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Turning N. Ireland into a footballing powerhouse

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2 hours ago, Deisler26 said:

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

Thanks for the compliment and follow.

Cheers

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Good to see things moving along nicely.  I'm also glad to see you get a load of grief from the players too, a lot seem to have the "Spt" tag on that squad screenshot.

I'm getting a bit annoyed with it in my Valletta/Malta save, players are unhappy at the lack of depth in midfield.  I can only assume they mean the AMC position which is only in my never used secondary tactic so I might remove that or shift it to ST.  I'm at that stage where people are starting to take notice of my squad thanks to getting through to latter stages of EC.  Unfortunately, that means that every club thinks they can buy my players for about £100k, even ones that I spent £200k on a year previous.  It got a bit tiresome having to spend all of January batting back tiny bids for my best players and then argue with them as to why they should stay.

Interesting to see that due to a sell on clause from a player you bought from a rival, they netted a bunch of money & became Professional.  Something like that won't help me develop the league due to the measly offers I receive but maybe I should be buying the best Maltese youngsters to help the clubs out, rather than just signing them because they're all part time. 

 

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On 05/02/2019 at 10:04, pheelf said:

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.

If I remember correctly, SI have confirmed that the HoYD only has an impact on 2 or 3 players in the intake (the ones they brag about in the e-mail), the rest are random.

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On 12/02/2019 at 10:15, Mayzie said:

Good to see things moving along nicely.  I'm also glad to see you get a load of grief from the players too, a lot seem to have the "Spt" tag on that squad screenshot.

I'm getting a bit annoyed with it in my Valletta/Malta save, players are unhappy at the lack of depth in midfield.  I can only assume they mean the AMC position which is only in my never used secondary tactic so I might remove that or shift it to ST.  I'm at that stage where people are starting to take notice of my squad thanks to getting through to latter stages of EC.  Unfortunately, that means that every club thinks they can buy my players for about £100k, even ones that I spent £200k on a year previous.  It got a bit tiresome having to spend all of January batting back tiny bids for my best players and then argue with them as to why they should stay.

Interesting to see that due to a sell on clause from a player you bought from a rival, they netted a bunch of money & became Professional.  Something like that won't help me develop the league due to the measly offers I receive but maybe I should be buying the best Maltese youngsters to help the clubs out, rather than just signing them because they're all part time.

 

Some nice progress has been made but the next stage of development I feel will be the hardest as I seek to assemble a team capable of winning the Champions League.

I am indeed getting a lot of headache from the players at the moment, this time it was due to me not registering certain players for Europe but it's slightly silly I think as you can only select 3 new players for the 2nd window registration which I think should be taken into consideration by the new players you bring in but alas no and they created a massive rift in the dressing room instead.

I'm right there with you when it comes to the insulting low bids for players, sometimes I have to take a double take but things are improving. Transfer clauses are your friend here, often I will accept lower offers with % of next sale clauses. It seems to be a good ploy as I've been selling clauses for millions recently. For the season I'm going to report on (2038/2039) at the end of the season I managed to sell £28M worth of clauses. It was sweet the way it happened with Coleraine in that I could indirectly give them a load of money but I don't think that will happen again anytime soon as the domestic players are no longer the level of player I'm looking for. I'm hoping that in future that the other N. Irish teams being in Europe will more than supplement their incomes with prize money and allow them to maintain their professional statuses.

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On 12/02/2019 at 18:33, BML said:

If I remember correctly, SI have confirmed that the HoYD only has an impact on 2 or 3 players in the intake (the ones they brag about in the e-mail), the rest are random.

I was unaware of this so thanks for bringing it to my attention, I guess I'll have to be more understanding next time when I see players come through who play positions we don't use. 

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1 hour ago, pheelf said:

Some nice progress has been made but the next stage of development I feel will be the hardest as I seek to assemble a team capable of winning the Champions League.

I am indeed getting a lot of headache from the players at the moment, this time it was due to me not registering certain players for Europe but it's slightly silly I think as you can only select 3 new players for the 2nd window registration which I think should be taken into consideration by the new players you bring in but alas no and they created a massive rift in the dressing room instead.

I'm right there with you when it comes to the insulting low bids for players, sometimes I have to take a double take but things are improving. Transfer clauses are your friend here, often I will accept lower offers with % of next sale clauses. It seems to be a good ploy as I've been selling clauses for millions recently. For the season I'm going to report on (2038/2039) at the end of the season I managed to sell £28M worth of clauses. It was sweet the way it happened with Coleraine in that I could indirectly give them a load of money but I don't think that will happen again anytime soon as the domestic players are no longer the level of player I'm looking for. I'm hoping that in future that the other N. Irish teams being in Europe will more than supplement their incomes with prize money and allow them to maintain their professional statuses.

Transfer clauses are all well and good but I'm receiving a lot of bids from Saudi teams and I'm not convinced they'll fetch a much higher fee than me.  I accepted one with a player I sold to Napoli and did try to negotiate with Man Utd on a player they bid on but I think they were trying bully tactics & pulled out as if they couldn't muster a mere £500k for my best player.  The Man Utd one was funny when my player with an unambitious personality told me how ambitious he was.  I've managed to win most of them around & then instantly sign them on a new three year contract anyway.  Just speaking to them to try and convince them to stay, my GK wanted to move to PSG because they play Champions League football so I said we'd be doing that next season (because we win the league & qualify every year), once he was happy, three year deal with an optional one year extension. :D

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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2038 / 2039

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It was great to get to the quarter-final of the Champions League last season so I would like to try and repeat that success.

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League Table - Another easy win although the fixture congestion is becoming difficult to manage. There was a week in September where we played 4 league games within the space of a week which when you consider that we don't play any league fixtures at all in March seems an unnecessary pileup. I'm beginning to despair for Linfield who had another abysmal season and I'd even go as far as saying that if it weren't for the fact that the two teams directly below them were so bad it's conceivable they would have been relegated. I don't know what their problems are as they should be comfortably mid-table and pushing for European qualification given their squad but they are really struggling and need to improve.

UEFA Champions League - It was yet again a shaky qualification campaign which I think can be attributed to a lack of match sharpness of the players. It's not that I don't create enough friendlies as this season I had 6 before the 1st leg of the FH tie but as I don't manage the friendlies I don't get to select the team and for some reason my assistant only selects certain players rather than giving everyone in the first team game time to build their fitness. We struggled but managed to get through and drew what I thought was a decent looking group with surprise top seeds Celtic. It was not plain sailing however as we only managed to secure 2nd place after beating Celtic in Glasgow on the final matchday. I knew the opponent we would face in the 1st Knockout Round would be tricky but I was hoping for someone we could at least go toe to toe with.

After the 1st leg against Chelsea, I felt we had a chance even though the Londoners were fairly dominant in Belfast. Then we went to London and put in a really lousy performance when to have any chance we would have needed to be at our best. Speaking frankly, Chelsea pitied us as once they went up 4-0 they took their foot off the gas. This season was a backward step and we really need to buck up our ideas if we are to stand any chance of progressing further. I can accept losing as I expected Chelsea to win but with the squad we have, the manner of the defeat was simply unacceptable. They folded in that 2nd leg and I feel they ought to be doing a lot more to compete.

Domestic Cups - We won the lot but I would swap defeats in each of these cups if it meant further progress in the Champions League. Over the last few seasons, I haven't been playing a Reserve team as I needed to give first team players game time in order to gain fitness. Next season I think I'll return to fielding a hybrid of youth and reserves.

Reserves - A fairly mediocre season for a fairly mediocre team.

Under 18s - It might seem stingy to the other N. Irish clubs but I really must stop loaning players under 18 out. I have some decent young prospects coming through and if I understand correctly, the facilities are most important for their development rather than first-team football while they are under 18 so there is nothing really gained from loaning them out. It might also make the team more competitive in the UEFA Youth League where they were poor.

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Squad - Theoretically, we have a team which should be right up there in terms of ability and should be capable of competing for the Champions League but the reality is we're nowhere near. I think there are a number of factors at play here as to why not. Firstly, squad harmony isn't where it needs to be. Too many times during the season I had players distracted either because of admiring glances from other clubs or selection issues and it weighed heavily on us. Secondly, once again injuries struck us at the worst possible time and really screwed up our chances of beating Chelsea as we had some key players such as Hauge DC missing for the 1st leg and he was unfit for the 2nd leg which probably explains why he performed so badly. Finally, the quality of our central defenders in comparison to the rest of the team is low and we certainly need to be looking at bringing in a pair of world-class central defenders to bolster that area of weakness. 

Transfers - I didn't really want it but there was a big turnover of players this season which resulted in a slight loss in the transfer market. A lot of the signings are considered wonderkids and the pick of the signings was probably left back Leskov who looks like developing into a world class player. He came in as a replacement for Leclerc who I didn't really want to lose but wanted to leave so I was pleased that the club at least managed to get a record fee for him. You may ask why I sold Beetz ST after he was considered the young player of the season last time but I just felt it was his time to leave as he had failed to live up to expectations.

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Average Rating: 7.77
He was the clubs top scorer which is good although I'm not entirely convinced that this is the player we need going forward. There are a couple of things about him which are bugging me. My coaches thinking he is inconsistent being one and his attributes which for me don't scream prolific goalscorer which is a major issue for me considering that he wants to play on the attack duty as the Advanced Forward. Given those two problems I may move him on provided, we can get a good fee for him.
 
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Average Rating: 7.64
The clubs best player without question. That tag, however, had it's own pitfalls as he had his head turned during January and when I refused to let him leave for peanuts he kicked up an almighty stink. Things seem to have settled down a bit now although once again the vultures are circling. I have confidence that we would get a huge fee for him if he wanted to leave but replacing him will be a daunting task. I feel that he should be a lot more loyal to the club and me considering what I've done for his career by giving him a platform but I suspect he won't be a Glentoran player for too much longer. 
 
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Finances - We passed the FFP with flying colours and with the sale of some transfer clauses the balance was raised to over £90M.

Facilities - The club is now seeking planning permission for the new ground after locating a site. Hopefully, if all goes well then this time next season we might be able to announce that we've started building work so I'd like to keep the bank balance healthy so that we can fund it without any loans which shouldn't be too hard considering the proposed capacity.

Youth Intake - I'm actually rather pleased with this intake as we look to have 3 players which provided I can give the right development to definitely look capable of playing for the first team in the future. Fitzgerald ST looks great and has some impressive technical attributes although he is a little slow. Brown MR looks decent and has a good personality being Resolute. I have to say I'm most delighted about Lavery GK as I like having HG goalkeepers for European squad selection and given time he looks to have a bright future although he needs a lot of work.
 
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League Reputation - I think this is the season where everything changes. The first piece of good news was that the DBP is now considered a 3.5* league which is going to prove exceptionally helpful in bringing players into the country. The 2nd and possibly most important piece of news is the message below.
 
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This is huge!! An automatic spot in the Champions League group stages in addition to another automatic spot for the 3rd placed team in the Europa League. What is so great about this announcement is it guarantees at least 3 teams in N. Ireland will be competing in a group stage as the losers in the Best Placed Third Qualifying Round of the Champions League drop straight into the Europa League group stage. The money this is going to bring into those clubs will be seriously transformational, all we need now is for Linfield to get their skates on and join the party. 
 
Club Domestic Reputation - We are so far ahead of everyone else but hopefully some exposure of these clubs to European group stage football should help them to close the gap.
 
Club European Reputation - Coefficient is still on the rise which is good. I don't know why this seasons Champions League winners PSG who should be 1st are chopped off.
 
