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[FM 20] The Nearly Men, Vol. IV: I Am Not A Demon. I Am A Lizard. A Shark. A Heat-Seeking Panther. I Want To Be Bob Denver On Acid Playing The Accordion.


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April 2029.

Ze Germans could not deal with our infinite nature. A 3-1 win in the first leg (with a first-half goal chalked off), followed by a scoreless draw in Germany. We're through to face Milan in the semifinals. Schalke and Arsenal will square off in the other semifinal.

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May 2029.

Talk about an epic battle. We raced out to a 2-nil lead in the first leg, only for Milan to pull back level...and for us to grab 2 more to give us a massive win.

In Milan, we were under siege for the first 30-odd minutes, going down 2-nil, a result that would see us eliminated on goal difference. But a big goal right before the half and another in the 2nd, and secure our return to the promised land.

It may not have been the dominant performance we wanted, but the only thing that matters is that we've reached the Final. We will face Jorge Jesus' Arsenal.

Meanwhile, our domestic dominance is complete. 35 wins and 1 draw in the SuperLeague, with 114 goals for and only 11 against. The squad is restless. If we don't win the final, either a ton of players are moving on or I will need to do unspeakable, filthy things to our wage budget.

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PSA: the Champions League final will be live-blogged tonight, kicking off at approximately 8pm Pacific (Seattle) time.

I'll post a link when it's available!

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it amazes me how Gary and Jamie keep securing the commentary gig for the final. It also worries me if this challenge goes longer and longer, one of them is going to die in the commentary booth in 2090! 

Awesome result, getting the 1st team completed, thats 3 including the 2 the AI graciously did for you. Out of interest, in previous iterations how far have you gotten? 

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7 hours ago, noikeee said:

Did you play a full season with regular reviews and all in 2 days? :D

Magnificent work, congratulations! 

:D

IR for the league and domestic cup, the only way to do it!

Thanks, man!

6 hours ago, rodesire said:

#PantsOffForPanathinaikos

#NoPyroNoParty

Add in #TasteTheBean and we've got some of my favorites here! 

I'm honestly a little disappointed in myself, for not coming up with the Panathinaikos one until yesterday.  Brendan Rodgers had my name written on a slip of paper in an envelope, for sure.  *sigh*

6 hours ago, JonasAjax said:

Amazing write-up again, congrats on the trophy!

Thanks, man!  Great way to start the save!

1 hour ago, Mandy42 said:

it amazes me how Gary and Jamie keep securing the commentary gig for the final. It also worries me if this challenge goes longer and longer, one of them is going to die in the commentary booth in 2090! 

Awesome result, getting the 1st team completed, thats 3 including the 2 the AI graciously did for you. Out of interest, in previous iterations how far have you gotten? 

Gary and Jamie are a timeless duo, so I'll have to figure something out...

In the 2017 version (running into the 2090s and spanning 18 months in real-time), I won 19 Champions League titles and 7 World Cups, the AI won 6 CL titles.  In the 2018 version, I only won 6 Champions League titles and 4 World Cups, over a ~30 year period.

I'm loving FM20, so unless something weird happens, this is going to be around for a while.

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does that mean the 2017 version was "completed" ? or were there still outstanding clubs? Never mind I stopped being lazy and clicked the link! 

And maybe have their bodies placed into clones, or robots or something, dunno how good 2 brains in jars would look in a pundit booth though! 

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because I had been lazy
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1 hour ago, Mandy42 said:

does that mean the 2017 version was "completed" ? or were there still outstanding clubs? Never mind I stopped being lazy and clicked the link! 

And maybe have their bodies placed into clones, or robots or something, dunno how good 2 brains in jars would look in a pundit booth though! 

I definitely have a Futurama-inspired thought in mind... :lol:

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You should try not to talk so much, friend. You'll sound far less stupid that way.

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Panathinaikos AO - Season Review 2028/29

London has never seen anything like it - thousands of Greek football supporters, few if any of them wearing pants. It was an epic celebration, worthy of our achievement.

We've reached the pinnacle. Accomplished what no one believed was possible in the modern era. But we're not done yet.

No, to be clear, the time has come to move on from Panathinaikos. A fresh start is needed, somewhere else. Somewhere unheralded, seen as being somehow "beneath" the elite. I speak with Zlatan and Jesse, and we're all in agreement. We've found our calling.

Our resignations will be tendered when I meet with the Chairman, and announced to the players promptly. They've trusted us to guide them this far, stuck with us through thick and thin, even when other opportunities arose. We owe them this much, at least.

