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[FM 18] The Ballad of Stalin ‘El Bobo’ Pinzón – Part 1: One Zulte to Rule Them All… and in the Darkness Bind Them

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Roads?! Where we're going, we don't need roads.

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Like with my prior saves, I enjoy playing in a unique environment.  So, we’ve holidayed out two years.  In that time…

Luis Enrique’s Tottenham won the Champions League in 2018, beating Atletico in extra time (Pochettino was sacked in December 2017).  Bayern claimed the 2019 Champions League, beating PSG in the final.

And, in a massive departure from the real world, Pep was sacked by Manchester City in the first season, as they stumbled to a 3rd place finish, 20 points behind cross-town rivals United. Mourinho’s boys have won 2 straight, the swagger having returned to Old Trafford, while Pep has taken up the mantle of mediocrity at Arsenal, taking them to a 6th place finish in 2018-19. 

For those who are interested, results from the last two years of the Champions League, Europa League  and active leagues are posted below, along with screens from the 2018 World Cup, won by France.

As you can see, I've activated the top tiers in Spain, Germany, Italy, England, France, Belgium, Turkey, Greece and Sweden.  It is possible that nations will be added/removed as time goes on, but this is what we're starting with.

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2017-18

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2018 World Cup

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2018-19

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And thus our journey begins in the summer of 2019.  But, before we can dive in we need to go back to the start and meet Stalin…

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As a child in Medellin, Stalin Pinzón dreamed of being a footballer.  A talented, left-footed fullback, Stalin was in high demand and joined Atlético Nacional’s youth setup on his 11th birthday.

For a number years, it seemed that the world was destined to lie at his feet.  Power, pace, technical ability, with a dashing smile and a devil-may-care sense of humor away from the pitch.  He had it all, including the nickname 'El Bobo," which he first despised then grew to love.  Rumors of a move abroad were constant, with semi-legitimate offers arriving on a daily basis. 

[Editor’s note: on advice of counsel, we must emphasize that these offers were utterly and extraordinarily illegal and illegitimate, in every possible respect.  Please disregard the literary license taken by our esteemed author.]

But having the world by the short and curlies is a more precarious position than one might imagine…  On a fateful day in mid-March, Stalin’s future was shattered.

It was so innocent.  A casual scrimmage with Medellín’s U18s having ended in a draw, the managers elected to decide the tie with penalties.  For bragging rights.

Only Los Verdolagas’ goalkeeper pulling his hamstring on the 4th kick.  A replacement was needed.

Ever one to step into the breach in the name of honor and good humor, Stalin stepped forward to don the gloves in hopes of saving Medellín’s  5th and decisive kick…  A kick that would be taken by Medellín’s star striker, Alejandro Balanta, a beast of a young man in the mold of an oversized Didier Drogba, with a cannon for a right foot.  

Naturally, Balanta and Stalin were steady friends, having connected over the years on long trips with the Colombian youth national sides. 

Now, as an erudite follower of the beautiful game, you are likely already familiar with this story and its tragic end.

You’ve almost certainly seen the viral video on YouTube.  What self-respecting football supporter hasn’t?  It is still recycled on r/soccer to this day, much to the chagrin of the enlightened, huddled masses that would prefer to engage in respectful, intellectual discussions about the nuances of Pep Guardiola’s latest tactical innovations and Jose Mourinho’s wily transfer dealings.

But...if you haven’t seen the video, a word of advice – turn off the volume.  The sound of a young man’s orbital socket exploding will haunt you forever.  Leave that link blue.

Many blamed Balanta for hammering the ball down the middle, but it is easy to second guess...  In the immediate aftermath, a shocked Balanta simple explained that he had assumed Stalin would guess one way or the other.

The tears streaming down Balantas face tell the story.

Stalin didn’t guess.

But he could not react in time.

The trauma of that lazy March afternoon has haunted Stalin and Balanta ever since.

Surgeons managed to save Stalin’s eye, but with a modest (yet noticeable) deficit in his depth perception.  A once-promising career was crippled before it ever truly began.  Stalin began to drift though his teenage years, aimlessly.

