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Dilly-dallying with the Dollybirds

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Bohemian F.C.

Season 2048


Season Expectations

While at semi-professional status I don't think we will be able to challenge for the title as Cork City & Dundalk are just too strong. We need to be looking at qualifying for the Europa League again as our best hopes of gaining money to turn professional lie in Europe and going as far as possible. 


 
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League Table - It is an improvement on last season although it could have easily been a much worse finish. We started the season well and were keeping pace with Dundalk after the first set of games but then as the fixtures piled up we began to falter and when the European commitments started and I rested our best players the form completely collapsed. Thankfully, we managed to recover the situation towards the end of the season and claimed a Europa League place. I was shocked by how poor Cork City was in missing out on European football completely. It could mean they revert back to semi-professional status after next season as their finances were 'Insecure' before the injection of cash from the Europa League and they won't have that next season.

UEFA Europa League - Well, I think this is the best achievement of my career so far. I was concerned that we would lose in the 1st Qualifying Round so for us to go all the way to the group stage is stunning. The team was unseeded the whole way through qualifying and some of the results we pulled off were amazing. I thought the 7-0 win away in Romania was special for it to be surpassed by an incredible 2nd leg recovery against Celtic. The group stage was a step too far but we did claim a point and didn't embarrass ourselves so overall I'm delighted with the way it went. 

Domestic Cups - When it was looking likely that we might finish outside the top 4 I decided to focus on trying to claim a Europa League spot by winning the Senior Challenge Cup which we ended up doing but which was ultimately unnecessary. It was however nice to claim the first double of my tenure and receive a little boost to the clubs reputation that goes with it.

Under 19s - They are getting better which is a nice sign. I will be scheduling a load of friendlies next season as we really struggled with fitness and even though I've asked the Under 19s manager to schedule one every week he doesn't do it so I'll have to manually do it myself and will be doing 2 a week for Wednesdays and Saturdays.

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Squad – I couldn't really do much to improve the squad so I was delighted with what they achieved. A large number of players in the team have their contracts expire at the end of the season and will be released as they aren't good enough to help us on our journey of continual improvement. There will definitely be huge changes next season though as the squad is going to need to be significantly stronger in order to compete for the title which is the objective next season.  
 
Transfers – I really struggled to find players of a good enough quality to improve the team so only made one loan signing in Long as we desperately needed a quality central defender. I may continue to bring in loan players next season to assist our title challenge as I feel given the leagues poor reputation we may struggle to get quality players to join us on a permanent basis from abroad.
 
Player Of The Season
Keith O'Flynn – ST - Average Rating: 7.75
He was incredible this season scoring a record number of goals for the club. I don't really like his PPMs of Static Target Man or Knocks Ball Past Opponent as his attributes don't appear to suit them but it didn't appear to hamper his game too much except in Europe where he found it much more difficult to score but that's really nitpicking at what has been a great season for him.

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
Paddy Croft – MC - Average Rating: 7.37
He did really well when you consider that I was constantly rotating him between playing as a left winger and central midfielder. Another promising youngster who appears to have good room for further improvement.

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Finances – The Europa League run has changed the club forever and means that next season the club will be turning professional. The club also had a board takeover which cleared the debt and took out a small loan of £100K which gave us a small working balance at the time. I decided not to improve any of the clubs facilities as although the balance is good it's not comfortable enough to start spending money in that direction. I'd like to first build a quality team capable of winning the title and going into the Champions League group stages first before committing that money when you consider that there is no guarantee we'll make the Europa League group stages again and gain that money after such a miraculous run this time around. 
 
Facilities – The facilities need a lot of work but will have to wait. I did manage to upgrade both junior coaching and youth recruitment. I think I've encountered a bug as we only played at the Aviva Stadium in the group stages of the Europa League when we should have been playing there from the 3rd Qualifying Round as the rules state that you must have a 4,500 seated capacity from that round whereas Dalymount Park only has 4,227 seats. This severely hampered our money making capability against Celtic but on the flip side maybe the home crowd helped us.

Youth Intake – Timlin DC looks to have good potential but the rest aren't that great. I think for next seasons intake I'll be a bit more selective as the U19s squad has become rather bloated and there isn't much point having players there which aren't going to play.
 
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League Reputation – The Irish Premier Division remained in the same place but given that both us and Dundalk made the Europa League group stage I would expect to see a sharp rise next season.
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Even though the club is on the rise we still can't rise above 1*.
 
Club European Reputation – We really should go flying up this table as our coefficient increased more than 10 fold.
 
Edited by pheelf

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Returning home

After spending nearly 3 years in Ireland, a job opportunity came up in N. Ireland that I just couldn't refuse. I'm glad for what I've built at Bohemian F.C. by transforming them from relegation battlers into genuine title contenders but if I'm being entirely honest I began to tire of the summer league format and having to schedule friendlies all the time in order to keep players fit so when Linfield's manager retired on the 30th May I jumped at the opportunity.

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They are the most decorated team in N. Irish football history, winning an incredible 57 League titles, 44 Irish Cups, 31 League Cups, 47 Co. Antrim Shields and an All Ireland Cup which is now unfortunately defunct. The problem with them is that all that history is literally that...history. Since the save began the only silverware they have won is the Irish Cup and that was in 2018. The objective of my time at the club will be to restore domestic dominance and push the club forward onto continental success and worldwide recognition. A monumental task considering what I've built with Dollingstown and the fact that both Cliftonville & Ballymena United have had Champions League money flowing into their coffers for a few seasons.


Club

This club has all the makings of a global superpower but while other clubs have been able to take advantage of the new wealth in the league they haven't. I like the rivalries and the fact that the club has a derby and I hope to be able to add Dollingstown as a competitive rival someday in the future too. The fact that they have a 3* reputation will help in player acquisition as I build a squad capable of competing in the group stages of the Europa League.

Facilities 

There is a lot of work to do if we are to compete with the best teams in European football. The youth and training facilities are poor but that will have to wait until we get some money. On the plus side, they use the national team stadium which has an expansion capacity of 28,000 which leaves plenty of room for growth. Once we get to that size I can imagine that any new stadium built after that is likely to be huge.

Squad 

There is a lot of work to do here. The club has an affiliation with Nimes where they loan players from them and the club had 6 players which I relegated to the reserves to get a proper picture of the squad. As you can see what remains isn't great. I don't want to rely on loan players as much like before there is no resale value and I don't want the club to be developing players for other teams. The summer transfer window is going to be one of the most important in the history of the club.

Finances 

Based on the bank balance it looks like I'm going to need to do some wheeling and dealing as we are quite close to our wage budget. As we aren't going to be able to spend much money on players it could be a great opportunity to develop some of our youth players.

Starting Conditions

Dollingstown is still a giant in the country but the priority has to be overtaking Cliftonville & Ballymena United which is a serious task in itself. Cliftonville will be playing in their new 5,648 all-seater stadium which seems a little small but no doubt they will be expanding relatively quickly. Glenavon has been taken over by a tycoon which means they will have huge buying power and it may prove a struggle to even finish 4th which is our season expectation. The league has unfortunately declined in the rankings and coefficients which means that we lose a Champions League group stage spot for the 2050/2051 season meaning we will have to finish 3rd in order to claim the automatic group stage spot for the Europa League.

Starting League Reputations

Danske Bank Premier - 8th

Bluefin Sport Championship - 115th

Bluefin Sport Premier Intermediate League - 182nd

This is going to be a real challenge...let us begin.

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Linfield F.C.

Season 2049 / 2050


Season Expectations

The board wants us to qualify for the Europa League through the league which would mean a minimum of 8th and winning the Europa League playoff. I'd like to have a good try for the top 2 and Champions League qualification but that looks really difficult given our finances and the amount of work that needs to be done to the team. As for the Europa League, I'd like to be as competitive as we can and fight to reach the knockout stages if possible. 


 
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League Table - This was a very interesting season as we flirted with finishing 3rd but in the end, Ballymena United had too much for us and claimed the automatic group stage spot for the Europa League. After the regular season ended we went on to win the Europa League playoff beating our rivals Glentoran in the semi-final before beating Glenavon in the final. All of which proved to be irrelevant as we will see later. The fascinating tale of the season was how close Dollingstown came to losing the title to Cliftonville, it was only thanks to a last day win against us which enabled them to retain their title on goal difference. Dollingstown really could do with a rebuild and seem content to be paying ultra-high wages to the now aged stars of my time there without any thoughts about the future.

UEFA Europa League - If getting into the Europa League group stages with semi-professional Bohemians was special then this was surreal bordering on ludicrous. This campaign had everything you could hope for, great comebacks, shock wins, high scoring games, late drama, a penalty shootout, red cards and one of the best finals I've ever seen. I never in my wildest dreams would have thought we could achieve this when you look at the squad I had at my disposal but we did and best of all we get a spot in the Champions League group stages next season.   

Domestic Cups - We managed to break our long run of not winning a domestic trophy by lifting the League cup. I put out a reserve team for the Irish Cup semi-final given the Europa League semi-final 3 days later.

Reserves - I don't know whether it is a rule for the Linfield Swifts specifically or not but for some reason only players U21 can play in the Reserve league even though the rules state there are no restrictions. All of which means that some players who weren't good enough for the first team couldn't get any game time to build their fitness and could only play in friendlies and the cups. They did well to win the league but weren't great in the cups.

Under 18s - I think they did relatively well when you consider that they had hardly any players in the team before the youth intake.

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Squad – The reason why the Europa League win was so stunning is that when you look at this team they don't look to have the quality needed to even reach the knockout stages. They vastly overperformed what their level suggested they would be capable of. I lucked out a bit as some of the best players that came into the club on a free were my predecessors doing, Amrani ST, Zetchi MC & Djokovic GK were all fantastic for the club and have great resale value as shown by Djokovic GK who left for £1M on January deadline day to Cliftonville. Given the massive improvement in the budgets and the Champions League money coming in for next season, I will be strengthening all over the pitch in order to try an build a squad capable of challenging for the title and qualifying from their Champions League group. 
 
Transfers – The best value was had with the free transfers as the players I paid for didn't perform as well as I perhaps wanted although Pech did come up with the goods in the Europa League final. There were a few flops in the signings, Dieme DL, Smith MC & Grimes MC were all poor. Criscuoli GK was a last ditch signing to replace Djokovic GK but he did a brilliant job and became a club hero by saving two penalties in the Europa League final.
 
Player Of The Season
Hamza Amrani – ST - Average Rating: 7.57
A very special player who really shone brightly for us. 40 goals is an incredible return in his first season and is almost a goal a game which is brilliant. He formed a very good partnership with Hull and it will be interesting to see how that develops next season.

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
Pierre-Olivier Bernard – DL - Average Rating: 7.29
I know I stated categorically that I wouldn't be bringing in loan players but I made an exception here as we were really struggling to find a quality left back we could afford. When Nimes offered this guy to us it solved a lot of problems for us and he did brilliantly and developed really well. Next season he will leave but if this is the final loan player to ever come here he has been one of the best we could have hoped for.

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Finances – This is the balance after all the improvements money was taken out so I'd say we are relatively comfortable. Given that the Champions League prize money will be going into the pot next season doubling our balance, I think we have plenty of room to go on a spending spree to get the quality we need to put in a strong challenge on all fronts. We have a huge surplus in the budget which pulls a lot of players into our reach as realistic targets.
 
Facilities – Everything except the stadium has either been improved or getting improved. The training facilities have a long way to go before they are considered of a decent standard but at least they are being improved. I'm very pleased however to have maxed out the youth recruitment at this early stage in our career with Linfield.

Youth Intake – A very good intake in my books with a depth I haven't had in quite some time. I'll be hoping to see Stanex DL, Williamson MR, Crane MC & Murphy ST feature in the first team in future. Hopefully, as the squad improves they continue to look as good.
 
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League Reputation – The nation has recovered a place but the coefficients would indicate it is some way from getting back its 3rd Champions League spot as the Scottish teams have really stepped up their game in Europe having 5 teams in the Europa League knockout stages this season. The Irish Premier Division got a nice little bump also rising 10 places.
 
Club Domestic Reputation – The fact that we are still behind Cliftonville is a little strange. 
 
Club European Reputation – A strong rise in both coefficient and position. It is pleasing to see both Ballymena United and Cliftonville in the screenshot.
 
Edited by pheelf

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Linfield F.C.

Season 2050 / 2051


Season Expectations

After last seasons incredible Europa League win, I'd like to make an impact in the Champions League. If we could be involved in a title challenge that would be great but I'd be happy to qualify for the Europa League.


 
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League Table - It seems that we are really going to face a battle for domestic dominance as we slip even further back. Glenavon is becoming a real force to be reckoned with and it was only thanks to us winning the semi-final of the playoff that we qualified for the Europa League at all as Glenavon took us apart 3-0 in the final.

UEFA Champions League - I'm fairly satisfied with the clubs first ever group stage campaign and clinching 3rd ahead of Wolfsburg. We were never close to being competitive against Real Madrid and Liverpool but at least we didn't embarrass ourselves. I learned a lot from the campaign as it gives me a good gauge of how much progress has been made at the club.

UEFA Europa League - We were looking fairly decent until we went to Rennes where we got shocked with 2 goals within the first 5 minutes. We improved but I knew that a 3 goal deficit would have been too much for us to make up which is why I was gutted when we missed a couple of guilt edge chances late in the game to make it 4-2. In the end, we just ran out of time in the 2nd leg and were eliminated.

UEFA Super Cup - Another game where it was over before it even began. The scoreline suggests a close game but actually, we were lucky not to get hammered.

Domestic Cups - It is always nice to be able to retain a trophy although I was a little bit disappointed to throw away a lead in the Co. Antrim Shield final.

Reserves - They did alright and won a cup.

Under 18s - Domestically they were great, in the UEFA Youth League they were terrible although surprisingly they got 2 draws against Real Madrid.

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Squad Part 1 Squad Part 2 – As an indication to show how overly bloated the squad has become I couldn't fit all the players into one screenshot. There are some class players in there who performed brilliantly but there is also a large amount of deadwood from the old regime that needs shipping out. The problem I have is that a lot of the players that need to leave are considered team leaders and have N. Irish nationality. That means next season could be difficult with European squad registration and the team could have a real deficit in leadership. I can sense another massive rebuild needs to be done as even though we improved our points total in the league by 4 points the other teams have significantly improved especially Glenavon who spent £4.7M on 17 new players. I'm also going to cancel the clubs affiliation with Nimes as I feel that we are beyond the need for loan players and I want to move the club away from being a junior club.
 
Transfers – A lot of activity although no clubs really wanted to buy our players which I thought was a bit strange. I don't know whether it has anything to do with the first option affiliation with Nimes but I would have expected at least some bids for our best players. I was relatively satisfied with the transfer business this season although I can see the summer being a real busy window next season.
 
Player Of The Season
Martin Harell – MR - Average Rating: 7.74
A very talented winger and provider of the most assists who I might have trouble keeping as he appears to have a lot of interest from other clubs. I'll be willing to sell but only for the right price which means a bid in excess of the clubs record transfer fee received which is a measly £801K, I'll be looking for bids around the £7M mark. 

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
Dmitriy Sokolovskiy – ML - Average Rating: 7.54
He did exceptionally well in his first season at the club and I will be interested to see if he can maintain his impressive development next season.

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Finances – Even though there wasn't much progress on the pitch, a number of positive steps were taken to build the club off the pitch which was pleasing. The old chairman retired and the club got taken over by a consortium at the end of the season which was great as they pumped in a few million and used their own money to invest in upgrading the training facilities. They have also handed me a nice increase in the transfer budget and wage budget which should make squad building next season a lot easier.
 
