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King Cactus

We're on the run, and I'm about to lose it [FM20]

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Got a lot of ground to cover

Hello! A lot of you won't remember me - honestly, barely I remember me (it took a while to recall my logins). Last year I made my first attempt on a story on this forum, and ultimately burned myself out I believe after a successful move to the Highlands. From a narrative stand point I had painted myself into a bit of a corner, having had a mediocre time with Stirling and Forfar I'd somehow scrambled my way up to Inverness which is pretty much where the save fizzled out in terms of what I shared, I ultimately went on to complete what was always the goal of the save. I went from Inverness to my own team Hibs where I won a League Cup. From there, the Kaizer Chiefs of South Africa came calling where I went on to absolutely dominate African football winning a hatfull of trophies including an African Champions League. From there it was to a short stint in Mexico, where frankly the way FM manages the game from a board stand point had me nearly pulling my hair out at Monterrey, but we survived there for about 18 months and managed to add a North American Champions League - by the tag on this post I'm sure you can see where this is going. Next up was FC Seoul and the Asian Champions League, a treble in 12 months, I really enjoyed Korea but it meant I could swiftly move on to... Roma, and as someone of a certain generation I think of Italian football very fondly from my formative years, we won Italian Cups and Scuddetto galore, but the Champions league continued to evade me until Schalke came along, they had became the new Bayern on my save and we easily romped to a couple of UEFA Champions League trophies as well as German Cups and Bundesliga titles. While I waited for a job to pop up in South America I had grown weary of the super team I had created at Schalke - went to Portugal and won a title with Braga before a move to Sao Paulo came up, and... well the innevitable South American Champions League, my first Pentagon ever. That was back in March, I did try to keep the save going, my next aim was to top the hall of fame, but I never made it, which means this year we have a new goal...

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I'm coming for all of you

SO, my apologies for the wall of text, if you read what I put up about 12 months ago which I tried to claim would pass for writing, you're no doubt used to it by now, but I had to get that preamble out the way to explai what we are doing here. I'm starting again, and this time I'm going to do what I didn't do last year. Yes, I'm going to do the Pentagon Challenge for a second year running, but by the end of the FM20 life cycle I'm also going to top the hall of fame. To the relief of many, there will not be any of my attempts at creative writing to go along with this as last time I burnt myself out, but my updates will probably include a fair amount of text to pair along with images so I can at least try and add my sarcastic 'humour' (to the relief of nobody).

Manager/Save details

  1. Modelled after me, I am after all a narcissist (Sunday League Footballer, No Coaching Badges, Bald)
  2. Traditional Penty stuff, starting unemployed, globtrot until we get all 5
  3. If I die, I die
  4. Leagues loaded for Europe: England (Prem only), Germany (Bundesliga only), France (Ligue 1 only), Italy (Serie A only), Spain (La Liga only), Holland (Eredivisie only), Poland (Ekstraklasa only), Turkey (2.League and above), Ukraine (First League and above)
  5. Leagues loaded for Africa: South Africa (Premiership only)
  6. Leagues loaded for North America: USA (MLS only) - I am not going back to Mexico after last year. You can't make me.
  7. Leagues loaded for South America: Peru (First Division only), Brazil (Serie A - VIEW ONLY), Argentina (Superliga - VIEW ONLY)
  8. Leagues loaded for Asia: China (Super league only), India (National Football league only), Malaysia (Premier League and above), South Korea (K League - VIEW ONLY)
  9. My laptop is ****, this game will destroy it - I will refer it to point 3.

Traditionally when I do these saves, when I get myself to a continent I lock myself into it until I have won the respective CL (I've attempted this a few times, last year was just the first success) - this year, I won't be intending to do so. There's a few different leagues I feel with no badges I may get lucky and get a start in, but I think realistically we're looking at Asia to start. If you're questioning why I've view locked myself into Peru for South America, it's partly because I'm insane and partly because Brazil and Argentina really bore me - that may change because it appears that Peru has the same broken opening/closing stage that Mexico had that has really put me off managing there.

That's that. My wall of text, train wreck opening post - it was intended to actually be longer but I have learned self control.

PS I have the file saved as PentaPart 2 - Electric Bogaloo, do with that information what you will.

 

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Quality idea for a save. Peru will be maddening though I can remember playing it a few FM's ago and it wasn't a fun experience.

As for the creative writing I agree, I used to give it a go but attempting to write novels & play FM at the same time is a real challenge. Props to those that can do it and stay sane at the same time.

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3 hours ago, ajt said:

Quality idea for a save. Peru will be maddening though I can remember playing it a few FM's ago and it wasn't a fun experience.

As for the creative writing I agree, I used to give it a go but attempting to write novels & play FM at the same time is a real challenge. Props to those that can do it and stay sane at the same time.

Cheers for the comment mate, yeah, just looking at it I'm already not sold. I dithered over them and Chile, and now that I've seen how their league is shaped I regret it - having said that I don't know if Chile is any different.

I used to manage it no bother years ago on another forum, aving said that we're talking like... 10-12 years ago, when I wasn't so tired all the time.

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Jobby1.png.bc82061ed47b72719ae501991d8cbb2d.pngJobby2.png.11abc855bfb632d8bdd590f53a1901be.png

Who and where?

So, I was turned down for roles in the Ukranian 1 League, and somewhat more surprisingly the Turkish 2. League without so much as an interview, which was disappointing in all honestly, but it has dragged us to the somewhat inevitable starting ground of the Malaysian Premier League. Confusingly, that is not the top league in Malaysia, but never mind, I'm sure I'll get used to it. So when the two teams approached me, they were actually 16 games into the 22 game regular season by virtue of me starting my save along with a normal European start date. Perlis somehow find themselves top of the league with, Sarawak sitting a lowly 8th, but they do look safe from the drop. Financially, as you can imagine there isn't much between them - however before either team approaches me, somewhat weirdly they have a game against each other.

