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noikeee

[FM17] How to cheat at a youth challenge

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And now for something completely different.
 
For this quick intermission between the end of FM17's life, and FM18 (although I'm undecided yet on if I'll buy it at first), I will play a little homage to some of my most entertaining careers in FM, whilst also attempting a little experiment I've been planning for a while.
 
 
The background
 
A country I've always had a little connection to - although from a very large distance - is Croatia. The 10-year old myself, at the peak of my childhood obsession with football, was most impressed with the appearance of this brand new country in Euro 96, led by a flamboyant, prolific striker named Davor Suker who had the cheek to do outrageous things like lob Peter Schmeichel from a distance. Two years later they'd outdo themselves with a run all the way to World Cup semi-finals, and with Portugal missing I was cheering for them over everyone else.
 
Into the FM days and two of my finest careers have been in Croatia. Around the FM05/06 days I won my first World Cup with them, in a distant future holiday game, thanks to a bit of a bug in regen generation where CBs all had terrible jumping, so I just played into a very tall target man and killed everyone with crosses. In FM11, I had my first addictive, entertaining career in this forum in Gundo's FM11 challenge with Olimpija Osijek - a team that doesn't appear to be in the database anymore - in which I built a team around a few incredible South African regens, we dominated the Croatian league and eventually reached the Champions League knockout stages.
 
 
The team
 
I have not managed in Croatia since that FM11 adventure, so craving for those brilliant FM moments, returning there feels like the right choice for the experiment I want to run. My choice of club is NK Novigrad, also known as Club di Calcio Cittanova. Yes that's a club with a name both in Croatian and Italian. The reason is, it's based on the town of Novigrad, also known as Cittanova, right next to the Italian border, in a region of Croatia called Istria, which historically has belonged to both countries at different times, and still retains Italian as an official 2nd language. My thinking here is simple: let's see if I can get some Italian regens! NK Novigrad play in the 2nd tier of Croatian football, the 2.HNL.
 
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The manager
 
To further open up the pool of regens, and also as another homage to another great career I also had in Eastern Europe, in FM15 with CSKA Sofia of Bulgaria, I will be reviving one of the manager aliases I used in that career: Klaus Alegrov. He is set as Bulgarian, so again, Bulgarian regens please!
 
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The challenge
 
But what is the actual challenge or experiment I want to run? Well, I've often wanted to do a youth challenge but I've never been entirely comfortable with a) how little control you get about the development of your squad; and b) how much you miss out on the fun of signing players. So I decided to do something that's almost a youth challenge... but cheat. I will sign one single player per season.
 
The idea here is: this opens up a lot of strategy. Do I hire a tutor? Or youngsters, so that I can maximise the playing time I get from them? The best available player, full stop? The guy to patch the hole of that position that's annoyingly never generated by my youth academy? Every single signing counts. Don't waste them.
 
But, the dynamics surely will still be very similar to youth challenges. If I play my cards juuuuust right, in 11 seasons I can have a starting 11 of 11 signings, but the bulk of the squad are still youth academy players. So it's still of the utmost, critical importance to develop them.
 
Given the very long term nature of the career, to speed things up, I will try to use instant result for once, except for key matches. I have only loaded the top leagues of England, Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Portugal. I will also be using some of the pre-made tactics from @knap I used at the end of my previous career with Monaco; and the many, many tactics I developed over the years across that career.
 
Right, I think everything's explained. Off to start then!

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Novigrad - 3rd of June, 2016
 
You already know an unexperienced Bulgarian manager named Klaus Alegrov has taken over NK Novigrad in the Croatian second tier. So let's cut the crap and take a look at my initial squad...
 
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Erm, that's not a lot of information. "Unknown" potential and ability? Well, turns out I don't have a single staff member in my entire club. That bodes well. Also, I have 20 players. Literally 20 players - not a single youngster in my U19s. Until my first youth intake, that'll have to do. Those 20 plus the lucky guy I choose to be the first signing for this season. Speaking of which, I also have no scouts.
 
The best players, from what I can gather:
 
 
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He seems really good! He's also on loan, so not a long-term option. Balls.
 
 
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Our Messi. Our quick, accurate finishing talent that we will have to rely upon for goals.
 
