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Now before I start, I'm already heading towards my 5th season in this save, I'm not a massive fan of creating a thread to document my save unless I'm heavily invested in it. 

Since my last thread I've had a long term save with Peterborough which went into the 2030's with Jadon Sancho and Willem Guebbels doing the business but that got a bit stale after winning the title seasons in a row. I wanted a bit of a challenge but something not too challenging like managing in Guam or Bermuda. I decided to manage in Azerbaijan and to try and dethrone Qarabag. 

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Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, the nation and former Soviet republic, is bounded by the Caspian Sea and Caucasus Mountains, which span Asia and Europe. Its capital, Baku, is famed for its medieval walled Inner City. Within the Inner City lies the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, a royal retreat dating to the 15th century, and the centuries-old stone Maiden Tower, which dominates the city skyline.

Its not Baku where I started my quest to topple Qarabag its the city of Sumqayit which lies just north-west of capital. Sumgayit is the third-largest city in Azerbaijan. The city has a population of around 298,000, making it the third-largest city in Azerbaijan after the capital Baku and Ganja.

The one thing I like about the rules in Azerbaijan is that they require at least one player under 21 in the starting XI, a minimum of two U21 players in the match day squad and a maximum of 6 foreigners in the starting XI. This gives me a chance to develop home grown talents thus improving the national side at the same time. But it does also hinder me to begin with as the youth players at the start of the game and subsequently the intakes since have been poor. 

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Sumqayit FK

The club was founded in 2010 as Sumgayit FK. In May 2011, the team secured their promotion to Azerbaijan Premier League after getting wildcard place instead of defunct Absheron. The club have steadily improved season upon season from finishing 12th in 11/12 up to 5th in 17/18. The club's home ground is Kapital Bank Arena, a multi-use stadium in Sumqayit, which has a capacity of 26,000 with 3,000 in normal matches. 

Save Summary

Like I said above I'm now coming into my 5th season with Sumqayit so here's a brief look at how those previous four seasons fared. 

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Since I took over the board have only wanted to avoid relegation from the Premier League. My personal expectation has been to reach the European spots. First season to finish 4th was perfect, we were expected 7th, I achieved my European goal already. Second season we were poor and left European competition at the first hurdle to FH of Iceland. 

Third season we managed to regain that 4th placed spot but we didn't achieve a Europa League qualification place for some reason or another. This season was my best season yet, I wanted to break the top 3 to ensure we were in Europe the following season. 

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We went one better to finish in 2nd place. Qarabag regained the title back from Neftci who had a mare of a season finishing down in 5th. Kesla were the real surprise package of this season finishing 3rd after gaining promotion from the First League last season. 

In the Azeri Cup we've achieved two quarter final and two semi final places. 

Going Forward

The aim first and foremost is to dethrone Qarabag who have won eight of the last nine titles. I want to make the club financially stable and the easiest way to make money is to compete in Europe, so making the club a competitive unit in Europe is the next step. Developing home grown talents is third step and that takes money to improve the facilities, coaching and recruitment. 

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2022/23 Season Preview

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Last seasons 2nd placed finish has shifted expectations exponentially as board change tact from avoiding relegation to wanting us to qualify for Europe next season again. We enter the Europa League First Qualifying Round and face Dun. Streda of Slovakia which is a tough tie, the board want us to win that and reach the Second Qualifying Round.  

We've been given a small transfer budget which came from the sale of a player last season. We've got a very good wage budget with plenty of scope to invest in new players as we are spending less than half of it at the minute. 

Squad

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A pretty even, workmanlike squad without too many standout players. Full backs Leasa and Basanovic were signings from last season and improved the defence ten-fold. Landre was a late signing in the winter window to replace an outgoing ageing CB. Isaev is not as good as his stars suggest and is the makeweight for Zeynalov who plays as the U21 player in the first XI. Nenadovic was another winter signing after we sold a Turkmenistan national to Czech 2nd Division side Sokolov. Dadasov is the real star of the team, the young(ish) forward signed last season on a free with a heavily team performance weighted contract. 

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Previously of Frankfurt, Leipzig and Estoril he scored 14 goals last season to finish 2nd in the leagues goal scoring chart. I will aim to tie him down to another long term contract and nulify any existing release clauses in his contract as I think he will jump ship at first opportunity. 

There are a couple of positions I would like to improve but ideally with home grown players if possible. A new GK, CB and CM would be ideal. 

Finances

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We're currently in the black thanks to a new sponsorship deal which gave us just under £500k for the season. If we can progress in Europe a round or two then that will hopefully tie us over for the season and potentially allow us to improve our youth recruitment. 

 Seasons Dreams

  1. Reach a European place through League position
  2. Improve financial situation through European competition
  3. Improve either Youth Recruitment or Junior Coaching at least once if finances allow

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Europa League 1st Qualifying Round

We faced Dunajska Streda from Slovakia in the first round, we were at home first and managed a 1-1 draw. 

We broke a couple of records. 

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We were huge underdogs heading into the second leg and they had the advantage with an away goal. Step up Renat Dadasov...

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He scored twice to send us through 3-2 on aggregate and set up a 2nd Qualifying Round tie against...

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Bulgarian side Beroe Stara Zagora. Tough. 

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Another nice little cash injection, taking our finances up to over £350k. 

 

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Europa League 2nd Qualifying Round

To expect anything from this tie would be career suicide, we're not even half the team Beroe are. 

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Wait, what?

Domination from start to finish, I expected a tougher away leg.

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Erm...

We scored after 22 seconds through new signing Nazarov and he finished things with a goal probably 22 seconds from time. 

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Payday

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tough, Tough, TOUGH. Away leg first, damage limitation needed.

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Europa League 3rd Qualifying Round

Nothing expected from this tie, we've more than achieved what the board wanted, which was to reach the 2nd Qualifying Round. 

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We took a surprise lead but were pegged back by Flanagan five minutes later. An away goal to take back to Azerbaijan.

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To be expected, I'm happy with the team performance in these qualifying rounds. 

 

Other Azeri Teams in Europe

Qabala also reached the 3rd Qualifying Round beating Lynx of Gibralter and Ostersunds FK of Sweden before bowing out to Lugano in Switzerland. Kesla didn't get past the 1st Qaulifying Round losing to Saburtalo of Georgia, 1-0 on aggregate. Qarabag are still in Europe, they are through the Champions League Play-Offs, they play Young Boys after being Feronikeli (Kosovo), Dudelange (Luxembourg) and Red Star (Serbia) along the way. 

Some good performances which should hopefully improve the coefficients slightly for the seasons ahead. 

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Records are there to be Broken

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A couple of records are quickly beaten after we set them in the first qualifying round. 

Plus...

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Which leaves us with pretty healthy finances!!