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Spoiler

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Spoiler

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Edited by pheelf

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30 minutes ago, Mayzie said:

Transfer clauses are all well and good but I'm receiving a lot of bids from Saudi teams and I'm not convinced they'll fetch a much higher fee than me.  I accepted one with a player I sold to Napoli and did try to negotiate with Man Utd on a player they bid on but I think they were trying bully tactics & pulled out as if they couldn't muster a mere £500k for my best player.  The Man Utd one was funny when my player with an unambitious personality told me how ambitious he was.  I've managed to win most of them around & then instantly sign them on a new three year contract anyway.  Just speaking to them to try and convince them to stay, my GK wanted to move to PSG because they play Champions League football so I said we'd be doing that next season (because we win the league & qualify every year), once he was happy, three year deal with an optional one year extension. :D

I wish that I could convince my best players to stay in the way you seem to be managing to do. No matter what I choose to say they always want to leave and if I refuse, boy don't they let me know about it, seemingly content to make my job a living nightmare with their dressing room shenanigans. I think I've only ever managed to talk down maybe a handful of players so far.

Hopefully, now that the standard of the league has improved things might ease up a bit or at least I should start fetching better money for players so I can bring in good replacements. 

Best Regards

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Brilliant read and the progress has been outstanding.

I've caught up just when the going has got good for N.Ireland teams!

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On 15/02/2019 at 14:19, andychar said:

Brilliant read and the progress has been outstanding.

I've caught up just when the going has got good for N.Ireland teams!

Thank you for the compliment. The progress has actually surprised me over the last few seasons and with the addition of automatic spots in the group stages for at least 3 clubs in N. Ireland, I think we are at the start of a golden age (hopefully) for N. Irish football.

The team managed to get to the Quarter Final of the Champions League for season 2039/2040 so the in-depth reports will return. I'd also like to add that during season 2039/2040 I switched over to the beta testing branch which I found to be a vast improvement on previous ME versions especially with respect to striker movement.  

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Season 2039 / 2040

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I think we have done exceptionally well to have made it to this stage after getting past Real Madrid in the 1st Knockout Round. I have no expectation of going any further although it would be new ground for the club if we can. I think the result we got against a European giant should give us a lot of confidence and means we can go into the quarter-final without fearing anybody. As long as we give it our all regardless of the result I'll be happy with that.

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Among the teams, we could draw Manchester United, Chelsea, PSG, RB Leipzig, Celtic, and Liverpool. I wouldn't mind facing Celtic as I think we would stand a better chance against them than most of the others but they are all going to be tough opponents.
 
Who did we draw?
 
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Manchester United

If we are to make history this season and go further into the Champions League than ever before we are going to have to overcome a massive obstacle to do it. I'm slightly encouraged by the fact that I have beaten the other side of Manchester before and we are going into the game on the back of beating Real Madrid but even still we are going to be right up against it and we are going to need to play at our absolute best to stand a chance against them.

Our squad

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Their squad
 
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There are a few things we can be encouraged by. They are missing one of their star central midfielders in Van Herck and the age distribution of their squad looks a little bit on the old side. I also feel we will have an edge with respect to the conditioning of our players so will be seeking to take advantage of any tiring legs late on in the game. On the other hand, there are some worrying things which we need to take into consideration. Both Rousset DC and Deane ML will be missing after both suffered training injuries which have them out for between 4-6 weeks and 2-3 months respectively. That is extremely unlucky as we seem to be developing this habit of having our best players missing for our most important games of the season. Rousset is our best central defender and irreplaceable so we are just going to have to hope that Gabriel can perform well. We are also missing our best right back Silva to a suspension which is another obstacle we are going to have to overcome as if our task wasn't hard enough. At least he will be back for the 2nd leg.
 
Quarter Final 1st Leg
 
Here's how the two teams lined up:
 
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An interesting approach from the Red Devils. I think the result we managed against Real Madrid has forced them to respect us as an opponent and clearly, them adopting a DM in their formation is a testament to that. I fully expect to lose the battle for possession and the central midfield so our focus has to be to dominate the wide areas and be clinical on the counter-attack and with set pieces. In order to stand a chance of winning the tie we need to try and keep the away goals to a minimum and it would be great to take a lead to Old Trafford so we have something to protect but we'll see.
 
Result
 
Glentoran 1 Manchester United 1
 
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This was an interesting game and far more of an even contest than I thought it would be. They held the lead for quite some time but a late equalizer from us I think brings the tie back into the undecided category. The away goal is definitely problematic but if we could replicate the way in which we competed against them in Manchester I can definitely see us scoring.
 
Quarter Final 2nd Leg
 
Here's how the two teams lined up:
 
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Now that is more like the Manchester United I expected to see in the 1st leg. Attacking minded and an aggressive looking formation. I detect from them that they don't want to leave anything to chance and aren't set up to hold onto what they have and go into the game looking to build an unassailable lead. I'm actually rather pleased by that as it should give us space in the golden zone in which to operate, I feel much more optimistic about our ability to score now and given the return of Silva at right back we ought to be more solid defensively also. This could go one of two ways, in my opinion as I don't see it being a dull 0-0. They could overwhelm us with their constant attacks and score a bucket load or we could tear them apart on the counter-attack, either way, it's poised to be a fascinating 2nd leg.

Result

Manchester United 1 Glentoran 2
 
Glentoran win 3-2 on aggregate after extra time
 
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Well, the game certainly didn't disappoint. The team once again surprised me with how well they competed. The game was very evenly poised and even though Manchester United did have more shots than us we were never really under the cosh at any point. We scored another late equalizer to take the game into extra time which I was delighted with given how tired the Manchester United players were looking. Then early into extra time, they got a red card which had me further encouraged that we could get that 2nd goal and win the tie. Even with 10 men, they are still a formidable force and it was looking like going to penalties until substitute Pineau MR scored a goal deep into extra time to hand us the win which I felt was much deserved given the way we performed throughout the game. We march on, where the journey ends who knows? If we can beat Manchester United we can beat anyone, bring it on!!
 

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Season 2039 / 2040

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We will face one of RB Leipzig, Glasgow Celtic or Chelsea. Well, I think you all probably know who I'd like to face but I'm shocked they have even made it this far but you can't say they don't deserve it after thrashing Liverpool in the previous round. It would also be nice to gain revenge against RB Leipzig if we drew them but I wouldn't want to face Chelsea at all looking at their team.
 
Who did we draw?
 
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Glasgow Celtic

Very rarely do I get exactly what I ask for in this game but this time I did. This is a golden opportunity to get to a Champions League final and I'll be disappointed if we don't make it. I'm not going to underestimate Celtic as we are still going to need to play at our absolute best to beat them but we've just beaten two giants of European football to get to this point and I feel the momentum lies with us.

Our squad

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Their squad
 
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Rousset is on the way back from his injury and it's looking feasible that should we make the final that he could play but he won't be playing in either of the semi-final legs. Once again we have the edge on them in terms of condition and they are missing their top scoring central midfielder which could prove important. We are in the best possible state to beat them I just hope we don't freeze given the magnitude of the game and perform below our ability.
 
Semi Final 1st Leg
 
Here's how the two teams lined up:
 
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I don't know why they are playing Diop, even though he is their top scorer he is absolutely shattered. I won't complain too much though as I'll take any advantage I can get. This time we will face a defensive looking formation which is somewhat surprising given that the first leg is in Glasgow and I would have expected them to approach the game by trying to be on the front foot. We don't need to win the game but I feel we are going to need to score an away goal or two to give ourselves a chance in Belfast.
 
Result
 
Glasgow Celtic 0 Glentoran 1
 
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The plan was carried out seamlessly. Not only do we have an away goal we also have a lead to take back to Belfast and protect. This is a great advantage for us as we can guarantee that at some point they are going to have to attack if they have any ambition of getting back into the game which will leave loads of space in behind them for us to hit them on the counter-attack. They did force our GK to pull off some saves and struck the woodwork a couple of times but they didn't create a single clear cut opportunity which shows how solid we were defensively and overall the result was rather comfortable. A draw will see us through to the final which is more than I could have wished for at this point.
 
Semi Final 2nd Leg
 
Here's how the two teams lined up:
 
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One composed performance stands between us and a shot at glory. They've decided to put Diop upfront this time around which could be helpful for them in the sense that he won't have to move as much given how tired he still is. The key to our success will be shackling Smith which we did very effectively in the first leg. If he is able to link their midfield to their attack then we could be in for a rough time. An early goal for them changes the tie completely and gives them the momentum so I'll be hoping that my players start the game quickly and keep them on the back foot.

Result

Glentoran 1 Glasgow Celtic 0
 
Glentoran win 2-0 on aggregate
 
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They were superb in this game and deserve their place in the final. I wanted us to start quickly and we did that putting pressure on them from the very start and dominated the game for large stretches. If anything the scoreline was rather kind to them as they didn't really pose much of a threat to us. We will face RB Leipzig in the final after they beat Chelsea in a penalty shootout which gives us a chance of gaining revenge after they beat us a couple of seasons ago. This will be the last of the in-depth reports for the knockout rounds of the Champions League and I will only report on finals going forward until we win it. Do we have what it takes to make history? We'll soon find out.
 

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Lovely layout and intriguing career, I like a slow-burning save...

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On 19/02/2019 at 18:20, higgins said:

Lovely layout and intriguing career, I like a slow-burning save...

Thank you, it's a taken a while but finally, things are really starting to take off. I'll now report on the final.

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Season 2039 / 2040

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A team which has become somewhat of a force in Europe and in the German Bundesliga. This season they managed to win the Bundesliga by a comfortable margin of 20 points over 2nd placed Bayern Munich. They have won the German league title on 6 occasions in the last 11 seasons and have consistently placed in the top 4 since season 2033/34. Their European record is equally impressive with them coming into the final as defending Europa League champions after defeating Barcelona in last seasons final. They have managed to lift the Europa League 3 times in their history with their other wins coming in 2027 and 2029. They have also managed to lift the Champions League trophy twice beating Manchester United in 2030 and impressively managed to retain the trophy in the following season after an extra time win against Arsenal. They have also managed to win the UEFA Super Cup in 2029 beating PSG and have won the FIFA Club World Championship twice beating Independiente in the final on both occasions. They are definitely a force to be reckoned with and went into their Champions League campaign full of confidence.  

They were drawn into Group D and were joined by SL Benfica, FC Zurich and AC Milan where they managed the following results.

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They started the group poorly losing away in Portugal but once they got into their stride they were unstoppable and completed the group winning the remaining 5 fixtures and more impressively not conceding another goal. After such a stellar performance they managed to top the group easily which finished as follows:

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In the next round, they were drawn to face surprise knockout stage participants FC Copenhagen who managed to best Villarreal and Juventus to claim 2nd in Group B.

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Going into the tie they were seen as overwhelming favourites to progress and as predicted they won the tie easily with the 3-1 win away in Denmark proving decisive making for a much smoother ride at home. In the next round, the challenge was to be a lot stiffer as they drew French giants PSG.

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As expected this proved to be a far more difficult pair of fixtures for them but even given the tougher challenge they sailed through winning both games. For the first time in the campaign, they had to show some steel in order to turn around the concession of an early goal in the 2nd leg which leveled the tie on aggregate. A penalty in the 68th minute and a late goal saw them through to the semi-final to face their most difficult opponent yet in defending Premier League champions Chelsea.

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This was a significantly more difficult tie than all their previous games and it showed with a 1-0 reversal at home posing serious questions on their ability to make it to the final. They answered those doubts with a determined and gritty performance in London scoring an early goal and taking the tie into extra time. Disaster struck as star defensive midfielder Pfeiffer got a red card in the 107th minute but they showed incredible resilience to hold onto the win and take the game to penalties where a solitary missed penalty by Chelsea midfielder Kotlyarov put them through to their 3rd ever Champions League final.

It is fair to say that they are seen as comfortable favourites to win the Champions League. They have a great pedigree having been there and done it all but also seem to have a great determination to succeed and overcome difficulties which they have exhibited throughout this campaign. The key to winning the game comfortably for them will depend on players such as elite hitman Krajewski and Spanish right winger Primo who if they perform anything like they have been should be a thorn in the side of the Glentoran defenders.

