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Red Means Danger: Lois goes interNacional

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Season 18, Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi
Finnish Premier League
To no-one's surprise, our Wonderkid DC (who hadn't really improved much in the year) attracted attention and, equally unsurprisingly, the attention didn't come with a high price tag. I did manage to negotiate a reasonable amount of profit on the sale to Napoli, though. We also sold a young German ST who would have become 'Home Grown' if he'd stayed until June, but Schalke were insistent and I kept rejecting until they bid £2.4m (£7.5m) + 50% of next sale. I don't think he's going to be a world-beater, but we should get decent money out of it. Elsewhere, we sold our first-choice full-backs (both had contracts expiring this season and both had made limited progress).
I had to scramble to find replacement full-backs, but we found a young Aussie DR on a Youth Contract at Melbourne Victory who came for £3.5m and picked up a youngster from Zebventus to cover DL (he broke his leg a handful of games into the season and I signed a Thai DL in the summer). I also signed an Uzbeki MC, a DC/DM/MC from DR Congo and brought in a young ST from Stuttgart on loan. I was left feeling twitchy about our options up front, so I then spent £1.5m on a kid from Sweden. 

Finnish Premier League
No surprises and no alarms as we cruised to the title and an undefeated season.
P:27  W:23  D:4  L:0  GD:+51  Pts:73  Pos:1st  CHAMPIONS!

Finnish Cup
We made it to the final without any alarms and had to endure 120 minutes of Gandalfing from RoPS before we finally put the ball into the net, winning on Penalties. 

Europe
Last year's campaign didn't progress beyond January as eventual runners-up Chelski beat us 0-1(H) (a bit harsh, this one, we were probably the better team) and 3-0(A) (about as comprehensive as it sounds).
However, we did get good news when Liverpool won the Champions League and that meant we received an automatic Group Stage place. Except we didn't, and were drawn in the same ****ing round as per the last couple of seasons. 
Shrugging gallicly, we beat Valur, dispatched Alashkert and edged past Malmo and their harem of wonderkid loanees and then Hajduk and their harem of Argentinians, to reach the Group Stages. 
Napoli, Dortmund and Ajax awaited us and we did well to pick up 2 wins and 2 draws 2 finish above Dortmund in second place.

Youth Intake
Absolute *******. Even as someone who believes in signing players and giving them an opportunity to develop, this intake was absolute *******. More than half of the players didn't have a technical attribute for their position above 10 and two thirds didn't have a Determination above 10. I immediately went to the board to request yet another upgrade because I've had bowel movements with more potential than some of those players.

Summary
A much more relaxing season than the last few have been, and I'm sure that having more Home Grown players contributed to that. Needing 9 in the match squad for league games presents significant problems - primarily because Finnish players are generally ****. We had lots of players chip in with appearances across the season, and I'd guess that most of the first team have got clubs after them. 

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Season 18, part 2, Helsingin Jalkapalloklubi
Finnish Premier League
As pictorialised above, we managed to scrape past Monaco in the Champions League First Knockout Round. In the Quarter-Finals, we faced Real Madrid and were probably the better team in the first leg, only to lose 3-1. In the return fixture, we really had no choice but to go for it and lost 0-2. 
That was it for me in Finland. There are too many annoying things to make it actually enjoyable - the lack of an end-of-season break if you qualify from the Group Stages of the CL or Euro Cup means that you get a bunch of injuries in January (as we did this year) and also stops you arranging friendlies, meaning you go into the first Finnish Cup games with an entirely rusty squad. Add to that the thing where opposition teams will commit 20+ fouls in a game without picking up a Yellow card, and my Board being a bunch of asshats, and it was time for a change.

