Rangers Revolution – Unbeaten start!

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In the previous post I went through an introduction of what this series will contain, so let’s get to business. Before I get into too much detail, I will explain what our board expected of us. Promotion via winning the league title was a must and this would be our main aim to get the club back where they belong, semi final finishes were requested in both the League cup and Scottish cup and they didn’t care about the Challenge cup.

For anyone not sure, the Challenge cup is a cup competition involving all teams not in the top flight and embarrassingly it is a trophy Rangers have not won in the previous three seasons, so although the board didn’t care it was a trophy I wanted to win to put things right.

Transfers

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As I mentioned the board were only willing to give me £500k for a transfer budget and £8k p/w spare to spend on wages and with my philosophy of working with young talented players this left me with decisions to make. We were in my opinion light up front which I expect most Rangers fans irl would agree with so I brought in Jason Cummings from Hibs for a very reasonable £250k and he started the season in incredible form scoring 10 goals in 11 starts however a poor run of form from there and then a broken foot (long term injury) stalled him from having a fantastic season.

So with the finances not quite being there but wanting additional midfield talents I went for Harry Winks and Jordan Rossiter on loans from Tottenham and Liverpool respectively – the loan deal for Rossiter was essentially to replicate our signing irl however Liverpool want a ridiculous amount to sell and he became our main deep lying playmaker in defensive midfield.

Harry Winks came in to give competition in the centre midfield with him often rotating with fellow loanee Gedion Zelalem and he had a very good season. 14 passing and 13 technique attributes and a 3.5 star player with ability to reach 4.5 stars showed the use of our explotation of the loan market.

I also scouted Scandinavia due to the lucrative bargains that can be found and although my scout is awful he did find me a classy 18 year old winger Mikkel Duelund who signed on a two season loan deal, we don’t pay any fee or any wages during this time so it is basically a free player however he does have a £1.5 million release clause so something we can maybe do there. He has a 3.5 star current ability but could be a 5 star potential player and has 15 for dribbling and 14 for technique.

Ryan Gauld came in on loan as soon as I was alerted that he was available on a loan, he has been called the Scottish Messi in the past while that may be a bit far he is the most exciting Scottish talent about. Again we were able to secure his services until the end of the season without paying any fee or wages to Sporting – A current ability of 4 stars and potential to reach 5 stars potential, first touch of 14, vision and technqiue at 16 he would be perfect as my advanced playmaker.

On the last day of the window I also secured the loan services (again, yes) of former Hearts defender Jordan Mcghee until the end of the season, he was brought in for a number of reasons, cost, flexibility to play across the back line if required and would add competition at centre back for Kiernan who was making some mistakes.With heading of 12, marking 13 and positioning he was already a solid centre back for this level.

On the outgoing front, we let Nicky Law go for £40k as he wasn’t useful to us and I wanted him off the wage bill, Polish keeper Macej Gostomski left for similar reasons and the fact that young wonderkid Robby McCrorie being moved to number 2 there is no room for him and at £4k p/w I needed rid.

Tactical set up

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For the past 2 FM releases I have favoured a 2-3-2-3 tiki taka system based on Pep Guardiola’s tenure at Barcelona, it was the best football I have ever seen and was mesmerised by that great Barca side and attempting to re-create this in FM is always great to watch as the team plays beautiful football. A small admission here would be I have attempted my own systems trying to emulate however twitter handle – @Passion4FM tactic and analysis is so good that I have just copied his tactic which is available here – http://www.passion4fm.com/football-manager-barcelona-tiki-taka-tactics-emulating-pep-guardiolas-positional-play/.

We obviously play a high line and at times we have been caught out this season due to the high defensive block, it condenses play very well but long balls over the top are a slight issue with the current centre backs not being the fastest and it is something I will want to improve on long term to bring in a fast centre back to partner Danny Wilson, I think as he has been the much better performer compared to Kiernan.

We regularly get over 600 attempted passes per game, usually double the opponents with possession regularly in the mid to high 60% showing how dominant we are and usually do create 3 or more clear cut chances per game and around 16-25 shots per game while often restricting the opponents to few chances, only not successful when teams attempt to launch balls over the top to a fast striker.

Ladbrokes Championship

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As you can see we were dominant in the first half of the league season and had notched 49 goals in 23 games, conceding just 8 goals and had an unbeaten record to this point, failing to record wins on six occasions where we settled for draws. We started the season with three consecutive wins starting with a comfortable 3-1 win over St Mirren to mirror what happened irl.

Then we thrashed a poor Alloa side 5-0 with Waghorn getting a hatrick and Cummings getting on the scoresheet although we did lose the talented Barrie Mckay for four months due to a damaged achilles tendon, we followed this with a big 1-0 win over Hibs who I expected to be our closest challengers – maybe not.

Next followed a poor spell where we picked up just 1 win in 3 games, the draw to Queen of the South was a joke as we battered their goal with 25 shots but couldn’t get the second goal, a strong 2-1 win over Raith at Ibrox was vital as they were top at this stage with a double from Michael O’Halloran scoring in the 87th minute to win the game after we lost a goal after 25 seconds.

A 0-0 draw to Livingston despite us having 16-4 shots in our favour followed however we then clicked and went on to win 5 league games in a row scoring 14 times and losing just one goal with the 4-1 away win over Morton being our best display as we were starting to dominate more and controlled it with a Waghorn double,Cummings and O’Halloran with the goals.

