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[FM19] The Frenchman Who Made Vietnam Cheer (Youth-Only)

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The Frenchman Who Made Vietnam Cheer

We've all heard of French Indochina, of the Sino-French and Independence wars, and of course of the Vietnam wars that started in the 50s, taking away the lives of millions and millions of innocent civilians. France has, admittedly, played an important part in every single intervention in Vietnam, and still has to this day a strong influence on the country's economy, political instability, and whatnot. What if its influence grew past the negativity it has always had a connotation to? What if France sent one of its brightest young minds to make Vietnam rejoice the socio-cultural infatuation it should have always had? 

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The hero of our story, a young 22 year-old who was set to become France's greatest football star until he tore his ACL (you know how it goes), initially came to Vietnam as a tourist, but had some issues at the border that forced him to stay there indefinitely, don't ask any more questions, I didn't think that much about Alphonse's story. Oh, right, his name's Alphonse, as French as it gets, pretty cool, right? Alphonse had to find a job that would pay the bills in order to, well, survive, and turned to football, his only education. Few weeks later, he penned a manager contract with the legendary Phù Đổng FC, founded in 2015 with the slogan "Sports is life". One of his objectives as manager of this small Hanoi-based club; to make it the Asian powerhouse it should have always been. In fact, his list of objectives goes a bit deeper than that. I present to you, the 16 Commandments of Alphonse Levallois.

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  • Phu Dong will be the highest-ranked club in AFC Clubs’ Coefficient.
  • Phu Dong will win the AFC Champions League.
  • Phu Dong will beat the record for most league titles won.
  • Phu Dong will reach a valuation of £1billion.
  • Phu Dong will have the largest stadium in Vietnam, as well as the largest attendance.
  • Phu Dong will be the most represented club in the Vietnam NT.
  • Phu Dong will be the most represented club in the European Big-5 leagues.
  • Phu Dong will win the Clubs’ World Cup.
  • Vietnam will be the highest-ranked nation in the FIFA Rankings.
  • Vietnam will win the Asian Cup.
  • Vietnam will win the World Cup.
  • Vietnam will have the most prestigious league outside of Europe.
  • Vietnam will be the country with the most AFC Champions League.
  • Vietnam will be the country with the most AFC Confederation Cups.
  • Vietnam will be the country with the most Asian Footballers of the Year.
  • Vietnam will have the most nominees for the Ballon d’Or in any given year.

Now, more information on this youth-only career update and our chosen team, the great Phù Đổng FC, will follow in the next post. 

Edited by Mascarpone

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Phù Đổng FC (January 2018)

We've got a lot to cover and success is definitely not waiting for us, so let's start briefly by saying that the team doesn't have much talent to start with. In fact, all the players are random, greyed out dudes. We do have an U21 and U19 team, which is excellent for development of our future young guns. In terms of staff, I'm the only person working here. Literally. First responsibilities will be to hire an assistant coach, and a HOYD as we approach regen day (which is in August, if I'm not wrong). Might hire one earlier, in case the good ones get poached--who am I kidding, the only ones that are remotely not-**** will be poached by the actual professional teams. Oh, right, didn't mention it, but we're starting out in the Vietnamese Second Division, the third tier.

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In terms of infrastructures, I'm glad I picked this team actually. The fact that we don't share our stadium with anyone (despite the awful size) means that the costs for maintenance will be kept low early on, and that it shouldn't be too much of an issue to convince the board to get a new stadium in a few years decades. The facilities are awful, but that's a surprise to no one let's face it. Poor TF & YF, minimal junior coaching, limited youth recruitment. We'll likely upgrade the last two at least once before the first youth intake, provided the finances are nice to us. Our current balance is at £346.

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The league format is fairly straightforward. 7 teams face each other twice for a grand total of 12 matches, the top two will get to qualify for the promotion play-offs where they will play against the top two of the other group; only one team will actually get promoted. Our goal for this season will be to sneak in the upper half of the table and improve the junior-level facilities, there are four other teams with greyed out players so this will be a matter of luck, maybe tactics. We're 14-1 for the title, predicted to finish 4th.

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Next post will be a recap of our results leading up to August. Stay tuned, and let me know if you're following this CU since this really gets me motivated, especially early on in the boring stages of the career!

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1 hour ago, ClemB said:

As a French who spent some time in Vietnam, I will be following closely.

Thanks for your support Clem!

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Phù Đổng FC (August 2018)

It's the end of the month, and the Green Knights (self-given nickname) have been far from knightly. In fact, they've been absolutely rubbish, which was to be expected since all other teams signed real players and Levallois is still stuck with grey teenagers. With one game left in the league, we are sitting in last position, yet for some odd reason I received an email saying that we successfully avoided relegation and confirmed our survival in the third tier. Strange. The worst part is that for this last game of the season, we'll be playing with our greyed out players once again.

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We actually managed to break a record; note that it was actually 8 games, making it a league-wide record of the longest winless streak.

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Some good news came though. 

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The fact that I penned a new contract makes me believe that there's some loophole helping me out here, that maybe we're not going to get relegated after all, and by God I hope we don't, or else this is a tragic start to the career update. With that being said, the other good news are that our hero has bagged a coaching license, our finances are looking healthy, and we actually improved junior coaching before the first youth intake. 

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Next up, an outlook on our youth intake and the best elements that'll come from it.

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Good luck, this should be a great challenge in a nation that doesn't get much attention on this forum. Your goals are ambitious, but I see no reason why they can't be realized. I hope you can at least sign some real players soon, that'd be a decent step :D

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Phù Đổng FC (September 2018)

It's youth intake time! End of the month, they do come a bit late and they're all 16 years old, so that's unfortunate. I signed a head of youth development earlier in the year, his attributes are absolutely terrible but his Fairly Professional personality was all I was looking for. He'll definitely get replaced next year, provided that there is actually someone more competent than him willing to sign in the third tier. Anyways, here's what he brought me.