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This is a great opportunity for them to claim their 3rd Champions League trophy and join the likes of Inter, Arsenal, and Manchester City with 3 wins. If they perform to their peak it is very unlikely that Glentoran will be able to deal with them but in a one-off game, anything is possible so the Leipzig fans will be hoping for a strong start to the game leading to a comfortable win.

Edited by pheelf

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Season 2039 / 2040

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This has been an exceptional season in Europe for the N. Irish team which sees them compete in their first ever Champions League final. They have become the dominant force in N. Irish football having won 14 out of the last 15 DBP titles and over more recent years have become regular competitors in the group stage of the Champions League. Unlike their illustrious opponents, this has been a season of firsts having become the first N. Irish team to win a quarter-final and appear in and win a semi-final. If you had asked a fan what their expectations were before the start of the campaign they probably would have been satisfied with a run into the knockout stages so to have their team within one win of becoming European Champions is a dream come true.

They were drawn into Group E and were joined by Bayer Leverkusen, FC Porto and Irish minnows Cork City where they managed the following results.

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In a group which looked on paper to be winnable, they found the going particularly tough especially after an opening day draw against the top seeds in the group. It was looking doubtful as to whether they would progress but wins against FC Porto and Cork City steadied the ship and after getting a 0-0 draw against Bayern Leverkusen they managed to secure 2nd rendering the loss on the final day in Porto meaningless. The group finished as follows:

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In the next round, they were drawn to face group G winners Real Madrid who looked to be a formidable team to face at this stage of the competition.

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Going into the tie they were the clear underdogs but brilliant performances for the players in Belfast gave them a narrow 1-0 win and when they followed that up with another determined performance in the Bernabeu eeking out a 1-1 draw with a 52nd-minute goal by wonderkid striker Heric they were in dreamland. They took a lot of momentum from this result into the next game against quarter-final opponents Manchester United.

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The was a very hard task for the N. Irish club but once again they beat the odds with another excellent pair of performances with the win at Old Trafford being especially impressive. They would have gained a lot of confidence from this result and began to play without fear. The final obstacle standing in their way from reaching the final was surprising in perennial SPL winners Glasgow Celtic.

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A tight pair of games for them but a comfortable pair of wins saw them book a place in the final.

They will definitely be seen as the underdog in the Champions League final. Although having said that they have beaten teams that are arguably stronger than RB Leipzig during the campaign and they will be holding onto those performances as evidence that the final isn't going to be a foregone conclusion. They will need to bring some of that steely never say die attitude to stand any chance and will need star players Heric and Dmitrovic to be at their absolute best to trouble their German opponents.

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This will be a daunting prospect for the N. Irish team but the potential to make history should provide all the motivation needed for the Glentoran players. They have done exceptionally well to have traveled this far, can they take that final step and go down in footballing history by bringing the Champions League trophy home to Belfast?  

Edited by pheelf

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Really interesting to read how you've developed the team.  I was just wondering, have you managed to achieve all this by still using the tactic you came up with right at the start?  It just seems remarkable to achieve all this with what looks like a very basic 442!!

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pm1Dv15.jpg

Season 2039 / 2040

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THE FINAL

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The scene is set and the Nou Camp is sold out in anticipation of what is to be an historic day for both clubs. Let's hope for an enthralling spectacle.
 
Our squad
 
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Their squad
 
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There is a lot of reason to be encouraged after looking at the squads even though they still have what I consider a very strong team in comparison. Our star central defender Rousset has recovered from injury and will start which is huge boost for us. They also appear to be suffering from a number of injuries and the suspension of one of their best central midfielders Pfeiffer should also make our job slightly less challenging. In less good news we will have to play without both our first team left midfielders through injury so will have to hope that Leskov can do a job for us.
 
Final
 
Here's how the two teams lined up:
 
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As much as I would like to win the trophy the fact that we have already made history is enough for me. As long as we can leave the pitch knowing that we have given it our all I'll be satisfied. I feel we are going to need to try and dominate the wide areas and make the most of set pieces. I don't think we are going to be able to keep them from scoring so we are likely to need to score ourselves which I'm confident we can. We need to start fast and hope that we can grab an early goal to put them under pressure. C'mon The Glens!!
 
Spoiler
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Glentoran 4 RB Leipzig 3
 
WOW...Just WOW!!
 
Usually, finals are nervy affairs with both teams seemingly terrified to make mistakes which results in a tepid spectacle with 'safe' football being the fare served up. This was everything but that and it's very rare that you see 2 teams go at each other for the full 90 minutes in the way both teams did in this game given what was at stake.
 
We started the game as I hoped with us putting early pressure on the Leipzig goal although it didn't amount to a clear cut opportunity. The best chance of the opening 15 minutes came to them with a free kick from 30 yards out from Primo clipping the outside of Mohammed's right-hand post. They then struck the woodwork once again after 24 minutes when an Alejandro corner was whipped in and headed onto the post by Schmidt after a flick on at the near post from Krajewski. Then in the 29th minute, it happened and we hit the front when a well worked throw-in deep in their half found its way to edge of their box to Djeric who hit an absolute bullet which their goalkeeper Curcio might have done better with that found its way into the bottom corner.
 
The plan seemed to be working perfectly with us grabbing a goal in the first half hour but within a minute they were level when a poorly defended cross found its way to the feet of Krajewski who tapped it into an empty net. I was rather disappointed by that as I felt we had just lost all the momentum that goal had given us but still felt optimistic that we were in the game and still playing well. That was confirmed when we once again took the lead in the 34th minute through Nijland as he ran onto a through ball played by Djeric and cooly slotted the ball into the bottom right-hand corner. The perfect response from us which gave us back the initiative in the game.
 
We almost grabbed another right from the kickoff as we gained possession from a long ball forward by their central defender which was reached by Silva who played it forward to Alraun who slipped a lovely ball through to Auger who should have probably passed it to an unmarked Nijland instead of taking a weak shot which Curcio managed to collect easily. That was the final major action which meant that going into the half time break we had a lead. I wanted to express to the players how impressed I was with their performance and to state how important it was that we didn't concede early in the 2nd half. My thinking is the longer we held onto the lead the more desperate they would become and the more opportunities we would have for ourselves on the counter.
 
Unfortunately, they didn't really take notice and within 10 minutes they were level after some poor defending from a corner resulted in the ball landing at the feet of Primo on the edge of our box. He then dribbled the ball into the box and hit a screamer into the bottom right corner. The goal didn't surprise me but the manner in which the team was now playing was concerning as Leipzig appeared to be in the ascendancy with all the chances created going to them since half time. In previous seasons, at this point, we would have probably capitulated and lost the game but our reaction was good. We didn't get downhearted and kept on trying to play our football.
 
That spirit in which we played the game once again yielded fruit as a botched clearance from Schmidt gave us a good counter-attacking opportunity which eventually resulted in a penalty being given for us after a VAR consultation. A push by Filipe on Nijland as he attempted to meet an Auger cross doing the damage. Nijland then stepped up and belted it into the bottom right-hand corner past a helpless Curcio. A 3-2 lead in the 64th minute seemed a good position to be in as once again the game swung in our direction. Things were going well and we seemed to be in control of the game managing to maintain possession and restrict chances for RB Leipzig.

It was looking like we would hold on to the win but then it happened. In the 79th minute, Silva played a lofted back pass to Mohammed but it seemed fine as he had time to control it and do what he wanted in terms of distribution. Unfortunately, he decided this would be the time to try a fancy piece of technique which backfired spectacularly with his first touch resulting in the ball running loose in the direction of Krajewski who beat him to the ball and smashed it into the empty net. I was absolutely fuming after that to see such a cheap goal being given away. All was not lost but I really would have been gutted if that piece of utter stupidity had cost us our chance of winning the Champions League.

We were still in the game but you could see the impact that the goal had. All of a sudden passes which were hitting their target with ease only minutes ago were starting to go astray and the calm control of the game had been replaced with nervous backs to the wall defending. To his credit, Mohammed partially redeemed himself with a brilliant point black save in the 85th minute which Krajewski will look back on and regret as our goalkeeper should have stood no chance. Then came the moment of history.
 
They had a goal kick which was played short to Schmidt who pumped it long and was intercepted by Silva. He played a poor pass right into Krajewski's path but thankfully it ricocheted off him to Rousset who played the ball into Baack on the edge of the centre circle. He then played it back to Scrob who then passes it into substitute Pineau who slots a lovely ball into Nijland who has his back to goal around 45 yards from their goal. He then sprays a peach of a ball out wide to the right flank for Alraun. He then controls it, dribbles and crosses the ball into an unmarked Heric who receives the ball on the edge of the 6-yard box. He hits it and Curcio pulls off an extraordinary save but only manages to parry out to the feet of Heric who then slots it into the opposite corner to give us the lead. An incredible goal which all but two outfield players played a part in making.
 
I'm determined not to let the lead slip and this time make some tactical changes to ensure we hold onto our lead. We do it and lift our first Champions League trophy. What an incredible end to an incredible game of football.
 
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Out of the shadows and into the light, we have emerged as a force in European football. That concludes our in-depth reports but what a way to end it.
 

 

Edited by pheelf

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1 hour ago, wobbly007 said:

Really interesting to read how you've developed the team.  I was just wondering, have you managed to achieve all this by still using the tactic you came up with right at the start?  It just seems remarkable to achieve all this with what looks like a very basic 442!!

Thanks for the comment. Yes, I make occassional changes such as putting the left full back on defend if we need to protect a lead but overall I stick with the basic 442.

Best Regards

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Love these careers! Right now im trying my luck with the Treforest from Wales. Main goal: stop the TNS from being the kings, and only professional team from the league, and make Wales the new powerhouse of the UK.

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On 23/02/2019 at 03:16, Deisler26 said:

:applause:

Magnificent. Well done.

Thanks, it was definitely one of the best finals I've been involved in. Now comes the difficulty of trying to retain it and become world champions.

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21 hours ago, jeb_fm said:

Love these careers! Right now im trying my luck with the Treforest from Wales. Main goal: stop the TNS from being the kings, and only professional team from the league, and make Wales the new powerhouse of the UK.

Cheers and good luck with trying to stop TNS and your quest to turn Wales into a major league. I think once you qualify for a European group stage you get assigned one of the big grounds such as the Millenium Stadium which should really help you along on your journey.

All the best

Edited by pheelf

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NbyiGer.png

Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2039 / 2040

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Last season saw us take a bit of backwards step in Europe as we were embarrassed by Chelsea in the 1st Knockout Round. The aim has to be to qualify from our group and to try and start making progress again.

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League Table - We had a tougher challenge this time with Larne having a stronger season but ultimately we were never really troubled. It was nice to see Linfield after a few seasons in the doldrums improve and claim a spot in the Europa League qualifiers. Hopefully, it marks the start of a renaissance for them and they can start to close the gap on the likes of Larne in order to start challenging for a Champions League spot in future.

UEFA Champions League - An incredible way to clinch our first Champions League trophy with one of the best finals in the history of the competition. I am mindful of the fact that a lot of our wins were by single goal margins and had our defence been a bit poorer we could be looking at a very different picture but I feel we deserved it. It's going to be a real challenge to retain it but then again if we can keep the core of the team together I see no reason why we can't give the teams we defeated this season a good fight.

Domestic Cups - The Irish Cup quarter-final was disappointing but I had bigger fish to fry so played a weakened side. We only won the Co. Antrim Shield this time around given the weakened sides that were fielded but giving other teams an opportunity to win trophies and gain prize money isn't exactly a bad thing given that I'm trying to build the league.  

Reserves - Not the best of seasons for them but at least they managed to win the league.

Under 18s - A wonderful improvement and it appears that the policy of not allowing players under 18 out on loan is definitely helping. They probably would have gone further in the UEFA Youth League had it not been for the best players in the squad being called up for international duty. They were surprisingly pipped to the title by Larne U18s which meant they ended the season trophyless.

