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Everything posted by Dan

  1. Given Wolves are at Anfield we'll almost certainly finish 8th if we win this game. That actually looks fairly respectable. I have to say, it's a bit of a hoodwink, but it's lifted some of the clouds somewhat. I'm quite confident we'll win too. Southampton have been appalling lately.
  2. Knew Everton would pull out. They've rallied around in a way that I haven't seen them do before. I think they needed this if anything. Our game was funny. I actually predicted 1-1. We are revolting going forward in that formation albeit did actually get a goal. Maddison's had his best season for us by a mile. I was heavily critical of him six months ago but he's put up some great numbers this season - frankly it's a joke if he's not in the next England squad in a few weeks. Chelsea are poor against a deep block, which we deployed I'd say fairly well for the most part. We did get away with it a bit though. Beat Southampton Sunday and we've probably finished 8th. That looks a lot better than it is to be honest, but I think I'm quite happy to just see the back of this one.
  3. SEASON FINALE We did our bit and it's 8 wins in 9 for me, and Champions League football is secured! Sadly, we didn't get the 7 goals needed from Royal AM, or any at all, so it's another title for Sundowns. Their 22nd league title, first in three years. Congratulations to them. It turns out I was virtually powerless. We ultimately needed to win 9 from 9 and pick up a goal difference over those games in isolation of plus 19, whereas we only managed 11. In simple terms it would've been a miracle if we'd done it, and we did well to get close. But you have to say it's hard to not have some encouragement going into the new season, so I make a few points of note... - We 'won' xG in every game fairly comfortably. I do think xG is quite a good measure and it's clear at this point that our build up play in terms of creating chances, and chances created against us, is second to none. - The squad is going to need a lot of tarting up. We have about 6 players leaving on frees anyway and we're lacking depth in a number of positions. I've taken the decision to put £1mil of my transfer budget into the scouting budget so that we can scout the whole world for players, but I'm thinking of knocking this down to just Africa because I'm finding plenty either not qualifying for a work permit, or really fancying South Africa in general. I think we can attact players from the rest of Africa though. - We've already found the system I think and it's the 4-3-1-2, probably the system I'm having most joy with. We do not have the depth currently to sustain it over a whole season as we're too lacking in certain positions, but we have the basis for it, and I think with a strong summer we'll win the league. The quite obvious takeaway is the scouts need to deliver for me. I think we need about 8 signings to pad the squad out. We have 0 foreign players and 5 slots, which is great news. I also see no obvious restrictions in the rules to do with the Champions League either. Overall, a bright start.
  4. Swallows are in some position there I mean you obviously gun for the title but a draw could win them the league, yet a loss will cost them playing in the Champions League. I'm glad we have a fairly simple remit. Fucking hell. Just cottoned as well if we draw 0-0 and Sundows lose 1-0, or if we draw 1-1 and Sundowns lose 2-1 etc... Sundowns and Swallows would have identical records. You might actually get a title decided on random choice here.