The celebration in Athens is in full swing when the news breaks of our departure. Leaving is bittersweet, at best. But we're ready. It is time.

It is not the beginning of the end for us. Rather, it is the end of the beginning.

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What is there to say, really?! As far as the first stop in our journey could have gone, this was practically ideal. An incredible club, a triumphant path blazed through both Greece and Europe. No regrets whatsoever.

Moving on is always hard in these saves. We've got a side at the top of the world and, this time, the new Club World Cup is kicking off in just a few short weeks. As Gary would tell you, though, rules are rules. It is time to move on.

The good news is that there are 3 eligible clubs in need of a manager, so Nicolaj Bur is unlikely to be unemployed for long. More on that when the 2029/30 open thread is posted. For now, let's turn on some Michael Bolton and look back at the 2028/29 season.

Goals for 2029/30: Get back into club management as soon as possible. Start managing on the international level, if an eligible nation opens up and looks like a "fit."

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European Review

We also need to take a quick look around Europe before we go further…

The Champions League was rather thoroughly documented in the open thread and live-blog of the Final. For those who are just tuning in now, Nicolaj Bur's Panathinaikos beat Jorge Jesus' Arsenal 1-nil in the final.

Great showing from Schalke, who keep threatening to become eligible. This is the 2nd year in a row where they've come close.

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In the Europa League, Miguel Cardoso's Chelsea beat Marcelo Gallardo's Leverkusen, 3-nil.

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In the Europa Conference League, Erik ten Hag's Manchester City beat Marko Arnautovic's Anderlecht, 4-1.

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In the active leagues, Paulo Fonseca's Liverpool won their second straight Premier League.  Diego Simeone’s Barcelona won their 6th straight La Liga title.  Maurizio Sarri’s Juventus and (Arsenal legend) Unai Emery's PSG did their usual thing...boooooring.  Gallardo's Leverkusen claimed the Bundesliga title. Murat Yakin's Club Brugge reclaimed the Belgian title. Sinisa Mihajlovic's Crvena zvezda reclaimed their Super Liga title.  Stefan Billborn's BK Häcken won their 5th Allsvenskan title in 7 years in 2028, but the competition is wide open this year.

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Save/Challenge Overview

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Cross-posted at From the Cheap Seats.

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One of my favorite things in long-term saves, are those moments when you can feel the balance of power shifting away from the modern day centers of power.  

Sure, clubs rise and fall -- I'm talking about the seismic shifts that take place.  

This was one such moment -- within days of Nicolaj Bur leaving Panathinaikos, Antonio Conte left Manchester United to take the helm of the Champions League-winning Greeks.

This is the first big domino to fall in the save.  And it is beautiful.

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25 minutes ago, B.W.G said:

Panathinaikos win the Champions League and the crowd goes wild :D 

They're only true Panathinaikos fans if they take off their pants.

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What would Junter do?

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Borussia Mönchengladbach - June 2029

Upon leaving Athens, there was only one destination in mind. Germany.

Both Frankfurt and Gladbach were calling, and we were inclined to pick up the phone.

Tottenham were also calling, but we sent those ones straight to voicemail. When Levy managed to get through to Zlatan, Zlatan did the only thing reasonably possible -- put on a fake Scottish accent and pretend he didn't know what was going on.

In the end, it wasn't an easy choice. Both Gladbach and Frankfurt present intriguing possibilities, with tremendous potential. We had to go with our hearts, on this one.

We couldn't say no to Jünter. And it is a short flight from Belgrade, for Stana.

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One of the things that I love most about the Nearly Men saves, especially as time progresses, is how we end up disrupting the power-elite of modern football - the absolute madness that ensues when clubs like Panathinaikos become the kings of Europe, having raised the reputation of Greece in the process.

Crazy things happen. Like Antonio Conte leaving Manchester United to manage Panathinaikos. It's beautiful.

And the more we can shake things up, the more amazing things will be in the long run. (In the '17 version of my save, Belgian clubs all but took over the world while La Liga faded, with the likes of Zulte and Oostende becoming incredibly dominant.).

So my goal when choosing where to go next was to see if we could help this process along -- neither Partizan nor Malmo were in need of a manager, so I started looking at the "big" nations to see which had a "big" club, in danger of falling down the pecking order. Germany was perfect, with Bayern's run at the top having been stopped by Schalke (a nascent force in the Champions League) and Leverkusen.