A trip to Easter road in October resulted in a poor 0-0 draw, we had the slightly better of the game but I couldn’t complain too much, however as we do we bounced back in style with 7 league games consecutively won conceding just twice in this period and scoring 20 goals. We hit Alloa for 5 again in a solid 5-0 win and a 3-0 victory over Hibernian at Ibrox gave us the revenge we wished for with goals coming from classy inside forward Mikkel Duelund and double from Ryan Hardie who was starting to become prolific in the absence of striker Jason Cummings.

From the free flowing football the next 4 games were anything but and was our worst spell of the season, we drew 3 games out of four and the win was only a unconvincing 1-0 win over struggling Morton, Livi were becoming a bogey team despite being average and not scoring against Dumbarton was worrying to say the least despite controlling the game.

League cup

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Well, this is a stunning run isn’t it? It can’t get much better than defeating Aberdeen, Dundee United and our biggest rival Celtic in the run to the final can it..

Starting the competition against Elgin we comfortably dispatched them however we then came against our strongest league challengers Raith Rovers who we were able to defeat 3-1 thanks to goals from Cummings, Waghorn and Duelund.

The tie against Aberdeen was surely one for the neutral with Aberdeen taking an unjust lead in the 58th minute through Cammy Smith we battled away and I made tactical tweaks going overload and throwing 3 up front with a shadow striker behind and it paid off in injury time as a corner resulted in a goalmouth scramble before it went in via an Aberdeen player attempted block. We started the brighter in extra time and duly took the lead through Cummings however Cammy Smith scored again.

Not to  be outdone straight from kick off we went up the pitch and a great switch from Cummings to Billy King and the volley whistled into the back of the net, we’re on track for the win until Nial McGinn scores from the dreaded back post cross goal. We are victorious 6-5 on penalties despite missing three penalties, what a game.

We then beat Dundee United in extra time through a goal for inside forward Mikkel Duelund in the 105th minute in a deserved win before the big game against Celtic, personally I thought this was a step too far for us however we were the better team in general and the big talking point was a straight red card for Scott Brown for a disgusting lunge on Ryan Gauld, who gets up and scores a minute later with a clinical strike from 15 yards out to send us to the final and send the support wild.

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Scottish cup

We have only played one team due to the Scottish cup starting so late however this resulted in a tie versus Turrif United, aye who? Well, we couldn’t beat them at Ibrox and were about to crash out before Hardie took it upon himself to run through their whole team before smashing one into the top corner to secure a 2-2 draw, we beat them 2-0 away but not too convincing overall, we will play Hibernian in the next round.

Challenge cup

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Four wins, four clean sheets and in all honesty there isn’t much to talk about as we have done what I would have expected against this calibre of opposition, without being disrespectful. We face Hibernian in the final, let’s hope for football in general whoever wins this that the “exuberance” is kept to a minimum..

Going into Second half of season

Going into the second half of the season, my aims are to increase our lead at the top of the table, try and keep our unbeaten season going as long as possible and clinching a quadruple is a possibility this season. The only way I can get european football next season would be by winning the Scottish cup so that is an aim also but we have a long way to go in that competition.

I’m going to aim for roughly an update every week to 10 days and the updates will be split into half season and full season updates.

I hope you enjoyed reading and any feedback will be appreciated in the comments section or you can interact with me on twitter, I’m @johnmcintosh19.

 

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Rangers Revolution – Introduction

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I feel that I should discuss what this series will be about, I will assume control of Rangers Football Club who in game currently play in the Scottish Championship and the second tier of Scottish football with aims of dominating our domestic game and long term challenging to win the Champions League – a trophy that has eluded Rangers in their illustrious history.

Why Rangers? I’m a big Rangers supporter, hold a season ticket and with the previous save with Parma being corrupted I felt using the winter update with my team and making this my last save until Football Manager 2017 would be a good idea.

A bit of a background

Rangers are a club with an incredible history of winning trophies, with 54 top flight league titles, 33 Scottish cups, 27 league cups and that historic European Cup Winners Cup trophy in Barcelona in 1972 as the song goes. An interesting fact is that the 54 top flight titles is the most of any club in world football and they have achieved the treble in seven seasons.

Rangers were formed in 1872 by four young lads – Moses McNeil, Peter McNeil, Peter Campbell and William McBeath and supporters to this day following the team they founded sing in recognition of those four young lads. 16 years after the formation of Rangers, our greatest rivals Celtic were founded and to this day it is ranked as one of the most passionate derbies in world football due to many factors such as religious differences with the blue half known as protestants and the green half as catholics, however the support is far more diverse now – the passion and hatred remains as strong as ever.

Bill Struth is well known as the clubs greatest ever manager and his record of 18 league titles, 10 Scottish cups and 2 league cups among many Glasgow cup wins is very impressive but it was success combined with his longevity, with his 34 year reign finally ending in 1954.

His immortal words which are now displayed in a portrait in the Ibrox trophy room, part of his speech is below..

I have been lucky— lucky in those who were around me from the boardroom to the dressing-room. In time of stress, their unstinted support, unbroken devotion to our club and calmness in adversity eased the task of making Rangers FC the premier club in this country.

To be a Ranger is to sense the sacred trust of upholding all that such a name means in this shrine of football. They must be true in their conception of what the Ibrox tradition seeks from them. No true Ranger has ever failed in the tradition set him.”

Moving on Celtic won 9 league titles in a row between 1965 and 1974 in what was a grim time for the Ibrox club, however having being runner up in the Cup Winners Cup final on two occasions in 1961 and 1967 they finally won their first and only european trophy in 1972, beating Russian side Dynamo Moscow 3-2 in the final.