  5. EARLY DRAMA IN AFRICA So a bit more of an overview of what's going on, the permitations of the league etc... I've come to Kaizer Chiefs and they want me to deliver them continental football. In short that means finish in the top 3 immediately this season. In Africa I think there are 51 leagues, the champion of each goes into a 64 team Champions League, and the top 13 ranked leagues all get another spot. As South Africa is ranked I believe about 6th, that means 1st and 2nd goes into the CAF Champions League. Also as a result of this it means 3rd place goes into the CAF Confederation Cup (basically their Europa League). I see it as tough but not unachievable. --- Well, it's been a very productive time at Chiefs so far, and we had ourselves in the title race! The objective has been achieved, but we're not going to be winning any silverware. That said, it's interesting what's panning out on the final day. So we can still win the league but we need a bit of a miracle and I just don't see it. It's a three way title battle but, in all honesty, it's a two way one. But given the continental qualification on offer, it's a big matchday for us. And guess what? We play the team above us in 2nd. Swallows are in a serious title battle yet might end up finishing 3rd. The remit for us is this - win the game and we have finished 2nd almost certainly, an off chance of 1st but it's incredibly unlikely. Don't win however, and it's a 3rd placed finish, meaning my objective has been achieved but my actual long term objective will have to wait another year as we aim to bag CL qualification. I could have this leg of the journey sewn up in just 13 months which is incredible, but it almost feels too quick. While some play this challenge to get it done as quickly as possible, that's kind of already gone for me and I sort of want to immerse myself somewhat in the different continents. But we'll see what happens. The nature of how we missed out was sickening though. As you can see in the form, we were nearly flawless. Since I've been in charge we've won 7 out of 8 games, the one failure coming against TS Galaxy at home (and with a win there we'd have a genuine shot). That game was particularly annoying as the manager of the month curse hit me, prompting their own manager to call me over-rated, before leaving our place with all three points - a game largely decided by the difference in goalkeepers. I do wonder if I'm now in an environment where this kind of thing could be held against you. Despite such an impressive run of form, we did ultimately choke a bit and this is the most famous club in the country. It's not a Gangwon who were punching above their weight, this is a club that expects success. Just a note for the Cape Town Spurs game - an excellent turnaround at a side high flying, the winner scored by my backup left back who is actually joining them in the summer. Some irony. So it's onto Swallows! We have a terrible track record against them by the looks of things - losing the last four meetings including 3-0 there in February. But we've been largely impressive. We've dominated virtually every game and I'm very hopeful going forward. We need to win this though. I want my continental taste to begin in the big time. No time to waste.
  6. Agree with previous sentiments. This is a great final. Two pretty unfancied sides that generally seem to find something extra within them in this competition. Befits the competition.
  7. They've bottled it as far as I'm concerned. They blew some very, very winnable games. Southampton is a particularly shocking loss.
  8. We hadn't scored 3 in a game in 2022 until last week either. Arsenal have actually got strong Leicester 2019/20 vibes about them.
  9. Total trophies: 13 Champions Leagues: 1/5 UEFA Champions League: - Copa Libertadores: - CONCACAF Champions League: - AFC Champions League: Gangwon FC (2031) CAF Champions League: - Honours list: TERENGGANU FC (8) Liga Super Malaysia (2) - 2023, 2025 Piala Malaysia (2) - 2023, 2024 Piala Sultan Haji Ahmed Shah / Malaysian Super Cup (2) - 2025, 2026 Piala FA (1) - 2025 AFC Cup (1) - 2025 GANGWON FC (5) K-League (3) - 2028, 2029, 2031 AFC Champions League (1) - 2031 KAIZER CHIEFS (0)
  10. Said it about us and Rodgers, and many other managers, sometimes you need a freshen up and things go stale. It's not even necessarily you being a bad manager or bad set of players, it just stops working, there's less drive, there needs to be a freshness. Howe should've probably moved on from them after three years in the Premier League. Couldn't specifically say who to. He's a decent manager. I've been critical in the past but I've changed my mind on him I think. His Bournemouth era probably doesn't get quite the credit it deserves because he made some poor signings when they were in the Premier League. If Newcastle get their recruitment as spot on this summer as they did in January they will fly up the league. It's really not that great a league beyond the top two.
  11. It's so lazy I think to say Newcastle have simply spent loads to become good. They have spent in January, of course, but I doubt anybody saw them turning their form around to this degree. They'll make Europe next season if they keep this up. Guimaraes is a terrific signing. Howe's done a great job. I don't think he's getting the credit deserved.