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Season 19, Dinamo
Croatian First League
Hajduk have been the dominant force in Croatia for quite a while now, so I thought Dinamo might be an interesting option - a club I've tended to avoid in the past, as they're usually the ones on top of the pile.
The first set of transfers were mostly the 'best' players in the team leaving, followed by me replacing them. We offloaded players for £31m, including a full-back I'd managed at Melgar and a Georgian moron who asked to be transfer-listed 4 times even after we'd already accepted an offer from Lazio and he was discussing terms with them. 
My first signing was the Bosnian MC I signed in my first season at Partizan; he's 33 and has 130 caps and is still (just about) good enough to play in midfield, provided he doesn't have to actually run around. We picked up a Nigerian DC, Finnish GK and Guinean ST as backups and a Bosnian MC, Slovenian DL, French DC, Serbian DR and Salvadoran ST as first team regulars and an ex-PSG striker as reinforcement.
We picked up a few more players in January, including a Colombian playmaker, Sath Efrican DC and German winger. 

Croatian First League
Hajduk had an awful start, failing to win any of their first 10 games. That left Varazdin as our nearest competitors for the title. They weren't far behind until after the winter break, when our reinforcements helped us go on an unbeaten run that saw us clinch the title with 6 games to go. The club's first title in in 10 years. 
Yeah.
P:36  W:27  D:5  L:4  GD:+39  Pts:86  Pos:1st  CHAMPIONS!

Croatian Cup
A second-string team lost on penalties to Rijeka in the second round.

Europe
In the Euro Cup II, we were unlucky enough to face Marseille in the Best Placed 4th Qualifying Round and despite beating them in France, we lost on Away goals. 

Youth Intake
Pretty bad.

Summary
The team was rather uneven this season. The tictac I ended up rolling with was decent enough, but I'm not sure I'll stick with it as is for next season. I could do with a new GK - our first choice is good enough, but isn't ever likely to be great. Elsewhere, I'll probably look for backups with potential to round out the squad, as I reckon we've probably got enough to reach the Champions League Group Stage (if we don't automatically qualify). 
In terms of the new signings, the Salvadoran got the highest average rating, with the Serbian DR marginally behind. Both were generally very good and should keep improving. The Colombian playmaker was a 100% "holy ****, I need to sign this kid" when the scout report came in - he's only 18, but had a solid half a season and looks like he'll be a monster in a couple of years - while the French DC (who we picked up from ES Setif) also looks like being a seriously good player, so I'm well pleased that his Minimum Fee Release Clause has expired; I reckon a few teams will start looking at him in the summer, and unless he agitates for a move, we can probably get £20m+ for him.

Overall, a good first season. We definitely need to strengthen in the summer, so that we have the choice of being competitive in Europe, but finances aren't spectacular at the moment, so there's a balancing act I'll need to negotiate with my usual flat feet.

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Season 20, Dinamo
Croatian First League
We brought in a few squad players in the summer, with the major signings being a versatile young Romanian attacker, a young Norwegian MC and a wing-back-ish French kid. 
In the January window, we again mostly brought in squad players, but did sign a new first-choice GK from Velez, for £5m. 
There was one who got away; a young wing-back from Nantes, who wanted £15m for him. Given that his contract had a year left, I thought we'd get him in on loan and then make a more reasonable bid nearer to Christmas. However, Nantes were intent on playing silly buggers and still wanted >£10m for him, so when he could be offered a contract, we were in the same boat as every other club and he eventually committed career suicide by agreeing to join PSG. What a waste.

Croatian First League
A harder task this season. Hajduk didn't have a nightmare start, despite selling a few first team players and not obviously replacing them. The early nadir was a 0-4 loss to Hajduk, sandwiched between two European qualifiers. And that was kind of the theme for the first part of the season - our tricky league games were at the times when we had fewest available resources to play our best XI. We had 6 injuries to first-team players at the end of November, which left me anxious about how the rest of the season would unfold.
I needn't have worried. Hajduk shat the bed in impressive style, winning 2 and drawing 3 of their first 10 games back after the winter break, while Osijek were better but couldn't match our form. We only dropped 4 points after Christmas.
P:36  W:29  D:5  L:2  GD:+52  Pts:92  Pos:1st  CHAMPIONS!

Croatian Cup
A second-string team got FM-ed 0-1 by HNK Gorica.