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Golden generation, sure. I mean, I'm obviously excited but this doesn't mean anything, he can't evaluate anything and we don't even have any players to compared those kids to. They're all getting signed anyways, only on non-contracts though as they'll have to wait until they turn 17 to get part-time contracts (or at least, I think so). Here are the four players with the highest potential.

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Pham Van Thanh.

Great physical attributes, and assuming that he hasn't reached his potential just yet, I think he could become Ballon d'Or. All jokes aside, it's unfortunate that he's so small and not as strong as I'd like for a forward of his skillset, but his hold-up play will be great with the next guy.

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Nguyen Thanh Nam.

He looks insane for the level of play I'm expecting in this tier, the finishing coupled with his pace and decent first-touch, him and Pham Van Thanh could form an amazing strikeforce for next season.

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Tran Tranh Cuong.

Holy corners, this guy's set pieces are going to be ridiculous I can just feel it. And knowing how crossing affects the match engine just makes me exponentially more excited to see this man rack up double-digits assists in his first season. And his personality isn't garbage, so I feel like that's definitely a plus.

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Nguyen Trong Nghia.

I've always been terrible at evaluating goalkeepers so I'll leave this one to the ass-man, but he's all I've got for now, so all my hopes are resting on him.

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There. Obviously ecstatic since it's my first youth intake, but everything is still a bit of a blur since I have nobody to compare these kids to. They'll obviously be better than my grey players, but who knows how long they'll stick around. Anyways, stay tuned for the end of the season, a recap on our finances and an update on how our youngsters have developed over the last month!

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10 minutes ago, oriole01 said:

Good luck, this should be a great challenge in a nation that doesn't get much attention on this forum. Your goals are ambitious, but I see no reason why they can't be realized. I hope you can at least sign some real players soon, that'd be a decent step :D

Well, the goals are there to be reached even though they might seem like a huge longshot! If it's been done before, let's shoot for the sky, right? Thanks for your support Oriole! :D

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Phù Đổng FC (End of the Season, 2018)

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An unbelievable comeback, I was sweating bullets near the end because, if I'm not wrong, tiebreakers are decided by direct confrontations and we were gonna get relegated by that. But thankfully, then-sixth-placed Fishsan KH conceded a goal at the 94th minute, cementing our survival in the league!

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I mean look at our form, this league is a meme. In other news, we actually got a little something else too.

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This happened a few days before the game, and just look how much good it ended up doing to our finances, who have been steady for months thanks to my friendly-matches planning skills.

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Anyways, we're closing the curtains on the season, there's not much to be said other than the fact that this might have been the most tense I have been in a while. Our finances are healthy, so next year should be very exciting considering the arrival of our not-so-wonderful wonderkids. Stay tuned for the next season, coming up in the next post.

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Good Luck with this, tried a Vietnam save on an edition a few years ago and it did not go well. The only reason I tried was becuase Yohan Cabaye is French/Vietnamese :cool: with his Grandmother hailing from there! 

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Did not expect this much support!

6 hours ago, Jordan023 said:

Following! Nice idea :)

Thanks Jordan!

6 hours ago, ToMexico!! said:

Good Luck with this, tried a Vietnam save on an edition a few years ago and it did not go well. The only reason I tried was becuase Yohan Cabaye is French/Vietnamese :cool: with his Grandmother hailing from there! 

Feel free to join me in the challenge :D Although I do wish that Cabaye could still play for the team, he'd be a stellar addition to any Asian NT if we're being honest! Thanks for your support mate!

4 hours ago, LUFCspeni said:

Some lofty expectations there :D Good luck, always interesting to see an Asian save.

Lofty would be an understatement :) Thanks, will try to make the most of it!

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17 minutes ago, JFrusciante said:

I love how ambitious your goals are, definitely following this one!

Had to make 'em ambitious ! :D Thanks mate!

The August update should come fairly soon, halfaway thru June at the moment and just sorting out the whole second-tier-clubs-offering-contracts-to-my-players issue

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I had a great couple of season at DT Long An on an old journeyman save on FM17, was great, but as soon as South Korea came calling I was off. Whilst I wish you the best of luck and hope you achieve the targets you've set, my god they're ambitious dude! Will take eons to get them all. Good luck, you'll need it!

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16 minutes ago, bigmattb28 said:

I had a great couple of season at DT Long An on an old journeyman save on FM17, was great, but as soon as South Korea came calling I was off. Whilst I wish you the best of luck and hope you achieve the targets you've set, my god they're ambitious dude! Will take eons to get them all. Good luck, you'll need it!

Thanks mate, realistically if I hit just a few of those targets, this save would be a success. But hey, luck favours the bold!

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That's the way to do it. Set low expectations and then overachieve....... Oh wait. :lol:

Seriously, I'm glad I found this early because I'm guessing it's going to turn into an epic thread. Good luck. I will be following. :thup:

Isn't it a shame that the Newgens don't look Asian or even specifically South East Asian. They really have gone backwards over the last few years and it's such a shame. 

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16 minutes ago, Jimbokav1971 said:

That's the way to do it. Set low expectations and then overachieve....... Oh wait. :lol:

Seriously, I'm glad I found this early because I'm guessing it's going to turn into an epic thread. Good luck. I will be following. :thup:

Isn't it a shame that the Newgens don't look Asian or even specifically South East Asian. They really have gone backwards over the last few years and it's such a shame. 

You know what, your last point was actually something that made me want to potentially look at another country to do this with. FM16 newgens were my favorite by a landslide, I still remember Debski's hairpack making the kids look so so varied. It's a real shame if you ask me. 

Really appreciate the kind words though, I hope this does turn into an epic thread, all the ingredients are there after all, thanks mate!

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Phù Đổng FC (August 2019)

Plenty to talk about, this'll be a bit of a long post so I'll try to be brief while still mentioning everything worthwhile. First off, you gotta know that we started the season with some very cool odds to the title in January, before seeing them change in our favour right after the transfer deadline. Wait, did I say favourable?