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Which means I have asked the board for an upgrade to the Youth Recruitment and after some persuasion they relented. 

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up to Fairly Basic Youth Recruitment now. 

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Really interesting idea for a save, will definitely follow. I also like that most of your players are Azerbaijani (is this correct?).

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3 minutes ago, scarp said:

Really interesting idea for a save, will definitely follow. I also like that most of your players are Azerbaijani (is this correct?).

Thanks man! 

Azeri would be the correct demonym for people from Azerbaijan. Yeah with the squad rules of having a maximum of 6 foreigners in the starting XI it pays not too have too many in the squad as they would tend to be paid the most and first to kick up a fuss about not playing. I actually only have 5 foreigners in my whole squad now with a sixth player with Azeri as second nationality. 

Across the league Qarabag have 8 foreigners plus at least four players with Azeri dual nationality. Sabail have 9 single nationality foreigners, Turan (8), Zira (7), Qabala (9), Kesla (8) and Neftci (8). So we have the least amount in the league by two. That's something I would like to keep that way if possible. 

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Youth Intake 2023

So this is the first intake you get to witness in this save...

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This is what I'm currently dealing with. An awful, AWFUL intake, my worst yet. Which worries me. Obviously I'm not expecting much but at least one semi-decent player to potentially replace an U21 player in the first team/sit on the bench to help fill the quota for the league rules. 

The only way to improve the intakes is to improve the youth recruitment/junior coaching and pair it with very good HoYD. We currently have fairly basic coaching and youth recruitment coupled with poor training and youth facilities. Plenty of room for improvement which will take quite a lot of money to do so. 

 

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Season Review 2022/23

The dreams for this season were;

  1. Reach a European place through League position
  2. Improve financial situation through European competition
  3. Improve either Youth Recruitment or Junior Coaching at least once if finances allow

Lets have a look and see if we made those dreams reality...

Transfers

First and foremost we needed to try and improve the squad where we could, I had a small transfer budget but a pretty decent wage budget with plenty left to bring in who ever we needed to improve. I ideally wanted to possibly upgrade my GK, bring in another CB and another CM option. We brought in none of these :D

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Just two players came in both on free's. First in was 32 year old Azeri national Dimitrij Nazarov who left German second tier side Aue, he was listed as a striker first and foremost but could play on either wing. Another Azeri came in a day later Abbas Huseynov is a right full back who left Qarabag on a free, he would provide able cover for my first choice RB. One player left on loan to fellow Premier League side Zira. 

European Recap

In three of the posts above we went into slightly more detail about our European adventure. Here's a quick recap...

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We enter the Europa League at the 1st Qualifying Stage and beat Slovakian side Dun. Streda 3-2 on aggregate. In the 2nd Round we outclassed Bulgarian side Beroe home and away to set up a 3rd Round tie with Scottish giants Rangers where we more than held our own away from home at Ibrox before suffering a defeat back in Azerbaijan. We raked in around 700k in competition prize money. 

Domestic Competitions

We were predicted to finish in 6th place this season by the medium whilst the board wanted 4th. After last season I wanted to finish in a European spot again so 2nd or 3rd. 

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2nd again, which I am happy with, we actually went the first 12 games of the season unbeaten but unfortunately Qarabag matched us pretty much all the way even with their European exploits of reaching the Europa League group stage. Once they were out of the competition they really stepped it up and we floundered around, dropping us down to 2nd place. Having a goal difference of just +8 tells a story, we actually scored the second most goals this season but conceded the 7th most :seagull:

We reached the semi finals of the Azeri Cup beating Samkir and Zira before bowing out to Qarabag. 

Squad

With largely most of the same squad as last season I felt confident we could match last seasons league high finish. I also alluded in another post above about us in fact having the least number of foreigners in our squad with just five listed as foreign and one more player who has Azeri as second nationality. 

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Just five players scored 5 or more goals for me this season and Dadasov scored 14 goals which really needs to be a little higher if I'm honest. However, he was the league top scorer with 11 league goals. 3rd on the list for goals this season was my GK, this is the 3rd season I have had him on penalties and free kicks. Overall he has now scored 18 career goals for Sumqayit. 

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Dadasov has now just got one year remaining on his contract after this season so hopefully I can try and tie him down to another long term contract. 

Finances

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We finish this season in the black for the first time in this save. Largely thanks to competition prize money from competing in the Europa League. Our sponsorship deal will give us another £475k when the new season begins. The board have announced we have a new transfer budget of £113k plus a small increase to the weekly wage budget. 

 Making Dreams a Reality

  1. Reach a European place through League position :thup:
  2. Improve financial situation through European competition :thup:
  3. Improve either Youth Recruitment or Junior Coaching at least once if finances allow :thup:

We achieved all three of our seasonal dreams. From now on reaching Europe and improving the finances should be a reality every season. 

Next Seasons Dreams

  1. Reach the 3rd Qualifying Round of the Europa League
  2. Close the gap to top spot to 5 points or less in the League
  3. Improve both Youth Recruitment and Junior Coaching
Season | Media | Finished | Azeri Cup  | Europe               | Top Scorer       | Finances | Youth Rec | Junior Co | Training | Youth Fac | Other
18/19  | 7th   | 4th      | Qtr Final  | -                    | Mammadov (11)    | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
19/20  | 8th   | 5th      | Semi Final | EL 1st Qual Round    | Sahverdiyev (15) | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | - 
20/21  | 6th   | 4th      | Semi Final | -                    | Mammadov (8)     | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | -
21/22  | 6th   | 2nd      | Qtr Final  | -                    | Dadasov (14)     | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
22/23  | 6th   | 2nd      | Semi Final | EL 3rd Qual Round    | Dadasov (14)     | 300k     | F. Basic  | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL

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Posted (edited)

Europa League 2023/24

Instead of posting round by round updates from now on I will document our European exploits in one post from now on. 

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We entered the competition in the first qualifying round where we drawn with Floriana of Malta. They reached this round by beating Alashkert from our national neighbours Armenia. We dominated them home and away scoring eight and conceding none. That set up a tie against Romania's Viitorul, we lost the away leg by Renat Dadasov got a vital away goal. Back at home in Azerbaijan the game ended in the same 2-1 scoreline from the first leg and that was only thanks to their 86th minute goal. The game went to penalties where we successfully scored all five of our spot kicks. 

We then faced our toughest opponents yet in continental competition, Krasnodor. Again like last season against Rangers, I didn't expect anything from this tie. We lost both legs but we weren't outclassed as we managed to score a goal in both legs. 

Again we accumulated a decent wedge of prize money and did break out attendance record and gate receipt record in the home leg against Krasnodor. Which leaves us with...

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Just under £1.4m in the bank and the chance to make an upgrade or two if the board allow. 