Europe
We scraped past Malmo 2-0 to reach the Champions League Group Stage. I didn't think we had enough to beat Barcelona or Dortmund... and we didn't. FC Kobenhavn traded Home wins with us and our 5-0 trumped their 1-0, but they FM-ed Dortmund in their final game to get a 1-1 draw and finish above us. We played a second-string team in all games except the 5-0 win.

Youth Intake
The preview suggested it would be a good one, but initial impressions weren't as positive. There are a few who could be useful, mind. 
Last season's intake is looking much b- uh, more adequate than it did at the time, too.

Summary
Our Colombian playmaker got 72% of our fans' votes for Player of the Season, and picked up the league award, too. He's got a MFR Clause of £21.5m, with a few Premier League clubs after him, so I suspect he's leaving. I've got replacement options on my shortlist, though. The French DC attracted interest in January and was briefly upset that I wouldn't sell him to BMG, but he calmed down shortly after and signed a new contract - he's a no-brainer first pick at the moment. Our Salvadoran striker was also attracting interest, but broke his ankle in mid-November, which kept clubs away in the January window; he didn't actually have a particularly good season, but there are also clubs after him. 

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The perils of European qualifiers - actually having to give a **** about results. This results in us playing the Second XI in league games. 

So consider this: we play a crap team, but our DL gets sent off after 20 minutes for a red card that is rescinded when I appeal. Great? No, because the AssMan took charge of the game and brought on our first-choice DL when the red card happened, and be promptly broke a toe, because FM is a god with a cruel and unusual sense of humour:seagull:

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A GK hat-trick is always special, (but 2 free-kicks makes it even better). :applause:

I bet he was gutted when he conceded though. :lol:

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Season 21, Dinamo
Croatian First League
For all my kvetching about bigger teams coming in for our better players, they didn't. Possibly my best players aren't as good as I think they are/would like them to be. /shrug
We signed reinforcements, because I always do. The players to actually get game time were a two-footed MC from Dortmund, a fascist from Zilina and - to make those dratted Home Grown requirements less of a faff to meet - we spent £20m on a striker from Rijeka. Who got da money? Well, Rijeka do now.
Honestly, I kinda spaffed away the transfer window. I don't feel like my scouts are finding many affordable players who could bolster our best 22, so I just sort of nibble around the edges trying to get the squad into shape. 
Our Club Legend socialist left for Guangzhou and an eye-watering £215k p/w in January for £12.5m (he was 28; go and fill your boots with cash, mate) while Chelsea bought out a release clause of £7.75m for a young MC everyone seemed to rate higher than me. We also accepted a £69m (hehe) bid for our Serbian DC from a Chinese club, but he turned them down. 

First League
As per last season, really. A somewhat challenging start, with European qualifiers keeping the schedule busy and then a mostly breezy final 2/3s of the season, with Hajduk having yet another miserable return from the winter break. They finished second, 24 points behind us. 
P:36  W:25  D:10  L:1  GD:+51  Pts:85  Pos:1st  CHAMPIONS!

Croatian Cup
With the mixed match squads, we put out stronger teams this season than we had done previously, and consequently strolled to the club's first Cup for 15 years. 

Europe
We started even earlier in the qualifying rounds this season, which was just swell, but the fixtures (Dinamo Tblisi, Partizani and Slavia Prague) were at least simple enough. 
I reworked the Weekend and Midweek XIs to have a mix of players, to see if we could be in Europe after Christmas, but our Champions League group consisted of Inter, Real Madrid and Benfica; a clear indication that the FM gods did not want progression to be a thing this season.

Youth Intake
Pretty average overall, but we had a 5-star prospect come through who looks like he could be really good. PSG had already bid for him before we were halfway through June, to which I couldn't have slammed the 'Reject' button any harder if it came with the option to slap their recruiting team in the face. 

Summary
A good season all-round. Our defense was more miserly than last season... well, domestically, anyway. Our GK got himself 12 goals in all competitions, but if we get a good offer, I'll let his injury-prone self leave. One of our new DLs - a Slovakian - made good progress, but we lack good-quality options on the right. I just about avoided having too many MCs to keep happy by sending a few off on loan and rotating frantically. The £20m kid did well, with 14 assists and 5 goals and is, of course, now wanted by a bunch of clubs. **** 'em, though; there's no MFRC, so it's either the sunny side of £55m or go and spin. The Salvadoran again flattered to deceive in terms of quantifiable 'end product', but has kept improving.