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Beyond that, I got plenty of offers throughout the year for some of our wonderkids. Very few of them turned out to be threatening to me, but it was a good opportunity to discern the fakes from the real; in other words, seems like that Phu Dong love has no equal. Nguyen Thanh Nam (17) repeatedly rejected interest from second-tier teams, Pham Van Thanh (17) was in the same position around June, except that he rejected an offer to sign with a team who was set to play in the league's top tier. That's my two strikers for you. We did end up losing our starting right-back Pham Quang Huy (17) and our back-up right-winger Truong Van Thanh (17) to the same fourth-tier team. 

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With that being said, on the personal development side, our hero Levallois (you didn't forget about him, did you?) bagged a couple of licenses and his great start to the season was rewarded with a nice ego boost. Bear in mind that Khanh Hoa is a top-tier team.

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The new deal I signed actually had a few perks associated to it, including a thorough search for a senior affiliate, and a few improvements to our youth setup. Thankfully, we now have a parent club in Da Nang (V-League 1), who have agreed to let us host a friendly against them every year & are giving us roughly 3.5k yearly for our commitment. Also, we got a new kit deal early in the year, so much good has been done to our finances.

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As if that wasn't too much info--I'm kidding, so that's it for the news that have come across my desk for the last eight months. We are currently sitting in fifth-place, but look beyond the ranking and you'll see...

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One win away from first-place? Also, Nam Dinh B cannot get promoted since their first team is in the second tier, which just makes me that much more ecstatic to see if we can actually make it to the promotion play-offs. That'd be amazing news, since promotion would do a lot of good to our finances and the newgens we'll be getting in September will likely not get snapped up by upper-tier teams. Anyways, I'll see you in a bit as I walk through the next two months, leading up to our second youth intake of the save!

Edited by Mascarpone

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Phù Đổng FC (October 2019)

Alright, I know this update was not supposed to come, but something pretty cool happened. So we had a string of insane results (considering that a backup right-winger has been right-back and that our best centreback was suspended for 3 games). And here's what it amounted to.

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Guaranteed play-offs? And one draw away from clinching the title.

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We're playing sixth-placed Binh Thuan, they're playing last-placed Kon Tum. Down the wire. Here are a few encouraging words from Ho Van Tien, one of the best centre-backs in the league, and the one who was suspended for three games. Yeah, same lad.

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Full Disclosure: The Newgen Day is set to happen after we put an end to this season, but for the CU's purposes it'll happen beforehand just to have some sort of continuity and, well, suspense. See you in a bit!

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Phù Đổng FC (Youth Intake 2019)

It's time lads, and as excited as I was, I tried to keep my hopes low. I was expecting a golden generation, no doubt, after all our youth recruitment was well-established and our junior coaching became average. To draw comparisons, we had the same YR as Everton, the same JC as Preston North End. So by Vietnam's standards, this was the beginning of greatness. And boy, it truly was.

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Yeah, alright, the Golden Generation label might not mean much considering how terrible the judgment of HOYD was, but that looked like one sweet intake. I was going to sign everyone in there regardless, because I know that a lot of our players will get poached regardless of the outcome of the next season, and we need depth at so many positions. I highlighted, as usual, the most interesting kids.

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Pham Minh Duc

Sure, he may not have any standout mentals, but he has everything I could possibly ask for at my level. He's already as good as my current starting playmaker, though I'm thinking he'd make for a great F9 or AP as an 8 down the pitch. The fact that he has a decent personality leaning towards the high-professionalism scale, gets me just even more excited to see his development. Here's to hoping he won't get snatched away.

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Than Van Vu.

The other jewel of this team. Outside of his low speed, he's head & shoulders above the level of our current starting keeper, who's being courted by second-tier An Giang at the moment. Needless to say much more, like I said earlier, I'm not great at evaluating goalkeepers but he looks very well-rounded and my assistant says he's V-League 2 level already. At the ripe age of sixteen years old.

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Hoang Thanh Tung.

One fast son of a Viet. He's practically begging for me to turn him into the greatest advanced forward this club has ever seen. A very similar profile to Pham Van Thanh (17), who bagged 5 goals in 10 games this season; they're both also capable of playing down the right wing, and Hoang actually makes Pham look like an amateur in both the technical and mental department. I'm thinking he might be the starting striker next year, provided he stays with us.

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Lai Van Long.

Also an excellent youngster who's been deemed as the one with the highest starting CA by my HOYD. Sucks for his personality, he should definitely have some more confidence considering the state of his abilities at the moment; him, this generation's Luu Van Toan (16) & our current centre-back Ho Van Tien (17) will be the backbone of this defence for the upcoming years.

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That's it for the youth intake, next update will be the end of the season, the outcome on our promotion play-offs, and a bit of a financial update. Cheers!

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Phù Đổng FC (End of Season 2019)

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So we won the title and were pitted against the second-placed team of the other group.

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Only to lose 2-1 thanks to a brace from their star striker. They dominated us, sure, but it's still incredibly disappointing, I couldn't even field the youngsters that just came through the ranks since the registration window didn't even open. Regardless, we won the title and despite how awful the failure to be promoted might have been, I think that our reputation is still bound to rise enough to see us keep some of our players. They're home-grown after all, I do expect at least some level of loyalty. Anyways, overachieving has helped us to maintain decent finances despite the increase in youth spending. Here's an idea of our finances at the end of the month (yes, I switched to the lighter theme for now, still experimenting with skins).

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And that's it for the 2019 season! We'll be expecting a great run of form to, hopefully, challenge for the title once again and secure promotion to the second tier as soon as possible. Keeping healthy finances would be nice too. Thanks for following, working on the next season as we speak.