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Naturally, I attend... Back off Yunus.

So this gave me a lot to think about - Sarawak went with a narrow diamond and really outplayed Perlis, I looked into media predictions and Perlis were predicted to finish rock bottom, with Sarawak being ranked at 7th. So it was a big thing to consider in terms of, are Perlis just up there based on a random lucky sim? Will they lose all their remaining games with me in charge? None of that matters I suppose, as neither have yet approached me.

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Well who saw that coming?

Both teams offered very similar terms, just a 5 month contract on the table for each, around £650 p/w, and the very real threat that I could start slow and lose my job. After some haggling with both I had gotten Sarawak to agree £750 p/w but couldn't extend the deal, or I could go with £675 p/w at Perlis with the option to extend by a year if we got promoted, which is a definite possibility with 5 games to go. Obviously I know very little about the teams, and I try to play this kind of thing as realistically as possible, so I'm considering three things - geography, stability, chance of success.

Sarawak

  1. Geographically it's near Indonesia, on East Malaysia (Malaysian Borneo) - so without having been that part of the world has a reputation for being very pretty
  2. It's a 5 month deal, they could sack me after 2 games if we somehow get dragged in to relegation
  3. In the interview they stressed the club is in a dire financial position, so mid table may be our biggest hope - and can I do coaching badges?

Perlis

  1. Geographically it is right on the border with Thailand, on Peninsular Malaysia (Not West Malaysia, born and raised, disappointingly) so not as reputable, but Thailand is meant to be cool.
  2. Also a 5 month deal, however if we scrape a promotion it will be extended, which is ultimately on me.
  3. Prime position to jump straight to the top flight after only 6 games, no mention of finances so I'd imagine more likely I can do some coaching qualifications.

When you consider them like that, if you're scoring it like a boxing card based on my insaneo factors that I consider on FM, it's a 1-2 win for Perlis, and if you live in the real world and don't factor in things like geography into your choice then a clear win for Perlis. SO OBVIOUSLY I WENT SARAWAK. I'm totally kidding, I went Perlis. (Did I get you?)

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Pray for me.

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Look at the strong, noble, lion on that badge - what could go wrong?

So, I'm delighted to have gotten Perlis, when I saw the financial problems in the interview with Sarawak it really was a deciding factor. What's that? In real life Perlis were  kicked out of the premier league because of their financial position? Don't worry about it. In all seriousness, thankfully the problems don't seem to have translated on to the game, despite the fact that article is from February... I'm not questioning it.

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VINDICATIIIIOOOONNNN!

Thankfully my gut feeling from the interviews was right, we had £90k in the bank, and there was enough staff that I could ask the board to study for the qualification without having to think about it too much.  This is absolutely massive in the grand scheme of this save, anyone who has ever played this kind of save will tell you how vital the coaching badges are for your reputation and progression, second only to competition wins, so to start this so early is definitely good news.

And with that, we go on to what the hell we're going to do this season, or I suppose what is left of it - I'm really glad that I'm not a twitch streamer, because if anyone was watching my thought process in developing a tactic, I'd never be able to show my face in public again.

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So... We don't have any full backs, or a natural left winger, or any central midfielders over 1 star CA. I started out looking at 3 centre back formations, but the lack of talent in midfield made me question where the protection would come from - the more I looked at the squad we could get away with one of the "DCR" type players at right back, but we straight up did not have a left back. In terms of the squad, we also had space for one more foreign player - and I cannot believe how lucky we got with it, in my scouting reports I got upon joining the club there were a Malaysian left back (2* current, which when you consider my 5* foreigners is definitely good enough) and a Korean CM (4* current isn't ideal for a foreign slot, but he was only 26 and a lot better than anything we had). Safe to say I got lucky with them both signing on the day of our first game and one day after the window opened. So, how did that go?

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Take that, one travelling fan.

A deserved win, and I am absolutely delighted to get it under my belt. I'm not exaggerating when I say this is the most nervous I have been for a first game at a new club - there is so much pressure on to get off to a good start and seal promotion, because if we don't we could have some bother getting our contract extended here, which was the big risk of taking this job. The team we were playing, Selangor Utd, were a good team to get, sitting 10th at the time, they have a lot to play for in terms of battling for survival, but we were just too strong. The two goalscorers were my two foreign strikers, and I hope you see a lot of their name in the run in. Good start, though - real chance at promotion.

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I've got such a soft spot for Perlis. In FM17 I took them from the second division, to back to back Super Leagues and an Asian Confederations cup.

Following this with interest.

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On 05/11/2019 at 15:46, bigmattb28 said:

I've got such a soft spot for Perlis. In FM17 I took them from the second division, to back to back Super Leagues and an Asian Confederations cup.

Following this with interest.

Thanks mate, I've got a habit of club hopping way too quickly which I'm trying to cut down on so this is a good reason to stick around a wee bit.

Going to fire in an update soon.

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Perlis%20New%20Logo.png

So, second club update and it can already be a big one. Title run in, I could fanny about and spread this over 5 updates, but that isn't my style. One update, one run at it, let's get it. As I mentioned in my last update the transfer window is actually open, and I've added a left back and a centre mid which I think could actually be pivotal in getting us over the line. The tactic is... Uncomfortable for me - I have played 4-2-3-1 for a long, long time on FM so it's really nice to push out of my comfort zone, could be the year of 2 up top for me.

