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neilhoskins77

(FM'18) Conquering Asia......Probably.....Eventually.....Maybe.....

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After a few weeks absence due to a few more health issues (I surrender Doc, if I were an animal they'd have put me down years ago), I'm back, and with a new story, which is the first of a few new story ideas I've got planned for you to hopefully enjoy. To make life a little easier for myself, this one will contain less in the way of match reports, with part of the work being done via links to screenshots that I will host on Imgur.

Everyone knows that Asia is the future of football (Really? This brain injury may be worse than we thought - ED), and I want a piece of the action. I'll start at the bottom if I have to......yeah, actually, I will absolutely have to. More on that in a little while. So a whole host of Asian Nations have been loaded into the game, 39 of them to be precise, along with the Home Nations and South Africa.

I intend to be very realistic when I apply for jobs at the start of the game. For example, I won't be going to Afghanistan, Palestine or Syria. If I had wanted to go there, I'd have joined the Army, not become a Football Manager, right?

Look, enough of this 'me trying to be funny' and you telling me 'how much you're looking forward to seeing how I get on' and yadda yadda. Let's get this started shall we, before Harry Redknapp hears they sell scotch eggs on the sub-continent now and ditches Ant and Dec for a crack at one of the jobs I want!

Now get lost, I've got a flight to catch!

-----------------------------------------

Hi! remember me? Oh, ok then. Bit of a blow to my confidence.

So I'm having a go at FM'18, and I have loaded many Asian Nations into the game. Don't ask me where I got them from! I didn't go around anyone's house or anything, I got them from t'interweb! As such this story is kind of a test run to check stability, though I'm hoping it will still make for an interesting story. I'm starting the save as I always do, with my experience set to Sunday League Footballer, and this time, with no coaching qualifications to my name either.

Other Loaded Nations :-
England (Level 10 - seriously, Tiverton Town or Hong Kong, you choose!), Northern Ireland (Level Three), Republic of Ireland (Level 2), Scotland (Level 4), Wales (Level 1) & South Africa (Level 2).

Asia (Levels in brackets) :-
Afghanistan (1), Australia (2), Bahrain (2), Bangladesh (2), Cambodia (2), China (3), Chinese Taipei (1), Hong Kong (4), India (3), Indonesia (3), Iran (3), Iraq (1), Japan (4), Jordan (2), Kuwait (2), Kyrgyzstan (2), Lebanon (2), Macau (3), Malaysia (3), Myanmar (2), Nepal (1), North Korea (1), Oman (2), Pakistan (1), Palestine (2), Philippines (1), Qatar (2), Saudi Arabia (3), Singapore (3), South Korea (5), Sri Lanka (1), Syria (1), Tajikistan (2), Thailand (3), Turkmenistan (1), United Arab Emirates (2), Uzbekistan (3), Vietnam (2) & Yemen (2).

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Monday 13th February 2017
With so many nations added into the game, there are heaps of available jobs across Asia. I spend plenty of time going through them, having a fairly clear idea of what I'm looking for. Somewhere I could make my name, where it wouldn't be too difficult to attract players comparatively, and English speaking would be a bonus to help me settle in for my first job.

There were a few obvious choices, Singapore and Hong Kong of course, with Macau and Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) as interesting options, and a surprise contender in Myanmar. I narrowed it down to three jobs, discounting Macau as it would need two promotions to get to the top tier of a League that would still feel very much like a bottom tier, and also Taiwan, as their League has just one Division with eight clubs, and the only two vacancies are at University sides.

So on my first day of job hunting, I apply for three jobs.........

Singapore - Kembangan United

Myanmar - City Stars

Hong Kong - Islands District

...........and within hours of applying, all three offer me job interviews.

United

Stars

Islands

I applied a different technique in each interview. Not because I told them what I thought they wanted to hear. That was most certainly not the case. In fact, I told the Myanmar club that I wanted to sign young players for the First Team, despite knowing they were against me doing that. It wasn't a case of being arrogant in any way, more that they just needed young players!

Had I chosen to be arrogant though, surely I would be within my rights, wouldn't I? After all, these clubs clearly don't have the luxury of a lengthy shortlist of Managers all desperate to manage their clubs. At least, that is the assumption I made from them giving an interview to a guy they had never heard of from thousands of miles away within twelve hours of him applying for the job.

Each of the interviews seemed to go fairly well in their own way, but they were each clearly in no particular hurry, despite having already shown their hands to a large extent.

Thursday 16th February 2017
After hearing nothing for almost exactly three days, I hear from each of the three clubs, all within three minutes of each other. Bit strange. What wasn't especially strange was that all three made me a job offer......

Islands Job Offer

Stars Job Offer

United Job Offer

It was nice to have options, but with options I had a decision to make, and fairly quickly, I discounted the job in Hong Kong. They are an amateur side, and already with a well stocked squad, but the season doesn't begin for another for another six months. And they weren't paying me.

Myanmar was very interesting, and I was tempted. If they had been the only ones to make me an offer, I wouldn't have been too disappointed. The season was almost a third done by the time they got an offer to me, the squad was decent, especially their striker from Cameroon who was going to be scoring goals for fun in that League I suspect.

But for realism, and an excellent starting point, it had to be the job in Singapore. It was the most money, though of course in the most expensive of the nations to live in, but also the best footballing decision. There were only four players employed by Kembangan United when I agreed to join them, but they were four decent players, and I liked their chances of earning a top two spot in the eleven team Singapore National Football League Division Two. They had played two of their twenty League matches, drawing both.

