Jump to content
Sports Interactive Community
EvilDave

[FM17] Trials and Triumphs of a Turkmen

Recommended Posts

G1Gu6aa.png

After being invited to the Far East last winter, this time round we found ourselves called to North America for a profile-boosting tour. None of Toronto, Seattle or Orlando could find a way past us, but on our return to Donetsk we struggled somewhat, losing to visiting Flamengo and then struggling against Olimpik with a reserve team. No injuries picked up, which is always a key aim in these games, but I'd rather we were preparing for PSG with a little more form under our belts.

AydAVmp.png

As ever, youth graduation day is an important one at Shakhtar, and this year is now different. There's another largely incompetent Turkmen is Bayramow, a locally-born Brazilian who will never make it, and then a good number of players who look likely to make professional careers but not at our level. A couple have a chance at succeeding - centre-back Talalaev, and this year's star performer Kolesnyk. He's relentless in his pursuit of improvement, and if he stays that way he should be just fine.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hHm2cPi.png

Regardless of how average we were in the midseason break, when it really mattered we stepped up our level. PSG came to Donetsk full of confidence and flying at the top of the French league, only to be undone by our attacking movement and left with only a consolation away goal to take home. In Paris they scored early to raise the hopes of the home fans, but a double on the stroke of half-time all but ended the tie, and Palamarchuk's late clincher gave us a convincing 6-2 aggregate win. The quarters have paired us with Manchester City once again, and while we couldn't get the better of them in the groups, we've shown before that we can deliver when it counts in the knockout stages.

Our first leg exertions cost us the following weekend, when we picked up just our second draw of the season at home to Karpaty, but other than that we were imperious in the league. Zorya were brushed aside in a second-half blitz, Dnipro never posed a threat, and in Kyiv we got off to a flying start and then put our foot on Dynamo's neck, leaving with a 4-1 win and all three points once again in the last game before the split. 

pASzsLQ.png

Our gap remains 18, with Obolon-Brewer taking advantage of a wobble from Zirka to jump into the runners-up spot. They're really the only 'expected' candidates for the top six aside form ourselves, with Olexandriya the surprise package of the season and the trio of Zirka, Chornomorets and Zorya all doing well to find themselves in the top half. At the other end, the relegation scrap is in full flow. Vorskla are as good as gone, but any of the other five could easily join them - including both Dnipro and Dynamo, who sit second- and third from bottom and in real danger of going down. Historically, both sides are 'too big' to be relegated. On their showings this season however, neither could have any complaints.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

G3IUrgE.png

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the first team, let's just pause a moment to celebrate our youth team's achievements. Having made it through the same group as the seniors, they then took on and beat some of Europe's top sides on the way to a final which ended up rather one-sided. Unbeaten through the competition, every group opponent beaten at least once, and just as impressive away as at home - if I leave nothing else behind at Shakhtar, a youth set-up established to conquer the continent will be no bad legacy.

aAPoLDU.png

However, we won't be repeating the trick with the first team. At home to City in the first leg, we were lucky to be goalless deep into injury time, when a perfect ball from Bobrov on the left sent Fedorenko through on goal. He was brought down in the area, Palamarchuk was clinical from the spot, and all of a sudden we had a lead and a clean sheet to take the Etihad. However, that advantage was cancelled out after just 10 minutes in Manchester, and from then on it was a case of hanging on and trying to land the odd counter-punch. We'd stayed level and held our own for most of the game, but in the 78th minute our defence was breached a second time, and we had no reply. Losing to a side of City's calibre and resources is nothing to be ashamed of, but a loss in the quarters is not how I hoped my last campaign at Shakhtar would end.

Domestically, we remain untouchable, the only points dropped in April coming before the second leg against City and with the entire first-choice XI rested. We beat Zirka twice in five days, the second to book our place in the cup final, then smashed four past Zorya ahead of our European first leg. Odessa saw us drop points, but after our Champions League disappointment we hosted Obolon and saw a simply stunning display of goalscoring from Palamarchuk...