The new board appears to be a lot more ambitious than the previous one which is great as I feel like our visions for the club are more closely aligned. I also decided to bolster the staff significantly and have now filled the allocation available from the club. In the short term. I want to transform Linfield into a selling club and building up the bank balance in order to supercharge the growth of the club.
 
Facilities – Everything except the stadium is being improved which is great. I would hope that every season I can continue to invest in the facilities if my plan of turning this into a selling club works out.

Youth Intake – I'm very pleased with this intake as it may indicate that the HG requirements might not become such an issue after all. In my book, Byrne DL and Anderson MC are future internationals and already look like they could feature against some lower league teams in the cups and not be out of place.
 
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League Reputation – Staying in place isn't bad at all when you consider that Dollingstown didn't make the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since I left. Scotland is miles ahead in the coefficients and it is benefitting the Scottish teams greatly with new stadiums popping up all over the country. I can't see the DBP overtaking them for a long time, for now, we've got to hold on to our position.
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Cliftonville have done really well to hold onto 2nd. Crusaders don't look like ever returning to the top flight.
 
Club European Reputation – We can see the summit which is great, it should also ensure that we remain seeded through qualifying.
 
Edited by pheelf

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Linfield F.C.

Season 2051 / 2052


Season Expectations

The aim has to be to qualify for the Champions League, given that we have 3 paths to achieve that I'd be disappointed if we don't make it.


 
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League Table - Without a doubt, one of the best moments of the career so far. Going into the new year we were 8 points behind leaders Dollingstown and it was looking like we would have to battle it out with Cliftonville for 2nd. At that point, thinking that I had nothing to lose I decided to institute some game management tactics such as protecting leads by shifting down to a Defensive mentality after 60 minutes, substituting strikers off for defenders, changing roles such as making the deep-lying forward a target man and adopting a deep-lying playmaker in midfield. It worked magnificently and we won all the remaining games we played which meant that going into the split we were only 2 points behind Dollingstown as they began to falter. The first fixture after the split was against them and when we went to my old stomping ground and won we went top. We needed to be perfect to stay there and we were sealing a truly remarkable title triumph, the first for the club since 2017.

UEFA Europa League - I thoroughly enjoyed this campaign and going through the qualifiers and group stage with a perfect record. By the time Celtic came around, I had a bit of a dilemma. The title race was hotting up but at the same time, we were still in a battle for 2nd with Cliftonville. I wanted to keep our options open with regards to qualifying for the Champions League by trying to win the Europa League. The Dollingstown game was on the Saturday after the second leg and I knew that to stand any chance of fighting for the league title I would need to win. Therefore, what I did was to put out a full-strength side in Glasgow and see if we could get a result. In the end, we got beaten convincingly and that largely made my mind up to focus on the league so I played the youth team in the 2nd leg and bowed out of the competition although they did outperform the first team which I found rather surprising. It was a huge gamble to sacrifice the Europa League for the league but thankfully for us, it paid off.

Domestic Cups - The silverware is really starting to flow now with the team capturing the Irish Cup for the first time. One could argue that we had a favourable run but given that it was a rotated side which played the matches I still think it was a pretty good achievement.

Reserves - Another Steel & Sons Cup was nice bringing the total trophy count for the season up to 4. They seem to struggle in the Intermediate Cup though.

Under 18s - A very good season from the youth team, I'll be interested to see how they fare in the UEFA Youth League next season.

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Squad – They performed brilliantly to bring home the title and for the first time it is starting to feel like my team. I've largely cleared out all the deadwood although there are still a few stragglers that remain. It's a worry that there are so few N. Irish flags as that really made squad registration for Europe problematic but I'm optimistic about the future as we have a number of high potential youngsters coming out of the youth system which should be ready for some first team action.
 
Transfers – There was a lot of business performed this season as I felt the squad needed to be rebuilt so I'm very happy to have made a profit in the transfer market. I may have overpaid for some players, Sheffield MC being the worst culprit but overall they all did well and a lot of the players still have a lot of room for growth. I also brought in a plethora of talented young U20 players (mostly on a free after a trial) for the Reserve team which ended up getting loaned out. It will be interesting to see if they have improved on their return.
 
Player Of The Season
Dmitriy Sokolovskiy – ML - Average Rating: 8.18
He was instrumental in helping us to the title and his average rating shows just how consistent he was. I had to offer him 2 new contracts this season but finally, I got rid of the release clause which twice dipped below his value. I think he will really do well in the Champions League.

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
Fabio Hoxha – MR - Average Rating: 8.17
Another player with a ridiculously high average rating who did a great job down the right flank. It is a shame that he is unambitious because he does have the potential to be one of the best but you never know maybe the squads' personality might influence him.

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Finances – This is the reason why Champions League money is so critical in order to keep building the club. As a result of this, the board was reluctant to approve the improvement of any of the facilities except the data analysis facilities. On the plus side, we do however have Champions League money coming in next season and I'm hoping that the league triumph will mean that we begin to fill our stadium more as we are just about managing to fill a third of the capacity at the moment. We also have a lot of money potentially coming from player sales should teams show an interest. I would expect to see a much rosier picture this time next season.  
 
Facilities – As stated earlier only the data analysis facilities will be getting an upgrade.

Youth Intake – I signed a youth affiliation with an Uruguayan team and they certainly delivered. Although Silva is an AMC which we don't use I feel his attributes could make him a very good Deep Lying Forward and have started to train him as one. He wasn't the only highlight though as both McCartan ML and Hall ST look fantastic prospects. Linfield is able to produce much better intakes than Dollingstown which is great as I've always wanted a team that could provide quality players for the N. Irish national team.
 
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League Reputation – I feel that we are largely cemented in place unless something drastic changes. In fact, I feel that we really need to protect our position more than anything else. The problem is that financially we are just in a different world compared to all the leagues around us. I can't see how that gap is ever going to close at this point as while being that high has brilliant consequences on income in Scotland it doesn't really do much for us. It feels like we are going to need to perpetually overachieve just to stay in the same place. In other more positive news, Bohemians won the Irish Premier Division which rose in reputation by 9 places. 
 
Club Domestic Reputation – This makes no sense to me what so ever. Crusaders will be coming back to the top flight which is great as they have been absent for quite some time.
 
Club European Reputation – Still moving up which is good.
 
Edited by pheelf

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Linfield F.C.

Season 2052 / 2053


Season Expectations

The club needs to keep qualifying for the Champions League in order to continue building. Given how close the title race was last year I'd be delighted if we could retain the title but would not be disappointed if we had to settle for 2nd. I want post-December European football so we need to be looking at finishing at least 3rd in our Champions League group.


 
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League Table - This was remarkably similar to last season. Dollingstown established a big lead after we went through a bad patch of inconsistent form but we began to gradually claw our way back. The only difference was this time the lead wasn't 8 points but 13 points meaning that in the end, it was too much to overcome. If we are going to become the dominant force in N. Ireland we have to stop dropping points against the likes of Coleraine and Ballinamallard United.

UEFA Champions League - For some reason we were seeded 1st for the group stage when our coefficient indicated we should have been seeded 3rd. It seems like another bug to me although we didn't gain much of an advantage given how hard the group we drew was. As a result, I was amazed that we managed to finish 2nd on the head to head record with Real Madrid. The games against PSG just highlighted how out of our depth we really are and how much work is going to be needed to build a team capable of competing in the later stages of the Champions League. If the first bug I stated was largely ineffectual the 2nd was downright infuriating as we didn't get given our round appearance money for the 1st Knockout Round which is no small sum at over £5M. This really needs a hotfix as far as I'm concerned as if I wasn't forced to use Update 3 it would be working correctly and given that the only source of real income for N. Ireland is from Europe it feels like I'm being cheated.

Domestic Cups - Nothing too great there although it was nice to retain the Co. Antrim Shield. I felt that the Irish Cup draws were pretty brutal pitting us up against the best teams in the country, had we managed to beat Ballymena United we would have had to play Dollingstown in the final.

Reserves - A lot of credit must go to the Reserves who won the treble. A great achievement when you consider that the vast majority of players in the team were loaned out. I really miss being able to select any first team player to go play in the Reserves in order to gain match fitness. I think it really makes a difference given that a rotation amount of football isn't enough to maintain fitness which meant that I had to field unfit players in some league games which could have led to the inconsistent form which cost us a proper title challenge. I have to think of a workaround to this issue.

Under 18s - They were awful in the cup competitions but did well to win the league.

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Squad – There are a number of problems that need to be addressed to improve the squad.
 
1) I need to start to integrate some of the young N. Irish players into the team as European squad registration was pretty bad and the sulking that arose from some players missing out went on for months and wasn't productive.
2) I need to give more game time to some of the high potential players in the team. I've been reluctant to do so as I felt that performances might suffer but they need game time in order to develop which they aren't getting.
3) I need better defenders and a better defensively minded central midfielder. This was highlighted most clearly in the games against PSG which saw the team concede goals based on defensive mistakes and the inability to retain possession effectively. In order to compete with teams of that quality, you need players that are comfortable building from the back so the ball doesn't get given away cheaply which invites pressure. We posed very little threat to PSG in those two games and I feel that constantly being under siege and having to defend is the reason why.
4) Some of the players who have reached the limit of their ability need to be moved on. Players such as Kostov DC, Mestdagh DL, Zetchi MC, Sheffield MC and Hull ST aren't good enough to take the club to the next level and some of their performances in the big games exposed that most clearly.  
 
Transfers – There was a lot of transfer activity but some of it was not really necessary. We need to be seeing profits in the transfer market as for a selling club that is a major source of income. There is also no point signing a lot of high potential young players if you can't give them the game time they need to develop. Next season will see a massive curtailing of incoming players as I need to work with what we already have.
 
Player Of The Season
Callum Kay – MR - Average Rating: 7.50
Very impressive this season although his assist and goal record may not suggest that. He is a player that I'd like to keep but also one that I wouldn't be disappointed if he left provided the club got a good price.

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
Branimir Cojbasic – ST - Average Rating: 7.33
The clubs top scorer by far has really developed well over the last season. It would take a massive sum for me to sell as I feel that the club will need him to qualify for the group stage of the Champions League. If he did leave at least I have Ristic waiting in the wings.

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Finances – It seems that the selling club philosophy isn't really working at the moment. Even though this is the balance after the facilities upgrade money has been taken out the board had to pump in £1.5M which is a worrying sign of our financial vulnerability. The average attendance is slowly rising and has hit around 50% of the capacity but there is still a long way to go, a problem which hasn't gone unnoticed by the board who arranged a fan day this season which went well. There is no doubt about it, we need to start selling players for good money otherwise we could really stifle the growth of the club and may actually begin to decline.
 
Facilities – Both the training and youth facilities are being upgraded although they seem reluctant to improve the data analysis facilities. The only way I can see improvements to the stadium in a shorter timeframe is if we win the Champions League and that looks far away. The stadium and the possible income available from it is a major advantage the club has over the other N. Irish teams bar Dollingstown but we are unable to capitalize on it until we can start to fill the ground more.

Youth Intake – Not as good as previous intakes but there is a couple of interesting prospects. Sheedy GK is great as we have been crying out for a homegrown goalkeeper and Cromie MC looks like he could develop into a decent central midfielder although he isn't great defensively. Some of the personalities are fairly poor though and the players such as McWilliams DC who look to have reasonable potential will need to have that tutored out of them if possible.
 
XlCdZY5.png
 
League Reputation – As both us and Dollingstown made it to the 1st Knockout Round of the Champions League and Ballymena United made it to the quarter-final of the Europa League we were able to significantly close the coefficient gap to Scotland although it is still large. The income in Scotland has become ridiculous and it is making for an ultra-competitive league symbolized by the fact that at the start of the split any of the teams who made the top 6 realistically could win the title. The level of building new stadiums and expansions in Scotland is frightening and makes me seriously wonder whether we can ever overtake them. The Irish Premier Division is still on the rise although the rate has slowed.
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Why are we still below Cliftonville given that we have won both the Europa League and the DBP?
 
Club European Reputation – Into the top 25, Dollingstown are within our sights.
 
Edited by pheelf

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On 17/04/2018 at 12:21, pheelf said:

 

UEFA Champions League - For some reason we were seeded 1st for the group stage when our coefficient indicated we should have been seeded 3rd. It seems like another bug to me although we didn't gain much of an advantage given how hard the group we drew was.

 

I think this is right. The top seeds in the group stage are the 7 league champions of the top 7 coefficient leagues and the holders (top 8 leagues if the holders are also the champions of their top 7 coefficient league).

Leicester City were top seeds in the 2016/17 season.

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20 hours ago, PThomason01 said:

I think this is right. The top seeds in the group stage are the 7 league champions of the top 7 coefficient leagues and the holders (top 8 leagues if the holders are also the champions of their top 7 coefficient league).

Leicester City were top seeds in the 2016/17 season.

You're right, I had forgotten that was the new rule so thanks for reminding me.

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Linfield F.C.

Season 2053 / 2054


Season Expectations

As a bare minimum, we need to be qualifying for the group stages of the Champions League and mounting a title challenge.


 
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League Table - What a titanic battle for the title this was with the top 3 teams exchanging the top spot throughout the season. The destination of the title was still undecided going into the final day but our destiny was in our hands with a win guaranteeing us the title. Thankfully, we did our job by beating our rivals Glentoran in front of a sold out Windsor Park and lifted the 2nd league title of my reign. 

UEFA Champions League - Qualification was relatively easy going although the tie against Hibs did have its moments. The group stage was a case of 'What If'. If we had held on to the 2-0 lead against Montpellier then we would have qualified for the knockout stages and if Aberdeen didn't beat Montpellier on the final matchday we would have finished 3rd. Neither happened so we ended up with the wooden spoon. 

Domestic Cups - We are starting to win more of these consistently which is a good sign. The Irish Cup final was a bit of a shock but I feel was a result of the Dollingstown players being demoralized after missing out on the title the week before.

Reserves - A well-deserved treble considering the weakened nature of their squad.

Under 18s - Domestically, they were dominant and made a good improvement in Europe although the less said about the Nice game the better.

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Squad – I'm really optimistic about the future of this team and feel they will do a lot better in the Champions League next season. There are a number of wonderkids in the squad now who could really help propel the club to the next level. I may struggle to keep the squad together but I have confidence that the money generated from sales will be more than sufficient to get good replacements if necessary.
 
Transfers – The club made a massive profit from the transfer dealings this season which is what I wanted and will hope for more of the same next season also. A lot of the best deals were free transfers bought into the club from bigger clubs. I feel that I overpaid for the majority of the players that I brought into the club with my attempts to bring in a quality central defender proving most costly. I have still yet to identify that world-class central defender which we desperately need but I'm hoping that the increased money will allow me to broaden my scope.
 
Player Of The Season
Dominik Jurcik – ST - Average Rating: 7.81
The teams' top scorer had a really impressive season but may come under pressure for his place next season from the player named below.

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
Francisco Silva – ST - Average Rating: 8.40
When deciding the young player of the season I usually only include first team players but I felt it necessary in this case to make an exception. Even though it was all done in the youth team, the lad scored 86 goals and provided 45 assists!!!. I have never seen that sort of record before and had he not suffered any injuries we could have been looking at the first player ever to score a century of goals in a season. He will definitely be introduced to the first team next season. I'm really excited to think of how good this player could become, a big thank you to Defensor Sporting for gifting us this once in a generation player, well worth the £150K a season we're paying you.

bDhWBPw.png
 
Finances – That's more like it!. This screenshot was taken after the facilities upgrade money was taken out but before the Champions League TV money was paid. We must continue to bolster this balance to continue the off the field improvements. The average attendance declined slightly although season ticket sales rose. It seems that winning the DBP is the only way to ensure continuous growth in the size of the fanbase in the short term as I still feel we are some way off challenging for the Champions League trophy. Once the Champions League group stage money comes in next season the club will become 'Rich' which I'm hoping might help our request for a stadium expansion to be granted.
 