 
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Our Iniesta. Can play a pass. Can run fast. Can play in different positions.
 
 
Goals
 
Don't get relegated. That's what the board wants and I very much agree. I was looking forward to playing the 4-2-3-1 I played with Monaco but this squad has 1 winger and zero depth whatsoever everywhere, so it looks like very much whatever I do, it won't fit great. Fingers crossed for some quality winger later on - either as my golden signing for the season, or in the youth intakes. For now, first priority is to get some staff! Good staff, ideally.

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Novigrad - 2016/2017 - Golden signing
 
I can now announce our "golden signing" (sounds corny, but it's the best I could think of) for this season. Arrives on a free, although, ridiculously, we have a transfer budget of 464K€ (!!!) :
 
 
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A winger was a much bigger priority than a striker, but with a lack of decent options on the market, and the possibility to rearrange a few players' positions to sort out the wings, I moved for this young Armenian with potential, loads of pace, and crucially a rare big chunk of determination which helps his personality - something rare on the market right now. I am now expecting to field him upfront, whilst Dadic should be AMC, Batelic AML, and Belakovic AMR, in my Monaco/knap's 4-2-3-1.

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1 hour ago, Rikulec said:

Those players look decent for this level. Good luck. :thup:

Thanks... but you'd be surprised at how good the Croatian second tier is!

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Novigrad - 2016/2017 - Mid-season report
 
 
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This has been quite a rewarding 1st season for Novigrad so far. We were a little shocked when we lost the very first match 3-0, but then we'd embark on a nice sequence of matches without losing - including an excellent 6-0 over Gorica, which we would repeat later on - that put us at the top fighting with Solin for promotion, and that's where we've been most of the season so far. There's been the odd few defeats here and there, such as losing to Solin themselves at home, Sibenik, and Rudes, but up until mid-November we were well up there in the fight. However, late November ruined our form a bit. The draw at Dragovoljac and the defeat to Solin again, allowed Solin to open up a gap whilst Sibenik caught us, and on equal points and better direct confrontation, sneaked in to 2nd place ahead of us.
 
In the cup, a predictable easy win over Bilogorac was followed by a less comfortable one over Vinogradar, but we crashed out in the 2nd round vs our now promotion rivals Sibenik.
 
 
 
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We might've just dropped out of the top 2, with 2nd place giving a promotion playoff spot that we now want, but we should've had no business fighting for these positions so I'm only very happy with my players. For a start this has been rather nice, and although I wonder if a potential promotion wouldn't come too early, we will try to do what we can to still get it.
 
As an aside, it feels rather weird how quickly I'm playing this, instant-resulting everything is really its own kind of different way to play the game, but I'm enjoying it so far!
Edited by noikeee

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Great idea for a save. The fact that there were no Italians in your squad hopefully doesn't mean you wouldn't get Italians in your intake.

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27 minutes ago, kidthekid said:

Great idea for a save. The fact that there were no Italians in your squad hopefully doesn't mean you wouldn't get Italians in your intake.

Agreed on multiple counts. Looking forward to seeing how this goes.

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8 hours ago, kidthekid said:

Great idea for a save. The fact that there were no Italians in your squad hopefully doesn't mean you wouldn't get Italians in your intake.

Good point. I think they'll be pretty rare or inexistent until our youth recruitment is quite good.

The Italian thing to some extent is also an homage to previous careers - namely my first two FMCU careers, in FM11 and FM12, where I had loads of fun managing Unione Venezia (not far from Croatia in Venice!), Roma and Torino.

But interestingly, still about that area, I just looked it up in Google Maps and it turns out Italy doesn't actually share a border with Croatia right now - there's a little strip of Slovenia in between!

7 hours ago, ManUtd1 said:

Agreed on multiple counts. Looking forward to seeing how this goes.

I'm quite excited about this career right now, but I think it'll be quite a test of patience! I just hope I don't get bored of it too soon!

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Superb idea, lots of strategy involved in that one signing. Will be interesting to see how this develops!

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12 hours ago, MarcxD said:

Very interesting idea for a save, good luck with it!

 

8 hours ago, smp20 said:

Superb idea, lots of strategy involved in that one signing. Will be interesting to see how this develops!