QgCdTyW.png

Which saw us clinch the title with six rounds remaining. Given that we only opening the scoring in the 41st minute, to win 6-0 against one of our 'closest' rivals was a superb way to officially reclaim our crown, and we go into the final month of the season with nothing to play for other than the cup final. We won't be letting up though - I'd like to see how wide we can make our final winning margin, and leave whoever follows me with a tough job to follow.

yJMyoPe.png

At the moment, the gap stands at 22 points, which is frankly ridiculous - thanks to our 6-0 win, second place Obolon actually have a negative goal difference, which simply shouldn't happen. The rest of the top six is unremarkable other than the sides in it, and we've covered that already, but the bottom is another story. Neither Dnipro nor Dynamo has been able to battle out of trouble, and Vorskla have even narrowed the gap somewhat. Could we end up losing both of the giants?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
47 minutes ago, tyler16 said:

Something tells me your heart is in Russia.

That was my thought as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AyX9jj8.png

We'll start at the end - my final match in charge of Shakhtar, the only meaningful game left of our season - with the cup final against Zorya. As expected of the league champions and overwhelming favourites, we won comfortably. As was fitting for a season and indeed managerial tenure dominated by the goalscoring of one man, Palamarchuk took the spotlight with all four of our goals. We finish my time in charge with a emphatic victory, another trophy, another double. Donetsk has been good to me.

iOd5Tpi.png

Aside from the cup final, we were imperious in our remaining league games. Olexandriya were beaten 3-0 twice, Zirka and Zorya seen off with little trouble before a slightly more difficult win over Obolon, but we saved our best for Chornomorets. Braces for Palamarchuk and Kazakov plus four from third-choice striker Pokatylov gave us a thumping 8-0 win, sending the Odessa side home embarrassed.

All in all, we continued our run of clean sheets - having not conceded domestically since a 4-1 win over Dynamo at the end of March, and emphasised just how dominant a side we are in Ukraine. To go through all 10 post-split games without letting in a single goal, and with a solitary draw our only dropped points, shows just how big a gap there is. As does the league table...

jdlm8la.png

We finish more than 30 points clear of Obolon-Brewer, who remember were champions when I arrived. I suspect they won't find themselves in that position for some time. We have the only positive goal difference in the entire league, drop just nine points in a 32-game campaign, and are so far ahead of the competition that for 95% of our games, the question is not whether we win, but by how many. Quite simply, no-one can keep up.

Yet this year, we are not the story. Seven points from safety with six games to go, Vorskla embarked on a remarkable run, winning five and drawing the sixth of their matches. With others around them not able to match their points haul, that meant the single biggest relegation in Ukrainian football history, arguably paired with the second - Dynamo Kyiv will be playing second tier football next season, as will Dnipro. It's a sad day for the historic club, but for Shakhtar fans, it's a day of great mirth - this is a side that considers itself our rivals, and they've fallen a long way from that.

8Qy28sR.png

This is the squad I leave behind. 100% Ukrainian, an excellent mix of youth and experience, a side capable of taking on the best Europe can throw at it. Goal machine Palamarchuk is probably the best player I've managed, and he's still only 24. Fedorenko will become a star, establishing himself as a first-team starter at 18, while Sidorov is one of a new group of defenders coming through who should shore up the back line for years to come. The squad is all I hoped to build here in Donetsk - and my four years have paid great dividends.

But I cannot stay longer. There is no domestic challenge, the remaining worthy Ukrainians are unattainable targets, and with the Champions League lifted two years ago there are no more goals on the continent either. I will miss Shakhtar, I will miss Donetsk and I will miss this wonderful group of players, but the time has come for me to move on. My destination is not yet known - although I have a clear preference and there have been developments - but after four years, it is time to say goodbye.
--

Bahtiyar was on the move. To where, he did not yet know, but his team at Shakhtar concluded in an appropriate fashion - a dominant league campaign and a domestic double to add to the growing trophy cabinet. His Ukrainian transfer policy had borne more fruit than anyone could have imagined, and now his job was a victim of his own success - for Saparow and Shakhtar, there were no lands left to conquer.

All of which leaves our Turkmen hero in limbo. No job has been immediately lined up, and there are no guarantees of anything. Both the club game and international variant could present options, but for the time being, our young manager faces uncertainty. Surely a man of his abilities will not remain available for long? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, tyler16 said:

Something tells me your heart is in Russia.