Tragedy struck on 2nd January 1971 when large scale crushing occurred on a stairway exit after an Old firm game, sadly 66 supporters went to Ibrox and never returned – there is a monument outside Ibrox where supporters can pay tribute.

The 80s saw the rising of the “New Firm” comprising of Aberdeen and Dundee United and during this time they managed to split the Old Firm dominance, in fact in this period there was a three year spell where neither old firm side won the league title between 1983 and 1985 and Sir Alex Ferguson was showing what he could do in management with Aberdeen.

Between the 1988-1989 and 1996-1997 seasons Rangers were able to equal Celtic record of 9 league titles in a row, this was started off by recruiting Graeme Souness to Glasgow as a player manager. It is well known as a revolution however after a few seasons he was off to England and assistant manager Walter Smith was promoted and would go on to win 6 further titles in a row, the tenth title was a step too far however with an ageing squad

Legendary players  such as Brian Laudrup and Gazza came to Rangers in this era and many of our support have very fond memories of them two as being geniuses however one of our own Davie Cooper also has a special place in many supporters hearts.

In the 1992-1993 european campaign Rangers were within a whisker of the newly branded “Champions League final” being pipped by Marseille who would go on to beat A.C in the final and despite losing their league crown, refused entry to next seasons Champions League and being relegated to Ligue 2 due to match fixing/bribery they never had their european trophy removed. What might have been.

There was then a dutch revelation under Dick Advocaat with the initial football some of the best I have ever been lucky enough to witness, there was Alex McLeish reign with the football not the best however progression to last 16 of the Champions league was impressive and there was winning the league title in the last 3 minutes of the season when Celtic bottled it conceding two Scott McDonald goals in injury time. The Helicopter is changing direction

Paul Le Guen came with a good stature in European football however let’s just say things didn’t go to plan, Sir Walter Smith came back to steady the ship and took us on an incredible european journey in the 2007-2008 season where after 7 points from 3 games, we collapsed and fell to 3rd position and dropped to the Uefa cup as it was named at the time.

Wins in knockout rounds over Panathinaikos, Werder Bremen and Sporting Lisbon led to an incredible semi final tie against the Italians Fiorentina – with the game tied after both legs and extra time it went to penalties and Nacho Novo scored probably the most iconic penalty ever. Brace yourself Manchester, they are on their way.

Sir Walter would go on to win three league titles in a row before handing over the reign to assistant manager Ally McCoist, the less said about his managerial time the better, it was some of the worst football I have ever witnessed but after throwing away a 10 point lead while in the top flight, Rangers were rocked by news of entering administration. The reasons are quite complex and long but Rangers used EBT’s between 2001 and 2010 which were legal at the time but with the potential tax bill being high and having a dodgy owner we voluntarily entered admin.

A consortium headed by Charles Green received preferred bidder status much to the bemusement of Rangers fans, he set up a new company and bought all assets from the old company before the liquidation process started thus keeping the club formed in 1872 intact, membership in SFA was then transferred between companies with all major football governing bodies, law lords etc confirming Rangers as the same club, it hasn’t stopped rivals from claiming otherwise however.

After demotion to the bottom tier of Scottish football aka Third division there were back to back promotions including an unbeaten league season, however Rangers struggled to a 3rd place finish last season in the Championship and after losing 6-1 in the playoff final to Motherwell remain in the 2nd tier and require a overhaul with a disillusioned fan base demanding much better.

In March 2015, during an EGM the board that had been using their position of power for their and others own benefits and treated the club and support with disdain were voted out and true Rangers men took control through supporters votes and share purchases, a new exciting dawn awaits.

Stadium

Rangers play their football at the historic Ibrox stadium, it is a 50,947 all seater stadium and is iconic in that the tradition and fantastic brick work is mixed with a modern stadium. It has been the home of Rangers since 1899 and unlike other saves where I’d try and move stadium I would be looking to expand Ibrox instead of trying to force a stadium move due to the history and tradition.

Budget

A £500k transfer budget and around £8k p/w spare on the wage budget doesn’t leave me with a lot to work with however with the winter update including the January additions the squad has a decent base to start with.

Key Players

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Danny Wilson is unlike irl a commanding centre back in game and with 4 stars for ability/potential and 14 for heading and tackling and an impressive 18 for determination a very strong addition at the back, he could do a job in the top flight I’d imagine but for europe may not cut it.

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James Tavernier plays the complete wing back role on the right hand side and can be a great addition to cause problems going forward, acceleration and stamina of 15 is very good however only a 10 tackling and 7 positioning shows defensively he is not too impressive.

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Jason Holt is the other key player in my opinion with first touch and passing of 14 and technique at 15 he is excellent within my 2-3-2-3 system in the advanced playmaker role, buzzing about creating chances and spreading the play. Off the ball of 17 is incredible and composure and decisions of 15 means he makes the right decision and is calm in doing so most of the time. A major asset.

Youth prospects

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Ryan Hardie is a raw 18 year old striker however I know he can become deadly in front of goal, he has the right attributes in finishing, composure and off the ball and fits my false nine role perfectly. Excited about him.

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Ross McCrorie is a solid defender for Rangers especially at just 17, he starts in the under 20s however I promote him straight away and despite being a centre back he can also fit in at right back which is a positive with no real competition for Tavernier should a suspension or injury arise. 4.5 star potential rating and improves very quickly.