**At this point I should mention that my decision to make this into a story for the boards came a couple of weeks into the game itself, and as such, I don't have any screenshots of how the squad looked or how the League table shaped up at the point I took the role. Apologies**

Kembangan United appoint Hoskins

I negotiated somewhat to try and earn myself some beer money. Not that the extra £15 a week is likely to go too far in Singapore. Just as well the club are picking up my rent and expenses......

Welcome to Kembangan United

The New Boss

For a club that is now 15 years old, Kembangan United have made very limited impact on football in Singapore. They have achieved nothing of note at all, or if you want to put a positive spin on things, they have an empty trophy room waiting to be filled.......a bit like Tottenham Hotspur, but, well, smaller......

Fifteen Years of Nothing

Chairman of the club, one Mr Stuart Chan had asked me what I would expect to achieve this season in my interview earlier in the week. He outlined that a safe mid-table position would be the minimum, and without wanting to put myself under too much pressure, especially with the walk home being such a long one, I had accepted that as my aim should I get the job.....

2017 Expectations at United

So without knowing it at the time, that interview had seen me set myself my target for the season, and had also cemented the wage budget that the club were going to allow me to work within. Unknown to me was that £580 of that £750 was already being spent. And that wasn't even the worst surprise I was going to get when it came to how things were done here.....

Next Time.....
Filling out the Playing Squad and Backroom Staff, plus my Managerial Debut.......

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Friday 17th February 2017
I was told we're a semi-professional club. The four players who are already at the club are all being paid a wage. It was one of the primary reasons that I took the job here. Players are contracted, I get the chance to build my squad.

No. Not quite. With no backroom staff, I had to address that first. Offers were sent out for the most important of the backroom roles. But with only four Senior players and a whole bunch of greyed out guys, and a League match in two days, I had to start hitting the Transfer Lists to find some players quickly.

Bingo. I heard about Gavin Lee. 26 years old, and he can play centre back, centre midfield, and the holding defensive role between the two. Surplus to requirements at Singapore Cricket Club's football side, despite having been there five years. He isn't a world beater, but he will do us for now. And then the problems started......

Wage Budget doesn't quite mean what I expected Wage Budget to mean here. The players are paid an appearance fee, which is taken from the Budget, but they don't get paid and tied to a contract in the traditional sense that most are used to. Immediately, I am disheartened. I know any real level of success will see my players targeted and poached by higher Division and reputation clubs who can, and will, pay them more. Of course I have signed my deal, and I'm getting paid. I may as well make the best of it.

Lee was only one of the players to receive an approach from us today, 33 year old centre back Akbar Salim, 18 year old defensive midfielder Azryzal Haiqel and 18 year old left winger Danial Jaafaran. All have commenced talks with us by the end of the day after being sent an offer as a Free Agent, or having an offer to take them on a Free Transfer accepted by their current club.

Saturday 18th February 2017
Nothing is moving as quickly as I would like though, not least as other clubs are interested in some of the players we are trying to bring in. It is better news when it comes to the backroom however. I will at least have a Coach and an Assistant Manager in place in time for tomorrow's match. 47 year old Andrew Lim is the Coach, with 31 year old Tzu Liang Edwin Neubronner set to take the role of my Assistant. It's a second role in the game for Lim, who has previously worked as a Managing Director at S-League side Tampines Rovers. For Neubronner, it is a first role in football.

Neither is likely to have anything like enough of an impact to help us get something out of tomorrow's match against promotion candidates, Kaki Bukit.

Gameday #3 Pre Match

Sunday 19th February 2017
With only hours to go until the first match of my managerial career, I get some further help in the backroom. 33 year old Johan Allen has also joined the club as a Coach, the second of my staff to be taking his first role in football, actually, third if you include me as well.

But no players are signed in time for this match, and with only four Senior players, we are on a bit of a hiding to nothing against one of the League's stronger sides. I've included a shot of the formations to show you just how I was practically forced to play with the squad I have at my disposal.

Kembangan United 1 Kaki Bukit SC 2

Stats & Ratings

Formations

What a choker! After holding our own superbly, and forcing our guests to shoot largely from range with limited success while we tried to catch them on the counter, we took the lead with just eight minutes left to play through our 21 year old striker, Zul Elhan, grey strike partner Mohd Ridza Agus playing him in with a peach of a through ball. But we had poked the bear, and with no substitutes that were going to help us, and already playing a haphazard formation, we were about to be swamped. Substitute Mohamed Farouk crossed from deep on the right with four minutes to go, and Zuhaili Suib saw his header kept out, but he lashed the rebound into the roof of the net. Just one minute later, the other striker Mohd Na'eem Abdul Malek was first to a knock down from a corner, and we were beaten.

That's the clubs first defeat this season, and drops us down to 9th place. It's not a great start, but with 12 days before our next fixture, I'm hoping our squad will have an entirely different look to it next time around. That will allow us to play a much more conventional formation, making me look slightly less of an absolute novice into the deal as well.

Our recruitment is going to be very important. My contract is for this season only, and with a promise of a safe mid table place, I need to make sure we build a squad with enough quality to hit that target. As such, looking after the finances was not going to be much of a priority for me here. This is not a club that is going to get me into the big time, so I'm here for a good time, not a long time.

The recruitment begins in earnest right away................

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Monday 20th February 2017
We got our first new signing in through the door late last night, addressing an important area where we had zero balance, with the arrival of another winger. 16 year old Azrul Jailani isn't quite ready to be a world beater just yet. But he turns 17 next week, and the backroom staff believe that with regular training, we might have a decent young player amongst our ranks.