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Squad - I'm seriously excited about the future of this team given the number of wonderkids in the squad. The team is only going to get stronger and if they were good enough to win the Champions League this season we look like becoming regular competitors if we can hold onto our best players. A job which should be made easier given the massive jump in market values that occurred after the screenshot was taken. That should mean that we can command massive amounts of money for our players which should make finding replacements much easier.

Transfers - I felt we needed to improve the quality of the team given how we performed in Europe last season. I think I've been successful in that and I'm happy to have managed it spending only £37M with the vast majority of that figure being covered by selling transfer clauses. Nijland ST was expensive but was truly exceptional in his favoured role of the DLF(S), Pineau MR, on the other hand, didn't do as well but I think that probably had more to do with him taking longer to settle in so I expect improvement next season. I was disappointed to lose Horvat MC especially to Chelsea but he wanted to leave and the fee was record-breaking so I couldn't refuse it. Harland ST leaving was a bit of a kick in the teeth given he is an HG option but as he had a £7M release fee clause my hands were tied, at least I managed to negotiate some nice transfer clauses given the offer was just below the release fee. 

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Average Rating: 7.75
A little bit pricey but he proved to be a vital addition to the squad. Without him, I seriously doubt whether we would have won the Champions League. Given Rousset's injury, I needed someone to step up and fill the void and he certainly did that putting in a string of consistent performances in Europe. I'm not sure whether he will be the long term solution as a first choice central defender but until I find that world beater he will most definitely continue to feature in the team alongside Rousset.
 
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Average Rating: 7.68
He was the clubs 2nd top scorer but as he played the majority of his games in Europe I consider him to have had a better season than Heric. He is being paid an astronomical wage for a club of our means but is worth every penny and still looks to have room to become even better.
 
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Finances - The club is exceedingly wealthy and the balance is likely to get bolstered further next season. I'd like to maintain this balance for the new stadium in the hope it might encourage the board to future proof it a bit by increasing the potential expansion capacity. 

Facilities - Had to upgrade the youth facilities for £2.7M which wasn't an issue. Still in the planning permission stage for the new ground, hopefully, next season we should have something to report.

Youth Intake - A rather good intake once again with Grimshaw ML and Coulter ST looking like the pick of the bunch given their attributes. I decided to leave the signing of the youth contracts to the HoYD and for the first time, he recommended to sign only a few from the intake which I thought was interesting as previously he would recommend that we sign everyone.
 
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League Reputation - Up to 8th which is great but I sense that we will be unlikely to climb further until the other N. Irish teams start to perform better. Larne was fairly uninspiring in the Europa League group stage this season and the rest were knocked out in the qualifiers. Unfortunately, our winning of the Champions League and DBP means that the 11th placed country in the coefficient gets the extra spot instead of another N. Irish team. At least next season will see 3 N. Irish teams in group stage action so hopefully, the money gained will help them to improve.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - The gap has widened but at least some of the teams I feel need to rise up this table to create a more competitive league are doing so such as Linfield.
 
Club European Reputation - Into the top 10 now and among some impressive company. We should be top seeds for next season which might just help us to challenge for top spot in our Champions League group.
 
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Spoiler

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Spoiler

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Edited by pheelf

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Just read through this pheelf. Very enjoyable and great to see the progress.

I only ever play of an edited DB and I boost min attendances to try and kick some finances around the leagues. Had a great Larne and Linfield save going where after 12 seasons they met in the Champs League Final. Unfortunately the player values really seemed to lag and the competition rep went very funny and I grew frustrated at the offer after offer of tuppence for my world class players resulting in a team of unsettled players after every transfer window.

Have got onto the editor again and tweaked the league layouts etc a bit and am ready for a new career.

 

In the mean time il be keeping an eye on your progress.

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On 24/02/2019 at 21:05, Stereo said:

Just read through this pheelf. Very enjoyable and great to see the progress.

I only ever play of an edited DB and I boost min attendances to try and kick some finances around the leagues. Had a great Larne and Linfield save going where after 12 seasons they met in the Champs League Final. Unfortunately, the player values really seemed to lag and the competition rep went very funny and I grew frustrated at the offer after offer of tuppence for my world class players resulting in a team of unsettled players after every transfer window.

Have got onto the editor again and tweaked the league layouts etc a bit and am ready for a new career.

In the meantime, il be keeping an eye on your progress.

 

Glad you're enjoying it.

It is always good to see how other players approach the game and what you have done sounds interesting. I don't think I'll be seeing an all N. Irish final anytime soon or at all in my save but it's nice to see that it is possible to build the league to those heights.

I agree that it does get a bit frustrating seeing such low offers for players but then again it really couldn't be any other way to remain realistic. You will be glad to hear that it improves dramatically once the reputation of the league and your club improves as I have been getting good money for my players of late.

Best Regards

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Posted (edited)

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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2040 / 2041

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We performed miracles to lift the Champions League trophy last season, I don't think we are quite dominant enough yet to retain it but I'd like to put in a good challenge and get close. It would be nice to also win the UEFA Super Cup and become world champions but we'll see how we fare.

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League Table - It went as well as I could have hoped for as the title was clinched before the split. This rendered the final run of games meaningless which was incredibly helpful as it then allowed me to focus all my attention on Europe.

UEFA Champions League - After our narrow scraping through the group in 2nd, I was skeptical as to whether we were going to go very far in the knockout rounds. As it turned out, we actually performed much better and looked a completely different outfit showing exceptional resolve and determination. This was most clearly exhibited against PSG in the semi-final first leg where an early Baack goal (who came back to haunt us) and a 2nd in the first half looked like ending our run. We even went down to 10 men as Nijland ST unnecessarily hacked down one of their players but then we showed a lot of character and turned it around late which gave us a lead to take to Paris which we held onto. Chelsea was a formidable opponent for the final but we turned up and deserved to beat them and get revenge for the hammering they gave us two years ago.

FIFA Club World Cup - No problems at all in Egypt although the team we had to beat in the final was a little surprising.  

UEFA Super Cup - I don't know why it is but I always seem to struggle to win this competition. This time was no different as we threw our lead away thanks to a ridiculous own goal where Greening DC put a lofted pass over the GK into his own net. Then we went and topped it by giving them a late winner from a situation where we should have retaken the lead but instead hit the crossbar. The ball bounced loose to them, they countered, scored and that was the end of that. At least we get another shot next season.    

Domestic Cups - The team managed a record win against Killyleagh which was good but the Irish Cup final was bizarre. I think because it was between the two teams which usually have their home grounds act like neutral venues it kind of confused the game. The result was we then played the final at 'unknown stadium' which in the 3D view looked like we were playing the game behind closed doors given there were no seats at all. More strangely was the recorded attendance which was higher than any grounds capacity in the whole of N. Ireland, did we play the game abroad? Then to put the icing on the cake we lost the game on penalties after a lethargic and lackluster performance. On the plus side, at least it made Linfield qualify for Europe as they wouldn't have done so otherwise.   

Reserves - They didn't exactly set the world alight in the cups but at least they managed to win the league.

Under 18s - A good season from them although I am left wondering whether they could have done a little better in UEFA Youth League. This may be their peak as a number of the better youth players will graduate next season leaving behind a group which doesn't have any real stars.

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Squad - They performed brilliantly in the knockout stages of the Champions League and I'm really happy with the balance of the squad at the moment. If I'm nitpicking I'd perhaps like to see a higher amount of goals being scored from the players in domestic games. The greatest challenge we will face next season will be keeping the squad together as much as possible given their performances but at least the new massive market values should help us to bring in quality replacements if needed.

Transfers - There were a few players that I didn't want to leave such as Scrob DC, Splinter DR, and Baack MC but they insisted so I was happy to bring in the money which enabled me to get good replacements. Greening DC was an excellent signing whose contribution is probably why we managed to retain the Champions League.

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Average Rating: 7.58
He is a little gem and pushed Leskov DL very hard for his place in the first team which is what I wanted. His crossing could be a bit better but even still he managed to assist 5x as many goals as Leskov which was interesting.
 
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Average Rating: 7.58
Although he suffered from some injuries this season he still managed to end as comfortably the top scorer which is impressive for him when you compare his finishing, first touch and dribbling with Auger ST. He may not have the best attributes for a clinical striker but he certainly makes the best of the good attributes he does have which I like.
 
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Finances - If you think the club is wealthy now just wait and see what happens to the balance once the sales of Dmitrovic MC to Chelsea for £120M and Greening DC for £59M to Arsenal go through. That is just the start!! I have no idea what I'm going to do with all this money but it's better to have more than you need than not enough I suppose.

Facilities - There it goes, the new stadium has been announced and will be built during next season. It was remarkably cheap as we paid for it up front for just under £10M which in our world now is an insignificant sum. It will mean that next season will be last at the Oval and having been opened in 1892 it will close having been the home of Glentoran for 150 years (although there were some interruptions during the war). Next season we must try to give it a fitting tribute as we move on to what I'm hoping is a stadium with significant potential for expansion.     

Youth Intake - I appreciate that it's going to be difficult to stand out when being compared to a team full of world class players but this lot look lousy to me. I'm especially disappointed as I've signed 2 youth affiliations, one with a South African team and another with a Chilean team, they don't appear to be doing much for us at the moment though.
 
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League Reputation - It looks like we have hit a ceiling which we won't be able to break through until the other N. Irish teams start improving in Europe.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - We are now a team which is known around the world, shame the same can't be said of any of the other teams in N. Ireland who barely register outside the country.
 
Club European Reputation - Getting closer to the summit now.
 
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Spoiler

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Spoiler

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Edited by pheelf

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, pheelf said:

Glad you're enjoying it.

It is always good to see how other players approach the game and what you have done sounds interesting. I don't think I'll be seeing an all N. Irish final anytime soon or at all in my save but it's nice to see that it is possible to build the league to those heights.

I agree that it does get a bit frustrating seeing such low offers for players but then again it really couldn't be any other way to remain realistic. You will be glad to hear that it improves dramatically once the reputation of the league and your club improves as I have been getting good money for my players of late.

Best Regards

TBH I think something went funny in my DB as Linfield where the top rep team in the world and the NIPL was into the top 10 leagues and NI was 3rd in the co-efficient but I would still get silly offers and player values were shy of £2 mill.

On topic... Great season and some big transfers, defo helps keep the finances ticking over!

Edited by Stereo
typo

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On 04/03/2019 at 15:03, Stereo said:

TBH I think something went funny in my DB as Linfield where the top rep team in the world and the NIPL was into the top 10 leagues and NI was 3rd in the co-efficient but I would still get silly offers and player values were shy of £2 mill.

On topic... Great season and some big transfers, defo helps keep the finances ticking over!

That does sound a little odd to me. I think that maybe there is a lag between reputation increase and market value, it catches up eventually but as they start from such a low base it takes quite some time.

Thanks, the rise in the market values of the players has certainly helped but we are still miles away from being a self-sustaining model. Hopefully, the new stadium should begin to help in that regard. 

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Posted (edited)

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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2041 / 2042

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I'm rather surprised that we managed to retain the Champions League, claiming a hat trick of wins would put us in a special category historically alongside Real Madrid so I'll be trying as hard as I can to make it a reality especially since the board wants a quarter-final place at the very minimum. There is some unfinished business in the UEFA Super Cup and I feel it would be a fitting end to our time at The Oval if we could win it.

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League Table - Another comfortable victory although we had more of a challenge from Larne this time and had to wait until post-split to clinch it. It was nice to see the improvement from Linfield who at one point looked like challenging for 2nd but faded. Next season the top flight will be joined by the hordes of fans supporting Dergview. This is becoming rather irritating as bigger teams such as Lisburn Distillery, Portadown, and Donegal Celtic are missing out who could add to the league, having such weak teams such as Ballyclare get promoted is really stifling progress.