The reason why the board keeps rejecting the request is that they think that it would be an irresponsible financial risk. I know that I don't meet the criteria for needing 90%+ of the capacity filled on average but I didn't meet it at Dollingstown and still managed to get expansions granted. The average attendance went from ~33% of capacity to ~50% of capacity the last time that we won the title so I'm hoping that we can get to around the 66% mark for next season. I must give huge credit to Cliftonville though, how they manage to remain competitive and beat Dollingstown to 2nd in a stadium which doesn't even hold 6,000 people is a remarkable achievement. 
 
Facilities – The training facilities and youth facilities both will be upgraded in 7 months which will give the club 3* training facilities and 3.5* youth facilities. I think there may be a bug with the data analysis facilities as I have repeatedly had requests granted for them to be improved but they still remain Basic.

Youth Intake – The ability of the first team squad has improved dramatically which might go some way to explaining why these youth candidates look so poor in comparison. I'll sign them all and see how they develop.
 
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League Reputation – No changes for the DBP but the Irish Premier Division is still on the rise it's almost 2.5* now.
 
Club Domestic Reputation – About time we saw Cliftonville fall below us. 
 
Club European Reputation – Next season we could overtake Dollingstown unless they do the business in the Europa League.
 

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Linfield F.C.

Season 2054 / 2055


Season Expectations

Qualify for the Champions League knockout stages and retain the DBP.


 
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League Table - It went to the wire once again with us needing a draw against Dollingstown on the final day. We managed to win the game but it looks like being a battle every season for the title for the foreseeable future.

UEFA Champions League - A stunning campaign which sees the club lift its first Champions League trophy. Our qualification from the group was looking a bit shaky after our loss to Olympiakos but a final day win saw us top the group after a shock Juventus loss. Uprichard, a goalkeeper signed from Dollingstown ended up being our hero pulling off an incredible 3 saves in the penalty shootout in the final. 

Domestic Cups - We managed to win the Scottish Challenge Cup for the first time which was pleasing and almost managed a clean sweep but Glentoran ended that hope winning an incredible game. 

Reserves - Not quite the highs of last season but a reasonable season.

Under 18s - The group stages went well but once again they flatter to deceive by getting unceremoniously dumped out of the UEFA Youth League by Lazio. 

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Squad – This squad might be capable of domination for quite some time if I can keep the core intact. I wanted a world class central defender and I was recommended one by my scouts with Plachot who really helped by keeping us in games in the Champions League making our wins possible. I'm also pleased to see the number of wonderkids in the squad increase and the development of some HG players.
 
Transfers – The first 3 signings were all wonderkids and they settled into the team quickly and performed brilliantly. Uprichard GK proved to be a good replacement for Santopolo GK as he was reliable in between the sticks and provided us with another HG option. I feel I did well with the outgoing transfers with the club gaining good money for peripheral players with Karpov MC being the exception as he did well but the money was very good and our finances at the time needed boosting. I don't feel we will need to be as active next season and will probably only go into the market for replacements should we get great offers for our players.   
 
Player Of The Season
German Marambio – MR - Average Rating: 7.84
On arrival, my coaches and assistant manager didn't think very much of him but as time has progressed he has proven himself as a quality addition. He has a very impressive assist record and did well in Europe showing that he can be effective at a higher level of football.

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
Danijel Ristic – ST - Average Rating: 7.51
He wasn't as impressive in Europe as I'd hoped but he did score some important goals and was a constant threat to opposition defenders. It will be interesting to see how much better he can become with more game time.

bDhWBPw.png
 
Finances – This is the balance after massive investments were made off the pitch which for me highlights a massive improvement in our financial situation. We are still 'Rich' and could even afford to give the directors a bonus which is a great situation to be in at this point. The expansion to Windsor Park only cost us ~£14M which we paid for upfront which for me represents value for money. Our ticket prices are still very far below what Dollingstown charge so we still have some catching up to do with regards to matchday income but this is a good start.
 
Facilities – Everything that can still be improved is being done. Once the stadium expansion is complete we will have a stadium which is only 1,000 seats short of its maximum capacity. It will be interesting to see how much of the 33,500 capacity Sinclair Arena we will be able to fill next season. I'm hoping that the Champions League win will see a significant increase in the size of our fanbase. The aim has to be maxing out Windsor Park as quickly as possible and building a new stadium.

Youth Intake – The quality has definitely declined and I find it hard to envision any of this intake being good enough to play in the first team. The profile of the players seems to be very geared toward producing a lot of very speedy players. I'm not so sure how much my HoYD is influencing that but I'd like to see a bit more variety.
 
XlCdZY5.png
 
League Reputation – Unsurprisingly, we didn't improve our position. The IPD fell a position which wasn't great. Dollingstown were the only other team to reach the knockout stages of a European competition but got turned over at the first opportunity by Montpellier.
 
Club Domestic Reputation – We've reached the summit which is nice to see although I'm a bit disappointed by Portadown and their relegation.
 
Club European Reputation – We overtake Dollingstown but have a long way to go to reach the summit.
 
Edited by pheelf

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Wow, this has had quite a few interesting turns since you left Dollingstown. Going South of the border sounded interesting so I was surprised you abandoned it after 3 seasons. But what a job for Linfield now, superb! Both the Europa League and the CL trophies, and the title races against Dollingstown are epic!

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On 4/22/2018 at 15:06, noikeee said:

Wow, this has had quite a few interesting turns since you left Dollingstown. Going South of the border sounded interesting so I was surprised you abandoned it after 3 seasons. But what a job for Linfield now, superb! Both the Europa League and the CL trophies, and the title races against Dollingstown are epic!

I would have liked to stay longer in Ireland but really didn't like the lack of a reserve team which meant that my players struggled for fitness especially at semi-professional status. I also felt that if I didn't move to Linfield when I did that the job wouldn't have become available again for a long time. I'm happy with the decision to move but I wouldn't rule out another stint south of the border or further afield once I've finished with Linfield. The battles for the title have been a lot more challenging than I thought which is nice to see and has made the domestic competition a lot more enjoyable, I only wish that the teams were more competitive in Europe so that we could move further up the reputation table and close the gap on the SPL which has teams that have really developed with massive stadiums.

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Linfield F.C.

Season 2055 / 2056


Season Expectations

Last season was brilliant with the club lifting its first Champions League trophy. The aim has to be to repeat that and become World Champions.


 
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League Table - This was a lot more comfortable than last season. It was a bit disappointing to see Dollingstown slip to 3rd. This could be the watershed moment in becoming dominant domestically as Dollingstown look to be on the decline rather than capable of closing the gap.

UEFA Champions League - The group started badly but we won the rest of the games giving us top spot. We showed exceptional resilience to come back from first leg deficits in every knockout round and a shift of mentality down to counter in the final allowed us to soak up pressure against Manchester United and hit them twice on the break to win our 2nd title. 

FIFA Club World Cup - We went to Mexico and became champions of the world easily.

UEFA Super Cup - No difficulty this time as we win at the second time of asking.

Domestic Cups - The draws were unkind which resulted in premature exits from both the League Cup and Irish Cup. Had we won them we would have lifted 9 trophies in one season, a feat which I don't think I have ever managed.

Reserves - No trophies this time around.

Under 18s - The chances of winning the UEFA Youth League are looking diminishingly small.

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Squad – The strength of the team is very good although there are still areas which need improvement. We could do with shipping out some of the older players such as Rybak DC, Wright ST, Amrani ST & Jurcik ST. I'm also a bit lost with regards to what I should do with Silva ST. He clearly has a lot of potential but he doesn't really fit into the 4-4-2 even after long periods of time spent training him as a Deep Lying Forward. He doesn't perform well when playing in that role and I don't want to change the whole tactic to accommodate one player so he could find himself out of the club. I'm also considering looking for another quality defensively minded central midfielder as Smith DM seems to be the only player who can perform the Central Midfielder (Defend) role well.
 
Transfers – There were some good signings in there but nothing overly special in terms of current ability instead they are high potential players in need of development.
 
Player Of The Season
Peter Duncan – MC - Average Rating: 7.72
He did very well and outperformed what his attributes may suggest he is capable of. I would have hoped that Mrksic MC would have been better but his poor performances in Europe really weighed down heavily on his average rating.

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
Tony McCartan – ML - Average Rating: 7.76
The most consistent player in the squad although I would like to see more assists from him.

bDhWBPw.png
 
Finances – A lot lower than this time last season but the upgrades were a lot more expensive this time.
 
Facilities – The option to maximize the capacity of the stadium wasn't there so that will have to wait although everything else will be getting upgraded.

Youth Intake – Williamson ML looks decent but the amount of poor personalities being generated is becoming a real issue. I may need to look for another HoYD and to stop going along with his recommendations of who to sign.
 
XlCdZY5.png
 
League Reputation – Completely flatlining, not good enough to rise further but not bad enough to fall.
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Dollingstown's reputation has fallen off a cliff. If they carry on like this it is only a matter of time before both Cliftonville & Ballymena United catch them.
 
Club European Reputation – Still nowhere near the summit even after two Champions League wins in a row.
 

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Definitely less interesting to see Dollingstown lose steam. What's your end goal now with Linfield? It seems you've pretty much reached the top by retaining the CL and winning the CWC. To top reputation with Linfield? Help the league's reputation and rankings?

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On 5/2/2018 at 13:49, noikeee said:

Definitely less interesting to see Dollingstown lose steam. What's your end goal now with Linfield? It seems you've pretty much reached the top by retaining the CL and winning the CWC. To top reputation with Linfield? Help the league's reputation and rankings?

I'd like to be able to leave a legacy which will allow the club to remain competitive in the long term. That would mean staying until a new stadium is built and possibly expanding it to its maximum size which could mean another 6 or 7 seasons at the least. I'd hope to top the Hall of Fame by then also as I'm currently 2nd with only Mourinho left above me to topple. I would like if the league reputation and ranking developed naturally as I build up Linfield into a dominating force after it dropped slightly while I was away from N. Ireland. After the new stadium is built then who knows, I want to keep my options open and see where my journey takes me.

I have been seriously tempted to leave in recent times though. Firstly, when Dollingstown offered me an interview and also when the Bayern Munich job became available as they have become an also-ran team in Germany with a huge new stadium but no European football to grace it and it would be nice to restore them to their former glories but I passed up both opportunities.   

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Linfield F.C.

Season 2056 / 2057


Season Expectations

Could we make it a hat-trick of wins in the Champions League? I'd like to try as that would really establish us as a European football superpower.


 
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League Table - Another comfortable victory with Dollingstown once again missing out on Champions League football, it was also gutting to see Crusaders relegated.

UEFA Champions League - It was sweet revenge against Lyon after they deprived us of a perfect record in the group stage. We fought hard throughout the knockout stages and deserved our bit of luck along the way but were convincing in the final to claim the hat-trick of wins. 

FIFA Club World Cup - We certainly have enjoyed our visits to Mexico, this time around it was an absolute cakewalk.

UEFA Super Cup - A very entertaining early season spectacle which we managed to win thanks to Uprichard and his brilliant saves in the shootout.

Domestic Cups - We were cleaning up nicely until we were drawn against Cliftonville in the first round of the Irish Cup we enter which resulted in a repeat of last season.

Reserves - They weren't great in the cups although you can understand given the lack of players in the team. An absolutely crazy attendance against Cliftonville's reserve team in the Steel & Sons Cup though.

Under 18s - We really are lacking quality in our youth team which is reflected by our poor performances on the continent even though we dominate domestically.

rmOG4EQ.png

Squad – Ristic ST is missing off the screenshot. As you can see the squad has become rather bloated once again and needs to be trimmed. The difference in quality for the players is also rather alarming as we have one world class central defender in Plachot DC and the rest are average meaning that an injury can significantly weaken us which isn't a position I like to be in. A similar problem exists up front with only Alfinete ST considered world class. In terms of improvements, the club looks like needing to bring in a right fullback as Dimitrijevic had his release clause triggered. A left midfielder will be needed as McCartan doesn't look like developing enough and Escoda needs a player to rotate with. The coming summer transfer window could be very busy as we look to move on players such as Bulatovic DL, Duncan MC, Jurcic ST & Wright ST while bringing in quality replacements.  
 
Transfers – Marc ML was an attempt to solve the left midfielder issue but I'm not entirely convinced whether he has developed enough to come into the first team after spending the season on loan. Alfinete ST as a replacement for Silva ST looks a good deal as he suits the 4-4-2 much better. Amrani ST wanted a new challenge which I was happy for him to take. I didn't feel that I adequately replaced Kuznetsov MR at the time but the performance of Marambio MR showed that he was more than capable of stepping in. Deadline day buy Kranz DL looks good although I really only signed him as I thought Stanex DL was leaving but in the end, it looks to be a good bit of business. A slight loss was made in the transfer dealings but nothing to be concerned about. 
 
Player Of The Season
German Marambio – MR - Average Rating: 8.15
The way in which he performed was almost enough to make me forget about Kuznetsov altogether. He is likely to leave given all the interest in him and the fact is he 27 years old and likely to attract a good fee but what a great season to bow out on if this is his last at the club.

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
Tony McCartan – ML - Average Rating: 7.71
The fact that the accolade goes to him I think says more about the squad aging than anything else. He put in good performances when he played but doesn't look like having the potential required to develop into anything special.

bDhWBPw.png
 
Finances – The club ended up passing the FFP but this concerns me a great deal. The wage bill has been rocketing of late with players constantly requesting wage rises meaning we have an eye-watering outlay each week of over £850K, if we add staff wages into that we are probably looking at close to £1M. This is completely unsustainable for a club with such modest means and had we not won the Champions League the club could have been looking at a massive debt. The club is almost finished with the facilities upgrades but the expenditures in that direction aren't done with yet. We need to be ending the season with a far healthier balance than this as the next step is a new stadium which is likely going to cost in the hundreds of millions.
 
Facilities – All the facilities are being upgraded although the option to request a stadium expansion to bring the capacity up to its maximum of 28,000 isn't there. We still aren't really filling Windsor Park in the way that we need to for the board to consider a new stadium viable although the average league attendance has risen drastically nearly doubling in a season to ~70% of capacity. If we could raise that to over 90% of capacity then we would have a reasonable argument to support a request for a new stadium and start the ball rolling with seeking planning permission.

Youth Intake – I signed them all but the quality of the intakes in recent seasons have been really poor.
 
XlCdZY5.png
 
League Reputation – This was a really nice improvement which gives us back our 3rd Champions League place from the season after next. It was unexpected but after seeing the great performances of the N. Irish teams in Europe this season it became possible. Having 4 teams compete in the Europa League group stage allowed us to overtake Scotland with both Cliftonville and Dollingstown making the 2nd Knockout Round. The advantage is wafer thin in terms of coefficients but if we could repeat the trick the country might just be able to hold on to 6th. 
 
Club Domestic Reputation – It is truly remarkable that Cliftonville was able to finish above Dollingstown again when you consider how great the disparity is between the sizes of the two clubs. Next season should see us rise to the top in terms of season ticket sales.
 
Club European Reputation – On the rise but nowhere near the top. We need another couple of bad years to fall of the coefficient then we will be mixing it at the top end.
 