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Anyway, have some player pictures. Here's our 5* brat - already pissed that signing a contract has consequences - alongside our new Club Captain, who's my new favourite player for becoming Home Grown and also signing a new 5-year contract without even asking for a Minimum-Fee Release Clause. 

iCZ9QHy.png  YPjlE1J.png

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We've managed to make it through to the Champions League Group Stage again! Maybe this will be the season w-

[draws Man Utd, RB Leipzig and Ligue 1 title-winner Rennes]

-e again play the kids and let gravity deal with the situation.

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Season 22, Dinamo
Croatian First League
Our Salvadoran ST left: Wolves originally agreed to £23.5m + 25% of next fee, but I guess at some point they found out about his £25m MFRC and went with that instead. Ah well. Leverkusen came in for our GK and I let him go for £10m(£12m), as I'd never been all that impressed with him. We also offloaded a couple of surplus DCs and our young DR to give some space to newcomers, and flogged a couple of strikers we didn't need as well as last year's MR signing, who moved to Hamburg for a bit of profit. 
We signed a Sath Efrican DR for £900k - I'm assuming the product of a DM session, since I was surprised (very pleasantly) when he arrived - with a compatriot of his I'd managed at Partizan also joining to reinforce the "running towards the opponents' goal" part of our game. We spent decent chunks of money to sign two Romanian DCs, a Serbian attacker and a Croatian expat from Benfica. 

First League
It was rarely pretty, but we made it to the halfway stage with a 4 point gap over Osijek in second. 

Croatian Cup
We won some games.

Europe
Compare and contrast our Champions League Qualifiers from last season and this: Dinamo Tblisi, Partizani and Slavia Prague vs. Basel and Energy Drink Franchise FC Austria Edition. Night and day. Anyway, we beat them both and got the group mentioned in an earlier post. I didn't rate our chances, but 3 wins at Home, including a 4-1 shellacking of Energy Drink Franchise FC Germany Edition, along with a point in France, saw us finish second. Our opponents in the First Knockout Round were the Penile Sounding Goons.

I spent the winter transfer window looking for players to add squad depth and - alongside a raft of youngsters - ended up signing a young Brazilian DL and a Romanian ML, as well as agreeing a deal with Braga to sign the GK we'd had on loan since the start of the season.

And then, with the transfer window closed, I sort of stopped caring. I initially started holidaying matchdays, as a way of speeding things up, but after I realised I was just getting annoyed at the crap teams the AI was putting out, I just quit. A new challenge, or whatever.

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Season 23, Nacional da Madeira
Portuguese Second League
I took my time to find a new club to manage, turning down lots of offers in the process. Eventually in late Autumn, Nacional da Madeira came up: good facilities, albeit with crap Youth Recruitment and a decent history behind them (although the less said about C******* R****** the better), and also mid-table in the second tier. They wanted mid-table, although by the time I was offered the job (several weeks later), they'd had a takeover and had upped those expectations to 'Top Three'. Still, the new expectations came with a £9m transfer budget (!) and something like £60k p/w of spare wage budget. 

Cups
We were already out of the PT Cup and although we had a game to go in the League Cup, I rotated the side and let our kids get massacred 0-7 by Porto. 

Transfers
With the huge transfer budget ("huge" by Portuguese second-tier standards, anyway), I went hogwild and... actually made a profit in the January window, flogging a petulant arsewipe of a DC to Verona for £2.5m. We signed a Mexican MC and Danish ST - I assume while drunk, since I have no recollection of arranging the deal, and only a faint recollection of the Mexican prior to signing him - a Cameroon ST as backup and a Kosovan MC, all for actual money before hoovering up a few free transfers. We got a couple of experienced Brazilians, whose Physical attributes were just about good enough to get by and then a raft of young Brazilians for development and a bit of depth. Added to those, we got a DL on loan from Liverpool and a young Norwegian DR for £2500 from Asker. 