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This was a lot more stressful than it looks - the first 3 games as you will see from the end of season table should have been comfortable wins to wrap up the title, but losing to Kelantan who were bottom at the time really hurt, it meant that going into the last game with UKM only a win would guarantee us the title, however to save a bit of the drama, we were thankfully already promoted.

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Young striker Abdullah really settled the nerves with the early goal in what actually played out as a really good game, very end to end. One thing I've noticed having looked back over the fixtures is that we seem to be one of the better supported teams in the league which is good, 40 away in this game compared to Selangor Utd bringing 1, so it kind of makes me want to stick around with this club and see how far I can take them in the domestic game.

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So yes, that exciting run in means we are indeed champions, the only team who could catch us on the final day was Johor's second team, now they are Malaysia's biggest team by an absolute mile but it would have stuck in my throat a bit if their second team had managed to beat us to the title, so I was really glad to put that fear to bed. All of that of course means that thanks to my tremendous contract negotiation skills...

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That we can bloody go again!

5 games played, Champions, 8 points in the Hall of Fame. Piece of **** this FM20 stuff.

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What do you mean the season isn't over?

Well, ordinarily I'd be a bit annoyed about a league cup equivalent with a group format just after I've finished my league campaign, but it actually presents us with a pretty interesting opportunity as every team in my group was in the top flight last season, and all of them finished in varied positions so it may give us a decent idea of how we shape up before we make any additions - Kedah were 3rd, Selangor were 7th and Terengganu were relegated in 11th.

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So, in somewhat expected fashion, we gave a good account of ourselves against the team that went down, somewhat surprisingly against Kedah we really competed well and should have gotten at least a point out of that home game, and against Selangor we were much the better team in both games, even chucking away a 2 goal lead against them.

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Handling a team that went down this comfortably was a nice way to sign off my maiden campaign as a manager, the 2 goals they scored were probably a result of me being too lazy to make tactical changes, but to be honest they never looked like getting anything out the game, so I was glad to get away with a comfortable win. The other thing that really stood out to me that in our game away at Kedah, which is a derby, they had an attendace of about 15,000 which is absolutely mental, I thought we were doing well with out average of about 1000 in the time I've been in charge.

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And as you can probably tell by my wording before now - we were knocked out and finished bottom of our group, making the surrendering of that 2 goal lead against Selangor harder to take - surrendering leads was a bit of a theme of this group, having held the lead in all 3 games that we drew, and definitely something I need to consider from a tactical standpoint for next season when we are regularly playing teams better than us. For now, though, I'm pleased with where we are, and hopeful that we can comfortably survive next season in the top flight.

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When I moaned about the Cup, I didn't think I had to wait until February for the league to start...

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After my transfer activity I thought we'd be ranked as better than Sabah and Felda at least, who don't seem to have done much in the summer. Part of me is now very nervous about this season, the first job on any journeyman can really set the tone I find, I don't want to end up sacked and then really toil to get another job as it could set this save back years which is time I just don't have. I basically moved on a lot of the older players, added depth to the full back positions, the centre of midfield and added some youngsters - my 4 marquee foreigners are all complaining about the lack of competition for places which makes me think they don't quite grasp the concept of marquee foreign players... We'll blame the language barrier.

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Oh... Well... Right then - that was a lot easier than we thought, the result away at Melaka was obviously a lovely start, especially after a battling performance in which we trailed twice, only for Kevin Osei to bag his second of the game in the 89th minute, one of the big marquee men helping us on our way. We then had another away game in the derby against Kedah in front of a staggering 22,000 fans - I'm slowly beginning to realise how small of a fish we are in this league, that's all I really want to say about that game. Against Pahang our other foreign striker Valci (who you will see a lot of in the rest of this update) twice giving us the lead, but this time it was our turn to be pegged back against the team who finished 2nd last season. The Kuala Lumpur game I had actually marked as a potential win for us at the start of the month, and the game did not go how I expected, to be honest we FM'd them a bit as they had 22 shots to our 8, however a lot of them were longshots - a first half brace from Valci helping us on our way.

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I honestly don't know what to say about Johor at home, this was not like the Kuala Lumpur game, we were straight up the better team in this one against the reigning champions and favourites for the title. I panicked for about 5 seconds when they pegged one back as I awaited the inevitable, but Nam Se-In, the centre mid I added last season scored a typical FM20 thunderbolt to settle the nerves.

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Oh did I mention Johor are 11th? Maybe don't bum that result up too much. The 'magic' points mark in Malaysia according to the media is 25, which we are well on our way to with 17 games to go, and I'm beginning to get why newly promoted managers in real life are coming from when they say "We're not getting carried away" - because we've not exactly thumped or outplayed anyone, a few games where the breaks don't go our way and I may begin to panic, but we're enjoying it for now.

Melaka have sacked their manager, and they are a much bigger side than Perlis so it's one I've half looked at but won't be applying for, somehow Johor's manager is still stable, I suppose that is born out of winning the title last season, but I'm not gonna lie if that one comes up I'll be applying. I want as many trophies as possible to drive my rep up and build up the points for the Hall of Fame and they are much, much bigger than anyone else so should allow me to do just that - add in that they'll have the money to do my badges (haven't been able to start my National B yet as the money ebbs away) and I kind of would have to apply.

Some start, mind.

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4 hours ago, LUFCspeni said:

Enjoying this so far 👍 Always found Asia and South America a lot more fun on FM.

Cheers mate, I always seem to enjoy it - South America less so, but I always have fun in Asia.

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Well, February was good, March only had one league game so I decided to push hard through to the end of April for this update. There still hasn't been a lot of league football, but we do have some FA Cup action included as part of the update. The more I look around the league as I come across the teams I'm yet to face, the more I realise just how small we are compared to the rest of the league - I'm starting to understand why we were rated so lowly at the start of the season, although I think people will sit up and take notice now.