As for Balanta, the guilt and shame weighed heavy on his shoulders, albeit in a less tangible way.  Balanta became tentative and cautious, traits not sought after by European scouts trolling through Latin America looking for a striker on the cheap.  Scout who once marveled at his sheer size and ability, lining up around the block to offer young Alejandro riches beyond his wildest dreams...  No more.

As the years passed, Stalin and Balanta grew apart.

Eventually, Stalin followed his childhood sweetheart, Valeria, to Europe, where she was to attend university in Anderlecht.  With little else to do, he began volunteering with a local club, coaching their youth sides… rediscovering his love for the game in the process.  Rediscovering a passion deep within him.

And just when Stalin was finding his own two feet again, steadied by having a purpose in life, fate’s fickle hand intervened once again.

Valeria left him.  For a 32 year-old, chainsmoking, French philosophy student named Claude.

Staying in Anderlecht was never an option.  F*** you very much, Claude.  And f*** you very much, too, Valeria.

But neither was returning to his native Colombia, hat in hand, with nothing to show for his journey across the Atlantic.

But once again, fate would intervene.  Through his connections with the local club, an opportunity arose.  Managing the U16s for a small Belgian club with modest ambitions?  Anything to get out of Anderlecht.  Several phone calls and one aced interview later, and Stalin was in.

He flourished.  His natural love for the game, infectious.  His tactical insights, nothing short of sublime.

In due course, Stalin was promoted to manage the U19s.  And thereafter promoted again, to manage the U21s.   Whispers began to spread...rumors of a Colombian managerial prodigy, plying his trade in the shadows of Belgian youth football. 

And the inevitable happened…the senior squad failed to meet the Board’s modest standards.  Again.  Yet another managerial change was necessary.

But despair not...

As the Board considered the path forward, they asked the obvious question… Why not give the job to the Colombian prodigy in their midst? 

What could go wrong?

Edited by ManUtd1

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Welcome to Stalin, Zulte Waregem

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July 2019

I thought this day would never come.  Yet here we are.  It's not the beginning, but it is a beginning.

Let's get to work.

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Image result for zulte waregem Image result for zulte waregem Image result for zulte waregem

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Image result for zulte waregem supporters Image result for zulte waregem supporters Image result for zulte waregem supporters

Image result for zulte waregem stadium Image result for zulte waregem stadium

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Some of you may be wondering...just what is that abomination you call a tactic in Stalin's screenshot?

As indicated above, I intend to play hipster tactics again this year and will start with @Guimy's utterly brilliant Three Carat Diamond tactic:

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Frankly, @Guimy says it all in his post, linked above.  The only changes I've made are: (1) changing the "get stuck in" team instruction to "stay on your feet"; and (2) adding a counterattacking version as my backup tactic.  I simply found that the tackling was insane...but perhaps that was just Marouane Fellaini.

I had originally considered updating one of my FM 17 tactics, but tested this out in a quick save before starting with Stalin...and fell in love.  It is just the right kind of bonkers and was an absolute treat.  Devastating.

I'll do some analysis as we get going, but I can't take any credit here.  As I've said many, many times, I no tactical genius.

Edited by ManUtd1

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Wasn't that the club, that wanted to join in your previous save but didn't do

Checks the previous forum to say yes it was

Of course, I will be joining for the ride that this career will entail. Also first post that isn't ManUtd :)

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Now i'm not gonna miss out. I hope this career will be just as long and fun as the previous one. Good luck!

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11 hours ago, HawkAussie said:

Wasn't that the club, that wanted to join in your previous save but didn't do

Checks the previous forum to say yes it was

Of course, I will be joining for the ride that this career will entail. Also first post that isn't ManUtd :)

10 hours ago, Goofan said:

Great to see you back on the horse so quickly! Will definitely be following

6 hours ago, withnail316 said:

This looks fun, best of luck.

5 hours ago, Minuy600 said:

Now i'm not gonna miss out. I hope this career will be just as long and fun as the previous one. Good luck!

