beginning, twice as many shots, twice as many on targte, 55/45 percent possession, and a lousy Alimami Gory goal in the 79th minute gave them the lead, and then they parked the bus.  To say I was annoyed at the end of this game is a mild understatement.  

FCSM came in sitting top of the table.  They were playing really well.  I'd like to think that somehow FM felt the rage and anger seething out of me over the last game and adjusted itself accordingly, because for the third game in a row we absolutely owned the other team.  Twice as many shots on goal, ttwice as many on target.  Tchoukounte with the hat trick De Parmentier and Banofsky with goals of their own.  FCSM had two goals in the last 8 minutes of the game, but it wasn't close.

Clermont Foot is having a rough season, but it's not for lack of effort.  They've played everyone tough, band have only been outclassed in one game (by that idot Garde and his OGC Nice boys), and they played us very well.  We were dead equal in stats, and it took a brilliant series of passes from Isambart to Fachan to De Parmetier for us to get ahead.  Corrine Diacre has her team playing hard, I hope they can stay up.

The bad news is that we didn't try to win against GFC Ajaccio.  The good news is they didn't try to win either.  The only highlights in the game were the first half kick off, the second half kickoff that led to Isambarts goal in the 47th minute off a misplayed header, and the last minute of the game.  The french word for meh is "Meh", but I suspect an authoritative shrug and a Gitane hanging from your mouth might make that more realistic.

Stefan Milosavljevic had been complaining he wasn't getting first team chances.  FC Metz id having a pretty good season, so I essentially said "Ibrahima Sy is my starting keeper.  But I'll give you a hot for more playing time, I'll even make you my regualr Reserve starter and rotate you in every fourth or fifth game if you perform well in the Metz fixture."  Well, thats the one sided conversation I had with myself anyways.

And how did my backup keeper respond?

Like Merde.  He forgot the match was 90 minutes long.  Rocchi scored in the 12th minute, Tchokounte in the 26th, and it looked like we were coasting to a nice victory.  I even put the boys on counter.  The Dumitru scored in the 37th minute, Diallo equalized in the 46th minute, and put the ahead in the 57th minute on a goal Im reasonably sure I could have at least put a hand on, as Diallo was two yards away from the keeper when he hit it.  Insult was Dumitru scoring in the 88th minute, Injury was Najar blasting one past him in the 89th minute.  A 5.8 rating.  5.8!  I haven't talked to him since.  

I'll be honest I will make Sy the the Senegalese/French version of El Cid and strap him to a frame to keep him between the posts before I put Milosavljevic in goal again.  And I'm pretty sure Innocent is going to find his way in goal before Stefan does.

5.8!!! Sacre Bleu is not a strong enough invective for how I feel....

I was hoping a nice freindly would help the boys break out of whatever doldrums they were in.  They responded with a listless performance against Charleroi.  

We owned Dijon for most of the game, but again my defense broke down, and Tchokountes 3rd minute goal was wasted when Nouvier scored in the 66th.  This has been an ongoing themse for me, my defensive backs cannot hold a score later in games, which the press reminds me about.  A Lot.  And it's not like I have bad players back there, they just can't not let an opponent score.  Since we reached Ligue 2, we've had 11 non friendly game where our opponent has not scored.  And I'm ok with giving up a goal or two, as long as we are getting them back.  And lately, we haven't been.  

Case in point, Our match against RC Strabourg Alsace.  Again, we beat them stats wise, but again, we're not socring.  Ba scored of a fine cross in the 14th, Othon added a goal in the 83rd, and we lost 2-0.

So, 13 games into the season, and where do we stand?

11th, solid midtable, 6-1-6 with a -1 GD.  Winning could put us in 5th.  Luckily the relegation zone starts at 10, so we have a way to go before we have to worry about that.

I know, I know, famous last words.

Against All Odds, we're meeting expectations.

Thanks for reading!

 

Jellico73

 

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"Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs"

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This part of the schedule encapsulates the season thus far in a nutshell.  When we win, we're winning well.  When we lose, we lose badly, and there's not a lot of middle ground in between.

Our Third Round Coupe De le League gamae against FC MEtz was not at all close.  We had twice as many shots on goal, 3 times as many shots on target, and a 57/43 possession advantage.  It took a very questionable penalty in the box for Metz to score, but that was in the 86th minute, and we moved on with a nice win. Malik Tchokounte scored twice, Rocchi scored once for our points.

Our match against Racing Club was very tight, a Rocchi goal in the 14th minute put us ahead, and I spent the rest of the game hoping we wouldn't give up the tie I forgot to sub anyone.  I had three player begging to come off by the end of the game.

Our match against Avranches was also a hard fought affair.  De Parmentier put us ahead with a fine strike in the 24th, Avranches equalized in the 35th with a strike of their own.  I was setting in for the tie when Tchokounte headed in a De Parmentier cross in the 87th minute.

La Fleche are an French Amateur team that beat two other amateur teams in their previous Coupe de France matches.  I started the game in my 4-2-3-1 Asymmetrical I am using this season, went to get a drink, and came back a couple of minutes later and it  4-0.  Malik Tchokounte was a man on a mission this game, with 5 goals, four of them coming before the 25th minute (3, 9, 22, and 24th minutes).  I sat the boys back on defend, took off the direct passing and crosses, and then Valagussa scored in the 37th and 81st minute, Moukan scored in the 47th minute, and Tchokounte scored his fifth and final goal in the 83rd minute. One of the FLeche players had a 3.1 rating at the end of the game.  I didn't think that was possible...

Our game against Paris FC saw our disturbing trend of letting the opponent score late rear its ugly head again.  Camara had a brace of goals for Paris in the 45th and 70th minutes, Rocchi scored a goal in the 64th minute, and Tchokounte equalized in the 85th minute.  In the 89th mnute Sy blocked a shot that was so well struck it landed 25 yards away from where he was standing, and Ech-Cherugi blasted it in. and we lost 3-2.

There must have been some sort of mental hangover from the Paris FC game, because the next week AJ Ajaccio came in and bossed us.  21/9 in shots, 12/3 in on target.  Djibi Banors goal in the 23rd minute was our loan highlight, but goals by Nouri and Firmin gave Ajaccio the lead and the win.  Ibrahima Sy's call to International Duty was not the bogeyman I feared, as Garissone Innocent filled in nicely for him.  A Free transfer pick up, Innocent did a more than capable job as Sy's replacement, and was also out primary reserve goalie.  He definitely has a future as a starter between the sticks, and I suspect Sy may not be around that much longer if he continues to perform as well as he does.