Azrul Jailani Signs

Azrul Jailani Profile

While he may be the only player to arrive today, we do bring in a backroom staff member who should be able to help us out. 36 year old Sukhbir Lounis is our new Chief Scout. And he arrives with gifts too. Namely, report files on several players, one who he says would be a bit of a game changer for a club at our level. I take a look at the file, and tell him to make the call and get the ball rolling.

Tuesday 21st February 2017
Talks begin early this morning with the centre midfielder that the new Chief Scout recommended. We will not be the only club trying to get his signature, so we try and get in first. He asks for some assurances before we start talking numbers. I do everything I can to convince him this is a good fit for him.

Adding a second Scout should help us continue to increase our options, and that spot is taken by Manoj Leow, a 38 year old who is every bit as good as our Chief Scout at unearthing talent, and is also taking his first role in Senior football. He is also bringing an ace card with him, this time in the shape of a teenage striker who he insists will be a hit at our club if we bring him in. I have nothing to lose in this case, and start talks with the striker.

The day is completed with the arrival of another piece of the backroom staff, 28 year old Jacob Allen will become the Head Physio at United, as we start to get a reputation for giving personnel their first chance in the game.

Wednesday 22nd February 2017
A good day for us, with two more players arriving at the club to sign for us today. I'm not going to tell you any lies about Syafiq Baharudin, the 20 year old isn't an exceptional talent by any stretch of the imagination. But the former youngster of S-League club Balestier Khalsa can fill a number of positions, and with a threadbare squad such as ours, that versatility could count as much as anything else right now. Time will tell, but at our level of football, he will expect to play, and right now at least, he almost certainly will.

Syafiq Baharudin Signs

Syafiq Baharudin Profile

We fill another important spot where we had a gap today as well, with the arrival of a goalkeeper. In some areas, such as height, reflexes and jumping reach, 19 year old Hariz Farid shows up pretty well. In other crucial areas such as agility, communication and command of his area, he may as well be a striker. Beggars can't be choosers though, and the backroom team think he will improve with regular First Team football. He's another who was a failed youngster with an S-League club, in his case, Warriors FC.

Hariz Farid Signs

Hariz Farid Profile

Thursday 23rd February 2017
There are still plenty of irons in the fire as they say, but today is a quieter day for us. I was beginning to think earlier today that we might miss out on 18 year old left winger Danial Jaafaran when our Division rivals and next opponents South Avenue SC offered him a Trial. But he was already in possession of a contract offer from us, and shortly after lunchtime he confirmed that he would be joining us at United. The backroom staff think he's alright, and I know I keep mentioning 'our level', but I think he's a bit better than that for this third tier. A bit of pace and good crossing with decent dribbling is a good base for him. He's a second player we have picked up who was with Balestier Khalsa last season.

Danial Jaafaran Signs

Danial Jaafaran Profile

Friday 24th February 2017
My second game in charge at United is a week today, and there is still much work to do with our squad. I start the day by beginning talks with a much needed defensive midfielder, a player who I thought would fill one of our Foreign player spots, of which we are able to register three in the squad, and right now we don't have any. It turns out he is a Dual National, so would count as a non-Foreign player. South Avenue immediately make their move to try and sign the same player.

The media are linking us with a centre back who is currently playing for Admiralty FC, who play one tier higher in the National Football League Division One. It is not a player that I have actually shown in interest in whatsoever, and later in the day he does make the move down a level into our Division, not with us, but with rivals Jungfrau Punggol. We will see both them and their new centre back when we meet in a League match next month.

I engage in talks with another midfielder, this one an attacking midfielder who has spent multiple years with an S-League club, albeit without making his Senior debut. We then suffer our first real setback when it comes to recruitment, as we miss out on the signing of a 33 year old centre back, who rejects not only us, but two other sides from our Division to join another of our League rivals, Academy Junior Football PTE LTD.

Still, as one door closes and all that. Late in the evening, I do finally get a centre back in through the door. 26 year old six footer Gavin Lee arrives at the club, the player who I first spoke to and about a week ago. He has been with Singapore Cricket Club for several years without playing any football, and the backroom staff are unimpressed with his credentials. I think he's worth a shot, scoring high for leadership and decision making. The fact he can cover in the holding role and in midfield are good bonuses as well.

Gavin Lee Signs

Gavin Lee Profile

Saturday 25th February 2017
Eleven clubs in a Division mean that someone is always going to get a week off. This weekend is our turn, and that was very good timing, giving me more time to address the gaps in the side before we return to action. But while the players we do have get a weekend off from competitive action, the club is still busy trying to make steps forward.

Today those steps come in the form of more backroom staff arrivals. 35 year old Kelvin Bell is a further addition to our Scouting pool, while 48 year old John Lounis becomes our new Head of Youth Development. Both are taking up their first role in football.

Sunday 26th February 2017
I'm learning it is hard to keep anything quiet in a city or nation this small. Our attempt to get an upgrade on recent teenage arrival Hariz Farid in goal has found it's way into the media within hours. This keeper is older, more experienced and better. He is a Full International, and would take up one of our Foreign player spots. It will be some job convincing him it's a good move, but he isn't playing for a top end club by any means right now. However, better clubs than us are now aware he is an option, and my gut instinct is that we will almost certainly lose out.