With Gladbach and Frankfurt in need of a manager, Germany had to be the destination. Tottenham was also available, but was not an option at this juncture. I tend to dislike managing in England, as a general rule. I also want my first club in England to be Leeds.

There's work to be done at Gladbach. We've got "superb" facilities and some talented youth. The club vision is also ideal -- develop youth, and play attractive, attack-minded football. (In contrast, Frankfurt did not seek any particular style of play, just results.)

They also have Jünter, whom in my head-canon is a cross between the nihilists from The Big Lebowski and Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, notwithstanding his cuddly exterior.

 

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Jünter, waltzing in on the first day of training under Nicolaj Bur.

First things first...I need to assess the squad and decide if I want to splash some of my transfer kitty on any Panathinaikos players...surely I'll be priced out of a move for Mejri, but perhaps the legend that is Jork will be available...

Though I don't know if we need him. Screenshots of a few key players are included below; I intend to put up a full squad review once I've got things sorted.

For now, though, let's get rolling with Die Fohlen and Jünter.

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Cross-posted at From the Cheap Seats.

Edited by ManUtd1
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August 2029.

Our transfer business is done, I think. After an internal squad review, I immediately went shopping at Panathinaikos, and picked up Birgir Jonsson ($21.5M) and Jork Lozano ($17.5M), with German Zarate ($24M) joining a few weeks later. Another early acquisition was Luca Renard ($15M), a player who had rejected my overtures to come to the SuperLeague (in favor a more prestigious move) but was more than willing to step up to the Bundesliga.

The delightfully-named Iacopo Zappasodi ($13.75M) was an unexpected pickup. He's another player that I coveted, but wouldn't leave Fiorentina for Panathinaikos...however, once he submitted a transfer request at Fiorentina I was all over that. He could play anywhere in the center of the pitch for us, from libero to shadowganche. He'll be our starting Mezzala. A steal at $13.75M, even if I had to pay more in wages than I wanted to. He's a beast.

Bellem Trazie and Karamoko Fofana are both for the future, and will likely spend this season out on loan. Fofana is already off to Holstein. Trazie is listed for loan

We've got a squad of 22 players right now (including Trazie), which is more than enough for a campaign that will be focused on the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal. That's right, no European football for Nico, Zlatan, Jesse and Jünter.

And, speaking of Jünter...we had to ship a number of players off. Too old. Too expensive. Too crap. Zlatan thought it would be funny to have Jünter silently deliver the bad news through pantomime. And, to be fair...Jünter using Charades to inform Alexis Mac Allister that he was off to Marseille for $38M, with Zlatan livestreaming it all to the world...it was pretty funny. Nicolaj did have to reprimand them, but his heart wasn't in it.

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I also made the mistake of checking in on Panathinaikos, to see how Antonio Conte was getting on. I shouldn't have. It's like the old saying says, "you can never go home." This is tragically predictable -- both in terms of who has left, and for how little.

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The season kicks off in earnest in 11 days, away to Freialdenhoven in the DFB-Pokal.

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I am excited to see you at Gladbach! It was a good time in your previous visit.

 

It also took me until this update to realize that Spurs were eligible this year, because of their real life Champions League finals loss.

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10 hours ago, hasdgfas said:

I am excited to see you at Gladbach! It was a good time in your previous visit.

 

It also took me until this update to realize that Spurs were eligible this year, because of their real life Champions League finals loss.

I haven't been very excited about it , so ... :lol:

(Edit: about Spurs, that is)

Edited by ManUtd1
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1 hour ago, hasdgfas said:

I'm also not excited about you going to Spurs, as an Arsenal fan. But the places you hate going (Leeds) are often the most entertaining posts in the save!

You know what they say...

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1 minute ago, Bitner said:

Well, i'm a Counter-Strike player, so... i don't really like battle royales :P

Cheers,
Bitner 

 

:lol:

Never played Fortnite or CS myself...just started down this rabbit hole and...well, here we are...

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bah babies, you've not seen horror until you've been hunted and finally  teabagged by a goblin at 2am in the middle of a field in the Derbyshire countryside, but at least their was mead

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February 2030.

I warned them. Anyone who said anything to the media about being in the hunt for the Bundesliga title, would pay the consequences.

And by consequences, I meant extra kickboxing lessons with Zlatan.

I need not have worried. 3 straight losses have been a reality check, as our lead atop the Bundeliga is down to 2 points. We got cocky and have paid the price. Frankly, I do not mind. The media hype machine was starting to rumble after our brilliant run in December/January, and I'd rather not have that distraction.

