Welcome!

Hello and welcome to my new blog. Here is the place I plan on documenting my saves, hamfisted attempts at tactical insight, general musings on Football Manager and whatever else takes my fancy.

I have thought about doing a blog for a long time and it seems that now is as good a time as any to get things started.

So with that in mind, I hope you enjoy the content that I will be putting up and give me some feedback, be it advice, general support or foul mouthed tirades at my general level of incompetence.

There should be a career save starting up soon as well as some discussion on some tactics that I have been working on. I don’t hold myself out to be a tactical mastermind so if my thoughts on the tactics I am making seem like the ramblings of an incoherent madman then I just hope you all get something out of the process. More than likely it will be more of a “what not to do” but we all have to start somewhere.

Thanks for reading!

The Decapitated Buffalo – A Strikerless Production

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Been quite busy at Poods HQ for a while, what with trying to resurrect saves that had gone the way of the dodo and I haven’t got around to writing anything for a bit. But I am back and here we go with another tactic for you all.

As a bit of background, I initially took my Buffalo Wing tactic and simply “decapitated” it changing the striker to an AMC. Hence the rather colourful name. Having done so, I had a chat with the inestimable Lord of Strikerless who had a look at it and dabbled with some of his usual tactical alchemy to come up with what we have here.

Guido also used it as a test bed for some experiments with the overload philosophy and my word did it deliver. Extreme pressing and heaps of bodies pouring forward made for a really delightful tactic that has been quite successful, if I may modestly say so. Enough of that though, on to the tactic!

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As we can see it bears similarities in roles to the Buffalo Wing of my previous tactical effort. No hipster roles here as general roles form the framework for the PIs that are added to influence the behaviour of the players. What you will find (and I hope to show later) is that the CBs and anchorman stay back to protect against any fast breaks that can come from the inherent attacking nature of the tactic. The fullbacks really get forward and often are the final ball before a goal as they overlap the inside forwards on the outside. The CM-A attacks the ball late and, as I found with Chivas and Quanjian, gets more than his fair share of goals by coming from deep and finding space to lash the ball home. The AP-A is essentially the withdrawn targetman that Guido waxes lyrical about. It was a happy coincidence as it was simply a matter of adding the PIs from the Buffalo Wing’s striker to the AP-A. He holds the ball up and looks for options, essentially forming that role. Please note that you should try to get fullbacks with stamina. They will get tired from bombing up and down the flanks all day. But to make them “support” would detract from the attacking so they stay as they are.

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Yes. You saw correctly.

Overload – Very Fluid. It looks insane but it really does work. Players are allowed to roam and the more direct passing allows for the ball to be moved forward at speed where out multitude of attacking options can go to work. The pressing with an offside trap will allow for opposition chances from direct passing when on overload. If you are struggling or simply want some more stability, I have found that “counter” works extremely well. In fact, I used counter exclusively on several occasions with Quanjian and got some impressive Super League scalps.

Work ball into box allows us to get closer in before unleashing. There are a lot of long shots in the tactic. Nothing over the top, but they are present. Interestingly, when on counter there aren’t as many long shots. Make of that what you will.

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The Decapitated Buffalo can work effectively without OIs. In fact I didn’t use OIs for a proportion of my save with Chivas and Mexico which led to a 26-0-1 record in the Apertura and a Mexican Cup win along with Mexican fixtures. With Quanjian I have been using them and in my opinion it is your choice as to whether or not you wish to use them.

Guido swears by them and reported quite a bit of success with them installed. So if you are that way inclined you could always start without them and then add them in if you wish to. They certainly do work.

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Set to distribute to playmaker (the AP-A is the only playmaker role) and to ditribute quickly. Sometimes he will bang it long with no-one there. But don’t change it. The amount of times we win it back from the opposition CB is incredible and does lead to goals.

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The fullbacks bomb forward and marshal the flanks. Often they are key in the goals as the inside forwards, AP and CM-A overload the middle leaving acres of space for them to exploit. I suggest one with good passing and crossing. They will provide plenty.

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Ummm… Errrr… Get good ones? They are about as bog standard as standard can be.

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I love an anchorman. They don’t do the “sexy football” but they break up moves, make tackles and distribute the ball to the more creatively oriented players. Which is, you know, almost everyone on the pitch! For me, they are a key part of the tactics success.

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The CM-S isn’t as attacking as his partner but as I found with the same PIs in the Buffalo Wing he will do quite a bit. Essentially balances the excesses of the anchorman and CM-A.

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An attacking midfielder in all but position, the CM-A will probably be the one of your top 3 scorers, probably the leading assist maker and will be very important to your success. Arriving late to score goals, providing the ball to marauding fullbacks and inside forwards and then attacking the box. What a player. Great to watch too and he does his role in harrying any DMs or CMs of the opposition.

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Basically your average inside forward role. They will drag defenders away from the flanks and score a lot from crosses coming from the opposite side of the pitch. Often they will provide the pass to the fullback that leads to the assist.

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The AP-A will score goals, but in my mind he is the arch-creator. He holds the ball up and provides it to attacking players who are moving around him. A guy with strength and creativity will be useful so he can hold the ball up better, but if push comes to shove then get the creative option.

