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Red Means Danger: Lois goes interNacional

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(back on my llama for this one)

 

Season 1: Stade Lavallois Mayenne FC
French National

I holidayed a couple of seasons while unemployed and took over at the club shortly after the last game of the season, with the team having finished 10th after what looked like a pretty uninspiring campaign.
There wasn't an awful lot of talent in the first team, except for a good DR and MC, some 'okay-looking' wingers, a few youth players with potential and a very promising left-sided full-back/winger. We had a GK who considered himself too good for the club and wanted to leave - no-one wanted to sign him and he barely played for us all season.
We got rid of a bunch of crap when their contracts expired and I was able to ditch a couple of higher-paid crapsters by offering them out for free. That funded my usual raft of signings, mostly sourced through trialling anything with a pulse. Notable signings were a D/LC (ex-of River), two striker rejects from PSG and Inter, a Bosnian U-21 GK, Croatian forward and a Colombian DC. We also re-signed a DC on loan from Angers and got a midfielder on loan (also from Angers) before getting a 3rd loanee in January (from Lorient this time) as backup. Mix in a few other youngsters as backups, and that's your lot. 

French National
One of the most astonishing seasons I can remember in an FM save. We were relentless from start to (almost) finish, solid in defense (we only conceded more than a single goal in 4 games) but creating loads of chances. We scored the most and conceded the least, yes, but we also completed the most passes, created the most chances - >150% that of the next team - had the most shots on target, the highest ratio of shots on target and were also the most fouled team in the league. Yeah, we were basically the T1000 of the French National this season. The only game we lost, the penultimate one, was probably my fault - our GK was on international duty the game before and I forgot to swap him back in; his replacement was just rubbish.
P:34  W:26  D:7  L:1  F:75  A:20  GD:55  Pts:85  Pos:1st  CHAMPIONS!

French Cup
We put 25 goals past our opponents without reply in Rounds 5-9 before reaching the 10th Round, where we gave Nantes a decent game and took them to Extra Time before losing 3-1. 

Summary
I tweaked tactics during pre-season; initially starting with one of the pre-set Formation+Style combinations, but dialling things back to something I thought a bit more balanced. The combination of that and the players I brought in just made things work. At the back, the ex-River guy was solid, the Colombian was very impressive with 3 goals and 3 hoof-it-down-the-pitch assists and even our utterly-unremarkable DR did so well I more or less had to renew his contract. Our BBM got 13 goals in 37 appearances (gotta love that 'Gets Forward Whenever Possible' trait), the Wingers got a hatful of goals and assists, and then our top-tier reject youngsters completed the job up top, with the ex-PSG lad getting 22 goals and 13 assists.
I expect I'll be fending off a fair few bids in the summer. Our prospect DL attracted quite a lot of attention at times, but seemed happy for me to tell Ligue 1 teams to bog off, while the ex-PSG kid is already 'Wnt' - and rightly so.

Youth Intake was pretty "meh". Hard to tell what the overall quality is, since our best players seemed to flit between 'decent Ligue 1' and 'good Ligue 2' and that's usually what youth players seem to be judged against. Also, one kid who the coaches had at 1(+1) Potential jumped up to 2(+1) when I signed him based on his attributes, rather than Coach report. No-one really stood out, and I think I only signed about half a dozen of the players. 

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Season 2: Stade Lavallois Mayenne FC
French Ligue 2

A bunch of players had their contracts expire at the end of the season, including all the players I hadn't wanted last season but couldn't get rid of because the board apparently didn't understand that although, yes, terminating their contract in December means you pay them a lump sum then, but it also means you don't pay them any more money, and sometimes you actually save money. Idiots.
Anyway, that freed up a bunch of the wage budget, and the board also increased what we could spend. As you'd expect, given the promotion. 
Ex-PSG lad moved to back-in-Ligue-1 Lens, for £1.7m plus trimmings; the board accepted it without consulting with me, but I thought it was a decent offer (although I probably could have got more for him). We didn't sell anyone else, but we did let last season's Player of the Year leave when his contract expired. Controversial, I know, but he was a pretty rubbish player. 
Joining, for actual cash fees, we had a current French U-21 DR for £42k (!), a Senegalese AMR also for £42k, a German U-19 MC for £50k (from the mighty Schweinfurt), an Icelandic winger and a young French midfielder before, on deadline day, splurging £78k on a Portuguese U-21 midfielder. 
In January, our Argie D/LC moved back home for around £50k and a couple of kids went out on loans. We, meanwhile, signed an Ivorian GK, a Cameroonian DC, a Burkinabe left-sided-type and got a French kid on loan from Liverpool up front. 

French Ligue 2
We got points on the board early with wins in games 1, 3 and 6 - losing the other games - before five games without a win saw me change things up slightly. We beat Auxerre 2-1 at Home, then went to bottom-placed Nancy and won 3-6 in a bonkers match that saw us go 2-0 down after 6 minutes only for Nancy to have a player sent off a couple of minutes later. Consistency was markedly lacking, but despite missing our best DCs (suspension) and DL and ST (injury), we went into the winter break 10th on the back of a 5-2 win over now-bottom FC Chambly.
The reinforcements we acquired in the transfer window helped us push on in the second half of the season and leave any prospect of relegation way behind. With 6 games to go, we sat 8th - 3 points off Playoffs - but we kinda **** the bed. We did have players dropping like flies through injury and a bunch of suspensions, but we still should've done better than 7 points in those games, even if they were a little tricky. 
P:38  W:18  D:7  L:13  F:66  A:45  GD:21  Pts:61  Pos:8th

Our U-19s got to the Playoff Final, but lost to Lyon. They beat Monaco in the final, though. Well done, guys!

French Cup
I threw our first game, against Ajaccio. It had been pushed back due to a Tuesday, due to international call-ups and then we had a league game Friday and Tuesday again. I sent the kids - except for central midfield, where we have some depth - and the 1-4 scoreline we lost by was flattering to Ajaccio. 

Summary
The Colombian DC spent the first half of the season whining that I wouldn't sell him for a pittance (his contract had a year left). His performances didn't seem to be suffering, mind you, so I kept picking him. Eventually, whoever he wanted to sign for got bored, he declared he was happy and a week later had a new contract with us. Management!
Clearly our players' seasons weren't as spectacular as last season, but we still had some good performances. Our Senegalese AMR won the fans' Player of the Season for getting a few goals and assists and generally running his little legs off down the wing. The Portuguese playmaker was very tidy, even if none of his statistics really show it (hmm), while the Colombian had a decent season, as did our young DR (when he wasn't suspended, anyway). 

Youth Intake was underwhelming again. I probably signed more than half of the players, focussing on the ones with 10+ Determination (as per my habit from FM19). None of them look much good, but I though the same about last year's bunch and I'm now being told that one of them has Ligue 1 potential.

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Just had the board suggest that we cancel a deal for our Portuguese playmaker on the basis that they reckon they can rinse some more money from the teams who want him.

The deal's in line with what I told the player I'd accept for him, so I'm interested to see whether he gets narked off, or just sucks it up.

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Season 3: Stade Lavallois Mayenne FC
French Ligue 2

We released a few players - the ex-Inter kid the only one to have made any real inroads into the first team - while our former first-choice keeper moved back to Bosnia to play with Zeljeznicar. Our backup DR - first choice in my debut season - left on deadline day for £50k.
Coming in, we actually had a more sedate transfer window than I'm used to. We renewed the loan deal for the Liverpool striker and brought in another striker from Dortmund, also on a loan, alongside a couple of freebie options for rotation/backup. We got a backup MR from Deinze in Belgium on a Bosman and an Ivorian DC/DM from Portugal for £130k, before getting two Senegalese AML/STs from the same club (Dakar Sacre-Coeur) for £60k each. 
Oh, and we sent a few kids out on loans. Our Portuguese playmaker decided he wanted to leave, agreed on £2.1m as a decent price and then couldn't really complain when the only bids we received were for less than £250k. Once those clubs had buggered off, he eventually calmed down and decided he was happy to stay. We had more interest in January, including the bid mentioned in a previous post. A bunch of clubs tried to unsettle our Colombian DC - and unsettle him they did - but we didn't get any bids good enough to consider, so he stayed (unhappily). I kinda spent all the poonds and couldn't afford to bring in a decent DR once our first-choice got injured (see below). 

French Ligue 2
I had a hearty guffaw early on when the Niort manager went with the old "lol, you boys are ****" line ahead of Matchday 2, only for us to shred them 1-6 the following day.
We started the season really well, winning 8 of our first 10 games, so the sigh that escaped me when our first-choice (and only natural, having sold the backup) DR popped his ACL in game 11 (which we also won) was almost enough to put out the little tea-light I had burning on my desk. (My fault for not signing a backup, of course. FM always knows ).
Having a lop-sided defense didn't really put a dent in our form, mind you. We went into Christmas - the halfway stage - with a 15-2-2 record and 9 points clear of second.
The back half of the season was largely an exercise in me swearing at the game, as the only thing we did consistently was pick up injuries and suspensions. We even had one game where we had no full-backs available, due to injury, suspensions and international duty. 
Despite this - and largely through the incompetence of our promotion rivals - we clinched a Playoff spot with 6 games to go and wrapped up promotion 2 matches later, as we came from behind to win 1-2 at Montpellier. We celebrated by getting three first-team players injured in the next 8 days, including one in the game we clinched the title. The season-closer saw us give 2 players squad numbers - and one of them a start - such was the impact of injuries on availability. 
P:38  W:27  D:6  L:5  F:78  A:30  GD:+48  Pts:87  Pos:1st  LEAGUE WINNERS!