The League [insert ominous timpani beats]
With a squad consisting of the players not good enough to be sold outright when the club was relegated, our form immediately after I took over was bad. Bad enough to have me wondering whether I'd made the right decision in taking over. I needn't have worried. The transfer window came at a good time and let me flat-out replace 9 of the 11 'best' players in the squad. We went 8 unbeaten before our game against Vitoria Guimaraes B saw the team lose and me come close to losing my voice to quietly-shrieked expletives. We bounced back by beating league leaders Benfica B and then continued plugging away with dominant-but-not-convincing wins to pull away from the chasing teams who were very closely bunched up (see below) and clinch promotion with a couple of games to go.
ijv13ML.png
P:34  W:20  D:5  L:9  GD:+19  Pts:65  Pos:2nd  PROMOTED!

Youth Intake
We signed three - one because he looks like he could be good, the others because they might have a professional career. The rest were baaaaad.

Summary
I'm very happy with how that ended up. We were 13th when I took over, but once I managed to get some players in our form was very good. There's a massive amount of chaff to get rid of, between the First Team, Under 23s, Under 19s and Under 19-Bs (not a clue what the point of that last one is), so it'll be good to have a clear out. The first team doesn't need a lot of strengthening to be decent enough, but there's a remarkable lack of depth, so that's something that'll need some effort.

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Season 24, Nacional da Madeira
Portuguese Premier League
We needed to strengthen, and we did. Reinforcements came in throughout the team - except in goal, where I was reasonably happy with the guy we had there. We didn't initially spend much - £1.5m went on a Portuguese DC from Vitoria Guimaraes, £700k on a Colombian MC and I spent £300k to make sign a DR who was going to be released by Porto. The DL loanee from last year joined on a Bosman, as did a couple of Italian players (from Bologna and Udinese), a young kid from PSG and a couple of Northern Irish internationals who'd been released. We also picked up a DR from ASEC and a couple of Ethiopian DLs (they both looked okay and had similarish scout reports, so I figured why not sign both) as young backups. And then, once we were actually under way, I had a bit of a pan-, uh, re-evaluation of the squad and got a few more deals done. We brought in a loanee forward from ManUre, a Honduran DR and a Colombian ML I'd seriously considered signing while at Dinamo. Having scouted far and wide for another MC, I spent £450k on deadline day to get a player I'd had at Dinamo - he wasn't the best option available, but he was cheap and 24 years old, making him easier to fit in given the mind-boggling squad registration rules we're dealing with.
Having done all of that, we then reinforced further in January, signing a young Colombian DC from Atletico National, a versatile Peruvian midfieldy-type and a Spanish playmaker. 

Premier League
We had a good first half of the season. We didn't really get spanked by anyone other than Pacos de Ferreira, but still lost a few games. We reached the midpoint of the season sitting 7th in the league, and with a decent run of form behind us including a 3-0 win over league leaders Sporting.
With 8 games to go, our good form had taken us to 6 points behind the leaders. Our form dropped off from there but a 5-0 shellacking of Varzim on the final day saw us leapfrog Chaves - who lost to Boavista - to finish 6th on Goal Difference.
P:34  W:17  D:8  L:9  GD:+28  Pts:59  Pos:6th

League Cup
We lost on Penalties after utterly dominating Oliveirense in the first round.

PT Cup
We had 64 shots (33 on target) against Loures in our first game, but still needed Extra Time to clinch a 2-3 win and set up a much less rage-inducing win over Famalicao. Next up, we beat Sporting 3-2 courtesy of a couple of injury-time goals and then went 30+ minutes longer to beat Casa Pia on penalties. We FMd Porto in the second leg of the semi-final, scoring an 88th-minute equaliser, having come from 0-2 down to win the first leg 3-2. That set up a final with Estoril, which we won 1-2 late-on to qualify for the Euro Cup.