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I mixed and matched overload and counter as I mentioned which will lead to some lower scores than could be expected but as you can see it scores plenty and is quite solid defensively as well.

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Even if Quanjian were the class of the division, you still have to do the job and the defenders weren’t exactly the cream of the crop. It will be interesting to see how it goes with an improved backline and some better midfielders.

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Getting off to a hot start is a particular highlight of the tactic. This usually meant that if I go 2-0 up quickly then I basically continue on counter for the rest of the match. It tends to work very well. As you can see, there are slightly more goals conceded around half time. Once counter was used for the last 15 minutes these numbers dropped off.

Sadly, I no longer have my Chivas screenshots nor the Mexican games so I am afraid I cannot add them here. Suffice to say it worked a treat and made stars of Calderon and Fierro. Dos Santos and Velas annihilated teams with Mexico. Guido even won the World Cup with Mexico when he was testing it.

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Super League? Super Problems.

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Against Super League teams it was superb. This game was run on counter only.

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You may find yourself losing the possession battle occasionally but I don’t think it is much to be concerned about in the main.

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Now there is a clear indication of how quality wide men can make a difference. We had a u21 Chinese national team player at LB and Geuvânio as the LW. The Brazilian is more inclined to be a provider even though he chips in with goals. On the right wing we have Sun Ke. A star with the Chinese national team, he prefers to get inside and take a shot when he can. That being said, Sun Ke is not quite as good as his counterpart on the other side.

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This happens a lot. The ball is played into the AP-A (in this case Wan Cheng) who then delivers to the inside forward or the fullback and then turns. In this situation he played it to Pato…

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Pato then streams forward and as you can see by the time he delivers the cross we have 4 on 4 in the box. The result was much as you would expect. Having 4 in the box at the end of moves is actually at the lower end of the scale and I have seen 6 or 7 in there before. It is extremely difficult for the opposition to deal with.

So, there we have it. The Decapitated Buffalo works very well in both overload and counter guises. It has given me great success with Chivas, Mexico and Quanjian. As of this post, I hadn’t tried it with lower league teams but I suspect that it would still produce fascinating football.

If you wish to give it a try, then you can have a go with it at the bottom of this post. I hope you enjoyed this article on the Decapitated Buffalo and if you have any further questions you can always find myself or Guido on FMSlack or twitter.

Thanks for reading. Feedback, as always, is appreciated.

TRY IT HERE!

C.D. Guadalajara – A Team Guide (Part 2)

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Welcome to Part 2 of our guide to Chivas. In this part we will be looking at the first team squad. In the interests of disclosure, prior to these screenshots, I recalled every player I could from the first team squad listed. Those that remain on loan I have placed in the u20s, so your squad may look a little bit different to mine. Anyway, Chivas has a good, solid squad. A few stars are there including one that made those of us playing FM15 drool with anticipation. It seems that divisional rival concerns aren’t that important in Mexico because a number of Chivas’ best players are on loan at their competitors. Also, perhaps the biggest light in the firmament is on loan at Fiorentina with a criminally low agreed fee.

Still, a lot to work with and (as we saw in Part 1) you have some funds to bring in players to backup or fill different roles if you should so choose. You shouldn’t need to make too many purchases though. That being said, when you see the sheer size of the squads… Well, they do need a bit of a trim.

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This is your first choice keeper. On loan from Pachuca, Cota is perfectly serviceable. Handling of 12 is a concern, but he is a nice solid #1. His backups are fine as well but that is what it is. Vanilla. Pure, unadulterated vanilla. You could certainly consider an upgrade here.

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Chivas are stocked with Ponce and Hernández at LB. Interestingly, they are quite similar and of a similar age. The decision would be yours as to whether you want to move one of them on. I would be quite wary of doing this at first, but as soon as one of them locks in a spot you might rethink it. Ponce is the more attacking of the two and has more class going forward. He is also probably more solid as a defender..

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So if one of them is going to go it is going to be Hernández. Older and not “quite” as good. Still, it’s always nice to have two solid options at a position.

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Pizarro is best suited as a MC according to your scouts and he certainly can play there. But according to the scouts he is the best option (at the start anyways) at RB. Another in what will be a long line of solid, yet unspectacular players, he is a good decision maker and quite calm under pressure. If you were that way inclined, you may consider getting rid of Hernández and replacing him with a new RB. That could free up Pizarro to slot into central midfield or to back him up.

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Alanís is the mainstay at CB. He may be a little weak in the air, but he makes good decisions and is nice and brave. He should provide good service to you and at the age of 27 can give you a number of good years as you develop the inevitable youth team stars that your youth system should provide.

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Finishing off the defenders we have the man, the legend, the one and only Carlos Salcido. Club captain, legend, etc etc. At the age of 36 he probably doesn’t have much left in the tank AND his best role is in midfield AND he couldn’t get off the ground without the aid of a forklift but with great bravery and decisions (notice a pattern), the veteran will be good at the start. I wouldn’t expect him to last more than maybe two seasons but you never know. David Weir, after all, played until he was 2,658 years old…

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There are very solid players in midfield with some flair and exciting talent. I have tried to keep the screenshots to the 3.5* plus players so that I don’t end up doing a screenshot of every player with something interesting about them. Remember that while this midfield may look small, the squad is flexible and you have several players that can play in the midfield that have been listed here as either forwards or defenders.