The hangover persisted against Remi Garde and OGC Nice.  They had twice as many shots, and twice as many on targets, and a Max Barnofsky own goal and a Shane Ganze strike in the 67th minute gave OGC the dreadsed win.  Innocent played well, but his 5.8 rating doesn't reflect that.  Losing is OK< losing to Garde and OGC Nice gets the boys a right bollocking, and did I yell.

UJA Maccabi Paris is a semi-pro team that we faced in the eighth round of the Coupe De France.  They were outclassed from the beginning, and sat back in a very defensive 4-4-2.  Despite that Tchokounte broke through in the 31st to score, and Valagussa hit a laser shot from 20 yards out in the 56th minute to give us the 2-0 win.

In our match against Amiens SC, there were four goals made in 10 minutes.  Luckily, three of them were for 'Les Bleus'.  De Parmentier scored in the 40th and 48th minute, while Tchokounte scored in the 45th minute.  Amiens got on the board in the 50th minute, a shot from the top of the D that Innocent got a hand on but could not prevent from going into the goal.

Our Coupe de Ligue Fourth round game against LOSC was a hard fought draw until the 64th minute, when LOSC midfielder Younousse Sankhare slid into Banor with both feet.  Once that happened, I put the biys on 'Attack', and was rewarded with LOSC scoring in the 70th minute, a nice shot by Eder.  Rocchi answered a minute later, than put us ahead in the 78th minute, and Tchkounte sealed the game with a shot in the 84th minute.  Beating a team thats a man down is still a victory, and we exceeded expectations by advancing.

Red Star FC was a team in freefall when we faced them, not winning a game in their previous seven matches before facing us. (They eventually went 15 games without a victory...).  Rocchi's scored in the 12th was equalized by a Djibi Banor own goal of a misplayed corner kick in the 14th minute, but a couple of Tchokounte goals in the 26th and 77th minute gave us the win.  Red Star fired their coach right after the match.

Our Coupe de France Ninth round game against Havre Athletic Club was bittersweet.  A hardfoiught battle, HAC got on the board first with a Bain goal in the 12th, but Herve Moukam (on for a faltering De Paremtier) equalized in the 81st minute.  The penalty kick phase, after a very exciting extra time period, was frustrating.  Moukam, out best PK man on the field, hit it right at the HAC goalie.  Sy blocked a shot two players later, and then Isambart kicked it right at the goalie again easy save.  Two more shot later Sy made and incredible diving save, and then the HAC keeper made his own incredible save in denying Barnofsky.  Last goal of the match Sy dove right, the shot went left, and we lost on Penalties.  It was a bitter pill to swallow.

However bitter that pill was, sneaking one from Remi Garde and OGC Nice in the Coupe De Ligue Quarter Finals was fun.  OGC outplayed us completely, 22/8 in shot advantage, 10/4 on target.  Sy was called up again for International duty, and Innocent did a credible job in goal.  Rocchi scored in the 30th minute, but then gave it away in the 40th with an own goal.  De Parmentier put us in the lead in the 59th minute, but Remi Walker equalized in the 73rd minute.  Valagussa picked up his second yellow in the 81st minute, and I went on the attack.  Tchokounte broke thru the Nice defense in the 92 minute, and my right foot only striker toe poked a left footed shot past a diving goalie.  Winning is nice.  Beating Remi Garde and OGC Nice is better.  Beating Remi and OGC Nice in their new arean in front of 16500 fans?  Priceless.

Eighteen games left in the season and we are solidly midtable.  A run of luck either way could see us in the promotion zone, or a relegation battle, but for now, we are a comfortable 10th place.  

Losing the Coupe de France in penalties was annoying, but we've taken a lot of people by surprise with our performance in the Coupe de la Ligue.  However, we face AS Saint-Etienne in the Ligue Semi final match, on their home turf.  

 

Against All Odds, we're right where we want to be.  

Thanks for Reading!

Jellico73

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"Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs"

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Beating OGC Nice in the Ligue Quarter Finals was a high point of the season.  What followed can best be described as stumbling.  We were solidly mid table, and a strong series of games could see us challenge for a top of the table finish.  On one hand, I was all in for this.  On the other, I am in no position, financially, mentally, team wise, ready to play in Ligue 1.  But I wasn't going to throw games on purpose.  As it turns out, I didn't need to.

 

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MArc Fachan missed a 3rd minute penalty kick and I was sure the game against GF 38 was going to a rough one.  I was wrong, as we had twice as many shots and twice as many on target.  Tchokounte scored in the 7th minute, and De Parmentier added a second goal in the 33rd minute.  GF 38 did score a goal in the 38th minute, but then, surprisingly, my defense closed things down and we came away with the win.

The score of the AJ Auxerre game does not reflect how often we were on the back foot.  It was a cold, rainy day, and Auxerre came out running.  Set piece goals from Banor in the 24th and Valagussa in the 34th minute gave us a nice leade, Auxerre got withing one with a fine strike by Florian Aye in the 40th minute.  As the half was winding down, Banor took a misplayed header and hit De Parmentier on the bounce, and he dribbled it to withing 10 yards of the goal before tapping it in.  Auxerre kept trying though, and got back within one when Zampano scored.  However, and Isambart goal in the 78th minute, and a Tchokounte goal in the 84th minute, sealed the game for us.  It was a good game, a nice tune up to our match against ST. Etienne in the Ligue Cup.

AS Saint-Etienne are a pro team, worth €88.39M Euros, 3 1/2 start youth facilities, 4 star training facilities, and they play in a recently rebuilt 41,965 seat stadium.  They were in a top of the table fight with the rest of Ligue 1 when we faced them, a minnow against the sharks.  Saint-Etienne was faster than us, and after fifteen minutes I sat back and was on the counter.  Sy was still on International Duty, and Innocent did a credible job, allowing only a nice Kishna volley off a well placed cross gave Saint-Etienne the lead.  We had a few chances, but they were easily brushed aside, and we left the field 1-0 losers.  It was a good match, but it also showed me how far we as a club have to go.

In between our match between AS Saint-Etienne and Nimes Olympique, I sold Deji Oshilaja to Ipswich.  A few weeks prior he had come to me saying he felt he wasn't being challenged, and that teams were looking at him.  I told him I'd let him go for the right offer.  I am the type of manager who likes to try and do right by his players, if they ask for time I'll be upfront when I can't give them time.  Or when they are shortlisted I try and find them the best deal I can.  If a youngster comes to me asking to be let go, I let them go (I can use the payroll), and I've found for the most part I can keep my players happy and their spiritss up, so when I do ding them, morale doesn't sink.  Want to go out on loan?  I'll try and loan you.  Want to leave because you aren't getting playing time?  Sure.  Any yet my Man Management never goes higher....