Summary
Our Colombian ML got 19 assists in the league - setting a new record - while the Danish ST confounded my own expectations with 22 goals in 31(3) games. Our Mexican MC had a good season, averaging 7.26, while a couple of the January reinforcements did well. Otherwise, it was just a good all-round squad performance. We do need to strengthen in defence - the Colombian youngster looks very promising but the rest are much of a muchness. We've got decent depth in midfield and some young players who could be very good, but no-one outstanding. The Danish ST was superb and we're in trouble if he leaves, which is possible with some bigger clubs circling. 

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Ztcrp4B.png

A good time for my striker to have a good game

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(If you notice a discrepancy between the season number here and previous seasons, it's because I made a mistake somewhere in my .txt file and didn't notice. Counting is hard :( )

 

Season 26, Nacional da Madeira
Portuguese Premier League
Without much by way of money, the transfer strategy was that old staple: keep the good, sell the chaff. We did spend £2.5m(£5.5m) on a DL from the Uruguayan Nacional, but he's a bit of a monster. Other than him, we signed a new GK, a new ST, a new AMC and a few youngsters - all on frees - plus a Togolese MC for £1500. We sold our Norn Irish DC to Huddersfield for £750k + 30% of next fee and our Kosovan MC to Germany for £2.8m. Our Mexican MC left just before deadline day for a bit of cash, so we loaned in 2 more - one from Barcelona, one from Real Madrid. After the window closed, we ended up signing a couple more freebies - a Scottish ST I'd signed a few years back at Dinamo, and an Italian DM-ish guy. 
We did sign a few players in January. Yet another MC - this time from Fluminense - for the first team squad and we also ticked a couple of boxes on our United Nations bingo card, with youngsters joining from Libya and Sudan, as well as from more familiar places like Guinea, Burkina Faso and France. Importantly, we also confirmed that the loanee from Real Badrid will join permanently at the end of the season, along with a young Israeli DC and a French MC.

Premier League
It felt as if we didn't start particularly well, but actually our league form was good from matchday 1. The schedule is weird, though; we had random weekends off when other teams were playing and had fairly long stretches where we had 2 games in hand over teams around us. It was the same last season as well, so I don't think it was just us being in Europe causing it. It's just weird since we ended up having 7 league games in January but only 3 in October & November combined. 
Anywho, at the halfway point we sat 2nd, three points behind Benfica - who we'd just comfortably beaten 2-0. (And by the way, FM, facing Porto, Benfica and Sporting in consecutive league games is a duck move). Benfica had a sizeable gap at the top going into January but had a shocking start to the calendar year, dropping 16 points in January and February. This coincided with us having a good unbeaten run. By the time that ended, with a slapped-with-a-wet-fish 2-0 defeat against Vit. Guimaraes, we were 8 points clear of Sporting in 2nd, but they had two games in hand. Two late goals sealed the title for us on matchday 33. 
P:34  W:25  D:6  L:3  GD:+33  Pts:81  Pos:1st  CHAMPIONS!

League Cup
I'm sure someone was disappointed that we crashed out in the group stage. But it wasn't me. 

PT Cup
We comfortably beat Gondomar and Espinho to face 2nd-in-the-league Sporting in the 5th Round. We pummelled them but still needed extra time to win 4-2. Penalties were needed for us to beat Tondela in the QFs and then Braga beat us over 2 legs in the Semis. 

Europe
We went straight in to the EURO Cup Group Stages. Drawn against Roma, St Etienne and Shakhtar, I'll admit I flinched a little. Still, despite a bad start, we won 3 matches and drew another to finish 2nd and face Marseille in the 1st Knockout Round. They knocked us out. A good effort by the Second XI, though, not least since my AssMan only registered one competent DC for the squad (why yes, I will blame him for my laziness).

Youth Intake
I forgot to comment on this last season. There were a couple of half-decent ones, but the rest were Greta.
The preview this season suggested 3 good prospects. There was one plus a couple of 'yeah, he should have a professional career' nobodies. Still, I signed most of them. Maybe a miracle will happen!