Azrul Jailani turns 17 today, and as such moves from the Youth Contract he signed a week ago, on to the Non-Contract terms where he gets paid an appearance fee. These appearances fees are mounting up, and the club are already starting to become concerned with the finances, and I haven't finished putting the squad together by any means. Today they have notified me that as of now, none of the money that I bring in via outgoing transfers will go into the Transfer Budget. It's not a major issue, only the four players who were already here are actually on contracts. The others that I have signed are all on Non-Contract deals, and I can't stop them leaving for Free.

I have received a Scouting report on South Avenue SC, who we will host in our next match on Friday. I'm told to expect them to play a fairly standard 4-4-2 tactic, and that if we were to match up with them, we would likely be favourites for the three points. It is certainly information worth considering.

Monday 27th February 2017
It is a big day for the club, as we bring in a signing that is likely to catch the imagination of any Kembangan United fan. It's the 30 year old midfielder that my Chief Scout told me about on his arrival, and today we got our man. Hull born Tom Beattie fills the first of our three Foreign player slots. He spent three years with hometown club Hull City, failing to crack their First Team. He arrived in Singapore four years ago for work reasons, and took the chance to reignite his football career while here. He has played over fifty times in the S-League between spells at Hougang United and Warriors FC, and now he will be operating in our midfield. He is way better than any player that this club has ever signed before, and the fans are delighted.

Tom Beattie Signs

Tom Beattie Profile

Tuesday 28th February 2017
It's the final day of February, and I learn that we face competition for the attacking midfielder we are chasing. He has now received an offer from a side one tier above us, Siglap FC joining the race for the 22 year old's signature.

But it's not all bad news today, as we sign a new striker. It's the teenager that my second Scouting arrival suggested we sign. Syed Fadhil Akbar is just 16 years old, and diminutive to say the least at just 5'5 and not much more than eight stones in weight. He is very raw, a good finisher with a degree of composure as well. But he has a lot of work to do, mainly on his positioning, concentration and work rate. The staff like him, they think he could improve quickly and significantly. The fact that he can also fill in on the left wing is a bonus for us. Versatility is a good thing.

Syed Fadhil Akbar Signs

Syed Fadhil Akbar Profile

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Ooh wee, welcome to Singapore mate! :D :thup:

Tom Beattie is quite a coup there. He was quite popular with the fans during his time at Warriors.

Anyway, I wish you all the best with this. Also, sorry to hear about your health problems. Hope everything is alright.

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7 hours ago, BenArsenal said:

Ooh wee, welcome to Singapore mate! :D :thup:

Tom Beattie is quite a coup there. He was quite popular with the fans during his time at Warriors.

Anyway, I wish you all the best with this. Also, sorry to hear about your health problems. Hope everything is alright.

Hi Ben, cheers mate! Do you need season tickets? We could do with the numbers! Heck, bring your boots fella haha

Beattie is a very good signing for us, he's playing well under his level in this League, and could actually be a game changer for the club.

Thank you very much, I appreciate it on both counts. Two years nearly down the line, and I'm still getting issues. Starting to feel like it will always be this way unfortunately.

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Wednesday 1st March 2017
Into March, and what will become my first full month in charge of the side, assuming I don't get sacked of course. The month starts with some good news for our finances. While I hadn't looked at them, because I don't care, I had noticed the appearance fee I was able to offer was reducing fairly quickly. A new kit sponsorship deal has been signed today, swelling the clubs coffers by £11,000.

New Sponsorship Deal

When your employers sign a new deal for a sponsorship worth just barely in the tens of thousand(s) range, it'd be rude not to celebrate, wouldn't it? Meal at a swanky hotel? Over priced beers in a pretentious bar? Or fill up another of the teams key roles with a Japanese 20 year old midfielder who is also a Singapore National and doesn't take up one of your Foreign Player slots? Well the latter was probably the cheapest option, though at £85 per appearance, there is some pressure on Shuntarô Takata to prove his worth quickly. He is another small player at 5'5 tall and barely over 9 stone, but he is very comfortable in that holding role, and can operate slightly further forward as a ball winner as well. As I hope to play a possession style of football, his ability to win the ball back for us will be important. The fact he is a Dual National is an absolute bonus, as we still have two free Foreign Player spots in the squad.

Shuntarô Takata Signs

Shuntarô Takata Profile

Thursday 2nd March 2017
On the eve of my second game in charge, our recruitment drive for both players and backroom staff has been a roaring success so far. But there is still a gaping hole in our squad, as we do not have a natural right back yet. I attempt to solve that problem with an offer to take a 28 year old from a club in the tier above us. He is a centre back who can operate in the right back role, and as he is contracted with a guaranteed weekly wage, he might be tough to get here. His club Singapore Armed Forces Sports Association do accept our Free Transfer offer though, but word quickly gets out again, and once more we will likely face competition for the signature.

The 6,000 seat Jurong Stadium, which we share with three other National Football League clubs, is going to be far from full for tomorrows match. Our average attendance is only 8th best in the Division of eleven clubs. But there is speculation that our figures are going to be increase a bit over the coming weeks, thanks in large part to the positive feedback from the fans regarding the players we have brought in, and in particular the signing of Tom Beattie. The fact that South Avenue are expected to bring anything up to 200 fans with them tomorrow night doesn't hurt the numbers either. At Even money, we are favourites for the game.

The player we are looking to bring in at right back has agreed to start discussing personal terms with us late today. He isn't going to be cheap, but with other clubs also interested, we can't afford to try and bring him down on price very much at all. The club who defeated us in my first game in charge, Kaki Bukit, have also offered him a deal.