Oshilaja was the rock on my shaky Defensive Back line, and when I received a few offers for him and turned them down, there were some grumbles, but finally the English teams started making offers, including the team Deji wanted to go to, Ipswich.  They low-balled me at first, then came back with an offer I liked; and Oshilaja, who I picked up on a free, was transferred for €1.1M.

I think they boys were in a bit of a funk after the loss to Saint-Etienne.  Nimes came in ans cored two quick goals, Slimana Sissoko was well nigh untouchable for most of the game, no matter how tightly we marked him.  Rocchi scored in the first half, and then Oko, playing for Tchokounte, equalized in the 57th minute, but Rivaldinho knocked the winner home three minutes later.

FSCM came in and played us hard.  Stats were pretty even, but my defense let me down again as Fuchs was able to equalize in the 55th minute.  Tchkounte scored again, I think it may have been this game he broke the club record for career goals.

Clermont Foot were a team in freefall at this point in the season, and we piled on the misery with a 4-2 win.  Tchokounte, Valagussa, De Parmentier and Moukam all scored, and the team played very well, moving, passing, and tackling crisply.  

As well as we played against Clermont, we were not the same against GFC Ajaccio.  A Mabella goal put them ahead in the 40th, and we were just not good enough to tie, or even win.  When players are missing wide against undefended goals, you know it's not going to be your day.

Tchokounte got us a quck start against FC Metz, banging one of the crossbar in the 3rd minute and scoring in the 11th.  Metz's own Ilyes Chaibi responded by scoring a hat trciks worth of goals, and Mollet added one for good measure.  70 minutes in we were down 4-1, but the boys fought back.  De Parmentier scored in the 71st minute, Muraglia in the 78th minute, and as time was running out Tchokounte threaded a pass through four defenders that found Valagussa, but his shot was blocked by an incredible save, and ten seconds later, the final whistle blew. 

in 45 games Eric Wattllier issued 13 red cards and 205 yellow cards.  Thats...wow.  He was definitely card happy in my game against Dijon FCO.  I had six yellows and a red.  Two Dijon goals in the 20th and 25th minute weren't enough to overcome, as most of my booked players were already in yellow card trouble I backed off, and could not get anything going on the counter.  Tchokounte scored in the 49th minute, and I let my frustrations out on Isambart (who was double yellowed) after the game, fining him two weeks and sitting him.  Petty?  Yes, but I was most upset, and he was convenient.

The yelling I did during the game, after the game, at (I presume) at practice obviously had some effect, as we put our cleatts on RC Strabourg Alsaces neck and kept pressing until the final whistle.  De Parmentier, Valagussa, Rocchi and Oko all scored, and with seven games left, we could finish 6th or 7th.  The season was drawing to a close, and we were doing well, beyond most everyones expectations?

Against All Odds, could it last?

Thanks for reading!

Jellico73

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One of the things I failed to notice is that my youth squad was woeful.  And by that I mean I had maybe 15 players on it that weren't grey, and most of them were horrible.  So the beginning of the season I started signing young players with potential, to fill out the youth squad and prepare for the future, because as much as I want Tchokounte playing Target Man for me forever, that's just not going to happen.

A few players I brought in ended up getting a decent amount of playing time.

 

Max Barnofsky, my first ever transfer signing (I know, I know...).  Garissone Innocent saw regular first team duty.  

Kouadio Yves Dabila is a bit older, 22, and I was going to park him on the Reserve team, but Jeremy Huysman and Jean Ambrose were horrible next to Oshilaja, so I put Dabilia in the line up, and he was solid.  

Jason M'bock came in on a free, and if he's not the next Tchokounte I'm going to be very disappointed because I obviously did something to make that not happen.  

I started scouring the U23's, U21's and U19 tournaments, and found the following players.  I signed many of them in the fall, but the January transfer window was when they all arrived.

Corentin Hamon, could be Rocchi's eventual replacement, or a decent backup.  If not, I'm pretty sure I can seel him to a CFN (or similar team) for some money.

Samir Lassere should challenge for De Parmentier's AM(R) job in three or four years.  If he's not, it's because 

Marinó Þór Guðmundsson has beaten him to the job.

Julio Tasca is my AM(C) of the future, maybe sooner if Isambart keeps hacking me off...

Unless Jacques Schaal fulfills his potential and beats him to it.  Schaal in injury prone though (something that didn't crop up until after I signed him, and that scouts contract is expiring soon), so he may be trying to fulfill it on another team if I can't get solid playing time from him.

Jop Poot (Laugh at his last name after seeing his profile picture...I dare you...) is going to be a D(C) at some point, and I'm pretty sure I can get him in the rotation next season, or get him first team playing time on a loan if I don't.  

Guiseppe De Francesco is my BBM of the future.

I did have some older players that I signed during the season as well.  

Thaylor Lubanzadio was going to be my primary AM backup next season.  He'll probably go out on loan again.  I may transfer list him just to see if I can get something for him.

Valentin came on a free, but I am not sure he's going to make it to next year.  I've had him training all year, and no changes at all.  That doesn't bode well I think.

I brought Paolo Valagussa in to be my BWM DM, and he did a very good job this season.  However, the last few games of the year he fell off a cliff ratings wise.  He's only 26, so I am hoping its just temporary, if not, I'll sell him and put one of my youngsters in.  I hope it's temporary, he was a solid player for me.

 

I've totally screwed Luan Sabayo.  I had plans that maybe he could replace Tchokounte one day, and loaned him to Stade Lavallois MFC in July.  He was there the whole year, and played twice!  And he was supposed to be a starter.  I'd like to say he slipped through because I had so many players on loan, but that's just an excuse.  I should have noticed he wasn't getting any playing time and taken the Stade coach to task for it.

Lloyd Isgrove came in during the January transfer window.  On an Agent call.  For Free.  Once I saw his starts, and the positions he plays at, I couldn't snap him up fast enough.  My plan next year is to not play De Parmentier or Rocchi as often, with Isgrove picking up the slack.  Will have to wait and see how that works.

Amilcar Silva is my most...intriguing signing this year.  I got him on a free, and because my Defensive Backfield was already crowded the plan was to loan him out, and he went to USBCO on a loan, and he did very well, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 POM's and a 6.87 rating.  Samuel Michel is the USBCO coach, and he saw something I didn't, because after I sold Oshilaja, I was looking for a replacement, and saw that not only had Silva improved from 2 to 3 stars, he was now a credible Sweeper.  And I do love me some Swiss 532 Bolt action.  

