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Turning N. Ireland into a footballing powerhouse

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Posted (edited)

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I flirted with the idea of starting a career in India with the Indian Arrows which I thought might have made for an interesting build a nation type save but owing to issues with league reputations in Asia I've decided to have another try in N. Ireland. I was also encouraged to start in N. Ireland due to the massive developments which have happened over the last year which I feel will really help in building the standard of football in the nation. Having a tycoon owned Larne & newly professional Crusaders will prove very helpful and hopefully, before too long, we might start to see a domino effect of clubs improving and turning professional which should make my task of building the nation easier.

Game Setup

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I've gone with a large database with all international players having been added. I decided to load up all the leagues from the UK & Ireland in addition to having the top divisions from the best 5 nations in Europe which I hope will provide a good challenge. I had to use the editor to make some slight alterations to the database in order to have a working reserve and youth league system with generic formats being added. Outside of that I also added club and competition badges which are provided in the megapack from fmscout.com.

Manager Attributes

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I made my avatar as poor as possible with an emphasis on the determination attribute which I hope will make the board more forthcoming when it comes to granting requests. Due to ticking the 'Prevent control of teams with managers in place' box I'll be starting unemployed and will have to wait until a vacancy opens.

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So what club decided to give me my start in management?

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I have to admit to being a bit surprised by this in that I didn't really have to do much to get the job. I applied purely speculatively but they don't appear to be a very ambitious board by allowing a complete rookie to take the reigns. Provided I can get the club into the top half they'll be happy and all I needed to do was to agree to the philosophy to sign young players which is pretty much my playstyle anyway. As they have gone out on a limb by hiring me I will be doing everything I can to repay that faith.

History

A team with an illustrious history filled with massive success with the club having won an impressive 137 domestic trophies since their foundation in 1882. Recent times have however been comparatively barren with their last competition win being in 2015 with the Irish Cup and their last top-flight win coming in 2009. They are the 2nd most decorated team in N. Irish football behind their deadly rivals Linfield. They hold the highest attendance for any club to have played in N. Ireland with a massive 42,000 spectators watching their clash with Rangers back in 1966.

Their record in European competitions hasn't been very good with them never having made a group stage in their history but they do have a famous quarter final appearance in the Cup Winners Cup in 1974 which ended in defeat against Borussia Monchengladbach. They have on occasion managed to give some comparative European giants a bloody nose such as the 1-1 draw in 1966 with Rangers in the Cup Winners Cup with the next season bringing 2 draws with Benfica in the European Cup which is quite impressive given that Benfica went all the way to the final that year. They have even managed a 1-0 victory in the first leg against Arsenal in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1969 which was especially impressive given that the Gunners eventually went on to win the competition. Modern times have however been less glorious with quick eliminations often as a result of heavy aggregate defeats.

The financial situation has also become increasingly problematic in recent times which has led to crumbling infrastructure and a lack of investment. They have the potential to be a great club but really need money to turn around their fortunes and start to rebuild the club. 

Trophies Won

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Club

There are some encouraging aspects to the club. The number of rivals should help boost attendances should I be able to bring a level of success to the club. The reputation of the club is among the best in the country which is also a nice boost as it should make finding players that would be willing to play for us easier. I am a bit unsure about the personality of the squad as loyalty isn't something that is critical at this point as I seek to turn the club into a selling one. 

Facilities

Long gone are the days in which the club could fill the stadium with over 40,000 people. The lack of investment is clear to see here with a lot of work needed to bring the facilities even up to a standard which would be good for the DBP. Hopefully, I can take a page out of @smp20's book and try to get an affiliation with Queen's University to share their great training facilities as that would be a neat little solution to this problem. There are some positives though as the stadium potential expansion capacity is 10,000 so at least we should get a nice big new stadium if we can bring a bit of success to the club in Europe. In addition, being located in Belfast should prove very helpful in building the fan base.

Squad

Positives - We have some quality players for the DBP with Curtis Allen ST considered a star player for the level. He is also considered by the coaches to be consistent and a big game player which is excellent especially for a striker. There are also a number of high potential young players who I'm hoping to develop.

Negatives - A lack of defenders is troubling given that I want to play 4 at the back. There is also no players in either the Reserves or U18s which look anywhere near being ready for 1st team football. Our main GK Elliott is getting on a bit which is not a big problem except for the fact that my coaches think is declining as a footballer which means he'll need to be replaced sooner rather than later.

Finances

Two very bad things here. We are over our wage budget which means that we are going to need to sell before we can buy. The club is also quite poor which means no ability to invest and even less likelihood of the board deciding to increase budgets. At least the true extent of Glentoran's financial situation isn't there as they hold no debt in game.

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Starting Conditions

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We still have a good chance of making the top 6 if we can get the ball rolling quickly which should be possible as my first game in charge is away at Newry City. It gets a lot more tricky after that however with an away trip to Windsor Park to face Linfield followed by a home game against Crusaders. A baptism of fire for sure but if we can get through those games with a positive set of results I will be feeling more optimistic about meeting the target of a top 6 finish.

Career Objectives

The ultimate aim of my time at the club will be to become dominant domestically, win the Champions League and build a sustainable wealthy club to act as an engine for other teams in N. Ireland. This will be a save where I could be moving clubs as I did in FM18 as I seek to build the league into a top European competition. It could be a long journey, let us begin.

 

Edited by pheelf

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Posted (edited)

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I've remained pretty much faithful to what I did in FM18.

The only difference being that the removal of shape meaning that I had to replicate certain aspects of it with regards to creativity which I've done by giving the TI of 'Be More Expressive'.

It operates much in the same way as last seasons tactic with the focus being on playing a high tempo, more direct style of play without too much concern about possession. Everyone will be pressing as a unit with us taking the game to our opponents at all times.  

Edited by pheelf

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Posted (edited)

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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2018 / 2019

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The board would like us to finish in the top 6 which should be achievable if we can improve our form. My start at the club will determine if qualifying for the Europa League is feasible which I'd like as it would be a great early boost but given how threadbare the squad is it seems unlikely.

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League Table - An eventful start to my time at Glentoran. We started on fire winning 10 on the bounce which had the team well inside the top 6 and there were even some whispers of a title challenge but then we came crashing down to earth losing the next 5 games in a row which left us needing to match Crusaders result on the final day before the split in order grab a spot in the top 6. It was going so well away at Cliftonville as we had a 1-0 advantage which would have been enough to see us clinch a place but then a disastrous own goal from our 38-year-old GK deep into stoppage time at the end of the game gave them an equalizer which meant we finished in 7th going into the split. At this point, my job status had reduced to Insecure and there was a serious threat that I would be fired, thankfully we managed some decent if not spectacular post-split form which improved the players and board support for me and put the team in a more optimistic mood going into the playoff.

Danske Bank Premier Europa League Playoff - I didn't hold much hope going into the games but the team did surprisingly well. There was no quarter-final stage as Linfield won the cup. I was dreading playing Ballymena United in the semi-final after they put 3 past us in both the Irish Cup and the league but we put in a good performance. It was probably assisted by the fact that Ballymena United played in Irish Cup final only 3 days prior but I was happy to have a shot at qualifying for the Europa League. The final was a rollercoaster of emotions and to be honest I feel gutted not to have won the game. We created so many opportunities but just couldn't get the goal that would have finished them off and when we missed 2/3 of our first penalties I knew the game was up.

Domestic Cups - The only games I was in charge of were the Irish Cup games. Yet again another Morris GK own goal costing us dearly.

Reserves - They were okay finishing runners-up to Linfield Swifts in the Reserve league but were pretty poor in the cups although it was understandable that they lost to Larne.

Under 18s - Did well to capture the league but were dreadful in the cup.

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Squad - We've got a lot of work to do here although I suppose that is easier said than done when you consider how tight a budget we are going to need to work within. The main areas that need strengthening are a GK as we can't expect to depend on a 38 and 34-year-old going forwards especially when they aren't performing very well. We need depth in the fullback positions, a quality central defender, a midfield enforcer to play in the Central Midfielder (Defend) role and a better quality supporting striker. Considering the players that will be leaving at the end of their contracts we should be able to free up around £1Kp/w on the wage budget which I'm hoping will be enough to bring in those players. I was a bit annoyed when Pepper MC got injured with a damaged spine for 5-7 months the game after he renewed his contract but sometimes you get unlucky.

Transfers - The only transfer I was involved in was the deadline day (for the Championship league) sale of Crowe to Larne. We are going to need to be a lot more active next season and I'm hoping that the addition of 2 scouts to the backroom team will help me to identify some young prospects to bring in. 

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Average Rating: 7.18
Slightly unusual for a defender to get this distinction but he had the highest average rating in the team and was solid defensively and chipped in with some vital goals. I don't see him having a long-term future at the club but if he can continue this form over the short term he could be a very useful player to have as I seek to improve the team.  
 
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Average Rating: 6.88
A player that surprised me with how consistent he was while improving slightly in his overall ability. He will need competition when Ferrin DR leaves at the end of the season but I think he is one of the players that has a long-term future at the club provided he can avoid any serious injuries.
 
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Finances - Not looking good really and I feel that missing out on the Europa League could prove costly in the immediate future. We are going to need to fight for a place in Europe next season as without it I can't see the club making any progress. Claiming a place will however be complicated by Larne's arrival in the top flight and I'm fairly sure that Crusaders won't have another poor season like this one. We are going to have to really be smart with the wage budget. I tried twice to get Queen's University as an affiliate to share their training facilities but both times a lack of money was cited by the board as the reason why we couldn't even look for a club.

Facilities - Unsurprisingly, no improvements were made.

Youth Intake - My head of youth development seems to think that this is a 'golden generation'. In my estimation, I don't think so. Even if I give my coaches the benefit of the doubt and assume that the best players in the intake have the potential that has been suggested, what are the odds of them ever getting anywhere near that potential? Given how poor the training facilities are, how poor the coaches are and the level of football I can offer them I fail to see how these players are going to develop well. Even if we were to try to develop them with game time, none of the players are good enough to get into the first team so I would be playing players that are likely to perform poorly which would hamper them. I have to think about how I'm going to deal with this.
 
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League Reputation - Got a long road to travel to even be considered decent. At least we didn't decline and stayed in place. I would have liked Crusaders to qualify for Europe as that might have been helpful in trying to win some coefficient points but let's see if the contingent we will send next season can pull off a shock or two.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - We have to be aiming to be the best team in Belfast, if we can manage that then we will be the best in the country.
 
Club European Reputation - The fact that we're behind Lisburn Distillery that is in the 3rd division should give an indication of just how poor our coefficient is.
 
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Spoiler

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Spoiler

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Edited by pheelf

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12 hours ago, ExiledKopite said:

Loving the detail of this thread so far - following!

Thank you for the compliment and follow.

Best Regards

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Posted (edited)

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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2019 / 2020

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After missing out on the Europa League last season the objective has to be to qualify through whatever means we can as we need the money to start building the club. Meeting the board expectation of a top half finish will give us an opportunity to claim a spot either directly or through the playoff so that has to be the primary aim.

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League Table - We ended up finishing in a worse position than last season meaning we not only missed out on the top 6 but also on the playoff. Our form was really erratic to be fair and the finishing position is a fair reflection of our season. Every time it looked like we had turned the corner by pulling off a great win against a top side the next game we'd get beaten by a team fighting at the bottom of the table. To best exemplify this we managed two 4-1 demolitions of Linfield but also lost twice against newly promoted Dundela who did well to stay up. We need to improve our consistency if we are to stand any chance of making moves up the table next season. Incidentally, there seems to be a bug with the Europa League playoff as Larne didn't take part in it when they should have which could prove damaging as both the professional clubs in the league missed out on qualifying for Europe.

Domestic Cups - The Irish Cup run was our saving grace which provides the first piece of silverware of my tenure and more importantly gets us a place in the Europa League. I have to say we really got lucky with our run and avoided all the big teams, I don't think we'll ever get a run like that again so I was very pleased to take our opportunity. Special credit must go to Bangor who after getting promoted from the non-playable 4th division managed to not only get promoted to the Championship through the playoff behind 3rd division winners Distillery but also finished as runners-up in the cup, a remarkable achievement from them.

Reserves - A much improved season from them as they won the double. Allowing first team players needing fitness to play games in the Reserve team probably helped them.

Under 18s - A fairly mediocre season which is a bit disappointing when you consider that the so-called 'golden generation' made up the team.

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Squad - Even though the league season was a bit of a disaster there are some encouraging signs for the future when I look at the squad. A lot of younger faces have found their way into the team and the depth of the squad has improved greatly. There are still issues which need addressing such as finding the top quality central defender we need that I was unable to get this season. The wide midfield positions also look fragile and will need reinforcements if we are to have any impact in Europe. It also looks likely that we will be losing our top scorer Allen ST who has been unhappy at the club for a while and refuses to negotiate a new contract. I have been proactive in this regard and have identified 23-year-old Warrenpoint Town striker O'Connor and brought him in as his replacement. In some respects, it could be a good thing having Allen leave as it frees up his wage while making space for younger developing players who could potentially be sold on for good money.  

Transfers - I was more than happy to let those players leave for Larne as while they are good players they aren't irreplaceable. I was also on the verge of selling Pepper MC to them in January for a record fee of £120K but he failed to agree on a contract with them which was a bit disappointing as we could have done with the cash injection. My signings were very hit and miss, some were decent like Johnston GK who was considered good enough to enter the clubs all-time best 11 but then there were flops like Byers DC and Thompson MC who never looked like cementing themselves as regular first team players. I will have some more flexibility with wages next season as I was given an increased budget. Hopefully, the lure of the Europa League might just help us to attract a better standard of player. The club can't afford to waste money on any more flops so I will need to be more intelligent with the players I bring into the club. We also can't afford to be losing potential income through player sales for our best players like Allen ST who had interest from Larne at one point during the season.

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Average Rating: 7.19
A reliable and quality member of the squad who has good delivery from set pieces which is an important asset to have especially against more defensive opposition. His position has been largely usurped by Millar DL but he did well when I called upon him. He definitely doesn't have a long-term future at the club but as a stopgap for the next couple of seasons, he definitely will provide a good option as I slowly phase him out of the first team.
 
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Average Rating: 7.03
He looks a decent player that has quite a bit of headroom for his potential. He needs to develop his technical and mental attributes as they are lagging quite badly behind his decent physical attributes. If I can find a better player he will be dropping down the pecking order to being a backup but until then he needs to grasp this opportunity to improve and become more consistent.
 
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Finances - I needed to do something to reverse the direction of travel we were on as we were just plunging deeper and deeper into the red. The first thing I did was to schedule friendlies in pre-season away to Rangers and Celtic which brought in around £100K. The Irish Cup run helped and making a profit from the clubs transfer dealings also enabled us to finish the season significantly in the black. All of which should be further bolstered next season by our European adventure that I hope lasts longer than one round. The beauty of finishing the season with this balance is that it enabled me to start building the club off the park and gave me a larger wage budget. The first priority for the club is turning professional, if we can manage a great run in Europe maybe we can make it happen although that does seem a few years off and we will need to continue qualifying for Europe.

Facilities - Both junior coaching and youth recruitment were improved which is a good start. We also managed to pull off a masterstroke and get Queens University as an affiliate which means that instead of using our basic training facilities as shown in the screenshot we now have access to their great training facilities, all at no cost to the club. That is a fantastic improvement as it should really help us to develop our young players better. Hopefully, Queens University remain in the Championship for a long time as if they get promoted the affiliation automatically gets cancelled and I'd like to benefit from their training grounds for as long as possible.

Youth Intake - Another 'golden generation' although this time I'm inclined to agree with my HoYD. Mulholland GK and Brown DR are good enough to play in the first team already and have been placed there. Given the players will now train at great facilities all of sudden I'm feeling a lot more optimistic about getting some of these high potential players to develop. The improvements to junior coaching and youth recruitment should also really increase the quality of the intakes going forward which is a very good sign when you want to become a selling club. If I could get a player up to scratch to be sold every other season the money we earn could start a virtuous circle for the club with sales funding investments into the youth department which then produces better players that can be sold on for larger sums. There look to be exciting times ahead for sure.
 
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League Reputation - Once again we stayed in the same place but at least I'm now in a position to be able to influence it. Hopefully, we can draw a beatable team in the first round of the Europa League qualifiers as we are going to need to win a couple of rounds at least to help the coefficient which has declined although strangely the inbox message actually states we will be entering a team at a later stage in the Europa League. This season's best performers in Europe were Coleraine who managed to win through 2 rounds in the Europa League before getting knocked out by Rudar Velenje, no other N. Irish team managed to win a tie. That is why I feel that Larne and Crusaders missing out will prove damaging to the coefficient. Who knows, maybe Ballymena United, Linfield or Coleraine might just surprise me, unlikely but you never can tell.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - At least Cliftonville is not clear at the top anymore but in some ways it's actually a bad sign as it shows the league as a whole is declining.
 
Club European Reputation - Our coefficient is so poor that we are just going to have to hope that we get a favourable draw in the 1st Qualifying Round and to avoid the likes of Partizan, Rosenborg and Ludogorets. If we get any of those teams our European adventure could be very short lived.
 
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Spoiler

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Edited by pheelf

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Posted (edited)

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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2020 / 2021

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The board would be satisfied with a top half finish which I think is achievable. I feel it is imperative that we qualify for the Europa League in order to continue making improvements at the club. As for the Europa League, the board would like us to make the 2nd Qualifying Round which means winning one round. Whether we can meet that objective or not will depend on who we draw. 

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League Table - It's not often I'm rendered speechless but what a season this was. It started off fairly well with us in around the top 4 but we never looked like challenging for the title with our inconsistency proving to be our Achilles heel which kept us a fair distance behind the leaders Cliftonville. At one point their lead had risen to 7 points which looked insurmountable. Then came January and something just seemed to click. We just kept winning and winning and went on a 9 game winning run, often narrowly but still winning never the less. Even with such great form, we were still behind as Cliftonville also kept winning while the chasing pack was keeping up which caused the top 6 to concertina while leaving Cliftonville clear at the summit. By the time of the split, a 2 horse race had emerged as victories for us and Cliftonville over the other contenders took them out of the running. After 31 games Cliftonville still had a 7 point lead which made them strong favourites for the title but then something unexpected happened as they lost their last two pre-split games while we won those games which reignited the title race.