Seasons Dreams

  1. Reach the 3rd Qualifying Round of the Europa League
  2. Close the gap to top spot to 5 points or less in the League
  3. Improve both Youth Recruitment and Junior Coaching 

Our first Seasons Dream has been ticked off by reaching the 3rd Qualifying Round. 

Edited by ToMexico!!

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Posted (edited)

Upgrades

The cash injection from the European prize money has given me the chance to complete a second of the seasonal dreams already. 

Seasons Dreams

  1. Reach the 3rd Qualifying Round of the Europa League
  2. Close the gap to top spot to 5 points or less in the League
  3. Improve both Youth Recruitment and Junior Coaching 

Number 3 completed as we improve both Youth Recruitment and Junior Coaching. Last season our youth setup cost us just over £30k, this season it has already cost us £10k, so these improvements should see us spend nearer £100k for the season. 

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Facilities

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Both the Junior Coaching and Youth Recruitment are at an average level. 

Edited by ToMexico!!

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New Contracts

I was the first to sign, a two-year contact extension, same wages but that doesn't matter. I'm here until at least June 2026.

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Next up was a big one, that of Renat Dadasov. He played hardball and I'm paying him far too much but what can you do when he had been wanted by Qarabag. I did actually reject a bid for less than his value from them and he became unhappy but they moved on and so did he. 

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Lots of clauses and bonuses but he's worth it. £3.7k per week is two grand a week more than the next highest paid player, he's currently on course to have his best season with Sumqayit yet. 

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Posted (edited)

Youth Intake 2024

So this is our sixth intake of this save and first one after a couple of upgrades to what effects the quality of intake. 

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Wow. Much better the upgrades to Youth Recruitment (Fairly Basic) and Junior Coaching (Fairly Basic) have done wonders. We actually gone from having our best player ranked as 2.5* potential to having 10 players with better potential in one intake alone. To even get a 5* potential player has perked my enthusiasm for this save even more. 

Orxan Huseynov (YP24a)

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To be honest he's far off from being a starter for my first team. Even at 15 he has some good attributes in there; tackling, bravery, decisions, teamwork and work rate along with some good physicals. There are a few worries however, hopefully his heading, marking, concentration and strength stat will improve with experience and minutes on the pitch. 

At this stage his personality does not bother me, hopefully it will mean he won't want a transfer away in the near future especially if Qarabag become interested. He will be getting a long term contract at first opportunity and will be introduced into the first team setup from next season onward. 

 

Edited by ToMexico!!

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Orxan Huysenov (YP24a) Debut

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We had a little bit of a injury crisis with CBs and I promoted Orxan to the bench for those few games but he's began to impress in training and so in the home leg of the Azeri Cup semi-final I decided to put him in from the start. The young CB played for 60 minutes, winning 7 headers and completing 75% of his passes. No tackles made. 

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He not only becomes our youngest ever player but also the youngest in the Azeri Cup too. 

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Season Review 2023/24

The dreams for this season were;

  1. Reach the 3rd Round of the Europa League Qualifying
  2. Close the gap to top spot to 5 points or less in the League
  3. Improve both Youth Recruitment and Junior Coaching 

Lets have a look and see if we made those dreams reality...

Transfers

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Quite a few players came in over the course of the season, the first four were all Azeri nationals; three midfielders and one full back. Of those Nasirov made the most appearances, scoring nine goals along the way. In the winter window we sold one Basanovic and replaced him with another, Marko wouldn't sign a new contract and wanted to leave, fair enough. I think Djorde was in the similar position with his club and I made a bid to bring him in. Kwietniewski is a Polish winger, he struggled a little upon joining, hopefully next season he can push on. 

European Recap

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First round victory over Malta's Floriana saw us face Romania's Viitorul, winning through on penalties scoring five from five. We then faced our toughest test in Europe yet facing Krasnodor, we were easily defeated but not outclassed as we scored in both home and away legs. 

Domestic Competitions

This season I wanted to close the gap to top spot to at least 5 points or closer, could we do it?

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No...but there's a reason. 

We had another good start to the season, hitting top spot after 3 games before falling back down to 2nd. It wasn't until game week 11 until we hit top again, we had a good run of seven games unbeaten which saw us hold top spot through til game 22 when we lost to Zira, Qabala and Qarabag on the bounce. We were never in danger of dropping to 3rd but I wanted to keep within that 5 point buffer. We lost to Neftci on the penultimate day of the season but in amongst those league games we defeated Kapaz in the Azeri Cup semi's to reach the final against Qarabag. On the last game of the season I rotated heavily to have a fresh first XI for the final. We drew that game and Qarabag extended their lead to 6 points. 

As consolation, could we win the Azeri Cup?

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No...:rolleyes:

15  year old Orxan Huysenov kept his place in the XI despite the opposition. After a goaless first half, our GK stepped up and tucked away a 69th minute penalty but that lead was soon extinguished by Qarabag. The game fizzled out and was taken to extra time. Unfortunately Qarabag top the lead just after half time in extra time to condemn us to defeat. 

Squad

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A better goalscoring season, we actually scored the most league goals this season but didn't have anyone near the top of the goalscoring chart, we shared them around a bit more. We did concede 28 goals however, something we need to improve on, we have a long way to before we reach the dizzy heights (or lows) of conceding just 12 like Qarabag did this season. 

Our GK Bayramov scored 10 goals this season, seven in the league, including scoring five penalties from five. Dadasov scored 17 goals this season but did have a dry spell in front of goal which slowed down his scoring rate. He's unhappy again, wanting to move to a 'bigger' club which is obviously Qarabag, he has a release clause of £875k which they will need to trigger if they want him, he knows that too!!

Finances

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We end the season with just over £500k in the bank. We're up to spending £75k per month on wages but have a couple of players contract expiring which will lower that a bit. Our seasonal expenditure on our youth setup hit £110k which isn't too bad. I think another season at this level then I will look to upgrade it again. 

Making Dreams a Reality

So did we turn all our dreams into reality? 

  1. Reach the 3rd Round of the Europa League Qualifying :thup:
  2. Close the gap to top spot to 5 points or less in the League :thdn:
  3. Improve both Youth Recruitment and Junior Coaching  :thup:

In a word, No. Like I mentioned above good reasoning with rotating for the Azeri Cup final. 