In a bit of a twist, after Silva started playing more than a few teams came sniffing around, including Remi Garde at OGC Nice, who took to the press to say how he wanted Silva and was sure he could work something out.  So I signed Silva to a new three year deal with an option year, extension after promotion, and a 20% raise at €2400 a week, and when I can get a release clause on him I will.

If Silva goes anywheres, its not going to be OGC Nice, thats for sure. 

But, I think I have the foundations for a solid transition in place. 

Thanks for reading!

Jellico73

Edited by Jellico73

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"Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs"

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With seven games left there was a good possibility we could challenge for a playoff spot.  On one hand, I was willing to fight for it.  On the other, I'm not ready for Ligue 1 play yet.  But, I also felt if I couldn't at least challenge for a spot, I could play spoiler.  After our 4-0 victory against RC Strasbourg, I felt we were ready to go.

 

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Yeah.  We fell.  Not hard, but enough to notice it.

Racing Club De Lens came in ready to play, scoring in the 13th minute.  Damien Fachan was so ready to play he got a straight red in the 25th minute, and we were a man down.  To our credit we held them without a score for the next hour, but with two quick strikes in the 70th and 72nd minute, put Racing ahead for good.

Our defense failed us again against Avranches.  Rocchi put us ahead with a nice strike in the 29th minute, but Avranches stole a draw from defeat with a Marchetti goal in the 71st minute.

Paris FC scored first, a fine goal by Timite in the 12th minute.  Djibi Banor, who had been asking for more first team playing time, scored in the 24th minute, and Marc Fachan put us ahead in with a penalty kick in the 34th minute.  I played the counter, set my defense back a little bit, kept possessions, and Aboubacar Camara equalized for Paris FC in the 59th minute.  Snatching draw from victory, again.

I broke out the 532 Swiss Bolt against AC Ajaccio.  It worked really well for 60 minutes.  Nouri scored for Ajaccio on a penalty kick in the 25th minute, and we played keep away.  We played keep away so well we had a grand total of 4 shots on goal, and none on target.  Tirad broke through in the 63rd minute and scored on a nice cross, and Ngoto sealed the deal in the 90th.  The 532 has potential though, especially when Silva is more adept in the role.

Remi and OGC Nice were sitting top of the table, and would need to lose all of their games and have some other teams get some help in order not to finish 1st.  They came out attacking, and we fended them off for 61 minutes.  They had twice as many shots, twice as many on target, but it took a Karamoh strike from 12 yards to beat us.  Silva played very well this game, and that's when Remi started making noise about wanting to get him.

 

I knew the last two games weren't going to help us or hurt us, we were going to finish mid table comfortably, so I played rotated squads.  Sy and MArc Fachan, my D(L), were the only two long time starters here.  Bevic Oko showed what he was capable of with a goal in the 4th, and another in the 51st.  Amiens played us close all game, and then in the space of two minutes equalized the score.  I literally blinked and they were now tied with us.  Isambart had a chance to put us in the lead with a kick from just outside the box in the 92nd minute, but it hit the post and bounced out of bounds.

Stade Malherbe Caen was going to finish in 2nd no matter what the result, but they still played their first teamers.  This was an ugly game.  9 yellows were issues, 33 total fouls,   Gudmundsson put us on the board with a nice goal in the 9th, and Caen equalized in the 24th minute.  I thought we had the lead in the 60th when Moukan hit his penalty kick, I swear the ball crossed the line under a diving Caen keeper, but the next thing i knew the ball was headed back out.  I think Moukam was so surprised he missed he didn't go after it, and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

 

We finished exactly mid table, 10th of 20 teams.

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The disturbing thing for me is that we had the fewest draw in the League, with 6.  But where OGC Nice was winning the games they weren't drawing, we were losing, and in fact had more losses than wins.  That's...very bothersome.  

Team wise we had some very good performances:

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Malik Tchokountes was our key player.  He asked for €7000 salary when his contract was up, and I gave it to him without a second thought. In the Ligue he had 20 Goals, 6 assists, 3 POM's and a 7.22 rating.  In the Coupe de France he had 6 goals, 1 assist, a POM, and an 8.40 rating.  In the Coupe de la Ligue he had 7 goals, 1 assist, a POM and a 7.82 rating.  Career wise he's the goals away from 100, and he broke the club record of 59 goals this season.  He's currently at 63, and I'm not positive how much he has left in the tank, but I hope I'll be around to watch it.

Johnathon Isambart played Enganche for almost the entire season, and he did it pretty well IMO.  In 44 appearances across all games he had 4 goals, 16 assists, 3 POM's and a 7.07 rating.

Thomas De Parmentier and Jean Jacques Rocchi both had quality years, as did D(R) Marc Fachan.  

As I mentioned earlier, I dropped the ball on my loan players. I need to play closer attention to how many games they are getting, as everyone on this list was out for the entire season.  Onwuzo was injured for some of the season, and while some players had some good seasons, other than Thoor and Brouwers, noone really improved.  I don't think may of these players really benefited, and that's on me.

The board was happy with the result, my payroll jumped to 107K, my transfer budget went to 846K, and because of the price money from our Coupe de la Ligue Run, the money we earned for finishing 10th, and the Oshilaja transfer, we ended the season only 332K in the red.  We're getting €4M in TV money next season.

Then this happens:

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This is the THIRD year in a row they've delayed stadium expansion.  We have the smallest stadium in Ligue 2, and I am pretty sure its one of the reasons were losing as much money as we are.  So, I took a calculated risk.  This season I turned down a lot of jobs, including Football Club Nordsjælland in the Danish Superliga, Maritomo in Liga NOS, Las Palmas in La Liga, and Esporte Clube Vitória in Campeonato Brasileiro Série A.  I've got options, you know?

So, first, I saved my game

I go to the board, and say: We need a new stadium. 

And I am prepared to go to the mat for this, including and up to leaking their answer to the press and threatening to quit.

So what do they come back with?

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I'm not sure I've been FM'd with this answer, which they agreed to without a fight, but this wasn't what I was expecting.

Against All Odds, we're getting a new Stadium!

Thanks for reading,

 

Jellico73

Edited by Jellico73

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"Against All Odds  - Les Bleus et Blancs"

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The off season continued, and I turned down a whole bunch of interviews, FC Thun, Helsingbors IF, FC St. Gallan all came asking.  I turned them down.  GFC Ajaccio came asking as well, and I also sai no.  But its nice to have your name mentiopned for a lot of jobs out there.