 

6 hours ago, Dexter_Morgan said:

Good luck with this, sounds a good idea. Picking the 1 signing will be tough though :D 

 

45 minutes ago, Jupjamie said:

Good luck mate!

 

Cheers everyone!

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Novigrad - 2016/2017 - Youth intake
 
Ooooooooohhhhhh our first intake.... *drumroll*
 
 
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Umm, wow. Good, but not what I was expecting.
 
- Our best player is an English winger! That's the only foreign nationality here, and hardly the nationality I expected! My guess is he's connected to our new goalkeeping coach I hired earlier this season, Tim Dittmer.
 
- Whilst both Ben Moore and Ivor Paracki are very good prospects, they're both said to be very inconsistent, that's a massive flaw in my book. They may never play as well as their attributes say. Moore, moreover, has a crappy "balanced" personality.
 
- Still on personalities, despite Moore, the overall personalities of this intake are amazing!! I'm VERY happy there. I decided to tag and hire anyone (fairly) ambitious/professional/determined and there's a lot of them.

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I don't have the slightest idea of why some of my posts sometimes get this ****** formatting. Worse... I don't know how to get rid of it.

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2 minutes ago, kidthekid said:

I think consistency improves with age right?

In theory yes, but I've never seen it happen with "very inconsistent" youth players I had in the past. Supposedly lots of playing time improves it, but that means putting a player that'll underperform match after match on the pitch every match...

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17 hours ago, noikeee said:

In theory yes, but I've never seen it happen with "very inconsistent" youth players I had in the past. Supposedly lots of playing time improves it, but that means putting a player that'll underperform match after match on the pitch every match...

Or putting them on loan at a club that will. Maybe send them to a club where they will be a top player?

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8 minutes ago, henryzz said:

Or putting them on loan at a club that will. Maybe send them to a club where they will be a top player?

That was my tactic at HSV with Fabian Jung. Sent him year after year on loan to Austria.. always came back still with the orange circle for inconsistency. Although I think he was getting a lot of sub appearances rather than as a starter.

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Novigrad - 2016/2017 - End of season report
 
 
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After the typical boring winter break, we returned to our task of chasing a promotion playoff place in good form, winning 4 out of the first 5 league fixtures in February/March. This put us back up to 2nd and cemented us there, but there was a slight form turndown with 3 draws in a row and a defeat, and 2nd place was now again under threat from Sibenik. However two big 4-0 wins, including over Sibenik themselves, pretty much confirmed us in the promotion playoff. The official mathematical confirmation came in the penultimate fixture, against Dinamo's reserve side, and we played for peanuts the final match against champions Solin, giving the first starts to Ben Moore 17A, Mauro Grabovac 17B and Ivor Paracki 17C.
 
Fate would put us in the promotion playoff against our parent club Istra 1961, the biggest club in the region. Fate also dictated that our standout performer, golden signing Artur Miranyan was injured for both legs, but Robert Dadic would do a remarkable job of replacing him, scoring 2 goals at home and another away. I took over the job to manage them on the pitch for these 2 key matches, and in the first we were utterly outstanding, opening up a massive 4-0 lead by mid-2nd half. Istra did claim 2 late goals though, so there was still the possibility they'd turn into around in the 2nd match. That was pretty much over within 19 minutes, as Dadic and Aleksic put us 2-0 up again, and although Istra would again emerge better later on, and score 2 goals in quick succession themselves in the 2nd half, making it 2-2, we shut them off for the final minutes and claimed promotion, in a direct swap that makes us the biggest club in Istria. Midfielder Dejan Polic, on loan from our opponents, helped ensure his employer's relegation himself.
 
 
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Once the opportunity opened up of promotion, I decided to go for it with everything I had, rather than give more minutes to the youngest guys or something. It paid off - I never expected this to come already and it's such a huge boost. Let's see if this lot has what it takes to stay up next season - now THAT will be the challenge.
Edited by noikeee

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1 hour ago, Sheriff7 said:

Good luck man,this English winger looks good.. 

Thanks, your good luck wishes already helped us get promoted. :) 

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Novigrad - 2016/2017 - Season review
 
A massive breakthrough for the club as we reach the top level for what I believe to be the first time in the club's history. It's all the sweeter as we make a direct swap with Istra 1961, the biggest club in the region - I'm hoping to overtake them in terms of youth recruitment and such, and poach the local players instead of them.
 