Next Seasons Dreams

  1. Concede 22 or less League goals whilst still being an attacking team
  2. Reach 3rd Qualifying Round of Europa League again
  3. Reach Azeri Cup final again
Season | Media | Finished | Azeri Cup  | Europe               | Top Scorer       | Finances | Youth Rec | Junior Co | Training | Youth Fac | Other
18/19  | 7th   | 4th      | Qtr Final  | -                    | Mammadov (11)    | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
19/20  | 8th   | 5th      | Semi Final | EL 1st Qual Round    | Sahverdiyev (15) | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | - 
20/21  | 6th   | 4th      | Semi Final | -                    | Mammadov (8)     | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | -
21/22  | 6th   | 2nd      | Qtr Final  | -                    | Dadasov (14)     | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
22/23  | 6th   | 2nd      | Semi Final | EL 3rd Qual Round    | Dadasov (14)     | 300k     | F. Basic  | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
23/24  | 4th   | 2nd      | Finalists  | EL 3rd Qual Round    | Dadasov (17)     | 520k     | Average   | Average   | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL

 

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Renat Dadasov

He signed a new contract towards the end of last season worth £3.7k p/w plus a yearly increase of 10%. But once the season was over he kicked up a fuss wanting to leave. New season ticks over and Qarabag enquire about him and I asked for the £875k, which is his release clause. 

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I was resigned to seeing him leave!!...

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He rejected their offer which clearly was less than the £4.1k p/w I'm now paying him. Still worth it...

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A couple of offers came in from Portugal soon after which I'll reject both obviously. 

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Europa League Qualification

They say a picture paints a thousand words...

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...but this is ridiculess, okay, first qualifying round was as expected but to then draw Rosenborg I thought this is over. They had 3 away goals, we needed not to concede away from home. To then draw Dudelange from Luxembourg was another piece of luck, clinical wins home and away again. Lechia in the 4th Qualifying Round, should be out here. 1-1 away from home, credible, a sniff of the group stage. Back in Azerbaijan it also finished 1-1 after 90 minutes. Then we absolutely came alive in extra time, Dadasov, our GK scored a pen and new signings Galchev and Bogdanovic each scored to send us through. 

Ecstatic. A £2.6m windfall for our troubles. 

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Don't care who we got, can maybe get a point or two against AEK. 

Improvements

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Adequate Junior Coaching and Above Average Youth Recruitment. 

 

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Great run in Europe.Money can change your level.

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10 hours ago, Sheriff7 said:

Great run in Europe.Money can change your level.

Thanks!

It can and will, looking forward to seeing how the above upgrades have an effect in this seasons intake. 

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Youth Intake 2025

After improving both the Youth Recruitment and Junior Coaching towards the beginning of the season, I was hoping for another good intake. 

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OK, so another 5* potential player and some decent potential players after. Overall the personalities are much better, a lot less negative ones despite only having a HoYD with a balanced personality. 

Tarlan Sadiqov (YP25a)

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This is our 5* potential player Sadiqov. He is quite a diminutive player, just 170cm tall and 58kg he's not really big enough to be a defensive mid or centre back really despite having good stats for tackling and heading. I like his mental stats for Bravery, Teamwork and Work Rate but he lacks concentration and positioning at the minute. His physicals are pretty weak but at 15 he has time to improve. 

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Season Review 2024/25

The dreams for this season were;

  1. Concede 22 or less League goals whilst still being an attacking team
  2. Reach 3rd Qualifying Round of Europa League again
  3. Reach Azeri Cup final again

Lets have a look and see if we made those dreams reality...

Transfers

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I really struggled this season to find the quality of player to improve the squad, especially Azeri nationals. We sold Vukomanovic which freed up a foreigner slot. Ibrahimov is an Azeri national but far from first team quality. Koren is a CB from Slovenia, his arrival made one of my current CB unhappy, says a lot about his quality. Bogdanovic is Croatian, mainly rotational. Galchev is another foreigner but can play in various positions. 

Europa League

 After some how qualifying for the group stage, I wasn't expecting much in terms of results. 

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An opening round win against Schalke was really unexpected. Back down to earth against Inter before home and away draws with AEK. Two comfortable losses against Inter and Schalke. 

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Happy with our performance to finish 3rd. 

Domestic Competitions

This season I wanted to secretly challenge for the title but shhhh.

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Within 5 points of Qarabag this season but that wasn't a target, the only target was to concede less. I wanted to really cut it down, 22 or less. Did that happen? No far from it. We conceded 31 this season which disappointed me. But 2nd again, 3rd was a lot closer to us this time so that is a slight concern. Neftci had an absolute mare of a season and their last day draw with us got them out of the relegation zone. 

We bowed out of the Azeri Cup at the semi final stage to Qarabag. 

Squad

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Well as you can see our GK was our top scorer, says a lot really. I think I may change to a 4-2-2-2 formation next season, give Dadasov a bit more support. 

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Our GK, second top scorer in the league :D

Finances

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This will keep us going for a while. Youth Setup costs are now at 20k per month which is obviously manageable with our current finances. I will look to improve one our facilities this season. 

Making Dreams a Reality

So did we turn all our dreams into reality? 

  1. Concede 22 or less League goals whilst still being an attacking team :thdn:
  2. Reach 3rd Qualifying Round of Europa League again :thup:
  3. Reach Azeri Cup final again :thdn:

Next Seasons Dreams

  1. Reach 3rd Qualifying Round of Europa League
  2. Improve League Goal Difference 
  3. Improve Youth Facilities and one/both Youth Recruitment & Junior Coaching
Season | Media | Finished | Azeri Cup  | Europe               | Top Scorer       | Finances | Youth Rec | Junior Co | Training | Youth Fac | Other
18/19  | 7th   | 4th      | Qtr Final  | -                    | Mammadov (11)    | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
19/20  | 8th   | 5th      | Semi Final | EL 1st Qual Round    | Sahverdiyev (15) | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | - 
20/21  | 6th   | 4th      | Semi Final | -                    | Mammadov (8)     | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | -
21/22  | 6th   | 2nd      | Qtr Final  | -                    | Dadasov (14)     | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
22/23  | 6th   | 2nd      | Semi Final | EL 3rd Qual Round    | Dadasov (14)     | 300k     | F. Basic  | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
23/24  | 4th   | 2nd      | Finalists  | EL 3rd Qual Round    | Dadasov (17)     | 520k     | Average   | Average   | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
24/25  | 2nd   | 2nd      | Semi-Final | 3rd in Group Stage   | Bayramov (15)    | 4.2m     | Ab. Ave   | Adequate  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL 

 

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Facility Improvements

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Our first set of improvements for both Training and Youth Facilities. Cheap too. It also kind of half ticks off one of our seasonal dreams by us improving the youth facilities. At the minute there is no option to improve either the Youth Recruitment or Junior Coaching. 

This Seasons Dreams

  1. Reach 3rd Qualifying Round of Europa League
  2. Improve League Goal Difference 
  3. Improve Youth Facilities and one/both Youth Recruitment & Junior Coaching

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Europa League 2025/26

Part of this seasons dreams was to reach the 3rd Qualifying Round.