The post-split period didn't start well with us losing the first game against bottom of the top 6 Glenavon while Cliftonville won which put their lead back up to 4 points. Then we narrowly won the next 2 games while Cliftonville lost and drew which put us into the driving seat going into the crunch game against them on matchday 37. A win and we would be champions, a draw and we would have to match their result on the final day when we hosted Ballymena United, a defeat then we would have to better their result. Knowing the importance of the game, I decided to take a relaxed approach in the buildup given that we had already achieved our aims for the season and I didn't want to add unnecessary pressure to my players, especially the very young ones who could easily be spooked. I had a pre-game talk with the players to express the opinion that if we didn't clinch the title it would be no big deal given that nobody expected us to win it anyway which they all seemed to agree with. The Cliftonville manager then tried to play some Fergie-esque mind games which I flipped back on him by suggesting that the pressure was all on them to win the title. All of that preparation really relaxed the players and they put in a great performance and won the game. I didn't think I would be at this point so soon but Champions League football next season is a great opportunity to bring us closer to becoming a professional club.

Elsewhere, it was a disappointing season for the other clubs. Larne at one point looked like putting in a title challenge but then faded badly although they did qualify for the Europa League by winning the playoff. Crusaders were terrible but they also qualified for Europe although they have reverted back to semi-professional status leaving Larne as the only professional club which is a great step backwards for the DBP. Linfield had an atrocious season finishing in the bottom half and seemingly changing their manager every couple of months. Maybe David Jeffrey needs to go back there given how great a job he's done with Ballymena United. 

UEFA Europa League - We drew what I thought was a tricky tie in the first qualifying round but we came through it relatively comfortably earning some invaluable coefficient points. Then we drew Swedish giants Malmo which was just a step too far for us. I knew to stand any chance we would need to at least score an away goal in Sweden but even though the game was relatively even we just couldn't muster it. When we took the lead in the 2nd leg and levelled the tie on aggregate my hopes were reignited only for them to be dashed when they scored the equalizer and even though we then scored and re-took the lead we didn't ever look likely to get that two-goal winning margin we needed. In the end, they scored a late equalizer but a draw is nothing to be ashamed of given the quality of the opposition and earns us some vital coefficient points. Overall, a very positive first season in Europe which gave us a good amount of income.

Domestic Cups - As the board couldn't care less about the cup competitions with the exception of the Irish Cup where they wanted us to reach the semi-finals I decided to mainly field the reserve team in the competitions. The loss to Ballinamallard United was a painful one as I played my strongest 11 but with our position in the league, I knew that we had other routes into the Europa League should we need them as by that point we had secured a spot in the top 6. I think I'll continue to play weakened sides in the cups until we reach a point where we are dominant domestically. At this point, the league has to be the priority as it holds the only important prize available in N. Ireland of money-spinning Champions League football which I will need to build the club.

Reserves - Worse than last season but they managed to win the league title convincingly.

Under 18s - They were unlucky not to win the double but a vast improvement on last season, the newer 'golden generation' turning around their fortunes.

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Squad - I didn't think we would be capable of winning the league with these players but then again the squad is actually quite balanced when you analyse it a bit deeper. We have a good range of ages in the team and the young prospects have developed brilliantly especially Brown DR who has shown remarkable improvement as a footballer and often topped the training performance ratings, so much so that he was beginning to get fed up with all the constant praise I was giving him so I had to stop. There is definitely always areas for improvement and given the increased wage budget I might actually be able to finally address the weaknesses we have. Boyle ST and Thompson MC will be leaving at the end of their contract which means I need to look for a support duty ST and a defend duty MC. We still need to find that commanding central defender and I'm still not satisfied with the ML & MR positions. This time I'll be focusing on bringing in quality rather than quantity and there are a number of highly talented young players that have come through at other N. Irish clubs which I'd like to offer Champions League football to which should prove appealing.

Transfers - We didn't sell a single player this season which in some respects is no bad thing. Gallagher ST came through the Institute youth team and looks like a good signing given his potential. I signed a senior club affiliation with Ponferrada who loaned us 3 quality players but as they came in January and were unfit by the time I got them up to full fitness the season was approaching its conclusion which meant that they didn't have the impact that I was looking for. Hopefully, they will send me some players in the summer transfer window next season so I can have a full season with them. I'll keep the affiliation for as long as we remain a semi-professional outfit just to add that bit of class that I wouldn't be able to get from players who train part-time. I didn't have any funds to do much business this season, hopefully, with the increased budgets given to me for next season, I'll be far more active.

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Average Rating: 7.19
Once again he finished as the player with the highest average rating which incidentally is exactly the same as last season, talk about reliability. I'm beginning to think that replacing him is going to be quite a challenge as he brings not only consistency in his performances but also leadership to the team. When he didn't play you could definitely see that he was missing which isn't a great place to be considering his age. As I said last season, we will need to get another good season out of him in order to buy some time so that I can work on blooding a youngster as his replacement.
 
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Average Rating: 6.88
The lad managed an incredible 15 clean sheets. That is fantastic for a 17-year-old as it shows a level of consistency which isn't typical of players that young. He pulled off some absolutely brilliant saves throughout the season often at critical moments during the league games. I think the highest praise I can give to him is that without him I don't think we would have had any chance of winning the league given how many narrow 1-0 wins he helped us to keep and how many times he helped to save a point for us when we drew 0-0. He is definitely the future of the club and he has a very bright future ahead of him if continues in the same manner. It just goes to show how important having a decent GK is. When I compare this season to last season when we had Johnston GK as our number 1 and the season before with Morris GK the difference is night and day. Having our strikers know they only have to score once and that is often enough to win the game takes away a lot of pressure and helps them to perform better.
 
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Finances - We once again took a pre-season trip to Glasgow to play both Rangers and Celtic which was pretty lucrative and I will continue to do so until the cost-benefit no longer works in our favour. The Europa League run (well two ties) has really bolstered our balance and hopefully, if we can make some progress in the Champions League we might just be able to break the £1M barrier. I did ask for professional status when my job status was untouchable but they rejected it. There are some really positive things happening with the potential future growth of the club. The average attendances are up (even though ticket prices and season ticket sales continue to fall) and it will be interesting to see how winning the league changes that especially given our fan day which went well. Sponsorship revenues have increased, the affiliation with Ponferrada is bringing in another £30K per season which might seem a small amount but given our wage expenditure is below £10Kp/w that is 3 weeks wages paid. The next major milestone in building the club is having professional status. The hope is that our income next season can go a long way to bringing that closer to reality. Elsewhere in the footballing world, Brexit finally happened which resulted in the UK remaining as nothing changed. 

Facilities - The junior coaching and youth recruitment were once again improved which should be highly beneficial to our intakes going forward. I'll be holding off from investing in the youth facilities until we have the financial security to do so. I'm also going to leave the pitch in its poor state as I want every pound I spend for the foreseeable future to go towards turning the club professional.

Youth Intake - Our first non-golden generation intake was not too bad. Hughes DC and Dixon ST look very good attribute wise although they have a long way to develop in order to get near the first team. We are also beginning to see the impact of player star degradation. A lot of the players that were considered part of previous golden generations are now seen far less favourably which is a good sign that the quality of the first team is improving and that the bar for breaking into the first team has been raised.
 
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League Reputation - Finally some forward momentum. We are now a 1.5* league and are spoken about in the same breath as the Kosovan Superleague, sigh. A long way to go for sure although a good performance in Europe will hopefully see us shoot above the likes of the Welsh Premier League. On a more positive note, our coefficient improved to the point where we will no longer have any teams participating in the preliminary rounds of the Europa League from the season after next which might be good but then again might be bad as the only game that other N. Irish teams seem to be winning are those games. Even if the other team earn fewer coefficient points as a result progress is being made and that is all that matters.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - Things have remained the same but the green arrow indicates that as a club our reputation is improving.
 
Club European Reputation - We moved up a bit but still have an abysmal coefficient. I know who we will be playing in the first two rounds of the Champions League qualifiers next season as the draw has already been made but I'll reserve revealing that for my in-depth posts of the games. As usual, I'll do the in-depth posts until we manage to make the group stages of either the Europa or Champions League given how important those games are to our season.
 
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Spoiler

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Spoiler

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Edited by pheelf

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Season 2021 / 2022

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How far we can progress will depend on who we get drawn against. The board would be satisfied as long as we get through to the 2nd Qualifying Round so that will be the aim, anything further will be seen as a bonus.

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There is only one team in the 1st Qualifying Round that we could draw among the seeded teams that I really would want to avoid and that is Rosenborg. All the other teams I'd say we'd have a chance of at least being competitive against although given the low fitness of the team any team we draw will provide a challenge.
 
Who did we draw?
 
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Videoton FC

A fairly tricky team who look to have some quality among their ranks but I see no reason why we can't at least compete with them.

Our squad
 
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Their squad
 
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They have some dangerous players in there for sure although I'm encouraged by the fact they have no goalkeeper or defenders so we will be playing against 'greyed out' players who are likely to be significantly weaker. I'm also happy to see one of their better central midfielders suspended. The players to watch are Milanov AML and Hodzic ST who individually earn more per week than my entire squad.
 
1st Qualifying Round 1st Leg
 
Here's how the two teams lined up:
 
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I'm really struggling to see the logic behind this approach if I'm being honest. They are playing so many players out of position and not only that but playing a formation which surrenders the wide areas to us when they have a pair of decent wide midfielders they could play. I'm not complaining though as even given the way they have handicapped themselves they still have better players attribute wise than ours. If we can end the game without conceding an away goal I'll be happy enough with that even better if we can sneak a win.
 
Result
 
Glentoran 1 Videoton FC 0
 
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A fairly even game but in the end, I'm chuffed with the result. All we need to do now is go to Hungary and get a goal and it means they have to score 3 to go through which would really put them under pressure. We perhaps should have won by a bigger margin but equally, they could have easily scored also. Let's hope that those missed opportunities don't come back to haunt us.  
 
1st Qualifying Round 2nd Leg
 
Here's how the two teams lined up:
 
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That is more like the formation I expected them to play when they came to Belfast and it is clear what their intentions are. I'm optimistic that we can at least score a goal which I'm hoping will be enough to see us through. A nice early goal would really make our task a lot easier while making life difficult for them.

Result

Videoton FC 3 Glentoran 2
 
Glentoran win on the away goals rule after a 3-3 draw on aggregate
 
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Things were looking fairly straightforward as we raced into an early lead and had a 2-1 lead by the 34th minute which had us in a position of comfort. It was going almost too well with us holding them off and looking menacing on the break. Then new signing McAleer MR had a brainstorm and picked up a needless 2nd yellow card in the 36th minute which completely flipped the game on its head and allowed them to dominate. I decided I needed to make some drastic changes otherwise we were going to end up losing the tie so subbed off the left winger and went to a 4-1-2-2 with the two strikers left up the pitch as an outlet. It seemed to work and although Videoton had a lot of shots we managed to keep them at bay until the 83rd minute when they grabbed an equalizer.
 
Then 3 minutes later we conceded a penalty after a stupid and unnecessary tackle which levelled the tie but we still had the advantage on away goals. At this point, I was seriously concerned that we were going to bottle it so decided to put the fullbacks on defend duty and put us on Defensive mentality. It seemed to work but they did still manage to create another guilt edge chance and had a shot inside the box which thankfully Mulholland GK managed to parry away after having an uncharacteristically poor game up to that point. There are defining moments in a career and that save in time may prove to be one of them had he not managed to keep it out we would have been eliminated. Onwards and upwards. 
 
Edited by pheelf

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Posted (edited)

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Season 2021 / 2022

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As the draw for both the 1st and 2nd Qualifying Rounds is done at the same time I already knew who we would face if we beat Videoton.
 
Who did we draw?
 
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APOEL FC

Definitely a step up in class on Videoton and we are going to need to play at our very best in order to stand a chance of getting past them. They have been group stage regulars in recent times and are probably among the hardest teams we could have faced at this stage.

Our squad
 
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Their squad
 
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This is going to be a significantly harder test for us as they have within their ranks some former Premier League players such as Success ST who was at Watford, Carroll MC who used to play for Swansea and Gayle ST who had spells at Newcastle and Crystal Palace. The only hope is that they have declined significantly since leaving those clubs although judging by their 9-0 aggregate win in the 1st Qualifying Round against Estonian opposition I wouldn't count on it.
 
2nd Qualifying Round 1st Leg
 
Here's how the two teams lined up:
 
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Pretty much what I was dreading, they are playing the same formation as us. The reason why this is such a problem is that man for man they are better so if it comes down to a series of individual battles they will more than likely win. I don't hold much hope for the game but if we can leave Cyprus with a result which at least gives a chance in the 2nd leg I'll be satisfied. I feel that an away goal for us is going to be important. 
 
Result
 
APOEL FC 1 Glentoran 3
 
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Well, that was unexpected! What I found remarkable about this game is that the scoreline doesn't flatter us at all, in fact, it flatters them as we could have easily scored more goals had it not been for their goalkeeper pulling off some great saves. I think 2 goals for us in the first 12 minutes really set the tone for the game and seemed to shock them into a state of paralysis which they couldn't quite seem to recover from. I didn't think we had a chance against them but this result has put us in an incredibly strong position and barring a collapse at home to them I make us favourites to progress. Having said that they could very well come to Belfast and hammer us and win the tie but if we can perform again as we did in Cyprus we should be able to hold on to our advantage. 
 
2nd Qualifying Round 2nd Leg
 
Here's how the two teams lined up:
 
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Interesting, I think the idea behind their approach is to use their numerical advantages in the central defence and midfield to dominate the ball. The key to winning the tie I feel lies with getting the ball to our wide players and trying to pick them off on the counter-attack.

Result

Glentoran 1 APOEL FC 2
 
Glentoran win 4-3 on aggregate
 
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When we scored in the 3rd minute through Tilney ML I thought the tie was effectively over but credit to APOEL FC as two goals in the 55th and 59th minute made for a very nervy last 30 minutes as another goal from them would have taken the tie into extra time. Seeing the way the game was going I decided to use some game management tactics and it proved to be effective as although they did put us under a bit of pressure we stood up to them and limited them to long-range shots. I'm delighted to have won the tie in regulation time as given our part-time status should we have gone into extra time they more than likely would have won against our tired players. It must not be underestimated what a fantastic result this is. It has been an incredible campaign so far, knowing that we only need to win one more tie to book a place in a European group stage is a fantastic incentive for the players and far more than I ever thought was possible.
 
Edited by pheelf

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Season 2021 / 2022

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We have already achieved way more than I expected but now we have a great opportunity to take that final step and achieve something which could change the trajectory of the club forever and that is to claim group stage football. We have an advantage as APOEL FC have a high coefficient meaning that we are seeded for this round, we just need to hope that we can draw a team we can be competitive against.
 
Who did we draw?
 
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HSK Zrinjski Mostar

I'm not overly familiar with football in Bosnia and Herzegovina so you'll have to excuse my lack of knowledge about the club. They have managed to beat Spartak Trnava who beat Rosenborg over two legs so they must be quite decent. Even though they are definitely weaker than APOEL FC I'm taking nothing for granted.

Our squad
 
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Their squad
 
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Looking at their squad I'd say they are of a similar standard to Videoton. Given that we only narrowly won on away goals against Videoton I'm expecting a tough battle.
 
3rd Qualifying Round 1st Leg
 
Here's how the two teams lined up:
 
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I think we will have a lot of domination of the wide areas which could be very beneficial as they look weakest in those areas. I'd like a clean sheet if possible as I think this may be a tie we are going to need to win over two games as it could be close should both teams play at their best. 
 
Result
 
Glentoran 6 HSK Zrinjski Mostar 1
 
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It took a while for the game to warm up but once we scored our 1st goal in the 20th minute and hit our stride we were unstoppable. We absolutely destroyed them and they did well to keep the scoreline down. I don't think it was a case of them being that bad necessarily more that we played so well that we would have made any team look poor in comparison. 
 
3rd Qualifying Round 2nd Leg
 
Here's how the two teams lined up:
 
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Regardless of how attacking they decide to line up, it's going to take an absolute miracle for them to turn this around. If we let this slip from this position it would be the greatest bottle job in footballing history.

Result

HSK Zrinjski Mostar 1 Glentoran 0
 
Glentoran win 6-2 on aggregate
 
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We lost to a late goal and while it would have been nice to pick up some more coefficient points I'm not really that bothered about it. Instead, I'll rejoice in the fact that we will be playing group stage football at the first time of asking. The question to be answered in the next round is which one?
 
Edited by pheelf

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Posted (edited)

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Season 2021 / 2022

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One final tie stands between us and the Champions League group stage with the great bonus that even if we lose we still get the great consolation prize of the Europa League group stage. We are unseeded once again and there are no easy ties at this point. Our potential opponents will be one of Celtic, RB Salzburg, Slavia Prague or Young Boys. If I'm looking for a glamour tie then I want to draw Celtic, if I'm looking for a tie in which I might have a chance of pulling off an upset then I'm looking at Slavia Prague as I feel they are of similar quality as APOEL FC. Whoever we draw it's going to be a great experience and we can play with the freedom of knowing that it's a free shot and we have nothing to lose.
 
Who did we draw?
 
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BSC Young Boys

They are seasoned Champions League group stage participants and are probably the toughest team. We are going to need to play way beyond our abilities to stand a chance here and hope for a bit of luck.

Our squad
 
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Their squad
 
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They have some really classy players in their roster and our task won't be made easier as one of our best central midfielders Pepper picked up a silly yellow card in the previous round giving him a suspension. This really is a David vs Goliath type battle, to say we are underdogs would be an understatement.
 
4th Qualifying Round 1st Leg
 
Here's how the two teams lined up:
 
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Bah Humbug! We'll give it our best shot but given the gulf in class, I can only see one outcome. I don't think we are going to be able to stop them from scoring so we are going to need to do so ourselves. Our best hope lies in trying to keep it as tight as possible to give us a chance in Switzerland. 
 
Result
 
Glentoran 2 BSC Young Boys 4
 
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You can only swim against the tide for so long before you tire and get swept out to sea. They are a cut above us in every respect and I would have needed my players to raise their game to a level so far beyond their capabilities to give them a challenge that it would be unreasonable. Especially when you consider just how many times they have done so over the last two months for me as part-time players. Sometimes you just have to take your medicine and move on. I'll still put out a full-strength side in the return leg and try and give it a go but I think we're done here. 
 
4th Qualifying Round 2nd Leg
 
Here's how the two teams lined up:
 
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That looks like a very attacking formation, I just hope we don't take a mauling here as I think that would be really cruel on the players who have given absolutely everything for the shirt during our European campaign so far.

Result

BSC Young Boys 1 Glentoran 0
 
BSC Young Boys win 5-2 on aggregate
 
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They dominated as expected and won the game as expected but for me, that is a moral victory. We didn't get embarrassed and scored a couple of goals against a top quality team, I can't ask for more than that.
 
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This has been an incredible journey and it's not yet at its final destination either. The money we earned has meant that professional status will be coming next season which is a significant milestone in the development of the club and potentially the nation. We were drawn into group G and the table is below.
 