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Well, when you look at the last game of the run, one thing stands out... When we lose, we lose properly. Kedah and Perak have absolutely battered us, which has been tough but as long as we keep picking up points elsewhere I can take a pasting now and then. Was nice to get another win against Johor, especially in the Cup - we were expected to sort of try our best in the competition, and we've kind of winged our way to a two legged semi final. It's against Perak, so the less we talk about it the better.

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I don't normally do this in anything I do, or write about, but I've kind of taken to adding in a little 'game of the update' type thing. Well, for this update I just couldn't look past this game. I said in the last update that we were kind of scraping results, not this game against our fellow promoted side Sabah. We never looked even remotely troubled and absolutely romped to an away win, and one of our very few cleansheets in my tenure - a bit of a hallmark of my football manager saves.

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So, we're almost half way there, and it's all going rather well. The aim remains to get to 25 points, we're only actually 6 points way from 11th with the 13 fixtures remaining, so as much as I love where we're sitting, it's all a bit nervy - Johor, for example, will not remain this poor forever. There's not really a lot more I can say that that, delighted and long may it continue.

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Right then, we've gone from a month with one league game to a month with... Does that say 7? It's a 22 league game season, what do you mean they still manage to fit 7 games in for a month in May? For goodness... Right, fine then. It's been a strong start that I'm really pleased with, but this month is about as make or break as it gets, nearly a third of the games for a season in a month is absolutely mad the more I think about it, but at least it pushes the save on I guess?

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Well this is a lot more how I expected this season to look - we once again should have beaten Selangor and I'm slowly but surely beginning to hate them. I'm sure it isn't just me that builds up a rivalry with another team in my head because they always seem to give me a tough time, it's their turn for that role. The losses to Kedah and Felda were not as close as they look, particularly the latter where we were 3-0 down with 70 minutes gone, but it's nice from a goal difference standpoint to lose some close ones I suppose. The more I look at this month, the more I think I need a tactic for away from home... That is next season's problem I guess.

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I almost picked the PKNP game as game of the month with how emphatic it was, I almost expected to roll over Melaka with how their season is going, but when you see the table you'll see why I could not look beyond the game against Kuala Lumpur, they're having a very decent season in their own right the side from the capital, and I also picked it as our young right winger Ruenin picked this game to finally score some goals - a minor miracle I couldn't look beyond.

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And all that leaves us... Well Kedah are too bloody good, that's not fair for a start. Can see why they have turned us over twice this year, and the more I look at it the better I feel about the 1-0 loss to them this month, although it's a derby game so FM will take every opportunity to boot me in the balls about it. June is a much less busy month, just 3 games and 2 of them are against Perak in the FA Cup semi final, so it's probably going to be until the end of July before I really give another update unless anything interesting happens...

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Oh.

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Edited by King Cactus
typo

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So, Johor elected to appoint their caretaker manager as an interim manager for the rest of the season, and with that in mind I decided to just plough through to the end of the season, to be honest the season has gone kind of how I expected. We're a small team and I worried about if we would survive early, but we added astutely last summer and to be honest there isn't that big a gap between the Super League and the Premier League, so I don't really know what I was worried about.

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So, we did manage to make it to the final of the Cup with a very strong home showing against Perak in the second leg semi final, but I think Johor have officially been displaced as the team to look out for in Malaysia, as Kedah have absolutely swept all before them. A 3-0 defeat in the final which was a result that flattered us if I'm being totally honest. In the league, we continued what was a pretty good run in, we've obviously been save from the drop so it was nice to go and put some results in. There was some disappointment in dropping points at home to PJ City and especially Sabah in what was a really favourable run in for us.

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As much as there were lows, there were of course highs. After Perak thumped us earlier in the season, it was tempting to include one of the wins against them, but in the end I've picked the 3-0 win against our self appointed bogey team Selangor. They've frustrated us at nearly every turn on this save, so it was nice to absolutely humble them in this manner. Hopefully their reign of terror is over.

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So, the end of a pretty decent first season in the top flight, we finish just 2 points off Continental qualification, which when you look at our last 3 games really adds to the frustration - the 2 wins we should have gotten instead of a loss and a draw would have had us third behind all conquering Kedah and a very impressive Kuala Lumpur side. We're in a position now where we do have the Malaysian Cup to come, unlike last year I'm not as excited to be involved as we face Kedah, Perak and PJ City in our group. I've got a bunch of new signings coming in who will really improve the squad, so next year could be a good one.

There is, however, potential to move on. As the debts rack up at Perlis I'm yet to even begin my National B License, and my profile shows interest from Johor DT and Pahang - the latter have recently sacked their manager and have a wage budget double that of Perlis - I'm the bookies favourite for the job. The former are still under interim charge, I'm tempted to wait and see if I can get it, but if I wait too long I could miss out on both opportunities. Really quite undecided on what to o over the break, so I guess you'll know by the end of the next update.

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It's great not leaving, never wanted to leave at all. What? The end of the last update? Nah, never even dreamed of it - I'm a Northern Lion, me. I interviewed at Pahang, and talked my way out of the job because I demanded a 2-year-deal? Nope... I nearly turned my laptop off when Johor appointed their interim manager full time after he didn't perform anywhere near the expected standard? Not at all!

On a serious note, as disappointing as Johor was, I can take it. The Pahang one I'm genuinely not that bothered, their wage budget is around double mine, so I assume the finances are better but they need a massive overhaul, they finished bottom of their Cup group, and I've already made a bunch of pre-contract signings at Perlis so I just didn't see the appeal unless I got a really good contract.