French Cup
We avoided anything tricky in the first few rounds, unless a round-trip to Tahiti can be described as 'tricky'. An away game at Romorantin shouldn't have required extra time, but it did [shrug]. Our 11th Round game was sandwiched between two important league games, so we used a crap team, but still only lost on Penalties to a fellow Ligue 2 side.

Summary
We had another solid season from our ML. Bear in mind he only got game time in our first season because there wasn't anyone else remotely decent in his position, I'm consistently impressed with how respectable his performances are. Looking solely at his attributes, I'm genuinely surprised he's even a professional football, let alone someone who can get 3 assists in a top-of-the-table clash as he did against Nimes just before Christmas. His contract's up, though, and I can't justify giving another deal to someone who's so obviously a statistical anomaly.
The kid we had on loan from Liverpool is the reason we went up: 23 goals in 30(4) appearances was just too good for the other teams to deal with. Our German ST did pretty well too, with 14 goals from the 'less attacking' role, but it was noticeable that he found it harder towards the end of the season when teams went more defensive against us.
I agreed to offer the Portuguese playmaker a new contract, and only afterwards realised that I had a DC with a 'Match Highest Earner' clause. Note the past tense there - I stuck him on the transfer list for a few days, but with no takers and no interest, I released him on the basis that no-one would want him on his new wages and he wouldn't be good enough for Ligue 1 - £450k is a decent chunk of money, but probably the best result over all.
We're probably going to need 10 new players for next season who can regularly start. Our style of play should mean that we'll do okay, but our board is stuffed with cheapskates and... well, generally they seem to be a pack of *****, so it's hard to know how they'll respond to any given situation.

Youth Intake - the preview looked much more promising than the intial reports suggested once Intake Day happened. In fairness, I didn't think it was too bad. The star ratings look typically mediocre, but I reckon there's a bit of talent in there. We've sold one of last season's intake (a GK - we've got plenty) and the MR we signed made his debut at the end of this season. 

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Any screenshots? I been meaning to to a proper save with these for a while.

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In very exciting news, we've signed a Turkmenistani youngster. And not just for a joke, as I sometimes do.

Granted, my scout only thinks he'll be good enough for Ligue 2, and if he gets any game time in the league this season something will have gone horribly wrong, but it's always nice to broaden my club's horizons.

Welcome... erm... how do I pronounce your name?

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Season 4: Stade Lavallois Mayenne FC
French Ligue 1

With the riches that came with promotion, I went shopping. Mostly we just used the extra wages to push signings through. We got young strikers from Lyon and a club I've never heard of in Cameroon, young Marxists from Rennes and a club I've never heard of in Angola, centre-backs from Bayern and Coton Sport (heard of them, I have), a backup right-back, versatile Armenian kid and then a backup GK from Ivory Coast. 
We did sell one of the most recent batch of youngsters - for £100k plus 25% of next fee, to Bordeaux. Like all of them, he's a long way off being ready for first-team football, so it looked a decent deal.
And with the transfer window winding to a close, FC Porto paid us two visits - and fees - for our first-choice full-backs, each fetching £2m-£3.5m plus 20% of next fee. We also sold our backup DL/ML, which I actually put more thought into than selling our full-backs, but I agreed to let him go for £425k. In return, I signed a DL from Porto, a backup DR from a Tunisian side and decided that the Armenian kid can do backup DL if needed.
By the time the January window had closed, we'd flogged a couple of young players for £400k combined and sold a backup MC to Burnley for £1m. We'd also picked up a couple of defenders from Iceland and Ghana, a Uruguyuan DR, Bosnian ST and a Latvian DM. None world-changing, but decent prospects all.
We had offers from Dortmund and Lazio for our Portuguese playmaker (£17.5m + 20% of next fee), but he turned them both down. What a dude.

Ligue 1
I'd thought we'd be okay in the league based on how our tactics work - well, mostly based on how the tactic worked in FM19, to be fair - but even with the reinforcements, I was surprised at just how effective we were. We got humped against Lyon and Marseille, but got decent 1-1 draws against Monaco and Petrol-Shagging Gits. Ignore those, and a couple of shrug-worthy defeats against Caen and Lorient, and we won 11 games before Christmas.
We fell apart towards the end of the season, our form completely going to pieces as we lost a bunch of games. I took control on matchday 35, for what should have been an eminently winnable game against Lorient, but it still took an 85th minute equaliser for us to confirm that we'll be playing in Europe next season. We did win the next game, to end a 9-game streak without a win and eventually finished our last eleven games with a 2-2-7 record. 
In roll-your-eyes news, the Petrol-Shagging Gits only lost their first league game of the season (their second defeat in all competitions) on matchday 32, so I was amused that the only competition they won was Ligue 1.
P:38  W:20  D:7 L:11  F:73  A:48  GD:+25  Pts:67  Pos:5th  EUROPEAN QUALIFICATION!

French Cup
We were drawn against fellow-Ligue 1 outfit Lorient in the 9th Round and lost 2-1 courtesy of an own goal and an 89th-minute winner from their second shot on target. Yeah, we got FM-ed.

Summary
The Portuguese playmaker was our best player across the season. After him, it was our MR, while our on-loan ST from Liverpool got a goal every 165 minutes. He signed a new contract with Liverpool and I doubt we can get him back after 2.5 seasons, so a new approach is needed. Most of our players averaged above 7.0 for the season, which mostly shows how well they played. The winless run towards the end of the season also demonstrates how **** we are if opposition teams don't play to our strengths. 

The board agreed to improve Youth Recruitment again, moving up to Excellent. Possibly. Really, until the bug is fixed, who knows?
The Youth Intake was definitely a step above what we've had previously. Not across the board, mind you, but we got a forward who's almost good enough for me to think about putting him on the bench, as well as a left-back who looks like a year or so away from getting game time. 
I was reduced to laughter by the squad at the end of the season. A year ago, they were adamant that 'avoiding relegation' was far below what the club should aspire to. Next season, apparently, achieving a top-half 
position is unrealistic. I think I might have signed a bunch of *****, folks.

Edited by turnip

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So this just happened:

I9MRPBr.png

 

Not sure I've seen that many shots for one side in a league game before

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Season 4: Stade Lavallois Mayenne FC
French Ligue 1

On the chopping block this summer were our Spanish MC, backup DC and former ML, who were all released at the end of their contracts along with a bunch of kids whose contracts had run out last season but hadn't taken the hint. Our basically-first-choice DR also left on a free for Rennes, as did one of our youth products who actually ended up having more than a dozen clubs - some Ligue 1 - offer him a contract. I'll feel slightly stupid if he ends up being good. We also sold our Senegalese MR for £2.5m to Atalanta once I'd decided I wasn't going to renew his contract, a young striker I wasn't entirely convinced by for £1.5m to Montpellier and then, a couple of days after our transfer window closed, Porto came in for our German playmaker to the tune of £16m+. I accepted and off he went.
The inbound bus saw a bit of use during the summer as well. We picked up a promising striker for £600k from Monaco and a Uruguayan striker on a free, 3 players from Bayern - a full-back for each side on loan and a playmaker on a free - a backup ML from Zebventus on loan, a BBM from Auxerre for £275k and towards the end of the window we picked up a Costa Rican DC for £1m. 

January was a tad frustrating. Benfica came in for our #1 GK, and £7.75m saw him leave, while we were able to fend off a couple of bids for our Portuguese playmaker before Spurs threw £30m at the problem; neither the fans nor the players kicked up a fuss about that, although my shortlist was kind of lacking in the 'actually good playmaker' category. 
We ended up spending £1.8m on a Hungarian GK, £3m+ for a 'replacement' for the Portuguese playmaker and £2.5m for a Spanish striker. We didn't actually sell a striker to make space for him - and we couldn't register him due to what I assume is a bug - but he got a few games in the cup and in Europe.