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Phù Đổng FC (March 2020)

Let's start with the transfer market, which was very hectic. We've seen interest from V-League 1 teams for many of our players (Lai Van LongPham Van Thanh, Pham Minh Duc, and 5 more). Most of them declined the offers given to them, thankfully, although I did have to offer them some juicy non-contracts that will most likely drive our finances to the ground. Couple that with a few departures since, well, some of our kids wanted to turn pro, and you've got a not-so-terrible transfer window. Some good news came in the form of this:

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That's even better for us, and even though I would love to be pushing for improvements in youth facilities, we're just so far off the mark financially speaking, there's no way we'll reach triple figures while in this tier.

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Another thing I haven't talked about much (but that I've been keeping track of) for the last two seasons is average attendance, and ticket sales in general. Although our attendance soared last year with all the bandwagons (258, up from 218 the year prior), the season ticket sales have been the exact same for three years now. Hopefully this changes if we do ever get promoted.

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They don't ever learn, do they?

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Solid season, regardless of the outcome. A very good intake for that level last time out. Do you tag your players? I see you write them in your update with a number beside.

In comparison to the bookmakers prediction, what do your board want after last season? I always like to keep the expectations down to a minimum, even if I know we'll win the league or the cup. 

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5 hours ago, bigmattb28 said:

Unlucky, but good update

Very unlucky unfortunately, but there's some positives like you mentioned!

4 hours ago, ToMexico!! said:

Solid season, regardless of the outcome. A very good intake for that level last time out. Do you tag your players? I see you write them in your update with a number beside.

In comparison to the bookmakers prediction, what do your board want after last season? I always like to keep the expectations down to a minimum, even if I know we'll win the league or the cup. 

Yup, the title really made it bittersweet. I don't actually tag my players, I've seen a lot of people do it but I'm just not a fan, the number is just their age. Might have to start doing it soon though since a lot of the names are very similar :D 

The board has the same expectations as the bookies; fight to avoid relegation. It's strange, but I'm not one to complain, 7/11 of our starting XI at the moment played their first pro game this season, so that might be why. Here's to hoping we can clinch promotion, whether we're 1st or 2nd!

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Solid first season, might be a blessing in disguise to bed in your new youth players before you go up. Planning on this save running through the FM20 release as well?

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Phù Đổng FC (July 2020)

It's the end of the transfer window, and we're a few games past mid-season, so though it'd be a good time to give an update on the situation. First off, our league position is not bad at all, although I do expect that to change in the coming months (and you'll see why).

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We're stuck in that loophole where we want to get promoted, but they keep poaching our players for free, except we can't keep them since we're still in the third tier, and alright I can't anymore. Just look at this.

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That list features our starting fullbacks (Van Toan Hoang Thong), our left midfielder Thanh Son and most importantly, the jewel of our team and what used to be the best player in the league at just 17 years of age, Pham Minh Duc. The most frustrating thing is that four of the seven players that left us went to teams in the FOURTH tier. I mean, man, what's wrong with you?

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Look at that valuation; that's the kind of money we missed out on. He'll be playing top-tier football for a salary that exceeds what I could possibly offer him in a lifetime of third-tier football, so I can't blame him at all. With that being said, it still sucks that we didn't even get a transfer fee or anything like that. He's bound to get capped with the U19 NT sooner or later though, I'll be keeping an eye on him for now. Next update: youth intake!

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5 minutes ago, LUFCspeni said:

Solid first season, might be a blessing in disguise to bed in your new youth players before you go up. Planning on this save running through the FM20 release as well?

Hopefully, although plenty of them have left us unfortunately. And yes, that'll be my save for the early stages of the FM20 release, maybe something else will happen by Christmas but I'm convinced this'll be one of those long-running saves :D 

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Phù Đổng FC (Youth Intake 2020)

Apparently, another golden generation in our hands. Slightly less excited about this one because the profiles are far from what I expected, but maybe the YR upgrade we had earlier in the year only affects potential? Because CA-wise, slim pickin's. 

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Still some decent elements, I'll highlight the first two because the rest is unfortunately very hard to fit in my team (no number 8's at all for example, no real left-back). I'll sign everyone once again in case all our players get poached later in '20, next year we'll see some filtering though, youth contracts are dirt cheap so it's a nothing-to-lose situation.

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Trinh Thanh Hai. 

I think he might be the best youth product we've seen come through our ranks, even better than Pham Minh Duc (17) who signed for top-tier Khanh Hoa earlier this season. Very fast, technical in terms of ball control, good finisher, he's definitely a good advanced forward already. Sucks that his crossing & passing are so underdeveloped this early in his career, or else he would've made a great inside forward on the left flank. Very good prospect, though.

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Nguyen Dong Thap.

Also a very fast winger, but please, look at this lad's height. He's three inches shorter than Valbuena. Shorter than Ryan Fraser. Decent technically, good crosser and overall well-rounded. His personality is quite unique and unfortunate, but the team atmosphere will do wonders to it, I'm sure of it. Also a potential key player for our squad.

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Phù Đổng FC (End of Season 2020)

No surprise here, we made the play-offs.

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Then big moment; we won against Megastar Utd in the play-off semis (although we did beat them both times we faced them this season iirc).

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And then, the unimaginable happened...

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We were dominated from the beginning to the end, although we did miss plenty of chances in regular time, but damn that was much more than I bargained for. We're up, lads! And most importantly, we turned professional, so I think we're set to stay there for a while!

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No surprises here as well, Tung (17) had some very key goals for us this year, scored a quadruple on the season opener, he'll be forming an amazing partnership with Trai (16) next season. And, they'll both be locked by real contracts, yes sir!

And that's it for a while! The end of the season took a while to sim, lots of crash dumps every now and then, actually had to replay the semis (won the first time around, then crash dump, then had to replay it a few times). Again, had to give full disclosure, felt like we deserved to go through and it was a bit unfortunate that I got a crash dump and had to replay the game so many times. But it's fine, it's all solved in the end! And we're up, thanks for following, I'll see y'all in '21!