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MOVING ON! It's mad how far we've come in just over 12 months, because I just didn't care about this competition this year - and yet we somehow ran our way all the way to the semi. After that first leg performance I genuinely thought we had a chance at the final - but we just utterly capitulated at home to Johor's 2nd team (who put out their first team in the quarters - bold move). They met Kedah in the final and unbelievably stopped the domestic treble, so that was an utterly bewildering moment. So there were obviously some really good results in there, but I'm just not that bothered so I guess this entry's highlight will have to come from elsewhere.

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This is absolutely fantastic news - one of the big reasons I was debating moving on was that our finaces were in a position where we couldn't get a coaching course... Well, I checked and out of the blue we went from about £80k in the red to £30k in the black out of literally nowhere, no investment message, and so I dived straight on the opportunity. We're losing our foreigners, and the wage budget has been cut so next year could be a struggle, but the core of our Malaysian players is improving massively so I'm hoping for a similar league performance. As you can maybe make out in that image we did get another one year extension as well, so we're here for a reasonable duration to come unless something big comes up.

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So, a long off season full of uncertainty, I did apply for a few jobs, mainly in Malaysia and India but nothing really came to fruition, so we continue on with Perlis. I was unable to keep any of our non-Malaysian players, I have got a decent amount of strong Malaysian talent relative to the rest of the league, so I'm still hoping to have a reasonably strong season - having said the board still expect us to fight bravely against relegation, which is nice for my rep at least.

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Well... It's fair to say we've struggled to start the season - I have been telling anyone who will listen that I'm blaming the patch as to why my tactic isn't working - it wasn't an exploit in terms of looking for long shots or anything, but that's the only reason I can find. In fairness, we've just not been good enough at the back. Not really a lot more to say, we just haven't been good, especially at the back - although we have played a lot of the better sides from last season.

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No highlight game this update, it would probably be the Johor draw if you put gun to my head and made me pick one - it has been really poor though, next game is a massive bottom of the league clash against Sabah, and then the day after should be the day I complete my National B license, so at least there's that. As I mentioned, the board still don't really expect anything at all in the league, so I'm hopeful that we can just survive this year and then have another look at what direction I actually want to take the save in.

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So, I took a little time off FM after my last post, because honestly I was finding it frustrating, but I've grinded it today so it's time for another update! I've managed in Malaysia on FM once before, I want to say with Terengganu - however it was a short lived stint, as I believe at the end of the first season after I won the league I got a job offer in the second tier in China, so I'm really enjoying the ease with which you can get through the seasons. Definitely recommend it as a starting point for a journeyman save.

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As you could probably tell by the tone of that opening section, the results have been far, far better during this spell. There was also a few friendies after the Polis game that I've cropped out, but honestly our form has been crazy. In the FA Cup we've reached the semi final, where we are the last Super League team standing, so I really like our chances of adding a first bit of silverware this year, even if it isn't likely to be the league after that slow start.

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Easily our best performance of the update against Kuala Lumpur, they're a very decent side at this level so to handle them so convincingly away from home was great. I honestly don't even know where thi form has come from because I have changed absolutely nothing about the tactic, I guess I played a run of tough teams to start the season, so it makes sense in that regard, but the turnaround has been tremendous.

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All of that leaves us where the media predicted we would end up this year in 8th, which is way above where our board expect, so it's making me look pretty great. They also only expected a third round in the cup, so my job is untouchable at this point, which is always a great place to be. I'm a little bit embarrased about well Pahang are doing after I essentialy knocked back the chance to go there in the summer, but I'm still pleased to be at Perlis and would make the same choice again if I had to do it all again.

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We also get our first manager award of the save, so we're heading in the right direction. Hopefully a cup win and some bigger, perhaps more financially stable teams will begin to circle, as I'm once again waiting for us to have the money for me to start my National A licence.

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So, another few days off due to real life commitments. On the upside (read downside) someone drove into the back of my car on the way to work this morning, so I have a bit of time off to play the game and get a few updates out, which is nice. I've played a few games this afternoon, and I have to say I'm loving FM this year - I loved it last year so it's no real surprise, but I'm seriously enjoying getting to grips with this save.

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That is surprising when you look at the recent run of form we've been on, we've reached the beginning of our fixture list again which means playing all of the teams above us in quick succession, that first 5 games of the season yielded 2 points, playing them in the second round has already given us 6 with a game to play against Perak. I think we might be ok for a midtable finish again, which when I started the season so slowly seemed a million miles away from ever being possible.

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I still feel a slight regret that I talked myself out of the Pahang job last summer, I had convinced myself that their team was not much better than ours, if indeed it was better at all, and this result has kind of vindicated that opinion somewhat - they're still flying well above us in the league, but with the odd result like this, in spite of getting the odd smashing off teams like Johor, I think we're not far from challenging at the top.

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And all of that leaves us 7th, with 7 games to play, and a 7 point gap to the relegation zone. Which is some oddly beautiful symmetry that I had not noticed until I typed that sentence. We're closer to relegation than continental qualification, but in a season where our wage bill was cut by nearly a quarter, we have stablised very well and have a good chance to ensure that this is a Super League club for a long time to come.

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So we're getting into the business end of this now, particularly the cup, and I'm still really enjoying my time in Malaysia, the finances, however, have meant that I've started to cast the nest out on jobs where the finances aren't listed as insecure, as I feel with my coaching badges stagnating at a National B we're going to really struggle toget our rep above the 1 star that it currently is. I'm mainly looking at the lower leagues in Turkey, as well as optimistically chucking my name at some of the struggling teams in China.