Ligue 1
I think the 0-2 win we got over PSG in early December was about as thrilled as I've been by a single result so far in this save. The win left us with a handy 10 point cushion to the not-Europe places, but we went into the Winter Break in 4th, courtesy of conceding a 94th-minute equaliser against Troyes.
A poor start to 2026 saw us drop to 5th in the league and we couldn't make up the gap. We got close a couple of times, but got whomped 1-5 by PSG and then lost a 2-goal lead to drop two points against Troyes on matchday 37 that confirmed we'd be in the Euro Cup again. 
Elsewhere in the league, Marseille beat PSG early on to go top and stayed there from matchday 9 to the end of the season.
P:38  W: 23  D:6  L:9  F:82  A:51  GD:+31  Pts:75  Pos:5th

French Cup
We played Ligue 1 EA Guingamp, our new feeder team Athletic Marseille and then US Creteil-Lusitanos on our way to a Quarter-Final against Nice which we lost. The SI Bingo Machine was clearly working just fine, as we had a league game against Nice 3 days before our cup exit. 

Euro Cup
Some might consider it a bit of a kick in the unmentionables if, having qualified for Europe in their first season in a top league, their team gets drawn in a group with ****in' Dortmund and cockin' Sevilla. Not me, though; not sure why you'd think that. 
We actually took more points (6) from Sevilla than we did from the designated whipping-boys Cukaricki (4). Scored more goals, too (winning 1-6 and 1-0). We lost in Germany and then had a player (on loan from Bayern) sent off in the first half as we drew 3-3 at home. For finishing 2nd in our group we were drawn against the lavender arseholes in the First Knockout Round.
We sauntered to a 0-4 win in Brussels and a 1-0 win at home. The following round saw us pitted against the team no fan will admit they like or love. We won 0-2 in Bern - giving their goal an absolute pummelling in the process - and despite having a couple of players unavailable, gave them an even bigger shellacking at Home, romping to a 5-0 win on the night. The good news kept coming as Sion (yeah, I got no jokes for their name) beat Bordeaux on penalties, setting us up to play them in the Quarter-Finals.
So it was a little mystifying to me when we got rather FMd at home, losing 1-3, and then - with both of our regular midweek DCs injured - we won 1-2 in Switzerland but lost another couple of players to injury. 

Summary
Our Uruguayan ST was my Player of the Season. He also won the fans' award, but not by much: our German MC was a few % points behind, with our current "how does this guy play so well?" ML a few % points behind him.
He got 28 goals in 34 starts in the league, equalling the league record in his first season. ManCity were sniffing around in March, but I offered a new contract, and upping his wages from £7.5k to £40k was what he was after. He's a really good player.
Our January recruit up front actually did better on his few appearances, averaging a goal every 79 minutes. We had decent performances from our on-loan DC and on-loan DL, and I'm keen to sign both if possible. 
Some sort of bonus point to our Colombian DC who racked up an impressive 18 yellow cards in all competitions. He's on the verge of being eligible for a French passport, which should add a bit of value to him when I decide to sell. He had another good season, but he's starting to fall behind our other DCs, so I think it's time to let him leave.
It was probably injuries that prevented us from finishing 4th or higher. Between the turn of the year and the final game of the season, I don't think there was a match where we could play our best XI.

Youth Intake
A couple of decent prospects this time around. A midfielder who looks like he could be a very solid BBM and a striker who's probably good enough for game time in the National, if I can find a loan for him.

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Season 5: Stade Lavallois Mayenne FC
French Ligue 1

A bit of a frustrating summer transfer window, in many ways. We let our German ST go on a free, as his performances hadn't been as good this season. ManU and Chelsea came in for a young N.Irish midfielder I'd previously picked up on a free; he played no games last season and wasn't likely to play any this season, so I was very happy when they offered £5m (£11m) for him. We also let our Turkmeni midfielder leave and sold a couple of young players whose contracts are up next season. Liverpool then bought my least-liked striker for £13m - I would have accepted a lot less. 
Coming in were yet another DR, this one from Sundowns for £500k, along with a D/RC from Red Star for £700k. We pre-emptively replaced last season's midweek MR with a Paraguayan and brought two new MLs - one a Croatian (£1.2m) I almost signed a couple of years ago, the other an Armenian kid to be our midweek option. We also got a very solid MC from Napoli for £35.5k (I love how cheap you can get players if there's a year left on their contract) and picked up a Senegalese ST for £250k once we'd sold the annoying kid to Liverpool. A few cast-offs came our way as well from Norn Iron, Latvia and Spain. None look likely to be world-beaters, but there's a decent amount of potential there and the squad got a little threadbare in places last year, so having a bit more depth is no bad thing. 
We put in a few bids for a former* Youth Player now at a relegated Nantes, but they'd got him on a new contract by the time I remembered to bid for him and weren't budging. Instead, on deadline day, I went in for young, versatile, midfielder from Sochaux for £9m+40% of profit from next sale. 

(* - as in, we got a message that he'd been nicked, but I don't consider those players to be former Youth Players. It's just flavour and, sometimes, a bit of extra cash)

Summary
We followed up an uninspiring transfer window with an uninspiring start to the season. Our reputation had apparently improved to the point where 'weaker' teams felt they had to defend against us, but our squad was still heavily based around the cavalier style we'd been playing the last few seasons. I probably could have changed things and done well - we had a decent side - but for whatever reason, my apathy with things in Laval had kicked in, so I resigned. 
We were 6th in the league.

I decided to spend the rest of the season on holiday and look for jobs in the summer.

Laval finished the season in 5th place.

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Season 6: Partizan Belgrade
Serbian SuperLeague

I didn't have the Serbian league loaded prior to resigning at Laval, so I just sort of assumed that taking over at Partizan would mean continental competition, but nope. The vagaries of how FM simulates inactive leagues meant that we just had the league and cup to look forward to. This also meant that we had **** for wages and a handful of vaguely-polished turds for transfer funds. A bit of misrepresentation in the job advert, I must say. Also, the overall Determination of the squad was pretty weak. 
We had a top-quality DC, a top-quality MC and a very-good-for-this-level ML. All left before the end of the transfer window: the first for his Minimum Fee clause, the second for £4m+20% of next fee, the third (in the last year of his contract, and with no intention of signing a new one) for £2m+15% of next fee; all were protested bitterly by the cerebrally-challenged meatsacks who comprised the rest of the squad. Admittedly, if I'd been fully alert when I took over, I might have been able to offer the first two new contracts with higher/no release clause, but Partizan are a selling club, at least as far as Europe's top leagues are concerned. 

Anywho, I signed a Uruguayan MC I'd shortlisted in my Laval days on a free, picked up a young French ST for £75k from Montpellier and then crossed the border to Bosnia to sign another MC and a DL/MC, for £750k and £550k respectively. Oh, and I got one of our ex-players back on loan from Juventus as we only had a couple of half-decent DCs. I also picked up a bunch of young players to fill out the Teleoptik and U-19s sides.

Serbian SuperLeague
We started well, getting wins from our first 3 games, although we didn't score in the first half of any of those before winning 4-0, 2-0 and 2-1. We had a bit of a blip around the end of the transfer window as our best players left and everyone else whined about it, but a tweak to our tactics led to demolition jobs Away at Red Star and Vojvodina (1-4 and 0-5) which helped. We did have an issue with winning at Home, however, as teams parked the bus. That said, we went into the Winter Break top of the pile, 4 points ahead of Red Star and with a tasty goal difference.
We strengthened during the January transfer window, bringing in reinforcements throughout the team, including splashing out to the fairly scandalous tune of £2m for a Brazilian striker whose agent was pimping him out a couple of days before the window closed.
By our second game after the break, we'd opened up a 10-point gap over Red Star - in part thanks to a scratchy 2-1 win against them - and qualified for the top half of the split league (whatever you want to call it). We went into the split 14 points ahead of both Red Star and Radnicki who were - coincidentally I'm sure - our first two opponents as we played 2nd, 3rd and 4th in consecutive games. We were pretty awful at times against Radnicki and Red Star, but took 4 points into the game against TSC, who we proceeded to spank 0-4(A) to win the title.
P:37  W:27  D:7  L:3  GD:+52  Pts:88  Pos:1st  CHAMPIONS!

Serbian Cup
We lost to TSC in the Quarter-Finals.

Summary
We did really well defensively as a team, but that had more to do with most teams' bus-parking antics than any actual talent at DC, although two of our January acquisitions look like they could be a good pairing. Our preferred MC pairing were really good together, and we missed the Bosnian kid after he tore his calf at the end of February. I'm not sure we really got a settled, good partnership up front, although our Serbian guy scored enough goals before Christmas to get a new contract and the Brazilian did enough that I never really thought about dropping him.
All in all a good first season. I don't have a lot of leeway with the board, since they want me to sign 'High Profile Players' which, with the finances I've had to date, hasn't been feasible.
They're also pretty pissed about our performance in the Cup. Hopefully we can make it to the Champions League group stages and get some money. Things are a little tight at the moment.

Youth Intake
Originally trailed as a potential 'Golden Generation', this year's intake was almost transcendentally underwhelming. The better players - according to both my coaches and me - could possibly be decent enough to have professional careers if they're lucky, while it's almost exclusively the crappier players with decent Determination.
Basically, I signed all but one of them, since I need the crap players to drag up the squad's overall Determination and there's a smidge of potential around the rest of them. That said, consider my expectations to be firmly subterranean.
In fairness, thinking about it, my coaching staff are utterly inept when it comes to Judging Potential/Ability, so it's possible there are some gems in there. Much polishing required, mind you.