  12. BACK IN THE GAME AGAIN Welcome to Africa. We have landed. We got the one we wanted. Three months out of a job monitoring the situation in South Africa, I made my mind up that I wanted one of the following: Kaizer Chiefs Orlando Pirates Mamelodi Sundowns SuperSport United Probably in that order of preference too. One of them had to come free eventually and it was the one I wanted most. I immediately bleated to the press about how interested I was in it. The fans wanted me. I bagged the interview and no mistakes were made. 9th April 2032 it was official and I had the job. Leg three of the world tour is here. --- Once again I forgot to shoot the league table when the job became free, but they were 5th in the league, which is a sign of the lofty ambitions the club have. They were 10 points off the top, but the top three were all level on points and I did say in the interview that I thought I could bag a continental spot. My understanding is the top 3 get a continental spot. The top 2 get into the Champions League by virtue of South Africa being in the top 13 ranked leagues in Africa, and the next goes into their version of the Europa League. The interim manager won 3 out of 3 and closed the gap somewhat. I've then taken over two games and won them both too, implementing the 4-3-1-2 I was successful with at Gangwon. Call me mental, but I think we have a genuine shot at the title. We actually don't have a terrible run in. If I can bag a title after just 9 games of management that'd be hilarious but it's a big ask. I do think we have a decent squad, but it's not brilliantly balanced, although not terribly either. Watch this space. The next leg of the journey is underway!
  13. We did. A 3-1 win meaning it's 5-1 on aggregate. A treble. 5 trophies at Gangwon, 13 in total!
  14. I PREDICT A RIOT If you know, you know...
  15. GANGWON - THE REFLECTION I'll do this at every club I manage but a bit of an overview of what took place and what I take from it going forward. This was another brilliant leg of the journey and one thing I always thought about myself on FM, is that other than my own club, I can put in a solid shift at virtually anywhere. Once again, this all went better than I thought it would. I moved to Gangwon to finally get a taste of a big Asian league, but it came with the jeopardy of us potentially dropping out of it in my first season. Within 18 months we'd secured a top 4 finish in the K-League and continental football was on its way to Gangneung. The rise had been so stark that I wondered if this was where I could secure that big one and eventually, after some big disappointments, we managed it in 2031. Gangwon provided a really decent platform. Whilst it is a relatively small and new club, without the fanbase of a bigger name in Korea, they do have a bit of money behind them. I was never short of transfer budget - usually around £2mil to play with which given I was able to bring in good players at this level for around £500k-£1mil, we were never going to be far off success if we spent sensibly. 262 games managed at Gangwon. 165 wins, 52 draws and 45 losses. A proud record again. So again, I'm going to pick out five players who deserve a mention for their roles during my time, for different reasons. --- Sim Won-Seong - Bouncebackability. That's what I credit him with above all. Sim was a centre half already at the club when I arrived, albeit undertaking his national service with Gimcheon. He returned shortly after I arrived and as per the majority of players who go to Gimcheon, he's come back worse than he should be following not making their side. I sense no future for him and he cottons onto this, becoming a real moaner trying his best to get out of the club. Injury forces us to give him a chance and fair play, he proves me wrong, he's faultless. I keep playing him. He just seems to get better and better. I would go as far as saying a player of the season candidate. He gets a bad injury and he comes back again. This bloke amazed me, every time I thought he was done he'd step in, often outperforming players I considered superior. He's retired now, but what a warrior. Jun Si-Jin - My very first signing at Gangwon. I needed a striker as the ones I inherited were either shit or whinging arseholes. I got pelters from my squad for letting this Serbian go and Jun was my replacement. He was better than I could've possibly imagined. A really good all-round striker who, like Sim, just never seemed to stop even when you thought he was done. I was reluctant to loan him out to Busan in a season where we ended up winning the treble. He also broke our top scorer record - albeit he lost the record within about 2 games Shin Hae-Won - My second signing at Gangwon. Yet another I got from Busan in the 2nd tier, again, I just needed bodies to pad out my squad and in came the 19 year old midfielder, average but a bit of pace, "yeah he'll do". His development was sensational and I was gutted to have to lose him to Jeonbuk (Porto were interested!!), a shame he was never part of the side that got over the line, but he was ace, totally outperformed expectation. Park Jin-Hyeon - Goal machine. A really good striker who left Gangwon when I did. He was the reason Jun's all-time record scorer only lasted a couple of games. There isn't as big a back story, but he's ultimately been a goal machine for the club and I'm intrigued to see if anybody beats his 107 goals (84 in the league) which he got in 4 years there. Delivered in big games and just a generally reliable striker. Love him and will be following what he does in Denmark. I think he'll score goals in Europe. Carlo del Mastro - I couldn't not mention him could I? He's the best player I've managed on this save. He was the one who I think really got the ball rolling for the success on the pitch. While we did win plenty after he left, he was the player who elevated us from a bottom half side to one who got us winning trophies more than any I think, and he deserved his big move. He has now left Marseille though as you can see - he went for £9mil. And finally, my all time Gangwon XI. --- We are aiming for South Africa. I have turned off all Asian leagues with the exception of Malaysia and South Korea, so I am able to track the progress of my old clubs (and believe me I'm not liking what's going on at Gangwon already). I have added Canada, USA and Mexico, so North America is an option, but given the stature it's really worth doing Africa next - I actually think in hindsight I'd have done Africa first, but never mind.