We were pretty active in the transfer window.  I missed the message, but the board increased my budget to 1.8 million.  I plan on holding onto most of it for the January window.  I hit the Free Transfer pretty hard, looking at all of the U23, U21 and U19 Games going on.  I think it's pretty odd how a player can be called up for an International Cap and not be under contract to another team.  Maybe that's just me though.

 

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My Defensive Backs were pretty horrible last season, and I plan on rotating a bunch of my youngsters through this year, but still needed some decent organizational depth.

Jonan Amelibia is a good fit for my team and my needs.  An excellent D(C), he also plays D(R), and his solid Physical skills, good heading and good marking have been an asset so far.  

With one of my other formations this year being the 532 Swiss Bolt, I needed someone who could play Winger and who was also a serviceable on the DLine, and Thibault Magry fits the bill.  He's young, has good technical skills and Phjysical skills, and can only get better I think.  He signed, and a week later was on loan, where as a rotation player he's done pretty well.  He'll get a decent amount of first team action next year for sure.

Antonio Vutov could be my signing of the year.  I was all set to have Isambart play my AM(C) Enganche role, and I saw Vutov in one of the under 21 Cap's.  I scouted him and signed him as fast as I could.  He's having a solid season so far.

If all goes according to plan (HAH!), Jonana Ameliba will be fighting for his spot with Benrandy Abdallah.  I had to pay 200K to get him, he was transfer listed by request from ESTAC Troyes, and he's a solid player.  Once my boys learn the ins and outs of the Swiss Bolt, I am sure he'll being seeing more time.

Laurent Abergel was released by AC Ajaccio, and after scouting him I am a littled worries.  One is that if this is the quality of player that can't get enough playing time on a good Ligue 2 team, then I am in trouble.  The other part of me stays as long as the FM engine keeps letting players like this go so I can pick them up on a free, the better.  I was intending to use him as a super sub, but he's going to see a lot more time as a starter this season.

 

I purposely held off on filling out my U19 team at the beginning of the season, because I wanted to see who would be available while the U23/21/19 cups were going on.  By Mid September I had done quite a bit of scouting, and went on a short signing spree.

 

Guevin Tormin came in on a free, having been released by AS Monaco Reserves.  Again, if teams are letting players this good walk away, I am going to find Ligue 1 tough going.  Along with Isgrove, he's been my primary backup at AM(L) and AM(R).  When either De Parmentier or Rocchi start falling, he'll step in and do quite the job I think.

Jan Kostolansky.  I saw him in the Under 20's cup, and was scouting a lot of the players there's when I came across him. He was not under contract, which I still say is very odd, and I can't explain it, but something about him jsut stood out to me.  He'a in a position I have great depth at, but I look at his stats, and see he has these and an 18 year old, and wonder, what could he be like with some first team time and a good tutor?  He's already got some good numbers, and that 18 Teamwork just jumps out at me.  

Emmanuel Attah I found through the normal scouting.  He wasn't good enough for the Paris Saint-Germain Reserves team, and they let him go.  On a Free. Now I am officially concerned.

Yacine Adli was on the French Under 19's team, wasn't affiliated with anyone, so I scouted him jsut to see.  I was looking for someone to get some good playiong time on the U19 and Reserves squad, but he's the best Midfielder I have on the team at the moment, and he can only get better.

 

Transfers out there weren't any surprises in the beginning.  Those that were let go were either older and had failing stats, or were younger and not going to get any better. A Couple, Hervain Moukam and Hugo Demory, didn't want to sign new contracts.  I loaned out 5 players who I knew would not bet getting playing time here, and then Paolo Valagussa comes into the office and says "Hey gaffer, I've done all I can here, I want to go back home and play for my home country.  Needless to say, I was a bit taken aback, as he was going to be my DM for the season.  But, being the magnanimous manager I am, I said "OK, let me see whats out there".  Now, I picked up Valagussa on a free, and now the scouts and everyone are telling me he's worth 950K, so I say "I'll let him for for a total of 750K.  And the first offers I got were....insulting.  Like 250K max.  Needless to say, I was a mite offended by this, but I did get word that Spal really wanted him.  So I went and made then a private deal, totaling 950K. 

Djibi Banor started the season disgruntled, became upset, and basically demanded to be let go.  Then he wouldn't accept a Free.  So I sold him to Waasland_Beveren for 100K.   Seeing as how I got him on a Free, any money is nice.

 

Preseason wise I played an aggressive schedule.

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I wasn't worried about the pace, as in preseason you can carry 12 subs and rotate them all in, so the first game I started with my regulars, the second game I started my backups, and then after that was a mixed rotation, but all 22 players I expected to get first team time this year did.

Then Malik Tchokounte sprained his ankle, and was going to be out almost 6 weeks.

But we finished the preseason on a positive note, and I was confident we would be in the mix for a top half table finish this year.  With the new stadium coming, as soon as it's done I'm going to ask for some training grounds.  And if we do well in the Ligue and Cup Matches, that's even more money coming in.  Heck, were getting 4.19M just for TV rights this year.

Against All Odds, we're here for the long haul.

 

Thanks for Reading!

 

Jellico73

Edited by Jellico73

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"Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs"

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So, with Malik Tchokounte out the first few games, I rotated a few players through his position.  I wasnt to worried though, as I know I have plenty of playmakers on the team,  Malik would be missed, but I was pretty sure we wouldtt go to pieces without him on the field.

So, with a third of the season out of the way, where do we stand?

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Really well.  In fact, we are in a four way tie for 4th place, 3 points way from top of the table.

Our home opener looked to be a tie, Red Star FC had played us well all day, but in the 91st minute Vutov hit a blast from the left side of the D that the Red Star goalie didn;t even try to block, and we eked out a 1-0 victory.

ESTAC Troyes were relegated last season, and I expected a hard fought game.  Instead I got Troyes getting off to a fast start, and then pressing me throiughout the game, alwasy on the attack.  They had twice as many shots, 9/1 On target advantage, and I had more fouls called against me, but the defense held strong, Sy made some very nice saves, and we held on for the draw.  Vutov missed a penalty in the 70th minute, banging the ball of the post.  