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So, a solid month that doesn't tell the whole story. Absolutely obliterating a really decent Perak outfit was absolutely tremendous, and after this game... The job hunt was starting to pay off, I was getting interviews from clubs in Turkey, and to my surprise China. I think the fact that we're constantly doing so well with all the expectations means clubs might be more willing to take a chance - my job has been listed as untouchable pretty much since 2 months into my first Super League season. The first leg draw away to Sarawak was a bit of a disappointment, as they're actuall in the third tier now, but they've beaten some Super League teams to get here, so I suppose not as bad as it seems on paper.

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Well there was only ever going to be one winner for game of the update for this one. Perak are a really good side in Malaysian terms and we absolutely ripped them to pieces. I think it was this ob that got the ball rolling on a move, if I'm honest - as after the Sarawak game we were offered the role (after promising the earth) as manager of...

 

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Tianjin TEDA. The Tianjin Tigers, as they are apparently affectionately known, was a move I was never, ever going to be able to turn down. We've now managed Lions, and Tigers... If anyone knows of any teams called Bears I need to know... for reasons.

So as we leave Perlis in 6th place with a real chance at a Malaysian FA Cup, we arrive in China at a team who the media had finishing 6th preseason, currently languishing in 11th after 13 games of a 30 game season, and out of the Chinese Cup earlier than we should be. With marquee players like Presnel Kimpembe, Davide Zappacosta, Mario Pasalic (more on that later), I couldn't turn down this jump.

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Tianjin are rich, so immediately doubled the wages I was on in Malaysia and started me on a coaching course, this honesrtly was one of the biggest no brainer moves of my life, but then I started to look into my squad and the rules. In a league where you can only register 4 foreign players, and only every have 3 on the pitch at the same time, we had more than 11. Our squad otherwise was awful, and I was beginning to see why the media fancied us so much, but we were floundering. I arrived in the midseason break, which was good news as it meant we had a transfer window approaching to try and sort the balance of the team, where I will be seeking to play...

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Please don't ask. When I initially came in, the first thing I noticed is we have a left footed, ball playing defender in Kimpembe - I love that. A lot of our marquee players are defenders, and we have some decent central players, but absolutely zero full backs. After looking at the squad rules, do I regret building a 3 at the back tactic when I've had to sell two outstanding centre backs just to make the squad rules work..? Moving on.

As I mentioned we were really struggling for depth in some areas due to having such a plethora of foreigners in a league where it isn't feasible to have them, a lot of players I have managed to move on, but I still have 4 sitting in my reserves, as well as a certain Mario Pasalic sat in my first team unregistered and on the loan list - he's just arrived, and if I can I'll sell him at the end of the season. Part of the reason we had to move on all our foreigners is there just wasn't a striker in the squad and I really needed to add one...

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I tried really hard to find a Chinese striker, I couldn't, so we moved on more foreigners than initially intended to clear space for Ferdy Druijf (I'm sorry, Mario, ok? I needed a striker). He wasn't my first choice, I had bids accepted for Kasper Dolberg and Kaio Jorge who both turned me down, but there were definitely worse strikers to end up with, and for £6.5 million I think he is an absolute steal.

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And so, my revolution in China began - we got off to an absolutely perfect start away to DL Yifang, a team with players like Marek Hamsik and Shkodran Mustafi, so it was really nice to get a win under out belt, after that as much as the results look a bit ropey we've had the better of every game except our most recent performance in the win against Henan, so there's definitely some positive signs. Jiangsu had a young striker score a brace to turn around a 2-1 deficit for them late... So I bought him. Wuhan, everything they hit just went in, so I'm not too worried yet - but we may need to look at an away tactic soon.

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Only one game it could be, what a great start - Ferdy planted a free kick top bins in the 6th minute and I knew we were on to a good one - he has 5 goals already in his 5 games in China, and I think he could turn out to be an absolute bargain signing. We ran Yifang absolutely ragged, and it may have got me abit overly optimistic about what is in store for us, but that' part of the fun in a save like this, I suppose.

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So all of that fun leaves us in a fairly respectable 9th in the league - I did promise te board top half, so we're going to need to string a few results together here, but overall they don't seem displeased with the start we have made. It's a shame to leave Perlis, but just could not pass up this chance, and while there's a long way to close that gap to the big boys like Guangzhou, I'm starting to add a lot of the Chinese talent avialable to me, which is the key to bridging the chasm in my opinion.

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Good move to China. Can't think of any teams nicknamed the Bears though.

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I don't know if the transfer strategy of the AI could be tweaked because in many saves, I have seen the AI sign so many foreigners that many don't get registered and a bunch of grey players fill out the squad because domestic players are let to leave on a free.

But looking forward to your Chinese adventure

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2 hours ago, bigmattb28 said:

Good move to China. Can't think of any teams nicknamed the Bears though.

I'm sure I'll find one - thanks man.

1 hour ago, kidthekid said:

I don't know if the transfer strategy of the AI could be tweaked because in many saves, I have seen the AI sign so many foreigners that many don't get registered and a bunch of grey players fill out the squad because domestic players are let to leave on a free.

But looking forward to your Chinese adventure

I'd definitely say it needs to be, I've sat and watched my rivals sign more than 4 foreigners just this window, it doesn't make any sense. They deem to get the spirit of Chinese players being very important, like it's hard to poach them without paying over the odds, but they've not quite got the other side of the coin yet. Thanks man.

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It still feels a bit weird not having my oversized yellow Perlis logo at the top, or the Malaysian flag and coat of arms at the bottom (I definitely prefer the flag and coat of arms for Malaysia, don't tell my new Chinese overlords), but what a club we have on our hands here. It's been a bit of an ordeal, as I mentioned the morale has been plummeting after I offload the high earning foreigners who I can't even register. One of my promises when I came in was to sort the morale, so I'm getting a little bit anxious, but it's a long term promise, the board seem to give you about a year, so I'm hopeful we can turn it round long before then.