Edited by pheelf

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On 5/11/2018 at 12:00, noikeee said:

Just the regular ******** of trophies again I see.

:cool:...Linfield's trophy room was already quite full when I joined. At this point, we could probably start a museum. 

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Linfield F.C.

Season 2057 / 2058


Season Expectations

Win the Champions League, everything else would be nice to have but not essential.


 
bqBrn36.png

League Table - Dollingstown claimed 2nd and were the only team to trouble us but we're still miles ahead. The chasm between the top 6 and bottom 6 is huge, the fact that the entire top 6 qualified for Europe will only expand that gap further.

UEFA Champions League - After the 1st leg defeat in the quarter final, I thought our goose was cooked but what followed in the 2nd leg was one of the most incredible performances I've ever seen. Once that happened I knew it was going to be our year although we needed to win a penalty shootout to clinch it.

FIFA Club World Cup - Off to freezing cold Canada this time but the result was the same.

UEFA Super Cup - When our former player Marambio scored a penalty against us in the 2nd minute I knew we were on a hiding to nothing, a very poor performance.

Domestic Cups - We won absolutely nothing this time around.

Reserves - Another record-breaking attendance in the Steel & Sons Cup but they end the season trophyless.

Under 18s - Dominant domestically, perhaps a bit unlucky to lose in the UEFA Youth League.

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Squad – A number of surplus to requirements players will be leaving at the end of the season so I will be adding some depth to the squad next season. I'm fairly satisfied with the balance of the squad and feel that we could remain dominant for some time if we can keep our best players.
 
Transfers – The club made a whopping great profit in the transfer market this season with Plachot DC attracting a record-breaking fee for the club. I'm very pleased with my incoming transfers especially Diaz MC & Kysela DC who both came from South American clubs for a total of £8.25M which looks like a bargain at this point. Elliott GK and Gabriel MC added to the homegrown contingent at the club with Bournemouth and Rennes showing a liking of our players signing 5/8 of the outgoing players between them. 
 
Player Of The Season
Andreas Salapatas – MR - Average Rating: 7.97
A quality signing who was very productive in Europe.

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
Adam Kysela – DC - Average Rating: 7.48
The replacement for Plachot who did a great job and still has a lot of room for further development. 

bDhWBPw.png
 
Finances – What a difference a season makes. Even though the wage bill is still astronomically high the selling of players enabled this balance. If the club could continue to pull off one big sale per season we should be able to build up the finances and make the club capable of servicing the wage bill. We also need to build up the balance for next season because of the exciting development which I'll highlight in the next screenshot. 
 
Facilities – We're leaving Windsor Park!!. This is a significant step in the right direction and I'm hoping that the message stating that the planning permission will be granted at the end of next season is correct. 37,000 is a good start which I'm hoping can be expanded to around 60,000 or more. We will max out the training facilities next season giving us state of the art facilities across the board.  

Youth Intake – Not the best of intakes but Higgins ST looks to have good potential, don't really like his personality though. I decided to bring in a new HoYD who has a Perfectionist personality but that didn't really influence the intake very much. 
 
XlCdZY5.png
 
League Reputation – We've established a nice little cushion over Scotland and hopefully we can begin to close the gap on Germany now that we have three entrants into the Champions League.
 
Club Domestic Reputation – There have been developments made at other clubs in N. Ireland. Limavady United turned professional last season and are seeking planning permission for a new stadium even after relegation. I hope to see more of that in the coming seasons as part of what is holding the nation back is the poor ability of the clubs to increase their revenues. Ballymena United are especially in need of a new stadium with Cliftonville needing an expansion.
 
Club European Reputation – If we can retain the Champions League next season we should comfortably reach the summit.
 
Edited by pheelf

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Reading this career right after @dafuge's gives me a bit of the deja-vus, win everything etc, except it's in Northern Ireland instead of Brazil, minor detail. :D

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On 15/05/2018 at 11:23, noikeee said:

Reading this career right after @dafuge's gives me a bit of the deja-vus, win everything etc, except it's in Northern Ireland instead of Brazil, minor detail. :D

Thanks, although unlike dafuge I've yet to manage to win all the trophies available to us in one season yet and as the career is progressing that is looking like an increasingly difficult task to manage. The best I've managed is 7/9, our clean sweeps tend to get ruined when we play games during international call-ups. I could postpone the matches but the fixture congestion then becomes problematic which I tend to want to avoid as much as possible especially since winning all the trophies would entail cramming 71 competitive games into under 10 months and that is ignoring international dates.

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16 minutes ago, pheelf said:

Thanks, although unlike dafuge I've yet to manage to win all the trophies available to us in one season yet and as the career is progressing that is looking like an increasingly difficult task to manage. The best I've managed is 7/9, our clean sweeps tend to get ruined when we play games during international call-ups. I could postpone the matches but the fixture congestion then becomes problematic which I tend to want to avoid as much as possible especially since winning all the trophies would entail cramming 71 competitive games into under 10 months and that is ignoring international dates.

Maybe hire a 35 player squad. :D

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Linfield F.C.

Season 2058 / 2059


Season Expectations

The summit of the Hall of Fame is coming into view, we need to keep the good times rolling to close the gap even further.


 
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League Table - We scored more points while our nearest challenger Dollingstown stayed the same. Nice to see 7th placed Portadown claim a place in Europe at the expense of Ballymena United whose limited revenue generating capacity may be catching up with them, it was a bit disappointing to see Crusaders relegated again.

UEFA Champions League - There were some cracking ties in there as we once again needed a 2nd leg recovery against Manchester United although it wasn't as spectacular this time. The final was a tense affair but we held our own to claim another title.

FIFA Club World Cup - Didn't concede a goal and romped home to another win. Hopefully, next season we can go somewhere warmer.

UEFA Super Cup - A very dull and uninspiring game but a win is a win.

Domestic Cups - The loss to Annan Athletic was disgraceful but at least we managed to win some trophies this time around.

Reserves - We got a sell-out attendance in the Intermediate Cup final which was incredible. Unfortunately, we ended the season empty-handed.

Under 18s - Not the greatest of seasons but at least they won the league.

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Squad – The size of the squad has definitely been trimmed down which has been very beneficial for the development of many players who have been given a decent amount of game time. The weaknesses that will need to be addressed are the RM position and I will also need to bring in a support duty striker to replace club legend Jurcik who is aging and has his contract expiring at the end of the season.
 
Transfers – Not a huge amount of activity this time around although last years player of the season Salapatas MR was allowed to leave for Manchester City. Liera DR looks to be a fantastic prospect and was loaned back to Roma for the season so it will be interesting to see how much further he has developed. I'm a bit disappointed with O'Neill MR and Texier MC who I felt were overpriced for their ability. I'd expect more activity next season as we need to bring in some more depth. 
 
Player Of The Season
Alfinete – ST - Average Rating: 8.08
It is amazing to think that when he arrived at the club my coaches didn't think very much of him. 3 seasons later and he is one of the best players in the world and ended this season with the most goals and assists. I really would like to hold onto to him but sense that his low market value is encouraging envious glances from some major clubs which might unsettle him and force me to sell.

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
Adam Kysela – DC - Average Rating: 7.63
He is developing into one of the best central defenders around. I don't feel he has the potential to reach the level of Plachot but at 21 he has plenty of good years ahead of him as a world class defender.

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Finances – The finances are good but not great. We are going to need to keep building the balance as I would like when it comes time to start building the new stadium for the club not to have to take on any debt in order to do it. Which for me means a balance of at least £125M for a stadium of around that size. 
 
Facilities – I had expected that the stadium would have been started this season in accordance with what the inbox message stated but instead will have to wait another 2 seasons for planning permission to be granted. This follows the same pattern as the new stadium with Dollingstown when there was a 3 year wait for planning permission and another 2 year wait for the stadium to be built. Although I'm not sure this is a rule given that Limavady United (who will be rejoining us in the DBP next season) got their planning permission granted after only a season, the only reason why they haven't started building is because of a lack of funds. 

Youth Intake – Some reasonable players in there with Hynds ML looking to be the best prospect. What I don't understand is why we are mainly only getting players from the local area when our reach should be global and our reputation is the best in the world. Players from around the world should be clamouring to join our youth system but it doesn't appear to be working out that way.
 
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League Reputation – Catching Germany is looking like a monumental task at the moment although we have established a good cushion ahead of Scotland.
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Given the reputation they have and the money they can generate why aren't Dollingstown doing better in Europe.
 
Club European Reputation – We need to see more N. Irish flags in this screenshot if the nation is to stand any chance of overtaking Germany.
 
Edited by pheelf

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46 minutes ago, noikeee said:

Maybe hire a 35 player squad. :D

That would certainly help with the depth :).

Probably won't be too good for the 💰 though especially given that the wage bill is over a million per week as it stands and that my players are constantly coming to me asking for wage rises...the greedy b******s!!

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Linfield F.C.

Season 2059 / 2060


Season Expectations

As we wait for planning permission to be granted for the new stadium the objective has to be to continue winning the Champions League and get closer to the summit of the Hall of Fame.


 
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League Table - Dollingstown gave us a good fight this time which was nice to see. Cliftonville missed out on qualifying for Europe which could prove costly for them as the manager of the year led Portadown into Europe for the 2nd successive season. It was an interesting season at the bottom also with Ballymoney United almost getting promoted into the DBP but losing on away goals in the relegation playoff against Limavady United.

UEFA Champions League - A relatively smooth ride to the trophy although it took some heroics from Elliott to win us the shootout.

FIFA Club World Cup - From one extreme to the other, freezing cold Canada in the height of winter to roasting hot Australia in the height of summer. Another straightforward victory though.

UEFA Super Cup - We scored at a great time just before halftime and as they went more attacking in an attempt to equalize we dealt the killer blow to clinch the victory.

Domestic Cups - Had we not drawn such hard teams in the League Cup & Scottish Challenge Cup we would have had a chance of a clean sweep and 9 trophies in a season but Glenavon and Hearts were too strong for our reserve team.

Reserves - They managed to win a double which is always nice to see.

Under 18s - Even the attendances of the youth team are starting to rise although they are still low when facing European opposition. Domestically, they won the double which was good. On the continent, they showed signs of improvement but Lyon U19 proved too strong with two late goals to knock them out of the UEFA Youth League.

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Squad – The squad has great strength and depth but I can envision a few of the players leaving next season given the amount of interest there is in some players and the desire of a lot of the players to play in a better league. I will be demanding good money for the transfers so that I can re-invest the money in young up and coming players and build the balance for the new stadium. With the exception of Rivet MR who incidentally has poor consistency and doesn't like playing in big matches, all the players managed an average rating above 7.00 which shows me that the selections for each game are correct as it allows the players to perform well.
 
Transfers – A very active transfer screen this time. With the exception of Bandlow DL, Piccardo DL and perhaps Marc ML who were reserve players all the sales were to prevent massive unhappiness as they all wanted to leave. I am very pleased with the players I've bought into the club as they all look to have a fair amount of potential except Rivet who was a bit of a panic buy who I didn't really need in the end. I would anticipate a similar story next season as I've already agreed to a £50M cash + clauses deal to sell Gabriel. 
 
Player Of The Season
Fernando Diaz – MC - Average Rating: 7.76
A truly incredible player who looks world class and has developed brilliantly in the time he has been at the club.

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
David – ST - Average Rating: 8.16
I have no idea why my coaches didn't rate him when he first came to the club as he is a talented striker. It was a real shame to see him break his foot before the Champions League quarter final as he was really lighting up the competition with his goals. Hopefully, that doesn't affect him too much and he can come back strong next season.

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Finances – Why is the balance so low? Well have a look at the ground maintenance and you'll be given your answer. Planning permission was granted a year earlier than I anticipated and the new £90M Sinclair Arena (yes another one :rolleyes:) will be ready to open in 2 seasons time. I had a balance of over £110M at one point in the season but then thinking that I wouldn't need it for another year I splashed out on a few players which brought the balance down to around £60M. As we are a loss-making operation at the moment by the time the season ended we were down to around £40M. Then to my surprise, the planning permission was granted and the club took on a £66M loan to make up the shortfall. All of which means that we now have to service a debt and pay ~£600K per month which is manageable but is probably going to mean a period of financial cutbacks. I am however more optimistic about our ability to weather the storm as we have a lot of assets we could sell (players, clauses) to help us out if necessary.
 
Facilities – There it is, the countdown begins. I was a bit surprised that I only got £13.75M for selling Windsor Park considering that it is in good condition and has only recently been renovated. I'm hoping that a bonus of us not playing at Windsor Park is that we won't have to ground share it with all the teams who play in Europe who have stadiums which aren't up to scratch although given that we sold the stadium I'm unsure what happens next and whether they will just get allocated to the new ground. I wouldn't mind if that were true for the national team though.

Youth Intake – Our South African affiliate gave us two players who appear to be decent and have gone up in the estimation of my coaches since arriving at the club. I don't think there are any stars in the intake but definitely some squad players.

 

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League Reputation – For the first time we managed to have 3 teams competing in the Champions League group stages and 2 teams competing in the Europa League group stages. Us and Dollingstown also managed to qualify from our groups. We must be making some inroads into the advantage the Bundesliga has over us but it's still very much an uphill struggle. The absence of decent money domestically is really hindering our progress and I seriously question if we'll ever make it into the top 5.
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Is the lack of investment in their stadium beginning to cost Cliftonville? They weren't going to be able to hold off Dollingstown forever when you compare their matchday revenues. Now that Dollingstown has stabilized their wage bill I sense that the opportunity for Cliftonville to become the 2nd force in N. Ireland has come and gone.
 
Club European Reputation – As long as we keep we winning the Champions League I'm confident we can hold onto our position at the top.
 
Edited by pheelf

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Ah, just the casual normal Linfield-Nimes final in the Champions League...

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On 05/06/2018 at 11:56, noikeee said:

Ah, just the casual normal Linfield-Nimes final in the Champions League...

Nimes has become a European superpower after being taken over by a tycoon in 2049. The tycoon left in 2059 but the legacy he has left is incredible. Nimes have a new stadium (named after the tycoon) with 57,398 capacity, great facilities and have spent in excess of £100M on players every season since he took over and still do now. A rivalry has developed with them with us coming out on top in the vast majority of games. The next season review shows the rivalry re-ignited again. 

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Linfield F.C.

Season 2060 / 2061


Season Expectations

As we wait for the new stadium to be built we need to keep the good times going.


 
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League Table - Cliftonville massively stepped it up from last season where they missed out on European football completely. The lack of having to play European football definitely helped them to put in a far stronger challenge and they might have won it had they not capitulated in the post-split fixtures.

UEFA Champions League - A massively inconsistent campaign which had me seriously concerned as to whether we were going to make it out of the group stage. We improved for the knockout stages after scraping through in 2nd but the final proved to be our undoing with Nimes gaining revenge for their previous defeats.

FIFA Club World Cup - Straightforward enough, although we won't get the opportunity to defend it.

UEFA Super Cup - It wasn't overly convincing but we managed to lift the trophy.

Domestic Cups - We were looking good for a clean sweep of trophies until Ballymena United shocked us in the League Cup.

Reserves - They did reasonably well and won a double.

Under 18s - A good performance in the UEFA Youth League and dominant domestically.

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Squad – The squad is too big and we have a lot of deadwood that needs to be gotten rid of. Having 4x ML, 3x MR and 6x ST is way too much as we don't need that much depth in the first team. Another issue is that the wages have become too high and we need to be looking at dramatically cutting costs given that the financial status has deteriorated with the debt from the stadium. I'll be looking to take advantage of the massive interest in players to hopefully restore some balance to the team. We really need a proper supporting striker and better central defenders.