 
 
Statistics, best 11, and top 5 players of the season
 
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5. Nemanja Belakovic (AMR, AML) - This 20 year old Serbian winger had a couple of injuries that lost him a bit of progress earlier on, but later emerged as a quality creator, with 7 goals and 9 assists.
 
4. Diego Valenta (DC) - Our best defender who had a clearly positive season, but he's already 31. Centre-back already emerging as a bit of a problem position here (although the major priority right now is to replace holding midfielder Dejan Polic whose loan runs out).
 
3. Kristijan Batelic (AMC, AMR, AML, MC, MR) - A versatile player who I placed right about anywhere attacking midfield-ish, but who eventually settled himself as our AMC. 7 goals, 12 assists.
 
2. Marin Pilj (MC) - Overperformer of the season. I didn't identify him at first as a particularly impressive player, but the 20 year old beat all expectations by scoring 6 goals and assisting another 12, whilst picking up the highest ratings in the side (7.37), all from a rather deep MC position. Starting to attract interest from Osijek.
 
1. Artur Miranyan (ST) - When my "golden signing" emerges as top scorer on 22 goals, it's fair to say it was a very good choice of golden signing. Miranyan had a superb debut season for the club, the only issue here is that he's not only attracting interest from Osijek as well, but is also starting to become annoyed I won't let him go.
 
 
 
 
Career progress table
 
I've decided to convert myself to the exhilarating world of spreadsheets! Credit to @Jupjamie who I took some ideas out of, but then I extended the table a bit to include more things:
 
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Here's a whole lot of awards. Particularly interesting is we locked out the top 3 young players of the season:

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And some absolutely massive news!

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We were only semi-professional up until here.

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Even bigger news!!

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The stadium is growing 4x in size, from hosting 1000 to 4000 people.

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This is like, every news item I receive is awesome. From scouting Croatia to the whole Europe:

 

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Novigrad - 2017/2018 - Golden signing
 
From Cibalia, who got relegated from the 1.HNL to the 2.HNL, for 40K€:
 
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No surprises here that I went for a direct replacement for holding midfielder Dejan Polic, who left after his loan ran out and opened up a giant hole in the squad as we had nobody resembling much of a backup for him. In fact, I almost signed Polic himself! However I decided instead to go for this lad, who whilst he isn't anywhere near as good technically, has resolute personality and can play excellently as CB (quite possibly better than as MC or DM, in fact).

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****, I released Luka Cakarun (starting CB) on a free by mistake. Thankfully he's willing to sign back for us. This is technically a 2nd signing, but under the circumstances I think I have to do this... I'd have to go back a couple of months in the save and I can't be arsed.

Edited by noikeee

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Woohoo! What a wonderful surprise. Staying up will be massive. You've got it.

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9 hours ago, ManUtd1 said:

Woohoo! What a wonderful surprise. Staying up will be massive. You've got it.

I'm aprehensive because I'm not sure we're getting better. Tomasevic as CM/D is better than Polic was at some things but worse at others; the kids from the youth intake aren't ready to improve the side; we've got a 31 yo starting CB who is beginning to decay; and Miranyan upfront is pissed off and wants to leave (fingers crossed he renews and doesn't go on a free at the end of the season)...

The only upside is that the core of my starting 11 is rather young and several players are still learning and improving.

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32 minutes ago, deltablue said:

How did you release a player by mistake? 

I was offering contracts to right about everyone in my squad, doing it almost automatically without thinking. When it came to Luka Cakarun... I clicked on "offer new contract"... nothing happened (apparently). I thought, humm that's weird but well, okay, let me try again, and proceeded as normal.

Then the next day I get a inbox email saying he was released on a free! I must've clicked on "release on a free" the first time, instead of "offer new contract", and the game didn't even prompt me with a "are you sure?" message... I must've turned off that message at some stage.

Edited by noikeee

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MfXaGIt.jpg

Crap. The club's first major injury is to our right-back. Bit of an issue here with the backup (Marko Jozanovic) being poo, although he often had to play last year for us to meet the requirement of 3 U21 players in the squad - this requirement no longer exists in this league, only in the 2.HNL.