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We did just that but made hard work of it, winning just one of six ties. Away goals win over Sileks (of Macedonia) set up a tie against Slovenia's Rudar Velenje. Another draw away from home was followed by a comfortable home win. Zoyra in the 3rd Qualifying Round, tough draw. We managed a draw at home before a high scoring 2nd leg which saw us on the wrong side of a seven-goal thriller. 

Transfers

We were armed with a healthy budget of around £2.5m to spend on reinforcements. We also had a increased wage budget to cope with these new signings. 

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I ended up signing three Azeri's for the future, they will all get game time this season. Bagirov is a striker and will play second fiddle to Dadasov, Alizada is a RB (and a little older at 24), he will cover for Leasa. Kostolansky is a Slovenian national who I agreed to sign last season but only just joined, he will feature in the youth and 2nd team. Muxtarli is another young full back from rivals Qarabag, a little expensive for the player he is but potential is there to improve. 

Also forgot to mention that last season I agreed to sign the below GK, I found him in the Israeli U19 national team and was without a club. He'll sign when he turns 18. Already spent a season on "trial" here and has improved well. He has 11 for a free kick stat which is great for a GK. 

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6 hours ago, deltablue said:

Hopefully you can get the title soon.

Just depends on how much Qarabag spend really. I've competed well with them at times, we're just not consistent enough over the course of a whole season but we're close. 

I want to be at a stage where when we win the league I want to do it again the next season too. 

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Youth Intake 2026

No improvements in either Youth Recruitment or Junior Coaching this season to take into consideration, lets see how this effects this seasons intake. 

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Okay, so one 5* potential player, so a positive intake in that aspect. Beyond him there isn't a lot to shout about, a fair few of these will be signed for depth. Personalities are a lot poorer this season, just three positive ones including our best prospect thankfully. For some reason our HoYD found four WBLs. 

Ruslan Huysenov (YP26a)

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We needed a decent central midfielder to come through, one that was more of a attacking influence not a defensive midfielder. Unfortunately beyond his passing attribute there isn't much there technical wise. Mentally he is better, some okay-ish starting stats for decisions, determination, teamwork, vision and work rate. we'll see how he develops there. Quite poor physically, not quick nor strong but he is only 15. 

It may be time for a change of HoYD, my current one is out of contract at the end of this season so perfect timing to make a change with no outlay. Just had a quick look and Bojan Krkic looks a good choice to bring in if I can afford him. Better Personality (Sporting compared to Balanced), better Working with Youngsters (17 v 14) but worse JPA/JPP. Bojan also only has a National A license so plenty of room to learn and develop, if he wants to take a coaching course. 

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International Debut

I was surprised to see youth product Orxan Huysenov (YP24a) was selected for international duty by the current Azeri manager. He had been in the U21s setup since his introduction to the game so he was ahead of the curve. 

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He came on in the second half for his international debut in a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Cyprus. Completing 75% of his passes, winning his only tackling and completing 2/2 aerial duels. 

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Left is on intake day 2024. Right is as of today, 2026. 

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I didn't know this was an option to show how a players attributes have increased or decreased. This arrows are showing the improvements of Orxan Huysenov from the age of 16 to now (at 17). His Bravery is the only major negative but he suffered a major injury and was out for over 2 months with Lower Back Stress Fracture. I really need to work on improving his heading and marking in the short term. 

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Season Review 2025/26

The dreams for this season were;

  1. Reach 3rd Qualifying Round of Europa League
  2. Improve League Goal Difference 
  3. Improve Youth Facilities and one/both Youth Recruitment & Junior Coaching

Lets have a look and see if we made those dreams reality...

Transfers

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Just four signings this season as I looked to inject some youth into the first team squad. 

Europa League

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Not the best of runs in the Europa League this season as we turned into the draw specialists. Zoyra were a step too far but a good show anyway. 

Domestic Competitions

I didn't think we were quite ready for this but...

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Champions...:D

After game week two we sat top of the table and never moved from it. Although Qarabag only lost once they drew far too many games and were always at least six points behind us. Also this season I didn't pressurise the team into scoring a certain amount or goals or conceding less but just to improve the goal difference and boy did we do that. We scored 58 goals, eleven more than the second highest scorers and we conceded just 21 goals. However that wasn't as good as Qarabag's 17 conceded so that's something to aim for. By finishing first we qualify for the Champions League qualifying stages this season. 

Squad

 

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Three stand out performers this season, all in attacking positions. Dadasov (who again has come out and said he wants to move to a bigger club) was more ruthless in front of goal, he scored 16 goals in the league to be top scorer. We also had second and third top scorers too as Galchev and Kwietniewski both scored 11 goals apiece. 

We have three foreign players whose contracts are expiring this season and won't be renewed. Bogdanovic, Basanovic and Leasa can all be replaced with Azeri nationals from within or from other clubs as have a hefty transfer budget to use. 

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Despite Dadasov's goals he wasn't my player of the season. My pick is the above player, Galchev. 11 goals and 9 assists in the league this season in 24 games is a great return from a winger. 

 

Finances

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Just over £4m left in the bank after a bit of a spending spree season with no European group stage to replenish the outlay this season. The improvements to both training and youth facilities are yet to be completed which is fairly annoying. 

Making Dreams a Reality

So did we turn all our dreams into reality? 

  1. Reach 3rd Qualifying Round of Europa League :thup:
  2. Improve League Goal Difference :thup:
  3. Improve Youth Facilities and one/both Youth Recruitment & Junior Coaching :thup:(ish)

Next Seasons Dreams

  1. Retain the League title
  2. Compete in Champions League Qualifying Rounds
  3. Improve Youth Recruitment and Junior Coaching
Season | Media | Finished | Azeri Cup  | Europe               | Top Scorer       | Finances | Youth Rec | Junior Co | Training | Youth Fac | Other
18/19  | 7th   | 4th      | Qtr Final  | -                    | Mammadov (11)    | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
19/20  | 8th   | 5th      | Semi Final | EL 1st Qual Round    | Sahverdiyev (15) | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | - 
20/21  | 6th   | 4th      | Semi Final | -                    | Mammadov (8)     | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | -
21/22  | 6th   | 2nd      | Qtr Final  | -                    | Dadasov (14)     | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
22/23  | 6th   | 2nd      | Semi Final | EL 3rd Qual Round    | Dadasov (14)     | 300k     | F. Basic  | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
23/24  | 4th   | 2nd      | Finalists  | EL 3rd Qual Round    | Dadasov (17)     | 520k     | Average   | Average   | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
24/25  | 2nd   | 2nd      | Semi-Final | 3rd in Group Stage   | Bayramov (15)    | 4.2m     | Ab. Ave   | Adequate  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
25/26  | 2nd   | 1st      | 1st Round  | EL 3rd Qual Round    | Dadasov (21)     | 4.1m     | Ab. Ave   | Adequate  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for CL

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Competition Rankings

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Thanks to ourselves and Qarabag's efforts in Europe the Azeri Premier League has risen another 2 places in the Competition Ranking list. That means one of the three teams that qualifies for the Europa League will now enter in the Second Qualifying Round. 