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As mentioned above, one of the things my Board is keen on is signing 'High Profile Players'.

I suck at that, but there's a player I've had my eye on for a while, and I decided to get him in on loan. 

He agrees, and the news item says "The deal doesn't immediately appear to align with the club's objective of signing high-reputation players".

 

He's a Wonderkid. :rolleyes:

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Season 7: Partizan Belgrade
Serbian SuperLeague

European Campaign

We were given one of the trickiest ties for the First Qualifying Round, against AIK, but I'm not sure the 10-2 pasting they took on aggregate necessarily backs that up. That set us up against Dundalk - we were 0-3 up Away when our Serbian ST decided to hurl himself two-footed into a challenge, and we were somewhat lucky to bring the tie back to ours with a 2-3 lead. The second leg didn't start any easier, but a tactical change at half-time took us from 2-2 to 4-2 with no alarms and no surprises. 
In the next round, we faced Lech and took a 3-0 win back to theirs, following a good first half. We weren't great in the second leg, but they weren't either - they scored just after half-time, but we kept it fairly tight and closed it out from there.
The 47th Qualifying Round saw us face off with Energy Drink Franchise Austria FC. In the 'We Built This Stadium With Bull-Semen' Arena TM they scored after 22 seconds when their MR playing as a ST defied his own attributes to accelerate away from two DCs quicker than he is (not that I'm in any way pissed at that goal). In a game that my GP would probably advise me not to watch IRL (if he actually knew I had high blood pressure, which he doesn't), we basically battered them; dominating possession and shots and eventually (in the 94th minute) ran out 1-3 winners. In the Home leg, we battered them again and won 2-1. 

£13.69m is a nice reward for reaching the Group Stage.

A group with Man City, Atleti and Leverkusen? Less so

 

Despite me basically playing our Second XI in the games, we did better than I thought we would. Which is to say, we did better than Leverkusen. We narrowly beat them on Matchday 3 and took a point from our Home game with Man City. On Matchday 6, we were Away in Manchester; we were 0-2 up after 10 minutes but conceded in the 78th, 86th and 89th minutes, only to grab a 94th-minute equaliser and finish 3rd in the group.

We drew Inter in the EURO Cup and got demolished 4-0 in the first leg. We almost took a 1-0 win at Home, but they got a late equaliser. Ho-hum.

Edited by turnip

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Season 7: Partizan Belgrade
Serbian SuperLeague

With a European campaign on the horizon and reaching the Champions League Group Stage being my goal, I went into the transfer window looking to strengthen across the squad. We renewed the loan of the kid from Juventus, sold his crap partner and bought two Serbian DCs, both from Radnicki. We got loanees to cover MC and DL/ML, picked up another MR (£27k from Toulouse) and a ST from Porto for £1.6m. The aim, as always with me, is to get effectively 22 'first team' players in the squad, so that no-one has to play twice in a week even while there's regular midweek football.
In January, we were inevitably raided, and our Uruguayan and Bosnian MCs were sold - to Spurs and Anderlecht, respectively - and then our Swedish MC went off to dieQatar. I signed a couple of replacements, including a Colombian MC, who I forgot to register for the league because he was on international duty :seagull:

 

Serbian SuperLeague
A campaign that threatened to give me a stroke at times. We prioritised the league, in terms of player selection, once we reached the Champions League proper but I'm not sure you'd always have been able to guess.
Despite haring out of the blocks and racking up a Goal Difference of +44 after only 16 games, it was only at +64 twenty games later. We smashed Spartak 5-0 on the final day to add a bit of gloss, and ensure that we somehow finished with more wins, goals and points than we did last season. 
P:37  W:28  D:5  L:4  GD:+69  Pts:89  Pos:1st  CHAMPIONS!

 

Serbian Cup
We made it to the Semi-Final, only to lose to 3-4 to a team we comprehensively out-played, courtesy of some utterly ******** goals. Eh, it's the Cup, who cares (other than the board)?

 

Summary
Inconsistency was definitely the theme of this season. Our strikers all seemed to get a major case of the yips at some point, with our Serbian ST having a dry spell that lasted from December to late April. The goals were spread around quite well, with 10 players scoring 5 or more in all competitions and I wouldn't say there are any particularly weak areas in the team, although up front does seem to be the weakest area. We've got some really good young players.
Somewhat alarmingly, though, only 4 Serbian clubs received any Newgens this season. I'm hoping that's a one-off, rather than being indicative of an issue with the save. 
Our Youth Intake was weak overall, but a GK was rated at 5 stars for PA and a ML could be 3 stars. Last season's intake is doing okay, and there are a couple of players who look like they've got potential.

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Season 8: Partizan Belgrade
Serbian SuperLeague
Tricky pre-season, albeit a partially self-inflicted one, where players left who I hadn't fully worked how to replace them. So lots of scrabbling around was required that was still ongoing long after the season had started. We did eventually reach the end of the transfer window in a better position than we started, however, the cherry on top being the return of an ex-pat sold to Monaco 5 seasons ago: we originally wanted to loan him, but a couple of days after we agreed a deal, he requested a transfer and we got him for £3.6m (the 40% of next sale clause brought it down from £5.5m).
Not much happened in the January window - which made me very happy - aside from selling a couple of players who'd outlived their usefulness and bringing in a replacement for one of them and a boatload of youngsters. Mostly for nomimal sums and mostly to fill out the U-19 and the Reserves sides, but we got a Dutch U-20 midfielder who got some game time.

Serbian SuperLeague
We didn't exactly fly out of the blocks, the CL qualifiers and transfer incompetence necessitating that we sent out a cobbled-together second-string team for the first few games. We still only drew 3 games, mind you. Once the First XI were back playing league games we were fine and went into the winter break with a healthy points advantage over 2nd. Our welcome back after the break was a tad rude, with us facing 2nd, 3rd and 4th.
We lost our unbeaten season in that run, and lost a couple more in the home stretch, but we were never in danger of not winning the league. 
P:37  W:26  D:8  L:3  GD:+51  Pts:86  Pos: 1st  CHAMPIONS!

Serbian Cup
We got FM'd by Rad, losing on penalties in the first round.

Europe
Serbia's improved Coefficient didn't stop us from entering the Qualifiers at the same obnoxious stage, but at least Birkirkara and Qarabag were about as difficult as you'd expect from the first couple of rounds. The Lavender Arseholes themselves were our opponents in the 3rd Qualifying Round and they were tough opponents: a 2-1 win in the first leg was good, but we conceded early in the second leg and it took a good second-half performance (and lots of twitching from me) to eventually walk away with a 2-2 on the night. Dundalk in the next round parked the bus, but we eventually ground our way to a 1-0 aggregate win. That earned us a group containing PSV, Real Madrid and Man Utd. [sigh]
My wearied sigh at the group composition was, for the second season in a row, unwarranted. We somehow took Real Madrid for 4 points and did the same with PSV - a good home display seeing us romp to a 5-2 win. On the final day, we needed to get a better result than Real Madrid to go through in second place. We absolutely mugged ManUre for a 1-2 win, but PSV did the dirty over Real anyway. Onwards!
We weren't done with trips to Madrid, though, as we were drawn against Atletico in the First Knockout Round. They spanked us and went on to win the whole shebang.

Youth Intake
An intake that, somehow, promised even less than the last couple had. Which is saying something. We had one 3-star player (kinda crap-looking) and everyone else was rated worse. By our turd-tier coaching staff, mind you - I reckon there's 2-3 in there with potential. Just not, y'know, much.

Summary
Our best player was our Portuguese ST, who bagged 34 goals in 33 appearances. He was streaky as hell, mind you, scoring 13 of those in 5 games in the spring, and going decent periods without even looking like he'd score. The MC we brought back from Monaco was probably our next best, and then our soon-to-be-naturalised Brazilian DC. 
The break-out players this year were both young Serbs: the first an MC who got a few sub appearances at the end of last season, but made the BBM role his in the first team; the second a versatile winger who got most of his minutes this season as a sub. 
Most of our first- and second-XIs have that dreaded 'Wnt' symbol next to their name, so it could be an ugly summer transfer window. I haven't decided what I want to do yet. I might have a look and see if any interesting jobs come up, but I've got a year left on my contract, so there's no rush.

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The board have given me £30m in transfer funds and increased my wage budget by £250k p/w. :idiot:

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Why Scouts are idiots.

Both of these guys came from the same club - a German team in the Regional leagues. 

The one on the left I scouted when I spotted him making up the numbers in the German U-20 squad when Laval had just been promoted to Ligue 2. The scout reckoned he was a solid 50 (or so). I signed him for £50k and sold him 3 seasons later for just shy of £20m. He just moved to BMG for £24m. 

The one on the right I scouted because I remembered the other guy and thought I'd check out his old team. My scout reckoned he was a solid 33. I signed him for £40k around 18 months ago. I'm not saying he's going to be a world-beater, but I think it's clear he's going to be a pretty good player. 