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As far as Europa League groups go this has to be one of the toughest I've seen and we will be very lucky to get any points but even if we don't manage to win any points it will be a good opportunity to earn some extra cash and play against some high-quality opposition which should be a good experience for some of the younger players in the squad. I'm especially looking forward to the game at Windsor Park against Everton and I'm hoping that we get a good attendance due to the short hop over the Irish Sea for the away supporters. This will be last of the in-depth reports until I make the quarter-finals of a European competition and this seasons Europa League group stage results will be in the season review. The sun is rising on a new dawn at the club and I can't wait to see how far our journey can take us.
 
Edited by pheelf

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Good run in the UCL qualifiers. Good solid progress as well.

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On 05/01/2019 at 21:01, kidthekid said:

Good run in the UCL qualifiers. Good solid progress as well.

Thanks for the comment and follow. It has been unexpectedly good so far and I'm happy with how quickly I've been able to build the club and get to professional status. I thought I would need to win the league a few times before I could make that much progress in Europe, so to manage it in the first attempt with part-time players has been great.

All the best

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Have followed. Started off at Larne in my Journeyman game and managed to get them into the CL group stages in season 3 but lost every game. You can start picking up some decent prospects (for NI standards) from around Europe after getting into the group stages. The real challenge is for the rest of the league to try and catch up.

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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2021 / 2022

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Last season brought about an unexpected title win, the board still only demand a top half finish which is pretty much where we should have finished last season given the quality of the team. I'd like to retain the title if possible but the focus has to be on making progress in Europe for my first Champions League campaign as that holds the key to the future of the club.

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League Table - Mark Warburton managed to make Kenny Bruce's dream of hearing Champions League music at Larne a reality. Unlike last season, this was an open and shut case with Larne running away with the title early on. We had a terrible start which was to be expected given that two games a week (sometimes 3) and part-time players don't tend to mix very well. It was so bad that at one point we were propping up the table but once the brutal fixture congestion started to die down we managed to slowly climb the table. We managed to recover to a high of 2nd place but inconsistent late season form meant that we could only finish 4th and had to try and qualify for the Europa League through the playoff. To put in a title challenge next season we have to start stronger and not allow Larne to build up such a lead. Elsewhere, Linfield had a shocker finishing in the bottom half again as they yet again went through a stream of different managers.

Danske Bank Premier Europa League Playoff - No European football for us at all next season which isn't going to be great for our coefficient and our finances. Although, on the plus side at least we wont be distracted from trying to wrestle control of N. Irish football from Larne. I was disappointed to lose to Cliftonville as they were tired after playing extra time in their semi-final but we were very poor on the day so no complaints.

UEFA Champions League - This is the run which changes the future of the club and allows us to become a professional outfit for next season. It's quite amazing that we only won 3/8 games and still managed to get so far into the qualifiers. I'm not sure whether it's correct or not but I didn't get any prize money from losing in the playoff which in FM18 would have been worth a few million pounds in addition to the money you get from participating in the Europa League group stages. I'm encouraged by this result as if we can manage to do this with part-time players what will we be able to achieve with higher quality full-time professionals. Winning the league and qualifying again next season has to be the priority. 

UEFA Europa League - This went a lot better than I thought it would. The two wins were massive and bought into the clubs coffers over £1M in prize money which was a great bonus to get. Everton did bring a large away following to Windsor Park which allowed us to break our gate receipts record. We managed to keep the defeats to a respectable margin except against Lazio who put 5 past us in both games. It was a very good campaign which had very good effects on some of the younger players who developed really well after playing against such a high standard of opposition.

Domestic Cups - I actually went against my plan last season and didn't play a weakened team in all the cup games which resulted in a longer stay in the early season cups. I felt the need to do it as our form in the league was terrible and morale was suffering so I thought that victories in the cups would help galvanize the team and give the players some much-needed confidence. The less said about the Ballyclare Comrades game in the Irish Cup the better, we were atrocious. 

Reserves - Another comfortable league win, they were unfortunate to miss out on the double and perhaps the occasion of the Steel & Sons Cup final was too much them.

Under 18s - The team is consistent in winning the league but need to work on their performances in the cup if they ever want to win the domestic double. It would have been interesting to see how they fared in the UEFA Youth League but the first team fell at the final hurdle and as a result, the U18s will have to wait for their first European campaign.

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Squad - The squad has become rather cumbersome in size which meant a distinct lack of harmony at the club throughout the season. I think that really impacted the domestic performances of the team and I will be using the end of some players contracts as an excuse to clear them out of the club. The team needs a complete rebuild if we are to challenge for the title next season as Larne have built a strong team who will do very well against the other teams in the league so we are going to need to match their level of consistency. I will be attempting to keep the core of young talented N. Irish players while supplementing them with quality overseas young talent. I will be scouting far and wide and will focus on bringing in players who are 23 and younger who still have room to develop and just need first-team football to realize their potential. I've decided to change the policy of the club and will no longer bring in any loan players. As a result, I have canceled the affiliation with Ponferrada so that I can focus on developing players which can hopefully later be sold on for a profit. 

Transfers - I was very busy in the transfer market this season as I tried to bring in some quality young N. Irish players. In that endeavour, I think I was successful as we have some of the brightest talents at the club to have come out of the youth departments across N. Ireland. Lyttle ML and Woods ST were a steal from Limavady United and I'll be very interested to see how they develop next season. I don't like to poach players from other N. Irish clubs but felt it necessary this season, next season when I can cast a far wider net when looking for players I won't be doing that unless I spot a truly exceptional young player. Tilney DL was considered overpriced by the board but as he played such an instrumental role in our run in the Champions League I think it was money well spent. Brown DR, unfortunately, will be leaving for Fulham in July after kicking up a stink about wanting to play for a bigger club but he goes with my best wishes after his great contribution to our successful European campaign. I took 9 loans from Ponferrada but they didn't really perform all that well and I struggled to accommodate them all which made their manager very angry and he recalled a few. Thankfully, next season I won't need to concern myself with that and I can focus on developing my players. I also loaned out a lot of players to other N. Irish clubs in the hope of helping other clubs to progress unfortunately it resulted in a very negative consequence which I'll highlight later. 

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Average Rating: 7.25
Mr. Consistency strikes again, this time getting an even higher average rating. I think that rating is somewhat massaged by the fact that he is one of the clubs corner takers and managed to get a fair few assists. I feel at this point however that his race has been run for us. He has done a brilliant job for us and I appreciate the fact that has done everything that I've asked of him by giving us 4 very good seasons but I feel the time has come for him to leave the club so he will be released at the end of his contract. He is not the kind of player that I feel can take this club to the next level but I'm sure another N. Irish club will appreciate his talents going forward.
 
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Average Rating: 7.06
Another one of those bright young things which arrived last season from Institute. He was the top scorer and has shown vast improvements during the season. He is already considered to be one of our best players so I will be looking forward to seeing how many goals he can score when he has a better standard of players to work with.
 
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Finances - The change to professional status will mean an exceptionally busy summer ahead. I have to be very mindful of the fact that we didn't qualify for Europe this season so I can't just spend recklessly and will need to be prudent and wise with how I go about making the transition from part-time to full-time so that it's done in a sustainable way. I will however not be compromising in some respects. The scouting has been upgraded to anywhere in the world so I will be using the highest packages which will come at a cost of £720K per year which I feel is essential to bring in the quality of player we are going to need. After all the rebuilding has been done if we end up with a total wage bill of ~£60Kp/w I think that will be sustainable for a season without European football. A wage bill of ~£2.8M per year, add that to the £720K per year gives £3.5M which should mean we end next season in the black especially when this season Europa League group stage TV money goes into the balance.

Facilities - I once again upgraded the youth recruitment and junior coaching and even managed to get the pitch relaid. I touched on it earlier but this is where the negative consequence of loaning players out comes back to haunt me. As a result of the loans I sent to Queen's University, they managed against all the odds to get promoted the DBP which unfortunately means that the affiliation will be canceled with the loss of our access to their training facilities. This is a big blow for us as I don't feel we have the financial security to be able to invest in our own facilities just yet as we need to use the money we do have to invest in the team and ensure we get back into the Champions League next season. The next milestone will be qualifying for the Champions League group stages, once we have achieved that I will then start to invest money into the facilities.

Youth Intake - The quality of the intakes has definitely declined although I take it as a positive sign that the first team is improving. Donaghy DC is definitely the star of this intake as his attributes are already impressive although I get the feeling that much like the first team the youth team is also somewhat bloated. As a consequence, a lot of the poorer players will need to be shipped out in order to grant more opportunities to the players which might stand a chance of making a career with the club.
 
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League Reputation - A very good uplift into the top 100 although being so low is going to restrict our ability to bring in quality players rather significantly. I'm hoping that Larne can have a decent-ish run in Europe as I wouldn't want the forward momentum that we've generated to be thrown into reverse although I can't see very much coefficients coming from the other N. Irish clubs especially Ballinamallard United.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - Larne are on the up so it is imperative that I prevent them from making any further progress by winning the league next season. Our reputation is currently the only advantage we have over them which means that given the choice between them and us a player is more likely to sign for us.
 
Club European Reputation - Our run in Europe sent us flying up the table although our coefficient still remains poor.
 
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Spoiler

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Spoiler

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Edited by pheelf

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1 hour ago, deez0r said:

Have followed. Started off at Larne in my Journeyman game and managed to get them into the CL group stages in season 3 but lost every game. You can start picking up some decent prospects (for NI standards) from around Europe after getting into the group stages. The real challenge is for the rest of the league to try and catch up.

I appreciate the follow so thank you. I definitely agree with you that the next step in developing the club is getting into the CL group stage which will open the door for getting in quality players. I'm fairly confident I should be able to manage that within a few seasons especially now that the club is professional. Unlike previous attempts in N. Ireland where I really had to struggle alone to build up the league single-handedly, I think that Larne will prove immensely helpful in moving things along at a quicker rate.

Having 2 engines for growth within 4 seasons is a great start as it took me many decades in FM18 to be in this position so I'm already way ahead of schedule. If the nation can keep making improvements in the reputation table I can envision a scenario where the growth becomes self-perpetuating and more teams will start to improve naturally. Larne is already bringing players into the country from the likes of QPR, Southampton and Liverpool. What kind of players will they be bringing in when the reputation widens the possibilities? Exciting times are ahead.

Cheers

Edited by pheelf

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Yes, I was managing to pick up players from the likes of Ligue 1 (lower reputation teams) as well as pick up some really useful loans from the Premier League. After I left Larne (I actually own a house here!) have unfortunately only qualified once in 5 subsequent seasons in the CL but have had a couple of Europa League group stints. Linfield and Crusaders are also professional in the league so it would be nice to see another team do well.

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20 hours ago, deez0r said:

Yes, I was managing to pick up players from the likes of Ligue 1 (lower reputation teams) as well as pick up some really useful loans from the Premier League. After I left Larne (I actually own a house here!) have unfortunately only qualified once in 5 subsequent seasons in the CL but have had a couple of Europa League group stints. Linfield and Crusaders are also professional in the league so it would be nice to see another team do well.

I found that too as I was able to get players from the likes of Strasbourg, Angers & Troyes. Unfortunately, unlike Larne, I don't have a seemingly endless supply of money to pay the wages which I found to my great cost in the season I'm about to review. 

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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2022 / 2023

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The board doesn't seem to have much faith in the players as they yet again would be satisfied with a top half finish. In my estimation, if we aren't involved in the title race it will be a poor season. At a minimum, we need to qualify for Europe.

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League Table - This season was a gutting experience. Every time we managed to reach the summit we would slip up and allow Larne to retake the lead. The three defeats you see in Larne's record were inflicted by us which is a worrying sign as we need to have other teams capable of beating them. David Jeffrey must really despise the club (to be expected given he was a Linfield stalwart for years) as not only did his Ballymena United team beat us twice (once painfully post-split) he ensured that any final day chance of us overtaking Larne by bettering their result was crushed as his side folded 6-0 to them on the final day. We are going to have to find a way to be more competitive against Larne. The key to winning the title next season lies in being ruthless against the other teams in the league and killing games off in which we take the lead. Too many times we left the door open for other teams to get back into the game which put us under unnecessary pressure.

Domestic Cups - Larne won every domestic cup available which is a great credit to them. I desperately wanted to prevent them from getting the clean sweep by beating them in the Irish Cup final but a ridiculous cross turned shot in injury time at the end of the game sunk us and gave them the win. Outside of the Irish Cup run, we were fairly lousy in the other cups.

Reserves - At least the season didn't end with the club going completely trophy-less as the Reserves won the double.

Under 18s - A very nice improvement from the youth team as they brought home the double.

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Squad - A lot of players were added to the team but looking at it realistically I don't think I've spent the money very wisely. Some of the players are earning too much money for what they are bringing to the team. To make matters worse, a lot of my highest earners are playing at their full potential so aren't going to get any better. I'll be looking at another clear out at the end of the season and to try to move on some of the highest earners. There is no way we can compete with Larne when it comes to wages as they are paying nearly £4M a season. Therefore we need to be more nimble and try to continue to find players like Ammerbacher ST who arrived on a free and earns £150p/w but is considered one of the better players at the club while selling players like Johnston DC who is the highest earner but not considered the best player at the club.

Transfers - I was like a kid in a candy store as I just couldn't help myself and brought in anybody who looked decent without any thought as to whether they were affordable or not. A lot of the players that were brought in were actually transfer listed so I was drawn in by the notion of getting a bargain. Unfortunately, in time those 'bargains' are starting to look like poor investments as their current market values are way off the purchase price. I think I'll be more active in the free transfer market next season as some good players on cheap wages were found there and I can offer trials to see them close up to assess them which should help me make more informed choices.

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Doel Bonsu - DL
Average Rating: 7.55
He was a very consistent player who provided a decent amount of assists from the fullback position. There is no question about his quality but whether we can afford a player like this is an important consideration along with whether a player of his ability is actually required in order to win the title. In my opinion, I think the answer is no on both counts, so I will be looking to take advantage of the interest in him.
 
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Average Rating: 7.35
Another player who is earning a comparative fortune. Even though he won the DBP Young Player of the Year I still think signing him was a mistake. He didn't really justify his wages for me considering that last season both my right midfielders managed to provide as many assists as him for a far lower wage. If I can get him out of the club I will.
 
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Finances - The financial reality of being a professional club without huge backing hit hard this season. At one point I even had to scrap the scouting packages all together as they were costing us £60K per month which we can't afford. In order to maintain our status as a professional club, certain policies are going to have to be enacted for the coming season as we can't afford to make a loss like we did this season again.

1) A wage cap is going to be introduced of £1Kp/w and any player earning more than this at the club will be moved on at the earliest opportunity even if it means making a loss on the transfer fee spent to bring them in.

2) The wage bill needs to be reduced to a more manageable figure. The exact figure will depend on progress in the Europa League, the aim has to be around the £1M per season mark.

3) Teams are going to have to start to pay the players wages for loans.

4) Staff numbers will be reduced and contracts will be allowed to expire for excess staff.

5) Bonuses will be reduced and player contracts re-negotiated where possible to remove non-performance based bonuses.

All of those changes I hope will allow us to maintain our professional status which is imperative as it is the only way we are going to be able to compete with Larne for the foreseeable future. Having to revert to semi-professional status would be very damaging and push us back several steps in the development of the club and unlike last time I think we would really struggle to compete with Larne for Champions League qualification which gave us the money to make the change. Next season is going to be crucial for the future of the club.

Facilities - As you can see we are back at our basic training facilities. I'm actually glad that I didn't spend any money last season on upgrading the facilities as if we had I feel we might have had to revert back to semi-professional status. At least we have maximized both the junior coaching and youth recruitment.

Youth Intake - There are a couple of decent prospects in there such as Murphy ML, Wells DR, and Wray ST but the quality of the rest is much poorer. We are starting to see a return on investment for some of the previous youth graduates but we are going to need much more to turn the youth department into a profit-making enterprise.
 
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League Reputation - Still on the rise which is good as the other N. Irish clubs actually did fairly decently in Europe. Larne got through to the 3rd Qualifying Round of the Europa League. Even Ballinamallard United managed to win a tie in the Europa League so some encouraging signs. The next target has to be 2* reputation that is in reach but will require another good season from the N. Irish clubs.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - We've reached the summit but Larne aren't far off anymore and the domestic quadruple really helped them to close the gap. If they have another season like that they will definitely reach the summit next season and once they do it's going to be hard to shift them from that position.
 
Club European Reputation - We had a slight drop which was to be expected given our absence from European competition this season. We might just get seeded for the 1st Qualifying Round but further progress after that is likely to be difficult as we will be unseeded.
 
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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2023 / 2024

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A title challenge is essential as we need to try to get back into the Champions League otherwise the clubs professional status could be under threat. I'd like a nice run in the Europa League but how far we can progress will be dependent on who we draw.

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League Table - A five-point deficit is somewhat flattering to us as even after a great start where we occupied top spot after 14 games we were nowhere near challenging Larne for the title. Once again our inconsistency and dropping of points against basement dwellers meant that once we relinquished the lead we were never getting back on top. It was only due to terrible late-season form from Larne that made it appear a close run battle.

UEFA Europa League - We navigated the first couple of rounds quite easily but once we came up against quality opposition we were outclassed. Rennes actually went on to win the trophy so that shows how good a team they are. Hopefully, next season we avoid drawing such an impossible tie and have a chance of making further progress as the Europa League is our only source of real income.

Domestic Cups - It was surprising to beat Larne in the Charity Shield with a reserve side but when we drew them in the first round of the Irish Cup I knew our run would be short. At least we managed to win the League Cup by beating Coleraine who pulled off an upset in the semi-final by beating Larne.

Reserves - A case of close but no cigar in the cups but another comfortable win in the league making it 5 on the bounce.

Under 18s - A poor showing in the cup but another league win. 

 

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Squad - I tried desperately hard to shrink the wage bill while trying to keep the team competitive in the league but it wasn't successful. The problem we have isn't necessarily that we can't compete with Larne but that we have great trouble in breaking down some of the weaker teams in the league at times. I also tended to shoot myself in the foot sometimes by playing players in the wrong roles, for e.g. playing Taylor MC in the Central Midfielder (Defend) role when his defensive attributes are poor. All of my experiences are however increasing my understanding of my team and I have learned some valuable lessons about my players this season. I'll be looking to strengthen once again and hopefully move on some more players that are surplus to requirements.

Transfers - All the players brought into the club were free transfers and the most impactful of those were Matic DC, Cooper DC, Evans DL, Taylor MC, McCalmont MC. As you can see I tried to raise funds by selling players in the hope that I could retain our professional status but despite this, we still had to revert back to semi-professional status. As a consequence, I wouldn't expect to see an awful lot of activity except sales as we begin rebuilding.

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Average Rating: 7.40
The clubs top scorer had a brilliant season and has managed to break through into the national team. He is a player that I'd like to keep but should a good offer come in I'd accept it as I feel we do have other HG prospects that could replace him in the first team.
 