  16. AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL - GANGWON V AL-HILAL (KSA) We're finally here. We've played our first leg of the FA Cup final at Jeju and won it 0-2, despite a number of changes because of the priority being this game. There's a strong likelihood we take the FA Cup as well. All that stands in my way of that first Champions League are Al-Hilal. Al-Hilal are three time winners of this competition, but have been runner up five times. Still, eight finals is some going. They're one of the heavyweights of West Asia and they're going to be tricky. I do a delve into their run to the final and it's really, really funny. They went to Al-Jazira of UAE in the round of 16, played out a drab 0-0 draw but ended up sneaking through on penalties. In the quarters they went away to fellow Saudi side Al-Faisaly and once again, a drab 0-0 draw, and once again they sneak it on penalties. They go away to Shabab Al-Ahli of UAE in the semi finals. You guessed it. They've drawn 0-0 and won on penalties. They haven't scored a single goal in the knockouts. They have done it all on penalties, every single round. So I'm braced for a tight game. I expect them to be solid at the back and their goalkeeper, Brenno, their star man, to have a good game. Their key outfielder is injured as well, which is a huge slice of luck. --- Quite honestly, there is not a lot of point diving deep into the game. Just sit back, laugh, then laugh again. I am not even exagerrating when I say that is probably the easiest game I've had at Gangwon. I cannot believe the pure simplicity of it from the first minute until the last. We totally outclass them, we start quickly, we get a goal from a corner, we continue to dominate, we add a 2nd. We're just relentless and they haven't got a clue what to do about it. Persija were better. When I started this save I was expecting these games to be utterly excruciating. Macarthur, to a degree Buriram, they made us work. That Al-Hilal performance must be the most abject in a final possibly ever. So we've done it. We are the champions of Asia! One down. Four to go. Gangwon v Jeju will be my final game in Asia unless there is some bizarre system where I play in a world club cup in the next couple of months, but I don't think that's the case. It shall be the goodbye, and hopefully the completion of the treble.
  17. THE THIRD TITLE AND PERSIJA We have the league title in the bag with three games to spare. This has been our most impressive league performance yet - utterly ruthless, still unbeaten at home, points tally around the same as the last two titles with three games still to go - just 28 conceded as well. But as we all know, I'm in that peculiar phase where the league is secondary, even if it is yet another good one to have on the CV. The big night however is in the Champions League. --- Gangwon FC vs Persija Jakarta A sold out Gangwon stadium for the fourth time, and the previous three had all ended in defeat. I feel that this is probably the most generous draw you could ever possibly ask for at this level. I compared it to Europe and Persija are champions of the 20th ranked league - the equivalent to that in Europe is the Ekstraklasa of Poland, of which Lech Poznan are the champions on my game. So it's genuinely like playing Lech Poznan at home in the Champions League semi final. It's that ridiculous. We absolutely bombard them in the opening 10 minutes, forcing save after save, but we just seemingly can't get the goal to ease the nerves. I can see why they're doing well. What they lack in quality they do make up for in organisation, and it's not like the saves are all point-blank, it's generally a case of their defenders forcing us into taking slightly more optimistic shots. Essentially they're just built to absorb us and hope they can nick something on the break. They manage to get to half time goalless. I'm not going to lie. I'm scared. We've had 18 shots and they've had 0, but the xG really isn't that high, we're having lots of shots rather than lots of good chances. Cometh the hour, cometh the Park. He finally manages to lash one of these half chances home and the deadlock is broken. We add a second almost immediately after and take a gamble in subbing Diarrassouba and Parra who are both a booking away from missing the final, although sadly my midfielder Paik has already been booked and will miss it, should we hold on. We make no mistakes, Ko adds a third from a corner late on and we progress with a 3-0 win, 30 shots to 0, simply the quality we had was far superior in the end. Fair play to Persija who for me got about as much as they realistically could've done out of that squad, but it's Korea that will see the final. And it's Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia who will be fulfilling it. So here we have it. We are champions. We have three league games left where I plan to just rest players for the most part, maybe a bit of rotation so they don't lose sharpness. We then face Jeju United in the FA Cup final over two legs. Then it's the big one. It's all on this. I am one game away.