IJZ7N6i.png

 

#loveyourscouts

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Season 9: Partizan Belgrade
Serbian SuperLeague
For all the players who other clubs wanted to sign, we didn't sell that many of our better players. Our Ghanaian GK left and I moved our Portuguese backup on as well. The Brazilian and Portuguese STs also left. I had real issues negotiating any sort of decent deal for my players - for a guy who scored 34 goals last season, the best we could eke out of Napoli was £4.5m (£5m) + 25% of next fee. A lot of our players, however, simply weren't interested in leaving, at least not for any of the clubs who bid for them (which included a lot of French and Spanish top-tier teams). 
We picked up a new GK from a fellow Serbian team - he's only 19, but looks like he could be very good. We also reinforced the wings and bought a big ol' lump to play up front, just to give us something a bit different. We also brought in a bunch of cheapo youngsters of the "throw 'em against the wall and see what sticks" type.

Serbian SuperLeague
We started very strongly, winning our first nine games before Red Star won the first derby of the season with the last kick of the game. We won the next nine games before dropping points again - this time in a draw to Radnicki. We had a poor March, drawing against Red Star (fair result), TSC (93rd-minute lobotomy of a goal for them) and Javor (a mind-boggling 0-0). Combined with Red Star having their best season for a while, we went into the split a mere 5 points clear of our city rivals. It didn't make much difference and we won the last 8 games to wrap up the title on matchday 34. 
P:37  W:32  D:4  L:1  GD:+75  Pts:100  Pos:1st  CHAMPIONS!

Serbian Cup
We made it to the Quarter-Final, but we lost the ball from the kick-off - one of my players running face-first into a teammate - and despite all the swearing and shrieking at my players in the world, the omens were true and we subsided to a 1-0 loss against perennial no-hopers Rad. It was not rad.

Europe
Serbia's improved Coefficient didn't stop us from entering the Qualifiers at the same obnoxious stage. This season we had trickier rounds against AIK and CFR Cluj which still weren't that tough, but the same can't be said for our 3rd Qualifying Round tie against Hajduk (apparently also masquerading as the Basel B-team). We edged the first leg 0-1 and controlled the second leg, only to lose 0-1 and have to rely on penalties to squeak through. That set us up against AEK: probably a harder game than Hajduk on paper, but not in actuality. We utterly dominated them in both legs, winning 6-2 on aggregate.
Our Champions League group was a little harsher than previous seasons - with us up against Bayern, Inter and Lyon - and it was too hard for us to progress from.

Youth Intake
These seem to be getting worse every year. One promising GK and that's about it for likely potential. We've got the best facilities in the country, so where the talent's going, I have no idea. 

Summary
Our big lump did his job - 16 goals in 32 league games, most of them headers. The goals were spread out other than him, so much so that our GK was joint-4th top scorer with 9 goals - all from penalties (he missed a few as well). Our MR - with us since the first season - got the best average rating and was probably our MVP, not least for his 100% success rate as Team Leader in persuading grumpy players to drop their concerns. Dude should work for the UN.
As last season, most of our players are wanted by other teams. We've got £60m in the bank, though, and I'm more than £350k/week under next season's wage budget, so there's no need to sell.

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Our Club Captain continues to be worth his weight in platinum:

WjwDheT.png

 

Also, gotta laugh at another player who's 'thinking of joining a bigger club' but is happy for me to reject bids from Zebventus. 

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q0enJhe.png

 

I'm fairly sure this is the first time, in countless seasons of FM/CM (going back to CM2) that I've had a DC score more than 3 goals in a game.

That it was a Fan Day is just the cherry liquor on top.

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P6RMdCa.png

 

I feel like the lede was buried rather deep there...

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Season 10: Partizan Belgrade
Serbian SuperLeague
Once again, there was lots of interest in our players, and lots of bids. This time, some of the bids were decent, though. We let our young Serbian MC go to Liverpool for £10m+25% of next fee. We also let one of our good-but-not-brilliant STs go to Lorient and sold a young DR to Milan for £4.4m+15% of next fee. 
We accepted a cash bid of £20m for our Wonderkid MC from ManUre, then got a bunch of >£30m bids from other teams, including % of next fee clauses. I accepted those, then Rejected the bid from Manure, and the player stayed put. We did sell a Uruguayan DC to Torino for £7.5m, a year after we signed him on a free. 

Serbian League
A somewhat curious season, with utter beat-downs interspersed with scratchy wins. One good thing from the season was that Red Star had a bit of a run in Europe, meaning that their domestic form tanked. Radnicki were the closest to challenging for the league - particularly when our form dipped - but they fell apart towards the end and finished 4th, behind Napredak and TSC. Meanwhile, we set a new record for Goals Scored and Goal Difference
P:37  W:29  D:5  L:3  GD:+83  Pts:92  Pos:1st  CHAMPIONS!

Serbian Cup
We made it to the final for the first time under my leadership, and got FM'd by Red Star.

Europe
Serbia's improved Coefficient meant we entered the Qualifiers a whole round later than in previous years. We beat TNS and Dundalk and were then drawn against Fenerbahce. A 1-0 win in the first leg sent us to Istanbul expecting an onslaught, but they parked the bus and created nothing in a 0-0 draw. Fine by me. Our group of Napoli, Energy Drink Franchise Germany FC and Petrol-Snorting Gits wasn't exactly friendly, but spare a thought for HJK who made it to the group stages to find themselves up against Lyon, Porto and Dortmund. We got a win and 3 draws, but it wasn't enough to stop us finishing 4th in the group. 

Youth Intake
Even allowing for the fact that 2.5 stars in my squad is now 'Star Player' for the division, this was an uninspiring bunch. There are a couple of DMs who look useful - a position I don't use - but that's largely it. 

Summary
For a team that scored a lot of goals, our strikers had a pretty ordinary season. The big lump got the most, with 11 from 32 starts, but four of those came in our last league match. And even then that was only equal to the number our 2 Goalkeepers scored between them. The squad is definitely getting better. As pointed out, 2.5 stars is now 'Star Player' for the SuperLeague and at a guess, I'd say our best players are around the 150-155 CA mark. Still our best (most consistent) DC is the Brazilian kid we picked up during the first season, Boutros Boutros-Ghali is still doing a good job at MR and the German kid had a very solid first season at DL.

I've gone a bit big in advance of next season. Part of me thinks it's time to move on, but the other part is thinking about the players coming in...

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a1u68VP.png

 

I IR'd this match, but I am curious about how we had that little of the ball, but still managed that many shots.

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Season 11: Partizan Belgrade
Serbian SuperLeague
We'd built up a bit of a warchest in the last few seasons, so I decided to treat myself. We spent £20m on an 18-yr old Brazilian Wonderkid and £3.5m on an Argie MC. I then forked out £7.25m for a 17-year old midfielder from Monaco on deadline day, after they transfer-listed him. Alongside the marquee signings were a bunch of youngsters. The most promising were a Bolivian ST for £50k, a German MR for £93k, as well as an Egyptian international ST (although counting an Egyptian full-international as 'Promising' seems like cheating). Going Out through the In door were our former first-choice DR, a backup ST, backup DC and the big lump, whose 19 Jumping Reach/17 Heading never really translated into him being all that good in the air. We also loaned out a lot of youngsters. It was actually rather hard to sell the players I wanted rid of - not because no-one else wanted them, but because they didn't want to leave the club. We could - and should - have got a lot more for them. 
Our two Malian kids got their Serbian passports, which freed up their non-EU spots in the team. We rejected £12.25m for the DC, as well as £8.25m for our German DL. 

Serbian League
We had our typically good start to the season and went into the Winter Break top, a few points clear of TSC and Red Star.
The disruption to our squad brought on by the January sales (see below) meant that we leaped out of the re-starting blocks, tripped over our own feet and face-planted on the ground, with a pair of draws (against TSC and Red Star) followed by a pathetic 1-0 loss to Mladost. A couple of days later (IRL, too) we played Macva and dismembered them - scoring 8 first-half goals on the way to a 2-10 win. 
Red Star and TSC both managed to balls-up their run-ins badly enough that we were 10 and 20 points clear of each, respectively, at the split, which meant our 6th-straight title was a formality.
P:37  W:26  D:10  L:1  GD:+91  Pos:1st  CHAMPIONS!

Serbian Cup
We made the Quarter-Final easily enough, played really badly against Spartak and were lucky to win. This set us up with a Semi-Final against Teleoptik, our B-team. Which, um, okay, sure. We played Napredak in the Final and won 3-1, after a performance of dubious merit.