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Ben Evans - DL
Average Rating: 7.33
A very consistent player who joined the club for free and who is earning a far more affordable wage than Bonsu DL who he replaced. He is another player that the vultures appear to be circling and I really could face an uphill battle to keep him at the club. I'm not too concerned as I think he could fetch a decent price.
 
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Finances - Why the board didn't just take out a loan to keep us at professional status I don't know. I have managed to stabilize the clubs finances and the losses would have been far more brutal had I not taken the steps I outlined last season. I think perhaps that the development of the club happened too quickly and I got carried away with the big bank balance. We needed to establish ourselves as the dominant force in N. Ireland and regularly qualify for the Champions League before we could afford to have the expenditures we did. A harsh lesson learned as now we have to start again and work towards getting back the clubs professional status the hard way through the far less lucrative Europa League as I can't see us being able to challenge Larne for Champions League football as a part-time club.

Facilities - No changes were done as we simply couldn't afford them.

Youth Intake - The investments in the youth department seem to be paying off as we get another 3 players that might have 5* potential.
 
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League Reputation - Larne came tantalizingly close to the group stage of the Europa League but fell at the last hurdle to Dinamo on away goals. Had they managed it we probably would have reached 2* and I might have won the league given the distraction it would have been for them. We are still making steady progress and that's the main thing.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - Larne are officially the best team in the country based on reputation now. Displacing them is going to take a monumental effort.
 
Club European Reputation - We are going to be unseeded the majority of the way, I just hope we don't end up facing the eventual winners again in the qualifiers.
 
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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2024 / 2025

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The board would still be satisfied with a top half finish but I want to put in a title challenge and get a bit closer to Larne who have won the title for the last 3 seasons in a row. We have to try our best to stop their dominance as the gap between us and them is becoming too large and may become insurmountable if we don't get into the Champions League soon. In the Europa League, I'd like to at least get as far as we did last season but my focus is on doing well in the DBP.

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League Table - As seasons go, this has got to be one of the best I have experienced in any version of FM. Going into the season I knew we were going to need to start quickly if we were to stand any chance of competing with Larne and I couldn't have asked for a better start as we went our first 21 games of the season unbeaten winning 16 of those games. At one point after establishing an incredible 11 point advantage over Larne I was beginning to think that perhaps we were going to go on and win the title comfortably. Then December happened. We really struggled with the fixture congestion and dropped 10 points over the month which reduced our once healthy lead to a meager point.

By mid-January and after a heavy 4-0 defeat at home to Larne the two teams were level on points with only goal difference keeping us on top. It was at this point that I knew we were going to have to dig very deep in order to prevent us from fading away as we had in previous seasons. I needed to instill a winning mentality back into the team which they seemed to respond to well winning the next 5 games in a row which took us to the split. Larne was beginning to buckle under the pressure and started to slip up giving us a 2 point advantage going into the post-split fixtures. We then drew our opening game of the split 0-0 with Ballymena United which had me concerned that we would be level on points with Larne once again, this time with a much-reduced edge on goal difference. However, they slipped up again losing 3-1 away at Glenavon which turned a potentially bad result into an important point which put us 3 points clear.

The next game was at home to Coleraine which we desperately needed to win to put some pressure on Larne by opening up a 6 point advantage. We did win narrowly 1-0 but at this point, the only thing that mattered was the 3 points. Larne then went on to beat Linfield 4-2 at home the following day reducing the lead back to 3 points. I was then supposed to play Larne away but that fixture got rescheduled and therefore we faced Linfield first who would have liked nothing better than to beat us and put a massive dent in our title dreams. Therefore it was with great satisfaction that we took the 3 points after grabbing a late winner at Windsor Park. This result put us 6 points clear after Larne once again lost thanks to an own goal by their goalkeeper in the game away at Ballymena United.

All of which left us with the dream scenario going into the game away at Inver Park. 2 games to go, 6 points ahead and a slight edge on goal difference with us only needing a point to clinch the title. If you had offered me that in July I would have bitten your hand off. We could even afford to lose both games and provided we didn't do so heavily and Larne didn't win by an avalanche of goals on the final day we would have still won the title. As it turned out we didn't need to worry about any of that as we went and won the game 2-0 thanks to goals each side of half time. A truly astonishing accomplishment when you consider what we've had to overcome over the last few seasons and the fact that Larne has some players earning over £8Kp/w. The team was magnificent and I hope they can bring that spirit and determination to win into the Champions League next season.

UEFA Europa League - I think I must be in a special pot when they are doing these draws as I'm at a loss to explain why I keep getting drawn against such huge teams in the qualifying rounds. I was fuming when I saw Fiorentina come up as I knew we didn't stand a chance. After the 2-2 draw in Florence, I was beginning to think that my pessimism was perhaps unwarranted and when we had a 2-0 lead after 61 minutes in the return leg I was stunned. Then we conceded two of the most ridiculous goals I have ever seen. The 1st one was bad but the 2nd was beyond belief. The kind of schoolboy defending that even schoolboys would be ashamed of, yes, that bad. Anyhow, we still were in the tie as we surprisingly took them into extra time. At this point with the players exhausted I would have been happy with penalties but within a minute they were ahead. Now we needed to score twice to go through and I knew the game was effectively over so I just threw us on very attacking mentality and hoped for the best. Well, the final score pretty much sums up how successful that approach was. Thank goodness I won't have to go through the best-placed route in qualifiers at least for next season as it is a total nightmare to try and get through against such high-quality opposition,

Domestic Cups - Nice to get the first Co. Antrim Shield of my tenure but we were pretty meh in the rest of the cups. I wasn't too disappointed though as I had bigger fish to fry and didn't want the distraction.

Reserves - Larne Olympic comfortably broke the teams run of league titles but it was nice to win the Intermediate Cup.

Under 18s - A very comfortable win in the league finishing 8 points clear of Larne U18s but fell at the final hurdle in the cup.

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Squad - There were serious concerns that a lot of the players with an expiring contract would be leaving the club at the end of the season. They refused to sign new deals citing that the deals were going to be worse financially than their current ones and they wanted to run their contracts down. Thankfully, they all relented and a lot of the stars of the season will remain at the club especially Carson ST who scored the bulk of our goals this season. I have already identified weaknesses in the ML, MR and ST positions and will be looking to strengthen those areas if possible. With that in mind, when I saw Lyttle ML released from Hearts on a free I jumped at the opportunity to bring him back. I was also pleased when Hibernian allowed us to loan back talented central defender Donaghy for 12 months after purchasing him from us as I feel he will be a very important asset for our upcoming Champions League campaign.

Transfers - It appears that there is some serious talent to be found at other N. Irish clubs as all the players signed did a great job for the club and all for pocket change. Conn-Clarke MR being the exception as he was slightly overpriced but with his good crossing ability, he was a good option to have for corners and wide free kicks as he chipped in with a few assists. We managed to make another good profit in the transfer market and we will need to continue doing so as the club works its way back to professional status. I did get a £500K offer for Donaghy DC from Hearts with all the add-ons of the Hibernian deal such as a 10% of next sale clause but they came in with the offer late so he opted to transfer to Hibs for £350K instead. That was slightly disappointing but I guess it isn't the players business to be bothered about the finances of the club he's leaving.  

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Average Rating: 7.39
Solid and dependable which is pretty much all you can ask for from a central defender. He alongside Donaghy DC looks a decent partnership that I'm hoping will be strong enough for Europe.  
 
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Average Rating: 7.41
He did very well for us again this season whilst also establishing himself as a first choice international for N. Ireland. After watching him I do have a few doubts about him. Many times during matches he was one-on-one with the keeper and shot straight at the goalkeeper. He's not as clinical as he should be and I feel that really let him down at times as he could have easily got 30+ goals if he was more efficient with his finishing. I also didn't like the fact that he was always in need of rest especially during the busiest period of the season as his misfiring really cost us in December. I have tried to rectify that by reducing the intensity of the training for players with condition >90% to normal intensity rather than double intensity. It seems to have worked as the orange 'Rst' marker didn't appear after making the change but I'll have to wait until next season when we are involved in a congested fixture schedule to know for sure.   
 
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Finances - The finances appear to be on a far firmer footing than they were last season which is a positive sign. The wage bill has been reduced to a manageable size and the club is no longer hemorrhaging money although that was assisted by player sales and selling of some transfer clauses. The FFP showed a loss of £2.17M over the period but the club was never in any danger of failing. If we can manage a good season in Europe then we might just be able to regain our professional status but I don't demand it as I know that will be difficult and require a miraculous run to achieve. I think trying to get to professional status over the next 4 seasons is a far more realistic target. The focus at this point needs to be on qualifying for the Champions League every season by winning the league which in itself is a monumental task given we are being outspent on wages by a ratio of 7:1 by Larne.

Facilities - No changes for us but Larne did a stadium expansion showing the growing gap between the two clubs in terms of infrastructure.

Youth Intake - A couple of decent prospects in there but overall a fairly poor intake. I'm not complaining though as the intakes in previous years have been more than generous so the odd off year is no problem.
 
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League Reputation - It feels good to reach 2* reputation although you can definitely detect a slowing in the rate of progress. The country as a whole needs a strong season from the clubs in Europe, hopefully, we can contribute to that with a long-ish run in the Champions League qualifiers.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - After such dominance from Larne over the past few seasons it's going to take more than winning the league title to overtake them again.
 
Club European Reputation - Even though our seeding is at its highest point it is still unlikely to be enough to see us seeded at any point in the qualifiers. We are going to need to avoid the big teams to have a chance at a decent run. After our rotten luck in the Europa League qualifiers, it would be nice to get an easier passage.
 
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16 hours ago, darthlemon said:

Followed, very interesting. Good luck next year.

Thanks for your good wishes and follow. 

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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2025 / 2026

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Either the board thinks the players are rubbish or we are vastly overachieving given that they yet again only aspire for a top half finish. We need to be looking to challenge for the title while hoping we can make good progress in Europe.

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League Table - Our title defense started really well as we sat atop the table after 14 games but once again we suffered the dreaded December wobble as the fixtures started to pile up. 9 points were dropped in the month which handed the title initiative to Larne and by the end of January, the title race was effectively over. Seeing that the title was beyond reach I then shifted focus to secure 2nd place and Europa League qualification which we were having a battle with Ballymena United over. Thankfully, from that point, we managed some impressive form to hold onto 2nd and clinch our spot automatically without having to go through a playoff.  

UEFA Champions League - Just the run I was hoping for! When we drew CFR Cluj in the First Qualifying Round I thought that we might struggle as they have a strong team but an excellent performance at home effectively killed the tie for us and put us through to the next round even after a defeat in the 2nd leg. Up next was BATE Borisov who I thought might prove tricky but in the end, didn't put up much resistance with a convincing win in Belarus practically guaranteeing our passage through. I was a bit gutted to draw Dynamo Kiev in the 3rd Qualifying Round as I felt we would struggle to beat them which proved to be the case as even though they went down to 10 men in both legs we just couldn't score against them. Even though I was disappointed with the result, the money was the most important consideration. We actually got more prize money by getting knocked out at an earlier round when compared to our last Champions League campaign. The money we earned left us on the cusp of becoming a professional outfit once again with the final obstacle being the team we would face in the Champions Playoff for the Europa League. 

UEFA Europa League - After our first leg loss in Slovenia, I had my doubts as to whether we were going to win the playoff and get to the group stage. We dominated the game and created a number of good quality chances but our strikers let us down as they just couldn't apply the finishing touch. I knew we were going to have to be a lot more clinical if we were to stand a chance of turning it around. The 2nd leg was unbelievably tense given what was at stake for the future of our club. We once again squandered many chances but thankfully for us, we managed to take one of them which was enough to see us through on the away goals rule. With that victory, we gained enough money to turn the club professional next season.

The group stage was interesting, I thought when we drew Chelsea, Legia Warsaw, and Steaua Bucharest that we might be able to get a few points but I wasn't expecting to get through the group. To my surprise, we actually managed to clinch 2nd on the head to head record. By managing two convincing wins on the last two matchdays we drew level on 6 points with Steaua Bucharest and Legia Warsaw. It was our 3rd goal on the last matchday which broke the tie and took us through ahead of Steaua Bucharest. The knockout round tie against Olympique de Marseille was just a bit fun as I never seriously expected us to get through considering the gulf in class between the two teams but we put in a good shift and weren't outclassed which we can be immensely satisfied with. A superb campaign which is all the more impressive given that it was done as a part-time club.  

Domestic Cups - I decided to play a mixture of reserves and youth in the early season cups as I wanted to focus my attention on Europe and the league which inevitably led to our early departures. The Irish Cup game against Larne was competitive so it was rather irritating to lose thanks to a McGuinness DC own goal where he basically just passed the ball into his own net. I think I'll employ a similar strategy of fielding weaker players in the domestic cups for the foreseeable future as the main priority has to be the league and qualifying for the Champions League.

Reserves - Last season they were knocked off their perch by Larne Olympic and they were determined to get their title back. It was an incredibly closely fought title race with the top 3 teams finishing on 43 points and them only prevailing on goal difference. The cups were largely disappointing.

Under 18s - As good as it gets for a domestic campaign although I do wonder how long it will be before they take part in the UEFA Youth League.

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Squad - Given that the squad was good enough to win the title last season I didn't feel that any major surgery was required so largely kept faith in the squad. In retrospect, that was perhaps an unwise decision given how we suffered because of a lack of quality outside our best players. The lack of depth was especially noticeable during busy periods in the season and probably went a long way to knocking us out of the title race. Even though we needed the depth, at semi-professional status we just couldn't identify any potential targets that would actually strengthen the team. In some respects, it could prove in time to be beneficial as we had to rely on our young HG players who given the opportunity responded well showing good development.

This will not happen next season though even as I seek to retain a strong core of HG talent in the team. The focus next season will be on bringing in young talented players from the free transfer market and starting the process of stockpiling players on low wages. We have to start to proactively work toward our goal of turning N. Ireland into a powerhouse and one of the most important aspects of this is bringing into the country bright young talent. As a result, I will be beefing up our scouting department in order to help identify targets in our now global range. In the short term, the club needs to become a selling club by developing overlooked youth graduates from larger clubs and giving them the first team football they need. Simultaneously, we also need to gradually put ourselves in the position of being a parent club for the other smaller clubs in the country. If the level of football is to develop in the country we need to be providing assistance to other clubs in order to help them be successful in Europe.

Transfers - There was very little activity this season but expect a frenetic amount of action next season. I will not repeat the mistakes that were made the last time the club turned professional by spending money on players and giving in to their demands for high wages in order to get them to play in such a low reputation league. This time our activity will be restricted to the free transfer market with a wage cap of £2Kp/w imposed.

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Average Rating: 7.35
He has come on leaps and bounds this season and has grasped the opportunity to play first-team football with both hands. His record this season is quite impressive as he almost managed an assist every other game from the right wing. It'll be interesting to see how he makes the transition from part-time to a full-time professional footballer. I'm hoping that it spurs him on to even greater heights and that he can continue his development.
 
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Average Rating: 7.24
The young HG talent managed to score a goal for every game he started which is a great record in his breakthrough season. If I were Carson ST I'd be very concerned not only to be outscored by another striker at the club but also by the fact that he did it in fewer games. In the coming season, we could see the competition to be the clubs main striker heat up between Wray, Carson, and Young. 
 
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Finances - This is the balance after investments were made into the facilities. It is a good enough balance to start working on building the club. If we can keep our expenditures for the season below £2.5M I think that will give us a good start in keeping our finances stable. In order to do that I have mandated a wage bill of £50Kp/w which will be broken down into the following parts:

£10Kp/w on staff wages, the current spend is £8,710p/w but I want to continue to bolster the scouting department when given the opportunity to so have left money available for any additional scouts over the 4 the club already has. I have decided to put the scouting package expenditure as part of the wage bill and this comes in at £15Kp/w for the highest packages. This leaves £25Kp/w for player wages which given that I'm only spending £16Kp/w and all the players I want to retain on full-time contracts have been signed up then that gives me a good amount of room to start bringing in players.

It is important that I remain disciplined with the finances as our income outside of Europe is still very poor even though every form of income has been on the rise.

Facilities - Given the unexpected length of our European adventure and the money we made I thought it would be a good opportunity to invest in all the facilities. At a cost of £1.2M, it was perfectly manageable given the improved state of the finances. The two wins in the Europa League group stage paying for the upgrades.

Youth Intake - A very nice intake although not one filled with much depth. At the end of the season, I decided to replace the HoYD as his favoured formation is a 4-2-3-1 while I'm adopting a 4-4-2. Hopefully, the change to a HoYD that has a professional personality and likes to play an adventurous 4-4-2 will be helpful. I'm hoping it will reduce the likelihood of players coming through like Forsythe AMC who while being the star of the intake also will need to be retrained in order to play in the 4-4-2. 
 
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League Reputation - We managed to go further than any N. Irish team had gone before but the net result was only a slight move up the rankings. We need to get the ball rolling with regards to loaning players to other N. Irish clubs in the DBP in order to facilitate improvements in the performances of the other teams in Europe as they were quite poor this season.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - They are still ahead but a gap is starting to emerge between the top 3 and the rest.
 
Club European Reputation - A nice improvement but still weak when compared to the teams we are likely to face in the Europa League qualifiers.
 
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Edited by pheelf

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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2026 / 2027

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This time the board have decided that they expect us to win the title which has to be the objective for the season. I'd quite like a good run in the Europa League to raise some money now that the club has turned professional but feel that unless the draws are very kind we'll probably fall short of the group stage.

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League Table - We needed to make a statement of intent to Larne that we are going to become the dominant team in N. Ireland and I feel that was achieved. The season started slowly for us as we dropped 4 points in the opening month of August after drawing with Newry City 4-4 and losing 2-1 to Ballymena United. This left us behind Larne in 2nd at the start of September but once the new players started to integrate into the squad and got up to full fitness our form and results started to pick up. We then proceeded to win every game in September, won 2/3 games in October, won all the games in November and won all but one game in December. That run of form which included an 11 game winning streak catapulted us into a strong position with a huge lead which we managed to maintain for the rest of the season finally clinching the title after the opening game of the split. I really enjoyed our performances this year and the number of goals we scored. I was especially impressed that we managed to keep 21 clean sheets in the season as that bodes well for the future. The challenge for next season is whether we can retain it which we haven't managed so far.

UEFA Europa League - This was a disappointing campaign as I would have at least wanted the team to get through a couple of rounds. We only have ourselves to blame as we were too wasteful with the chances we created in the first leg. In the second leg we were a lot better but just couldn't get the 2nd goal that would have taken us through. I attribute the loss to the squad still going through a rebuild and a lack of fitness, that will not be necessary next season so I will be looking to hit the ground running in the Champions League qualifiers quicker and for us to go further.