We played Red Star FC again in our first Coupe de Le Ligue game, and I broke out the 532 Bolt.  It did OK, they boys are maybe 85% with it.  Vutov scored against from the F9 position, but the score was equalized in the 82 minute when Jonan Amelibia hit an own goal.  However, in the 93rd minute, De Parmentier lofted a corner kick to Isambart, who was just outside the 22 yard box, and Isambart struck a volley that apparently deflected of a Red Star player for the own goal.  

Clermont Foot was a very even game, Oko, subbing for Tchokounte, had two goals in the 32nd and 55th minute, Dugimont had his own pair of goals for Clermont in the 9th and 38th minute.  We had several opportunities turned away by the Clermont goalie at the end, and we settled for the draw.

The game against FCSM was one of those where, when it ends, you want to throw your computer in  the water because you have been well and thoroughly FM'd.  Oko put us ahead in the 43rd minute with a nice shot, and then I had 6 players given a yellow card in the next 45 minutes.  And thats after I turned off marking and everything else associated with tackling.  Damien Fachan got his 2nd yellow in the 89th minute, and in the 92nd minute FCSM's Polyakov outjumped my defense on a corner kick and headed it in, and ten seconds later the game ended.  FM'd for sure.

In our second Round match against FC Metz, we played a very controlled game, mostly on the counter.  Ismaila Sarr boiunced a penalty kick of Sy's chect in the 18th minute, and then De Parmentier put us ahead in the 28th minute.  Traore added a goal in the 86th minute, and Rocchi added a 3rd in the 47th minute.  Metz got on the board in the 52nd minute, but they really didn't have anything in the tank.  75% of our shots were on target, and the defense had a very nice game.

The game against Amiens SC looked to be a horse race from the start, as Rzepecki scored in the 1st minute, and then Oko equalized for us in the 3rd.  Several more shots were turned away by both squads, and the Damien Fachan, my Captain, was booked a second yellow in the 31st minute and sent off.  Second game in a row he's been sent off.  Then he had the temerity to be upset when I fined him two weeks pay.  If it would disrupt the squad I'd take away his captaincy, I may still do that he keeps getting sent off.  For some reason after that Amiens didn't press the advantage, and in the 90th minute De Parmentier had a cross that looked like it was going in, but it missed just wide, and again we settled for the draw.

For some reason we tend to do pretty well in front of large crowds.  Against Racing Club De Lens, on their pitch, we were playing in front of 34000 fans (394 away thanks you very much...).  De Paremntier put us ahead in the 27th minute, De Lens equalized two minutes later, and then Vutov sent home a penalty shot in the 56th minute that had the goalies feet moving one way and his body the other way, and we left with a 2-1 victory.

I was really hoping our game against GF 38 would be a clean sheet, especially after De Parmentier put us ahead 2-0 with goals in the 46th and 58th minute, but Florian Davis tapped a little dribbler in the 92nd minute that I think most Sunday League goalies would have stopped, but Sy dived well after the ball was past him, and we left with a 2-1 victory.  A win is still a win, but still.

Our games against Avranches always seem to be slugfests, and this one was no different.  10 players total booked in this game, 43 total fouls.  Ouch.  Abergel put us ahead 1-0 in the 3rd minute, and I was holding out for the wsin when Avranches equalized in the 73rd minute.  Then when they went ahead in the 85th minute off a corner kick, I was frustrated.  I think Makan Traore was frustrated as well, because he was booked again in the 90th and sent off.

Our match against AS Beziers was interesting, as two of the players I loaned out earlier are starters for them, Brouwers and Gudmundsson.  Tchokounte, finally back from his injury, picked up where he left off with a brac of goals in the 18th and 26th minute, and Gudmundsson showed some flash when he scored in the 64th minute.  We dominated Beziers this game, 28 shots, 11 on goal, 60% possession against 8/4 and 41%.  Still couldnt get the clean sheet, but a win is a win, that's what I am telling myself.  

The game against Dijon FCO was frustrating, as we had a lot of advantages against a team who wasn't playing to win turned away.  Silva had an unfortunate own goal when his deflection of a Dijon cross went left instead of right, and it took a Tchokounte goal in the 90th minute to equalize for us.

Against All Odds, we still haven't had many clean sheet games.

 

Thanks for Reading,

 

Jellico73

 

Edited by Jellico73

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"Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs"

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To paraphrase Bill S. Preston, Esquire: "Des choses étranges sont en cours au Stade Marcel Tribut Thierry."

I find myself in a somewhat awkward position, as the club hasn't been performing to my expectations.  We were picked to finish 16th in the Ligue this season by the pundits, and we got off to a strong start, but there have been some glaring holes in our defense, and we've been throwing away won games as of late.  After Malik Tchokounte saved us with a 90th minute goal against Dijon, I let the boys have it.  So much so that two different players went to the press and complained.  A few personal talks about how I would sit players down if they didn't start performing didn't go over to well.  

And after all that, the boys responded with a performance that leaves me shaking my head.

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They've won.  Not only have they won, the last thirteen games they have gon 11-1-1, and that loss was an absolute bottlejob of a game.

Montpelier HSC were relegated from LIgue 1 last season, and were predicted to finish 1st this season.  I came in playing the 532 Swiss Bolt, and I think it took Montpelier by surprise, because 6 minutes in my Libero, Amilcar Silva, blasted a goal to the top left corner from the top of the box.  Playing the counter for the rest of the game, Montpelier had 14 shots on goal, but only 3 were on target.  For the first time in a long time we had a clean sheet for Sy.

Six weeks ago AC Ajaccio would have come in, played the way they did, and left with a victory becuase we threw it away late.  I was tweaking my 4-2-4 Asymetric before the match and didn't realize I had Innocent in goal instead of Sy.   I shouldn't have worried, as he was a rock all game.  The home crowd was raucous, inducing Nouri into missing a penalty shot wide,  Antonio Vutov hit his penalty shot in the 79th minute, and the game ended with Led Bleus as 1-0 winners.

FC Metz were on the back foot most of the game.  I came out in a slightly different formation, moving Silva from his usual DC position to Libero and taking off the DIrect Passing I normally use.  For whatever underlying reason, it worked.  At least half the game was spent in the last third of the FC Metz side.  I know this because even though I only use Key highlights, I was treated to 35 minutes of game time from these key highlights.  My tactic obviously upset Metz's star DM Thibaut Van Acker, because after his first yellow card in the 15th minute, he decided to get his second in the 22nd minute, and Metz was a man down the rest of the match.  To be honest I was afraid I'd bottle this somehow, but Erdin Demir scored an unfortunate own goal for his side when he deflected the keepers rebound from a well struck shot by Silva back into his own net.  Yacine Adlie scored in the 86th minute, and De Parmentier put the game away for good in the 89th, and we won 3-0.