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(Calderón is listed in the forward’s screenshot to allow Fierro to be in that slot. A vagary of the listings I am afraid)

An old school winger in my opinion. Fast, a good dribbler, a nice crosser with flair and vision, Calderón is a perfect choice to be the pitch stretching terror that we dream of. Especially if you can isolate him one on one with a hapless fullback. One of those odd ones, if I was managing Santos Laguna I wouldn’t want him playing for Chivas! Anyways, he will make the LW spot his own if you use one. He can also do damage in the AMC slot where he is also a natural.

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Good central midfielder. Natural only in the MC strata, Pineda has an excellent engine and can puff along all day in the centre of the park. Chivas are blessed in terms of decision makers and he is a great option for you. Only 20 years of age, you may well need to start fending off bids from overseas sooner or later. Take advantage of him while you can. He can do a job in Mexico and should improve with all the first team football he will be getting.

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Another speed freak winger. Chivas last got rid of a manager for only playing one up front! And this may well be a reason why. Interesting to me is that fact that your strikers are suited to a number of roles but you only have one big target man. I am planning on playing a Raumdeuter and he can fill this roles as well. He has the finishing for it and he (no doubt) will be a matchup nightmare if he screams into the box with his speed to get on the end of a delivery from Calderón. It could also allow you to play a 4-2-4 if you so desire. With Calderón and Brizuela? You’ll certainly have give your opposition a hell of a time on the flanks.

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You have your defensive midfielder right here. Will run all day. Has a great work rate, very brave, doesn’t lose concentration and is sneaky fast. An excellent lynchpin.

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Solid yet again. The players we are going to screenshot here are the “talents” of the squad but there aren’t really any weak links that obviously stand out apart from (maybe) Guzmán, but he is 21 and should be quite reasonable with some playing time.

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Pulido is your number one forward. A little nipper at 175cm he is (yet again) a very handy player. Good finisher with composure, concentration, off the ball and first touch, he will be an excellent support striker. It does list him in the more offensive roles, and he can do these but he is surprisingly good at the other roles as well. The intention for me is to play an F9 up front to create room for a Raumdeuter. But you could easily have him as an Advanced Forward or a Complete Forward. The world is your oyster.

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An odd player. He seems to be a genuine poacher. Not good in the air, not particularly fast, not great off the ball and (strangely) lacks composure. Perhaps surplus to requirements, but the coaches love him. I would think that he could fill a role but he isn’t really going to be a first choice option with Pulido and our next contestant floating around.

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FM15 players you may reminisce. I’ll wait.

STOP THAT!

Anyways, Fierro is still only 21 (amazingly). He has suffered in the eyes of the researchers but is absolutely a difference maker as a Raumdeuter out wide or in his preferred Trequarista role. In my case I will be playing him either on the right or as a False 9. A real flair player, I don’t think much has to be said about him. Some have said that he struggles in this version of the game but he is one of those players that could take off if he starts getting on a run.

So there we have the first team squad on day 1. It has flexibility, good decision makers, lots of teamwork and guys who fill multiple roles. All in all it is an excellent squad and you really shouldn’t have too many issues reaching 4th spot (as sought by the board). If anything, it depends on your preferences, you could probably do with another right back and Hernández may be surplus to requirements. But it’s a good squad and it allows you to go in a number of different directions.

As for the u20, u18 and Chivas Premier squads, we will do these in our next instalment. Slightly different in focus to this post, we will be looking at the star talents and seeing who we want and who we might want to “move on for the good of their career”.

C.D. Guadalajara – A Team Guide (Part 1)

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Greetings all.

This is the first team guide I have created and, as always, feedback is appreciated. Hopefully this will encourage you all to request team or league guides that will be done in the future. This guide ties in with a career save I am planning involving joint management of Chivas and the Mexican national team that you will be able to follow here in the near future.

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For those looking for a Bilbao challenge save without the inconvenience of managing Bilbao like so many others before, welcome to the other hardcoded club side in FM17 that can only sign particular players. Chivas may only sign players of Mexican nationality, so I suppose one could consider it a “Bilbao-lite” as the restriction is slightly less onerous. Even so, it makes for a nice twist on your standard Football Manager save.

Founded in 1906, Chivas are an extremely popular side in Mexico. In fact, according to a study done last year (2016) they are supported by 44.2% of the Mexican population. Founded by a Belgian gentleman, the club colours are based on those of Bruges which is where he came from. Originally named Club Union, it was determined that clubs in Europe that held the citie’s name in which they were based were more popular so they changed name to C.D Guadalajara which is the name they hold today.

From 1943-1956, the club struggled with a few 2nd place finishes leading to the nickname of “Ya Merito” or “Almost There!”. Also, they received the Chivas nickname when they were called “Chivas Locas” or “Crazy Goats” in a game against Atlas. In 1956, the dam broke and they won the title with a last minute winner in the final game of the season. Capitalising, they went on to win 7 titles in the period to 1970 and they also became (to my knowledge) the only team to win 4 titles in a row between 1958-59 and 1961-62.