Domestic Cups - As the team didn't have the distraction of Europe, we could afford to field stronger teams in the cups and it was looking like yielding a clean sweep until our players froze in the Irish Cup final.

Reserves - They seem to be on a bit of a decline recently and ended the season empty-handed.

Under 18s - A good domestic league campaign for the team but poor in the cup. I think their performances might have been hampered by the number of players that were loaned out but I prefer my young players to play a more competitive level of football in the lower leagues than playing youth level football. 

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Squad - One of the clubs greatest failings in recent seasons has been the lack of depth in the team which meant that we could not sustain a challenge on all fronts. I wanted to address this and feel that I have been successful in doing so while still maintaining a good core of HG talent. There is still some way to go with building a squad that would be capable of qualifying for the group stage of the Champions League but we are a lot closer than this time last season. As I am always seeking continual improvements I think the defense could do with strengthening along with a pair of star ML & MR and perhaps a top quality GK.

Transfers 1 / Transfers 2 - I couldn't fit all the transfers into one screenshot so I split it into 2. There are some really good players that were brought into the club this season with the stars being Macalou ST and Owusu MC. The rest were brought to add depth which they provided and helped us to maintain a fit and fresh squad with rotation. McGuinness DC wasn't really missed and Clarke GK wanted to leave so I was happy to let them both go. The squad still needs work and owing to sales of a couple of transfer clauses which raised £4.5M I will be putting up the wage cap to £4Kp/w in order to bring in the standard of player we are going to need to have a decent chance of fighting for a place in the Champions League group stage.

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Average Rating: 7.93
I have to give him a lot of credit for stepping up his game. He saw the threat being posed by Wray and Young for his position in the team and reacted in the most positive way by finishing the season as the top scorer and with the highest average rating. I do still sense his days are numbered as he has peaked in his ability whereas the other two still have a lot of headroom to develop further but he should enjoy his moment in the sun.
 
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Average Rating: 7.66
For the 2nd successive season, he grabs this award and quite rightly so. If he can improve his finishing to go along with his good technique and composure I feel he could become a prolific goalscorer. His PPM of knocks ball past opponent synergizes well with his fantastic acceleration and pace but his places shots PPM doesn't if his finishing remains that poor.
 
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Finances - The screenshot was taken before I sold the two transfer clauses, the club now has a balance on the 15th June 2027 of nearly £7.5M. Given that is the case I feel we can loosen the purse strings a bit and have decided to up the overall wage bill of the club to £75Kp/w while raising the wage cap to £4Kp/w. This gives us a yearly outlay of £3.6M which should be sustainable. I'll leave the staff wage budget the same at £10Kp/w with the scouting packages taking another £15Kp/w. This will leave us with £50Kp/w to spend on player wages which gives us around £13Kp/w to work with when bringing in new players. I also want to create a bit of a buffer in terms of wage spending from the rest of league (except Larne) as the financial stakes have been raised with Ballymena United turning professional at the end of the season.

Facilities - No changes were made although I did ask for a stadium expansion. I want the expansion as we currently can't sell out our full 8,000 capacity and instead have to work with the 5,056 figure. Perhaps we'll have to wait until average attendance is 90%+ of the 5,056. Hopefully, next season should see a nice jump in season ticket sales and attendances.

Youth Intake - It's very unlikely that any of these players will be good enough to make it here but even if they don't there should be other clubs in N. Ireland where they can forge a career. 
 
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League Reputation - Still rising but very slowly which is a bit surprising since Larne became the 2nd N. Irish team to compete in the Europa League group stage this season. I think major improvements will happen if we manage to make it into the Champions League group stages so I will be doing everything possible to make that a reality.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - The nation definitely now has a top 3 as the rest have been cut adrift.
 
Club European Reputation - The clubs coefficient took a bit of a hit after our disastrous season in the Europa League. Hopefully, next season might show more positive results.
 
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Nice to see Ballymena turn professional as well. Fingers crossed yourselves and Larne can make group stages next season! 

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I really love this idea! Hope you will get to top 10 leagues soon.

I am Doing the same kind of challenge with SC Heerenveen in the Dutch league. Trying to get the Dutch league above the French and German is already very hard. So I can't imagine how hard  the N. Ireland league must be! 

Edited by Cross

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On 14/01/2019 at 22:34, deez0r said:

Nice to see Ballymena turn professional as well. Fingers crossed yourselves and Larne can make group stages next season! 

The more teams which can turn professional the better and we could be seeing the start of a wave as there are now 6 teams who have finances listed as Secure. I'd like Linfield to be next as I feel they would be able to sustain it more easily. The next big step is making the group stages of the Champions League which would be huge for the club and country.

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1 minute ago, Cross said:

I really love this idea! Hope you will get to top 10 leagues soon.

I am Doing the same kind of challenge with SC Heerenveen in the Dutch league. Trying to get the Dutch league above the French and German is already very hard. So I can't imagine how hard  the N. Irish league must be! 

In FM18 I topped out at 6th and I sense that is probably the natural ceiling given the amount of money available in the top 5 leagues but I'm going to try and be more proactive in helping the other N. Irish clubs out this time by bringing talent into the country and loaning them out and see how far I can push it. 

Good luck with SC Heerenveen and your career. Hopefully, Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord can do well in Europe and help you on your journey,

Best Regards

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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2027 / 2028

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It seems I have become the 'hot prospect' of the management world as I received offers for interviews with Bournemouth, Celtic & Brighton but I'm staying put. The ideal scenario would be us retaining the title and getting into the group stage of the Champions League but I feel both of those are still a tall order at this stage and would be happy if we managed to achieve only one of them.

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League Table - It looks like we are going to have a battle for the title every season with Larne which is no bad thing as it makes for an exciting career. This time we came out on top thanks to our results against them and our record-breaking season. I expected Ballymena United to put up more of a fight but at least they managed to get a spot in the Europa League. Another disappointing season for Linfield but an excellent one for newly promoted P.S.N.I. in their first ever season in the top flight. We still have a long way to go before we can claim dominance of N. Irish football but retaining the title is a good first step.

UEFA Champions League - A rather shorter adventure than I was expecting and we can credit Doran MC for that. His unnecessary and reckless tackle cost us being competitive against Rosenborg in Norway as even though we went down a goal early we were very much in the game up to that point. After the sending off it just went downhill for us as we struggled to contain them and the tie was lost in the first leg. The fact we managed to draw 0-0 with them in the 2nd leg just proved we could give them a good game and made me feel even more angry with Doran MC for costing us so badly with his stupidity.

UEFA Europa League - This was an excellent campaign and provided a great remedy after our unceremonious departure from the Champions League. First up, we drew an all Irish affair with Cork City which I expected would be a struggle as they have quite a decent squad but in the end, we brushed them aside after a resounding 2nd leg victory. The final obstacle to the group stage was once again Maribor but we prevailed once again this time by a clear goal. Once we got to the group stage we performed brilliantly and managed to top what I considered to be a strong group pulling off some remarkable victories with the 4-0 humbling of Galatasaray being especially pleasing. This gave us a tie with Spanish giants Atletico Bilbao which I thought we might be able to compete with. The result was a 6-2 hammering on aggregate but at least it gives us a reality check as given our squad and resources we really aren't up to the standard needed to compete in the knockout stages and against teams of that quality. 

Domestic Cups - We did alright if not spectacularly in the cups. It was nice to see the Irish Cup final sold out and even better to see our fans outnumber Crusaders fans by nearly 4:1 as it gives a good indication of the growth of the clubs fan base which is going to be required to start expanding The Oval.

Reserves - Another good season in the league but very poor in the cups. Understandable given how their ranks were depleted with loans out and the fact they had to face Championship opposition.

Under 18s - Almost a clean sweep but even the league victory was impressive given how much the squad was thinned with loans.

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Squad - I think it's time for the club to enter a new phase when it comes to player acquisitions. Previously, owing to bad experiences with having to revert back to semi-professional status I was very rigid with the finances and wage budget. I feel that approach while necessary in recent years has actually become rather counterproductive at this point. We need to invest in quality young talent in order to get us to the Champions League group stage. With the money we have, there is no reason why I can't bring in players with the required quality to take us there as if we manage to get there it could start a virtuous circle for us. When I look at the squad as it stands there are a number of areas for improvement. A quality DC is needed as Garcia will be departing in January, we need a strong attack minded LB as Talarski doesn't look like developing into the player I thought he would. We need a replacement for Owusu MC to go into the Central Midfielder (Defend) role. Another class ML would be nice although not essential but we definitely need a support duty ST. We have a lot of work ahead of us in the summer transfer window. 

Transfers - I decided to start spending money and I feel we did reasonably in the transfer market for a net spend of only £200K. Garcia DC was an excellent signing and I'm glad that he will remain with us until next January as I feel he could be very helpful in Europe. Dachary MR and Collins DC were two good additions from the free transfer market. Hamilton GK was a bit of a flop as he couldn't displace McGarry as the No 1. Haddad MC and Kursa DR weren't great value for money but are decent players. I was happy to let all the players go that were sold although I'm still mystified as to why Ballymena United spent so much money on two of our Reserve players. I never did forgive Doran MC for costing us progress in Europe so when Ipswich came calling I relished the opportunity to kick him out of the club.

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Iain Smith - DL
Average Rating: 7.53
He managed to get the highest average rating but if I'm being honest I don't really rate him. I just can't see how a player with such poor technical attributes is going to take us to the next level. Domestically, I think he will be a good option but in Europe, he looks to be out of his depth.
 
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Average Rating: 7.52
I really like this player as I feel he is going to develop into a class central defender. When Leeds among others came in for him I was reluctant to let him go but he wanted to try at a higher level so I felt it would have been unreasonable for me to stand in his way. At least this way we get to keep him for another 6 months and hopefully in that time we can develop him further so that when he starts his time with Leeds he might be considered a first-team option which could have good consequences with respect to clauses further down the line.
 
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Finances - A nice comfortable balance which has meant we can change approach when it comes to squad building. I will still retain the staff wage budget until we make the Champions League group stages but will be far more flexible in the wage budget for players and have eliminated the wage cap. Provided we can afford a player and I think he will improve us I will sign him from now on until such a time that becomes unsustainable.

Facilities - I invested in both the training and youth facilities and asked for a stadium expansion. The board still think we don't have the fan base to support a stadium expansion but we are getting closer to that 90%+ capacity for average attendance which could be the trigger point.

Youth Intake - Nothing to get excited about here although I'm satisfied with the players produced over the last few years such as Forsythe MC who is now one of the clubs best players.
 
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League Reputation - A nice jump after our exploits in Europe although could have been better with a little support from the other N. Irish clubs who were hopeless this season. Very positive to see 2.5* in the shot as that is the next target.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - I didn't expect it but we actually managed to pull clear of Larne. It's amazing how in the space of a few seasons the dramatic change that has occurred.
 
Club European Reputation - In some impressive company now, the coefficient should enable us to be seeded for the first 2 qualification rounds and maybe more depending on how the other seeded teams fare. Next season will be the best chance we've had so far of getting to the Champions League group stage and I want to make the most of it.
 
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Edited by pheelf

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It looks like it really is going to be a long slog, getting NI league reputation as well as your own club reputation right up there.  Hopefully you notice a sort of snowball effect thanks to the work you've done so far - NI national team climbing the FIFA rankings, better young players being produced, more and more teams turning professional.  I've started a similar save in Malta, I'm four seasons in and am still the only professional club. 

It's encouraging to see your facility upgrades progressing fairly well, plus junior coaching & youth recruitment at maximum already.  I've got about £16m in the bank now but have only manage to force upgrades through via things like signing a new contract, arguing with the board & even once, leaking to the press.

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I have played with Linfield once.  This Fm 19 its hard, to get  players from  other countries.  Can you get some in ?   Good luck with your game .

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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2028 / 2029

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I have been at the club for a decade and the overall changes at the club have been positive even though we have had our difficult times. If the first decade at the club was about gaining domestic dominance then I think we are largely there as we are now odds on favourites to clinch a hat trick of league titles. Looking forward, the next challenge is to establish ourselves as a force in Europe. In order to do that the next big hurdle we have to overcome is qualifying for the group stages of the Champions League which will be our main goal for the season. 

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League Table - There were times in the season when it looked like we were going to have a fight on our hands to retain the title as we spent longer positioned off the summit of the table than on top. Then we went on a 14 game winning run starting in early December which pretty much killed off Larne as they began to drop points which meant that once we did reach the summit on matchday 24 they were never going to overtake us. Larne is still very dangerous and I will never underestimate them but I think our performances this season could be the straw that broke the camel's back as we're getting stronger and they are struggling to keep up.

UEFA Champions League - That's what I'm talking about!! After a decade we finally manage to grace the group stages. It was so sweet the way we did it, smashing Rosenborg who had humiliated us last season and then getting past a quality Shakhtar Donetsk. We even managed to get a couple of points in the group stage which made us over £1.6M in prize money which is still a huge amount for a club of our size. We drew one of the hardest groups so I was quite pleased with the way we represented ourselves with us only suffering one really heavy defeat. The fact that at home we managed to keep two of the best teams in Europe to solitary goal wins is impressive and gives me great optimism for the future if we can make the groups again next season.

Domestic Cups - Cleaned up pretty nicely and even sweeter for beating Larne every time we played them. When we were 6-0 up at half time against 10 men Dundela I thought we might have been looking at a record win but we slackened off and it wasn't to be.

Reserves - They could have made history by winning the Steel & Sons Cup as that would have given the club every single senior domestic trophy available to us but bottled it against Larne Olympic. There's always next season I suppose.

Under 18s - Their debut season in the UEFA Youth League was okay, didn't really shine but at least the games were competitive and they managed to win some points. I may have to rethink allowing so many youth players to leave the club on loan for them to have a better chance of doing well.

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Squad - I wanted to do everything I could to give us the best chance of qualifying for the group stage of the Champions League by strengthening our weaker areas and I think overall it has been a success. If anything, it might have been too successful as now I have a number of players that are wanted by bigger clubs. This wouldn't be so bad if the market values were a true reflection of the players' value to us but they are nowhere near and I can sense a summer of tribulation ahead with players wanting to move to bigger clubs and receiving constant offers from clubs that want to lowball me. On a more positive note, the development of some the players has been exceptional this season and we have a good mixture of youth and experience in the squad. I think the last major piece of the jigsaw is a world-class central defender, if we can find such a player it will make our path to the Champions League group stage a lot easier. 

Transfers - I splashed the cash this season and spent an absolute fortune on Allinson ST. I definitely overspent and I seriously doubt we will ever receive that money back through transfer fees. I took a chance as I hoped that by bringing in these players that it would get us into the Champions League group stage and that the riches from doing so would more than makeup for the excessive spending. I'm thankful that it worked out as it could have easily gone the other way. I'm going to try to hold onto our best players for next season but it won't be easy, I've already had offers of £4.3M for Forsythe MC from Houston and a £600K offer from Everton and he has already become unsettled. Hopefully, I can get £6M+ for him as maybe then I can pick up an adequate replacement.

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Average Rating: 7.64
A somewhat surprising player to end the season with the highest average rating. He's a decent player who is influential in the team that seems to get on well with Collins DC and they have a good partnership which is beneficial to the team. I don't see him having a long term future here but I have extended his contract for another year as he looks to be a good player to have around the club. I also need a bit more time to identify and bring in the quality of central defender that will take us to the next level.
 
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Average Rating: 7.55
I don't know whether to be pleased or concerned that for two seasons running both of the teams best performers are defenders. The accolade is richly deserved as even though he doesn't have any exceptional attributes he is really well rounded for the role I want him to play in the team. He still has a lot of potential and I'm hoping that he will choose to stay and realize his potential with us.
 
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Finances - The balance got another ~£1.6M from the Champions League after the screenshot was taken. Even though the wage bill has shot up dramatically we are still very comfortable financially even after investments were made in the infrastructure of the club. We have to continue to improve the squad and do what we can to get through the Champions League qualifiers but I'm fairly confident that even if we miss out next season we have enough of cushion that we should still be able to continue with our rate of spending. 

Facilities - After much persuasion, the board finally relented and agreed to expand the stadium. I really hope that the expansion will allow us to use the full 10,000 capacity of the stadium once it's finished rather than be limited to 5,056/8,000 as we've been selling that out every time we come up against either Linfield, Cliftonville or Crusaders. The fan base is growing and we need to keep growing the infrastructure of the club to be able to facilitate the growth further. The fact that ticket prices and season ticket prices have been rising and we are still seeing rising attendances and season ticket sales is a very good sign. The training and youth facilities are also being upgraded which should take us to average.

Youth Intake - The quality of the intakes is definitely on the wane which is actually starting to become a problem. We need at least 1 player every few years that can develop into a first-team player if the youth department is to help us develop into a selling club. The HoYD seems to think that Arthur ST is quite gifted but I'm not convinced, maybe given time at the club he can become better but he doesn't look that great to me. I also think I'm going to need to start investing in better staff for the youth and reserve teams as I don't have any staff for either. All of which means that the staff wage budget is going to need to be scrapped.
 
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League Reputation - So close to 2.5* but just couldn't climb that one place to get there. The other N. Irish clubs really need to get their finger out as all of them were knocked out in the first round of the Europa League which is probably why we couldn't climb the reputation table any further. Larne embarrassingly lost to Finnish side KuPS, Ballymena United was knocked out by Albanian side Partizani Tirana losing 3-2 on aggregate after winning the first leg 2-0. Finally, Glenavon lost to Slovakian team Trencin although that defeat was more understandable given the difference in the quality of their players. Hopefully, with a little help from our participants next season we might just get to 2.5*.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - We're doing well although I would like to see Linfield and Cliftonville doing better as I want all the Belfast based clubs to feed off each other and improve together. Ultimately, I want the Big 2 derby to be the most competitive one and not our current situation where the games against Larne are the most important of the season.
 
Club European Reputation - The coefficient is coming along nicely although I sense next season will be tougher for us when it comes to getting through the qualifiers. This time we'll have to beat one of Ajax, FC Basel, AEK Athens, FC Copenhagen or Dynamo Kiev to get through a potential playoff and that is an extremely difficult proposition even given the improvements we have shown in recent seasons. We'll just have to give it our best and see what we can do.
 
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Edited by pheelf

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42 minutes ago, Mayzie said:

It looks like it really is going to be a long slog, getting NI league reputation as well as your own club reputation right up there.  Hopefully you notice a sort of snowball effect thanks to the work you've done so far - NI national team climbing the FIFA rankings, better young players being produced, more and more teams turning professional.  I've started a similar save in Malta, I'm four seasons in and am still the only professional club. 

It's encouraging to see your facility upgrades progressing fairly well, plus junior coaching & youth recruitment at maximum already.  I've got about £16m in the bank now but have only manage to force upgrades through via things like signing a new contract, arguing with the board & even once, leaking to the press.