Summary
Clearly a very good season for us, with the club picking up its' first ever league title. We were able to give some of our younger players game time in the cups as well, including the 'A' player from our first intake who's looking like he could be a pretty good player. 
The Danish ST actually had a pretty rubbish season in front of goal, his tally of 13 in 29(7) only looking respectable because he got 6 in the last few games. It was our Colombian ML who was our MVP, with 18 goals and 9 assists. Generally, the team's performance was better than individuals' performances, and I don't know if that's a good thing or not. 
The Colombian DC got enough game time to trip the 'Wonderkid' flag which immediately alerts every Premier League team to his existance: he wants a new contract, but his agent is holding out for a MFRC that's well below what he's already worth, so I'm hoping I can negotiate that away next time I make an offer. We could do with another good DC - the two Italians we have are okay, but no more than that.
We've agreed to sign an Egyptian DR whom my scouts went from "He looks like he could be good" to "Holy shitballs, boss, sign this guy!" about over the course of the season, so that should sort out that. No reinforcements needed in midfield - we've got loads - but we could do with a top-class striker. 

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Finances

I feel like these deserve a post on their own.

I was lucky when I took over at Nacional that the club had been relegated and they'd made around £29m in player sales. This obviously gave me money to spend on transfer fees and wages and still have plenty left over for operating expenses.

But, this money ran out towards the end of last season. We were in the red pretty much until we sold our Mexican MC, but even that was only a temporary respite from being in debt. We finished this season £6m in the red. Part of the problem is that stadium capacity is only a shade over 10k, so we made less than £3m in combined season tickets/gate receipts for the season. The stadium was rebuilt in 2039 and there's no option to expand it, so we're stuck in a pocket-sized ground for the foreseeable future.

Without any funds, we're short on options for renewing contracts, I have a transfer budget of £600k and get to keep 35% of that (which will fall to 20% before we even get out of debt). There's a little capacity in the wage budget, but not much. My estimate is that by the time the money comes in for being in the Champions League group stages, the £14m or so will basically let us break even. The board have actually been pretty generous so far, given how little money we make, and they're not expecting anything other than top-half next season, but financing our first Champions League campaign on what amounts to a few pieces of pocket lint and string? Hmm. In addition, time is seeing our facilities get downgraded, and there's no money to improve them. 

So where does that leave us? Yes, player sales. I reckon that there's probably £30-£35m I can bring in, just looking at who's wanted at the moment. But assuming the board stick to their plan for how much they're willing to give me for transfers, that probably leaves me no more than around £7m for signings. And that would be after I sell 4 first team players and a couple of decent back-ups. Not ideal.

 

Realistically, unless this club gets a Tycoon takeover, this isn't sustainable. It was a great season, but given that we'd probably need to do it again, I'm not sure I really want to try to do it again.

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Season 27: Athletic Bilbao
Spanish First Division
I took my time choosing my next club. In the end, I opted for Bilbao, who I'd always avoided given that player signings is such a large part of how I play FM. The club does have fantastic facilities, though, which is what ultimately persuaded me to sign. 

Spanish First Division
Relatively straight-forward. The club were 10th when I took over, but we had a nice run that got us up the table. We had a couple of poor results along the way - losing 5-1 to Sevilla sticks out for some reason - but a dull 0-1 win over Getafe on the final day saw up leapfrog Villarreal to 5th. 
P:38  W:21  D;5  L:12  GD:+14  Pts:68  Pos:5th  EURO Cup Qualification!

Spanish Cup
We lost to Barcelona in the final: 1-2 after extra time. We did spank eventual league champions Real Madrid 4-0 en route, mind you. So that was nice.

Europe
We were in the Euro Cup and lost in the 2nd Knockout Round to Rennes, who are a very good team these days (in 2049). 

Youth Intake
There were a couple of possibly-okay players, but overall very disappointing given the state of the facilities (and how much I kind of need those players to be good).

Summary
My record in the league was 16-2-3 after arriving at the start of January, which I'm happy with. The squad is pretty much what you'd expect - 3-4 excellent players who want to join a bigger club, alongside a mix of older and younger players who'd struggle to get into the majority of other teams in the league. I'm probably going to leave, since the board have given me ****-all to spend in either wages or transfer budget.

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