Europe
Serbian's improved Coefficient meant that we entered at the Playoff round. We drew Shakhtar and a very dominant Away leg saw us take a 0-1 lead into the second leg, where an almost-equally dominant 3-0 win took us into the Group stages. Any schadenfreude our fellow Serbian teams may have felt at seeing us drawn against Real Madrid, Milan and Ajax was short-lived as - following our opening 2-0 defeat by Ajax, we took 10 points from the remaining games, to finish second in the group. The highlight was mos def coming from 1-0 down in Milan, to win 3-2 on the final day, securing our qualification.
Our 'reward' for finishing second was a tie against Barcelona - a none-too-subtle '**** you' if ever there was one. We drew 1-1 at Home, but could only lose 2-1 at the Nou Camp. A decent effort, mind you.

There was a small car-boot sale in January, where we sold a young ST we'd got for nowt from Cardiff Met Uni to ManCity for £3m, our 3rd-choice ML to Club Brugge for £6.5m, our first-choice DR to Atletico Madrid for £7.5m  and our 3rd-choice playmaker and first-choice DLs to Lazio for £10m and £14.75m respectively. We also received a bid of £69m for our home-grown playmaker/winger, which I declined. With our Youth Intakes continuing to be largely execrable, it's hard enough to get good "HG" players into European squads. 

Youth Intake
The preview suggested nothing but future biofuel, but we got a 4.5* DC and a handy-looking GK, plus a couple of possibly-good strikers.

Summary
Our ex-Monaco MC was our best player this season - just relentless in his consistency, getting 21 assists across the season with an average rating of 7.96. Kofi Annan was also good, with 9 goals and 14 assists at 7.50, but our stalwart Brazilian DC pipped him to the coveted 2nd spot, rating 7.60 in no small part due to 7 (often very important) goals. In fairness, only two of our regular 22 players averaged less than 7 for the season, one a GK, the other one of the Malian kids I repeatedly played out of position at DC. Despite hitting 100 goals in the league, only one of our strikers bagged more than 10 senior goals, so that's something to deal with.
I rather ballsed-up the squad this season and our 2nd XI was notably weaker than the 1st XI. Partly this is because I loaned out players and then sold players they could have filled in for, and partly because a few players didn't kick on with their development. I have plans to strengthen the team significantly in the summer, so - again - it'll be a case of how many players I can hold on to.

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Serbia is now up to 8th in the rankings, for European Qualification places. Which means that we - as league winners - finally get to enter the Champions League at the Group Stage. This also means that the 2nd-place team enters at the Best Placed Third Qualifying Round. 

 

On a more personal note, Partizan are now ranked 29th in Europe by co-efficient. We're sandwiched between Milan in 28th and Energy Drink Franchise Germany Edition in 30th.

Red Star are ranked 45th and Laval are 58th. 

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The transfer window is still open and we're still getting lots of bids for players. It's a good chance to clear out some of the chaff (and there's a lot of chaff), however...

... a £70m bid from Man City for my best DC is a tricky one to decide on

Oy94ghB.png

On the one hand, it's a lot of money. On the other hand, we don't need the money and I've struggled to find one good DC to join the club this summer - adding another would be hard.

Also, he is a very very good DC.

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My Chief Scout has deemed something worthy of giving me advice about, so let's have a look, shall we?

0diNLP7.png

...

wHfL4Ll.png

 

Yeah, nah

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According to my staff with good JPA, we now have 2 World-Class players in midfield plus a World-Class DC.

Progress, eh?

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7 goals is great. 

13 goals is brilliant. 

But but but but..... You could have had a 20 goal a season GK :eek: and I can tell you from experience there are not many of them around. :applause:

It's been so long since the LLM forum existed that I had forgotten about player naming. Credit to you for keeping it going. :applause:

When I thought about doing this before I thought I would nickname players, (as I always do), but use the nicknames to describe the player in the following way. 

"1st choice GK"

"Useless backup GK

"Decent young GK"

"Romanian Playmaker"

"Malian centre-half"

"Disaffected Spanish player"

"German midfielder"

"Young German full back"

Anyway, I had an amazing save with Partizan a few years back, (so I am definitely a black rather than a red), so good luck with this. :thup:

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Season 12: Partizan Belgrade
Serbian SuperLeague
We sold our Brazilian Wonderkid to Liverpool - £43m was a good deal (£23m more than we paid for him), but I probably would have got more if I'd bothered negotiating. As it was, ML is not a position we're short of talent in. Alongside him, we let a bunch of young players leave, including last season's backup DR for £1.5m and a Ghanaian ST who - at the time of writing these words - is sitting at 22 goals from his 16 caps. Towards the end of the window, our Out-Of-Position Malian kid finally left for £5.5m, needing a bit of a shove after failing to get the memo that we didn't want him. I tried to be as open as possible to our Saffer ST leaving, but no-one made a move for him, despite at least a dozen big European teams sniffing around, so I ended up shifting him over to a backup ST/backup MR role and farming him out on loan in January. 
Most of our incoming players were youngsters, but there were a couple who slotted into the starting 22 players. A young Slovak MR moved from Slovan Bratislava for £1.4m (he looks monstrous), we finally picked up a new DC for £1.9m from Dortmund and I eventually stopped procrastinating over the DL position and bought a kid from River for £6.5m. 

Serbian League
Despite a couple of early draws, we got top of the pile quickly and dominantly. After 21 games, going into the Winter Break, we were 23 points ahead of 2nd-placed Red Star. We secured another league title with 9 games to go, courtesy of a 1-3 win over Radnicki, but we had to wait for the first match after the split for the game to officially recognise that we'd not so much run away with it as sprinted over the horizon, cackling madly.
There was still time to crucify 3rd-place Cukaricki 1-8 and set new league records for goals scored, points total, number of wins and achieve a personal goal of hitting a Goal Difference milestone. We finished 48 points clear of 2nd. 
P:37  W:34  D:3  L:0  GD:+100  Pts:105  Post:1st  CHAMPIONS!

Serbian Cup
I mostly pressed Instant Result for these. A few days after beating Vojvodina 4-0 in the league, we beat them 4-0 in the Final. 

Europe
As noted above, we went straight into the Group Stage for the first time. Despite being 3rd seeds, we managed to get dick-punched anyway, pulling Zebventus, Dortmund and Club Brugge from the mixer (Brugge being probably the second-toughest 4th seeds, after Energy Drink Franchise FC Germany Edition). We beat Dortmund and Zebventus 4-1 at Home, lost narrowly but deservedly in Turin and picked up four points against Club Brugge to ensure that we qualified with a game to spare - a game in which we beat Dortmund 0-3. For finishing second in the group, we received dick punch #2 in the form of yet another ****ing tie against Barcelona. 
I wasn't expecting to slap them 4-1 in Belgrade, mind you. The return leg was tougher, but we kept it respectable and a 2-1 loss was enough to see us through.
We faced up to PSG in the Quarter-Finals and the news report said 'two considerably wealthy clubs', so I had a look and... yep, we've got more money in the bank than PSG! lol. Anyway, we grabbed a fortuitous 1-1 at the Parc des Violations de FFP and then, courtesy of a 92nd-minute own goal, won 2-1 back at [****, what's our stadium called?] Stadion FK Partizan. 
Chelski awaited in the Semi-Finals. They parked the bus and used their speedy-with-a-****-goalscoring-record ST to hit us on the break, twice. We won the return leg 0-1 at Stamford Bridge, but went out on Away Goals. Suuuuucks, particularly since we were the better team in both games, but that's life. 

In January, we finally succumbed and sold Kofi Annan to Monaco for £4.5m - he's 28 and our new MR is just a lot better, so I thought it was about time to let him go [sniff]. We also sold our backupbackup MC for £2.3m. In return, I brought in a youngster from Benfica on loan to be a backup MR/MC/ST. We also signed another raft of youngsters including a promising Irish wing-back, a Colombian ST and a Moroccan MR. An Ivorian DR finally joined - we arranged the transfer almost 2 years ago - every time my scouts went to look at him, they told me "Nah, mate, he's ****, don't bother", but now he's with the club he's rated 4.5 stars. I'm really coming around to the whole 'reputation affects Scout reports' issue. 

Youth Intake
The preview suggested a few decent prospects - 1 keeper, 2 full backs, a DC and a winger. The reality was a winger and a keeper, plus a bunch of trash. Not the worst, but hardly a good fit for our facilities.

I didn't get a vote in the Young Player of the Season award - all 10 of the players were contracted to Partizan. Heh.

Summary
A very nice last season with the club. Having an Invincible season is always nice, particularly since we've gotten close in the past. The strengthening I did with the squad in the summer finally bore fruit. There was still a difference in quality between the First and Second XIs, but the main thing is that the Second XI were still a whole lot better than anything else in the league. Notably, even Red Star - who've generally been happy to have a go at us in the last couple of seasons - reverted to a 4-1-4-1, with Closing Down and 'Get Stuck In'; a sure sign of giving up if ever there was one.
Player-wise, we had 5 players hit at least 10 goals for the season, including our First XI keeper, who bagged 13 in all competitions (our #2 scored 7). Our Egyptian ST scored 25 in 30 appearances, netting every 95 minutes while our Serbian international got 18 in 31, scoring every 119 minutes. Impressively, our stats show that we only made 2 mistakes all season that resulted in us conceding a goal.
I'm very happy with the new signings - the full-backs weren't spectacular, but did a job well. The retooled Second XI backline was very solid, with our Argie DC looking increasingly like a potential goliath as the season went on. The Slovak MR was stonkingly good, with 11 goals and 11 assists; his 'partnership' with our young Serbian ML was a highlight. 