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Phù Đổng FC (March 2021)

I didn't forget about this, just got a bit busy! The transfer window came around, it's also important to note that we don't start playing until late March/early April I believe. As soon as the transfer window opened, plenty of teams came for our players, most of whom we were forced to sign under professional contracts--in other words, we took a huge hit financially speaking. We lost a few players as well, and some actually decided to stay with us despite interest from other teams. I'll highlight the key transfers below.

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Nguyen Thanh Nam (18) is out playing with Kien Giang now, who plays in the same tier as us if I'm not mistaken. He was touted as a potential superstar, but his development was really hindered by lack of playtime and our poor facilities. He left us on a free, didn't even want to renew with the team. Not that he's a big loss as we have lots of depth at his position, but still, unfortunate.

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Trinh Thanh Hai (17) is the biggest loss of the team, we didn't even have the chance to see him wear the first team's kit after we turned professional. I'm glad we at least got some money in exchange of our golden boy, whose progress we will be following very closely as he plays top-tier football with Hai Phong. With that being said, £12k is quite a decent amount, and the 40% on resale gets me very excited, in case he gets another big-money move in the future. 

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We better get some solid improvements in terms of attendance outside of season tickets, because we're not playing amateur football anymore. Most games should have upwards of 500 fans in the stands.

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Not a bad transfer window by any means. Glad to see many of our products making the jump to bigger teams, we retained most of our talent at home so there's at least some satisfaction here. I also think that with all the confusion around some of the names and how they can tend to repeat themselves, the next youth intake will (finally!) have tagged player names. Next update may be halfway through the season, not exactly sure, stay tuned though!

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Phù Đổng FC (May 2021)

Didn't forget about this, again. The situation is fairly simple, the league is actually only three months long for some odd reason, and congests 18 fixtures between April and June. The bookies predicted us to finish at the bottom of the table, though our squad suggested otherwise. But, with our reputation, I'm sure there's a reasoning behind their predictions! Although, not sure what can explain our form in the first half of the season.

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We were knocked out of the Cup with ease by a top-tier side. But it's been ridiculous how dominant we've been, at the end of the season I'll be posting the tactic I set up (a 4-3-1-2 AMC) in case anyone is curious. We're on pace for a record-beating season and a title that would do wonders to our finance, reputation, and to the team overall in every way possible. Still, this may be a very good run of form that could stop at any moment so there's no point getting too excited. But this is promising!

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Phù Đổng FC - Youth Intake, October 2021

The season is over, a recap will follow this post, but for now the youth intake is what interests us. A few months earlier, I got lucky with the board and we saw our junior coaching & youth recruitment improve, and I hired a new HOYD (8/7 JPA/JCA & Professional) in order to get the best crop of kids possible. 

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This led to us getting another 'golden generation', and this one looks like the real deal. Plenty of great candidates for first-team spots, in fact everyone is going to get signed to a zero-wage youngster contract. We'll be getting rid of the deadweight from the 2019 & 2020 intakes this year as well, and with so many of our players being poached last year, I expect another exodus. This is also the first time I've tagged players with nicknames.

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Duong Van Viet (YP21f) and Ngo Hong Viet (YP21b) are the obvious standouts of the crop, the first will likely be retrained as an MC since I don't play with defensive midfielders, the second will displace one of our two starters, likely forming a pairing with Lai Van Long in the short-term. the fact that we've been blessed with three decent fullbacks (we currently only have one on each side) is one of the key takeaways as well. Half of these players, if not more, will be immediate starters.

PS: I've been experimenting with different skins but will stick to that one, for consistency's sake. Next post is the season recap!

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Phù Đổng FC - End of Season, October 2021

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And we're up! It seems like our early form wasn't just an illusion, although losing to Kien Giang on the final matchday does sting a little bit just because we could've achieved an undefeated season right after promotion. Regardless, it was a great few months and the fact that we're finally in the top tier makes me ecstatic, although not sure if our players are quality enough! And the prize money looks great, until half of it is given as a squad bonus & the other half spent on player wages for 3 months...

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This shows just how ridiculous our dominance was over the league, Hoang Ngoc Bao would be in that XI as well if he wasn't playing as an AM(C) since he had the highest rating in the league. We've also had a massive update to our Best Eleven, it's all been changed to represent our most common lineup this season. Which leads me to finally showing the tactic I used over the course of the season.

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A high-tempo, counter-attacking 4-3-1-2 with an AM(C) roaming free behind our striker pairing. Regardless of who played next to Hoang Thanh Tung, I always gave them the Pressing Forward role to benefit the playmaker and other striker, which was crucial since we didn't get control of the midfield too often. The use of an Inverted Wing Back on the left was also key I believe, since it was in-line with the "Defend Narrower" instruction. Not sure what else can be said, maybe our players outperformed the rest and we were on a good run of form, maybe it's the chemistry, regardless it seemed like this was a wonder-season in every facet!

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Also, important to note that our average attendance was 326 this year, compared to 333 the season prior. Not sure why that happened, but surely the boost in reputation that'll come with promotion will help increase those numbers. Our finances are unstable, and the top-tier money definitely should help stabilize them. But this is it, we've finally made it to V.League 1, the next update will be a pre-season one around February 2022, including the transfers out and an update on our finances & reputation. Stay tuned!

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Phù Đổng FC - Pre-Season, March 2022

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Our pre-season wasn't too bad. Battered a couple of non-league sides and grabbed a win against top-tier Thanh Hoa, which is encouraging news. I've slightly tweaked my tactic to fit both midfielders on the pitch and to compensate for the departures of Pham Van Thanh and Le Thanh Tung, who were my 2nd & 3rd options at ST. I also got rid of the inverted-wingback and placed a wing-back I am converting from WB(L) to D(L).

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We did benefit a little bit from promotion. The £56k in TV money is going to be a healthy income spread over the next few months, and the increase in season tickets likely reflects an improvement in reputation (which will hopefully translate into higher attendance) - this is even better when you see that ticket price is up to £6 from £4. Our finances are very unstable, like said earlier, mainly because the gate receipts we've been getting are too low to compensate for the wages we're giving our wonderkids.