The club suffered what could be considered dark times from 1970 through to the mid 2000’s with financial troubles blighting the club during this period. The bright sparks were titles in 1986-87 and (after the league went to two championships per season) the 2006 title. The club also reached the semi final of the Copa Libertadores in the 2005 tournament.

The club have suffered ups and downs since then with a Copa Libertadores runner up spot in 2010 and the Copa MX Apertura in 2015. They won the SuperCopa in 2016 but have not won a league title since the triumph since that 2006 Apertura.

This is where you come in. Beware though, the board have notoriously twitchy trigger fingers.

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The first thing to mention is that there is a lot of leg work to be done before you click that continue button. A massive squad with a huge amount of players on loan including Carlos Salciedo (who is on loan to Fiorentina and a mainstay of the national team), multiple affiliated clubs with whom you have loan arrangements and financial obligations, an u20 and u18 squad plus a B team (Chivas Premier) means there is a lot to get through. But first, let’s have a look at the club as a whole before getting bogged down in the sheer multitude of players and tactical options at your disposal.

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Continental reputation, a loan debt of £141 million pounds and you are not allowed to spend any of your filthy lucre on non-Mexican players. Still, the facilities are brilliant and you have an extensive youth recruitment network. This will come in very handy when you consider the philosophies the club prefers upon taking the job.

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Unless you have a board meeting to consider these (but where would be the fun in that?), you will be expected to play attacking football and develop players using the youth system. These are some nice philosophies in my opinion and play into how a “Chivas Locas” team should be played.

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In what must be a cruel joke, Carlos Salcido is leading the team from Tuscany. You only have 12,000 season ticket holders but it shouldn’t be an issue getting good crowds at the romantically named Estadio Chivas. Luckily for you, you own the stadium so rent isn’t an issue and it is in very good condition as well.

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If we consider the youth focus, the club is extremely well placed to cater to that need. Extensive youth recruitment, good junior coaching and great facilities will really help you in creating that home grown team, at the same time making the fans and board happy. What more could you want?

If there is a minor quibble, you do not have the best youth facilities in Mexico (Pachuca does), so you should go to the board and try and convince them to upgrade the facilities as soon as you can. It naturally is something you can’t do on your first day, but it should be possible within a few months of the start date.

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Finances look OK. You are spending a massive £660 pounds per week over the agreed transfer budget, but with a transfer kitty of £4.61 million you surely have some wiggle room. Given the club facilities, philosophies and the quality of player that you have on loan I cannot see you needing to use much of that budget at all. So you can put some of it into your wages to create the illusion of frugality. Then again, with only 10% of your transfer revenue being put back into your budget you will probably need to wheel and deal a bit.

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The elephant in the room. You have £105 million in the form of a bank loan to pay off with almost £35 million interest payable. Sheesh. This is to be paid off at an extortionate £852,000 PER MONTH until 2029! This is a serious drain on your potential, but as the projections show, you should still be increasing the club’s value as time goes on so I would keep an eye on it.

As they say in fire awareness advertisements down here, “Be alert, but not alarmed”.

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The amount of sponsorship coming in is fantastic really. I wouldn’t be concerned about the amounts halving upon relegation because, let’s be honest, if that even becomes a possibility while you manage here you will be finding new employment.

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You have an absolute ton of affiliated clubs. Of the clubs, interest should be paid to Tepic. The arrangement there is a first option one where Chivas can make a bid any time one of their players receives a bid from elsewhere. In practice, I feel that this would only be of use if you are a sadistic megalomaniac who hoovers up players to prevent their rivals getting any.

What?

You ARE a sadistic megalomaniac? Well, I’m sure we will get along just fine.

Stay tuned for Part 2, where we will go through the squad(s) and see who stands out and who we may safely move on.

Always White and Blue – May/June 2018

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Well. We did our part and for once Bayern lent us a hand. We secured Champions League group stage football after a ding-dong battle with Stuttgart. 2-0 down in 15 minutes. 2-2 at 40 minutes, we were up 4-2 with ten minutes to go. About 20 seconds after exhorting the players to concentrate a defensive lapse made it 4-3. Brown trousers time for the last ten minutes but we managed to get out of the game with an invaluable 3 points that put us out of reach for Dortmund.

Finishing the season with a 3-1 win over Hamburg was lovely but horror was to come…

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With ten minutes to go against Hamburg, Ribamar seemed fine to me. But he went off and I got this horrific news. We had the Cup Final coming up and he had been excellent all year. It may not have showed on the stat sheet but he was heavily involved up front and I had even adjusted tactics to allow him to be even more involved. *sigh* Such is the way of the FM Gods. We do have Colidio (or Colidigol as he is known) on the way, but who knows what will happen with him out.

I think we will be OK and he is only 20 so he should put it behind him.

The Cup Final was an utter disaster. We have played Bayern pretty well every time but on this occasion they ran absolutely riot. Specifically, Lewandowski ran absolutely riot and we just generally had a shocker. The game was over as a contest with Bayern up 3-0 after 35 minutes. It’s a shame but the priority was survival and we smashed that expectation so to make the Final was nice but I wasn’t expecting much.