There are far, faaaaar too many players at the club - 161, when I just counted. I reckon the AI could sell off the First and Second XIs in full and still have a team capable of competing for the league. In fact, they probably will. There's £183m in the bank, a transfer budget of £80m and we're currently £1.2m/week below next season's wage budget. I'll do some sort of squad review as a last step, since I'm more attached to this team than I was for Laval. I'm tempted to have a peek at CA/PA for some of the top players - the place I'm expecting to go next is a looong way from here in terms of quality, so I won't be giving myself a leg-up by looking.

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14 minutes ago, turnip said:

RunnGMa.png

The season's over. Something @Jimbokav1971 might appreciate

You know @iajaferwould be having palpitations with so many goals being scored by GK's, even with the likes of... (you know I actually typed the names of the real player in here before I rememberedOld, bald, Brazilian Sao Paulo free-kick taking supremo & others). :lol:

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I haven't yet finished my next season, but I just had a look at Partizan and my god. The atrocities carried out against that squad are video-nasty levels of horror. 

It's not that they sold a whole bunch of high-quality players, and it's not that they didn't get a good price for them. I'm not sure they even got a quarter of a good price for any of them. It's so bad, I'm almost tempted to submit it to SI as a possible bug. 

As a single example, the Malian DC, whom Man City bid £70m for... was sold to Napoli for £4.6m rising to £6.25m. 

 

And then the new manager twice spent £28m on 30-year old players, because of course he did. :seagull::seagull::seagull:

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Season 13: Football Club Melgar
Peruvian First Division
I've never managed in Peru before and I probably wouldn't have yet if my preferred option had become available, but that's life. The club had just finished in the bottom half of the table and the board were happy with a top-half finish from my first season. Probably just as well given the pitiful transfer and wage budgets on display. We almost immediately lost two of our better players - a DC and MC - when the board accepted incredibly modest bids; I did manage to pick up a couple of new DCs, from Ecuador and Venezuela, who were both mild downgrades on the guy who left. We did bring in a fairly recent Partizan recruit on loan - a versatile Tanzanian DL - as well as a couple of other vaguely promising youngsters. 

First Division
A return to Instant Result saw me pick the first team and then basically click 'Continue' to progress through the season.
This strategic masterstroke saw us finish the Opening Phase top of the heap with a 13-0-4 record. 
We finally drew a game at the end of September - matchday 11 of the Closing Phase - which I wasn't happy with. We also drew the final game of the Closing Phase, to Cristal. We then drew the first leg of the First Division Championship Playoff Final, to Cristal, before beating them 5-1 in the second leg. And then beating them 3-0 in the second leg. Again. Uh, yeah, sure. 

HnVburf.png
P:34  W:28  D:2  L:4  GD:+57  Pts:86  Pos:1st  CHAMPIONS!

Copa Bicentenario
We made it to the Quarter-Finals and lost 2-3 to Cristal in a game we probably deserved to win. No tears were shed.

Youth Intake
Underwhelming.

Summary
We had a pretty small squad, by my standards. I promoted everyone with any potential to the First Team at the start of the season. We got a lot of mileage out of a two-footed full-back and we've got a couple of other full-backs who look like they could be decent, but probably not great. The guy we promoted to the Playmaker role when the board sold our best option was a good replacement, and our two wingers were brilliant, racking up 33 goals and 34 assists between them. Our 'best' striker on paper is leaving - he wanted to leave when I joined, threw a hissy when I said "no" and then cheered up when I told him I wasn't going to sell him and that he could leave on a free at the end of the season. Which he will.
The scouts we've had this season have been rubbish and the finances are still hopeless, so it's going to be a challenge to get the players in to maintain, let alone improve the quality of the squad, but that's why they pay me... oh, £2.5k p/w. 

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Cristal boo! Long Live the YOUNG BOYS!

I started a South American save recently and ended up at the Young Boys. Cristal was our main rival for winning the League every year. Also they made tons of cash selling their players. Much more than my team did, but they were hampered by high turnover of players.

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Posted (edited)

This got a good laugh out of me and is something @Jimbokav1971 will appreciate

U1qwrgh.png

 

(In fairness, the oppo keeper should've saved the 2nd and 4th)

Edited by turnip

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Season 14, Part 1: Football Club Melgar
Peruvian First Division
We'd finished last season in the red, financially, but the participation money for the Copa Libertadores gave me something to play with. I signed a new GK, DC, backup MR and rotational MC/ST option, and also brought in loanees for ST and MC roles. The Striker who left us went to sign for PSV. 

We did well enough in the league, comfortably finishing top of the Opening Phase, and coming second in our Copa Libertadores group. I wasn't really feeling it, though, so once the Opening Phase ended, I resigned.

Season 14, Part 2: Australia
I sniffed around a few club jobs, was offered an interview at Roma and had an interview with Dinamo, but for some reason the Croats went with a Latvian guy who hasn't exactly set their world on fire. A short time later, Australia offered me the Head Coach role and I accepted - more for something to do while I waited for an interesting job, than out of any real passion for international football. We played the first two games of the World Cup Qualifiers Final Stage, beating North Korea 5-1 and Oman 0-2 before a club offer came in (see below). We subsequently beat the U.A.E., Uzbekistan and South Korea (we gave them a good FM-ing, winning 3-4 in Seoul) before I quit at the end of November. 

Season 14, Part 3, Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi
Finnish Premier League
HJK had actually sacked their manager a few days before I took the Australia job - and I had applied for it - but they dithered about making a decision for 3 weeks (I think) before giving me the job. 
The club were 3rd in the league, but only a point behind 1st and only below 2nd on Goal Difference. We won our first 4 games in a row to clinch the title, making it probably the quickest I've ever won a league title with a club. 

Annoyingly, the club I'd been holding out for since I took over at Melgar sacked their manager 3 games into my stint at HJK. 

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Season 15, Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi
Finnish Premier League
I took out the trash early into the close season, which didn't free up much in terms of wages. We got some money for a fairly-useful Brazilian DC I was hoping someone would sign, while our 'best' MC entered the last season of his contract and started agitating for a move and, given that Spurs were interested, probably wasn't thrilled that he ended up at Rapid Vienna :robinho:
In total, 31 players joined before the end of the midseason transfer window.
Annoyingly, my AssMan was poached by a Serbian team a few days before the first league game of the season. In fairness, he was a fantastic AssMan and really should have got a managerial role years ago. 

Finnish Premier League
A cakewalk. We won the title on the 29th August, with 7 matches - including the whole of the Championship Group - yet to play. The last few games were irrelevant, and I pretty much IR'd them, so the performances weren't great.

P:27  W:20  D:6  L:1  GD:+40  Pts:66  Pos:1st  CHAMPIONS!

Finnish Cup
Despite heroically drawing 4-4 after being 4-0 up at half-time against RoPS, we eventually won the cup in a dour/dire/dreadful/dogturd 1-0 win against SJK in which our GK du jour scored an 83rd-minute penalty. 

Europe
We were drawn against APOEL in the Champions League First Qualifying Round. We won 0-5 in Nicosia, helped - no doubt - by their right-back's waist-high two-footed challenge in the 3rd minute, and then sauntered to a 4-2 win at Home. A 1-2 win in Prague gave us the upper-hand against Sparta, but it was a nervy second leg until our young DC popped up with a 90th minute equalizer to seal the tie. That set up a 3rd Qualifying Round tie against Energy Drink Franchise Austria FC, who'd made hard work (equally so, to be fair) of their games against Dinamo Tbilisi. We pulled their wings off like we were 8 year-olds torturing daddy longlegs, swaggering back to ours with a 1-5 win under our belts at which point a 2-0 win wrapped things up nicely. That set us up for a winner-makes-bank Champions Playoff against Maribor. The first leg being at home gave me pause for tactical thought - we ditched our Gung Ho approach for the more measured tactic we use in the league and got a dominant 2-0 win. Having two league games, each two days apart, before the second leg - a week later - felt like a dick move to say the least, but we kept the big guns fresh and completed a professional job with another 0-2 in Slovenia. Who got the money? We got the money.
The Group Stage draw? Chelsea, Zebventus and Real Madrid - gadzooks! It went as well as you'd expect, although top marks to our youth team, who beat Real Madrid by a combined 19-1 scoreline across their two games.
We did manage a point in our last game, at Home to Zebventus - it was two points dropped for them that meant they finished 3rd in the group. A nice little ****, from me to You.