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We are predicted to go down, as usual, though I think there's more reason to it this year than the last. The squad is better, but the gap in opposition is significantly larger than the one between V-League 2 & Second League. We got offers from some top teams in the league though, including a whopping £38k + 40% of next sale for Than Van Vu, and £11.5k + 40% of next sale for Lai Van Long, with both offers being rejected. This does give an indication of the strength of the squad, and I think that apart from our fullbacks, we definitely have the tools to avoid relegation from the top tier. 

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Phù Đổng FC - Mid-Season, June 2022

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As you can see, the results were far from ideal. We started on the wrong foot, and failing to grab all three points at Can Tho was the biggest mistake. We never capitalized on the potential momentum raised by our cup run (which was healthy for the finances & my status at the club). Still, up until the Hai Phong fixture, we never managed to create more than 5 shots per game. I changed the team instructions to a different style of play, and all of a sudden we seem to playing much better; creating chances, monopolizing possession. Let's pray for some decent results on the return leg, and hopefully the fixture congestion of June & July of other teams will play to our benefit.

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Winless in 11 games, and as you can see, our inability to create chances is the main reason behind our poor league performance, with only 4 goals scored. It's important to note that only bottom-of-the-table gets relegated and the 13th-placed team plays in a relegation play-off. If we can get that 13th place, I'd be ecstatic, anything more than that is icing on the cake. But it will all depend on whether we can grab points against the beatable teams (Can Tho, TP HCM). Next update will be closer to the end of the season, depending on the relegation race!

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Phù Đổng FC - August 2022

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The transfer window was unforgiving. I thought I could keep those two players at home, but the chairman was a bit intimated by the bids Da Nang put up and ended up giving the seal of approval before I could say anything. Than Van Vu was our starting & very irreplaceable (or so I thought) goalkeeper and, at that price, may be the most expensive Vietnamese goalkeeper ever (if the clauses get triggered, that is). Tran Ngoc Quang (YP21h) wasn't in our starting XI, but definitely showed promise as can be seen in his price tag, he was bound to fill in the boots of our other left-back at one point. The amount of money we got for both of them was hefty though, can't deny that, and TVV was brilliantly replaced by Nguyen Ngoc Luan (YP21a), who I've been thinking of renaming "Luan Nguyen" for simplicity's sake. The DB isn't very rich of Vietnamese names...

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We managed to turn our form around COMPLETELY, starting from the victory against relegation-zone TP HCM. We've collected 13 of 27 points since then, thanks to a weird tactic that I'll attach at the end of season, as usual. I will say though, the change to a 4-3-2-1 with a lone inside forward really helped, seems like I've gotten a hang of what to do with my team. At least, until the next youth intake comes (next month!).

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We're not safe just yet, but those points really proved to be key. However, other than the return leg of the TP HCM fixture, all our next games will feature someone ranked above us, so no more easy games. We've managed to turn our fortunes around, but we're too far from tenth-place to even think of sneaking in front of Thanh Hoa. The self-inflicted objective of avoiding relegation seems attainable now, we just need to manage the next run of fixtures with as much confidence as we approached the last nine. Next update: youth intake, with our now-improved coaching & youth recruitment (it finally changed, after it being awarded last year!)

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Phù Đổng FC - Youth Intake, October 2022

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When I was told by my assistant that there would yet another "golden generation" coming in, I got excited. And yet, felt extremely disappointed when all I saw was a load of players in positions I didn't use (wingbacks, defensive midfielders, attacking wingers), who would all need positional training before knocking on the starting XI's doors. The absence of a natural left-back was a huge disappointment (and so was that of a striker, what luck?!), since we've needed one for the last 3 years. And the mix of personalities is awful as well, nothing too inspiring.

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If we're optimistic though, we can say we found another cover at the right-back position. Our current starter's been attracting interest of bigger teams and we will undoubtedly get offers for him by season's end, some of which may be too good to refuse in the eyes of the chairman. Only the 8 players above have been signed. Nguyen Van Dung (YP22p) is a stand-out due to his CA and position, he may be the successor to the keeper we recently sold. Nguyen Huu Thang (YP22o) is obviously worth mentioning as well, though he also suffers from the defensive-midfielder-syndrome where he'll need to be retrained before being worth anything in my eyes. Dang Quang Minh (YP22h) has some great attributes here and there as well, and a decent CA that could see him be a part of the first-team next season. All in all, not the best youth intake, very few exciting players, but if the positional training works wonders then this might offer us some well-needed depth in certain positions.

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Phù Đổng FC - End of the Season, November 2022

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It was always going to be hard, no surprises there. Losing the game against TP HCM was very unfortunate, but the next run of fixtures clearly showed much better opposition than us. Even then, I suffered an injury/suspension crisis starting in mid-September, and was without many key players for the last 3 games (and finished the Thanh Hoa and Khanh Hoa games with 10 men). 13th place was not an awful finish, especially since that meant we were pitted against a 2nd-tier team to avoid relegation.

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We played our football, as usual, and stayed up thanks to an early goal of Hoang Thanh Tung! Monopolizing possession and creating a few chances, we capitalized on the most important of them very early on. Also, the sell-out at Van Giang (a neutral stadium) meant we got some pleasant gate receipts, that goes on top of the £78.5k prize money that we got for our league position. Our healthy finances warranted an upgrade to above average youth recruitment, putting us on par with the likes of Burnley and Leicester for example.

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Here's the tactic I used throughout the year, an asymmetric 4-3-3 WB featuring a very important inside forward in the form of Le Manh Dung (YP21n), whose introduction halfway through the season brought some much-needed creativity to our sterile attack. Having a competent ball-winning midfielder with defensive instructions on the left-side allowed Tran Anh Tuan to roam more freely, although I'd much prefer it if we had a natural left-back to play as a full-back. Having an advanced playmaker on a less-central position suggested overlap on the left, especially with the presence of a wing-back, whereas the right-side featured much more underlap due to the role of our winger. The central pairing's roles were unchanged, although Ngo Hong Viet (YP21d) was an improvement over last year's option; the fact that he's developing chemistry with his partner helps a lot as well. Finally, Nguyen Ngoc Luan (YP21a) took over the keeper position, although I think that this year's Nguyen Van Dung (YP22p) will be starting. 