Transfers – A reasonable pair of transfer windows but I feel that the team has actually gotten worse. Bernal MR was overpriced but we needed a quality winger. We need to keep looking for wonderkid players in future as the squad is starting to get a bit old in places.
 
Player Of The Season
Atakan Erat – ST - Average Rating: 7.90
The 33-year-old has managed to retain his physical attributes pretty well which is good and was the top scorer at the club. The problem though is that his high wages are unsustainable for a club with our modest means and the orange arrows on the physical attributes show he is about to decline. As a result, when his contract expires at the end of the season he will be released.

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
Tomas Namora – DR - Average Rating: 7.30
He wasn't the player with the highest average rating but he showed some impressive development which is why I gave him the award. The fact that Real Madrid is sniffing around should indicate how good a season he has had.

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Finances – Here is the problem and why we need to cut back on the wage bill. We are spending over £1.7M p/w on player wages which is not sustainable at all as we spent nearly £100M this year on wages and bonuses alone. Our turnover was just over £89M (not including player sales which came in at £154M) while we spent an eye-watering £273M giving a deficit of £30M which if allowed to continue will make us fail the FFP. Therefore next season is likely to see a lot of sales as I'd quite like to be able to start expanding the stadium quickly which is going to require a much healthier balance.

Facilities – One more season and we get the keys to the new ground. Hopefully, it has a good expansion capacity.

Youth Intake – A surprisingly good intake this time with Toonen ST looking the stand out star. I really would like to integrate a lot more youth players into the first team as the HG requirements are becoming a problem.
 
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League Reputation – We need the other teams to do better as they were fairly poor this time.
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Even though they got relegated, Limavady United will become the 4th club in N. Ireland to get a new stadium built as they secured the funding to start work.
 
Club European Reputation – We will stay top for next season but unless we start to improve in Europe and win more coefficient points our position at the top will come under threat the season after.
 
Edited by pheelf

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Linfield F.C.

Season 2061 / 2062


Season Expectations

In our last season at Windsor Park, the aim is to win the Champions League.


 
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League Table - Dollingstown proved to be our closest challenger but our post-Christmas form was impeccable and allowed us to establish a comfortable lead.

UEFA Champions League - A much better showing in Europe with some impressive wins along the way, the 5-1 humbling of PSG being a highlight of the campaign. We seem to be playing West Ham quite a bit in the later stages of the competition in what must be considered a golden age for the Hammers but they must be getting quite irritated that we knock them out every time. The final was a fairly straightforward affair with the red card not proving much of a problem. This win puts me only around 500 points from the summit of the Hall of Fame making it possible to reach the summit next season.

Domestic Cups - I played a mixture of reserves and youth players in the early rounds of the cups and that is reflected in the results although we still managed to win 3 trophies.

Reserves - A well deserved domestic treble, can't ask for more than that.

Under 18s - It was looking like we were going to win the treble but our nemesis Nimes crushed our dreams winning an incredible UEFA Youth League final to deny us.

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Squad – I feel that the trimming of the squad has proven itself to be a wise move as it allowed me to focus on developing some of the high potential youngsters at the club. It also made for a more harmonious dressing room with players getting more game time and seldom coming to me asking for more first team action. I'll be very interested to see how youth team graduate Toonen ST develops next season with game time as he has been impressive since being called up and scored 2 goals in the Irish Cup final. I'll have to keep an eye on Coulibaly ST as even though he isn't listed as being injury prone he suffered a few month-long injuries during the season.

Transfers – As I wanted, the club made a nice big profit in the transfer market. A lot of players left for a range of different reasons, Cojbasic ST wanted a new challenge, Gustavo ML felt he wasn't getting enough football and others either wanted a nice big payday or to play in a better league. I felt the only player we might have missed was Diaz MC but then again McKay MC did a fine job as his replacement. I'm happy with the players brought into the club, Muriel DC being the pick of the bunch who looks to have the potential to develop into a world-class central defender. 
 
Player Of The Season
Nenad Jankovic – ST - Average Rating: 8.07
A class act all the way. Very prolific in Europe and provided a considerable amount of assists which show that his overall contribution was great.

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
German Scamporrino – ML - Average Rating: 7.90
The newly capped man made his first appearance for Argentina which was a great moment for him. He is a little injury prone and I had to inject him for the Champions League final but outside of that, he has shown a remarkable improvement this season. He is one player I really want to keep.

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Finances – A much better balance which allowed the directors to take a nice chunk out in dividends. I hope to be able to end next season with a similar balance if not slightly more so that I can begin to work on expanding the stadium as soon as possible. It'll be interesting to see how often we can fill our new stadium and the difference it makes to our match day incomes.

Facilities – Almost there, can't wait to play our first game in the new ground.
 
Youth Intake – The goalkeeper Bannon looks decent but the rest are average at best. I can't complain too much though given that Toonen came through the ranks previously and there are a number of players from previous intakes which could feature in the first team next season.
 
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League Reputation – The nation is still way off catching Serie A, we really need Dollingstown to be reaching the quarter finals at the very least but they keep getting knocked out earlier.
 
Club Domestic Reputation – We're not the only team going places next season as Championship winners Limavady United will be moving into their new stadium also. Unfortunately, they have reverted back to semi-professional status but the new stadium should provide a boost to their attendances in the DBP. The lack of ambition from teams like Cliftonville and Ballymena United as they stay in their small stadiums is really hampering the progression of football in the country. It's not like they haven't had the money to make off the field improvements but they've shown no willingness to try and increase their revenues.
 
Club European Reputation – Nimes are right on our tail even after a great campaign from us in Europe, shows just how strong they have become.
 

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LEAVING WINDSOR PARK

The ground was built in 1903 and opened in 1905. Windsor Park has been the home of Linfield F.C. for over 157 years and has witnessed some unbelievable scenes and a history filled with success. Windsor Park has also been the home of the N. Ireland national team and hosts the Co. Antrim Shield final and should host the Irish Cup final although when Linfield participates the final gets played across the city at the Oval. Originally designed by prolific architect Archibald Leitch, the ground has undergone many renovations and redevelopments since 1905 with the most recent development providing the most dramatic change in the appearance of the ground.

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Here is ground before the development in 2015.

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This photograph shows the ground after the redevelopment and the new 18,434 all-seater capacity.

The most recent renovation took place in the 2055/2056 season when 9,000 seats were added to bring the capacity up to 27,000 but even this is now insufficient to match the ambitions of a club which are now considered the most reputable in the world.

Here are some shots from the final game at Windsor Park which was played in front of a sellout 27,000 attendance as they looked to book their place in the Champions League final by beating West Ham United after they drew the first leg in London 3-3.

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An eagle eye view of the ground. As can be seen, an extra tier has been added to the ends in order to give those extra seats.

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A look toward what is affectionally known as the David Jeffrey end, named after the clubs longest serving manager who won an incredible 31 trophies in a period of 17 years. A feat only matched by Roy Coyle who managed to win the same number of trophies.

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The away corner complete with a video screen to match the other corner.

Linfield has had an incredible history in the old ground but they have outgrown it and will be eager to move into the new 37,000 capacity ground so that they can be more competitive financially with the European elite and have a home which is more in keeping with their global brand status. It could also mark the beginning of a new chapter in N. Irish football as teams playing away at Linfield in the cups will now get a significant amount of money which should help develop the other clubs.

Linfield will still play games at Windsor Park however as the ground was sold to the council so hopefully, it will mark a return to them playing the Irish Cup final at what is now considered a neutral venue. Windsor Park will also be used by some of the other N. Irish teams in Europe whose home grounds don't meet the required capacity which is another benefit of leaving, it will also remain the home of the national team.

Edited by pheelf

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MOVING TO SINCLAIR ARENA (THE NEW BIGGER ONE)

The process of moving ground has taken 4 seasons in total. The first 2 seasons were seeking planning permission and other 2 seasons were building the ground but the day has arrived and the new stadium is ready to host football.

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The stadium starts with a capacity which is comfortably the largest in the country which is great and the expansion capacity is very pleasing as I feel once the club reaches 65,000 capacity it will become a fantastic engine for the entire country and should allow the club to be competitive in Europe whether I'm here or not. It also means that should we get granted an expansion quickly we will surpass Glentoran and their 42,000 record attendance which will be great. I'm most pleased about the improvement to corporate facilities as that will make gate receipts all the more lucrative.

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The first competitive game at the new stadium will be against newly promoted Limavady United who will be opening their new ground next week. The attendance will set a new record attendance for the DBP although it is not a sell-out, I expect this new benchmark to tumble during the season when we host our rivals.

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The new stadium is a 4 stand affair with the corners empty although I suspect that with any expansions they will be filled in. This is the new main grandstand which is a 3 tiered stand with roof-mounted floodlights. 

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A look towards the new David Jeffrey stand and facing grandstand. It also features floodlights and a video screen in the corner between the two stands. Both stands have a similar design to the main grandstand in keeping with the uniform look of the ground.

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A look toward the away stand, it will be interesting to see how many times the away supporters can fill this as some of the fanbases of the other N. Irish teams are really small. I would have preferred to have a corner stand to be able to allocate to visiting teams as I feel that this could depress attendance figures.

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An eagle eye view of the new stadium.

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The record for the club and DBP has been broken which sets the new benchmark for the country.

I would like to begin expanding the stadium as soon as possible so that I can leave the desired legacy for the club and secure its financial future.

Edited by pheelf

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Linfield F.C.

Season 2062 / 2063


Season Expectations

As a new era dawns with the opening of the new stadium the objective has to be to win all the major trophies and take our place as the greatest manager of all time.


 
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League Table - This was the closest challenge we've had for years and we needed a last day win away at Ballymena United to overtake Dollingstown.

UEFA Champions League - The group stage started badly but we still managed to top our group. The final was a tense affair with Elliott GK pulling off some great saves to win us the shootout and put me within 50 points of topping the Hall of Fame.

FIFA Club World Cup - A cakewalk in Japan.

UEFA Super Cup - This is what prevented the topping of the Hall of Fame, we were awful in this game and deserved our heavy loss.

Domestic Cups - For some reason the venue for the domestic finals has reverted to the Oval which is really annoying given the small capacity. The fact that we got nearly 57,000 spectators for the Scottish Challenge Cup final against Raith Rovers shows just how much money both teams are losing playing in such a tiny venue with such poor facilities. It was a good season in the cups with the only blip coming in the Co. Antrim Shield. 

Reserves - Managed to almost sell out the stadium against Cliftonville which is pretty good going I feel creating a record attendance in the process. The final of the Intermediate Cup was held at Windsor Park so I don't understand why the other finals weren't held there.

Under 18s - Back to the usual story, great domestically but unimpressive in Europe.

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Squad – I truly believe that this team can remain dominant for some time to come given the number of wonderkids in the squad. I'm most excited about HG youth graduate Hynds ML who really developed well although Toonen ST hasn't really developed as much as I hoped. Coulibaly ST is proving to be a liability with his constant injuries even though he still isn't considered injury prone, we need a more dependable player as he was injured for all the games past the Champions League quarter-finals when we needed him the most.

Transfers – Apart from Pereira MC who was overpriced I was happy with the players I brought in with Partizan proving a good place to scout talent. With the exception of Vanhoutte MC who forced my hand with regards to selling, I was happy to let the other players leave. 
 
Player Of The Season
Ivan Pinedo – ST - Average Rating: 8.13
He had a remarkably consistent season and emerged as the teams top scorer. He outshone Coulibaly ST and he is being paid less than half the wages, excellent value for money.

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
German Scamporrino – ML - Average Rating: 8.08
For the 2nd season in a row, he managed to get this accolade and it was well deserved. I may lose him as he wants to play in a better league but he has been great for us and we have Hynds waiting in the wings.

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Finances – A very low balance but have a look at the ground maintenance to see why. I'm pleased as it means we haven't had to increase our debt burden any further to put ourselves into a position where the financial future of the club is being secured. The wage bill is still outrageous but if we can begin to pull in over a million in gate receipts per home game it becomes more sustainable, this I feel is the turning point not only for the club but the country as a whole.

Facilities We will have to go back to Windsor Park for next season but once we go back to our new home we'll have a huge stadium to return to after a hefty 16,000 seat expansion which means that Glentoran's record will be falling. It's going to take another 3 seasons minimum to reach the stadium potential capacity. Wouldn't it be serendipitous for us to complete the new stadium just at the time where Dollingstown could build another new ground? Having one engine driving the growth of the other clubs through gate receipts is nice but two would be great.   
 
Youth Intake – Two standout players, I've already given Malone DC first team football due to injuries and he's done reasonably well although he's nowhere near ready to feature on a regular basis. The rest aren't that great but you never know.
 
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League Reputation – We seem to be cemented in position even though Dollingstown managed to qualify from their Champions League group, they lost to Man Utd in the next round but at least a slight improvement.
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Disappointed to lose Limavady United to relegation as they are one of the only other clubs to show any ambition. Every cloud has a silver lining however with Crusaders replacing them. We really need a tycoon or two in the country to help.
 
Club European Reputation – This makes no sense to me but we lose our place at the top.
 

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After so many seasons and trophies won I finally become the greatest manager of all time pushing Jose Mourinho down into 2nd place.

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Linfield F.C.

Season 2063 / 2064


Season Expectations

Get to the top of the Hall of Fame during our season of exile at Windsor Park.


 
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League Table - A very comfortable win in the end. Disappointing to lose Crusaders from the top flight but they will be replaced with Limavady United which isn't so bad I suppose.

UEFA Champions League - It was bound to happen given that we were lucking our way through the groups at times during the last few seasons but If you keep putting your hand in the lion's mouth eventually your going to lose it and that epitomizes our campaign this time around. It started really well with 7 points in the first 3 games but then collapsed and as we had such a weak 4th seed after our loss away to Man City we were out. More worryingly for me is that we didn't score in 4 games.

UEFA Europa League - All was going fairly smoothly with two comfortable wins over Portuguese opponents. Then we went to France and put in a dreadful performance which we never looked capable of recovering from. A very poor season in Europe especially since the board wanted us at the minimum to reach the semi-final of the Champions League.

FIFA Club World Cup - It was this victory which allowed me to top the Hall of Fame, Boca gave us a good fight in the final though.

UEFA Super Cup - A lethargic and uninspiring performance for the showpiece opener for the season.

Domestic Cups - A clean sweep was looking possible until international call-ups ended our chances in the Scottish Challenge Cup. I don't understand why the semi-final of the Irish Cup was played at Windsor Park which is a neutral venue but the final is played at the Oval.

Reserves - They did well although the hammering in the Steel & Sons Cup was a little unexpected.

Under 18s - Solid domestically but were simply outclassed in Europe.

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Squad – This team massively underachieved given the vast sums of money in wages I'm paying them. I feel that a rebuild is going to be necessary next season with a focus on bringing in youth and shipping out some of the high wage earners as I look to build the bank balance for further stadium expansion.

Transfers – I thought that I'd take the opportunity while we couldn't expand our stadium any further to spend some money and improve the squad. Unfortunately, I don't think I managed to pull it off and I vastly overpaid for Oliviera MC, Eberaldo DR & Dolls ML.
 
Player Of The Season
Ivan Pinedo – ST - Average Rating: 8.05
The ever-dependable striker who has been remarkably consistent. Even though my coaches don't rate him particularly highly I'm pretty sure that had he started the majority of games in the Champions League that we wouldn't have gone 4 games without scoring, next season he will start instead of Coulibaly ST.