Friday 3rd March 2017

Kembangan United 2 South Avenue SC 0

Stats & Ratings

Game#4 League Table

What a difference a couple of weeks make. With just one grey player at right back, and club debuts for six in the starting lineup and then another two from the bench, we looked an entirely different proposition for our visitors. Playing a conventional 4-4-2 this time with a standard mentality rather than looking to counter, we looked to seize the initiative early on, but were fortunate not to be behind at the break when Mohd Azril Reza Mohd Razri's first time shot came back off the cross bar. Mohd Asyraf Fong Mohtar had an even better chance before the break when the ball was chipped over our defence and he decided to shoot first time, his volley fortunately high and wide. We lost Shuntarô Takata just after the hour mark with an injury, but it didn't impact us too badly. Tom Beattie sent the ball into the box, and debutant teenage striker Syed Fakhil Akbar found his striker partner with an outrageous piece of skill, controlling the ball and then backheeling it to Zul Elhan, who sidefooted home the opener. Moments later, Beattie was involved again, finding Takata's replacement Syafiq Baharudin, and he picked out Elhan, the striker this time curling his shot across goal and in off the far post, a goal that would take him to the top of the League's goalscorer charts, four in as many games. A late injury to the impressive debutant Beattie took a little gloss off the result, Danial Jaafaran also making his debut with a late cameo appearance.

After the match we learned that Beattie had suffered some damage to his knee ligaments, fortunately not too serious, likely to keep him out for between 2 and 3 weeks. The news was much better on Shuntarô Takata, who had nothing more than a bruised shin, and he will be fine for our next match in just over a weeks time. Meanwhile Zul Elhan is loving life at the club he joined last year, and his first four Senior games of his career have so far seen him record an average of a goal a game.

**From this point on, I am caught up, and recording notes and screenshots as they happen. If there is anything you'd like to see from my game, then please ask, and I will accommodate where I can.**

When a chance to sign a player who would be classed as one of our Foreign Players came up, my staff told me that I should sign him at any cost. I'm not sure the Chairman is going to see it that way, as his appearance fee is eye watering compared to the rest of our squad. Still the offer is made, and we will see what happens.

There is no more waiting to see with the attacking midfielder we were chasing. Late tonight he lets us know he has made his decision, and 22 year old Cameron Bell will be arriving to join us having rejected the chance to sign for Division One club Siglap FC. More comfortable behind the strikers, he can also play up front if needed, and in an emergency could also do a job in the middle of the park. He spent four seasons with S-League side Tampines Rovers without making his Senior debut, before having a year out of the game last year. He looks a pretty solid player and a decent acquisition.

Cameron Bell Signs

Cameron Bell Profile

Saturday 4th March 2017
It's disappointing news, but not entirely unexpected, as we miss out on the goalkeeper who we were chasing. Their identity can now be revealed as 31 year old St Vincent & Grenadines stopper Kenyan-Desmond Lynch. The 17 times capped 6'2 keeper was still playing in his home nation up until a couple of years ago, and then made the move to Singapore to sign for non-League side Rendevous FC. He wasn't playing any competitive football for them, which gave us some hope that we might be able to talk him into playing for us. But S-League side Duli Pengiran Muda Mahkota have flexed their financial muscle to make him a much better offer.

Sunday 5th March 2017
We are in for another player, this one from a Division rival. He's only 18, and would likely provide cover for the most part, but he is also being courted by several other clubs in our League. This will give us a chance to see how we fare when competing for signatures against clubs at the same level as ourselves.

Tuesday 7th March 2017
We continue to search for options to improve both our starting eleven and our depth. This time it's a centre back from Singapore Armed Forces Sports Association who play a Division above us. He's a 26 year old who looks like a solid enough player, and has been told that he is free to find another club as he is now out of favour with them. Our offer to take him on a Free Transfer is quickly accepted, but the player himself tells us that right now, he isn't interested in dropping down a level.

Thursday 9th March 2017
The Foreign player with the eye watering appearance fee has received another offer today, this time from Yishun Sentek Mariners, who play in the next Division up from us. They have several players with an impressive valuation including a pair of Singapore Internationals, but no one who would earn weekly what we would be paying this guy for each appearance in a United shirt. We will have to wait and see what happens with this one.

We have filled a second Foreign spot today though. We have completed the signing of 28 year old Chinese midfielder, Wang Sien. He was a youngster with the now defunct Yaqi club in his homeland, before moving to Singapore to join Tampines Rovers in 2007. He spent only a year with the S-League club, before leaving the game. He didn't remain in Singapore though, and despite being back and forth between here and China, doesn't hold Dual Nationality. That's the least of our worries, as ten years out of the game is a bigger issue. But, with non-contract terms, we can move him on without having to pay a penny should he not be up to the task. Wang Sien can operate either in the defensive midfield role, or in the middle of the park.

Wang Sien Signs

Wang Sien Profile

Friday 10th March 2017
One day before we travel to face the League leaders, and the signing that we really needed to get done is finally over the line. His name might sound Chinese, and he might also speak the language, but Yang Shengchuan is Singapore born and raised, and the centre back who can, and will, also operate at right back is now our player, signed on a Free Transfer from the Singapore Armed Forces Sports Association of the National First Division. He stands just 5'5, which cements the fact that he will play as a full back, and he isn't particularly attack minded, in fact, I think he'd struggle to cross the road, never mind a football. He's never played a Senior match, so is another who will need some time to settle in, but is going to be thrown in at the deep end tomorrow.