5 hours ago, john1 said:

Good luck :) 

2 hours ago, Rikulec said:

I'm here. :thup:

Welcome aboard, guys!  Glad to have you here.

:Bowen:

6 hours ago, BoxToBox said:

Should be all the right kinds of bonkers.

The pressure is on, eh?

8 hours ago, Deisler26 said:

These tactics look very Fraud-like

You'll be pleased to know that, earlier this morning, I added a very fluid/overload version of the tactic (with the wingbacks switched to FB-Support), affectionately named "3 Carrots is 4 Carrots 2 Many."  Whether I ever deploy it or not is another question...

Edited by ManUtd1

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This is like a spinoff of the previous thread isn't it. A FM version of Better Call Saul. Better Call Stalin?

Arriba, Zulte!

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That was a quick turnaround! Looking forward to this, and glad I'm following from the start this time :) 

Good Luck!

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36 minutes ago, noikeee said:

This is like a spinoff of the previous thread isn't it. A FM version of Better Call Saul. Better Call Stalin?

Arriba, Zulte!

Technically, it isn't a spin off.

More of a parallel universe/timeline, that mirrors the prior thread in some but not all respects. That's why we'll see some of the same people, but they won't be carbon copies of themselves from the prior thread.

Best example being Hakan. He exists in this world, but likely as nothing more than a Malmo Ultra. We won't see him "on screen."

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32 minutes ago, Sir_Liam said:

I'm looking forward to this. :)

 

26 minutes ago, VillaSmith said:

That was a quick turnaround! Looking forward to this, and glad I'm following from the start this time :) 

Good Luck!

Thanks, guys! Standards must be maintained!

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I also will be following of course, can't wait to see what you come up with :)

15 hours ago, ManUtd1 said:

 

I thought this day would never come.  Yet here we are.  It's not the beginning, but it is a beginning.

Is this a quote? Because I'm sure I recognize it. But I don't remember where from...

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51 minutes ago, Makoto Nakamura said:

Going to get a year supply of popcorn to go with this thread, best of luck and let the chaos ensue! :D

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46 minutes ago, MarcxD said:

I also will be following of course, can't wait to see what you come up with :)

Is this a quote? Because I'm sure I recognize it. But I don't remember where from...

It's a Wheel Of Time reference that I used in my prior thread, and recycled to close out the narrative - literally the very last line of the narrative, with the little girl and the wind (itself a WoT reference).

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48 minutes ago, ManUtd1 said:

It's a Wheel Of Time reference that I used in my prior thread, and recycled to close out the narrative - literally the very last line of the narrative, with the little girl and the wind (itself a WoT reference).

Ugh, I still need to start collecting these and reading them. Nearly four and a half million words is a hell of a lot of work to cut through.

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You know, with all the defects in the "manager face" system, I'm honestly surprised you couldn't get Stalin to have a screwed-up eye :lol:.

Epic stuff already. Hopefully it won't get too fraudulent... or maybe the more fraud the better.

I think it goes without saying that I'll be following and I wish you the best of luck!
 

 

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3 hours ago, BoxToBox said:

Ugh, I still need to start collecting these and reading them. Nearly four and a half million words is a hell of a lot of work to cut through.

I've read the entire thing at least 3x now! It's my favorite series, warts and all. 

1 hour ago, oriole01 said:

You know, with all the defects in the "manager face" system, I'm honestly surprised you couldn't get Stalin to have a screwed-up eye :lol:.

Epic stuff already. Hopefully it won't get too fraudulent... or maybe the more fraud the better.

I think it goes without saying that I'll be following and I wish you the best of luck!

Thanks, man! It definitely was a challenge, helped by shrinking the picture a little bit...

No fraud! No fraud! You're the fraud!

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6 hours ago, noikeee said:

This is like a spinoff of the previous thread isn't it. A FM version of Better Call Saul. Better Call Stalin?

Arriba, Zulte!

A Netflix original...

Better Consult the Man at Zulte

Coming to Netflix soon.