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Robby McCrorie is a strong goalkeeper and comes in as my number 2 behind Foderingham, SI have probably reduced his potential from last year where he was my keeper winning Champions leagues however he has a 4.5 star potential ability at 17 years old and has decent attributes in reflexes and handling of 13, however 7 for rushing out will need worked on if he is to play the sweeper role, due to my high defensive line.

Club Overview

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Aims for the save

  • To restore Rangers as the dominant side in Scottish football as soon as possible (Short term aim)
  • To make the use of Auchenhowie at long last and develop and bring through a conveyor belt of young British talent
  • Playing progressive, exciting football so the support can enjoy themselves
  • A basic aim for around 60% or higher possession on average per game as I like to dominate games with technical players
  • To win the Champions league within a 7 year plan and once that is achieved, to start to dominate as the best club in european football on a consistent basis (Long term
     

    I hope to have the first proper update up to the end of the January window out by the end of next week however I won’t be able to guarantee schedule times.

    I hope you enjoyed reading and any feedback will be appreciated in the comments section or you can interact with me on twitter, I’m @johnmcintosh19.

Parma Revival – Last day drama?

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So here we are and I have made a change to the format, due to only really having the league to focus on and it being a 34 game league this update will cover the full season 2, getting to business our board are requesting that we reach the playoffs in the Lega Pro A (Serie C) and we are rated as the 5th favourites for the title with the bookmakers and with odds of 33-1 we are not fancied to win the league but we are expected to challenge for the playoffs which ties in with the board request.

However I am very excited by some of the signings I have made and the team we have assembled and feel quietly confident we can certainly challenge for the title, I have been given essentially £9 million and an extra £55k p/w on wages but I have decided to keep to spending around £500k on the transfer budget for this season and have increased the wage budget by £26k p/w to £54k p/w.

Summer signings

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If we firstly take a look at the outgoing players we let most of the players go on a free due to running down of their respective contracts, the big shock may be Alessandro Lucarelli, our club captain of last season was 39 years old and wanted a wage increase from £6k p/w to £9k p/w and having looked at his contribution I felt the wages could be used better elsewhere so it was time to let him go.

The rest that we let go of on a free were due to them not being of the required standard as we progress through the leagues and none of them even featured much for me in Serie D, however losing Otello Cangini to Torino was a bitter blow he was one of our bright youth hopes if you remember from the previous post but Torino lured him before I could agree pro terms with him so we lost him for £92k compensation fee.

Now to the incoming players, goalkeeper Vid Belec came in on a free transfer and £3k p/w from Carpi and with reflexes of 14, positioning and handling of 12 he is a massive upgrade on Zompers, next I felt we needed to improve our centre back area for the step up in quality and I was able to recruit two very good centre backs for this level – in came Alex Sirri and Andrea Mei.

Mei has 15 tackling, 14 marking and 13 for pace and is a 4 star player who can be a leading player for Serie B sides, it’s always pleasing signing a player who can be a strong player in the division above as we need to keep on progressing, Sirri was a £230k buy and my scouts at the time rated him with a potental of 4.5 stars which after an injury has sadly come down to 3 stars so we’ll see how much further he can progress.

We also make purchases in left and right wing back so yes, we’ve changed the full back 4 and keepers, this was a big transitional period in any case we bring in left wing back Lorenzo Pasqualini on a free and right wing back Tommaso Cancellotti for a fee of £350k. Pasqualini is a 4 star player with key stats of 12-14 in the wing back areas he is worth the outlay, while Pasqualini is a 3.5 star wing back who improves us instantly.

Hernan Pereyra then joins us also on a free on just £1.1k p/w he gives us a better option at left wing than we currently have and is on less wages than some of our squad players, I also bring in anchor man Tommaso Morosini in on a free he is a 3.5 star player so can make the step up to Serie B if we make it and with little outlay the deal makes perfect sense.

A fellow midfielder brought in is Mattia Minesso also on a free, after a stunning season he is now worth £2.4 million and is a 4 star player with excellent technical stats such as 16 for passing and 14 for technique, we then make use of the link with Napoli and secure the loans of right inside forward Roberto Insigne and centre back Sebastiano Luperto – 4.5 star potential and 5 star potential respecitvely with the current ability to comfortably play at this level.

The rest we signed that I won’t discuss simply did not impress enough and I gather you all are bored of transfers and want to get into the action?

Serie C Cup

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Our board once again said this was not a competition they cared about and this time neither did I, I’m not saying that because we were disgraced by Reggiana but promotion to Serie B was going to be a massive task and the extra games I could do without. We won comfortably over Cuneo and then were outplayed by Reggiana who would go to push us in some games later on in the season.

Serie D

We started the league well with 6 wins out of a possible 8 however then picked up just one win in 5 games including 3 defeats, incredibly we defeated Mantova 5-1 in a thrilling display within this period, before winning 3 of the next 5 including a draw in this period the 1-0 loss coming against Giana Erminio.

We then beat Pro Sesto 2-0 to make it 2 out of 2 for the season against them, before 2 stuttering back to back draws against two sides we should have beaten in Renate and Venezia, then something magical happened I had been working on defending in training and a small tactical tweak to move the DLP (s) to a CM (s) and A (D) to a DLP (D) and we went 8 wins on the bounce including 6 clean sheets.

This excellent run of form moved us from 5 points behind Modena to 5 in front, we then had the chance to move 8 clear of Modena and despite dominating the game lost 2-1 despite taking an early lead through Walter Rodriguez, we then finished the season with a win over Bassano, awful loss to Regianna (again), a great late comeback win v Cuneo where Rodriguez again inspried us and this lead us to some last day drama.