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
Darren Hynds – ML - Average Rating: 8.05
I'm very happy with the development of the youth system graduate although I'm concerned that he has topped out in terms of ability. When you look at his attributes his physical ones are good but that's about it, given that is the case he looks like a squad player at best and isn't going to develop into a world class player which is fine provided I can find a player that is / will become world class who he can rotate with.

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Finances – Yep, we got some problems. It looked like we might get away with it as a consortium wanted to buy the club and float it on the stock exchange which would have raised a bucket load of cash but that takeover collapsed as they couldn't agree to a price with the current owner. They could return with another offer soon though as the current owner now wants to leave more urgently as he wants to retire so might be willing to accept a lower price.

Putting board politics aside as that is out of my control I'm going to need to slash the wage bill and sell some players to put us on a more stable financial footing. We also need to think about building up the balance so that we can expand the stadium as quickly as possible, it may come at the expense of success in Europe in the short term but in the long term it will make us far more competitive financially with the European elite teams.

Facilities 3 more months before we move back home. Interestingly, I haven't had the training or youth facilities downgrade for quite some time, is this some sort of bug?
 
Youth Intake – McMenamin ST looks a great prospect although he will be getting tutored in the hope that I can get that terrible determination up. The rest aren't that great, I'm rather annoyed that we seem to be increasing the number of poor personalities in the intake of late as I'm unsure of how to remedy this.
 
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League Reputation – The top 5 are an impenetrable bloc at this point. We can't afford too many seasons like this one before Scotland starts to close the gap and threaten our position, the rest of the teams were poor in Europe also.
 
Club Domestic Reputation – I cannot understand why Cliftonville are so reluctant to expand their stadium, next season, we will have nearly 10x the stadium capacity, they will never be able to compete.
 
Club European Reputation – West Ham retain their spot on top of the list FFS!! They didn't even win the Champions League as Lyon did that. Just goes to show how powerful the nations coefficient is and what a constant disadvantage I'm having to fight against playing in N. Ireland.
 
Edited by pheelf

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EXPANDING SINCLAIR ARENA

It has taken a year worth of renovation work but finally, the new seats are in place and the stadium capacity has been increased by 16,000.

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The stadium now has a capacity which will mean that the club will break Glentoran's 42,000 record attendance for a club in N. Ireland.

The first competitive game at the new stadium was against city rivals Cliftonville which guaranteed our return to Sinclair Arena would be marked with a sell-out crowd of 53,000.

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The stadium retains its shape as a 4 stand affair with the corners remaining empty although I sense that the final 12,000 expansion needed to bring it up to its full potential will see the corners filled in. The main grandstand looks to have been completely rebuilt while retaining the 3 tiers it had originally. It once again features roof-mounted floodlights.

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A view of the newly expanded David Jeffrey stand and facing grandstand. The corners have remained untouched but like the main grandstand, both stands appear to have been rebuilt as both now feature two rows of corporate boxes in between the 3 tiers. Both stands have the same design as the main grandstand which retains the uniform look of the ground with the roofs having also been replaced.

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The away stand filled to the rafters with Cliftonville fans. I can foresee it resembling a ghost town when other N. Irish teams with small fanbases play here though. Perhaps with another expansion, the corners will be filled in which will allow me to allocate that instead of an entire end.

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As expected the record attendance for any club in N. Ireland has been broken which sets the new benchmark for the country. Interestingly though the gate receipts record wasn't broken, I'll have to wait for a Champions League home game to manage that feat.

My hope is that this marks the start of a new dawn in N. Ireland with teams able to earn large sums of money playing us away in the cups. The first cup game of the season is against Carrick who is in the 3rd division, they currently have a turnover of £75K, it will be interesting to see what it reads after that game. Even if they earned only another £75K (which I severely doubt it will be that low) that would still be huge for them. Exciting times ahead.

Edited by pheelf

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Linfield F.C.

Season 2064 / 2065


Season Expectations

After last seasons underwhelming performance in Europe, I wanted to see an improvement and to meet the board expectation of reaching the semi finals of the Champions League.


 
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League Table - I have to give tremendous credit to the new manager of Dollingstown in his first full season. It was only our narrow 1-0 win at home to them which deprived them of becoming invincibles, it looks like the domestic challenge has been reignited and we are going to need to step it up next season if we are to regain our title. 

UEFA Champions League - So close and yet so far. A vast improvement on last season, I think that the first leg leads we held in the knockout rounds really helped us and the introduction of game management to protect those leads after 60 minutes also worked well. In the final, I didn't incorporate any game management as West Ham equalized before my trigger point after an uncharacteristically poor back pass by my left back Umbelino. As a result, I kept playing with the same tactic and another terrible piece of defensive work allowed them to get the winner. I threw everything at them to try and get the equalizer but they held on for a deserved victory. 

Domestic Cups - A rather poor season in the cups with us only lifting the League Cup and Charity Shield.

Reserves - At least my reserves had a great season bringing home a treble.

Under 18s - They were rubbish in the UEFA Youth League and that's against opposition which aren't among the elite. We seem to be getting further and further away from mounting a decent challenge for the trophy.

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Squad – There are some positive aspects to the squad such as the number of wonderkids in the team. The increase in the number of youth graduates and thus HG players is also encouraging. The size of the squad is also far more manageable which allowed the vast majority of players to get a good amount of game time.

However, there are some significant weaknesses which need addressing. The wage bill is still over £1Mp/w which even with a massive new stadium is still unsustainable. The central defence is an area of weakness and Bannon GK doesn't look capable of taking over from Uprichard GK anytime soon. I'm also painfully aware of the massive interest in a lot of my players which I'll find it difficult to keep which is especially vexing as the offers I'll get aren't anywhere near what I paid so the club could be seeing a massive loss. 

Transfers – The club made a huge profit in its transfer dealings which was pleasing but in the end, it only really helped to dig us out of the financial mess, it didn't lead to a massive bank balance. On reflection, I'm fairly happy with the incoming players although El Hilali MC the most expensive of the lot did let me down when it really mattered in the Champions League final. I hope that next season I can continue to make good profits in order to build the bank balance for stadium expansion. I also hope that for some players such as Eberaldo DR that should I be forced to sell that I can recoup the majority of what I paid.
 
Player Of The Season
Joel Bernal – MR - Average Rating: 8.05
A fantastic winger which he ought to be given he is the highest paid player in the squad. Provided a lot of assists which was pleasing but I would not be averse to selling him if a team comes in with a decent offer.

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
Marcos Monges – ST - Average Rating: 7.77
A very talented young player who I'm trying to make the long-term replacement for Pinedo. He will need to improve his creative output though as he only provided 1/3 of the assists that Pinedo managed. His goal per game ratio is better but given his duty as a support striker, I need to see more chance creation although I think his PPM doesn't help in that regard.  

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Finances – Things aren't rosy here as if we didn't make the Champions League final and receive all the prize money that entails we'd probably be looking once again at a very negative balance. This isn't great when you have aspirations of expanding the stadium and are still paying £1M per month on loans meaning the board is incredibly unlikely to take on any further debt. The situation isn't being helped by the constant turmoil at boardroom level either. The club has had 4 takeover bids collapse and this saga of the owner selling has been dragging on for over a year now.

As it stands, once again it is rumoured that a takeover from a consortium is in the works, the owner just needs to accept the offer, retire and allow the club to move on. It's not like he isn't going to make an absolute fortune from selling it's just his stubbornness that is getting in the way as he remains unconvinced that the new investors have the cash which is quite annoying as he stopped pumping in money years ago. We need the new owners to come in, pay off the debt, float us on the stock exchange and get us making progress again as we are starting to slip back both on and off the pitch.

Facilities I'd have hoped to be able to start the expansion to take us to full potential but it's not working out that way. Hopefully, next season will give us a bit more positive news on that front.
 
Youth Intake – We are certainly set for strikers for a while as another 3 talented youngsters come into the club. I would prefer a bit more balance though as the club is lacking in other areas and we had McMenamin ST come in last year making competition fierce for what is essentially 1 spot in the team given they are all attack duty strikers.
 
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League Reputation – No changes even after both us and Dollingstown made it through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Crusaders are coming back after promotion which is good but so are Ballinamallard United which isn't so good given their tiny fanbase. Carrick actually managed to get £200K from that cup game I mentioned earlier which really helped them in the 3rd division as they brought in some new players although they narrowly missed out on promotion with a final day draw when they need to win.
 
I'd like to continue that money feed by getting drawn at home to the likes of Bangor, Ards, Donegal Celtic and Lisburn Distillery. By helping those sort of clubs get promoted it would be more beneficial in the long term as I feel those clubs would be much stronger in the top flight and would be more likely to turn professional more easily given their larger fanbases and bigger stadiums. That is why I'm so desperate to get the capacity of the stadium up to 65,000. If a 30,422 attendance gave Carrick over £200K then a 65,000 attendance would surely be approaching £500K for the visiting team which would be massive for a club in the lower leagues.
 
Club European Reputation – West Ham quite rightly retain their spot at the top although we did improve our position.
 

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Linfield F.C.

Season 2065 / 2066


Season Expectations

Regain our league title and try to take that final step in Europe.


 
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League Table - A relatively comfortable win as we went the first 33 games unbeaten but our poor post-split form ended that run and made it appear closer. Crusaders put in a pitiful attempt to stay up with their only win coming on the 34th matchday.

UEFA Champions League - The group stage went well with us going unbeaten and finishing top. Unfortunately, we suffered some bad injuries to key players Pinedo & Monges which greatly hampered our attacking ability. The lack of fitness they had on their return meant that we struggled to take the chances that we created which ultimately resulted in our loss to Rennes with former club legend Scamporrino putting the final nail in the coffin.

Domestic Cups - An unsatisfactory trophy haul considering the squad we have. The only positive being that we were able to give a couple of lower league clubs a nice payday.

Reserves - They won the treble with a crazy attendance in the Steel & Sons Cup semi-final.

Under 18s - Just when I'd given up all hope that they were ever going to win the UEFA Youth League they pull it out of the hat in dramatic fashion. A fantastic effort from the lads to claim a well-deserved treble.

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Squad – There is a lot of trouble brewing with the harmony of the players. A lot of my best players wanted to leave to play for clubs with better squads so I made a promise to a few of them to wait around for another season for our young players to develop. Unfortunately, none of them believe that the players have shown enough improvement which I find strange as there has been a lot of development of the young players. As a result, all my best players want to leave which is creating havoc with morale. I think one of the areas where the game could improve is if the promises section was a bit more explicit, at the moment it's too vague with no way of knowing exactly what it requires to satisfy a promise. I have a feeling that we are going to need to rebuild the squad next season. 

Transfers – Another massive profit in the transfer market with Man United showing a preference for our players. I'm pretty happy with the incoming players as I was able to bring in a group of highly talented youngsters without breaking the bank, Skoda DC probably being the pick of the signings. Expect to see even more activity next season as I look to sell a whole bunch of unhappy players.
 
Player Of The Season
Darren Hynds – ML - Average Rating: 8.38
He had a brilliant and consistent season. He looks like a player that we will lose but at least the transfer fee should allow me to bring in somebody comparable.

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
Jort Toonen – ST - Average Rating: 8.22
I had an offer for him worth over £80M in January but I declined it as he is comfortably the clubs best player and was top scorer. In retrospect, it might have been a good idea to sell him to West Ham given that the interest is still there but the fee he will be able to command will be much lower. I have mixed feelings about him, I don't think I've seen a performance from him that his attributes would suggest he is capable of. 

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Finances – The takeover I mentioned in last seasons review collapsed but then another takeover bid was launched and that one was successful. As a result, a lot of the debt was cleared and consolidated into a £30M loan which has a far more manageable monthly repayment of £300K which is much better than over a £1M. At the end of the season, the bank balance was over £120M which meant that I could get the stadium expansion which would max out the capacity started which meant another loan of around £30M even though we could have paid for it upfront as it cost just over £72.5M. Money is no longer an issue I feel as the club was able to pay the directors a massive sum also.

Facilities There it is, mid-October and it will be done. In other news, Dollingstown is also looking for a site for a new stadium which ensures that things will never be the same again in N. Ireland.
 
Youth Intake – A bit more balance this time with Josh Watt DC looking the most promising.
 
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League Reputation – Unsurprisingly, no changes although we can't really afford too many more seasons without winning the Champions League.
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Our reputation dropped from 5* which is a bit troubling. If only the likes of Cliftonville and Ballymena United would expand their stadium it would make such a huge difference for them. It's not like they don't need it, Cliftonville consistently fills their stadium >90%. 
 
Club European Reputation – The fall is to be expected given our performances in Europe in recent seasons.
 
Edited by pheelf

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Linfield F.C.

Season 2066 / 2067


Season Expectations

The stadium will be at its maximum 65,000 all-seater capacity in mid-October, therefore this will be my final season with Linfield. Let's go out in style!!


 
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League Table - It took until after the split to clinch it but it was a fairly comfortable win. We came close to it but never managed an unbeaten season with Linfield which is a shame but they are certainly well equipped to remain the dominant force in N. Ireland.

UEFA Champions League - Much like last season we suffered some bad injuries to our central defenders which I thought had ruined our chances but we showed great character and resilience to fight back against Nimes and Juventus playing some scintillating one-touch football. Then along came the semi-final against West Ham. I could not have asked for a better start as we raced into a 3-0 lead. That is when I made a critical error. When they scored in the 79th minute I switched mentality down to defensive thinking that I could just see out the game taking a 2 goal lead to London, big mistake.

I should have stayed on Control as I was forced to play back up central defender Alonso which meant that we were never going to be able to resist their attack and we would have been better off by keeping the high press. Just goes to show how important the players you have are to the style of play you want to adopt. Surrendering a 3 goal advantage like that completely deflated us and we never looked like winning in London. A disappointing end to what has been a golden age for Linfield in Europe.

Domestic Cups - A better season in the cups although thoughts of a clean sweep faded quickly after the defeat to Cliftonville in the League Cup. I was surprised to face Ards Rangers in the Co. Antrim Shield final and a little disappointed that I was unable to provide much of a financial boost to the lower league clubs as I was drawn away against them in the Irish Cup. 

Reserves - Another treble for them which is pleasing. I was delighted to see the record-breaking attendance in the Steel & Sons Cup which provided a massive boost to the income of Lisburn Distillery which no doubt assisted them in getting promoted to the DBP which means their link with Dollingstown will end.

Under 18s - It looked like they might be on their way to retaining the UEFA Youth League but narrowly missed out on penalties, they were impeccable domestically.

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Squad – I thought this squad would have been capable of winning the Champions League but long-term injuries to both central defenders Hornas & Dillon cost us a place in the final. I am however satisfied that this group of players provide an excellent foundation for the new manager to build upon. It is a young squad with a number of highly talented players which should be a recipe for success.

Transfers – A massive amount of activity this time with a massive outlay. Of the incoming players, Conci DR, Hermes ML, Hoppe MR, Reinsbo ST, Mendes MC & Benteke ST were the outstanding stars who performed brilliantly. I decided to sell Uprichard GK & Pinedo ST as they both wanted a new challenge while the rest were done to restore harmony to the squad as they all stated that they wanted to play in a better squad although for some of them I think that was a cover for the real reason and that was purely financial gain. It was gutting to see West Ham using our former players to beat us and then go on to win the final.
 
Player Of The Season
Jostein Reinsbo – ST - Average Rating: 7.94
The new signing was a revelation up front and scored some absolute worldies in the Champions League. It will be interesting to see how he plays under new management as I felt he suited his role as an AF in the 4-4-2 well, whether he will be as prolific in a system as a lone striker will be interesting to see if the new manager wishes to play that way.