UEFA Champions League - This was an odd campaign, after the first set of fixtures in the group it looked like we would top it easily but then we followed that with 2 losses which left us in 3rd and meant we had to get a win against Anderlecht on the final matchday to guarantee qualification. Thankfully, we did and the other two drew which allowed us to top the group which I thought would give us an easier draw but we got PSG. We performed admirably against both PSG and Bayern Munich managing to squeeze by with the odd goal. Then we drew Chelsea who has basically become our parent club in all but name with the amount of our best players they have bought. Well, it showed and even after a valiant fight in Belfast to recover from 2-0 down we never looked like being capable of beating them over two legs. I'm slightly disappointed but I expected it given the quality Chelsea have in their squad now. They went on to win the trophy and won the EPL accruing over 100 points so did deserve it after an exceptional season.  

FIFA Club World Cup - Off to Mexico this time but the result was the same although by a far smaller margin than last.

UEFA Super Cup - At least we managed to win it this time although it did take a bizarre own goal to do it. With this trophy, we have now won every competition that it is possible to win except the UEFA Europa League, quite an achievement when you consider where we started. 

Domestic Cups - I decided to throw the early season cups by playing the reserves and also did so for the Irish Cup except for the final where I went stronger as I wanted to end the season on a positive note after being knocked out by Chelsea in the Champions League.

Reserves - They did well to clinch the double which was probably helped by having their ranks bolstered with players from the free transfer market which are good enough for the DBP. I wanted to start the process of stockpiling players to loan to the other DBP clubs.

Under 18s - Even though they managed to clinch the domestic double they are declining as a force in the UEFA Youth League. The problem we have is that the best players are graduating and the group is not being replenished with players which are anywhere near the level required.

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Squad - It's amazing how the loss of a few players can have such a dramatic impact on the fortunes of a club. I'm convinced that if we had held onto Dmitrovic MC that we probably would have been able to win the Champions League again, instead he went to a rival and allowed them to win it. The market values of the players have fallen after the screenshot was taken so we could find ourselves having to fend off lower bids for our better players which likely means losses in the transfer market if I need to seek replacements. There are a few players that probably need to be moved on and I'm going to need to bring in a star LM to bolster that area of weakness. I'm confident that with another season under their belt that a lot of these players (especially the wonderkids) will be good enough to have us challenging for the Champions League again, we just need to exercise a little patience in this transition period.

Transfers - It would appear that the club managed to raise an eye-watering sum of money in the transfer market but appearances can be deceiving as the reality was that it wasn't a very lucrative season at all. We had to pay ~£40M of the Dmitrovic transfer fee to Partizan. Also, the money we had to spend on replacing Fabre DL with Sousa DL was more than we received for selling him. The selling of transfer clauses helped but in effect, the squad has been weakened without gaining much financially. I have just got to hope that my gamble on bringing in high potential players pays off otherwise we could have problems going forward. 

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Average Rating: 7.77
I'm really torn on what to think about this. He is our domestic attack duty striker and although he is the clubs top scorer he couldn't break the 30 goals barrier. Considering the money he is being paid and the quality of opposition he faces he really should be scoring a lot more. 
 
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Average Rating: 7.60
He had a really good season after graduating from the under 18s. There is much to like about him and I sensed that we missed him when he got injured for the 2nd leg of the Champions League semi-final. He certainly has a bright future ahead although I am concerned about the interest in him from the EPL and it may be a struggle to keep him but I'm up for the fight as I think he can develop into a world-class winger who should get more opportunities when Alraun leaves at the end of the season.
 
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Finances - As can be seen we are actually worse off than we were last season when the expectation was the exact opposite. I think the wage bill has gotten out of hand and now that the market values of the players have significantly reduced those new lucrative contract extensions are looking like a poor investment. The idea behind signing players to new long term contracts was to give us some security and act as a deterrent for teams as they would have to spend a fortune but now that isn't the case we are just paying way too much on player wages. I think we will be okay for next season to maintain our spending levels but if we don't win the Champions League next season we are going to need to reduce the wage bill. In more positive news, after the screenshot was taken we got around £17M in Champions League prize money and the sponsorship money has increased.

Facilities - It's very clear that even once this new stadium is expanded to its full size it's not going to be big enough to have us among the European elite. It also means that for one season at least we will have a capacity lower than Windsor Park which means that our European nights aren't going to be as lucrative even with the improved corporate facilities. We need to keep the balance healthy and expand as soon as possible to its maximum size. £2.9M was also spent on upgrading the training facilities. 

Youth Intake - We managed to get a couple of players from our affiliates but these intakes have been really poor of late. Craig DC who is the pick of the bunch isn't anywhere near being good enough to ever get into the first team. Considering the money that has been invested in the youth department over 20 years, we have 2 wonderkids to show for it, Harland ST and Brown MR. In my opinion, that is a pretty bad return.
 
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League Reputation - We actually fell which was a bit troubling although in fairness Linfield was dreadful in the Europa League group stages and Larne wasn't much better although at least they managed to get some points whereas Linfield got none. I'm really confused as to why Scotland is ranking so highly in the nation coefficient, the Scottish teams aren't exactly doing well in Europe but they still have this massive 15 point coefficient lead which doesn't appear to budge even after we won the Champions League twice in a row.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - Cliftonville took the plunge at the end of the season and turned professional raising the number of professional teams in N. Ireland to 7 which means a majority for the first time in the DBP. We really need better teams to work their way up the leagues and benefit from the increased money in the top flight if my aim of having a fully professional DBP is to become a reality.
 
Club European Reputation - Still moving up although I would expect a dip next season.
 
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Edited by pheelf

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END OF AN ERA

The Oval has been the designated home of Glentoran for 150 years and has a rich history and has witnessed some astronomical highs and suffered some terrible lows. The story of Glentoran is very much interwoven with the story of its home ground unlike many other clubs and the club owes its very existence to the spirit and determination of its supporters to rebuild after the devastation caused to the ground during World War II.

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When looking at the ground you can see the history etched into it and it provides a great example of a time gone by. Unfortunately, to match the ambitions of the club the expansions which have taken place are no longer sufficient to satisfy the ambitions of a club which has developed into a major European force and has seen the size of the fanbase increase dramatically. Here are some shots from the final home game to be played at the ground which was in front of a sell out crowd as Glentoran hosted Larne in the DBP having already clinched the title.

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The Main Grandstand - As can be seen, the building of an all-seater covered stand was done to replace the small two-tiered stand that existed before.

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The Facing Grandstand - An identical stand was built opposite in order to give the ground a more uniform look.

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The Away End - The uncovered terracing at both ends of the ground remained. Teams with a bigger away following are given the entire end whereas Larne was just allocated a corner which some other DBP teams have struggled to fill.

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An eagle eye view of the ground.

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Scenes at the final whistle which marks the end of Glentoran's time at The Oval. This was shortly followed by a pitch invasion and a ceremony to celebrate the history of the ground. A sad day for the fans but also one filled with optimism for the future. 

Edited by pheelf

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NEW BEGINNINGS

It has taken a total of 3 years but finally, the new stadium is complete and ready to start hosting matches.

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There isn't an awful lot of room for growth but at least when fully expanded it should have a capacity which is double its original size and should be the largest stadium by far in the country. The aim will be to get as quickly as possible to that capacity and then move on to a new club. The first expansion has already been planned for the start of next season and hopefully, it will take the capacity of the ground above that of Windsor Park. It means sadly that the record attendance set against Rangers won't be falling at the new ground but at least it should help the club financially to build a more sustainable income and provide a fairly lucrative away day for N. Irish teams in the domestic cups.

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The first game at the new stadium will be against Institute which should break our record attendance for the DBP but owing to a number of sellouts for Linfield at Windsor Park the attendance won't set a new benchmark for the DBP, that will have to wait until the first expansion has taken place.

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The Main Grandstand is a single tier stand with roof-mounted floodlights much like the rest of the ground. There isn't much more to say really except that it helps to give the ground a uniform look as all the stands are of the same height and design.

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The Facing Grandstand is a mirror image of the Main Grandstand except it doesn't feature the dugouts. There appears also to be a line of boxes running the length of both stands which should mean that we can begin to generate some decent corporate income.

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This is a look toward the newly named Stephen Henderson stand, dedicated to the chairman who has been here since the beginning of my reign and who made this move possible. In addition to the roof-mounted floodlights on all the stands, there are also floor mounted floodlights in all the 4 corners which should provide a good amount of lighting for those European nights which can now be hosted at home. It is also nice to see for the first time a pair of video screens although it probably would have made more sense for them to be in opposite corners of the ground rather than at the same end.

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The away end which has no video screens at all. I can't see it being very full when the minnows come to the ground but credit to Institute who seems to have filled it up relatively well. It also features a row of boxes like all the other stands in the ground.

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A final bird's eye view of the new ground. My overall impressions are that it looks rather bland and uninspiring but at least it won't remain like this for very long when the expansions start. Hopefully, the atmosphere is retained of The Oval and we can turn it into a fortress in Europe.

Edited by pheelf

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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2042 / 2043

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The start of a new era begins as we move into the new stadium. The board demands that we reach the quarter-final of the Champions League, I'd like to challenge for the trophy itself and start at our new surroundings as we mean to go on.

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League Table - We had the perfect season going until we secured the title and then lost the next game to Dungannon. I think there is a UI bug with the table as it shows us with 4 entrants into the Europa League which is wrong. Glenavon should not have an EC icon next to their name as they didn't qualify so I'm hoping that they haven't qualified. Lisburn Distillery will be joining the DBP next season which is nice to see, hopefully, they can stay up for a while and establish themselves in the division. Crusaders turned professional rising the number of professional clubs in the DBP to 8.

UEFA Champions League - The group stage for once was actually fairly straight forward with us relegating Real Madrid to 3rd with our two victories over them. It seems Chelsea are becoming a bit of a nemesis for us with our former players seemingly revelling in scoring against their old team. It was a shame that our campaign had to end that way as we didn't really pose Chelsea many problems and it would have been nice to see a bit of fight from our players.

Domestic Cups - I have no idea why the League Cup final was played at Solitude as we could have easily sold out Windsor Park making a more lucrative day for both teams. It was a fairly poor season in the cups but at least we managed to bring home the Co. Antrim Shield. Coleraine ended up winning the Irish Cup which gives them a place in the Europa League, Crusaders won the DBP Europa League playoff and Linfield finished 4th (the next best-placed team) so qualified. That is why Glenavon shouldn't have qualified for the Europa League next season.

Reserves - There was some impressive margin of victories in the cups but overall this was a below-par season as they only won the Steel & Sons Cup.

Under 18s - They managed to win the league and qualify from their UEFA Youth League group but nothing more.

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Squad - On paper, this team should be capable of winning the Champions League but for the last couple of seasons the players just can't take that final step. Our main problem is the performances of some players in big games such as the semi-final. The main concern is the midfielders and strikers. In the games against Chelsea, we really struggled to have any control of the game and spent large stretches of it defending. On the few occasions where we did create chances, our strikers were wasteful which is problematic as had they taken some of their opportunities it would take a lot of pressure off the defenders. I think the remedy lies in perhaps moving on some players and bringing in some new ones to freshen things up a bit. We don't require anything as dramatic as a complete rebuild but we need some new impetus to help us get over the hump.

Transfers - There wasn't much activity this season as I was determined to hold onto our best players, even ones which wanted to leave which caused some problems but the effect wasn't too damaging. Mayambela DR was a decent signing although I think I have one too many right backs in the first team now and one will need to be moved on. Sanchez ML was an attempt to rectify the area of weakness I identified last season but didn't have the impact I was hoping for, hopefully, we will see an improvement next season. It was a shame to lose Djuzel DC and I will need to go into the market for another central defender as Mcllveen isn't really good enough and should we get injuries to our better central defenders I don't feel he could step in and do a good enough job in Europe.