The reality is that our goal is to be playing European football next year. In any of the competitions. I don't really care. We're carrying a 20-man squad right now, but will need to start building...and for that, we need more matches.

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March 2030.

At a point, the media hype will spin out of control, even without our prompting.

We're on a roll. We have a singular focus. We have every advantage, if -- and only if -- we can hold our nerve.

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6 hours ago, JonasAjax said:

That paintball story was amazing. Community-inspired?

Thanks, man!

I love the first Community paintball episode, but was actually re-watching Peep Show when the thought occurred to me. Super Hans in the bunker :lol:

I intended to throw in a direct Community reference but never got to it. 

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I live in the moment.  Just not THIS moment.

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Borussia Mönchengladbach - 2029/30 Season Review

Gallons of Altbier cascade down Zlatan's bare flesh, as he shrieks in delight. His goatee is back, but the hair will be much longer in returning.

Junter lurks in the corner. Not moving a muscle. Silent. But I can feel him watching us with his beady eyes. Oh, yes. He's watching...

Not that anyone else even notices. No one is sober enough to care.

Gladbach's first Bundesliga title since 1977. It has been 53 years. The scenes? Epic. The Altbier? Frosty, and never-ending.

Truth be told, we were fortunate in the extreme. Without the distractions of a European or DFB-Pokal campaign, our focus could remain on one, single goal.

It also didn't hurt that Bayern was melting down so fast that a Swedish teenage girl was giving speeches at the UN about it.

Whatever the circumstances, we've done it. The Meisterschale is ours. But the real works starts here. A youth revolution is in progress. We need to revamp the squad over the coming year, while fighting on multiple fronts, and with the Board's expectations raised.

Let's do this.

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A dream start to life in Germany, but the narrative above is spot-on. We raced out to a lead in the Bundesliga with no distractions whatsoever once we were dumped from the DPB-Pokal. That gave us a huge advantage over the likes of Dortmund, Bayern, et al. (And Bayern truly did implode under Tuchel...but Nagelsmann has now taken over.)

We could rely on a 20-man squad, with virtually no need to rotate beyond our 1st XI. (I do love the 9-player subs bench in Germany...)

Going forward, we need that 22-man squad and I've already decided that a number of players from this year won't be here come August. Too old, too expensive...or worth a fortune on the transfer market, while I've got talented youth to slot in.

This is a bit of a risk, because the Board (having seen the Promised Land) are "requiring" a Top 4 finish in the Bundesliga and that we reach the Champions League Knockout Rounds.

Which means that a full-blown squad review is coming. The youth we're turning to are brilliant, even if we didn't sign all (or even most) of our targets.

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I'm looking at you, Lars. Our primary target...who opted for Toulouse over the #Bur-volution taking place in Germany. That isn't a typo.

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"Reek, Reek, it rhymes with Lars...'"

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For now, though, let's keep things moving. The 2030 World Cup is right around the corner...

Goals for 2030/31: Defend our Bundesliga title. Make a run in the Champions League. Get an international job before I lose my mind.

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European Review

The Champions League was a rather dull affair this year, with (Arsenal Legend) Unai Emery's PSG defeating Michel's Real Madrid in the final, 2-1.

That means that PSG have completed the challenge and are no longer eligible...so I'm both annoyed that they won, and thrilled that I don't have to manage them to glory at some point in save.

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In the Europa League, Rui Faria’s Wolves beat Mano Menezes’ Dortmund on penalties, after a a 1-1 draw.

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In the Europa Conference League, Torsten Lieberknecht’s Köln beat Aleksandar Dragovic’s Standard, 2-1 after extra time.

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In the active leagues, Paulo Fonseca's Liverpool won their third straight Premier League.  Diego Simeone’s Barcelona won their 7th straight La Liga title...only for Diego to f*** off to Milan to take over at Inter, of all places.  Raul Valbuena's Juventus and (Arsenal legend) Unai Emery's PSG did their usual thing...even after Maurizio Sarri's retirement. Niko Kovac's Genk claimed the Belgian title. Antonio Conte's Panathinaikos (*cough*) enjoyed a relatively straightforward title defense. Nestor el Maestro’s Čukarički claimed their 2nd Super Liga title in 4 years, challenging the established order in Belgrade and Serbia.  Jess Thorup’s IFK Göteborg won their first Allsvenskan title since 2007.

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Save/Challenge Overview

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Cross-posted at From the Cheap Seats.

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