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
Marc Hoppe – MR - Average Rating: 8.09
A brilliant winger who provided the most assists in the team. It is interesting to see the number of German flags in our squad list as the Germans make up the second largest contingent in the club. The fact that we have a team full of current and potential German national team players is an encouraging sign for the future. 

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Finances – Takeovers are like buses, you wait ages for one, then two come along at the same time. This time the takeover resulted in paying off some of the clubs debts and consolidating once again into a 10-year term £30M loan with £300K payments per month. All of this means that the club is in exceptional financial health for the new manager and I made it even more comfortable by selling some transfer clauses which leaves a bank balance of around £70M which should give great flexibility. 

Facilities There it is in all its glory. I didn't post a stadium update as the ground at its full size doesn't look any different than before the expansion took place and still remains a 4 stand arena with empty corners. The eagle-eyed of you will have spotted the training facilities have downgraded for the first time in years (I wonder if the new board has anything to do with it). Not to worry, they will be getting upgraded back up to state of the art again for next season.
 
Youth Intake – Slim pickings this time but then again they would have to be wonderkids in order to stand out when compared to the first team. Besides, the intake has been fairly good in recent seasons giving us players capable of developing into first team players so the odd bad intake is fine.
 
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League Reputation – This is not how I would have wanted to end my time here seeing the nation lose a Champions League spot for the season after next. I'm also kind of mystified as to why this has happened as there wasn't a single Scottish flag in the knockout stages of the Champions League but as a combined effort they still outperformed the N. Irish teams. When I look over at the SPL, the teams there are still way ahead of us in terms of infrastructure and money.
 
Even if we are to replicate the whole Rangers - Celtic domination of now (IRL) with Linfield - Dollingstown they have moved on from that. I feel that 3/4 of the teams in the SPL could realistically compete for the DBP if they played over here whereas Linfield would be the only team that I'd say could compete for the SPL. It is a depressing reflection of the inherent gap between the two nations which looks impossible to close at this point. If anything, the gap has only increased with our winning the Champions League keeping the nation in an artificial position.
 
The problem is clearly bigger than just money as teams like Cliftonville, Ballymena United & Glentoran have all had loads of money but they steadfastly refuse to do anything that would improve their income. In my opinion, Cliftonville & Ballymena United have shown a complete lack of ambition remaining in small stadiums and making no effort to grow their fanbases. Even tiny Ballinamallard United have decided to build a new stadium. I think the problem is more to do with complacency and the lack of competition for the European places. Those aforementioned teams know that their position isn't under threat so they just do the bare minimum in order to keep themselves ticking over. That is why the nation desperately needs some of the bigger lower league teams to get some money into their coffers and get into the DBP. Lisburn Distillery getting promoted into the DBP is a good first step as they have a stadium larger than all the other teams in the DBP except Linfield, Dollingstown & Glentoran. Hopefully, the money they gained from the Steel & Sons Cup game will be enough for them to build a squad strong enough to stay up.
 
Club Domestic Reputation – I'd say the nation is much better off than when I first came to Linfield as the majority of the teams in the DBP now operate at professional status. Dollingstown has now reached the planning permission stage with their new stadium so give it another 3 or so seasons and the nation should have 2 massive engines driving the growth of football by providing great money to lower league teams in the cups.
 
Club European Reputation – Not where I wanted to leave the club but ever since the expansion of the new stadium started we haven't won the Champions League so I can't really expect any better.
 
Edited by pheelf

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I've retired the manager and have replaced him with a no coaching badges and Sunday league footballer experience one. Which gives me a number of options of what comes next in the save.

1

Apply for another job in N. Ireland (more than likely with a 3rd division side as I don't think the reputation of the new manager will allow me to get a job with a club in the DBP or Championship) and try to build them up to one day overtake Linfield & Dollingstown.

Duration of challenge - How long is a piece of string?

Difficulty - 3/5 - Hard but not as hard as when I had to do it without any money in the league with Dollingstown.

2

Apply for a job in Ireland. I feel I have some unfinished business here although I would only be willing to do it with Finn Harps, Derry City or U.C.D. as they are the only teams with reserve teams and I found the lack of a reserve team incredibly frustrating last time. More than likely it would be with Finn Harps as they are in the 1st division in 9th position and the job is most likely to come up first and I don't think I'd stand a chance of getting the job at either of the other two clubs. The ultimate aim would be to oust Dundalk who have a monopoly on the league and build up the league.

Duration of challenge - This I feel will take much longer given the money situation for teams in R.O.I being much worse and the fact that Dundalk is so far ahead of everyone else. They are also not the only Professional team so I would have to overtake those other teams too which could take a while.

Difficulty - 5/5 - The lack of money in the league, the fact that the gap between Finn Harps and the top teams in Ireland is so huge and the only way of closing it would be to get into Europe which is a mammoth task in of itself when you have so many other teams better placed to do that.

3

Apply for a job in Scotland. This would be the choice that would state that if you can't beat them, join them. This could be interesting although it'd probably be with a team in the 4th division. I'd say a good job here would be getting to the SPL.

Duration of challenge - My concern with this would be getting stuck in the lower leagues for years so I would be looking to other jobs in higher leagues if I felt that I couldn't take the team I started with any further.

Difficulty - 3/5 - A tricky task but cup progress could make things a lot easier with good draws away as that would raise a lot of money.

4

Apply for a job in England. This would be the last resort for me as I don't particularly enjoy playing there. A few FM editions ago I took Staines Town to the Championship but just got bored of it, the sheer amount of promotions needed is also a big turnoff although I could start in the Vanarama North / South and apply for jobs at teams in higher divisions which might make it a bit more interesting in that I could roleplay restoring some fallen giants. The end goal would be to win the EPL which would automatically allow me to walk into any club anywhere in the world should I wish to move.

Duration of challenge - It depends on what paths open up.

Difficulty - 3/5 - The hard part is getting into the professional leagues, once that's done it becomes a lot easier to just shoot up the leagues.

5

Apply for a job in Wales. An interesting proposition as I haven't managed in Wales for a while and the number of fixtures is a lot more forgiving than in all the other countries mentioned. I could definitely go for a club which gets to use the Millenium Stadium in Europe. Getting into the group stage of the Champions League would probably be the end goal here.

Duration of challenge - I don't think it would take all that long to establish dominance in Wales as the teams are really evenly matched and due to the reputation being so low I think it would be possible to create a title-winning side relatively quickly. The longer part would be getting into the Champions League group stages which could take a very long time.

Difficulty - 2/5 - TNS aren't professional and amateurs Cardiff Met Uni finished 3rd with only a small gap between them and 1st. If that's the level of competition then it shouldn't prove too difficult.

I'm still undecided on what to do next and any input would be welcome.

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A fresh start

After much consideration, I've decided to go with the most difficult challenge of all by returning to Ireland with the new manager. Unexpectedly, I managed to get a job in the top flight and that is with...

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The club doesn't have much of a history to note with them being somewhat of a yo-yo team. They haven't ever won the Irish Premier Division but have lifted the Irish Senior Challenge Cup once, way back in 1984. The objective of my time at the club will be to challenge the dominance of Dundalk in the long term who have won the title for all but 4 seasons since the save began. In the short term, my aim will be to stabilize the club in the top flight and ward off any threat of relegation.


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This looks like a monumental task ahead in order to get this team competing at the top end of the league with the professional clubs. Their reputation is pretty poor which probably explains why I got the job although there are some encouraging signs as the personality of the squad is very good. They are also based in Dublin which could be a huge benefit when trying to grow the fanbase.

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This is such a contrast to what I've become accustomed to. On the plus side, they own the stadium which means no rent and the freedom to expand. Another plus is that the pitch is grass although there isn't any undersoil heating. On the downside, the facilities are poor even by Irish league standards. A lot of work needs to be done here which is going to take a whole lot of money but at least if we get into Europe we get to play in the huge Aviva Stadium.

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Not good, not good at all. They also have a loan for £450K which has still got many years before it is repaid. There are some positive signs, there is still a fair amount of room on the wage budget which I'll be looking to take advantage of but European money is going to be critical in the development of the club. Without it and this club could be looking at serious financial problems in the future.

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Where do I start?

As I'll be throwing the old 4-4-2 at it (although the board wants to see us play possession football so that may need to be revised) this squad is badly balanced. 5 AMCs but only one LB and RB, what was the previous manager thinking?. The quality in the defence will need to be improved A.S.A.P. as that is the glaring weakness although I feel the central midfield area is relatively weak also. There is also a lot of talent in the squad however which I'll be hoping to develop while I look to plug the gaps.

Starting Conditions

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I think the objective until the end of the season has to be to keep the club in the Premier Division and it looks possible as I think Wexford are already gone so it will be a straight fight between us and rivals Bray to avoid the playoff. Anything more than that would be a bonus although the club is in the League Cup semi-final which might give me an early shot at silverware if we can get past 1st division Waterford United.

Starting League Reputation

Irish Premier Division - 44th

Not too bad a start although it appears to be on a downward trajectory. Hopefully, I can intervene and get it moving in the right direction again sooner rather than later.

Edited by pheelf

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University College Dublin

Season 2067


Season Expectations

Stay up at all costs and put the foundations in place for the rebuild that is going to be required.


 
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League Table - 7 points from my first three games in charge and a win at home to Bray proved to be enough to keep our heads above water. We were lucky that the fight had gone from both the teams below us as our form was atrocious as we lost every other game but they couldn't capitalize. I wouldn't read too much into the bad form though as I played a weakened side once we began to look safe so that I could focus on the Cup.

Domestic Cups - How about that, we couldn't better Dundalk in the League Cup final but what an incredible run in the Senior Challenge Cup which gives us the early boost of European football next season. I have no doubt that it was a somewhat fortunate run with us playing the better teams at home, I'm also aware that I could be considered to have gamed the system by fielding fresh and rested players against their tired players but I couldn't care less. Get the passports ready lads!!  

Under 18s - They're crap and are going to be that way until we can start to invest in youth development. At least they didn't finish bottom.

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Squad – I'm pleased for them as they vastly overachieved by winning the cup which is quite an achievement with central defenders who are considered only good for the 1st division. The squad will still be getting gutted though with a lot of the surplus players leaving if I get my way. I'd like to hold on to the stars in the team if I can but at this point, everyone has a price and if selling them pushes us closer to turning professional which we will need to consistently compete at the top end of the table then so be it. 

Transfers – I'm relatively pleased with our transfer dealings with Fagan ST & Richardson MC looking like being an absolute steal considering their abilities. I'll be looking to end the policy of loaning in players and instead focus on signing young talent and giving them an opportunity to develop. Quality over quantity has to be the idea going forward until we stabilize the club financially and are in a position to increase the depth of the squad.  
 
Player Of The Season
Liam Browne – MR - Average Rating: 7.09
He proved to be remarkably consistent and scored some important goals during the season. Just a shame he dreads big matches which could see him phased out of the team.

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
Stephen Carson – ST - Average Rating: 7.07
A very versatile player who was used as both a central midfielder (support) and deep-lying forward (support) during the season. He is considered the best player in the squad but Dundalk look interested and they should have some money to spend after making the Europa League group stages so I'd be willing to sell for the right price.

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Finances – We're back in the black which is a good thing although the wage budget has been cut. Let's hope for a good run in the Europa League to make some good money as the clubs turnover was only £75K this year. I did ask for professional status but it was rejected although the boards only objection was the lack of money.

Facilities The Aviva Stadium appears as the alternate stadium, we just need to win a few rounds and we'll play there which could be very lucrative should we draw a big team, better still if they are from the UK.
 
Youth Intake – None of these players looks good enough to ever grace the first team. I signed them all as the team consisted of only 3 players before the intake.
 
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League Reputation – Dundalk have done well to keep the league reputation as high as it is with their regular appearances in the group stages of European competition as the rest have been rubbish. They just need help to really drive the growth of the league, hopefully, my team are the ones which provide it.
 
Club Domestic Reputation – We've got a long way to go in order to even garner the respect of the other teams in the league.
 
Club European Reputation – I'm surprised that we're even on the list given that next season will the be our first ever in Europe but I guess the nations club coefficient is playing a part here.
 
Edited by pheelf

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Home calling

A job opportunity opened up back in N. Ireland that I just couldn't refuse even though some might consider it to be a backward step in the fledgling career of the new manager.

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Having been recently relegated from the DBP you may ask why I would leave a club with European football for a team which looks to be on a downward path. Well, I have a few explanations but first a little history. Lisburn Distillery actually has a rich history and have won the DBP on 5 occasions although their last triumph was in 1963. They have had good success in the domestic cups and have lifted the Irish Cup an impressive 12 times with their most recent win coming in 1971, the League Cup has been won 6 times and they have managed to win the Co. Antrim Shield 14 times.

Even though they boast a trophy cabinet which would be the envy of many clubs in N. Ireland they haven't won anything of significance since the save began and their fans have had to endure a 23-year stint in non-league football after relegation in the 2018/19 season. The recent past has however brought much more pleasant times with the club managing a season in the top flight in season 2067/68 which was their first since the 2012/13 season. The Distillery faithful will be hoping that I can lead them back into the top flight at the first time of asking.


Club

I think even the owners of the club would concede that they have punched well below their weight for some considerable time which is one of the reasons why I took the job. All the pieces are in place for this club to become a solid DBP side and more it just needs the right guy steering the ship which I hope I can be. It is good to see that the squad has a professional nature as that is always helpful. 

Facilities 

Even at this stage of the game, the stadium still has the 5th largest capacity in the country. We'll barely fill it in the Championship but did manage an impressive 1,858 average attendance in the top flight with 3 sell-out games in that statistic. The infrastructure at the club is antiquated and needs upgrading but that will have to wait until the club is established in the DBP which can only happen with professional status which will be the first priority.

Squad 

Not much to work with here which is compounded by the fact that some of the best players want to leave after relegation. It is going to take a lot of hard work to bring this squad up to scratch and competing for an immediate return to the DBP. I think the loan market is going to be our friend here as I can't see many players of the caliber we are going to need wanting to transfer to a club playing in such a poor reputation league. Financially, the club is in a great state having almost £2M in the bank balance and a healthy wage and transfer budget which I'm hoping will be enough.

Starting Conditions

The biggest threats to our promotion bid come from Crusaders and Dungannon. Both of these teams have senior affiliations with Serie B teams which means they are going to be getting good quality professional players for next to nothing in terms of wages. Outside of those two clubs, I can't see any of the other teams being capable of maintaining a serious challenge.

Starting League Reputations

Danske Bank Premier - 7th

Bluefin Sport Championship - 112th

Bluefin Sport Premier Intermediate League - 173rd

All I want is to get promoted, whether directly as champions or through the playoffs we need to get out of the Championship as quickly as possible.

Edited by pheelf

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Lisburn Distillery F.C.

Season 2068 / 2069


Season Expectations

The board wants the club to reach the playoffs, I'd like to go one better and win the title and go up automatically.


 
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League Table - The two threats I identified really made us work for it by pushing us all the way but we managed to handle the pressure better and beat them both in the last two games to secure the title.

Domestic Cups - A nice distraction away from league business although not the most lucrative of seasons in the cups as we drew Linfield at home. Hopefully, that is the last time the first team ever has to take part in the Steel & Sons Cup. 

Under 18s - I'm impressed, even though they didn't have to beat any of the better youth teams they managed to win the cup, the first in the clubs history.

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Squad – We owe our success to the good folks at Dollingstown, Linfield and Cliftonville who loaned us their bright prospects which made it all possible. I'll be looking for more of the same next season and have already extended the loans on all but one of the lads I feel we need to keep if we are to stand a chance of staying up.