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Average Rating: 7.89
He did well although given his ability I feel he should be tearing it up in the DBP. He managed just over one assist and one goal every other game in the DBP which would be impressive for your average DBP player but he is probably the best ML in the country so I'd expect a far better ratio especially from a player that takes corners. It's funny as in FM18 my wide midfielders used to contribute far more assists but then again my strikers were scoring ridiculous amounts of goals also. Perhaps I need to do a bit of analysis to figure out what is going on and whether I can make any changes to my tactic to improve matters.
 
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Joao Sousa - DL
Average Rating: 7.66
Another exceptionally talented young player who perhaps should be providing more assists especially given he is playing on attack duty. I struggled to keep him at the club in January after repeated bids from the elite clubs and I feel next season will be much the same except I feel I could probably bring in a replacement this time whereas I couldn't in January.
 
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Finances - The balance isn't looking too healthy but at least it was large enough to fund the stadium expansion without taking out any debt and was bolstered later by Champions League money. The trend is definitely downward and it's astonishing to think that within the space of three seasons we have gone from ending the season with nearly £100M to now ending the season with just over £20M. I've held off from doing it in the hope we would win the Champions League but I think things have deteriorated to a point where I'm going to need to cut the wage bill which is currently ~£72Mp/a. On both occasions where we won the Champions League the wage bill was below £1Mp/w. The first win we had our wage bill was under £675Kp/w (£32.4Mp/a) so there is no real justification for having such an inflated wage bill especially given our relatively small income. I think I have become too attached to the players and been overly generous when it comes to renegotiating contracts which are usually triggered by the players' money-grubbing agents. The trouble is that the players aren't winning the Champions League anymore so why I am still rewarding them? 

Facilities - By late March next season, we will have the biggest stadium in N. Ireland with a capacity of 22,627. Hopefully, we can play a few games in the expanded ground and sell out to break the attendance records and start another expansion at the end of next season. 

Youth Intake - Another awful intake, we are really struggling to produce any decent players. This is not good for the long term prospects of the club as we are having to spend extortionate sums of money to bring young talent from abroad in.
 
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League Reputation - We are really going to struggle to make much progress as even if we win the Champions League the performances of the other teams are so poor that we don't earn many coefficient points as a nation. For the moment, the focus has to be to protect our position rather than try to climb as having 3 teams getting group stage money every season is still very helpful in us building the league.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - There seems to be a chasing pack emerging which is good although it's not reflected in terms of teams competing for the 2nd Champions League spot. Larne is still miles ahead of everybody else.
 
Club European Reputation - I'm actually surprised that we managed to rise to the top but we have been consistently getting to at least the semi-final stage over the last few seasons so it's merited.
 
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Edited by pheelf

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I feel the time has come to make some changes even though I want to keep the 4-4-2 formation. After doing some analysis at the end of the season I realized a few things.

1) The highest shot to goal ratio in the squad was 22% by Auger. That's followed by Heric on 17% which are both respectable figures for players in the Advanced Forward (Attack) role. The problem starts when I look at the players in the Deep Lying Forward (Support) role who both managed a ratio of 7% which is terrible. My assessment of this leads me to the conclusion that the reason why the DLF shoots so much is that he doesn't have any good passing options available to him so opts to shoot instead. Using the TI of 'Be More Expressive' might also be having a bearing.

2) Djeric my Central Midfielder (Support) was among the players which took the most shots during the season which indicates to me that he isn't really performing the role in the squad that I want. I feel the explanation for this lies in the movement of the AF who likes to move into the channels which creates space centrally for him to exploit.

3) After watching back some of the games I realized that the AF tended to be rather isolated and the link-up between the DLF and the AF wasn't very consistent at all. The AF was often too wide or the DLF was too wide or too deep.

You may ask why I'm making changes given how successful I've been but while we are winning I feel we aren't winning well enough considering the squad I have at my disposal. The team should really be putting the majority of teams in N. Ireland to the sword week in week out which we aren't.

In addition, FM19 is a very different animal than FM18 and it's actually impossible to recreate what I did in FM18 exactly so I've had to make certain alterations. The net result was that I ended up with the following tactic.

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As can be seen, the major changes have happened up front as well as the introduction of some new TIs. I removed the Be More Expressive TI as I felt that it wasn't really helping us and given the creative roles I have in the team was largely unnecessary and could be contributing to why my players are taking a load of long shots.

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These are the in transition instructions and I will give my reasoning for using them. I chose the Regroup option for what to do when we lose the ball as I feel that is the best fit for the formation. As soon as we lose the ball I want us to get back into our 2 solid banks of 4 as quickly as we can. Counter Pressing wouldn't be ideal as I don't really need to have enormous amounts of possession in this system so, therefore, it's not imperative that we attempt to win the ball back as soon as it's lost. It would also be hugely detrimental to our defensive shape which is our strength defensively so I wanted to avoid it. Finally, I want the opposition to be able to bring the ball forward as that feeds into the 2nd in transition instruction that I have given.

The reason why I chose Counter instead of Hold Shape for what we should do when we win possession is that I feel the formation is well suited to hitting teams on the counter-attack. When we don't have possession in open play we have 2 strikers up the pitch, therefore, it makes sense that if we win the ball back we should attempt to feed them early when they are likely to have a lot of space to operate in. Finally, I chose to use the TI of Distribute to Full Backs as they tend to often be unmarked and are the best players to start attacks.

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I thought that I had remained pretty much faithful to what I did in FM18 but in reality, I hadn't and was missing a key ingredient. That ingredient was the high press. My justification for having the high press was that I needed my strikers to contribute defensively and also because if the opposition is able to play out from the back and into midfield easily it is hugely problematic for our central midfielders who are outnumbered every time the opposition plays with 3 in the central midfield. Therefore I added the highest possible line of engagement although I haven't altered the pressing intensity and the defensive line. The idea behind it is that the closing down of the strikers forces the defenders to rush with their distribution which I have found often results in a turnover of possession as they pump it long and we can easily retrieve the ball.

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This is where the most dramatic changes have happened and speak to the fundamentals of how I build a system. For me, there are three vital components you need when considering the role distribution in the two key areas of the pitch, the strike partnership, and the central midfield.

1) Holding - In both areas of the pitch, you require a player that is going to hold up the play in order to give his teammates the opportunity to make runs and find space.

2) Creating - There needs to be a player which is going to get the ball down and try to take advantage of the movement around him and play creative passes.

3) Running - You need a player both on and off the ball to make runs in order to either penetrate the opposition defence or provide distraction in order to create space for other players.

In FM18 I had this setup with my partnership, the DLF(S) would drop off the front line into the horizontal channels and hold up the ball and play creative passes when he received the ball. The AF(A) would compliment this by making runs into the vertical channels to make himself available for passes and when on the ball would run at the defenders.

Unfortunately, in FM19 this is no longer the case as for some reason the Move Into Channels PI has been hardcoded for the DLF(S) role and a bunch of other roles also. This makes no sense to me, that isn't why you choose a DLF(S) in your formation, his job isn't to run wide with the ball into the vertical channels in a two striker system. His job is to operate in the horizontal channels and provide an attacking pivot. Therefore I had to abandon the use of the role which left me with only two possible options for my support duty striker. Either the Target Man or the Pressing Forward. The Target Man is a big no for me because of the increased tendency of players to want to pass the ball into him which I don't want.

Therefore my only option was the Pressing Forward which is purely a Holding player that can't be made to contribute creatively or with on the ball running. As a result, I had to then add that component into the AF role which I did by adding the PIs of 'Take More Risks' and 'Dribble More'. I'm hoping to see an improvement but this is by no means the finished article and I'm open to refining the tactic further including the possibility of scrapping the 4-4-2 altogether and using a 4-4-1-1 which avoids all the problems with being unable to select roles because of hardcoded PIs.

Edited by pheelf

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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2043 / 2044

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For two seasons in a row, we have been knocked out of the Champions League by Chelsea at the semi-final stage. We really need to ensure that we don't continue to stumble at that stage so I'm hoping that the tactical changes will help us to take that final step.

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League Table - A very confident and assured performance from the players which resulted in the title being secured pre-split. Looking around the division, it was nice to see Lisburn Distillery survive as the money they gained from doing so will make it easier for them to stay up again next season and a few seasons in the top flight would probably be enough to see them turn professional. It was disappointing that Linfield missed out on Europe but they made a record player sale for over £7M which should keep them comfortable financially. We almost were joined by Donegal Celtic which would have been great but a 2nd leg loss in the relegation playoff meant they remained in the Championship. The league is gradually losing the minnows and filling with the bigger clubs which should prove helpful.

UEFA Champions League - We managed to exorcise the demons of the last couple of seasons and claim our 3rd Champions League win. It almost went terribly wrong in the group stage but thankfully we managed to squeeze through in 2nd on the head to head record over FC Porto. Then we started to show what we were made of and sailed through the knockout stages seamlessly winning all but one of the games. The final was a spectacle which swung back and forth like a pendulum but we again showed unbelievable courage to take home the trophy in adverse conditions having had to play with 10 men for over 45 minutes. In the end, the fresh legs of Coulter ST were too much for the Manchester City backline to handle and he scored twice deep into extra time to take advantage of them who by that point had been reduced to 9 men.

Domestic Cups - I decided to take these more seriously and fielded stronger lineups given the increased capacity of our home ground. I think the gate receipts are shared equally in the cups so I wanted to give the best opportunity for the smaller clubs to generate a bit of extra money. The result was a clean sweep but perhaps I should have attempted to throw the Irish Cup final as that deprived Linfield of a spot in the Europa League. Once again we had that strange 'unknown stadium' in the final, this time we managed an even higher attendance to break the record.

Reserves - It appears that Larne Olympic is becoming a bit of a thorn in their side but at least they managed to win the league.

Under 18s - This was a much-improved performance from them in the UEFA Youth League. It was just a shame they didn't turn up for the semi-final but a remarkable achievement given the quality of youth intakes over the past few seasons.

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Squad - I have to take doff my hat to these players as they don't seem to know the meaning of the word defeat. Even when facing adverse conditions such as having their best player in the squad Xhemajli MC fracture his lower leg and miss all but the final in the Champions League knockout stages or have Sousa DL another top player miss the final through suspension they don't gripe and make excuses, they get on with it and show a determination to succeed which you can only admire. The future is bright for this team and I feel that the sky is the limit in terms of what they can achieve.

Transfers - We had to get busy in the transfer market as we needed to bring in a load of replacements but overall I'm very satisfied with our transfer dealings this season. We made a healthy profit and managed to get some of the highest earners out of the club. We also managed to acquire a number of wonderkids for reasonable money which I feel we can make a profit from in the future. I wouldn't expect to see a lot of activity next season as I will be trying to hold onto our best players given the low market values.

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Joao Sousa - DL
Average Rating: 7.75
The guy is absolute class and had a great season although I felt sorry for him that he didn't get a chance to play in the Champions League final. Leskov DL leaving is the best thing that could have ever happened to him and he has flourished in his absence. I agree with the media description that he is most definitely an elite full back and one of the best in the world.
 
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Average Rating: 7.80
Another player which has really benefitted from having another player that was competing for his spot leave the club. He took the opportunity brilliantly and has significantly developed as a player. He was instrumental in our Champions League win and it was very impressive that he managed a 70% shot on target ratio in the competition.
 
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Finances - All the concerns for the financial future of the club can be put to bed for now. A number of factors helped us to get to this point, the profit we made in the transfer market, the increased money we got from the stadium and the prize money we got from winning the Champions League. I'd like for when it's time for me to move on to the next club if I could leave the club with at least £100M sitting in the balance as while the stadium will increase yearly income significantly it's still nowhere near enough to service such a large wage bill even when fully expanded. We need to ensure that the new manager has some breathing room while he reduces the wage bill to a more manageable amount. 