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All in all, not a bad season. Staying up was the main objective, and we managed to achieve it while improving on last year's squad, working on our facilities & reputation, and getting our finances to an even healthier standard. The real mission will be to keep our heroes until next year, as the transfer window is looking very threatening. If we could strengthen our coaching team without impacting our finances too much, that'd be amazing as well. Next update: pre-season 2023!

Edited by Mascarpone

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13 hours ago, anhminh157 said:

interesting save. can u show the national team at that time? 

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There! Everybody plays at home except for Dang Van Lam, who plays in Thailand. We still haven't gotten one of our players to get capped at any (A, U21, U19) level. Vietnam actually somehow managed to not only make it to the Asian Cup in 2023, but to make it to the knockouts after a disappointing showing (1-1 draws vs. Philippines & Syria, 1-0 loss to Lebanon), before falling 3-0 to Japan in the Round of 16. Nobody with Vietnamese second nationality popped up in Europe as far as I'm concerned, I may be wrong though!

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Phù Đổng FC - March 2023

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Our pre-season was just as planned, I was really looking to increase the chemistry between our players and get us on a good run of form before we started off the season. The transfer window was, though, very busy. We rejected £35k bids for Pham Van AnhHoang Ngoc Bao, and Ngo Anh Dung (YP21m). We also, somehow, managed to keep Duong Van Viet (YP21f) through the transfer window despite the board accepting a whopping £38k (£90k) bid from Binh Duong on deadline day (they didn't get the paperwork done on time, thankfully). We also allowed the sale of Truong Van Vu to Quang Ninh for a very good sum, considering he was our third-choice CB and on his way to falling outside of the first-team hierarchy given his competition. All in all, a good & promising window, our squad doesn't feel much different from last year.

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The bookies don't seem to be learning, and still give us 200-1 odds at the title. The goal this season will be to, once again, avoid relegation without having to go through the play-off system. Achieving financial stability will also be important, the upgrade to youth recruitment (and, soon, to youth coaching if we have the money) needs to be backed by a better financial base. We'll also be getting £62k in TV rights, an increase of £6k from last year. Hopefully, a cup run will lead to good rewards in the next few months!

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Phù Đổng FC - June 2023

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What a start to the season! I did not expect us to play anywhere at this level, and beyond grinding out so many results, we've dominated the teams we've played against from start to finish. We've been playing attractive football using the exact same tactic as last year (although, bringing our CM-BWM Duong Van Viet (YP21f) down to a DM-BWM asymmetric role), have had clinical finishing while doing exactly what I want us to do on the pitch; play one-touch football with plenty of passing & frustrating the opposition through possession and unpredictability. The domination over then-leaders Ha Noi was categorical: 22 shots created, 13 on target, 59% possession & 27 fouls against for 4 fouls causedHoang Thanh Tung's form has been incredible as well, with our homegrown striker averaging a 7.88 rating & scoring 13 goals through 11 league games (including two hat-tricks) ! To give an idea of what I mean, though, by having a defined style of play...

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We've completed 5912 passes over our 11-game half-season. averaging to about 537 passes per game. Assuming 59% of possession (or 53.1 minutes, ball-out-of-play included), we're completing a remarkable 10.12 passes every minute; more than one every 6 seconds! We've also catered our game to be satisfying to the fans, as cosmetic of a detail as this may seem, by having the 2nd best disciplinary record in the league (6 yellow cards & 0 reds), and committing less fouls than anyone (76 total, 6.91 fouls/game). All in all, this is truly a demonstration of champagne football, and may fit in the lore of Phu Dong having a DNA & quality from the youth academy. Unfortunately, our average attendance is at 428, 6x less than the second-lowest in the league & 36x less than the highest. Hopefully, that'll change soon with an increase in reputation! Oh, that's right, the league table.

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We've already surpassed last year's point totals, but what truly stands out is the formation of a Big Three this season. With the form we have been in, there's no reason why we shouldn't consider ourselves serious contenders to the title, or why we shouldn't at least aim for qualification on the continental stage. Being only three points from the leader we beat 5-0 a week before mid-season was not a scenario I had envisioned, and yet here we are. Between quality performances from some of our new signees & our system finally working like a well-oiled, domestic domination machine, here's to hoping for an upset in our favour later this season. If there's anything you'd like to know or see (maybe some players' attributes, or tactics-related insight), feel free to let me know, I'd be glad to share it!

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Phù Đổng FC - September 2023

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The transfer window (and the week that followed) were awful. Not only did we lose Nguyen Van Dung (YP22p) to a 4-month injury bound to keep him sidelined until the end of the season, but our highest-rated player left us to the domestic giants Binh Duong. Duong Van Viet (YP21f) may have needed for his development, and in all fairness we were compensated a club-record flat £78k fee for his transfer. But as a ball-winning midfielder sitting in front of the defense, he was the key piece of our system. He was replaced by last year's best product CA-wise Nguyen Huu Thang (YP22o), who, as good as he is, was expected to perform at the same level as DVV, who happened to be our first player to get capped for Vietnam's U19s. Which led us to this series of inconsistent results. Our defensive stability is nothing like what it used to be, DVV's replacement's rating is 0.31 lower over the course of the season, which goes to show how subpar he is relative to the team (surprisingly, since his attributes suggest he'd be flying high).