Transfers – This was all the cash transfers to which you can add a bunch of free transfers and loans. I didn't think that our most significant transfer would have been Fleming ST but I don't know what I would have done without his goals given the strop that Kelly ST pulled all season as I refused to let him leave the club after relegation.  
 
Player Of The Season
Darren Fleming – ST - Average Rating: 7.27
Talk about pulling us out of the fire!!... He single-handedly led us to the title with his goals which is no exaggeration. Without him, I doubt we could have even made the playoffs.

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
Youssef Thiry – ST - Average Rating: 7.35
Another critical piece of the jigsaw with the Dollingstown loanee providing important goals and assists. It was imperative that I extended his loan which I managed, keeping him here for another 2 seasons.

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Finances – The club actually posted a fairly hefty loss of over £500K this season which was troubling which is probably why my request to turn professional was rejected. Hopefully, next season will bring a much healthier situation which should make my case to the board for going professional more convincing. We have to stay up but a nice cup run would be welcome also.

Facilities I did ask for improved junior coaching but the board deemed it unnecessary so nothing has changed.
 
Youth Intake – They were all signed but if they aren't considered to have potential good enough to be a star in the Championship it is very difficult to imagine they could be of much help in the DBP. I wouldn't mind being proven wrong though.
 
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League Reputation – This remained the same and it looks like a lot of work is going to be needed in order to overtake Scotland again.
 
Club Domestic Reputation – The reputation of the league is great at 3.5* but our reputation is very poor at 1*. Given that mismatch, our best hope has to be the loan market as bringing in DBP quality players is going to be nigh on impossible.
 
Club European Reputation – As we don't register on this list I thought I'd take the opportunity to look around the league and report some interesting findings.
 
- Dollingstown will be moving into their new 48,205 capacity Jimmy Hopkin Arena the season after the next which should be very beneficial for them and mean another potentially lucrative away day in the cups for the smaller teams.
- Cliftonville has finally started to show some ambition and have expanded their stadium and will use the 27,000 capacity at Windsor Park next season up until April, it will be interesting to see how they get on there.
- Ballinamallard United moved to their new ground at the start of the season which is, unfortunately, a massive downgrade on Ferney Park much to my bemusement. Could prove a costly mistake as they got relegated to the Championship this season.
- 8/12 teams in the DBP will be professional at the start of the new season
 
Edited by pheelf

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Lisburn Distillery F.C.

Season 2069 / 2070


Season Expectations

The board seems to be in an ultra-optimistic mood and when the season budget was being decided gave me the minimum expectation of a mid-table finish. I don't think we can manage that and feel we are in for a season of struggle, I'll be happy if we stay up, anything better would be a bonus.


 
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League Table - We managed to stay up relatively comfortably in the end but I feel that we got a degree of luck with the performances of the two teams below us who underperformed, we won't be able to count on that happening next season.

Domestic Cups - Didn't really do much in the cups which is disappointing as that is a major source of income we're missing out on.

Reserves - The fact that I can play any player regardless of age in the reserve team is a real boost as it allowed me to maintain a fit first team. They were lackluster in the cups but did well in the league.

Under 18s - Winners last year and knocked out at the first opportunity this time around, shows how fortunes can change.

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Squad – As anticipated, I found it exceptionally difficult to bring quality players into the team. It even proved difficult to bring in quality loans which is why I'm really concerned about our chances of staying up next season. With the exception of Newry City, all the other teams in and around us have senior affiliations and are able to bring in quality players on loan even as semi-professional clubs. I've tried several times to get a similar arrangement but each time the board has failed to find a suitable club.

The defensive area is a real issue which was our Achilles heel all season, we even lost a 4-1 lead thanks to our porous defence with us drawing 4-4 against Limavady United. I'm going to have to be incredibly astute in the transfer market as I don't feel I can afford any more mistakes like Lafferty DC who is our highest paid player and is only a leading player for the league below. The idea has to be to sign young players (u23) with significant potential and give them first team football and hope that they develop and can be sold for a good price.

I decided to also change my tactical approach as the 4-4-2 wasn't solid enough defensively and seeing my back line constantly being shredded by balls over the top was becoming too much to bear. Instead, I've opted for a high block, tika taka 4-1-2-3 Wide which so far appears more stable whilst improving the quality of football the team is playing.  

Transfers – I basically rebuilt the squad around the loan players which I managed to hold on to. In retrospect, this was probably a bad idea but we are where we are. Next season I really need to bring in some quality defenders if we are to stand a chance of making any progress up the table.
 
Player Of The Season
Marcus West – AML - Average Rating: 7.19
He did fairly well and scored some important goals. As an Inside Forward (Support) he doesn't really excite me and will need to be replaced as soon as a better alternative is available.

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
Tommy McFadden – AMR - Average Rating: 7.09
Not a bad little winger in my book, although his end product needs work. That will however not be my issue to resolve as his loan has finished.

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Finances – The bank balance is going to need to be a lot better than that for the club to turn professional. At least this season the loss we made was much lower, this is why good cup runs are so critical to the future of the club as without them we just lose money.

Facilities I did manage to get both the junior coaching and youth recruitment upgraded which is a step in the right direction as if we could start producing some HG talent that would not only satisfy the board which has that as a philosophy it should help the club financially too.
 
Youth Intake – A really encouraging intake with both Morton ST and McCreery ST looking to have great potential to become star players. All players were signed to youth contracts with the two stars and Harvey AMR offered part-time deals which they will sign automatically when they turn 17.
 
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League Reputation – This was a fairly poor season in Europe for the N. Irish clubs. Linfield got knocked out of the Europa League 1st knockout round, Dollingstown finished bottom of their Champions League group, Cliftonville finished 3rd in their Europa League group and both Ballymena United and Portadown got knocked out in the Europa League qualifying rounds. They will need to improve massively or could come under pressure from the Eredivisie.
 
Club Domestic Reputation – The club has clawed its way up to 1.5* and regional reputation which is good, getting to 2* looks a much stiffer challenge though.

 

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Lisburn Distillery F.C.

Season 2070 / 2071


Season Expectations

The board decided to be a bit more realistic with its expectations this time by only demanding that we avoid automatic relegation. If the board see us as being worse than last season then survival once again has to be the main priority. I'd quite like a nice cup run to raise some funds if that's possible as we work toward professional status. 


 
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League Table - We moved up a spot which I'm taking as a successful season given the pessimism that we started the season with. On the final day both the destination of the title and the automatic relegation spot hadn't been decided which made for an exciting afternoon as the teams involved played each other for a final showdown. Linfield and Newington went into the games with the advantage but both bottled it by losing when a draw would have been enough.

Domestic Cups - The club got the cup draw it wanted which raised nearly £500K, we didn't really make much progress from last season though.

Reserves - The Intermediate Cup win was very welcome as that brought in over £200K.

Under 18s - They're getting very slowly better but have a lot of work to do.

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Squad – The squad looks in better shape if only marginally. I'm going to try and wean the club off loan signings as I felt we have become too dependent on them and it doesn't help the long-term sustainability of the club given that we get no resale value for developing those players. I've also reverted to the 4-4-2 during the season as I just don't feel that the players are good enough technically or have the required work rate to be able to pull off the 4-1-2-3 Wide effectively.

I'm also going to broaden out my net for finding players as I feel that I've perhaps been too focused on young players while ignoring older players with the current ability to take the club forwards. Potential is only valuable if you are in a position to develop it and as it stands we aren't given that our facilities are poor, our coaching is among the poorest in the league and the level of football I can offer the players isn't of the required level. The level is either too high making poor performances more likely which can damage the development of the player or too low where winning doesn't really develop the player either.

Transfers – The transfer dealings were greatly curtailed this time around. I really need to be looking at the free agent market more as that appears to be giving us our best players.

Player Of The Season
Kyle Murtagh – MR - Average Rating: 7.14
He has a rather unfortunate personality but did well in a struggling side. I'd like to see a few more assists and goals but would be satisfied if he could continue his good form next season.

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
Youssef Thiry – ST - Average Rating: 7.32
The teams top scorer by a considerable margin had a great season. He won't be staying though once his loan contract ends. 

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Finances – An improvement on last season but still quite some way short of what is required to turn the club professional. That is the final hurdle preventing the club from really competing for a Europa League place. It's also stifling our ability to turn the club into a selling one as no team is going to give good money for players on part-time contracts.

Facilities The junior coaching and youth recruitment were once again improved and I'm hoping that will help us in the future.
 
Youth Intake – Some reasonable prospects such as Robinson DC and Addis ML but also a lot of players which don't look like having the ability to compete for a first-team place.
 
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League Reputation – The nation seems to have solidified itself in 7th. A better season in Europe for once with Linfield making the Champions League quarter finals.
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Still short of 2* which will be the next major milestone in the development of the clubs reputation. Odd to think that relegated Newington will have a better reputation in the Championship than we have in the Premiership.
 
Edited by pheelf

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Lisburn Distillery F.C.

Season 2071 / 2072


Season Expectations

A mid-table finish is being demanded from the board. I'm unsure as to whether we can achieve that but it would be nice to start to move away from the lower reaches of the table. 


 
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League Table - Slow and steady wins the race. We're making improvements by notching up our highest points total but I wouldn't want the finishing position to mask the fact that we could have finished in 10th had we not beaten Crusaders on the final day. 

Danske Bank Premier Europa League Playoff - This went a lot better than I anticipated. I decided late in the season to switch back to the 4-1-2-3 Wide as the 4-4-2 appeared to have lost its bite and it really worked wonders for us and helped guide us into Europe.

Domestic Cups - A great run to the final of the Irish Cup but with the exception of Cliftonville the draws were kind to us, once we encountered a big team we got smashed.

Reserves - A much better showing in the league but poor in the cups.

Under 18s - They are getting incrementally better but seem some way short of winning the cup again.

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Squad – The board decided to sign a senior affiliation with Serie A side Spal and that turned out to be critical to our fortunes this season. The loans they provided for us allowed us to far exceed expectations and for the first time made the 4-1-2-3 Wide a viable alternative which came up trumps for us late in the season. I think I'm being somewhat shortchanged with the ability of some of the players though. Paying over £1,000p/w on players like Donaghy MC and West ML is ridiculous when you consider their contribution to the team during the season. We still struggled to bring in quality defenders with the semi-professional status really hampering our ability to improve the squad significantly. Next season looks like a much tougher challenge as the Spal loanees don't want to extend their stay here meaning we are going to lose a lot of ability from the first team. 

Transfers – I decided to focus on bringing in players with expiring contracts and it proved useful in reducing expenditure even if the results weren't spectacular. The best signings were the Spal loan players, Robson GK, Forsythe MC & O'Kane ST. The rest of the signings were flops especially Lillis ST who has got to go down as one of the worst strikers I have ever managed.

Player Of The Season
Kyle Murtagh – MR - Average Rating: 7.04
Another consistent season from the winger, it'll be interesting to see how he fares in Europe next season.

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
Alberto Spinelli – MC - Average Rating: 6.92
He came in and did a very competent job. His performances when I employed him as the DLP(D) in the DM were also good and his ability to retain the ball gave us a good platform for our late-season surge.

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Finances – I requested to turn professional but once again I was rejected as the board appears happy with where we are in the footballing pyramid. It really is the last major stumbling block which is preventing us from really being able to put our foot on the gas and accelerate the building of the club. The chairman is willing to listen to offers for the club so I'm hoping that he sells to a consortium who are willing to invest in the club and allows us to take that critical step. A nice run deep into the Europa League qualifiers would help out massively but I can see that proving difficult unless the draws are kind to us. We really lucked our way into Europe this season and unless we can bring in better players by being professional we could really struggle to make progress with this club especially since Crusaders a team which finished below us have turned professional, a little bit of ambition would go a long way from the board.

Facilities The junior coaching and youth recruitment was maxed out which I'm hoping will prove beneficial to the youth intakes but no other investment was made.
 
Youth Intake – I'm very pleased with this intake as we appear to have a number of stars in the making come through. Falvey ST looks brilliant but his determination is terrible and as such, I have decided to tutor him to try and raise it. White DC and Murphy DL look great too. The concern I have with this good intake is that the gap between the CA and PA is so vast that these players aren't going to get anywhere near their potential ability. The poor facilities, poor youth coaching and lack of training time given we are a semi-professional club could prove a real dampener on what could have become great players.
 
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League Reputation – Not good signs here as we drop another place although our allocation of European places seems secure for now.
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Still not enough to reach 2* and National recognition.
 
Edited by pheelf

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Lisburn Distillery F.C.

Season 2072 / 2073


Season Expectations

Another mid-table finish is expected and I feel that is a fair reflection of where we are as a club. I don't think we have the ability to get into the group stages of the Europa League in our first European outing but with a bit of luck with the draws, you never know.


 
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League Table - More points once again but no improvement in position. We almost had a shock winner of the title but a final day loss away at Linfield crushed Ballymena United's dreams.

Danske Bank Premier Europa League Playoff - A struggle as we had to win through 3 ties but I'm delighted to have secured European football for the 2nd season in a row.

UEFA Europa League - A very impressive performance against the Austrians landed us a glamour tie against Scottish giants Rangers. Unfortunately, a poor performance at Ibrox scuppered any chances of us making the group stages even after a creditable draw at Windsor Park.

Domestic Cups - A very similar story to last season, as soon as we came up against a top side we got eliminated.

Reserves - To their credit, they managed to win the league which was great, they weren't so impressive in the cups though.

Under 18s - The loss to Banbridge in the cup was poor but the league went fairly well.

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Squad – I managed to increase the depth of the squad but I went a bit overboard which caused massive issues with morale when I didn't register a number of players for the European squad. Noticing my mistake, I then hastily offered mutual terminations to a number of players who had lost faith in my ability. What I'm left with is a core of good players who I'll be hoping to add to next season. If we could win through just two rounds in the Europa League then we make the group stages and more than likely turn professional, the aim has to be to bring in the required quality to get us there.

Transfers – The two signings made for a fee were decent but didn't set the world alight. Next season, I might just increase the scouting budget to the world package for the summer transfer window to see if I can pick up some good players from abroad then switch it back down to the N. Ireland package. I think that might just help me to identify the players I'm going to need to make progress in Europe.

Player Of The Season
Kyle Murtagh – MR - Average Rating: 7.27
An even better average rating than last season which is impressive. He has shifted down the pecking order thanks to free transfer McFadden but still is an important member of the squad.

Young Player Of The Season (U21)
Klevis Kastrati – ML - Average Rating: 7.07
The Spal loanee had an interesting season with moments of brilliance but also frustration due to injury. He must have done something right though as Dollingstown agreed to a pre-contract agreement with him starting next season.

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Finances – I may sound like a broken record but being a semi-professional club is the only thing holding us back. A consortium took over at the end of the season and invested £300K into the club but still refused to turn the club professional. Getting to the Europa League group stages next season is the only way I can see us getting the money we need to turn pro so I will be pulling out all stops to make that a reality.

Facilities – No changes and there won't be any until we can afford to start upgrading facilities.
 
Youth Intake – Graham DC and Fulton MR look decent prospects, the rest will be making up the numbers.
 
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League Reputation – No changes, it was a fairly decent season with 3 N. Irish clubs making the knockout stages of the Europa League. Dollingstown went the furthest before succumbing in the quarter-final to a rampant Spurs side.
 
Club Domestic Reputation – Good progress as we reach 2* and get National recognition.
 
Club European Reputation – We finally work our way onto the list. We'll be unseeded in the 3rd and 4th Qualifying Rounds so we are going to need a bit of luck in the draw to avoid the really big clubs.
 
Edited by pheelf

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