 

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1 minute ago, Fer Fuchs Ake said:

A Netflix original...

Better Consult the Man at Zulte

Coming to Netflix soon.

 

Bravo :D

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1 minute ago, Fer Fuchs Ake said:

A Netflix original...

Better Consult the Man at Zulte

Coming to Netflix soon.

 

Everybody Hates Stalin, a multi-camera sitcom.

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The Death of Stalin.

A comedy following the chaos after his retirement, as his backroom staff try and determine who gets the top job.

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While we await the first results from Stalin's career, here he is having a merry singalong happy dance as he prepares to contest a green team of foreigners.

 

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60-1?  ¡Berraquísimo!  Where do I...  Wait.  What do you mean I can't put money down on my own...  Alright, alright.  But that's bollocks, that.

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3 hours ago, BoxToBox said:

Quit Stalin.

It's like dating games, but inverted.

3 hours ago, VillaSmith said:

The Death of Stalin.

A comedy following the chaos after his retirement, as his backroom staff try and determine who gets the top job.

Say what you want, but the Knight Rider: Waregem reboot is going to be epic.

 

47 minutes ago, noikeee said:

While we await the first results from Stalin's career, here he is having a merry singalong happy dance as he prepares to contest a green team of foreigners.

 

I have no words.  For the game, the music...

DANCE! DANCE! DANCE!

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9 minutes ago, ManUtd1 said:

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“I'll **** your mother with a skull.” according to Google Translate. :lol:

Good to see Stroud back.

 

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6 minutes ago, Fer Fuchs Ake said:

“I'll **** your mother with a skull.” according to Google Translate. :lol:

Good to see Stroud back.

 

Yeah, Rony is a bit of a loose cannon... :lol:

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:lol: So it begins, again!

Or perhaps more aptly, stealing a line from Blind Guardian, ...for ever and ever, the wheel will turn...

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As a Dutchman, I have zero ideas what that silly Belgian is saying.

Don't ask me. Please.

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2 hours ago, ManUtd1 said:

 

 

8bf2c0612e03faed9761c64f770cb500.png 

I literally LOL'd. For some reason very funny to read that in Dutch. Quite the character. 

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1 hour ago, Minuy600 said:

As a Dutchman, I have zero ideas what that silly Belgian is saying.

Don't ask me. Please.

3 minutes ago, MarcxD said:

I literally LOL'd. For some reason very funny to read that in Dutch. Quite the character. 

It would be criminal to not make use of Rony de Pony!  He's genius, although with some serious, unresolved issues surrounding the use violence to solve his problems and authoritarianism...

Mascotte%202015.jpg 5604afde-1ac9-11e6-b060-b1b012d6d193_web Image result for zulte waregem mascot

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8 minutes ago, Minuy600 said:

Allee pollekes, die knol die is nie goe nie!

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'The secret to defeating Liege is communication, hard work and having giant ****s.'

It's as easy as 1 2 3.

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49 minutes ago, Minuy600 said:

'The secret to defeating Liege is communication, hard work and having giant ****s.'

It's as easy as 1 2 3.

4a7de4d1ee2f243a5d68625001e4ca9a.gif

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I've run out of reps before you've even posted your first results :lol:.

I have a good feeling about this...

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4 hours ago, oriole01 said:

I've run out of reps before you've even posted your first results :lol:.

I have a good feeling about this...

Well, the results are coming -- hoping to have a good session this evening.

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Welcome to Stalin, Zulte Waregem

Zulte-Waregem_Logo.png.86e1adddfc029537ed08fab422e83e39.png

October 2019 Mini-Update

The tactics are coming together and the lads are starting to click.  Then again, maybe it's just sheer, dumb luck...after all, getting smashed 4-1 by Eupen at home isn't a recipe for success.  Neither is shipping 5 to Cercle Brugge.

But we're sitting 6th on 14 points after 8 matches, only 2 points off 2nd.  That's quite the reason for optimism.

Of course, that's only if it doesn't all go to s***, which it could at any moment.

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