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European Qualifying Rounds 2026/27

So this season we entered Champions League qualifying for the first time in our history. We entered in the First Round...

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Beiter Jerusalem was a tough first round opponent but this is the next level up, we're in with the big boys now! We managed an away goal in the first leg which proved pivotal as we won 1-0 at home to send us through on away goals. Malmo next, one of the big clubs from Sweden, away first leg and another away goal. Wasn't expecting the 3-0 win at home though. Partizan next, Serbia's finest and it showed, we struggled away from home but managed a credible draw at home. We were out of the Champions League but it was a good run, netting us around £1.3m in prize money. 

So we dropped down into the Europa League and would face Young Boys of Switzerland in the 4th Qualifying Round, a place in the Group Stage was awaiting the winner. Home leg first this time and we delivered, new signing Nihat Hasanov with a double. Away in Switzerland we fell to the same scoreline but we managed to win on penalties to send us through to the group stage. 

We were drawn in Group L along with...

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Tough draw. Any point(s) will be welcome but never expected. 

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Transfers 2026/27

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Armed with a very good budget I decided to splash some more cash. Hakak joined permanently once the window opened, the young Israeli instantly promoted to the first team to become Bayramov's understudy. Towards the end of the month after a bit of scouting I went for it a bit, splashing 700k on Kamil Hacizada from Qabala, the 17 year old MC is a full international already and will be first choice. 

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Into July, the free transfer of Azizov was confirmed, the AMC left Qarabag after his contract expired. I then spent another £475k on Nihat Hasanov also from Qarabag, a 22 year old poacher. Was surprised they let him go, especially to us their biggest rivals. Another signing from Qabala was finalised a few days later, 210k on a 20 year old CB who will act as cover for Huysenov and Koren. 

Last to come in is Georgian international Kakhaber Kobalia, he joins from Saburtalo for 100k. The 23 year old joins to be back up in the left back spot. 

One player left on a permenant deal, that was Nabiyev, an ageing CB who had asked to leave earlier in the window. 

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Facilities November 2026

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Finally after what seems an absolute age since asking the facilities have been upgraded. 

So I asked for more improvements...

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Both Junior Coaching and the Youth Recruitment has been upgraded again. 

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So facilities now look like this, basic training and youth facilities. Good Junior Coaching and Established Youth Recruitment. 

More progress :thup:

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congrats on your first league title. More to come.

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2 hours ago, kidthekid said:

congrats on your first league title. More to come.

Thanks pal, we started well this new season but Qarabag are neck and neck with us. Here's to hoping :thup:

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Youth Intake 2027

At the end of last season I made a change by not giving my old HoYD a new contract and brought in another one. Jose Angel, a Spanish national who mainly played for Gijon and Eibar but had spells at Roma, Porto and Villarreal came in. At 37, he has plenty of years ahead to hopefully improve with the help of upgrading his qualifications from National A. We also had another upgrade in both Youth Recruitment and Junior Coaching. 

Anyway, the intake...

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Okay, a 5* potential which is always great. Bit concerned with the amount of Unambitious or Low Determination players. Determination stats are quite poor also with just four players over 11. 

Orxan Bayramov (YP27a)

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Some good stats to start with like Handling and Reflexes and a good personality so that should stand him in good stead. Can tell why he is a GK though, with that stamina stat of 1 :D

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Posted (edited)

Season Review 2025/26

The dreams for this season were;

  1. Retain the League title
  2. Compete in Champions League Qualifying Rounds
  3. Improve Youth Recruitment and Junior Coaching

Lets have a look and see if we made those dreams reality...

Transfers

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 We did most of our business in the summer transfer window but one more deal was struck as Abbas Alizada came in from rivals Qarabag to replace the outgoing Slovakian player Kontolansky who left for Tottenham. We overpaid for Alizada due to being Azeri and from Qarabag. 

Europa League

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So after reaching the Europa League group stage we were heavily beaten in the first two games which knocked the confidence a little. Back to back draws with Midjtylland was surpassed by a win again Sturm Graz in Austria. We ended with a home loss to Betis. 

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Domestic Competitions

This season was about trying to retain the title whilst battling along in Europe too...something we haven't experienced yet. 

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We did it but by god it was close and going into the last game of the season was Qarabags to lose. For them to finish the season unbeaten but not win the title must be gut wrenching. The next graphic shows the battle we had the few times we swapped places through the back end of the season. 

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Squad

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Despite the league title a much poorer season overall as we struggled with playing well in both the league and in Europe. After last season I expected Dadasov to kick on a have a similar season and whilst he scored 16 goals to be top scorer in the team he was relatively poor. He is unhappy again and I think it is time for him to move on, I have an able deputy in Hasanov to replace him. 

Again my player of the season was Galchev, his 14 goals and 10 assists shows he can be a consistent threat from the right hand side. Eight goals and three assists this season for a now declining Bayramov in goal, he now has 56 goals in 262 appearances for the club. A good season for youth product Huseynov in defence with three goals to his name but he actually ended the league campaign with a 7.15 average rating, his performances in Europe slightly distorting his overall average. 

Finances

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We have a very healthy bank balance at the end of this season, we got a new sponsorship deal worth £1.4m for the season, an extra £1.5m from European TV revenue and a huge £4m from selling the sell on clause from the Kontolanksy deal. We've got a very big budget for the coming season which I won't use too much of. I will definitely be looking to improve the facilities once again. 

Making Dreams a Reality

So did we turn all our dreams into reality? 

  1. Retain the League title :thup: (just)
  2. Compete in Champions League Qualifying Rounds :thup:
  3. Improve Youth Recruitment and Junior Coaching :thup:

Next Seasons Dreams

  1. Can we make it back-to-back-to-back titles?
  2. Improve both training and youth facilities
Season | Media | Finished | Azeri Cup  | Europe               | Top Scorer       | Finances | Youth Rec | Junior Co | Training | Youth Fac | Other
18/19  | 7th   | 4th      | Qtr Final  | -                    | Mammadov (11)    | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
19/20  | 8th   | 5th      | Semi Final | EL 1st Qual Round    | Sahverdiyev (15) | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | - 
20/21  | 6th   | 4th      | Semi Final | -                    | Mammadov (8)     | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | -
21/22  | 6th   | 2nd      | Qtr Final  | -                    | Dadasov (14)     | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
22/23  | 6th   | 2nd      | Semi Final | EL 3rd Qual Round    | Dadasov (14)     | 300k     | F. Basic  | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
23/24  | 4th   | 2nd      | Finalists  | EL 3rd Qual Round    | Dadasov (17)     | 520k     | Average   | Average   | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
24/25  | 2nd   | 2nd      | Semi-Final | 3rd in Group Stage   | Bayramov (15)    | 4.2m     | Ab. Ave   | Adequate  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
25/26  | 2nd   | 1st      | 1st Round  | EL 3rd Qual Round    | Dadasov (21)     | 4.1m     | Ab. Ave   | Adequate  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for CL
26/27  | 2nd   | 1st      | 1st Round  | 4th in Group Stage   | Dadasov (16)     | 14.2m    | Establish | Good      | Basic    | Basic     | Qual for CL

 

Edited by ToMexico!!