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In a 18 team league, this allows for 34 games and this is how tight it was going in to the last day of the season, I should probably say that only one team goes up and then 2nd to 4th are involved in a playoff which is very complicated however all it would require is to equal Modena last fixture

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Much to my dismay we could only manage a draw in our last game in a 1-1 draw however battered Pordenone, thankfully Modena decided to collapse on the last day losing 2-0 to Bassano and we are champions, back to back promotions is good going so far however whilst our domination of the ball improved this year only scoring 50 (joint best in league, how?) is not something I am happy with, I’m not Louis Van Gaal.

Key players

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Tommaso Cancelotti was brilliant in replacing Claud Adjopang and helped us to the title with an average rating of 8.35, 12 man of the match awards, 2 assists and a credible pass completion rate of 82%, Walter Rodriguez probably was my player of the season and just a delight to have in my team – 7 goals, 10 assists and 7 man of the match awards, pass completion rate of 81% and with an average rating of 7.88 this proves how vital he was to us.

Credible mentions go to Daniele Melandri with 17 goals and 4 assists in 28 starts and centre midfielder Mattia Minesso with 4 goals, 6 assists and a pass completion rate of 83% which has seen his value soar to £2.4 million – not bad for a free signing after one season.

Player contracts

Good player performances and players with high potential meant we had work to do in securing some contract extensions and tied up Daniele Melandri, Gabriele Silva, youngster Nardi and also extended deal of Mattia Minesso due to a good season and him almost causing a squad mutiny, he behaved poorly but realistically could take us to next level so did enough to get him on a longer deal and improved terms.

On the opposite side there are several players I will be letting go of, reserve keeper Alioune Fall, Maikol Benassi, Dimitar Traykov, Franceso Corapi will all be let go for not being of the right standard needed, after one season Faissal El Bakhtaoui did not perform to the level I expected and midfield veteran Crocefisso Migiletta has retired from football but been a decent servant.

Youth intake

In regards to the youth intake we signed four youngsters that I feel have decent potential even with us progressing through the leagues, they were Riccardo Cipolla a wide man with incredible physicals for a 16 year old with a 4-5 star potential too, Ermes Capone a raw but talented 17 year old striker with potential of between 4 and 5 stars.

The last two exciting talents signed up were centre back Davide Tancredi with a potential of between 3.5-4.5 stars and a winger/forward Ivanno Penna with potential of 4.5 stars and flair of 17 – delightful.

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Signings for next season

A teaser for next season as we have tied up pre contracts for two players Josh Brillante from Fiorentina and Armando Vajushi from Chievo.

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Josh is a current international and will battle with Morosini in the deeper midfield role I always like to have good competition for places, he is just 24 years old a great age and has potential of 5 stars so I couldn’t really turn the deal down for him.

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Vajushi was a player recommended to me by my chief scout and with current ability of 4 stars, a first touch of 13, dribbling 14 and acceleration 14 I think he could be a valuable addition, Francesco Corapi won’t be getting a new deal due to poor performances so he will come in to replace him.

Finances

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Another season and another financial loss for Parma, realistically I don’t see things improving until we get back to Serie A, the added wages would have added around £1.35 million to our expenditure, add in £500k net spend on transfers and we’re not too far away from the loss but at the moment we have a healthy bank balance so I’m not too concerned.

Budget

Once again I’ve been given a healthy transfer budget of £8.7 million and a wage budget of £92k p/w (38k p/w spare) however once again I don’t want to go mad so wish to be financially prudent to get back to where Parma belong in the top flight in a healthy manner.

Aims for next season

Our board haven’t given us any expectations yet but I have heard that others have been asked to secure a mid table position in Serie B if they get back to back promotions, my aim is to get back to Serie A by season 5 so this allows for me to have a transitional season in Serie B if I need to. However if we recruit well and perform then of course we will go all out to get back to Serie A a year early. Forza Parma

I hope everyone who has read this has enjoyed this post, if you wish to discuss anything then leave a comment or you can find me on twitter @johnmcintosh19 and I’ll be happy to discuss.

Parma Revival – An unlikely Treble?

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We’re back and going for promotion to Serie C, when you last read this we were into the semi final of the Serie D cup and 5 points clear of Forli and Mezzolara in the Serie D leaue table who were both in good form, so you might be surprised by the headline. How can we win a treble featuring in only 2 competitions? We’ll come to that further in to this update..

Serie D Table

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So the number one priority was to win the league title in our Serie D group and guarantee promotion at the first attempt, after 19 games we had given ourselves a 5 point lead over our nearest challengers, those title challengers Forli and Mezzolara stayed with us for the majority of the season albeit the latter fell away due to crumbling in the last 6 games.

A major impressive part of our second half of our season was defensively again, we were largely very solid and kept 11 clean sheets in our last 19 league games, like in the first half of the season scoring goals was the bigger problem and we managed only 25 goals in the same period which is an area I want to improve through upgrades on player acquisition as the system creates enough to be smashing teams but we miss so many clear cut chances.

Key points in this second half of the season were an early defeat to Mezzolara which was undeserved but brought the title race to just 2 points at that stage, however after this defeat we went 12 games unbeaten with a 6 game winning streak which included 5 clean sheets in a row.

A 4-1 away win over Bellaria and a 3-0 home win over Union Arzignano were the standout performances of the second half of our league season with our number 10 Rodriguez dominating both games and being our creative outlet.