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This hasn't stopped us from keeping a decent standing in the league, or to have a chance at making it in the AFC Cup (if DT Long An win the domestic cup, we would qualify through their spot). However, our form really does not inspire much confidence in this squad, since we have been way too inconsistent to pretend for anything better we currently have. With that being said, this is a massive improvement over last year's form. We broke our attendance record by hosting 697 fans for a clash against Da Nang in August. Behind the scenes, we have also upgraded our youth setup to accommodate good junior coaching and established youth recruitment, without our finances taking too much of a toll. We're mathematically guaranteed to make at least 8th place, and we've already hit nearly twice last year's point totals--I can't wait to see our reputation jump after this, but all eyes on AFC Cup qualification! Next post: the October youth intake, with our great youth setup!

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Phù Đổng FC - Season Review, October 2023

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A bit anti-climatic, no? We were bound to struggle against DT Long An, and Thanh Hoa could've been beaten if we hadn't wasted a lot of chances. But the draw against Quang Nam was the icing on the cake of what revealed to be a nightmarish second half of the season.

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We still achieved a historic 5th-place finish in the V-League despite having struggled last season and the bookmakers giving us 1-5 odds to once again fight bravely against relegation. I am convinced that if the board hadn't intervened in the Duong Van Viet (YP21f) club-record exit to Binh Duong, the story would've played out much differently. We still have to be proud of the boys for the quality they've displayed, we've gone from being a semi-pro greyed-out team in the third tier to challenging for a spot in the AFC Cup group stage; quite the improvement over only six years, with our youth only, if you ask me.

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I instantly set out to improve the club's training facilities, after a toss-up between it and the youth facilities. Based on the last intake, it seemed clear that we could produce quality youth capable of not only challenging for first-team spots, but even showing potential for international quality (for Vietnam). Hoang Thanh Tung (20 goals), Hoang Ngoc Bao (9 assists) and Nguyen Van Dung (YP22p) (7 clean sheets in 14 games) broke club records, with the former even claiming the Vietnamese Golden Ball award for the player of the season. Improving the facilities in which the players train was the first step towards getting them to potential, and producing great youth only for it to be poached away wasn't what I set out to do here.

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We see the introduction of Bui Minh Chau (YP22m), the best 8 this club has ever had, in our all-time Best Eleven. He was nothing short of amazing this season & one of our most important players, perfectly exemplifying the Phu Dong DNA of simple one-touch, possession-based football we practiced. It'll definitely be an interesting season next year when he is joined by new youth recruits Pham Van Thanh (YP23a) (who's already been called our 'key player' on the club home) and Truong Van Minh (YP23b). For now, this is the squad we'll have to settle with, here's to hoping for an even higher finish next year!

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Phù Đổng FC - Pre-Season, March 2024

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A decent pre-season, I logically picked much weaker teams in order to get some kind of form & chemistry building up between the new members of our starting XI. Not much learning can be done in that space of time, it was very interesting to see the first effects of our now basic training facilities and the arrival of a new HOYD and goalkeeping coach. Defensively, we seem very strong on paper with our right-back & centre-half pairing all being regarded as top-tier level by my highest-JCA coaches. Our left-back will hopefully get there sooner or later, and likewise for our goalkeeper(s). All in all, the squad is definitely stronger than it was last year considering the arrival of two new key players in Pham Van Thanh (YP23a) and Truong Van Minh (YP23b). 

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We've had our income increase a little bit, with our total yearly sponsorship money doubling to reach £22k, and our TV money also slightly increased from £62k to £65k. I would've spent all the money right away, but then realized that we needed to stabilize our finances after all splashing all the prize money in the training facilities' improvement & higher wages for a couple of our players. Then, the transfer window came, and so did Binh Duong.

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They didn't even let him play a single professional game for us, his boyhood club. He was the grand prize of our last youth intake, and is the second player to get poached by Binh Duong in the last 8 months; which really sucks, since both him and the other one looked to have potential to at least feature in the national team. But the key point here is to look at Binh Duong and their spending trends. They're the largest club in Vietnam, with a valuation of £17m (around 7.5x bigger than the second-largest) and having spent at least £400k/year since the start of the save, in the transfer market only. They also have the largest salary expenditure (around £1,2m per annum), and have developed a reputation of poaching players and let them rot in their U21s or reserve teams until their contract expires. The Viet equivalent of PSG, and they've featured on the podium every year since the start of the save as well. This has definitely entertained somewhat of a rivalry I hope to create between Phu Dong and them over the next decade or so, at least until domestic domination is achieved. But, you can tell what their game is.

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And as you can see, they are favourites for the title, whereas we are still relegation contenders with the worst odds in the league (we were actually second-worst before the transfer window, I'll let you guess why). It is expected to be a close race at the top though, with 8 teams being at least 10-1 for the title, all competing for 3-4 AFC Cup spots. This'll be an interesting season, let's hope we see the end of it with more to cheer for than avoiding relegation!

Edited by Mascarpone

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Phù Đổng FC - May 2024

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A rough start to the season, though nothing here is too unexpected. Losing the Can Tho game should have never happened, I'm guessing that they've improved a significant amount since the last times we faced them, considering we have an unbeaten record against them. We were, of course, drawn against our self-declared rivals Binh Duong in the Cup's 3rd Round, only to lose by the same margin we lost to them in the league. All in all, very inconsistent form, but I think it'll improve over time, as partnerships develop.

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Perfect start to the season so far for Binh Duong who, just as I predicted, is not even playing the player they poached from us. As for our position, we're two wins away from both the relegation zone and AFC Cup qualification, with a game to play, yet having already faced the bottom four teams in the table. The next few are going to be hard, we've suffered from an injury to Lai Van Long, who formed a great centre-half pairing with Ngo Hong Viet (YP21b). Still, three of our starting XI are players from the last intake, so it'll take them a little bit of time to gain chemistry and for me to figure out their best roles. Ngo Hong Viet (YP21b) and Nguyen Huu Thang (YP22o) also earned their first U19 caps alongside Truong Van Minh (YP23b), who all played in a youth friendly against the Northern Marianas. I'm sure they would've been joined by a handful of our other players, if they hadn't gotten "too big for the club" to the eyes of our chairman. But we're getting there, surpassing the bookmakers' expectations, at least.

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