 

1 hour ago, decapitated said:

That was my thought as well.

I couldn't possibly comment... but it is the only league Saparow has managed in and not won,and there aren't too many options for a move from a side like Shakhtar...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perfect farewell, especially with Dynamo and Dnipro going down.

Will be interesting to see how many points Shakhtar win the league by next year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The full Ukrainian squad is an incredible sight. Fitting farewell and fantastic work :applause:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, tyler16 said:

Perfect farewell, especially with Dynamo and Dnipro going down.

Will be interesting to see how many points Shakhtar win the league by next year.

I think Dynamo going down might be the biggest fall from grace I've seen in FM - my saves in 'big' countries never last long enough to see top teams crumble. My bet would be on Shakhtar winning the league, but buying a load of foreigners and doing it by 8-10 points.

4 hours ago, DavidBeckham said:

The full Ukrainian squad is an incredible sight. Fitting farewell and fantastic work :applause:

Thank you! Going all-Ukrainian with Shakhtar was a bit of a punt, but if there's one side in the country with the facilities to make it work, it's them. And added a layer of challenge to a side who would otherwise outspend everyone else!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

QiJ5kwO.png

On June 11th, this happens. Sosiashvili has been at Spartak for 13 years, but a change of ownership - an Azeri businessman taking over from long-time owner Leonid Fedun - and a failure to retain the title means that the Georgian has chosen to stand aside. For the first time in more than a decade, my dream job is now a possibility, and needless to say my application has gone straight in. Looking at the apparent leading candidates, my CV stands out as far superior, but then Spartak have not always been a club to apply logic and common sense to these decisions...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

GZCGBZf.png

Four days later, Sosiashvili's departure from the Otkritie Arena makes a great deal more sense. The chance to step into the Old Trafford hotseat will never materialise for 99% of managers, but following the long-awaited retirement of Jose Mourinho, those in the corridors of power at United have chosen to turn to the Georgian in a bid to overhaul the triopoly of Arsenal, Chelsea and City at the top of the Premier League.

Part of which makes me wonder - how high could I be aiming? Sosiashvili is an excellent manager, winning six titles with Spartak in his 13-year tenure. However, with league titles in six countries and Champions League wins on two continents, my stock should arguably be even higher - especially given my track record of signing domestic players and advocating attacking football. If I had applied for the Old Trafford job, would I now be taking up residence in Manchester? Perhaps more to the point, would I want to? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A1p0VkA.png

A week after Sosiashvili's unveiling at Old Trafford, I got the call. Mr Ismayilov was impressed with my application, and was eager to sit down with me face-to-face. I was already in Moscow at this point - I had somewhat presumptiously expected an interview - and so it was hastily arranged. I was not the only candidate, I was told - and the media had been somewhat wide of the mark with their assumptions, although I had no idea who my competition was - but the new man in charge seemed pleased with my answers to his questions, and impressed with my track record. Unless he believes he can convince a manager from one of Western Europe's elite clubs to the Otkritie Arena, I'm not sure who else can boast my history of success.

Q6MvWQM.png

Interestingly, the press caught wind of my interview too - and I had nothing to do with it. This leads me to believe one of two things - either the new owner is putting out feelers to judge how the Spartak faithful respond to the idea of me taking charge, or a member of the admin staff is trying to cause trouble. Regardless of which is the truth, I am now the outright favourite to fill Sosiashvili's shoes, and the dream move looks to be drawing nearer. Still, until I put pen to paper, I will assume nothing.
--

Saparow and his boyhood club Spartak look like the ideal match - the childhood fan and academy reject coming full circle as manager to lead his side to glory, following in the footsteps of an iconic manager who left for the riches of England. With a new chairman and a fresh start in Moscow, the time seemed ripe for Bahtiyar to finally get to the club he had always wanted to manage.

But football is not renowned for its predictability, and if the leak from the club was instead a smokescreen for them to approach another candidate... Our Turkmen star could not allow the thought to cross his mind. Surely, this was his moment?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

e1IwGRu.png

We're in. They say life begins at 40, right? Well, 39 is close enough. Spartak was the dream, and now I've proven it was my destiny. No more looking for the next thing. This is it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Image result for spartak moscow badge

SiyrRog.png

'Managerial legend' - Eurosport are welcome to any of my press conferences. I'll take that as an introduction any day of the week.