By this late stage in the season Mezzolara had dropped away however Forli, who had become our closest title challengers went into the 33rd round of fixtures in the campaign high on confidence due to their recent form but incredibly crumbled to a 3-0 defeat to 16th place while Parma supporters were delighted with a comfortable 3-0 victory over 15th placed Union Arzignano. This result put us 11 points clear with just 5 games left.

We then faced Forli in the 35th league game of the season at the Ennio Tardini stadium, a draw would be enough to win the Serie D title in front of our own fans and take our first steps back… and we lose the game 1-0. In a game where we don’t turn up and throw a great chance away, I walk into the dressing room and tear the whole squad to shreds and make sure they know in no uncertain terms the next game must be won.

We are Serie D champions with two games to spare after a 2-0 victory over Altovicento with goals coming from youth prospect Vincenzo Quaranta and Daniele Melandri in a quickfire double at the start of the second half, we dominated the chances and possession statistics and fully deserve the win which could and should have been more.

Serie D Cup

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We were about to go into the semi final stage of the competition at the end of the last update and were big favourites to progress here against Fiorenzuola and duly won the first game at home 2-0 with goals coming from veterans Lucarelli and Migiletta. The away fixture is probably the worst game under my tenure, we don’t turn up and they punish us by taking the lead deservedly in the first half then strike again on 68 minutes.

The tie goes straight to penalties and fortunately we are victorious (2-2) 8-7 on penalties as we don’t miss a single chance from 12 yards, nervy but we go through to the final which is played at our home stadium, not sure on the fairness of that decision but we’ll take it.

The cup final is against Venezia who went on to win their Serie D group but we destroy them and 2 goals from striker Daniele Melandri on 56 and 66 minutes see us win the Serie D cup in a 2-0 victory. If we take a look at the match statistics we were in complete control – 20 shots to 3, 4 half chances to 1, 3 clear cut chances to 0 and we enjoyed 59% of the possession which is always pleasing with our philosophy.

Serie D Scudetto

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So that’s the double won and that’s all we can win this season, right? Wrong, I wasn’t aware of this but after winning Serie D due to there being 9 different groups, the winners of each group go into 3 groups of 3. You play each other once and the winners of each group and the best runner up go into a 2 legged semi final then the winners of the semi finals play the final to see who wins the Serie D Scudetto.

A comfortable 2-0 victory over Venezia puts us in a good position, we know a victory over Taranto now puts us through to the semis due to having a better goal difference than Taranto however in one of our best displays of the season we smash them 4-1 with a double from Walter Rodriguez and goals from Yves Baraye and Daniele Melandri.

Our semi final opponents are RapalloBogilasco, they put up a good fight over both legs as we win 2-1 in front of our own fans, again Walter Rodriguez and Daniele Melandri on the scoresheet and proving to be key players, the second leg away we gain a credible 1-1 draw in a game we were comfortable and had went 1-0 up after 9 minutes through Rodriguez again, only to be pegged back on 79 minutes but held on to reach the final.

We then face Pro Sesto in the final of the Scudetto and as we’re drawn as the away side, the final is played at E Brada – Pro Sesto home stadium. In a quite even game, we took the lead through the inconsistent Yves Baraye after 37 minutes and manage to hold on to that scoreline to win the Scudetto, Migiletta sending off on 75 minutes put the victory under question, but we managed to tighten it up. Treble Winners 2015/2016

January Transfer dealings

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Going into the January windwo I was looking for a striker due to Daniele Melandri’s long term injury and I had identified Andrea Vasallo as a target and a strong defensive midfielder. We signed Vasallo on loan from A.C Milan which I was pleased with, Filippo Romagna came in on loan from Juventus until the end of season and impressed making the anchor man role his own. Negro and D’Ignazio came in from Napoli just to give us greater depth but never impressed enough.

Guazzo was let go for £7k as he never did enough to get into the first team and was continually moaning about not getting any chances so I was happy to move him on and we released Cristian Longobardi on a free as he realised he wasn’t to the required standard.

As I mentioned the two loanees from Napoli featured only a couple of times from the bench and didn’t show much so I won’t cover them but I’ll discuss Romagna and Vasallo appearances further.

 

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Filippo Romagna – Current ability – 4 stars Potential ability – 4-5 stars

Romagna gained an average rating of 7.01 in 12 appearances but had a decent pass completion rate of 78%, I always find that holding midfield and goalkeepers are harshly rated in terms of average rating by FM but he was really impressive in making us solid and breaking up many attacks. He goes back on loan to Juventus and is someone I may look at if he is listed for loan again as he could play in Serie C.

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Andrea Vasallo – Current ability – 2 stars Potential ability – 4-5 stars Avg rating – 6.82

Vasallo was a bit of a disappointment in all honesty, I was excited at getting him on loan until the end of the season but only scored 3 goals in 9 games with 2 of them being from the penalty spot, in my opinion he under performed for his ability but not every signing will be a success.

Contract worries

On the last update I mentioned around 70% of the players running out of contract in the summer wouldn’t speak to me, well footballers are fickle and once we had secured the league all of them were happy to speak to me and in the majority I gave them new deals however there is one big name who has left the club, this will be updated on the next update.

Youth Intake

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So the youth intake was a massive success and the 4 players I have screenshots of are the most talented, Montanaro has a 4.5 star potential and the rest have 5 stars so could have bright futures. Cangini has actually made the match day squad however Quaranta has played in quite a few games in the holding midfield role and has popped up with 2 assists and 1 goal in 9 appearances with a solid 6.99 average rating.