I suppose I'm rather fortunate that my board seems more accomodating when it comes to granting requests perhaps a consequence of the determination attribute for the manager profile but also because I tend to ask for things at the end of the season when my job security is more likely to have reached untouchable. For e.g. with the stadium expansion I was rejected time and time again during the season but once I got to untouchable and gave them the old 'After all that I have done to raise the profile of the club this is the least you could do for me' they gave in to the demand.

It's definitely going to be a long hard journey but I can sense we are on the cusp of having a snowball effect starting. We just need Linfield to turn professional and I think that will be the key to kick starting the improvement of the other clubs and the nation as a whole. I sense that will only happen when Linfield qualify for Europe which is why them losing the European Playoff final was so disappointing.

Good luck with your career in Malta and I'm sure that you will see the improvement once you manage to get into the group stages of the Champions League for a few seasons.

43 minutes ago, birkelse said:

I have played with Linfield once.  This Fm 19 its hard, to get  players from  other countries.  Can you get some in ?   Good luck with your game .

Thanks for the good wishes. It is always going to be difficult to get in quality players to play in N. Ireland but I haven't found it too tough recently. I tend to focus on bringing in the youth 'rejects' from the bigger clubs and looking at players in the B teams of those clubs. They tend to have high potential but don't get first team football to develop so begin to get frustrated. This works out well for me as then I'm usually able to swoop in and pay a bargain basement price. I then develop them with first team football which inevitably makes their value rise, once their time at the club is over I then sell them at what is usually a good profit for the club which I can then re-invest and start the cycle again.

I've also found some gems in the free transfer market. Having said all of that I could only bring in players from other countries as a professional club, as a part-time club I was largely restricted to the domestic market. You can still find some very good young players and I'd look in the youth departments of the other N. Irish clubs as you can often pick up some gems for really low prices. Playing with Linfield I think you'll find the path to professional status slightly easier as they have a lot of infrastructure the other N. Irish teams don't have. A few trips into the Champions League qualifiers with Linfield would probably be enough to get you the professsional status which allows you to start recruiting players from abroad.

All the best

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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2029 / 2030

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The domestic challenge has largely subsided so now the focus shifts to continuing to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League every season. 

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League Table - When you start any season with 11 straight wins you know you're onto a winner. The rest of the chasing pack couldn't cope with us and we ended the season with a record number of points, a record number of wins, a record number of goals scored and perhaps most pleasing of all the lowest number of goals conceded with 8. Once again Linfield missed out on Europa League qualification which resulted in their manager getting the boot.

UEFA Champions League - It was imperative that we got into the group stages again to continue our progress as a club. The path was actually easier than I thought it would be as we were seeded throughout the qualifiers. This should mean in future that we get a much smoother path into the group stage as our coefficient continues to rise. I was concerned that we were going to go out in the Playoff against Lech Poznan after suffering a 1st leg defeat at home but we showed our true colours in Poland and roared back to a comfortable aggregate win. We drew another difficult group and I felt our best chances of points were against FC Porto. It was a great result to get a point against a real European giant in Bayern Munich and we even had a chance of finishing 3rd if we could beat FC Porto on the final matchday. Unfortunately for us, we lost thanks to 3 set piece goals and the opposition fielding an ultra-defensive formation against us with a 3-4-3 DM Wide. If we are to make an improvement in Europe we are going to need to address our lack of goals and poor defending.

Domestic Cups - A far worse performance than last season but as we won the only cup that board were interested in I'm happy enough. I think I will continue to play a mixture of Reserves and youth players in the other cups.

Reserves - Won the league but were dumped out of the cups by Larne Olympic.

Under 18s - An improvement in the UEFA Youth League as they managed to win a game and finish 3rd in their group. They won the cup but had to settle for 2nd best in the league.

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Squad - The team is still very much lacking the quality that is required to compete at the highest levels. The squad has also become rather bloated which led to a lot of disharmony and constant requests for first-team football. I have therefore resolved to focus on quality rather than quantity when it comes to squad building next season. We need 2 quality players for each position which should be enough to handle the 2 games a week schedule. The spine of the team needs reinforcement with a new GK, DC, defend duty MC & support duty ST.

Transfers - A decent amount of money was spent but was largely recouped through sales and transfer clauses. Mertesacker DC and Deilmann MC were very expensive but contributed well to the team even though their market values have fallen dramatically. Webb DL was definitely the bargain of the season while Donaghy DC was bought as his career was stagnating with Hibernian and I still feel that the HG player has something to offer so I was happy to bring him back. It turns out that Forsythe MC is a wonderkid so it's a little disappointing that he left although given his really restricted game time at Everton I can't see him fulfilling his potential there. He is another player that I'd be happy to bring back if he becomes unsettled and the price is right. The rest of the players that left weren't missed although it was nice to make a sneaky £100K on Day MC. 

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Average Rating: 7.65
A very consistent season from one of our longest serving players. In my opinion, he isn't a Champions League quality central defender but domestically he is still one of the best. As a result, I can see him in the squad for a few more seasons yet.
 
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Average Rating: 7.93
He was doing brilliantly until Webb came along and stole his thunder but there is still very much to admire about the player. I like the fact that he was the clubs highest provider of assists this season and that he managed the highest average rating of any player in the team. He definitely has a future at the club even if my assistant manager thinks he's reached peak ability.
 
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Finances - A very comfortable balance that was taken before the Champions League money came in which was around £2.5M thanks to our coefficient. If we can end the season with this sort of balance we can continue building the club and investing in the first team. With such a huge wage budget and transfer budget we should be able to bring in the quality of player that we need to take us to the next level.

Facilities - I'm pleased that we can now utilize the full capacity of the stadium and we even managed a few 10,000 capacity sellouts during the season. We still have a long way to go before we can start thinking about a new stadium as we only filling around 60% of the capacity on average but the direction of travel is positive. It escaped my notice last season that Larne was seeking planning permission for a new ground but at the end of the season it was granted so next season they will be building their new all-seater 6,325 capacity ground. This is a good sign of other teams investing although I can't imagine that the expansion potential will be all that high. We also invested in all the facilities and should have good facilities all around next season.

Youth Intake - I decided to change my approach this time and only sign players with at least 2.5* potential which meant that the only players signed from this intake were McConkey GK, Collins DL, Pierce MC, Beacom MR, and Woods MR. My thinking behind the move is that what is the point of signing all these players that really are never going to stand a chance of making it here. While I'm wasting previous coaching time with them I could be dedicating more resources into the players that do have a good chance of making it and potentially making the club money. The youth team has also become too large which means that the poorer players scarcely get any game time anyway so they are probably better off being released and trying to forge a career at a lower league club.
 
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League Reputation - We've reached the promised land of 2.5* reputation which is great and better still 3* is within our sights. I have to give the other N. Irish teams a lot of credit this time around after some brilliant performances which probably made our large rise possible. Larne managed to get to the Europa League playoff only missing out on the group stage on the away goals rule to Aberdeen. Ballymena United won a tie and lost in the 2nd Qualifying Round to FH which was slightly disappointing. Finally, semi-professional Cliftonville managed to win through 2 rounds and got to the 3rd Qualifying Round before understandably losing 5-1 on aggregate to Slavia Prague. If we can continue in the same vein if not make a slight improvement there is no reason why we can't reach 3* reputation next season which will be huge for the development of the nation's football.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - We are now a whole star ahead of our nearest rivals which is not good when you think about it. 
 
Club European Reputation - The coefficient is looking very healthy and now that I see that the money we get from the Champions League is linked to the coefficient I'll want to keep improving it to see just how much money we can earn. In other positive news, from the season after next we will get a team entering at the 2nd Qualifying Round of the Europa League instead of all three entering at the 1st Qualifying Round which is good progress. The next major improvement is getting a 2nd Champions League spot but that is still a long way off at present.
 
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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2030 / 2031

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Now begins the battle to make us competitive in Europe. We need to win the DBP and qualify for the group stages of the Champions League as a minimum.

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League Table - Another record-breaking season as we scored the most goals. We had an unbeaten season going until we went to Inver Park in the final pre-split fixture where Larne handed us our only loss. There was some bad news this season as Kenny Bruce left Larne which is a big loss given how he has bankrolled that club. At least they got taken over by a consortium who will hopefully continue to invest in the club but I think even with their new stadium they are going to struggle to maintain their wage bill and it could mark the start of a decline. It was also bad to see Linfield and Ballymena United miss out on qualifying for Europe altogether which could put Ballymena United and their professional status under serious threat when we come to the end of next season. There are only 3 professional clubs in the country so the loss of any is very damaging to our aim of improving the quality of football in the country.

UEFA Champions League - A very convincing performance in the qualifiers as we marched easily into the group stages. After the 1st game against Chelsea, I was beginning to wonder whether we were going to make any improvement on our previous two campaigns which saw us draw twice. Thankfully, we did manage to do that and got 2 great wins against Benfica. In half the other groups 6 points would have been enough to finish 3rd but owing to Benfica getting results against AC Milan and Chelsea we had to settle for 4th. I'm very pleased with our results as we have proven that we can get wins in the Champions League group stage so next season I will target finishing 3rd and having a run in the Europa League knockout rounds.

Domestic Cups - Lisburn Distillery shocked our reserve team in the Co. Antrim Shield and I was bitterly disappointed to lose the Irish Cup final but at least we brought home the League Cup. The team should be competing in the Irn-Bru Cup but instead, the 3rd and 4th placed teams in the DBP are entered instead. I don't have a problem with this as it is less meaningless fixtures for us to have to worry about plus it gives other N. Irish clubs a chance to fight for silverware.

Reserves - They won the double which was great but their treble dreams were crushed by Ballyclare Comrades after a late collapse.

Under 18s - Good progress in the UEFA Youth League as they managed to get out of their group although they will be annoyed to crash out to Fenerbahce in the way they did. Domestically, they managed to win the league at a canter but gave a poor performance against Cliftonville in the cup.

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Squad - We're the strongest we have ever been and the development of the players this season has been brilliant which has been aided by increased game time and a trimming of the squad. This time I've decided to take a more proactive approach to the summer transfer window in that I have identified my targets early and have signed them on pre-contract agreements. July will see the arrival of a DL, a central defender and a top draw attack duty striker. I think it's better this way as it gives the new players a bit of time in pre-season to integrate into the squad. As a result, it is likely that there won't be much activity for the coming transfer window unless I spot players which would dramatically improve us. I'll only go into the market if I need to bring in replacements which given the interest in our players looks a strong possibility.

Transfers - There are a number of players that I didn't want to leave such as McGarry GK, Mertesacker DC, Webb DL, and Gallardo MR. I rejected offers for the players but then they started to cause problems in the dressing room so I decided to reluctantly let them leave rather than deal with the fall out of unhappy players. I was pleased to make a nice profit on Rosler DC given that he didn't feature in the first team at all and if I can continue with that sort of sale it'll be great. The players that were brought in for money all did well with Radovanovic ST being the best of the bunch. The signing of the season was Francis DC who arrived on a free transfer and has quickly formed a good partnership with Donaghy DC. The players that will be arriving in July look quality and I hope that they settle quickly.

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Average Rating: 7.76
A class act whose devastating pace caused havoc for opposition defenders. He has established himself as an N. Irish international and does have a good goalscoring record for his country. It will be interesting to see how he reacts to the arrival of a real top class ST in July and how he competes for his place in the team but overall a very productive season.
 
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Average Rating: 7.56
He was only meant to be a stand-in while Deschamps ML recovered from an injury but he came into the squad and impressed. He did really well and has now made the choice of left midfielder a toss up. His either footedness helps him here as that makes him unpredictable which is what I want from a player in the wide midfielder role. He has a lower ceiling ability wise than Millet ML but I'm intrigued to see how much he can develop so will be giving him first-team football next season.

 

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Finances - After the screenshot was taken the Champions League money came in and another £5M was added with transfer clause sales. All of which leaves the balance at over £21M which is great given the investments that were made off the pitch and that the directors were paid out £1.2M. Making the Champions League group stages for the last 3 seasons has been transformative and has really allowed the building of the club to accelerate while allowing us to service a burgeoning wage bill that we need in order to make progress in Europe.

Facilities - All the facilities were invested in this season and during next season we should have excellent facilities across the board. It is a very good sign that even with increased ticket prices we are still improving our attendances as it shows the increasing size of our fan base. The fact we sold out every game we played at Windsor Park in the group stages indicates to me that a new stadium is becoming an increasingly credible proposition although I would want to wait a little while for some success in Europe before starting the process of building a new ground.

Youth Intake - Continuing the policy started last season, all the players marked in red were released from their trials while the rest were given youth contracts. Douglas DC looks decent when I peruse over his attributes so perhaps in time he can make the club a bit of money. We have a couple of players in the youth team which look ready for some first-team football so the youth department is still producing some decent players it's just that the rate has slowed dramatically.
 
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League Reputation - The other N. Irish teams didn't pull up any trees in Europe which is probably why we didn't make as much progress as we could have. There was some good news when it came to qualification places as from the season after next the country will enter a team in the 2nd Qualifying Round of the Champions League and not the first. There are also dramatic changes for the Europa League qualifying rounds as now the country will have an entrant in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd qualifying rounds meaning that a team will only have to win through two rounds to get in the group stage. We were so close to getting a 2nd Champions League spot, hopefully, next season we can manage it along with getting 3* reputation.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - The gap is getting larger and larger although it was nice to see Glenavon rise to 1.5* with their Irish Cup victory.
 
Club European Reputation - We have one more very bad season to get off the coefficient calculation and then we should be good to make further progress up the table.
 
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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2031 / 2032

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We have been making slow but steady progress in Europe over the last few seasons. I would like if possible to get into the Champions League group stage and finish 3rd or better so that we can have some knockout football. We should be able to continue our dominance domestically as Larne appear to be on the wane.

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League Table - Too many dropped points for my liking and I'll be looking for improvement next time around. It was nice to finally see Linfield qualify for the Europa League as that should help them on their way to professional status. N. Ireland will have its strongest representation in Europe ever for next season so I'm hoping to see some progress from the other teams.

UEFA Champions League - Qualifying for the group stage was straight forward but once we got there it was a very disappointing campaign. I think the reasons behind our underperformance was two-fold. We were drawn into one of the hardest groups and we didn't really get the rub of the green in some of the matches. We might have taken a backwards step here but then again perhaps this is a more realistic representation of where we are as a club and perhaps our 2 wins in the group stage last season was a blip. 

Domestic Cups - We won the only cup that matters to the board so I'm satisfied with that.

Reserves - Almost an identical season to the last.

Under 18s - I was rather impressed that they managed to top their UEFA Youth League group especially when you consider how few players were in the team.

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Squad - The first team squad has been trimmed to the obligatory 2 players per position which I feel is a good step as it allows me to keep the players happy with an appropriate amount of game time. The only thing which is really holding us back from becoming the selling club I want is the low market values of the players. Very often I'm having to sell players at a loss in order to maintain squad harmony which is not ideal as the quality of player I want to bring in isn't cheap. I'm going to have to struggle on with it as the squad still needs improvement. We could really do with getting in some better wide midfielders. 

Transfers - I don't like the fact that we are losing money in the transfer market but I think it will be the way of things until I can start to command bigger sums for my players. A lot of the players that left I wanted to keep but putting my foot down and trying to force them to stay was causing too much headache. The number of team meetings and discussions was just becoming too much of an issue so for now, I'll just let players go if they want to leave and focus on bringing in good replacements. There were some good players brought into the club and I'm probably most excited about Garguillo who looks like becoming a great goalkeeper. A lot of the players were overpriced but that is to be expected as the DBP isn't exactly a dream destination for a lot of young talented players but it's slowly getting better.

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Average Rating: 7.58
He did quite well in his first season at the club even if he was overpriced. There is a lot to admire about his attributes as a central midfielder and he is definitely the workhorse of the team. I don't think he is going to develop much more as a player but I sense he will remain an integral part of the team until he decides he wants to leave.
 
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Average Rating: 7.45
He filled in relatively well for the departing Kursa and Brodwolf. I'd like to keep him if possible as he is an HG player and still looks to have a decent amount of potential to grow into. Whether I can do that will depend on how he reacts to the interest in him from teams in England.
 
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Finances - The facility upgrades were a lot more expensive this time around but this was somewhat offset by the increased money we gained from the Champions League and the selling of some transfer clauses. We are spending an awful lot of money on wages and I wouldn't want to go too much higher at this point until we start to improve in Europe.

Facilities - We invested again in all the facilities and they should be state of the art next season. That will be a great help as I can then redirect funds away from the facilities and focus on building up the bank balance in preparation for a new stadium while investing more in the squad. It should also help our intakes while making more marginal players (those with high PA but low CA) feasible targets to bring into the club as I'd be more confident that we would be able to develop them better.

Youth Intake - Once again, all the players marked in red were released from their trials. This was a rather poor intake as I don't think any of these players have the potential to make it here.
 
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League Reputation - We still couldn't get over the line with getting 3* reputation which is understandable given the poorer season in Europe. There was however some news which for me is a game changer when it comes to developing football in N. Ireland.
 
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This message is a beautiful one and I think it's going to make all the difference going forward. Having 5 entrants compete in Europe is going to be transformative especially since they will enter at later rounds in qualification giving them a better chance of making it to a group stage. We must hold onto this for as long as we can as it's going to give the other N. Irish teams more money which is desperately needed if we are to succeed in making the DBP a professional league.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - I like that the teams are getting closer to each other as that should allow for a more competitive league.
 
Club European Reputation - We move into the top 50 which is good and it's nice to see that poor season fall of the coefficient calculation. Now, of course, we have a good season poised to fall off the coefficient calculation so we are going to need to do well next season to replace it otherwise we'll drop down again.
 
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That's great news.   Like you said, 5 teams out of 12 qualifying for Europe should generate some much needed money.

Malta manager has just retired on my game, so I've taken over the national squad in the hopes that fighting on both fronts speeds up the process.  That message that you got above, is that based on the national teams ranking?

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22 hours ago, Mayzie said:

That's great news.   Like you said, 5 teams out of 12 qualifying for Europe should generate some much needed money.

Malta manager has just retired on my game, so I've taken over the national squad in the hopes that fighting on both fronts speeds up the process.  That message that you got above, is that based on the national teams ranking?

Having 5 spots is a significant milestone in the building of the nation but holding onto it is proving difficult. We really need the other N. Irish teams to perform better in Europe which is proving challenging since Larne lost Kenny Bruce and aren't able to splash money around anymore. Ballymena United also reverted back to semi-professional status leaving only 2 professional clubs in the league. We definitely need to do all the heavy lifting in Europe but we are not quite there yet and seem to be struggling to make an impact in the Champions League group stage at the moment.