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A run of form like this certainly won't hurt that. The game we lost was to an Oscar penalty, and as much as there is VAR in China I am absolutely convinced that there was an offside in the build up - we'll blame the government in private and move on. Other than that slight blip, it has been a very good run. Ferdy has proven to be worth every penny as he now has 7 goals in 9 games in the league, and we go marching on. Ordinarilly, I'd have picked Shandong as the game of the update, a topsy turvy game where we led 1-0, they flipped the script, before we ultimately righted it back to win 3-2, however...

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Winning a derby so comfortably, 'away from home' (ignore that it's the same venue) in front of over 30,000 people - we'll have that. We just totally outclassed Tianhai, at no point did they look like scoring. Young Chinese winger Zhurun who I signed in the summer break grabbed only his second goal for the club in the opening 30 seconds of the derby and it just set the tone. Ferdy also slotted a penalty - he is currently one of the unhappy players after I sold a foreigner (I had to, to create space for you Ferdy), but I've praised his form and I think I'm slowly winning him round.

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And all of that leaves us in a very healthy 7th position. I don't think we're a million miles away from challenging for a top 4 spot, as the points total would suggest, however I think this season may come too early for that. With just 7 games left I can't see all 3 teams between us and 4th slipping, as well as us going on the kind of bonkers form we would need to allow that to happen - however if we keep it tight, and keep our rep high I think we should be able to strengthen again at the end of the season and go again.

There's only 3 games in September, so I think I'll just power through to the end of the season now, but I'm definitely enjoying the start in China, and much to my surprise my unorthodox tactic seems to be working - long may that continue.

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In spite of all the registration headaches, the anger in the dressing room (which will probably be tested again in the summer as I try and move on one or two more foreigners), this has been a really enjoyable return to China - a league I've not managed in, in about 5 years on FM. Last time included taking a smaller club with whom I got a tycoon takeover, this year it's an already established, bonafide top half club in China who are already rich - I certainly can't complain.

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A run in to be proud of by my reckoning, HB was one of those games where it just gets away from you, I was tempted to make it game of the update as one of their goals was scored by James Milner - a player who I can't remember the last time I saw his name on an oposition team sheet on football manager, so that was a nice blast from the past for someone who has been playing management games for nearly 20 years. The performance at home to Guangzhou was very pleasing, as well as the point away to Beijing which could so easily have been all three.

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I've gone with this game just because it's the game I felt I impacted the most in the run in, I could feel a lot of my in game tactical changes having an effect, and Ferdy did what he does to drag us over the line - he finished the season with a very impressive 12 goals in 17 league games - when you consider that the top goalscorer for the season was Fedor Chalov of Shandong, who scored 16 in 30, you get a sense of just how good his strike rate was.

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And there we have the final table, I promised top half and we absolutely delivered that. Having just looked over it, in my 17 games in charge we picked up 33 points - if we had that kind of form for the whole season we are easily in the conversation for the top 4 positions and Champions league qualification - really enjoying my time in China, and as if that wasn't enough I've gotten the board to agree to the following improvements:

  1. Identify an affiliate club with a good youth system (I'm hoping for that to be abroad, as part of the club vision is to increase commercial revenue - I think a presence abroad may help with that)
  2. A new contract for me with an extra year to 2023, and almost doubling my wages to £3.5k p/w
  3. Improve training facilites
  4. Improve every area to do with the youth system - recruitment, coaching, facilities.
  5. Increase number of coaches allowed

The 5 year plan is to sustain as a top half club, but if I can get some of the targets I want in the summer (Chinese internationals will really help us, like I said) then we are on for a lot more than that.

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It has been a long off season, more arguments as I let go of some more foreign players who I can't register, the 2 key sales were guys that arrived on frees pretty much they day I arrived at the club, Mario Pasalic went to Chongqing for £12.5mil, and Davide Zappacosta went to Shanghai Shenhua for £22mil - as well as some other youngsters and foreigners who were on high wage. We are now spending £580k p/w of our £1.1mil p/w wage budget, which I'm hoping the board will enjoy. Even after spending £30mil in the summer, we have a £42mil budget remaining, so I hope we can keep saving and pile money into upgrades - we recently started our Continental C licence so the progression is really starting to push on.

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So, I didn't bother doing this in Malaysia as the players weren't really worth showing, but now the players are of a decent standard I thought it would be worth including some selected signings - our first being a former Chinese number one in Wang Dalei who I got on a free - now he may be getting up in age now, but with the rule in the Chinese league that you have to have a Chinese goalie, even a 3* is absolutely vital. I did also sign a couple of youngsters who have potential to surpass him (aren't worth showing just yet) so I've really strengthened a vital position.

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Thought I'd do the main signings in ascending order of cost, and at just £59k, regen Alfredinho has been on my radar since the days at Perlis. He has been plying his trade at Mohun Bagan in India, and when I saw the attributes paired with the tiny release clause I just had to get him in. Part of the rules is I can't have all of my foreigners be starters, so the fact I could find a squad player who can develop and be happy coming off the bench for the time being was vital for my 4th foreign slot in the squad - very happy with this one.

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So, as I mentioned in one of my replies above, the AI do at least see value in Chinese players, and with that in mind, when I see a good one I'm happy to overspend. £6million it took to prise Wang Zixin from DL Yifang, but I think that will prove to be an absolute steal once he hits his potential. I can see him being the most clinical Chinese striker available once your Elkeson's of the world begin to properly fade in a couple of years time, so it was worth every penny to have him at my disposal.