Summary
We gave out 40 winners medals. That's a lot of medals, considering we didn't even play 30 games. 
Overall, I'm pretty happy with the team we had this season. The struggle is going to be pushing on in Europe. Clearly, we got a tough one this season, and we could've had a significantly better squad and struggled to get more than the single point from that group of arseholes this time around. 
The Domestic player requirements are always a limitation when playing in Finland, so I probably need to put some work into expanding the number of talented Finnish players we recruit. Otherwise, it's a case of plugging away. We've got improvements to Training and Youth Facilities ongoing, so that's nice. Hopefully, with our new bank balance, I'll be able to massage a bit more money for transfer and wage budgets.

Youth Intake
No-one immediately jumped out at me, but we signed all but 3 of them. A midfielder got a couple of sub appearances before the end of the season in games I didn't care about. 

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KOlvaOg.png

 

Nice for us, nice also to see Partizan U-19s doing well

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I don't think I've ever seen a team commit this many fouls without getting a single yellow card. One guy committed 7 on his own. 

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Season 16, Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi
Finnish Premier League
We sold one of our non-performing STs to China for a bit of money, and then a young Spanish MC became the subject of a bidding war between 6 La Liga teams before eventually moving to Barcelona for £850k + potentially £1.1m in appearance fees + 35% of next fee. We also sent out a few players on loans. 
For some reason, we didn't get a recalculated transfer budget - in spite of us having over £14m in the bank - meaning that the £900k we spent on the kid from Bayern basically wiped out our budget. Most of the players who joined us were on Amateur contracts at their clubs - a source of players I've made plenty of use of in this save - so they were free, but we also spent small sums on players from Bulgaria, Poland, Holland and, um, Benin.
We strengthened in the summer window, bringing in a raft more players, but also losing two important (i.e. Home Grown) players in the process. We also lost our ex-Bayern kid at the end of August, for a just-less-than-his-minimum-fee-clause-but-with-a-"% of next sale"-clause-attached fee. 

Finnish Premier League
The other teams started fielding more defensive teams against us, and we don't yet have the quality of player to deal with negative tactics easily (that'll probably take another couple of seasons), so there were lots of late winners and plenty of swearing from me throughout the season. Still, we wrapped the title up only one match later than we did last season - with a 2-0 win over SJK in the first game of the Championship Group.

P:27  W:21  D:4  L:2  GD:+41  Pts:67  Pos:1st  CHAMPIONS!

Finnish Cup
A second-string team made it to the Final comfortably, but were beaten comfortably by FC Inter 3-1.

Europe
We were drawn against KA first up. We scored after 126 seconds of the first leg, but conceded two very cheap goals, meaning that we headed to Iceland needing a decent performance. We managed 'decent', but no more and went through 6-2 on aggregate. Let's not focus too much on Slavia Prague beating Birkirkara 20-0 over their two legs. We gave away two more cheap goals in the home leg to Rosenborg, before reverting to our Gung-Ho tactic from last season and spanking them 0-6 in the return leg. 3rd Qualifying Round put us up against Basel - arguably the toughest fixture we could have got (the author continues to ignore Slavia Prague winning by rugby scores) - but another tactical change saw us get a 2-0 win at home and follow that up with a 0-1 at St. Jakob-Park. The venue for our Big Money Playoff was a 3h30m drive away from last year's, in Bratislava. We dominated the first leg, winning 3-0 at Home and then sealing the deal with a tepid 1-1 a week later. Our group wasn't quite as dick-punchy as we'd had last season, but Barcelona, ManUre and AA Gent is still... yeah.

We got our token point in the first match, somehow holding Barcelona to a 1-1 (H), before getting smashed by ManUre in their compost heap. We then got 3 points courtesy of a fully-deserved 1-0 (H) against Gent, following that up by giving them a swirlie in a 1-4 win back in Belgium, before I dissolved into fits of giggles on realising that having utterly FM-ed Barcelona 1-2 at the Nou Camp, we qualified for the Knockout Round ahead of them. We lost to ManUre again in the final match, but I'd had my giggles for the day anyway.

Summary
This felt like more of a frenetic season, but I'm not sure why. Possibly it was the players we had who left and meant that I spent the second half of the season scrabbling around for warm bodies to meet the home-grown requirements for games. Anyway, our defensive pairing has solidified around two Finnish kids and we've got some talent in central midfield. Striker is a source of bemusement to me - our top-scorer was a 17-year old German for most of the season, before a Finnish guy bagged both goals against El Tax-Dodgers.
Still, there's a decent amount of talent in the bulging squad, so we're not short of options. Except, y'know, Home-Grown ones. 

Youth Intake
We managed to sneak in an upgrade to Junior Coaching before the intake. I was pretty apathetic about the Intake when the players came through, but a few months later, it doesn't look too bad. There are 4-5 players hovering around the 3-star mark, and although "3 stars, for Finland" is about as faint as praise gets, that still gives them a chance of helping with Home Grown requirements, so it ain't nuthin'.

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We've had to play around with different formations due to some... intransigence on the part of our opponents, at the start of the season. This has necessitated me giving some players a rare run-out (those Home-Grown requirements, [sigh]). However, this just happened:

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That's a lot of passes to hit 100% completion with from an AM position.

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Season 17, Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi
Finnish Premier League
At last, the Chairman saw fit to give me a transfer budget worthy of the phrase and I probably got a bit carried away, particularly when one of my scouts highlighted a "Brazilian Wonderkid" who was both affordable and interested in signing. That was £7m right there. Definitely an upgrade and gave us a decent amount of tactical flexibility, but if you spent £7m on a Brazilian Wonderkid - sight-unseen - and that guy turned up, you'd probably feel short-changed. Also, he insisted on a 'Match Highest Earner clause' and that, more than anything else, put the brakes on any plans I may have had to go big with transfers. 
We also spent money on a new GK from Venezuela and a new DL from Nigeria, as well as a Nigerian international up front and an Italian Midfielder. As will always be the case, Home Grown requirements impact on transfer policy.

Finnish Premier League
We struggled early on with tictacs. The formation we'd gone with last season was singularly unsuccessful - we didn't score enough and we conceded far too many. At one point we were conceding 2 goals for every 3 shots our opponents had on target. We then endured a few scrappy games where I flung **** at the wall to see what stuck. The stickiest **** identified, we proceeded to march onwards. As with previous seasons, we couldn't go Invincible, losing to RoPS in the match immediately after we clinched the title, but eh. I've got that Steam Achievement already. 
P:27  W:20  D:6  L:1  GD:+42  Pts:66  Pos:1st  CHAMPIONS!

Finnish Cup
As difficult as we found the first few league games, we found the cup games even harder. We lost in the Quarter-Finals, undeservedly, to RoPS, but I was actually rather relieved. 

Europe
The end of last season's European campaign wasn't long in coming. We held Lyon to a 0-0 at ours, but went down swinging wildly in a 6-2 loss in France.
The new European odyssey came with the 'great' news that due to the improving coefficient, 3 clubs would now get to play in the Euro Cup II, while we... would start the Champions League in the 1st ****ing Qualifying Round again. Fine, whatever. We saw off Riga, AIK and Ludogorets before we scraped past PAOK 2-3(A), 3-3(H) in extra time (we should have murdered them in the second leg). The group stage saw us pitted against Fenerbahce, Dortmund and Petrol-Shagging Groupies. We got off lightly compared to Hajduk, who were grouped with Zebventus, Chelski and Barcelona. Ouch.
We got 7 points from the group - 2 wins against Fenerbahce, a point against PSG and got humped in the other 3 games, to finish in 3rd and get lined up for a Euro Cup First Knockout Extravaganza against Chelski. 

Summary
A season that demonstrates that it's quite easy to get caught up in the day-to-day frustrations and think your team is playing badly when that's not the case. We were only a point off last season's total in the league and even though we stunk in the Cup, no-one cares. Hopefully the tictacal changes made during the season can be rolled over into the new season, so we can pick up on a good footing.
Some solid performances all around, although both of our Finnish DCs want to leave, which would be incredibly inconvenient. My transfer strategy kind of has to revolve around finding 18-year olds I can sign to get decent quality Home Grown players in 2-3 years time.

Youth Intake
Less impressive than last year's which was, itself, hardly inspiring. Faaaaart.

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RV1UWVD.png

I haven't really looked at any players in detail recently, but this kid is one I'm becoming rather fond of.

We picked him up when he was a 16-year old on an Amateur contract. He's made good but not exceptional progress in terms of his attributes, but he's still only 18 and good enough to be our 3rd choice option at DC. He'll also get Home Grown in the summer, which will be a real help. His Technical attributes could do with being better, and they're probably what will stop him being a very good defender, but I can see him being a solid option for a mid-table Serie A team in the future.

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This is one of things I like about long-running saves like this currently is - the somewhat bizarre stories of players you can unearth. Like this kid

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who, despite having been involved in almost £15m of sales, just made his professional debut at 23 years old after signing for us on a free transfer. I'm tempted to think there's a bunch of untapped potential there (he's certainly not very good at the moment), but has had his development utterly butchered by playing no football (he made 11 appearances for ManUre's youth/reserve teams over the last 3 seasons), so I'm going to give him some game time in the league to see if/how he develops.

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