Quaranta actually became our youngest ever player and subsequently our youngest ever goalscorer so I have trust in youth and feel a few of this crop could be special.

Key players this season

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Claud Adjopang – Current ability – 4.5 stars Potential ability – 5 stars Avg rating – 8.42

Adjopang was an incredible attacking wing back for us this season and unless we can lure him back on loan again, he will be a big loss to us – he suffered an 6 week injury near the end of the season and we missed him greatly. He contributed 2 goals, 11 assists and 18 man of the match awards and was a big part of our attacking system when working at it’s best.

Walter Rodriguez – Current ability – 3 stars Potential ability – 4 stars – Avg rating – 7.9

Rodriguez is our number 10 and after a decent but slow start he came to life in the second half of the season being really vital in the Scudetto run and in the title run in, he is a talent who loves getting shots away and seems to have a Lampard-esque way of being in right position to run on to balls and get goals, he chipped in with 13 goals, 5 assists and 6 man of the match awards and is one of only a few who will start next season.

Notable mentions go to Dimitar Traykov who was promoted from the 20s and managed a 7.52 rating, 8 goals and 17 assists from right wing at just 19 years of age and striker Daniele Melandri who despite having major injury issues managed 14 goals and 6 assists in 28 appearances with an average rating of 7.37.

Link made with Napoli

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I’m delighted to have struck a link with Napoli, they are currently one of the top 4 or 5 Serie A sides and we will benefit from player(s) we like from them being sent out on loan while we have no obligation to play them and we don’t pay a penny. We also host an annual friendly with Napoli with all gate receipts to be kept by us, in our current position this is a very smart and good deal for us.

Parma turn professional!

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Turning back professional is a big step forward, I asked in a board meeting for this to happen at around March time which was rejected however due to promotion the board felt this was an acceptable move, an added bonus to this is the increased staff we can now employ.

Contract accepted

I have also accepted a contract to be the Parma manager until June 2019, which could mean leading Parma out in Serie A within this contract period  all things going well and being promoted from each league at the first time of asking, that is an aim of mine however I am happy to win Serie D and C first time, one adjustment year in Serie B due to higher quality and then push for promotion the second season.

Finances

Taking a look at our financial summary for the season, we recorded a £443,595 loss this season but retain a healthy balance of over £10 million, due to it being Serie D although we enjoyed season ticket holders of 8,000 which is impressive we failed to gain much more attendance than 10,000 for home games so hopefully with the step up, more fans turn out and thus a better financial result can happen going forward.

Budgets for next season..

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This is obviously a downloaded database from FMScout and so far things have been spot on, however this is clearly a flaw, our wage budget has increased from £28k p/w to £88k p/w and our transfer budget has went from £100k to £9.42 million. Now it would be both daft and risky to go and spend millions on player recruitment, it is both not needed and would ruin the save/series as it’s over the top.

I asked a few people who follow this series whether I should buy/download FMRTE to adjust the budgets to a more respectable one but it was agreed I would just leave things and spend what I feel is necessary – in my opinion £500k for transfers and possibly doubling wages from £25k p/w to £50k p/w if needed would be fair to win Serie C.

The next update will be our summer transfer dealings, how the signings shape our side and possibly include the first few games of the Serie C league season, we have made some excellent signings and a major player may leave, who could it be?

I hope everyone who has read this has enjoyed this first post, if you wish to discuss anything then leave a comment or you can find me on twitter @johnmcintosh19 and I’ll be happy to discuss.

Parma Revival – First steps back

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After some nice feedback to my opening introduction post, we get to business with the first proper post of our Parma Revival series. Just to summarise everything I have taken control of Parma with them going down to Serie D using a downloadable database found on FMScout website (link on previous post) and with almost every player jumping ship except from captain Lucarelli, we are left to rebuild this side from virtually scratch.

Season Expectations

The Parma board wish me to win the Serie D title at the first time of asking, if you’re wondering how the set up works – Serie D is split into 9 different leagues of 20 teams, the winner of each “league” goes up to Serie C, where it is split into three seperate leagues.

Transfer dealings

I only made two signings in Mel Taufer and Claud Adjopang with nobody leaving the club in the summer, Mel Taufer is a centre midfielder, who has mostly being played in our anchor man role, with tackling and work rate of 12 and 15 for team work he has a good base however he could probably be pushed further forward with passing of 12 and flair of 14 maybe being wasted in his current role.

Claud Adjopang signed on a season long loan from Serie A outfit Sassuolo and he has probably been my player of the season, a flying right wing back he has assisted six times in 20 games and holds an incredible average rating of 8.39.

Mel Taufer_ Overview Profile-2

Claud Adjapong_ Overview Profile-2

 

Tactical philosophy

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I play a 2-3-2-3 and it is generally inspired by a great Emulating Pep Guardiolas Positional Play” article written by Passion4FM (twitter – @passion4fm) article link – http://www.passion4fm.com/football-manager-barcelona-tiki-taka-tactics-emulating-pep-guardiolas-positional-play/.

I have had to adapt the tactic, one of the most under-rated players in Barcelona system is the outstanding Sergio Busquets in the deeper role – we are in the fourth tier of Italian football and when I trialled Mel Taufer in the deep lying playmaker role in defensive midfield he was good but I felt we had little protection for the back 2 so I have settled on an anchor man role however I could probably do with a midfield destroyer in this role.