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Before I admit how much I paid for him, I want to make one thing clear - John Hou Sæter is easily the best Chinese midfielder on the game. A 4* CA player from China is very uncommon, especially for what I can get in, so this was an absolute must for my team. Now that I've said all that, I paid £21mil up front and it could (read will) rise to £29mil depending on international and league appearances... But I just had to, he makes us so much stronger, and he's so versatile, I'm just really pleased with it all.

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And so, on the eve of my first league game, the odds look like this. Our odds were much shorter (6th, around 18-1) when pre-season started and before all my transfer business, so in theory we've weakened - but when you factor in that I couldn't get the players I sold on the pitch, and the players I've added greatly improve our quality in vital positions I think we're much, much stronger than the team that was guided to 6th last season. I think anything below 6th place again would be a complete failure, but really we should be aiming for top 4 so I can slowly start to add even more Chinese internationals with the lure of Champions League football. Let the games begin.

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So after a busy summer where we played 12 friendlies and made a fair few changes, it's nice to be able to just relax and focus on some football - don't know if it's just me but as much as I enjoy the off season and signing players, I almost forget there are games to come.

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Well, a good start to the season is an understatement the only blot on our record is a 3-3 draw with a good Shanghai team, we were 3-1 up but they turned it round, their equaliser saw Marko Arnautovic channel his inner Messi. If you remember that Hatem Ben Arfa goal for Newcastle against Bolton, it was basically that. Absurd performance from him. Other than that it has all been very good, all of the signings seem to have hit the ground running, youngster Wang Zixin has 3 goals, Ferdy Druijf has 4, there have been goals for Sæter and Alfredinho - fair to say I'm pleased with what we are doing here.

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I dithered over whether to pick this game or the game against Shenzhen, both were warranted. I went with the Jiangsu came for a couple of reasons, Wang getting his first couple of goals for the club off the bench was a big moment, and to be honest we just utterly dominated. Was a bold move to bring Wang on Ferdy, but it paid dividends and we romped home, away to a huge, expectant support.

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And that leaves us, for some reason second to Shanghai, despite the fact we have a better goal difference, the only head to head was a 3-3 draw (so we have more away goals) - the only thing I think it could be is alphabetical? If that's really used as a sorting method ahead of any of those things, I really don't know. However, a very good start, we've already played some decent sides and we're looking pretty good for a top 4.

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So, it's been a while! I've beem a busy bee recently, so not had as much time to play as I'd like and April was a long old slog to get through, so it's taken longer than I would like to get this out, but never mind. 5 league games and 2 cup games in the month was a lot to contend with, and my squad isn't super deep, so I wasn't sure how this would go, but certainly a lot of winnable fixtures.

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What an absolutely shambolic month in the league. Considering the first 3 games were against teams stranded in the lower reaches of the table after the last update, it was unacceptable. The one that stuck out for me most was the loss away to Chongqing who did not have a shot on target as we conceded a 92nd minute own goal - we averaged 18 shots and nearly 70 percent possession - I don't think I've ever had such a frustrating 3 game spell on Football Manager in terms of absolutely dominating and having very little to show for it. The best team we played in the league over the period was Shanghai Shenhua and we absolutely hammered them, so I've no idea how to feel right now.

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Well, it was only ever going to be one game when you look at the results, wasn't it? Dalian Yifang must be getting sick of me - my aggregate score against them in 3 games since I arrived in China is 14-1, and they're genuinely not a bad side - I don't really know how to explain it, but they don't seem to be able to cope with us for whatever reason. Ferdy has 5 against them in that time, so he clearly likes playing them, too. Having said all of this, they're our next league game so we'll probably get hammered.

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Well, after that poor league run it's no surprise that we're struggling a touch in the league - the board only want us to hit the top half again, which is a big help of course, but I'm quite disappointed with the start in the grand scheme of things. We're in the CFA Cup quarter final, which is a good run as far as I'm concerned, but there's still a long way to go with this team - I think I got a bit carried away after our start.

125px-Flag_of_the_People's_Republic_of_C85px-National_Emblem_of_the_People's_Rep

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On 01/12/2019 at 12:47, SRL88 said:

Good luck in China. I love playing in that league

Thanks man, not managed in it in a few FMs, but definitely enjoying it.

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So, a much shorter month this time around after the calamity that was April - after May we get a month off seemingly just to play friendlies against European clubs (if there is a legitimate reason for this I'd love to know it) and then into July when the transfer window opens. Why it would not open in the June allowing you to make signings ready for the next run of games, I do not know, but if I've learned one thing in 2019 it's that we don't **** off China - ONWARDS.

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So, as the month was ticking along, all I could think was "This is great, wins and clean sheets, what more could we ask for? Then Guangzhou decided to come along and ruin my day. We were the better team for the first 40 mins, came from behind to be level after an early goal, then they scored right on half time. I rolled the dice and went for it, I should not have rolled the dice and went for it. I regret nothing.

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Game of the month by virtue of being our most comfortable victory is the game against Henan, who will also be our opponents in the semi final of the CFA cup - we left it late to add some gloss with £6m summer recruity Wang Zixin continuing his goalscoring run, all in all the victories were all pretty dull but we'll go with this because I can add plenty of fluff to make a reason.

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And all of the leaves us not a million miles away from top 4 - this feels like a season that could go either way, we'll know after next month if we're going to slip down into the chasing pack, or kick on be part of that top group looking to challenge for top 4 and the Champions League football that would come with it - I really think we need it to cement ourselves in China, and that's exactly what I'm aiming for after seeing how we stack up against all the other teams.

125px-Flag_of_the_People's_Republic_of_C85px-National_Emblem_of_the_People's_Rep

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