I was offered the N. Ireland national team job but I didn't take the role as I felt it wouldn't be that impactful on the performances of the N. Irish clubs. The message is based on the UEFA coefficient for the N. Irish clubs performances in Europe and isn't connected to the national team. Perhaps there might be some indirect benefits to the domestic clubs if you can get the national team performing well but I'm not sure. I'll be interested to hear how it works out for you and whether it does help you in Malta. 

Best Regards

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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2032 / 2033

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In the last 4 seasons, we have finished rock bottom of our Champions League group which is really stifling any progress we can make at the club and in the nation overall. The aim must be post-December Europa League football at the very least.

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League Table - We won every game in the first half of the season which had me thinking we might be able to pull off the perfect season. We then drew 0-0 with Crusaders to ruin that record but I was still hopeful that we would then go unbeaten for the first time. Unfortunately for us, we then infuriatingly lost 1-0 to Ards which ended our hopes of achieving that. Linfield lost in the Europa League playoff final which wasn't great for their prospects of turning professional. You can also detect how the lack of professional status is affecting Ballymena United as they fell into the pack. The deteriorating finances at Larne is also a major concern so I hope they make the most out of their Champions League berth although given the quality of teams in the best-placed route I think they would do well to win a single tie.   

UEFA Champions League - The Champions League group stage is a strange mistress. Qualification for the group was easy enough and once we got there we looked a lot better and more competitive than last season. Having said that we only won a single game which doesn't exactly fill me with optimism for the future. It was somehow enough to finish 3rd on the head to head record so at least we met my pre-season expectation even if it was incredibly lucky. 

UEFA Europa League - When we drew Benfica I was feeling positive as we had beaten them on both our previous meetings. After the 1st leg, I thought we still had a reasonable chance of getting through although the away goal wasn't ideal. Any dreams of progression when we went to Portugal for the 2nd leg were quickly extinguished as we took a heavy defeat.  

Domestic Cups - Given our troubles in Europe it was nice to clean up at home.

Reserves - They cleaned up as well giving us every senior domestic trophy we entered into.

Under 18s - The lack of numbers in the youth team looks to be affecting performances and I may need to revisit my policy of discarding members of the youth intake below 2.5* potential.

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Squad - The truth is we are not good enough, plain and simple. At best we are a decent Europa League group stage team. We don't score enough, we don't create enough and we leak poor goals with our defending in Europe. The only way we are going to make any progress at all is if we bring in quality players which can compete at the highest levels. As a result, I have been exceptionally busy in the pre-contract market and have signed a load of players which will be coming in July. There was some good news, the values of the players have all risen which should make our transfer dealings a lot more profitable in future as I'll be able to command good fees for my players.

Transfers - We did relatively well in the transfer market this season. The two players we brought in from Bayer Leverkusen were to address the wide midfielder weakness that I identified last season and they both had productive seasons scoring and giving assists. Mbia DR and Ouvrard DC did a decent job although were overpriced while Munro GK looks an adequate replacement for Garguillo GK who left. There was a lot of players I didn't want to leave especially Lecocq ST who was the clubs only real quality striker but I'm satisfied with the fee I received and the 50% of next sale clause that I attached to a number of players. So given that Lecocq is now valued at over £11M, we could be seeing a nice windfall from the sale in future.

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Average Rating: 7.68
He was remarkably consistent even if the profile of his attributes aren't the best. I don't like such poor heading from a central defender as I send them forward for corners to be an aerial threat in the box. I also think his tackling is somewhat lacking for a Champions League defender so will sell if the right offer comes along given the quality of central defender that will be joining the club next season.
 
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Colin Kerr - DL
Average Rating: 7.65
There are some things I like about him, his high average rating, the fact that he is a youth graduate and therefore HG and that he has managed to get some caps for his country. On the other hand, he is another player who has an attribute profile which doesn't suit the role I want him to play in the team. His crossing is atrocious which is hardly ideal for a player I want to get forward and get crosses into the box. His long throws are also poor which is a problem for me as I like my wide players to take the long throws on the side they play. He still has a future here but I feel his opportunities for first-team football are likely to be curtailed.
 
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Finances - Still very comfortable even after the investments were taken out. I think it's time while the market values of the players have risen to really push the wage bill to the max and bring in the quality of player we need to make progress in Europe. 

Facilities - I made a miscalculation with the facilities as there were more upgrades to go into order to become state of the art. The stadium is now being filled more regularly and we have the most expensive average ticket price in the league so we might only be a few seasons away from a new stadium.

Youth Intake - Garbage, absolute garbage. I think I'll just sign all the players from the intake next season as the lack of numbers in the squad is becoming a problem.
 
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League Reputation - The good news is that the league has reached 3* which is a great improvement as we break into the top 30. The bad news is that we lost our 2nd spot in the Champions League for the season after next as we were overtaken in the coefficients. I would have liked to hold onto it for longer but we simply aren't earning enough coefficient points to maintain it.  
 
Club Domestic Reputation - It looks like we'll need to win the title next season in order to push our reputation up to 3*.
 
Club European Reputation - We fell down the table which was perfectly understandable given that a very good year fell off the coefficient. We will still be seeded throughout qualifying which is the main thing.
 
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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2033 / 2034

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We made an incremental improvement last season in Europe by reaching the knockout rounds of the Europa League so the aim this season will be to build on that.

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League Table - Our first unbeaten season was looking like happening until a final day loss 1-0 away at Glenavon which soured what had otherwise been an excellent season. Once again Linfield missed out on playing in Europe but in other more positive news both Glenavon and Coleraine decided to turn professional bringing the total number of professional teams in the DBP up to 4.

UEFA Champions League - I had serious doubts as to whether we would even reach the group stage after an underwhelming performance against Ludogorets in the Playoff but in the end, we scraped through with a Donaghy ST goal. The group stage was a big disappointment as I thought we should have had a reasonable chance of grabbing 3rd but Porto had a good campaign and managed to gain 8 points which pretty much ended our hopes of playing any knockout stage football. The lack of progress is beginning to get frustrating but we have to keep believing and trying to break through.    

Domestic Cups - Even though the board no longer care about winning the Irish Cup I wanted to gain revenge on Glenavon after they ended our hopes of an unbeaten season in the DBP. We managed it but it was quite an ill-tempered affair with two players seeing red. The other cups were actually quite a distraction and added unwanted fixtures so in future I'll be playing the youth team in an attempt to get knocked out as quickly as possible.

Reserves - Couldn't defend their cups but managed to retain the reserve league title by 4 clear points.

Under 18s - Pretty lousy in the UEFA Youth League when compared to a few seasons ago but hopefully next season with boosted ranks from this seasons youth intake they might improve. They did manage to win the domestic double which was good although they only won the league on goal difference.

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Squad - I think I've been painfully naive and moved away from my principles which really hampered our performances. I signed a ridiculous number of players on pre-contracts in July in the hope that it would make us a better team when in fact it did the exact opposite. The dressing room up until the end of January was an absolute nightmare to manage. Players were constantly kicking off about not being registered to play in Europe, if it wasn't that then they were bemoaning the lack of first-team football, if not that they were complaining about training or how teammates were being treated. It was an absolute shambles which heavily damaged match cohesion. Playing a 4-4-2 if that happens it's very damaging to how well you can perform.

This was especially apparent in Europe where our backs are going to be against the wall anyway but our inability to position ourselves properly and having players act like strangers really didn't do us any favours. We also had some rather bad injuries this season with 2 players suffering lower leg breaks and 3 more breaking an ankle. It also didn't help us at all that our best striker Wells ST came into the club with a long term injury and missed the entire pre-season as I felt it really slowed him getting into his stride, it was not until October that he really regained match fitness.

As bad as it has been this season I have learned a lot from the experience. I will trim the squad to 2 first team players per position with injuries being covered by reserve or preferably HG youth players. There has been an increase in player market values after the screenshot was taken so hopefully I can move on surplus players for good money. This season more than any other shows clearly how important a settled dressing room is and giving adequate game time is to player development, there is little point signing a lot of high potential players on high wages if they don't play and I will be stamping that out in future. We also need to reduce the turnover of players, signing replacements are fine, adding an entire starting 11 like I did this season to the books is not. 

Free Transfers - There were so many signings that I had to split the screenshot into 2 parts. Even though a lot of the players signed are really good quality players the idea that I would be able to incorporate 16 players into already large squad was ridiculous in retrospect. The players which didn't play very much first-team football really caused a lot of rifts in the dressing room. I signed 5 strikers and 6 central defenders and honestly thought it was going to end well, won't ever do that again and will be far more careful with who I bring into the club in future.

Cash Transfers - A very good profit was made in the clubs transfer dealings which is the only good thing to come out of our transfer business this season. Gordon MC looks an exceptional talent and even though I don't like to weaken other N. Irish teams I couldn't pass up the opportunity to bring in a player that my scouts rated so highly that is considered HG. Bekar DR did well once he settled into the squad and was given more game time and often was the best-rated player in training. Rondic DR didn't really play many games and Pucek GK played only once as he failed to displace Munro GK as the number 1.

I was glad to see the back of Ball AMC and Reissig AMC who were awful signings given that they play a position that I don't use in my formation and were some of the main protagonists in fomenting discord in the dressing room. At least the money we received for them was pure profit for the club. I was a little disappointed to lose Adiguzel ML as he did really well at the club but Effiong ML was a more than suitable replacement. The rest of the players that left I wasn't too fussed about although it was a bit sad to see our longest serving player that we signed Collins DC return home after giving us nearly 6 seasons of service.

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Average Rating: 7.67
Another player with Turkish and German nationality who opted for Germany. He is a very good winger who has a good long shot as he scored plenty cutting in from the right flank. He also has developed a good partnership with Bekar which really helped his game. I want to keep him at the club but whether I can or not will depend on whether he wants to stay given the interest in him.
 
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Average Rating: 7.59
I'm excited by the potential of this youngster. His physical stats are exceptional, his technical attributes are slightly lacking but if he can develop those then we could have quite a player on our hands. He has already broken into the national team and is snapping at the heels of our first choice central midfielder Devonshire, the future looks bright. 
 
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Finances - The balance is around the level where I'd like to keep it for the time being but is likely to increase as we make player sales in summer owing to the new higher market values. If we can make a bit of progress in Europe I can see the balance skyrocketing which will be good as we look to prepare the groundwork for building a new stadium which is the next major milestone in the building of the infrastructure of the club.

Facilities - £9.75M was spent on upgrading the youth and training facilities which I'm hoping will make them become state of the art but I'm not sure as the indicator which gave you a star rating for the training facilities seems to have been taken out with the training revamp in FM19. I also decided to invest heavily in coaches and other staff for all the teams as there is little point having the best facilities in the world if there are no staff to work there so I filled the allocated slots given by the board. The average attendances are creeping up and surely it's only a matter of time before the criteria needed to build a new stadium is met.  

Youth Intake - I signed everyone and hope that the stars of the intake can help the team in the UEFA Youth League next season. I like Ferris DC and his high teamwork and work rate and he has even gone up 0.5* in the estimation of my coaches for his potential ability, it'll be interesting to see how he develops as a player.
 
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League Reputation - It was a good season as we rose up the rankings further and 3.5* has now come into view. Larne did a great job by making it into the Europa League group stage where they managed to get two wins and a draw to earn some valuable coefficient points whilst securing their future as a professional club at least for a little while. The other teams were all knocked out in the first round they entered but that was understandable given they drew Bordeaux, Lech Poznan, and Astra Giurgiu as opponents.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - Up to 3* which might go some way to explaining why our players are valued in the millions now rather than in the hundreds of thousands.
 
Club European Reputation - We rose a little bit but we are unlikely to see any major progress here until we starting winning games more consistently in the Champions League.
 
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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2034 / 2035

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Qualifying from our Champions League group has to be the priority.

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League Table - The run Larne made into the Europa League group stage last season gave them a lot of money and it seems to have re-invigorated them domestically. We really had to work for the title this season and it's troubling how many more goals Larne scored than us. It could well be the last hurrah for Larne as their finances have deteriorated back to 'Okay' which could mean they have to sell players and may have to revert back to a semi-professional status as Coleraine did at the end of the season after only one season as a professional club. Linfield was woeful but they didn't sack their manager which indicates how low their expectations have become, the nation really can't afford for them to be also-rans and they need to improve.

UEFA Champions League - A lot better than last season although the qualification rounds were a struggle. The first win in the group was somewhat fortunate as we profited from some shoddy defending by Valencia including a shocking back pass which led to our first goal. We then went on to encounter PSG who are still many levels above us and it showed as we shipped 8 goals to them. We then narrowly beat Benfica which gave us a chance of qualifying for the knockout stages on the final day. All we needed to do was better Benfica's result against PSG which I thought would have meant that a draw would have been enough to see us through but Benfica shocked us by beating PSG 1-0 in Lisbon meaning we had to settle for 3rd.

UEFA Europa League - We managed to win a knockout tie for the first time by easing past Basel. Considering the teams left in the tournament I was actually quite pleased when we drew Villarreal as I thought we might have a chance of reaching the quarter-final. Unfortunately for us, we suffered some injuries before the first leg and had key player Goodwin MC suspended while Gordon MC was only just coming back from injury. The result was that it completely destroyed our attacking strength and meant we were completely dominated in both games which put undue pressure on our defenders which they seemed to wilt under in Spain. A satisfactory season in Europe although I'm left with a tinge of disappointment as to what could have been if we were better equipped against Villarreal.

Domestic Cups - Putting the games I threw by playing youth in the Charity Shield and Co. Antrim Shield aside we were exceptional in the cups. It was a truly remarkable achievement that we didn't concede a single goal on the way to our Irish Cup victory. 

Reserves - An improvement on last season as they clinched a double.

Under 18s - The youth team may have more players in its ranks but the quality of those players is poor. I may have to stop loaning out our best youth players altogether to try and help them in the UEFA Youth League.

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Squad - It's taking some time but slowly I'm unravelling the mess that was created last season. Now that the squad has been trimmed to a more respectable size it is becoming clear where we have issues. We are severely lacking upfront and have only 1 striker that I would consider Champions League quality in HG prospect Baird. That really showed in this season as we only had Donaghy ST score more than 20 goals and 6 of those goals came in a 9-0 thumping of Crusaders where he scored a hat-trick of penalties while also missing a hat-trick of penalties, it was a bizarre game. I managed to get the dressing room under control by putting some of the players out on loan for 0% wage contribution which helped but it looks like I'll have to do that again or try to sell as very few of those players contracts expire at the end of the season. I need to stop offering players that won't get regular first team football long term contracts.

Transfers - Not included in the screenshot was the free transfer Roberts MC who played a significant number of games in the team. We are starting to get some decent money in for our players with the player arriving developing well with first-team football. The first priority next season will be to bolster the striking department.

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Average Rating: 7.51
A productive season although at a slightly worse average rating than last season. He is decent although I'm not sure whether he is the standard we need to make progress in Europe as his average rating dipped in continental games.
 
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Average Rating: 7.45
He was having an excellent season until injury struck which ruined it. I still feel there is a lot more to come from him in terms of development and hopefully next season we can begin to see it.
 
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Finances - The club is now considered 'Rich' and there aren't any further investments that can be made into the infrastructure of the club so I will shift my focus to squad building and identifying the players which we need to push the club forward.

Facilities - We now possess state of the art facilities across the board which is going to prove very helpful for developing our players. A new stadium appears to be getting further away as our average attendances actually fell so it was understandable that the board rejected my requests.

Youth Intake - Another poor batch of players but at least it adds depth to the youth team.
 
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League Reputation - Still rising up the table but we are declining in the nation coefficient which means that from the season after next we'll have to once again start in the Champions League 1st Qualifying Round. The other N. Irish teams were really poor this season which is really hindering our progress.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - The DBP is back down to 3 professional clubs. We really need to see an improvement from Linfield as I feel they are the only club which has the potential revenue to sustain professional status.
 
Club European Reputation - Our best season in Europe resulted in a nice boost to the coefficient and rise up the table.
 
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Edited by pheelf

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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2035 / 2036

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Once again the aim has to be to qualify from our Champions League group preferably in one of the top 2 spots as that would be unchartered waters for us. We will also need to see off the threat of a resurgent Larne in the DBP.

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League Table - About as emphatic a statement as it is possible to make. For the first time, we have a zero under our L column which was great although I didn't get the steam achievement for an unbeaten season. The team also broke the points scored in a season record surpassing our previous total of 105. It was great to see Linfield get into Europe while at the same time disappointing that Glenavon who is one of only 3 professional clubs in the league missed out as it not only weakens our representation but puts their professional status under threat.

UEFA Champions League - At last we venture into the knockout stages of the competition. It could have all gone horrifically wrong in the 2nd Qualifying Round but thankfully we managed to just sneak past our Israeli opponents. When we drew Manchester United and Bayern Munich in our group I sensed we would be battling for 3rd with Levante. As it turned out we managed to get through ahead of Bayern Munich on the head to head record with 9 points which had me delighted. We might have even managed to top the group had we not surrendered 2 goal leads against the two heavy hitters of the group. As we finished 2nd I knew that the opponent was likely to be difficult although there were some teams like RB Salzburg which I wouldn't have minded facing. Instead, we got the Galacticos which I knew would probably signal the end of our campaign. I'm pleased with how we approached the games as they were competitive affairs and even if we ultimately lost the tie we certainly weren't outclassed and didn't look out of place. As we were able to navigate such a difficult group this season it gives me confidence that in future as our players develop that we should be able to go even further.

Domestic Cups - We won everything except the Charity Shield that I couldn't care less about.

Reserves - A nice double for them although they perhaps should have done better in the Steel & Sons Cup.

Under 18s - Useless in the UEFA Youth League but at least they won the U18 league.

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Squad - This season I think marks the start of a new chapter in the clubs history. For the first time ever we have wonderkids in the roster with both Turner ML and Leifeld ST considered to be in that category. The squad is getting a little bloated and I will need to cut and trim and replace where necessary but I'm encouraged for the future. The players with expiring contracts will be released at the end of the season which should free up some space and give some more first-team opportunities to our best young players. The development of some players has been excellent and I'll be hoping for more of the same next season.

Transfers - I spent big in an attempt to bolster the deficiencies in the team and I think I have been successful. Campbell DR who doesn't appear in the squad screenshot as I placed him in the Reserves is a high potential youngster who I will be looking to develop next season when Borja DR leaves at the end of his contract. If the transfer windows this season was about bringing in quality upfront then next season the focus will shift to identifying that world class central defender(s) that can take us to the next level.

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Average Rating: 7.72
It was a shame that he suffered some injuries during the season but overall he did brilliantly by scoring and being the highest provider of assists in the squad.
 
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Average Rating: 7.66
He was doing well when rotating with Jimenez but when Turner came in it began to restrict his game time. As Jiminez wants to leave he might find himself back as the 2nd choice but then again he might find himself out of the team altogether if I can find someone better.
 