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Facilities 2027

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Another double upgrade after some protesting to the board.

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We're also currently upgrading the youth facilities which will be completed in December 2027. 

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Youth Intake 2028

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First look its seems quite good, a 5* potential player and couple of other good potential players. Looking deeper, personalities are trash, top four potential players have unambitious personalities along with three more with the same and a Mercenary. Looking at the players individually this is a pretty poor intake for the investment we have made in improving the youth recruitment and junior coaching. 

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Huysenov (YP28a) is rated as the player with the best potential, poor technicals, not too much happening with his mental side of the game and has okay physicals for a 15 year old. 

Not sure whether to look for another new HoYD or give it another upgrade or two for next seasons intake. 

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Season Review 2027/28

The dreams for this season were;

  1. Can we make it back-to-back-to-back titles?
  2. Improve both training and youth facilities

Lets have a look and see if we made those dreams reality...

Transfers

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Only three players came in this season, first was a young full back from Guinean side Satellite for a few thousand, he went straight into the reserves. Next was another youngster, Asadov from Qabala for £125k, he still has a lot of improving to do however. Third and final signing was Belarussian attacking midfielder Zaytsev who I didn't plan on becoming first choice but was a little more consistent than both my Azeri options. 

Europe

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Another Champions League qualifying campaign that shows we're not quite ready to match some of the bigger clubs from Eastern Europe just yet. A easy aggregate win over Hungary's Debrecen before a somewhat less convincing tie against The New Saints. We fell just short against Bulgarian side Ludogorets, a home draw was followed by a 2-1 away loss. Into the Europa League we dropped. 

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A trip to Greece to play PAOK Salonika, a surprise away win with our young Israeli GK scoring one of his first free kicks for the club. A 1-1 home draw saw us go through 4-3 on aggregate. The group stage awaited us again. 

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Tough draw. 

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And the results proved that, a good draw in Scotland was the highlight of what turned out to be our poorest performance in the group stage so far. Although we weren't outclassed by only losing by two goals at worst. 

Domestic Competitions

Three in a row?...

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Of course we could, as you can see I included the positions graph also, showing we hit the top just before half way and we didn't relinquish that spot. At one point we were actually 9 points clear at the top after a run of nine games without even conceding. We suffered a blip against at home to Zira then failed to win the next three games also allowing Qarabag to close the gap. We actually won the title with a game remaining and drew the last game of the season allowing the gap to close even more. 

We scored the most goals this season (51) and conceded the least (14). 

We reached the cup final for the first time in four seasons and...

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Winners for the first time...

Squad

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This season we really struggled with our strikers, Hagasov replaced Dadasov as first choice but didn't produce the goods, Dadasov came back in and didn't even do it himself either. Thankfully we have pretty decent wingers, Galchev with 19 goals and Kwietnieski with 12 on the other side. Pini Hakak our Israeli GK who replaced Bayramov in goal made a great contribution with 8 goals and an assist but also kept 19 clean sheets in what is really a full debut season. 

Bayramov himself is unhappy and looks to be leaving because of his lack of games but he scored 5 goals in 7 games at the end of the season when Hakak got injured. I've also given Dadasov a new contract, something I didn't want to do initially because of his disruptive nature but as we've struggle for goals shipping him out could be disastrous. 

The one thing I haven't liked this season is the reliance on the foreign players, the limit is six foreign players in the first XI. We have six in the whole squad and probably used them too much, especially Kobalia at LB and Zaytsev in AMC. Its something that I will be looking to address in the close season. 

Finances

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We're still heavily in the black so have plenty of money to improve the facilities still and another couple of recruitment and coaching upgrades before we begin to spend more money than we make.  

Making Dreams a Reality

So did we turn all our dreams into reality? 

  1. Can we make it back-to-back-to-back titles? :thup:
  2. Improve both training and youth facilities :thdn: - we only managed to improve the youth facilities

Next Seasons Dreams

  1. Improve training facilities
  2. Improve in Europe (if we reach the group stage)
Season | Media | Finished | Azeri Cup  | Europe               | Top Scorer       | Finances | Youth Rec | Junior Co | Training | Youth Fac | Other
18/19  | 7th   | 4th      | Qtr Final  | -                    | Mammadov (11)    | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
19/20  | 8th   | 5th      | Semi Final | EL 1st Qual Round    | Sahverdiyev (15) | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | - 
20/21  | 6th   | 4th      | Semi Final | -                    | Mammadov (8)     | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | -
21/22  | 6th   | 2nd      | Qtr Final  | -                    | Dadasov (14)     | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
22/23  | 6th   | 2nd      | Semi Final | EL 3rd Qual Round    | Dadasov (14)     | 300k     | F. Basic  | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
23/24  | 4th   | 2nd      | Finalists  | EL 3rd Qual Round    | Dadasov (17)     | 520k     | Average   | Average   | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
24/25  | 2nd   | 2nd      | Semi-Final | 3rd in Group Stage   | Bayramov (15)    | 4.2m     | Ab. Ave   | Adequate  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
25/26  | 2nd   | 1st      | 1st Round  | EL 3rd Qual Round    | Dadasov (21)     | 4.1m     | Ab. Ave   | Adequate  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for CL
26/27  | 2nd   | 1st      | 1st Round  | 4th in Group Stage   | Dadasov (16)     | 14.2m    | Establish | Good      | Basic    | Basic     | Qual for CL
27/28  | 2nd   | 1st      | Winners    | 4th in Group Stage   | Galchev (19)     | 17.2m    | Well Est  | Excellent | Basic    | Below Ave | Double Winners

 

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Unhappy Squad?

Just spend a comparable small fortune on a new Azeri AMC and my second choice player in that role kicked up a fuss....and the squad support him or so it says!

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:idiot:

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42 minutes ago, ToMexico!! said:

Unhappy Squad?

Just spend a comparable small fortune on a new Azeri AMC and my second choice player in that role kicked up a fuss....and the squad support him or so it says!

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:idiot:

But is shows noone that supports him? :D

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5 minutes ago, scarp said:

But is shows noone that supports him? :D

Exactly, so why have I got this news item come up if no one is unhappy with my decision to bring in a new player? :lol:

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Transfers

Armed with over £11m in the transfer kitty I decided to spend a portion of it on bringing in some Azeri nationals so we were less reliant on our foreign national players. 