Yang Shengchuan Signs

Yang Shengchuan Profile

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On 21/06/2019 at 12:37, BenArsenal said:

Some good signings there. Looking good mate.

Agreed. I think we look good for our goal of a safe mid table spot, and maybe even a little better if the players settle quickly and we can find a way of playing that suits us nicely.

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Posted (edited)

Saturday 11th March 2017
Nobody was giving us any hope of pulling off a shock result today when we travelled to face the current league leaders, Singapore Khalsa, who have lost just once in their opening five matches this season, which came last time out against Kaki Bukit. They also boast one of the best squads in the Division, and the bookies have made us 7/1 underdogs, despite our huge squad overhaul in recent weeks.

It would be hard to disagree with them after seeing our first half display as well. Tom Beattie out injured meant Wang Sien made his debut in midfield, while Yang Shengchuan did the same at right back. We made poor use of the ball, giving it away too often, and we were also too lightweight in the tackle to win it back. Choo Wee Keat, who they tried to trick us into believing was a defender, was played into great positions twice in the opening ten minute, Hariz Farid making a save first time, and then when we drastically over committed players forward for a corner, we were counter attacked and Nas Nasta'in found him in acres of space on a two versus one, but the striker lifted his shot over the keeper and the bar. He made it a hatrick of wasted chances with a header against the bar, before we were finally undone with the midpoint of the half approaching. Fairuq Johari picked up the ball in the right back spot, and lifted it right over our defence and into the run of Nasta'in, who angled his run into the box, before slotting the ball past Farid to beat the bitterly disappointed keeper at his near post. With our play far from slick, an equaliser looked unlikely, but on the half hour Zul Elhan did fire a shot from the edge of the box against the bar.

My players were left in no doubt that they had failed to impress anybody with their opening half of football, and they were challenged to do much better in the second half, armed with new instructions for the back four to sit a little deeper, while also do a man marking and early closing down job on the front two who had caused us so many issues already. One of the back four, left back and occasional striker, Jalil Asrat, would go one over and above when he found an equaliser early in the second half. And it was nothing short of spectacular too, a curling left footed free kick from all of 30 yards out that swung around the wall and found the top corner before Raffiey Roslan would get to it! When Choo Wee Keat missed another chance with a header from a free kick, we started to grow in confidence, turning to our bench to bring on another debutant, Cameron Bell replacing Wang Sien while Saiful Jamaludin was replaced on the left by Danial Jaafaran at the same time. Just over ten minutes later, Shuntarô Takata stole the ball on halfway, and sent a through ball between the centre backs and down the side of Zul Elhan. The striker collected the ball, skipped into the box, and from an ever tightening angle, sent it across goal, past the keeper, and inside the far post, putting us ahead with only around ten minutes left to play. We had been here before, I had flashbacks to my opening match in charge. I prepared to make a final change and shift the tactic around. Too late. Within two minutes Yang Shengchuan cut out a long ball attempt to cut us open, but Khalsa had players pouring forward, and they got it out to Haiekal Awwabin on the right, and his cross was volleyed in by Aslam Hussein. So too late by the time I managed to reconfigure us into a more compact 4-1-2-2-1. But at least we didn't concede another this time. A good point, but it could have been three.

Singapore Khalsa 2 Kembangan United 2

Stats & Ratings

Game#5 League Table

Sunday 12th March 2017
That was a pretty good result yesterday, and I praised my players for their comeback and second half performance. It could have gone the other way in the first half, and should maybe have gone our way at the end. A draw was perfectly acceptable, we would have absolutely take it before the match. And we have helped to dislodge them from the top of the table.

We continue you our attempts to improve our squad and options, and we have today signed free agent 18 year old defensive midfielder Azryzal Haiqel. Our backroom staff rate him as an exciting prospect, despite the fact that Divisional rivals Starlight Soccerites cut him loose in February after three years with them, and a trial with another team from our Division didn't go well, Gymkhana FC deciding against offering him a deal. A bit more depth in an important area of the park. It's a good thing.

Azryzal Haiqel Signs

Azryzal Haiqel Profile

Monday 13th March
And the improvements continue, as another signing arrives today, though we will have to wait and see what kind of response we get this time. It's not the quality of the player I'm worried about, no sir, Muhammad Adil Iqbal is a 22 times capped Pakistani International who can play in midfield, on the right wing, or where he is most at home, just behind the striker. He left Pakistan three years ago to head for a stomping ground of mine in a former managerial life, and a place I am kind of hoping I end up as part of this save too, Kyrgyzstan. He spent two seasons with leading side Dordoy Bishkek, scoring five times in 21 appearances with them. He then came to Singapore a year ago, another of our new players who has been through the Tampines Rovers route. He didn't play a single match for them, and now he is our player, taking our final Foreign Player spot. But remember I told you all that there was a player who was asking for stupid money? It is this guy! £500 a match! Our Chairman may be about to reach for the blood pressure medication.

Muhammad Adil Iqbal Signs

Muhammad Adil Iqbal Profile

Edited by neilhoskins77

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Posted (edited)
On 03/07/2019 at 18:12, BenArsenal said:

Good stuff.:thup:

Anyway the local papers had a feature on Tom Beattie this past weekend. Apparently he's now a pretty slick businessman.

https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/lifestyle/weekend-interview/thomas-beattie

It looks like my star midfielder is doing very well for himself. He had better not ask for a pay rise from us anytime soon ha

On 15/07/2019 at 14:26, oche balboa said:

Nice start 

Thanks oche, always good to have you along. Hope you enjoy this latest story.