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“We’re in the money… Huh-uh-uh-Honeeeeey! We’re in the money, and we paid our debt off too…”

Overall I can have absolutely no complaints. We do have to look at how we play defensively if we are going to persist with the 4-3-3 narrow as it conceded a few more goals than one would have hoped. Sure we won a majority of those games rather than draws with the Buffalo Wing but even so, it is something that needs to be addressed. Especially with Champions League football next season. Any suggestions on a tactical overhaul (if needed)? Whack them in the comments.

So, we finished 2nd, made the Pokal final and have got a financial windfall this season and next. Overall a fantastic effort by the players. Simply superb. Here’s hoping we can go one better next year.

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Handy profit! The finances are looking good. The board have offered £4 million pounds for transfers for next season. I am hoping that can get a little bump. Time will tell.

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You’re not helping.

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Two years in a row! He has been excellent in u19 matches and I am keeping an eye on him to make his debut and play some cup football next season.

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Uduokhai was absolutely superb. I am a little surprised Romero didn’t get any love as he had a brilliant season. Ortega thoroughly deserved 3rd. He was much better than his average rating of 7.06 would indicate.

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Blah, blah, players should get the credit, yadda, yadda, yadda.

And it seems some of the fans agree!

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Uhhh… I’ll remember that, pal.

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Jeez Julie. You’ve been getting stuck into us all year.

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Romero was superb this year with 18 goals in 27 games. How he didn’t get near the Newcomer of the Year award is a mystery.

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A great year. A young squad and things are looking pretty groovy at the Allianz.

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Favoured staff, eh? Time to become an egomaniac I think. Still, it’s always nice when this happens on FM.

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I took advantage of the Bundesliga winnings to ask for an upgrade and the board have delivered. It’s fantastic news as with the improvements we are slowly making to the staff, having great facilities will only make for even better young players making it through and hopefully reaching their potential.

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My top players for the season are Ortega, Romero, de Ligt, Ribamar and Boya and Uduokhai. But Sessegnon was extremely promising after his transfer from Fulham as was Abouchabaka. A special mention comes for Sascha Mölders. He basically hadn’t played for 18 months since I took over. When Romero went out for two months I gave him some football and boy, oh boy did he deliver some excellent performances. He is 32 but it was enough for me to give him one more year on a reduced salary to be a solid backup for the main forwards.

Anyway, an excellent year all told and we are excited about that is to come. We are on the up and Bayern better watch their ******* backs!

FÜR IMMER WEIß UND BLAU!

Always White and Blue! – Mar/April 2018

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Exciting times as we entered the final phase of the season. Amazingly Champions League football was in sight and if we could put together a string of performances then we might be making the big bucks next season. It should also serve to keep some of the players happy who appear to be having their heads turned by some big clubs. Some have signed new contracts for the long term which is fantastic news and Romero was back after a long injury layoff. What could we accomplish in March and April?

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Well. What started brilliantly ended up as brown trousers time. We really made it tough for ourselves but we have managed to secure (at a bare minimum) a spot in the qualifying rounds for the Champions League. Ideally we would like to have a group stage spot but we have Red Bull and Dortmund breathing down our necks and our players decided that it was all too hard. As usual, some Romero alpha male dominance allowed us to snatch a point at Frankfurt to secure the aforementioned spot. But, my God… The games against Schalke and Red Bull were utter domination followed by a goal against the run of play. It wasn’t necessarily players badly underperforming, it was just a solid counter attack and a complete lack of finishing on our part. Still, we smashed “Neverkusen” in the Pokal which will lead to…

Wait for it…

Just hold on…

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Awwwww yeah! Mouth-watering is right young bucko. It should be a classic.

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Only three matchdays left. Dortmund have a game in hand which could make things very tight indeed. We play Stuttgart (H)  and Hamburg (A), with Dortmund facing Freiburg and Bayern, both being away games. Unless my mathematics is extremely faulty, Red Bull cannot catch us so it is between the two of us for that last automatic spot.

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This is understandable. I am hopeful that DFB “Filthy Lucre” otherwise known as prize money will help bump that up. Otherwise, being able to extend the loan of de Ligt would be fantastic. He has been immense. Shame that it seems that all I am doing is helping create a ready made player for Ajax when, if my board hadn’t been so stingy, he could have been a permanent signing back at the start of the season.

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I think I am pretty special too…

So, 1860 have qualified for the Champions League in their first season back in the top flight. I have the suspicion that one win should be enough unless Bayern roll over and play dead on the final match day. I would put anything past those *********.

FÜR IMMER WEIß UND BLAU!

Always White and Blue! – Jan/Feb 2018

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A busy couple of months at the Allianz after a well earned winter break. Some players went away to sunnier climes on a brief holiday before returning for a quick training camp in the Baleares. We were working on a narrower 4-3-3 as I am preparing for the absolute glut of strikers that we will have from next season. The transfer window opened up too meaning that we could look at improving our LB position and in midfield. We had some particular targets in mind and seriously splashed the cash. But I think in time we will be proven correct. It’s one of those things where it may look expensive now but if it can get us continental football then it will be 100% worth it. Some decent results followed after the break with one or two matches we would like to take back. The narrow 4-3-3 worked wonderfully well at times and got some good results. I think I shall use it until the end of the season and and see what we we need to utilise for next season.