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And my first signing was a foreigner :D  Kassi coming in from Ivorian side ASEC, although he is a AML and our only other player that can play that position is also foreign, so they will rotate. Asadov was next in as we raided Qabala for two of their players, he will rotate with Alizada at RB. 

Into July, we signed Mahammadov on a free transfer after his departure from Qarabag, at 22 he's a good option at LB from the bench. We then spent big towards the end of the month with an outlay of £1.2m on Qarabag attacking midfielder. We also broke our wage limit with him signing a contract worth 9.5k p/w, he joined injured so we're yet to see him doing bits yet. Last player in was our second signing from Qabala, Alakbarov is another attacking midfielder/striker and at the age of 19 he looks to have a bright future. 

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Youth Intake 2029

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Pretty Poor

I'm not tagging anyone here, no 5* potential players, poor personalities, no strikers in the intake. URGH. A few will be signed purely for U19 squad depth but don't expect anyone to make it here. 

 

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Problem Strikers

This season we've really struggled for goals and this is a casing point...

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20 hours without a goal but finally Dadasov scores...shocking performance for who would be considered our main striker. 

 

Dat Guy Welbz

We just lost our assistant manager to Zira who employed him as their manager. So I promoted from within...

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Having been with us for five years now as a youth coach initially he's developed into a good staff member and purely because its him I've given him a chance as our assistant manager. Shame he's doesn't want to be a HoYD. 

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Season Review 2028/29

The dreams for this season were;

  1. Improve training facilities
  2. Improve in Europe (if we reach the group stage)

Lets have a look and see if we made those dreams reality...

Transfers

After a lot of money being spent in the summer we didn't spend anything in January instead selling two players. 

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Georgian left back Kobalia was snapped up by Al-Faisaly for his release clause, not a player I was actively seeking to sell but not sad to see him go. Azizov just wasn't in my plans, 4th choice AMC and 5th choice MC at best, I took the money and ran. 

Europe

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For the second season running we start qualification against Debrecen, comfortable wins home and away. Montenegro's Buducnost in the 2nd round, again comfortable. Ranger's are a step up though, we got the what could have proved a valuable away goal but couldn't take advantage in the home leg, failing to score. We drop into the Europa League again.

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A tough trip to Israel to contend with, a single goal in Haifa was enough to take the win and the advantage back to Azerbaijan. Demolition job at home to send us into the group stages once again. 

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Moscow are the stand outs here's, top seeds. I felt we could get a point or two against Vienna and Boavista. 

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Back to back draws before losing away to Boavista. We returned the favour at home though picking up our first group stage win for the season. It proved to be our only win as we lost to Vienna at home but managed a credible draw away in Moscow. 

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A better return in Europe this season, to finish above Moscow is a real step in the right direction. We need to try and score more goals though, to stand a chance of picking up an extra result. 

Domestic Competitions

We're bidding for our fourth title on the trot, are they becoming a given now? 

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You betcha :brock:

We hit the top spot earlier this season as we were able to juggle players better when playing European games and then league games at the weekend. However we still lost three games this season which was more than the past two seasons. 

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We also made it a league and cup double for the second season in a row as goalkeeper Hakak scored the only goal of the game from the spot despite us having 38 shots on goal. :herman:

Squad

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We struggle for goals this season a little despite the competition wins, Dadasov even though he scored 16 goals went on a 20 hour dry spell in front of goal, Hasanov only scored three and Bagirov twice in limited opportunities. Hakak was second top scorer with 12 but also kept 21 clean sheets, so that shows his worth at both ends. Kwietniewski has become a naturalised citizen for being in Azerbaijan for 5 years and Galchev will do the same soon also which put our foreigners down to just three. It was four but we've made an early sale. 

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David Koren was subject to bids last season and I felt it was the right time to move him on, he was a valuable first choice CB but rejecting this bid I think would upset the squad yet again. 

Finances

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Just crept over the £20m mark because of that sale and a new sponsorship deal which see's us receive £1.8m per season for the next two. I will be looking to spend a little bit of the transfer budget on a new striker and another CB to replace Koren. 

Making Dreams a Reality

  1. Improve training facilities - :thup: (kind of, board agreed but building has only just began)
  2. Improve in Europe (if we reach the group stage) :thup:

Next Seasons Dreams

  1. 5 in a row?
  2. Reach CL Fourth Qualifying Round
Season | Media | Finished | Azeri Cup  | Europe               | Top Scorer       | Finances | Youth Rec | Junior Co | Training | Youth Fac | Other
18/19  | 7th   | 4th      | Qtr Final  | -                    | Mammadov (11)    | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
19/20  | 8th   | 5th      | Semi Final | EL 1st Qual Round    | Sahverdiyev (15) | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | - 
20/21  | 6th   | 4th      | Semi Final | -                    | Mammadov (8)     | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | -
21/22  | 6th   | 2nd      | Qtr Final  | -                    | Dadasov (14)     | -        | Basic     | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
22/23  | 6th   | 2nd      | Semi Final | EL 3rd Qual Round    | Dadasov (14)     | 300k     | F. Basic  | F. Basic  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
23/24  | 4th   | 2nd      | Finalists  | EL 3rd Qual Round    | Dadasov (17)     | 520k     | Average   | Average   | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
24/25  | 2nd   | 2nd      | Semi-Final | 3rd in Group Stage   | Bayramov (15)    | 4.2m     | Ab. Ave   | Adequate  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for EL
25/26  | 2nd   | 1st      | 1st Round  | EL 3rd Qual Round    | Dadasov (21)     | 4.1m     | Ab. Ave   | Adequate  | Poor     | Poor      | Qual for CL
26/27  | 2nd   | 1st      | 1st Round  | 4th in Group Stage   | Dadasov (16)     | 14.2m    | Establish | Good      | Basic    | Basic     | Qual for CL
27/28  | 2nd   | 1st      | Winners    | 4th in Group Stage   | Galchev (19)     | 17.2m    | Well Est  | Excellent | Basic    | Below Ave | Double Winners
28/29  | 2nd   | 1st      | Winners    | 3rd in Group Stage   | Dadasov (16)     | 20.2m    | Well Est  | Excellent | Basic    | Below Ave | Double Winners

 

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I am actually surprised Kassi does not score more as he's too good for this level imo.

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6 hours ago, deltablue said:

Kassi is a great signing.

 

3 hours ago, scarp said:

I am actually surprised Kassi does not score more as he's too good for this level imo.

Yeah, he's not a natural AML. When he signed he was pure ML with a hint of A. He's spent a full season there now so I expect more from him next season for sure. 

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