  18. Thrashing. Biggest away win since the 9-0. This season is just such a weird paradox. We've been below our best for the vast majority of it and we're probably going to finish 8th.
  19. No Schmeichel today. Unsure if there's anything significant about it but I have wondered a little while if he's off this summer.
  20. Gulp. It's the dreaded sell out.
  21. WHO'S FAIRYTALE IS IT? The quarter finals have been played and it's quite remarkable what's just happened. We went to a packed out Buriram. This was no walkover. I expected us to be able to win it but they're no mugs, and nobody who goes this far into the tournament can be treated as such. There's a reason they won at Melbourne. Digging a bit deeper I think I've found a part of the reason. They actually have a bit of a golden generation at that club. They play three 16/17 year olds in their side and one of them is legitimately going to the top - and that's without even checking the others. This is no fluke. Buriram are generally poor but have a couple of genuinely class players in their side. This makes them dangerous. I wouldn't say it was easy, but we did it. It finishes Buriram 2-3 Gangwon. The scoreline really flatters Buriram and our old tendency of conceding what feels like every shot is back. But this is a big win. We went to a hostile ground and delivered. I changed a number of players for the game as the semi final follows shortly afterwards and I did think we could get away with doing so. This could've backfired spectacularly, but it didn't. Over to Jakarta. I ask, who's fairytale really is this? In Gangwon you have a small Korean club who have hit the summit of the domestic game largely through I would say good recruitment. The best period in the clubs small history by a mile, there is no doubt. But as a club winning titles in Korea, there's an expectation that continental success could follow, and so far, we've lacked it where it's really counted. Our story is a great one. But it's being trumped. We will face Persija in the semis. They've done it. 73k have witnessed a miracle. They have beaten Jeonbuk 1-0, withheld the barrage and somehow scraped through. The most unlikely semi finalist possibly ever. Have we struck gold, or are we going to become the latest victim to the most bonkers story in Asian football, maybe ever? These are genuinely Terengganu level. It is utterly, utterly mental they have gone this far. But we must cut this short. No mercy. We must progress. We have a semi final at home to an Indonesian side, then a final at home to Shabab Al-Ahli or Al-Hilal in our way. That's all that is between that first Champions League. This is the chance. We have to do it. --- Fuck the Korean FA. No honestly. Fuck them. This is genuinely disgusting. What kind of fucking maniacs are they making us play Ulsan between those two games? I'm going to have to essentially throw it because I cannot take any risks, and give Jeonbuk a chance in the title race. Jeonbuk haven't got to play on this matchday. It's utterly ridiculous. How has that happened????? Final point - you will notice we won our cup semi. We are into the FA Cup final as well. We will face Jeju - the team who knocked us out last season. It is a two legged final, and I believe it would surround the CL final too, which again is just awful scheduling. My god did this just get interesting. We could end up with a treble. We could end up with nothing.
  22. The latter. Fully agree. Last season the perfect example for me - we won it for the first time ever yet still managed to end our season on a bit of a downer, and I just don't think that's a circumstance that should be possible except for losing a European final.
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