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Well. there are three results that stand out for different reasons. After having lost to Wolfsburg in a game that we controlled from start to finish and dropping points to Mainz we really needed to respond. So I took the punt on the three striker 4-3-3. I figured that we essentially have Aigner playing as an auxiliary striker and Amilton likes to cut inside as well, so we could find a way to utilise Gytkjær, Romero and Ribamar at the same time. Well, it had immediate results thrashing Leverkusen and Hannover in the Pokal and an amazing game vs Bayern. We led 3-1 at around 60 minutes but Bayern being Bayern they managed to get a superb goal out of Vidal and then a late kick in the teeth made it 3-3. I was pretty unhappy we let a two goal lead slip but getting a point is a top result. The game against Augsburg was a shocker. Two mental lapses from set pieces did us in but we ended the month on a high with an annihilation of Freiburg.

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Could have been better. But 4th? That’s incredible as far as I am concerned. 11 games to go in our first Bundesliga season and absolutely anything could happen. Having drawn to Bayern and beaten Dortmund is fabulous as we have some games against league strugglers coming up in the future that could end up leaving us sitting pretty.

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We spent a lot on two wonderkid midfielders (in my humble opinion) but, as I said, I think it will be worth it. Liendl was sold to St. Pauli for £300,000 pounds as he wasn’t getting games and is now the wrong side of 32 so I thought I would get something for him and replace him with a younger talent.

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I don’t think we will see the extra £75,000 but for a player in his position I think it is good business. And here is his replacement…

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He doesn’t look like too much yet but my scouts love him, he can play in multiple positions and has a ton of potential. Win. Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, he had a handy debut.

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Next we tried to fill our LB spot. There was a lot of utter dross out there so I spent over the odds to get a potential starting LB for the next decade or more. Purchased for the princely sum of £9.5 million pounds, I present to you the following starlet for the stable.

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Speed to burn, an excellent crosser and underrated defender at only 17 years of age, Sessegnon looks to be a star in the making. I have started on retraining him as a wingback to suit our system and when/if he becomes a natural at that we will look to train him as a fullback as well.

Worth every pfennig.

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So they bloody should think I am awesome. I am.

And modest too…

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All that spending took a chunk out. But you need to spend a bit sometimes. Oh yes, we had our youth intake too. It has some real talents…

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Müller and Paula are the stars of the show. Not exactly much depth in the intake, but hopefully that will improve.

Here are the young future 1860 Munich stars.

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Some decent potential there. And a 14yo at 190cms is intriguing.

Anyways, there you have it. I am hoping to move to bi-monthly updates as I enjoy them more. I hope you all do as well.

FÜR IMMER WEIß UND BLAU!

Buffalo Wing – A 4-3-3 Tactic

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Hi all. This is the first tactical effort I am putting up for you all and I hope there are more to come. This one is one of my favourite formations for its balance and flexibility. In case you were wondering, the name came from one of the earlier versions. In that version we had an F9 and two inside forwards. The name came to me watching that old classic Zulu with Michael Caine where discussion is had of the Zulu military tactics of the centre holding and falling back as the wings went around in behind the attackers.

In this case the theory was that the F9 would fall back into midfield creating space for the Inside Forwards and a particularly aggressive central midfielder to exploit. In practice, I perhaps should have paid more attention to the defence. It played some lovely football and the results were good but I felt that it was awfully fragile. A 5-0 loss to Leverkusen with my 1860 team led me to seek advice from the oracles on Slack (have you joined Slack yet? Have you? No? Shame.) who were of great assistance working on tweaks of the original while maintaining its attacking style.

I think that it has been a success.

Anyway, I have been using this in the Bundesliga with my newly promoted 1860 and you can see how we have gone in my career save Always White and Blue! so I shall not overburden this post with the results which are extremely positive.

Onto the tactic!

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The formation is a 4-3-3 that has two wide men and two quite aggressive fullbacks. The strength of the tactic (for me) is the anchorman. When combined further up the pitch with the two central midfielders he can be involved as the base point of the triangle they naturally make. He doesn’t get forward so can provide excellent defensive cover and neutralise attacking midfielders, but pleasantly he also provides an outlet pass for the midfield and often you will see him switching the ball from side to side when we are forward. He doesn’t try any crazy, aggressive passes but (in my mind) is a Deschamps style facilitator.

In attack the LB bombs forwards and creates natural overlaps with the W(S) that is on his side. The W(S) role also allows the MCL to get forward, which he does. On the other side we have a FB(S) who covers that flank for the IF(A). Stefan Aigner has been amazing for me in this role and seems to always be involved in the play.

Essentially, it is all about manipulating space. Apparently quite aggressive it is actually quite patient in how it plays which we shall see later. If I may make one suggestion early on? If you have a goalscoring central midfielder, he will ADORE that CM(A) role.