Nimes Olympique is not living up to their preseason hype, picked to finish top 5 they have been in a relegation battle for some time.  Playing them in our Coupe de le Ligue Third round match was going to be, on paper anyways, a dogfight.  It ended up being a dog race, and Nimes was the lure.  Oko scored in the 19th minute, Isambart the 25th, Adli in the 61st, De Parmentier in the 69th, and Oko finished things out with his second goal in the 82nd minute.  Nimes had 5 shots on goal, none on target, and left with their proverbial tails between their legs.

GFC Ajaccio hounded me for an interview earlier in the year, and may have been a bit miffed when I said no.  This game was a very even affair, with little in the way of scoring chances.  In the 77th minute, Rocchi took a Tormin cross and volleyed it past the keeper, giving us the goal that would see us win the game.

Stade Marcel Tribut was packed to the rafters for this game, and the home crowd got a show.  Thomas De Parmentier scored in the 7th minute.  Florian Aye equalized for Auxerre in the 15th minute, but Bevic Oko put us ahead by one just before the half ended.    De Parmentier scored again in the 85th minute, and Vutov put the game out of reach in the 88th minute, and the fans of Les Bleus were treated to a 4-1 victory.

As a side note, I've had a lot of interview requests the past three months.  Oviedo, Tarragona, About six teams in the Italian Serie B, a couple of Swiss teams, and every team fighting it out for relegation in the Danish Super League.  Oddly enough, last year I had to turn down every League 2 job that opened up, this year ESTAC Troyes have been the only team asking if I would interview.

I will finish the wrapups tomorrow, I didn't realize how late it was.  

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Jellico73

Edited by Jellico73

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Part Deux:

 

AS Domerat is a French Regional Semi-Pro Team that beat two Amateur teams to get to the Seventh Round of the Coupe De France.  I started the game, went to go refill the Dog's water bowl, sat back down and was ahead 4-0.  De Parmentier scored in the 5th Minute, Tormin in the 7th, Adli in the 29th, and a Domerat own goal gave us the game well in hand.  I sat the boys back, went defensive, took off the direct passing, and De Parmentier still scored in the 47th and 70th minutes, and another Domerat OG gave us the 7-0 win.  

The run of good fortune had to come to an end sometimes, and against Tours it came crashing to a halt in the worst way possible.  Tchokounte scored in the 10th and 23rd minute, Adli added another in the 24th minute for a 3-0 lead.  I changed the tactic to counter, and Tours got on board with and Aguirre goal in the 34th minute.  Then, right after half, Saviour Godwin scored two goals in two minutes, equalizing the game.  The final nail was a Barnofsky own goal, he volleyed a shot right back to the Tours Forward, who blasted it right back at him, off his leg, and past a diving Sy.  My Dline average score for this game was 6.1.  The boys got a bollocking, and a week of very high training with no break after the Tours game or before the Paris FC game.  Oddly enough, less of them complained about the training...

Mickael Pagis is this seasons Remi Garde, a coach who just doesn't want to give credit where it's due.  All season he's been saying we can't stay on top of the table, that were bound to fall at some point, he had the utmost confidence we were going to drop.  Instead Jonana Amelibia scored a header in the 24th minute of a De Parmentier corner kick, and Paris FC went completely listless.  Jean Pierazzi getting a straight red in the 73rd minute was Paris FC's only real highlight.  Afterwards, when asked how I felt about Pagis's comments, I typed something to the effect of "I'm not sure why you all in the press would ask a coach in 19th place whether or not the 1st place team would stay up this season."

Six weeks earlier Nimes came to Stade Marcel and lost 5-0.  This time we went to their house, and we picked up where we left off.    Yacine Adli, my recenct pickup playing Box to Box Mid, had a Hat Tricks worth of goals, in the 9th, 25th and 42nd minute.  Silva added his own goal in the 22nd minute.  Nimes got on board in the 44th minute, a very nice sequence of passes that led to a Sissoko goal.  Tormin scored in the 82nd minute, and the games was over, 5-1 to Les Bleus.

CS Sedan Ardennes, they of the Green Jerseys that make my eyes hurt, were our Eight Round Coupe de France opponent.  Mialik Tchokounte, whos been fighting niggling injuries all season, had a fine game, with two goals in the 10th and 34th minute, both off Adli assists. Ardennes got on the board in the 56th minute with a Plumain goal, but Tormin put it out of reach with a nice shot in the 81st minute, and we won 3-1.

The Stadium was packed when Valenciennes came to town.  They are a Ligue 1 team that was relegated last season, and this season they have been near the top of the table since the beginning.  The game was a very offensive back and forth, with a total of 33 shots on goal.  Vutov put us on the board first, a nice shot in the 30th minute, Right after the second half started, Nestor scored for VA in the 48th minute, and three minutes later took the lead with a Ndao goal.  Tormin equalized for us in the 69th minute, a nice assist from Sabayo setting up his blast past the VA keeper.  We withstood a furious charge by Valenciennes at the end of the game, Sy turning away four shots in as many minutes.  We had our chance, a nice header by Sabayo off the corner kick looked good, but the VA keeper made a very nice save to keep the game a 2-2 draw.

Christophe Galtier, the head coach of Saint Etienne, is another coach who thinks were a fluke.  I am not sure why, as we took his team to the wire last year.  I said his comments were way off the mark, and doing nothing more than inciting my boys to do better, but he was quite boastful and loud about how 'Les Verts' would have no issues with us, especially on his home pitch.  I do love disappointing other coaches so, and Galtiers tears tasted like bad champagne, let me tell you.  Tchokounte got things started in the 4th minute, a nice give and go between Tormin and Isambart that led to a Tormin cross that Malik volleyed in from about 6 yards away.  It was hard enough that if the goalie had blocked it, I am pretty sure he would have been knocked into the back of the net.  Les Verts' equalized in the 36th minute, but we went ahead in the 69th minute when Loic Perrin, Saint Etienne Captain and all around good D(C), deflected an Amelibia shot from just outside the 22 yard box into his own goal.  Tannane equalized in the 80th minute, a off the cross he headed it into the crossbar, headed the richochet of Sy, and then volleyed the ricochet of Sy past our keeper.  In fitting fashion, it was Malik Tchokounte who put the game away, a hard volley of an Isambart cross gave us the 3-2 lead, and then the win.  Galtier was still upset after the match, saying we were lucky to win.  I said it wasn't luck that put Tchokounte in 10 yards in front of the goal with 3 minutes left, and a better coach might have prepared his team better.  I may have been smirking.  