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Finances - Once you begin to go further in the Champions League the money you get in prize money really begins to spiral out of control. We received over £8M for getting to the 1st Knockout Round and after the final, we received around £7M which isn't shown in the screenshot. As a new stadium still isn't in the pipeline I will be using the money to invest in the team as I look to build a squad capable of competing in the Champions League knockout rounds.

Facilities - The club now has an average league attendance in excess of 90% of the capacity of The Oval which should mean that a new stadium isn't too far away although when requested the board still refuse to believe that we would have the fan base to support a new larger stadium. There has also been a noticeable spike in the ticket prices so it'll be interesting to see how that impacts attendances next season.

Youth Intake - Harland looks a decent prospect although I'm mystified as to why some of the best players that have come through in recent years play in positions we don't use and the HoYD doesn't have in his favoured formation of the 4-4-2. This leaves me with a conundrum. Do I try and train him as a central midfielder or a striker? Either choice isn't great as the attribute profile doesn't suit what I need. He isn't hard working enough to play in central midfield and he doesn't have any decent attributes to be a striker.  
 
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League Reputation - The DBP has broken into the top 20 which is an encouraging sign of progress. With our run to the knockout rounds of the Champions League, the nation was able to recover a few places in the coefficient which means that we are back to starting qualification in the 2nd Qualifying Round and not the 1st for the season after next. Unfortunately, the rest of the N. Irish teams have been rather ineffective in Europe which isn't helping matters. Larne got knocked out in the 4th Qualifying Round of the Europa League by Hibernian, Ballymena United got knocked out in the 1st Qualifying Round by Olympija Ljubljana and Coleraine got knocked out in the 2nd Qualifying Round by NK Domzale.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - Next season we will need to be sensational in Europe if we are to rise and gain another 0.5*.
 
Club European Reputation - Once again we had our best season in Europe coefficient-wise and continue to ascend the table. We have one more really poor season to get off the coefficient then if we can continue making progress which should begin to fly up the table.
 
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Edited by pheelf

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Nice work, very interested in this as im running a Larne save, so its good to compare and see how the Irish game evolves.

Ive made the UCL Groups in season 4, not expecting much more than that, but hopefully it will help the league grow as you have during your reign.

I take it that its your reserves playing in the Steel & Sons / Intermediate Cups? I won both of them in season 1 when we were in the Championship, but have not played in them since... I assumed they were lower league cup competitions.

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On 05/02/2019 at 15:23, bestbrother said:

Nice work, very interested in this as im running a Larne save, so its good to compare and see how the Irish game evolves.

Ive made the UCL Groups in season 4, not expecting much more than that, but hopefully it will help the league grow as you have during your reign.

I take it that its your reserves playing in the Steel & Sons / Intermediate Cups? I won both of them in season 1 when we were in the Championship, but have not played in them since... I assumed they were lower league cup competitions.

Thanks for the comment. Things are beginning to take shape now that the team is regular participants in the UCL Group Stage and now that we have taken the step into the knockout stages the pace has really started to accelerate when it comes to nation building.

I've had a quick browse of your career so far and it looks to be progressing well. Good luck with Larne.

My reserve team plays in those cups along with the majority of other DBP reserve sides (including Larne) so I'm not really sure why your reserves aren't playing in those cups. Perhaps it's because I'm using an edited database with generic reserve and youth structures?

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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2036 / 2037

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Last season provided the breakthrough we needed in the Champions League, this time around I'd like to at least match that performance if not surpass it. The domestic challenge seems to have eased for now so I can put more of my efforts into Europe.

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League Table - How about that!! For the 2nd season in a row, we managed to go unbeaten and not only that but smashed a whole lot of records while doing it. We now hold the records for the most goals scored in a season surpassing Larne, the most points scored in a season beating our previous record and most wins in a season. If we can manage another unbeaten season we will surpass the 100 games unbeaten mark which will be an incredible achievement if we can pull it off.

UEFA Champions League - Getting to the group stage was a lot easier than last season but once we drew such a difficult group I thought our chances of repeating the success of last season were remote and would have happily settled for 3rd. Well, the players didn't feel the same way and I have to give them an immense amount of credit as not only did they qualify from the group they topped it by beating Man City on the final matchday. After such a herculean feat I was actually looking forward to the knockout rounds knowing that I would be drawn against a group runner up. My newly found optimism soon faded when I saw Barcelona come out of the hat. We gave them as good a fight as we could and were tantalizingly close to taking them to extra time but ultimately they were deserving winners.

Domestic Cups - We almost got a clean sweep, it was a shame to have it ruined by the lottery of a penalty shootout.

Reserves - A pretty rough season for them in the cups but to be expected given at times there were only 4 players in the squad.

Under 18s - Better in the UEFA Youth League and cup but somehow failed to defend their league title losing out to Coleraine.

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Squad - The main problem we have is that we don't score enough goals. That may seem a ridiculous statement considering our record-breaking antics in the league but in Europe, we really struggled even though we had our best season ever in terms of results. The issue is that our strikers don't have the attributes to be prolific with our best finisher having a finishing attribute of only 15. We never managed to replace Leifeld ST as he was sold after the summer window had shut for us and it really showed with us having to rely on players like Arthur ST who is very much below Champions League quality. It appears to me that the balance needed for our strike partnership isn't quite there and we really need a couple of clinical finishers to compliment the more creative types of Baird and Beetz. That will be the priority for the summer transfer window but I will also be looking at replacements for some of the players who aren't quite up to the level required.

Transfers - I feel we did reasonably well in our transfer dealings by managing to turn a good profit. I was bitterly disappointed to lose Leifeld ST who forced a move but at least we managed to get a record fee for him although in retrospect he probably regrets leaving now given he has only scored once in 28 appearances for them. I don't think I adequately replaced the likes of Liber MC and Blaha MC so I'm likely to need to go back into the market again. We lost two of the squads wonderkids this season, one annoyingly to Arsenal for his minimum release fee but regained one in Beetz who came in for a reasonable price.

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Average Rating: 7.83
A very accomplished season from the attacking left back although it would have been nice to see a few more assists from him. Perhaps his low cross completion ratio in the league hampering his efforts after he managed a lowly 13%. Even given his average crossing ability, I'd still expect a bit more and will be looking for improvement next time around.
 
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Average Rating: 7.46
On first glance, his scoring rate may look impressive as he managed nearly a goal per game but when you scratch beneath the surface the picture painted doesn't appear quite as rosy. His shot conversion rate is 22% which ranked him 5th overall in DBP which is good although that was the only area in which he surpassed Arthur ST which is pretty bad as Jovanovic should be the better striker. It is also concerning that my coaches feel that he could do with becoming more consistent which is bad enough but then add to that a higher than average injury susceptibility and I seriously question whether I'm going to be able to get him to develop to his full potential.  
 
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Finances - The club is in excellent health financially which resulted in the board paying out an eye-watering £12.5M in dividends after the screenshot was taken. We cashed in a lot of multi-million-pound clauses during the season and I'll be looking to utilize the wage and transfer budget in order to bring in the quality of player we need. To give you an idea of the change in attitude towards spending we have signed a pre-contract agreement with a goalkeeper who will be earning in excess of £70Kp/w.

Facilities - The board seem incredibly reluctant to build a new stadium which is becoming a problem as I feel we have outgrown The Oval and need to move on to a bigger ground which is going to increase our revenues. The training facilities downgraded but £2.5M will fix that by August.

Youth Intake - Enough with the attacking midfielders already!! I wouldn't mind so much if they had secondary positions which we do play but none of them does so will need to learn the new positions from scratch. Long ST looks a decent prospect although I sense his determination attribute of 3 will somewhat hamper his development. Harland ST from the last intake has developed exceptionally well and almost looks ready for first team football so it will be interesting to see if any of the new brood take his example and try to replicate it,
 
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League Reputation - Still on the rise and it looks conceivable that if we could make another run into the Champions League knockout rounds next season that we might just be able to get up to 3.5*. Another piece of good news was that we will regain our 2nd spot in the Champions League from the season after next which is an excellent sign of progress. Unlike last time I feel we might just be able to hold onto it this time and build for the next target of getting up to 12th by climbing two more places in the European coefficient ranking which would give us an automatic spot in the group stage of the Europa League which would be huge for N. Irish football.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - More encouraging news in the development of the nation as both Linfield and Ballymena United turned professional which takes the total number of professional clubs in N. Ireland up to 5. I think this could really be a watershed moment in the development of the standard of football in the country and make for a much more competitive league. Ideally, next season I'd like to see all 5 clubs qualify for Europe and Larne be given a good challenge for the 2nd Champions League spot.
 
Club European Reputation - We are rising steadily up the coefficient ranking which I'm hoping will be enough to see us sneak into the 3rd seeded pot for the Champions League group stage draw.
 
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We managed to get to the quarter-final of the Champions League for season 2037/2038 so the in-depth game reports will be returning.

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Season 2037 / 2038

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We have already achieved our objectives for the season by getting out of a difficult Champions League group so anything further would be a bonus. I don't expect us to get through to the semi-finals but I at least want to see a good combative pair of performances from the team and for us to be competitive.

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There are no easy draws at this point as the usual suspects in terms of the European elite are all present. I am encouraged however by the fact that we have on occasion managed to beat some of the teams left in the draw such as Manchester City but would probably want to avoid the likes of PSG who we haven't had a good time against in previous meetings.
 
Who did we draw?
 
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Red Bull Leipzig

I'm not all that happy with this draw if I'm being honest. This team have become somewhat of a giant of European football and have won the Champions League twice since the start of the save and always seem to feature in the latter stages of the competition, even more so than the likes of Bayern Munich.

Our squad
 
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Their squad
 
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They have an exceptionally talented squad and it looks like being an uphill struggle for us. I like the fact that their squad looks balanced with respect to age distribution which I think goes some way to explaining why they have become such a powerful force in the Champions League. It's unfortunate but we have been struggling with injuries recently which means we are going into the tie weakened. As a result, our first choice RB is missing and we have a few players that will be starting which aren't as sharp as I would like with regards to fitness. At least we might have a slight edge with respect to condition after resting the players which I'm hoping might help us if the game remains close on the scoreline so that we can take advantage late on.
 
Quarter Final 1st Leg
 
Here's how the two teams lined up:
 
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I expected them to view us as the underdog and they didn't disappoint by fielding a very attacking looking 4-2-3-1. Our ability to compete against them will be very dependent on our ability to get the ball to our strikers as I sense we will be doing a lot of defending and will need an outlet to relieve pressure. It is likely that we will lose the battle for possession and have to cede control of the central midfield to them but this isn't a problem provided we can be clinical on the counter-attack as they commit men forward. I don't feel we have enough to win the game given the weakened squad I've had to field but I would like to at least give ourselves a chance for the 2nd leg by coming away with a decent result, if we can score an away goal or two that would be very helpful.
 
Result
 
Red Bull Leipzig 2 Glentoran 1
 
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The game largely panned out the way that I expected. They completely dominated possession but had to depend on errors from us to get their two goals as we frustrated them and restricted them to long shots. It was very telling that we took our only clear cut chance of the game and they didn't create any against us which is a very encouraging sign for me that we might just be able to turn this tie around. If we can eliminate some of the mistakes and gain a bit more control over the game I feel we have a good chance of getting that 1-0 win we need.
 
Quarter Final 2nd Leg
 
Here's how the two teams lined up:
 
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I'm actually quite pleased that they stuck to the same formation as I felt we didn't do too badly against it in the 1st leg. Unfortunately for us, Dmitrovic MC suffered an injury so misses the game which could be a blow but I have faith that wonderkid Baack MC should be more than good enough as a replacement. I've also opted to start Jovanovic ST over Randem ST as I'm hoping that his better finishing might just help us be more clinical which I feel is going to be important as we aren't going to dominate the game and create a load of chances so we need to take any that come our way. Let's give our best efforts and hopefully it will be enough to see us through.

Result

Glentoran 1 Red Bull Leipzig 4
 
Red Bull Leipzig win 6-2 on aggregate
 
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When they took an early lead the game plan pretty much went out of the window straight away but then we equalized through Beetz ST who struck an absolute beauty into the top right-hand corner which re-ignited the tie for us and had me optimistic that we might just be able to take them to extra time with another goal. Well, needless to say, that proved to be a false dawn as we were systematically put to the sword another 3 times. We were really poor in this game and showed a real lack of quality on the ball. The scoreline I feel was a fair reflection of the game and doesn't flatter Leipzig at all and shows just how far we still have to travel in order to have a team capable of competing for the Champions League.
 
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Our best season yet it in the Champions League which is a good reason to celebrate and I'm very happy with the continual progress we have made. The 2nd leg of the quarter-final was however quite dispiriting. I didn't expect to win the tie but I hoped that we would have at least given them a good fight and made life difficult for them. What we got was a spineless and incoherent mess of a performance which made all the previous good work we had managed during the season look like a fluke. We couldn't keep the ball for any extended length of time, couldn't get out of our half with the ball and when we did rarely venture forward our attack was as a blunt as a butter knife. Maybe I'm being overly harsh given our injuries but there simply is no excuse for not putting in a shift and some of the players really let themselves down in that 2nd leg. We have to be a lot better next season and perhaps losing in this way may actually prove beneficial in the long run. I've learned a lot about the players from the experience and now have a better idea of who stands up when we're up against it and who withers away into the shadows.
 
Edited by pheelf

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Absolutely in love with this save. Love the style and story. Long may it continue! *hits follow button*

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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2037 / 2038

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We are making continual progress in Europe which I would like to keep up which means we should be aiming to win a knockout tie in the Champions League for the first time.

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League Table - We lost our first games in 2 years but the title win was comfortable even if we had to wait until the 36th matchday to clinch it with a win over Larne at home. The story of the season was Linfield whose fans must have been on a rollercoaster of emotions. Up until matchday 26, they were sitting bottom of the table and there were serious concerns that they could get relegated which would have been disastrous considering they had just turned professional at the start of the season. The situation was so bad the board sacked their long-serving manager Feeney who had been at the club for 7 years which proved unpopular with the fans but ultimately was just what the doctor ordered. Once he left they picked up magnificently and even had a chance of qualifying for the Europa League as they reached the final of the playoff which they ultimately lost to Crusaders 2-0 but a remarkable improvement. It is a little concerning that the number of goals we scored and concede have gotten worse but it could be an indication that the quality of the competition is improving which is no bad thing.

UEFA Champions League - The objective for the season was achieved which was great although we nearly never made the group stage at all after an anemic pair of performances against Slavia Prague. Thankfully, Silva GK and his solitary save in the penalty shootout allowed us to scrape through. We started the group slowly but once we got our first win we kicked on and clinched 2nd ahead of Manchester United with the 1-0 win against eventual Champions League runners up and group winners Valencia proving crucial. I didn't know what to expect against Watford although I suspected it would be tough to get past them. After the 1st leg I was feeling a lot more confident but perhaps that was misguided and the players seemed to feed off that and became complacent thinking the tie was already won. We performed really poorly in the 2nd leg and once again it was only thanks to Silva GK that we managed to sneak past them on penalties although given the way the game panned out it was perhaps harsh on Watford who probably deserved to go through. Against RB Leipzig in the quarter-final, I wasn't expecting to progress further but the manner of the defeat was hard to take. The gap is definitely closing on the European elite but I still feel we are a few seasons off us putting in a real challenge for the trophy.

Domestic Cups - I have no idea what they were doing against Ballymena United in the Irish Cup final. We were so poor and just couldn't score which was all the more disappointing given that it ruined our chance of a clean sweep.

Reserves - I'm actually rather impressed that they managed to win the double given the team was filled mainly with greyed out players.

Under 18s - One of the worst seasons they've had which is inexplicable given the talent they have in the squad.

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Squad - There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the future of the team and how far they can take the club. We have a number of wonderkids in the squad now and a lot of the deadwood has been moved on and any remaining stragglers will be shipped out once their contracts expire. We also have 3 players in the squad which will go to the World Cup which is a sign of how highly some of our players are being viewed by other managers. There are some difficulties we are going to have to overcome, the squad is quite large and needs to be reduced so that I can offer more first-team football to the young talented players in the squad to develop them. There are also a few minor issues in the dressing room that need sorting but overall things are going well. I was however very disappointed with Husic DC who very often got the worst rating for training. I understand he might be slightly disillusioned that he lost his place as a first team regular but to have such an influential player behaving so unprofessionally given his experience is really inexcusable and I will be glad to show him the door once his contract expires at the end of the season.

Transfers - I spent big but hopefully I spent wisely as I went into the market for highly talented young players. I hope that a lot of these players will become household names at the club over time and hopefully I shouldn't need to make many more additions to the squad and only buy replacements where needed. I'm a little disappointed to see the market values remain so low as I wouldn't want to lose these players for a fraction of the price I bought them for. There was a nice side benefit this season with the quest to build the nation. The sale of Gordon MC had a sell on fee which was paid to Coleraine which gave them around £3M and as a result, they turned professional at the end of the season which takes the total number of professional teams in the DBP up to 6 which is great progress.

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Average Rating: 7.55
He had a great season although I'm not sure I like having my right winger as my top scorer. Especially considering his PPMs where you would expect him to be more likely to create chances for others rather than attempt to score himself. I'll never complain about players who score goals though and it is probably more a sign that my strikers need to up their game.
 
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Average Rating: 7.50
He doesn't score as much as he perhaps should but when he does they tend to usually be spectacular. As a number 10, he needs to be better at creating for his strike partner as 4 assists in 36 starts aren't nearly enough in my view. He still has a lot of room to improve but he needs a big season next time around to show the world why he was considered a wonderkid.
 
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Finances - At one point in the season the balance was over £110M which was quite frankly ridiculous which is why I went on a January spending spree to improve the quality of the team. I don't see us needing to spend much more on the squad we just need to work with what we have for now.

Facilities - The board finally decided to show a bit of ambition and without prompting are doing this which is a significant development in the building of the club. That is why I will be trying to build up the balance next season so that if we get granted planning permission we have the money to pay for the new ground upfront without having to take on any loans.

Youth Intake - After a detailed look at the players I think Wilson ML and Smith MC have the potential to develop into first-team players which isn't something I usually sense from intake players. I like to have HG goalkeepers for European squad registration so it would be nice if a talented one could come through next season.
 
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League Reputation - Great strides are being made by us as a club and great strides are being made as a nation. We not only retained our 2nd Champions League spot for the season after next but after overtaking Switzerland and Denmark in the coefficient we will get an automatic spot for the group stage of the Europa League which is great. I would have liked the DBP to reach 3.5* but we need help from the other clubs to give us a real push.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - As much as it pleases me to see the club rise to 3.5* which should prove helpful with buying and retaining players I don't like having such a large gap between us and the rest. 
 
Club European Reputation - Coefficient is looking good and will get better once that final single figure coefficient falls off the calculation.
 
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Spoiler

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Spoiler

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Edited by pheelf

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