Edited by neilhoskins77

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Posted (edited)

Friday 17th March 2017
The Transfer Window closes a week from now, and we have another deal in the pipeline. We could still use some cover in the defence, and maybe some goalkeeper cover as well. So obviously I'm trying to sign another forward. Oh yeah, and he's even more expensive than the last one! If you're going to smash a Wage Budget to bits, you may as well do it properly I say! Obviously defensive cover is very important to us though, and I make an offer for two centre backs and one left back. One of the centre backs had his club agree to our Free Transfer offer, but he didn't want to sign on non-contract terms, leaving us down to two options, both agreeing to discuss terms with us.

Saturday 18th March 2017
The boot is well and truly on the other foot for us this week, as it is our turn to be the 1/3 favourites against the 7/1 underdogs, as we prepare to host Jungfrau Punggol FC this week, going into the match as 8th v 9th. We have almost a fully fit squad to choose from, Tom Beattie resuming training today, but not quite making it back in time to be considered for a start in this match, but our two new potential debutants are both available to us.

Sunday 19th March 2017
It's a busy build up to our Sunday evening kick off, as we get another new signing in through the door and registered before the match. The new arrival is the fabulously named left back Taufiq Irfan Bambang Sugeng. He's 20 years old, almost entirely defensively minded, and all left footed. He signs for us after being a Free Agent, he was released by S-League club Geylang International at the end of last season after failing to make an appearance for them in his one season as their player.

Taufiq Irfan Bambang Sugeng Signs

Taufiq Irfan Bambang Sugeng Profile

A fitness test was done this morning, and Tom Beattie passed, though it's recommended that he plays no more than 45 minutes as he continues his attempts to return to match fitness following his injury. That's a bonus, and he is included on the bench, with Pakistan International midfielder Muhammad Adil Iqbal brought in to play in the midfield in place of Wang Sien.

Kembangan United 1-0 Jungfrau Punggol

Stats & Ratings

Game#6 League Table

A bit of a snoozefest of a first half, with both sides content to shoot from range, with neither managing a shot on target. We would receive a boost to our chances right after the break though, as Jungfrau lost striker Chia Han Hung to injury seconds after the restart, and right after they had made an attacking change at half time. Ten minutes later, centre back Abdul Khair Zakkaria hoisted the ball high into the sky and upfield from inside his own half. A defender left it to the keeper, while the keeper left it to the defender. Zul Elhan left it to nobody, jumping between the pair and connecting with a header over the keeper and into the net off the underside of the bar for his sixth goal in as many League games. With twenty minutes to play, Wang Sien and Tom Beattie came on to replace the midfield duo of Shuntarô Takata and debutant Muhammad Adil Iqbal. With chances still at an absolute premium, I brought on another debutant with a few minutes remaining, Taufiq Irfan Bambang Sugeng coming on to replace Jalil Arsat at left back. We had ourselves another win, without really getting into anything like top form here, and moved ourselves up into fourth place. We're starting to gel nicely, and we could yet manage to catch up to the leading pack and get ourselves in the hunt for a top two finish.

Edited by neilhoskins77

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**Slightly embarrassing, but it turns out that I didn't save the game after the last match, and when I closed down I lost the last match data. It has been replayed, same outcome, different result, and you will find the new updated match report and screenshots in the now edited previous post. Apologies, but no real harm done other than having to repeat a bit of work**

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Monday 20th March 2017
Our social media feeds were full of praise for Pakistan International midfielder, and yesterdays debutant, Muhammad Adil Iqbal this morning. Both fans and media were commenting that they were not expecting such an impressive first outing from him, and they look forward to seeing if he can improve further once his match fitness starts to improve.

Those same platforms would be alive again today, as we brought a new, but familiar face to the club. Ahmad Latiff isn't familiar because he has played at United, he is familiar because he is one of the most recognisable domestic players in Singapore football. With seven goals in 57 International caps, plus over 300 clubs matches under his belt with some of the nations largest clubs as well as spells in Indonesia, Hong Kong and Malaysia, this is a signing that has raised eyebrows, and the clubs reputation. Now 37 years old, and plucked from non-League side Project Vaults, could Latiff give his career one last highlight as it starts to reach it's twilight? The striker who can play on the wing and behind the forwards as well, is certainly excited at that prospect.

Ahmad Latiff Signs

Ahmad Latiff Profile

He wasn't the only signing today, though the second arrival was considerably lower profile. 18 year old centre back Muhamad Hariz is considered an exciting prospect, who already has more pro's than cons to his game. He stands 5'10 tall, and has spent a few years developing with a club at this level, Starlight Soccerites. He hasn't yet made his Senior debut, and will likely be a backup here in a pool of defenders that I'm looking to strengthen.

Muhamad Hariz Signs

Muhamad Hariz Profile

Wednesday 22nd March
Our next match is this Saturday, when we travel to face bottom of the table side, Academy Junior Football. We might be without striker and top scorer, Zul Elhan for the match. The 21 year old striker left training early today with a tight hamstring, and is now rates as doubtful for the weekend.

Friday 24th March
It's Transfer Deadline Day here in Singapore, and I am still looking for some squad depth, in particular for a goalkeeper and some defensive reinforcements. First in through the door is 23 year old Hykel Salim. In a nation where height doesn't seem to be a particular issue for defenders, the 5'7 centre back hasn't yet managed to make a Senior appearance, despite being with Katong FC of the second tier for five years. It would be fair to say that the fans are not over impressed with this one, as they don't believe he is going to be good enough for us, a view shared by the backroom staff.