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As for the instructions, they are pretty standard. We play Standard/Fluid unless chasing a goal in which case we move to Attacking. I have tried to minimise the TIs because we don’t want to be one dimensional in how we attack. Be More Disciplined works very well as it ensure that players don’t needlessly give the ball away. We may be a Bundesliga team, but we essentially have the same squad that was predicted to be 4th in last season’s 2.Bundesliga! The beauty of the 4-3-3 lies in the ability to make changes. I consider this setup to be excellent but it is up to you whether you would change or retain anything in this tactic.

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Pretty bog standard really. The only thing being that we want the ball back in action as soon as possible so he is set to get rid of it quickly and distribute it to the fullbacks.

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The LB is actually a fine creator. Overshadowed by the players further up the park, he gets some assists and generally helps in stretching the field.

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The RB plays a similar role to the LB. He just doesn’t get as fair forward as I believe that the IF(A) needs a slightly more “stay at home” player behind him. The RB still comes forward to fill space and create an option but is more cautious.

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Zzzzzzzzzzz… *snort*…. Huh? Oh. This guy and his mate are CBs. Nothing to see here. Although closing down less does keep the defence more in line and has greater solidity.

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The (arguably) most important man on the pitch. He screens the defensive line and harasses attacking midfielders, allows us to maintain possession being an outlet while being more than ready to react in the event of a counter attack. Interestingly for what appears to be a very defensive role, he is probably the lynchpin of our attacking moves too giving the attacking players more confidence to go forward.

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I like my CMs to get forward. And the CM(S) does get forward quite a bit. But he never gets quite as far forward as his partner in crime and combines well with the anchorman.

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Aggressive as all get out! He usually causes the defence fits as he makes late runs into the box, pushes into the channels to force decisions and unlocks the defence with very aggressive passing. Lovely to watch.

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There to create more width, if you have a player with a cuts inside PPM he can be devastating. I hear you thinking why not make him an IF then? My answer is that it isn’t essential that he cuts in and he doesn’t do it all the time. The W(S) role is great as he drags defenders to his side of the pitch leaving space for the IF and AF to do their work.

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Is it a bird?

Is it a plane?

NO! It’s a goalscoring winger.

With the space that is provided by the movement of the other players, the IF(A) usually ends up with acres of space to exploit. Finishing is actually quite important for this guy as he will get into great positions for one on ones and shooting chances.

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Just a pretty general AF role. Leads the line and certainly gets his fair share of goals. Naturally creates a different dynamic than the original F9 but I am coming to enjoy the play much better as it means there pretty much always an option forward that someone can pass to.

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This graphic includes matches played under the old system. But it goes to show that the 4-3-3 is very effective.

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It creates a chance apparently every 51 minutes or so. Conceding less than a goal a game and coming up on 2 goals per game scored.

Here are some tables for your edification.

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57.88% possession as a newly promoted side. Lovely.

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We also take good care of the ball. Which I think is very important. Not tiki-taka possession for possession’s sake. But still…

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The only concern one might have is the amount of cards we receive. it is quite a lot. But at the moment it is a byproduct of how we play. We try and get the ball back so as to counter with speed. Sometime we give away fouls. *shrug*

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That’s the real crux of it. It gets results. I’m quite happy with it but am also quite satisfied to make any changes that will improve it.

TRY IT HERE!

Always White and Blue! – Hinrunde 17/18

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Welcome back!

It’s been a busy few months at the Allianz with the Hinrunde just being completed. Some excellent football has been played and we find ourselves sitting nicely on the league table. The Chairman is back on my good side after he sold my hot prospect striker to Dortmund for a pittance. The offer was too good to refuse he tells me. Being considered “rich” I had to settle for a rather paltry transfer budget to start trying to hoover up all the talented starlets around the world.

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Ummm. Yay?

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We were fending off bids for ages on Reinert. It’s a crying shame as he is a German national who has a lot of potential. The sniffing around the others appears to have stopped for now, but Max Romero and Ribamar are now the next Mario Kempes and Luis Fabiano respectively so I am sure I will start to see some unwelcome interest.

In terms of transfers we stretched the remit of the game (just this once) and made a permanent signing out of Ba. Ironically, Ba is not a first team regular as envisaged. That honour goes to Mattias de Light, a young Ajax defender, who has been very impressive considering his tender years. Composed on the ball and solid in all aspects he has been great for us. I do regret the signing of Vargas. Sure he was signed to backup Wittek, but not only has Wittek now gone, Tim Handwerker came in on a free transfer and has been excellent in the absence of Boemisch.

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We made a profit on our signings over the close season but the big ones for me (financially yes, but also talent wise) were the sale to Augsburg of Max Wittek and the signing of Max Romero. The next Mario Kempes is living up to his billing at the moment being able to keep Ribamar and Gytkjær on the bench. Liendl has been sidelined by the development of Neuhaus and Lacazette so will probably be leaving soon having been transfer-listed. Reinert’s sale has one silver lining. Depending on the clauses we may be looking at £4.7 million pounds when all is said done.

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I hardly expected this! We have dropped some gettable points but the 4-3-3 is going very well. Especially since we implemented some tweaks by the wonderful people on Slack. 13 games unbeaten to end the Hinrunde and we look in control of games for the most part. The only issue presenting itself, as previously mentioned, is that of playing one striker and retraining the others or moving to a 4-4-2 or variant thereof. Post your thoughts below!