Edited by noikeee

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Amazing, I'd never seen this before. There was an option in the board requests to negotiate the link with Istra 1961... so they became the feeder club and we became the parent club, instead of the other way around as it was until here. :lol:

This could be great, I hope they send us some talents for the youth intake.

Edited by noikeee

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OEeJVqY.jpg

 

Some fantastic news. He seemed to be having a very long lasting tantrum about not being let go on transfer, and his contract was running out, so we were in serious danger of losing him on a free at the end of the year. Thankfully, we managed to hold him hostage for another 5 years.

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1 minute ago, cplpeters1900 said:

I started my career save at Novigrad! Pilj was my best player by a mile by the time I left!

He's definitely developing into a bit of a star, has the best ratings again so far this season.

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2 hours ago, noikeee said:

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Amazing, I'd never seen this before. There was an option in the board requests to negotiate the link with Istra 1961... so they became the feeder club and we became the parent club, instead of the other way around as it was until here. :lol:

This could be great, I hope they send us some talents for the youth intake.

The scenes...

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Artur Miranyan becomes the first Novigrad full international, after playing the 2nd 45 minutes for Armenia in the home 0-2 defeat to Romania for World Cup qualifying.

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Novigrad - 2017/2018 - Mid-season report
 
 
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It's been quite the debut season in the 1.HNL!! Despite being greeted with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Lokomotiva Zagreb, we'd soon embark in a sensational string of early results with 4 wins and a draw, this epic run taking us all the way up to 1st (!), and only really ending at the hands of Dinamo (of course), even then we were 2-0 up against Dinamo before they turned it scoring 4. Dinamo would no longer ever let 1st place get away from them, but we continued on form and remained 2nd thanks to quite a few wins, and by mid-October we were even looking like starting to put some pressure over Dinamo for 1st place again!
 
However, we then hit a patch of dodgy form and over the last few weeks it looks as if we're starting to get found out, with only 2 wins in the last 7 league matches - but despite all that we still remain 2nd and with a 4 points gap over the equally surprising Solin (who got promoted last year along with us) in 3rd place.
 
In the cup I've been giving some opportunities to the likes of Ben Moore 17A and Ivor Paracki 17C - Paracki would score his first goal for the club in the 2nd round match against Cibalia - and we largely got away with that for as long as we met lower league opponents, but once we had to face another 1.HNL side, RNK Split, in the quarter-finals, we were out.
 
 
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Again this was not on the program, and this quite possibly is an even bigger surprise than last season - I expected a relegation fight, not an outside title fight! My inner pessimist feels teams are starting to open up their eyes to the fact we are dangerous, so I expect less points from here on, and would be shocked if we kept up with Dinamo, but I am absolutely delighted with 2nd place for now. With a 8 points gap over 4th place, I feel I can now name an European top 3 place as the target for the rest of the season.

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Novigrad - 2017/2018 - Youth intake
 
 
Hoping for a centre-back or a right-back...
 
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And it's an amazing intake! Jackpot! I have exactly the centre-back I wanted - Krunoslav Malkic 18A will be immediately on the verge of the first team - plus a good keeper and a good striker. I'd rather have other personalities than ambitious, but that's fine too.

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Lots of potential there. :thup: I guess a lot of people here can't wait to see you win the league over Dinamo at some point!

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9 hours ago, Rikulec said:

Lots of potential there. :thup: I guess a lot of people here can't wait to see you win the league over Dinamo at some point!

And I can't wait to smash some Sanmarinese minnows in Europe! :brock:

2 hours ago, TheJanitor said:

Very good so far, Malkic looks like he'll be a top CB!

I'm very happy with him but there's two minor problems at the moment:

- he's a bit slow, which doesn't fit my high-ish line (but I've put him on quickness training and I think within 1 or 2 seasons he'll be ready)

- I can see problems brewing in the future with ambitious personality, I tried to tutor him with resolute Josip Tomasevic but he refused

But I doubt I'll have much better youths in the near future so really can't complain at all. The whole point of a youth challenge (or something similar to a youth challenge like this) is to use players that don't fit your system perfectly!

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What kind of exercise were my keepers doing so they collided with each other??

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Just now, noikeee said:

What kind of exercise were my keepers doing so they collided with each other??

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Do you really want an answer to that question?! There's a reason your physio went home early today...

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