Hykel Salim Signs

Hykel Salim Profile

There is a much different view of our next signing, 22 year old centre back Wyldan Wisam. At 5'9, he isn't a defender blessed with height either, but the signing is already being hailed as a great piece of business. Wisam has played some Senior football, and at the top domestic level too, playing ten times for S-League club Geylang International. Selected for his formative training as a Youth with Singapore Under-18's, could this be the move that finally brings about the career breakthrough that many have been waiting for and are convinced Wisam is capable of.

Wyldan Wisam Signs

Wyldan Wisam Profile

By late morning, our business for the day, and this Transfer Window was complete. The last player in through the door was 19 year old 6'2 tall goalkeeper Benedict Loh. He's another player who was part of the Singapore Under-18's club, where a lot of the nations best players are prepared for careers in the game. He played almost a dozen matches for them, and did well enough to earn a move on to S-League side Young Lions. They didn't give him a First Team chance though, and released him earlier in the year. Now he has joined us where he is likely to be the backup, but a pretty capable looking one for sure.

Benedict Loh Signs

Benedict Loh Profile

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Ooh wow, Ahmad Latiff. Talented but a bit of a bad boy. Hope you can get his temperament in check...

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On 07/08/2019 at 17:47, BenArsenal said:

Ooh wow, Ahmad Latiff. Talented but a bit of a bad boy. Hope you can get his temperament in check...

Yep, the bad boy of Singapore football has arrived at United. Fireworks guaranteed one way or another.....

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Friday 24th March 2017
The Transfer Window is now closed, and we were the most prolific club in Singapore during the window, with a total of nineteen players arriving at the club during that spell. Two of the deals are picked out as being amongst the ones to watch, the one we have only just completed for bad boy veteran forward Ahmad Latiff, and the arrival of 28 year old defender Yang Shengchuan, who does seem to have settled pretty quickly into life at United.

Saturday 25th March
We are huge favourites to continue our good recent form today when we visit bottom of the table Academy Junior Football PTE LTD, who don't even have a stadium as such to play in, their matches being played on a park in a facility that looks a lot like a leisure centre, and has no seating capacity at all, with just some standing areas for fans to watch on. It will be a different story in a fortnights time, when we visit Jurong Stadium, which holds 6,000 people. That game, against Starlight Soccerites, has also been selected for live National TV coverage as well. Great news for the club.

Back to this weekend though, and neither Zul Elhan or Tom Beattie requires a fitness test for today's match. Top scorer and striker Elhan can be selected with no problems in the view of our medical staff, while they once again recommend that midfielder Beattie play no more than 45 minutes at this point.

Academy Junior Football PTE LTD 1-4 Kembangan United

Stats & Ratings

Game #7 League Table

There were 132 people attending this match, and they were all there to support us. They didn't even have to pay to get in. They would not be disappointed that they had made the trip. Zul Elhan wasn't risked from the start, as he took the place of Cameron Bell on the bench, with new signing and veteran striker Ahmad Latiff selected up front to make his United debut today, in an otherwise unchanged lineup.

It would be a dream start for the 37 year old too, as when we were awarded a 7th minute spot kick after a handball from a corner, Latiff stepped up and drilled the penalty low into the bottom corner to open the scoring. Ten minutes later, and he doubled his debut joy, latching onto Syed Fadhil Akbar's diagonal defence splitting through ball, and tucking his shot into the exact same spot. Five minutes later, and Akbar had got off the mark for the club himself, the 16 year old striker hitting Saiful Jamaludin's cross from the left into the ground and over the keeper to make it 3-0 with only a quarter of the match played. Ten minutes before the break, and Academy had a goal back, Koh Kong Wai sent in a low cross and found Mohd Badrul Amin Mohd Salleh. His low shot should have been dealt with fairly comfortably by Hariz Farid, but it crept under his dive and inside the far post, the keeper would be very disappointed with that one. No matter, as we went back down the other end and stretched our lead again within two minutes, an attempted short throw from Academy was snuffed out by midfielder Shuntarô Takata, and he got the ball to Akbar, who made it a double of his own, smashing the ball just under the bar and into the roof of the net to make our lead at the break 4-1.

The second half was much quieter, and as it reached it's halfway point, I decided to bring on Tom Beattie for a bit more match fitness as he replaced Azrul Jailani, with Muhammad Adil Iqbal getting some time on the right wing. With a little over ten minutes left to play, I used my other two changes, Jalil Asrat coming off to allow Taufiq Irfan Bambang Sugeng another cameo outing at left back, while Zul Elhan was also given a run out despite his tight hamstring. He is used to scoring our goals, but he almost set up one. He put his injury aside to hurdle a tackle on the right, and then sent over a deep cross to the far post, where Latiff had pulled away from his markers and got his head to the ball, only the cross bar preventing him finishing his debut with a hatrick. There was still time for right back Yang Shengchuan to pick up a late injury of his own, receiving a cut to his face after catching a flailing arm during a challenge in the air for a high ball.

We're up to third place in the League, and gathering momentum. There are still matches to be played this weekend, and we might yet drop a spot or two, but we have certainly turned our form around since overhauling the squad.

28 year old full back Yang Shengchuan received a facial injury late in that game. I'm told if we sideline him, he will be out for a fortnight. There is another option though, and he is sent to visit a specialist, where he will be measured and fitted for a protective face mask that will allow him to play on while the laceration heals.

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