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We copped an absolute hiding from Chicarito and Leverkusen but overall things have been extremely positive. We are playing some great football and should take a lot of confidence into the Rückrunde. We were toothless against Bayern, but isn’t everyone? Beating Dortmund away and Bremen away were great results and amazingly keep us in the thick of the European hunt. I am waiting for our form to drop off but as long as we keep it tight and our possession stays decent we should be fine. After all, if they don’t have it, they can’t score. This isn’t to say we are playing tiki-taka though.

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Solid. Very, very solid. I am honestly unsure as to how long Aigner can continue to keep to this standard. He is at that age where things could start to head south. Fast. Romero has 9 goals in 14 and Amilton, who was almost sold last season has chipped in with 8 goals and 6 assists. Not much to say here really, it has all been very positive.

In extra-happy-sunshine-lollipop-wowzers news, I thought I would take a punt and requested that my Chairman improve the already superb youth facilities. The man didn’t even blink, approving development of the facilities valued at over £5 million pounds.

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This after improving the training facilities which should see us set for years to come.

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So there you have it. 1860 are flying in the league, development of the facilities is hurtling along and things are looking very rosy indeed. We have a bloody long way to go before we achieve our goal of more Champion’s Leagues than those red ********* from across the way but as we always say…

FÜR IMMER WEIß UND BLAU!

Always White and Blue! – The Rückrunde

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Well, those of you following the blog are no doubt aware that we secured promotion. Could we go ahead and finish the deal? Stuttgart were breathing down our necks all season and it was obvious it would go into the last couple of days to determine who would be the 2.Bundesliga champion.

Luckily, our form had recovered from my nigh on disastrous need to tinker tactically and we were flying with our 4-3-3. Ribamar was on fire and had even started playing on the right wing which is where he is being retrained to play with the arrival of Colidio expected at the end of next season. This would mean a forward triumvirate of Ribamar, Aigner and Colidio which should certainly be good for a few goals!

That being said, it was always going to be tough. But we felt that we had the talent to get there and the tactics were solid so I was hoping for a strong finish.

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Wooooohoo! Stuttgart dropped points on matchday 31 which gave us a bit of a cushion we were not going to give up. We maintained our 4 point gap as we ruthlessly dealt with our opponents in the last few rounds. Fabulous stuff. The fans were delighted, the board was delighted, I got a new contract and was therefore delighted. It’s all rainbows and sunshine at the Allianz at the moment. The real positive for me was that we only conceded 21 goals in our 34 games. This naturally includes my above-mentioned foolishness in experimenting with 4-4-2 *shudder*.

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Well. When we pay our exorbitant rent that will be around £8.5 million but whatever.

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Awww shucks… *blush*

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Don’t know about “one of the best”…

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See, I don’t know about this. If you are predicted 4th then surely promotion and/or a championship isn’t that far fetched. Is it?

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As you can see, the matches between Braunschweig and Union Berlin were the experimental period. I sure as eggs wont be doing that again. Almost gave me kittens… The best part of the season was beating Stuttgart home and away. This gives us great confidence that we can do OK in the Bundesliga. It will be tough though. Big clubs are strongly pursuing the youth prospects that I highlighted in my earlier post and it is getting to a point where the dreaded acceptance by the Chairman may be about to occur. Fingers crossed.

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Uduokhai was player of the year. Ever present he was a revelation as our number one defender. Gytkjær was superb until Ribamar essentially took his starting spot. A very nice backup to have and a return of 12 goals was excellent. Ribamar is (as I said) being retrained as an inside forward on the right and he had a good return from injury providing 7 goals for the year. Max Wittek was brilliant. I love the little fella, but he is starting to whinge about being able to join Augsburg. 1860 to AUGSBURG??!?!? Where is your ambition, lad?

I have high hopes for Neuhaus. He didn’t play much this year but he is young and has a nice spread of attributes so he can fill a role. Claasen is moving to Turkey. I wish he had shown some form BEFORE he agreed a move but these things happen. After the move was agreed he started on the left and was very effective. Finally, Aigner deserves a mention. 12 goals from the left and right wings. A superb set of performances. A new contract. Excellent!

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3rd in the u17 Player of the Year. But he cannot even play yet. Honestly not sure why they bother with this award given the restrictions on players u17 having first team action.

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Yep. What a surprise. That rent is  killing us and the loan will start to now that we have to begin repaying it.

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He’s still a cheapskate…

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And obviously likes to make me look like a moron.

This will be brilliant for us. Our training is good and our coaches are good but there is nothing better than an improvement to the facilities. Here’s hoping for the youth facilities to get a bump as well.

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Why they couldn’t wait until the reset date, when we are a Bundesliga club, is beyond me.

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All in all and excellent season. We got straight up to the Bundesliga and our reputation should be going up so we can attract more talented youth players for transfers. Our first season in the Bundesliga is all about survival. As long as we can stay in the division we should start really flying from the following season. Well, here’s hoping things stay on the up. BUNDESLIGA BOUND, BABY! Whoo!

FÜR IMMER WEIß UND BLAU!