Another aspect of the tactic which differs is that I don’t currently play a high defensive line, as I touched on in my introduction Lucarelli is one of our key players however playing a high line with a 38 year old with 8 acceleration would be suicidal. In the near future we will push our defensive line higher to compress the play and press aggressively.

I’ll be brief in why I believe in this tactic, I love dominating football games and expressive football – 2-3-2-3 is my favourite tactical system and in this I love how our false nine drops off drags defenders about – (I talk about him a lot in this update but Melandri performs this role so much better than anyone else I have), how my inside forwards like Dimitar Traykov and Yves Baraye will come inside and look to create opportunities and get shots off.

The flexibility of the system allows the wing backs in particular the impressive Claud Adjapong to bomb on and we look to overload areas of the pitch whilst controlling the tempo and how our number 10 Walter Rodriguez gets on to so many great shooting chances inside the opposition box – it’s high risk football at times but for me it is entertaining.

Serie D cup results

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We have enjoyed a good run in the Serie D cup to this point in reaching the semi final stage – a couple of points should be made here is that we will play Florenzuola in the semi final over a 2 leg affair which seems interesting and that the Parma board have no interest in this competition however I feel we have a chance of winning this.

Our first game was against Triestina and was a very comfortable 2-0 victory, before we faced a league rival in Forli who at the time of writing are pushing us in Serie D – we progressed in a thrilling 3-2 victory, going 2-0 up by 49 minutes we were somehow pegged back to 2-2 before super sub Fabio Lauria popped up with the winner in the 93rd minute.

Next up was a routine 1-0 victory over Olbia with the main talking point being the return from injury of our best striker Daniele Melandri – when he is fit he really takes our team to the next level but more to come on his injury problems later.

Next up was a quarter final match against Sarnese who are struggling in mid table in their respective league but had went on a good run, we smashed them in honesty and progressed to the semi final with a convincing 2-0 victory, goals coming from young wide man Dimitar Thaykov and star striker Daniele Melandri.

Serie D performance

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The league season for Parma is possibly as expected with us being top of the pile, however the fact that a 5 point gap feels more like a relief than being happy about it tells it’s own story. I probably over-exaggerated the strength of my own Parma side in the introduction post, we are strong in certain areas but we have a long way to go and some of the teams chasing us such as Forli and Mezzolara are decent footballing sides.

My Parma side were unbeaten for our opening 9 games but even in this period we were solid defensively as we have been throughout the season in general however scoring just 3 times in 5 games and drawing 3 games in this period was a big problem including two 0-0 draws.

Since that poor start we have found the way to the goal and have went on to pick up 10 wins, 3 draws and only the one loss in the next 14 league fixtures which has propelled us from lowly 8th to having a small cushion at the top of the league.

Key games within the season were the 1-0 victory over 4th placed Virtus Castelfranco, the win kickstarted us after the first 5 game poor spell and we dominated the game against a decent side – Dimitar Traykov with the breakthrough on 71 minutes, a 4-1 win over bottom side Ribelle was the first time we hit a team for 4 which we have now managed on 2 other occasions and a 1-0 win over Fortis Juventus with the winner from the frustrating Francesco Corapi coming on 85 minutes which was a massive three points.

As I will discuss later, the return of Daniele Melandri was vital as was the excellent form of number 10 Walter Rodriquez who has managed to grab 7 goals and 1 assist in 15 starts and promotion from our under 20s of inside forward Dimitar Traykov (a Bulgarian u20 international) with 6 assists and 3 goals in 12 starts.

Player Contract worries

I am worried however about player contracts, many of our players were signed from either Serie C or D outfits on mostly one year deals – for many I am keen to extend their deals however around 70% of them are refusing to even discuss terms, this could mean a more substantial rebuild than I envisaged however I have tied up key centre back Maikol Benassi, Francesco Corapi and star striker Daniele Melandri on deals until June 2017.

Injury to Melandri hurting us

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Two seperate injuries to our main striker Daniele Melandri has really cost us this season, possibly strange wording given how our debut season has gone so far however the team is so much better and fluid going forward with his intelligent play, decent technical attributes and ability to create and finish moves.

Just before the start of the season he sprained his ankle in training which meant him missing 6 weeks of first team action, Daniele then came back and started 10 games where he managed 7 goals, 3 assists and a very respectable average rating of 7.35 before he tore his hamstring in the Serie D cup quarter final victory and is now out for a further 3 to 4 months.

Aims for rest of the season

Given our impressive start I am hopeful that we can win the double in the Serie D and Serie D cup which would represent winning every trophy entered into. We are in the semi final of the cup competition and I feel that we are the strongest team left in the cup and in the league we currently hold a 5 point lead and given we have sorted our shyness in front of goal at the start of the season we should increase that lead.

I would like to purchase a striker in the transfer window, possibly on loan given the nature of the injury to Melandri and the poor quality of our other striking options, I have identified 18 year old striker Andrea Vassallo from Italian giants A.C Milan who is available on a loan deal. Further to that if I can find a midfield anchor man who interests me then I will make a move and possibly allow loanee Mel Taufer to play in a more natural playmaker role.

On a financial note, to date this season we have recorded a £496,443 profit this season so I’m slightly hopeful we will roughly break even when annual accounts are due at the end of the season.

Normally I will write up the half season update after the January transfer window however due to this being the first post and it being exactly half way stage of the league season I felt this was a good time to update.

I hope everyone who has read this has enjoyed this first post, if you wish to discuss anything then leave a comment or you can find me on twitter @johnmcintosh19 and I’ll be happy to discuss.