Facilities - By October next season, the stadium will be at its maximum size which means that no further improvements can be made to build the club for the next 30 years. As a result, that means next season could be the final season at the club as I wait for the Linfield job to become available. Ideally, what I would like to happen is that the Linfield manager sees out the whole of next season and is dismissed or leaves at the end of it. That way I can spend the whole of next season at the club and try to go out in a blaze of glory. If he leaves before then I'll have to resign and apply for the job and if he stays on then I'll just have to wait.

Youth Intake - A little bit better with Robinson looking the stand out player. We have a Ronaldo, shame he isn't anywhere near being the level of his illustrious predecessors who shared the same title.
 
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League Reputation - We recovered a spot which is nice although all I care about at the moment is maintaining our 2nd Champions League spot so that when I finally do move clubs that I can compete for it and help the coefficient. The major reason why nations like Scotland remain so far ahead isn't that they have teams which are going deep into the competitions but because they have a number of their teams earning coefficient points to keep it ticking over. Hopefully, I can begin to establish that if I can get Linfield regularly competing in the group stages in Europe to start earning coefficient points as Larne and the other clubs have been poor.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - No real changes here.
 
Club European Reputation - We're top and should remain top for a few seasons given the lead we have established over the rest.
 
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Great read as always. I remember reading yours from last year so I was glad to see you're doing it again. 

With regards to the stadium, I believe the maximum size is just the maximum size allowed without having to apply for planning permission. I had a similar issue in last years game after I thought my stadium was maxed out but we managed to increase further after successfully applying for planning permission.

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22 hours ago, PThomason01 said:

Great read as always. I remember reading yours from last year so I was glad to see you're doing it again. 

With regards to the stadium, I believe the maximum size is just the maximum size allowed without having to apply for planning permission. I had a similar issue in last years game after I thought my stadium was maxed out but we managed to increase further after successfully applying for planning permission.

Thanks for the comment.

As for the stadium, I always thought that once you had reached the potential expansion capacity that was it in terms of getting expansions and you had to wait until you could build a new stadium to get a higher capacity. How did you manage to get the stadium expanded above the potential? It would be great if I could manage to do that as 30,170 is still quite small when compared to the elite European teams but I feel it's probably time that I moved on anyway.

I've achieved pretty much everything I can with Glentoran and I sense that I am likely at the limit of how much I can build the nation with only one team. The fundamental issue I have is that the rest of the teams are still lagging significantly behind which is restricting further progress with regards to reputation and coefficients. I need another engine in the country driving growth otherwise we'll just end up having a big fish in a small pond. I see Linfield as the ideal candidate given they now have the 2nd largest stadium capacity (18,000) and 2nd highest average attendance (~5,000). Given the way the league has already developed with regards to qualification places in Europe, I think they would be the easiest team to build over a shorter time frame. All that is needed now is to play the waiting game until the job becomes available which might take a while given that their current manager has job status 'Very Secure'.

All the best

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THE BIGGER THE BETTER

It has been a relatively short period of time but the stadium has now hit the potential expansion capacity of 30,170. The effect on the overall look of the ground has been interesting but is probably more evolution rather than revolution. The first game at the newly expanded ground was against Champions League opponents Valencia where we reached a new high attendance of 29,203. After the conclusion of the game, we got the following message.

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£750K in gate receipts isn't a huge amount of money for a Champions League group stage home game but is still a 30% increase on anything we've raised before.

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The expansion has resulted in every stand in the ground now having 3 tiers. It appears that the VIP boxes have all been moved to the middle of the stand from the back.

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A look toward the expanded Stephen Henderson stand. The roof has been replaced on all the stands and the ground no longer features advertisements along the roof. Instead, they have been placed at the bottom of the 2nd and 3rd tiers.

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A view of the away end along with the Main Grandstand and Facing Grandstand. It's nice and full now but I can't imagine it'll be anywhere close to full when the likes of Institute come to play at the ground.

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A top-down view of the ground showing the increased size of the ground. It also shows the painting of the supports for the cantilevered roofs.

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In the first DBP game at the expanded ground, we broke the record attendance. As it was not a complete sell out I'd expect the record will tumble when we welcome a city rival.

Edited by pheelf

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3 hours ago, pheelf said:

Thanks for the comment.

As for the stadium, I always thought that once you had reached the potential expansion capacity that was it in terms of getting expansions and you had to wait until you could build a new stadium to get a higher capacity. How did you manage to get the stadium expanded above the potential? It would be great if I could manage to do that as 30,170 is still quite small when compared to the elite European teams but I feel it's probably time that I moved on anyway.

I've achieved pretty much everything I can with Glentoran and I sense that I am likely at the limit of how much I can build the nation with only one team. The fundamental issue I have is that the rest of the teams are still lagging significantly behind which is restricting further progress with regards to reputation and coefficients. I need another engine in the country driving growth otherwise we'll just end up having a big fish in a small pond. I see Linfield as the ideal candidate given they now have the 2nd largest stadium capacity (18,000) and 2nd highest average attendance (~5,000). Given the way the league has already developed with regards to qualification places in Europe, I think they would be the easiest team to build over a shorter time frame. All that is needed now is to play the waiting game until the job becomes available which might take a while given that their current manager has job status 'Very Secure'.

All the best

Loving the screenshots of the stadium.

Well after it was maxed out, about a season later, the option appeared in board requests to expand the stadium so I just went for it and managed to get it after planning permission was granted.

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On 14/03/2019 at 16:19, PThomason01 said:

Loving the screenshots of the stadium.

Well after it was maxed out, about a season later, the option appeared in board requests to expand the stadium so I just went for it and managed to get it after planning permission was granted.

Interesting, I'm not sure that's how it's intended to work but perhaps you've stumbled across a loophole.

I've played another season and will be reviewing it but I'm kind of stuck when it comes to what to do next.

The Linfield job is still unavailable and doesn't look like becoming available anytime soon. There are also no vacancies at any other N. Irish club or any national team jobs available so my choices are very limited. I feel I need to move on if I'm to make progress towards my goal of making the DBP #1 in reputation but my path forward isn't entirely clear and I'm not entirely convinced that resigning from Glentoran at this point is such a good idea. I'm open to suggestions while I mull this over.  

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This is an awesome story.

I couldn't stop reading. Thanks for the incredible journey.

It took me a while until I realized that the subheadlines in bold are hiding links to pictures, though.  :D

Little fun fact: I stumbled over your guy Doel Bonsu, thinking "wait a minute... I know that name!". Turns out, he's a young talent from my Racing Strasbourg save which I am managing on and off. Never thought I'd see his name turn up in a different save!

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Posted (edited)

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Glentoran F.C.

SEASON 2044 / 2045

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We had an excellent win in the Champions League last season, I'd quite like to retain it if possible.

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League Table - A comfortable win as we had it sewn up pre-split. It was nice to see a much more competitive battle for the 2nd Champions League spot between Larne and Linfield with the latter only missing out on goal difference. This could mark a significant turning point for them as our former U18s Assistant Manager Dorrer seems to have got them firing. It was also nice to see Lisburn Distillery survive again if only barely after a final day win took them off the bottom of the table and they managed a 4-3 aggregate win over Tobermore United in the relegation playoff.

UEFA Champions League - We were having a great campaign up until the semi-final where we got struck down with injuries. Losing 3 of our best players really hampered us and we rather limply bowed out on the away goals rule. At least we have the consolation that we lost to the eventual winners who beat Chelsea 1-0 after extra time but that really doesn't do much to ease the sense of disappointment.

FIFA Club World Cup - There were no difficulties in India as we won the title without conceding a goal.

UEFA Super Cup - Feels good to win this one so convincingly for once.

Domestic Cups - Won the lot except the Charity Shield which was pleasing.

Reserves - Larne Olympic once again stifling their ability to win the cups.

Under 18s - Not too bad, not too good either though.

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Squad - I definitely feel this team is good enough to have won the Champions League but sometimes you just get unlucky. Losing world-class quality players such as Sousa DL, Djef MC & Brown MR would be difficult for any team to deal with especially when coming up against such difficult opposition in Benfica who have a number of top class players in their team. If there is any complaint to be made it would be to the N. Irish footballing authorities who thought it would help us to compete in the semi-final by forcing us to play 4 league games in the week before the 1st leg which resulted in us losing both Djef & Brown to injury. I wouldn't expect a massive overhaul next season if I remain at the club.

Transfers - I mainly went into the market for replacements which resulted in a loss in our transfer dealings. Atsoo ST looks an incredible piece of business as he finished top scorer and for a relatively small price but the other big deals were definitely overpriced especially Zecchinato MC who was meant to be a replacement for Hubert MC who wanted to leave. I am however pleased to have acquired some more wonderkids which should leave a strong legacy.

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Average Rating: 8.02
He had an exceptionally productive season and scored and assisted well. There is a lot to like about him, his either footedness, his great speed, and agility all make him stand out. Unfortunately, there are some downsides which spoil those positive attributes. He's fairly inconsistent and doesn't like playing in big matches and I'm not too thrilled with his average first touch attribute which I think is a critical component of being a winger.
 
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Average Rating: 7.65
The top scorer had a fantastic debut season and I think his consistency is what impressed me the most about him this season which is why he got the prize ahead of Brown MR even though he got a slightly lower average rating. My coaches seem to think he has peaked although I hope that isn't the case as some of his technical attributes while good could do with some improvement.
 
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Finances - The club is doing reasonably well financially although the board did pump in around £15M after the screenshot was taken to bring the balance to around £67M. Hopefully, we should start to see the new stadium help with improving our income but we are still dependent on player sales to keep us afloat.

Facilities - All that can be done to invest in the infrastructure of the club has been done so we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

Youth Intake - Not much depth but an exceptionally talented left midfielder in Agnew joins the club. I didn't realize it at the time but in 2042 I actually had a son come through, Frank Sinclair (yeah). It was only once I checked my manager profile this season did I learn of that fact and I'm absolutely gutted by it as I've never had that happen in all the years I've played FM. He was terrible at football but I would have at least given him a youth contract so that he could have had some form of career even if it was away from Glentoran. What happened instead was that he retired from playing which I can understand. It must be pretty galling to have your own father shun you like that. Poor lad.
 
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League Reputation - Holding firm is better than falling at this point. Portugal and Scotland are still miles ahead in the coefficient ranking while the nations directly below us are really close. Maintain until we can gain has to be the motto going forward.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - I expected we might have seen a club breakaway from the pack by now but not yet.
 
Club European Reputation - Still top and comfortable.
 
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Spoiler

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Spoiler

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Edited by pheelf

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39 minutes ago, Jean-Luc said:

This is an awesome story.

I couldn't stop reading. Thanks for the incredible journey.

It took me a while until I realized that the subheadlines in bold are hiding links to pictures, though.  :D

Little fun fact: I stumbled over your guy Doel Bonsu, thinking "wait a minute... I know that name!". Turns out, he's a young talent from my Racing Strasbourg save which I am managing on and off. Never thought I'd see his name turn up in a different save!

Thanks for the comment. Much appreciated.

Doel Bonsu was our best player during his time but we simply couldn't afford his wages otherwise I'd have tried to keep him. He ended up leaving for Exeter where he spent 4 years before returning home to France where he spent the rest of his career journeying around the lower leagues before retiring from the game completely at 36. Hopefully, he'll have a better career in your save!

Best Regards

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Posted (edited)

JUDAS

I had entertained the thought of managing a team at the World Cup in 2046 with a number of African nations being potential jobs of interest but I decided against it in order to continue on with the main objective of the save. I also didn't want to stay out of N. Ireland for too long given that I feel that the nation has a tenuous hold on its reputation and position in the coefficient table. A couple of poor seasons for Glentoran in Europe could result in the loss of the nations 2nd Champions League spot which could be very damaging in the long run for what I'm trying to achieve.