Anyway, the deal has been done, the contract signed, the announcement made. Bahtiyar Saparow is the new manager of Spartak Moscow, and he couldn't be happier.

Seriously, when I set out on my career back in 2018, this was the dream job. It's taken almost two decades to get here, and a journey which has taken in almost the entirety of the eastern half of the former Soviet Union, but I've made it. That's the easy part - the task at hand now is to turn Spartak into the greatest team in Russia, Europe and ultimately the world. I'll settle for nothing less than Champions League glory and domestic domination - that's what this club deserves, and it's what I believe I can deliver.

Image result for otkritie arena

We play our home games at the 45,000-seater Otkritie Arena, built for the 2018 World Cup and the club's home for four years prior to that. Situated in the north-west corner of the city, just north of the Moskva River, it is very much a stadium fit for a capital city. The facilities here are excellent, the ground only a couple of decades old, and the nearby training facilities are almost on a par with those I've left behind in Donetsk. As part of my plan to develop every aspect of the club, I'll be seeking to bring the best in technology and staffing to Spartak, but the facilities here are a great starting point. The youth system in particular is famed as one of the best in Russia, and I intend to utilise it fully. 

o4Wr48v.png

As with Shakhtar, I've inherited a strong squad littered with overseas talent and domestic stars. In my absence, Spartak have been locked in a long-running battle with city rivals CSKA, the two dominating the league for more than a decade. Under my predecessor, Spartak won six of the last 13 titles, but CSKA took the title last season and neither club has been able to string together more than two wins in a row. I'll be aiming to change that.

Almost akin to my time in Ukraine, I'll be making sweeping changes to the squad. Over the course of my career, I've yet to sign a player from outside the old USSR, and I intend to keep up that record. Moscow retains a huge pull for those from the old Soviet republics, and it should take little time for us to be a hub for the cream of those nations. I'll be looking to have those players as the sole component of my squad reasonably quickly - although the reasons for that are largely practical rather than principled.

Take Antoine Kaptoum, for example. A club hero, a strike rate of more than a goal every other game over more than 300 appearances. But also 33 years old, with one year on his contract, and demanding a six-figure weekly sum to renew. Dani Santamaria is a similar case, while also at the wrong end of their career are the Dutch pair of Smits and Thé - handsomely paid and 31, with resale value dropping each year. At the other end of the spectrum, the likes of Belgian international Ziegler have a huge value in the market - a value which, if unlocked, would allow us to rebuild the side in double-quick time.

That isn't to say there isn't money available - there most certainly is - but if we can bring funds in up-front and spread out the payments on incoming deals, we could end up with the best of the old Union here in Moscow within a year. That's the aim, that's what will get us back on top of the pile, and that's what will give us the foundation from which to launch our assault on Europe. I'm excited, I can't wait to get going, and I can't believe it's finally happened.
--

Saparow and Spartak were finally together, and they were wasting no time in making plans. Not quite prepared to go for the one-nation approach of ShakhtarBahtiyar was instead casting his net across the 15 nations that once upon a time had made up the Soviet Union. Both Russia and Ukraine would no doubt feature heavily, but appearances from other nations would be welcomed.

As for goals, our Turkmen 'legend' was setting the bar high - the Russian title at the first attempt, and eventually the Champions League title. He'd done it Donetsk, and was confident of his ability to pull it off in Moscow too. If he made it, this time it would be the realisation of a genuine childhood dream.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As with all your work Dave really enjoying this....Looking forward to seeing how your go with Spartak

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a great journey you made all the way to Eastern Europe after coming out a legend in Central Asia. It's great that you have so many accomplishments in your career. Hopefully, you'll end up managing a national team soon.

By the way, what happened to your former teams as well as Turkmenistan and its neighbors? And who the future would be looked like? I hope that your former nations have been doing right now after you left during your journey.

Keep up the good work, Dave, and good luck in Spartak Moscow!:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...