So, 19 games into the season, and we are 11-6-2, with a 16 point GD and 39 points, 3 behind FC Metz.  

Against All Odds, we may just be promoted this season...

Thanks for reading!

 

Jellico73

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We found ourselves in the finals of the Coupe de Ligue, due to an extra time win in the 10th round and a penealty shootout victory in the 11th round

We were facing Olympique Marseilles, and a red hot Moussa Dembele.

I played my defensive 532 Swiss Bolt, there's not way I was going to keep up with them in an open game.  Keep away, possession, on the counter.  And the game went like this:

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In the 3rd minute, Lloyd Isgrove, knocked a ball in past the the diving OM keeper.  And we held on for the next 88 minutes.  A 1-0 win, winning the Coupe De Ligue, and putting us in the Europa League.

I'm still not sure how I did it.  Isgrove, whose chosen not to resign with us, got a €35K bonus, which is both fitting and ironic.

 

Against All Odd's, we've won the ******* Coupe De Ligue.

 

Jellico73

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"Against All Odds - Les Bleus et Blancs"

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The victory against Saint-Etienne was still fresh when we took the field against ESTAC Troyes, which I can't fault because our 4th round Coupe De Ligue game happened 3 days earlier.  And like many teams coming off a big unexpected win, we went out and tripped over our feet:

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Troyes scored just before the half ended, at it took the wind out of the boys.  Troyes tacked on two more quick goals in the 61st and 63rd minute.  Guevein Tormin got us on the board in the 73rd minute, but Troyes was in control of this game from beginning to end really.

The Christmas break was much needed, and I didn't schedule any  friendlies for the first team because they were tired, and they deserved the break, because the start of the next session of games was going to pick up where it left off, with 9 games in 35 days.  Yes, you read that right.

In our 9th Round Coupe de France game against US Concarneau both sides came out sluggish and sloppy.  A Guevin Tormin goal in the 74th minute was the winner for us, 

SC Bastia were an odd team this year, losing games they should have won and winning games they should have lost.  I think the odds makers called this game even, In front of a full crowd at Stade Marcel, things weren't looking good when Bastia put a goal in the 4th minute.  Adli equalized in the 32nd minute, then Jonan Amelibia scored on a nice header, and then Bastia equalized a minute later.  At this point Antonia Vutov, our Bulgarian Enganche, took over.  A goal in the 39th minute, another in the 53rd minute, and the assist to De Parmentier that allowed the AM(R) to score in the 64th minute.  This is one of those instances where the stats do reflect the results, as we had twice as many shots on goal, on target, and dominated possession 58/42.

Clermont Foot has been in a fight for a playoff spot most of the season, and this match was pretty even.  A Tchokounte goal put us on board with a nice shot off the De Parmentier assist.  Clermont equalized in the 81st minute, when an errant cross in front of our goal bounced off three different players before landing at Menga's foot, and he knocked it past Sy for the equalizer.

In what has become a recurring them for us, Stade Marcel was again packed to the rafters for our game against FC Sochaux-Montbe.  And in a similar recurring theme the visitors stuck first, with a nice shot in the 13th.  Tchokounte equalized two minutes later, and then the game was a back and forth until the 77th minute, when Alegue hit a Traore cross home.

Paris Saint Germain, the eventual Ligue 1 Champions worth 1.74 BILLION Euros, came to Stade Marcel for the Coupe de la Ligue Semi Final game.  Actually one of the things I like about the French playoff games is that the lower league team is almost always the host.  So 4200 fans (210 of which were PSG fans) came to watch a drubbing, at least that's how the PSG coach was talking.  And a drubbing they saw:

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I'm not sure what happened, or why.  I was actually afraid to put my substitutions in or do anything, because I was sure what ever I did would be the trigger for the match engine to FM me.  But, it was after this game I started to think that I could actually do pretty well.

I wasn't expecting it, but the FC Sochaux game was the start of a nice run of games for us.  

We went to Amiens and won a hard fought match, with a brace of Vutov goals giving us the edge.  

In our 10th Round Coupe de France game, we had a dog fight on our hands.  ASM Belfort came to play.  A De Parmentier goal put us ahead in the 21st minute, and Belfort equalized in the 59th minute, a fine shot that left Sy going the wrong way.  We had twice as many shots as Belfort, and twice as many on target, but Belforts bend but don't break defense gave way in extra time, as De Parmentiers second goal and a Tchokounte goal in the 114th and 118th minute sealed the game for us.

Our next match against Racing Club De Lens left a sour taste in my mouth.  I screwed up my lineup and had Sabayo playing out of position at DM, and while he scored for us in the 72nd minute, he was also the defender Santini blew by on the way to scoring the equalizer.  And that was after Le Sang et Or were a man down.

GF 38 was in a relegation fight, and I was comfortable starting a heavily rotated squad against them.  GF 38 got things started with a Bocogano goal in the 12th minute.  Luan Sabayo made up for his mistake in the last game by going out and getting the hat trick, with goals in the 64th, 76th, and 87th minute, and the rest of the youngsters had solid games as well.

US Avranches always plays us tough, and this game was no exception.  Lot of yellow cards this game, and Dabilia was sent off in the 42nd minute after a particularly boneheaded tackle.  Still, an man down, Rocchi broke through on the wing and scored a nioce goal, but we couldn't hang on until the end, as Sangare scored off a nice cross.

Beziers was going to be relegated, and the effort they gave showed why.  We spent most of the game on their half of the pitch playing keep away, especially after Alegue goals in the 4th and 41st minutes bookended a Lina own goal in the 32nd minute.  They sat in the second half, and I was more than happy to oblige them, and we left with a 3-0 win.

Our 10th Round Coupe de Francegame was against CFA-D Rodez Aveyron Football, a semi pro team that played a 532 which gave us fits.  RAF scored in the 45th minute, and Tchokounte equalized in the 72nd minute, and despite Dabila getting sent off for a second yellow in the 101st minute we white knuckled it until the penalty shootout, which we won 4-3.

Turned down quite a few job offers in January as well, including four teams from the Portugeuse LigaPro, including the team in 1st place at the time, and 1.FC Nurnberg, who are in the 2nd Division Bundesliga.

In other news, Remi Garde left OGC Nice for Toulouse FC, wo were a spot behind Nice at the time.  Spoiler alert, Toulouse finished 12th in Ligue 1, OGC Nice finished 8th.

Against All Odds, we're hanging in there.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Jellico73

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