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The job actually came about in a rather strange way and was a case of manager musical chairs. The first thing which happened was that Tascon the long-serving manager at Larne decided to leave for Real Betis on the 1st March 2046. This then resulted in a shock move with Dorrer deciding to take the job at Larne which left a vacancy at Linfield which I took. To me, that move was inexplicable given that I feel that Linfield are far better placed for long term success than Larne but I'm just glad that I didn't have to wait too long.

History

They are the most decorated club in N. Irish football history but ever since I rocked up at Glentoran have become also-rans. They haven't won the DBP since 2017 and have only finished runners up once since the save began in 2020. They have even stooped as low as finishing in 10th in 2039 but recent years have seen an uptick in their fortunes with them putting in a serious challenge for 2nd last season. As a result of such a poor run domestically they haven't really done much in Europe and haven't ever qualified for the Champions League. They have been in the Europa League group stages twice but on both occasions finished rock bottom of their group. They have won the Irish Cup on two occasions since the save began in 2019 and 2041, the League Cup once in 2030 and the Co. Antrim Shield twice in 2018 and 2030. In total, they have won 5 trophies in 28 years which is a terrible record for a club with their history. Hopefully, I can be the one to restore them to their former glories and push them on to bigger and better things.

Trophies Won

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Club

There is massive potential for this club, even more so than with Glentoran but they are miles behind at the moment. The media have us down as the 3rd best team in the country which I think is a fair reflection of where we are as a club given we have the 3rd highest wage bill in the country. I'm glad to see that the chairman wants to leave, I'm hoping that he gets replaced with an ambitious new owner which will help me to build the club over a shorter timeframe. The 3* reputation should be helpful in bringing in new players although we will need to expand our horizons when it comes to scouting as our current world knowledge is only 5%. We are going to need to unearth cheap gems from wherever we can and our current parameters of buying players mainly from the UK & Ireland is strategically poor given our financial situation and the over-inflated prices we pay shopping in that market. All the rivals are very good and I feel the way I have built Glentoran has helped to spur the club on with the 2nd highest average attendance in the country with all home games against them being sell-outs.

Facilities

The potential expansion capacity of Windsor Park is 28,000 which is only just over 2,000 less than Glentoran's new ground. All of which means that when it comes time for a new stadium we should be building a massive stadium which should act as a great driver of growth in the country as visiting clubs in the cups should get a large amount of money. The club has been improving the youth and training facilities over recent years as a result of a transfer sale which gave them just over £7.3M in 2044 but they are still way off the level which is required although further improvements will have to wait given the finances at the club. I would like to max out the junior coaching and youth recruitment as soon as possible. I also think it's vital that we start to fill Windsor Park more as even though we are 2nd overall we are a large distance from Glentoran who manage to get nearly 5x the number of fans watching their home games on average.

Squad Part 1

Squad Part 2

The first team squad is incredibly bloated which probably goes a long way to explaining why the team cohesion isn't very good and also why the club is over its wage budget. There are 35 players currently in the 1st team squad which is over 3 players competing for each spot in the team which is ridiculous. On the plus side, the squad has a good blend of different ages within it and does have a good amount of quality players. The problem is we have way too many strikers and not enough depth for the left midfield position. That fact makes it all the stranger that the previous manager played a 4-2-3-1 in the majority of games. It is also slightly worrying that our top scorer is a right midfielder and our highest provider of assist is our right back. Given the squad we have at our disposal I'd say we are actually overperforming as while we have a lot of good players we don't have any stars or wonderkids which isn't great given that I have promised the board to sign young players.

Reserve Squad

Under 18s Squad

There doesn't appear to be any player in the reserves that I'd like to introduce into the first team. Although there are a couple of players in the Under 18s which could have a bright future ahead of them. We are severely lacking in staff at the club and that will need to be addressed quickly.

Finances

I can probably understand why Dorrer left for Larne now. Although we are under no threat of losing our professional status this balance is nowhere near enough to start improving the clubs infrastructure. I'm going to need to get that wage bill under control as that is way too high for a club of our modest means. Our first priority has to be to secure 2nd and get into the Champions League qualifiers as that will bring in a good chunk of money. The club has a senior affiliation with Foggia who is in Serie A which I'll be looking to cancel at the end of the season as I seek to turn the club into a selling one and I don't want them to interfere with getting the best price possible for our players.

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Starting Conditions

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I actually think we have a great chance of finishing in 2nd provided I can hit the ground running quickly. It will not be easy given that our final 4 fixtures are Glentoran (H), Larne (A), Glenavon (A) and Coleraine (H) but I'd sooner be in our position that in Larne's who have to make up a deficit and have 3 away games in their run in. I think the key will be what result we get against Larne. I think the game against Glentoran is a free hit and anything we get will be a bonus. That will probably put Larne ahead of us but then they have to play Glentoran after us which will probably allow us to overtake them again as I see no reason why we can't win our last two games. It's going to be a fascinating end to the season. It's nice to see Lisburn Distillery comfortably survive this time around although I was getting a little concerned about Cliftonville who were rock bottom until matchday 24, thankfully, they have recovered well and look safe now.

Career Objectives

The first priority will be on holding on to 2nd place this season and qualifying for the Champions League ahead of Larne as that will be a huge early boost while also damaging a competitor for that spot in the future. I will then use that money to improve the squad and try to build a squad capable of getting into the group stages of the Champions League which could take a few seasons given we have to go through the best-placed route. I think this is going to be a long term project when it comes to toppling Glentoran so the initial focus has to be on establishing the team as the 2nd best in the country first and work on improving in Europe to start earning some vital coefficient points. If we can be competing with Glentoran for the DBP within 5 years I think it will be a job well done as the gap is huge. Here we go!

Edited by pheelf

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Just caught up on this - amazing work with Glentoran and love that you've crossed Enemy lines to Linfield. All the best toppling your former employers!

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2 hours ago, smp20 said:

Just caught up on this - amazing work with Glentoran and love that you've crossed Enemy lines to Linfield. All the best toppling your former employers!

Thanks for your kind words. I know it's going to be a long hard journey to get to the top domestically but I'm up for the fight and hopefully, I might just be able to drag some other teams along for the ride too. As long as the league is improving as a whole that is half the work done from my perspective.

Good luck in your career with Cabinteely although I think you'll be just fine once you get into your stride.

All the best 

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Posted (edited)

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Linfield F.C.

SEASON 2045 / 2046

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I've been given 4 games to turn a good season into a historic one as the club looks to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 2017.

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League Table - After our first game against Glentoran where we suffered a humbling 4-0 defeat I was feeling downbeat but thankfully Larne also slipped up and only drew with Coleraine which took some of the pressure off our showdown. We put in a great performance against Larne and won the game 2-0 which put us 3 points clear of them with an inferior goal difference. We would need a draw to clinch it away at Glenavon in the penultimate match as I felt Glentoran would beat Larne but we went one better and won rendering Larne's creditable draw against Glentoran meaningless. This is a great start to our time at Linfield and while I don't think we are going to get into the group stages of the Champions League next season the money we get from participating in the qualifiers will certainly help as we prepare for an assault on the Europa League group stages.

UEFA Europa League - They had a fairly good campaign and even held hopes of reaching the knockout stages but in order to do that, they would have needed to beat Bayer Leverkusen in Germany on the final matchday which realistically was never going to happen. At least they broke new ground by managing their first win in the group stage.

Domestic Cups - A fairly poor season for them in the cup competitions, they probably should have done a bit better against Cliftonville in the League Cup given how poorly they were doing in the league at that time.

Reserves - They are really lacking in quality so it comes as no surprise that they didn't pull up any trees this season.

Under 18s - Another team without much quality and depth which is represented in their mediocre season.

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Squad - On first glance, I thought that perhaps we might just need to gradually evolve the team over time and that the majority of players we have would be good enough for a few seasons at least. On further inspection, I have come to realize that this team needs major rebuilding. If we are to make improvements and close the gap on Glentoran there aren't many players in the squad that can get better as they are all playing at their maximum potential with the exception of maybe Rajkovic DC. I won't be able to correct all the issues straight away but I will need to address the following as a matter of urgency.

- We need more depth in the LM position as Lynch can't be expected to play in all the fixtures next season and we are going to need to rotate.

- We need to try and move on some of the high earning older players such as Llywd DL and Major AMC and get rid of all the players who have their best position as AMC given I want to play my 4-4-2

- We need a couple of quality support duty strikers along with a player that can rotate with El Hamdaoui in the Central Midfielder (Defend) role.

Transfers - I don't think Dorrer did particularly well in the transfer market and the only player I rate enough to have a long term future here is Rajkovic. We are going to need to get busy and scour the globe looking for talent which will be made a bit easier now that I have 4 scouts but is still going to be a struggle. We are also going to need to change the scouting packages from N. Ireland only to Worldwide as soon as we can.

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Average Rating: 7.24
From what I have seen of him he looks decent as he scored our opener against Larne with a quality free kick. I am a bit perturbed by the fact he is the clubs top scorer but that probably says more about his teammates than he does about him. He is a player I think I can work with.
 
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Average Rating: 6.78
Given that he is the only player in the first team who is 21 years of age or younger the award had to go to him even though he only made 3 appearances. I think given some game time to develop he will become a good central defender but I hope by this time next year he is one of a few talented young players in the first team rather than being the sole potential recipient of the award.
 
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Finances - We're not doing well financially which is going to make the task of rebuilding the squad that much harder. There appears to be light at the end of the tunnel however as a consortium is in talks with the current chairman over buying the club. I'm hoping they invest a bit of money into the club although I'm rather offended by their statement that they would replace me with some third rate manager should their takeover bid be successful. I wouldn't take such umbrage if the guy was decent but his sole achievement as a manager is to have contributed to Tranmere Rovers getting relegated from the Championship. The only reason why he doesn't have their relegation on his record is that he was sacked in late March. Hopefully, common sense will prevail and they stick with the 3-time Champions League winner. I'd like the takeover to hurry up and finish though as having an embargo isn't helping us to prepare for our Champions League campaign. I've cancelled the affiliation with Foggia which I'm hoping will increase the interest in our players as we are going to need to sell before we can buy. 

Facilities - Not as bad as it could have been but a large amount of investment is going to be needed to bring them up to scratch. I requested the junior coaching to be improved but they responded that we haven't been here long enough to be requesting things, which is fair enough I suppose.

Youth Intake - I wasn't at the club to capture the youth intake so I thought I'd just put a screenshot of the current youth team. McKendry ST looks a very good prospect that I'll be hoping to develop if not for usage in the first team but for potential money from selling in the future.
 
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League Reputation - Even though we stayed in place in terms of the reputation we are already on the decline in the nations coefficient ranking. The result is that from the season after next 2nd place in the DBP will have to qualify from the 2nd Qualifying Round in the Champions League instead of the 3rd Qualifying Round which means that the team finishing 2nd will have to win at least one tie to guarantee group stage football. I blame Glentoran for this as they finished 3rd in their Champions League group then were knocked out in the 1st Knockout Round of the Europa League by Spartak Moscow. Especially disappointing given that Linfield and Larne actually performed better than usual.
 
Club Domestic Reputation - We have become the best of the rest but the gap to Glentoran is huge.
 
Club European Reputation - Our coefficient is terrible which means we could face a real heavyweight in the Champions League qualifiers but we'll give it our best.
 
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Spoiler

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Spoiler

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Edited by pheelf

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On 21/03/2019 at 15:28, Deisler26 said:

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Behind enemy lines...

In the season I'm going to report on I've decided to change back to the Deep Lying Forward from the Pressing Forward and have removed the additional instructions from the Advanced Forward. I was finding that the AF was often too advanced to contribute in a meaningful way to the buildup of attacks and the Pressing Forward wasn't dropping off enough to help. It's not ideal having both strikers with the PI of Move Into Channels but I'll just have to roll with it and early signs indicate that it has improved things a bit. 

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