Injuries destroying us.. Für die Fans

Welcome back as we hoped to continue our strong form condemning the expected relegation struggle, to bring you back up to date we were sitting in 6th place but had a trio of top clubs chasing us – Gladbach, Wolfsburg and Schalke were all within 3 points of us and I had mentioned I had hoped we could finish below these clubs and no further down.

As the title suggests we were ravaged by injuries and for a large period of time were without 6 first team players and if I’m honest our depth just isn’t there at the moment so we had a much poorer second half of the season. Excuses I know.

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DFB Pokal

We were able to put together a cup run due to being quite lucky in the draws and avoiding the big teams, after beating Leipzig 3-2 AET we were handed a tie against mid table Freiburg and despite losing a goal after a minute we responded to win 2-1 despite Felix Kroos being sent off on the 75th minute.

We were in the quarter finals and noticed Bayern and Dortmund were the only big teams left in the draw and we managed to avoid them drawing FC Nurnberg who were playing in the 2. Bundesliga.

We dominated this match from start to finish running out 3-0 winners Ben Arfa scored a penalty in between goals from 17 year old Maximillian Hensel and Markus Altendorf who were both impressing me.

We are in the bloody semi finals – Bayern, Dortmund or lowly Augsburg would be our opponents and we went and drew Augsburg. I took this as an almost certainty we would be in the final and forgot we had lost 6 of our best players so it turned out to be tough.

We never turned up as we can but matched them and went 1-0 up on the 62nd minute through pressure down the right and the ball turned in by their defender Jeffrey Gouweleeuw but would lose concentration and concede just 2 minutes later.

We would then have a chance on the 87th minute to win it with a penalty but Ben Arfa missed, it would go to extra time and then penalties..

We would miss 4 of our 5 penalties and lose 2-1, Ben Arfa missed a penalty in the shootout as well. Prick

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Bundesliga

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So this is tough to look at, reviewing things we were fine until Dortmund onwards – 13 points picked up from 7 games is good form but then a couple of things happened.

We would lose a variety of first team players around this time and we would go on to face Dortmund, Hamburg and Hoffenheim in a row, 3 teams pushing for Champions League qualification.

The 2-1 win over Gladbach was massive with Clough scoring first and Kreilach grabbing the second on the counter and the three wins on the bounce was fantastic if not expected with Hensel scoring this goal below against Ingolstadt.

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We then picked up a well fought point with a 1-1 draw with Leipzig then beat Stuttgart 3-0 away which I was pleased with, then we didn’t score for 4 games and were battered 5-0 and 8-0 by Bayern and Leverkusen respectively, I’m ashamed…

One thing I would say is on the last day we were 2-0 down to Augsburg but we turned it around to 2-2 and with that we sent those bastards down which was pleasing and jumped from 10th to 9th. Clough equaliser below, Altendorf does most of the work

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I was annoyed with our second half of season form but we did have tricky spells combined with horrible luck with injuries with a first team lacking in proper squad depth so I understood why it happened and taking a step back this was our first season ever in the Bundesliga.

We had defied the odds of 18th place to be very comfortable and that prize money was going to be beautiful.

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In the course of the season I was also offered a 3 and half year deal until summer 2022 which I was obviously delighted to agree to, there were some staff changes in the summer which I will discuss on the next update too.

Financial/Sponsorship

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I forgot to take a screenshot when our finances were at it’s peak but we had £40 million in the bank and had made a £32 million profit from last season, heavily down to the incredible £46 million prize money for finishing 9th.

I also love this addition to FM 17 below and was delighted with the increase in sponsorship, the visual impact does a lot even if it is just a very small addition to the game.

An extra £6.75 million per year in sponsorship was very pleasing and seeing prize money at just over £50 million is sensational.

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Squad

Some players did reasonably well given the step up and so I should let you know who impressed, Zach Clough provided 11 goals and 7 assists in his first season at top flight level. Given he was out for 2 months this season through injuries it’s been a decent season for him but expect more going forward.

Fabian Schonheim was our best centre back by far again this season and he’s Mr Reliable even at 32 years of age, a 7.32 average rating shows how important his performances have been.

Ben Arfa was a strange one, he’d light up a game and be a match winner then give me a 6.2 the next 2 games and had clearly lost some of his pace now however it has been a worthwhile signing and hope he can improve next season.

Lastly Maximillian Hensel and Markus Altendorf had breakthrough seasons, both lads I signed in my first season at 15 years old and they broke through due to high potential and injuries later in the season.

Hensel provided 6 goals and 3 assists in 12 starts, 3 man of the match awards and a 7.22 average rating. He also claimed the German u17 Player of the Year award, Altendorf the runner up.

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Altendorf has really developed well this season with 9 goals and 2 assists in 24 starts, impressive at 17 years old and due to his performances I have agreed a new longer and improved deal with him but this below annoyed me.

@FM_Grasshopper will share my annoyance at this – on that note go and check him out as he blogs about his time with Estudiantes in South America, one of the best FM bloggers about.

Anyway I’m rambling so he demands a new deal, I ask him to sack his agent which he does and before I can offer him a new deal he’s hired a new one so can’t avoid the agent fee.

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Youth intake

This year was another fairly strong youth intake with Markus Maul having the highest potential but four others with at least 3 potential stars too and their attributes at such a young were promising.

Most have fairly decent personalities too but will look to tutor them to improve and help aid their development, whilst 16 year old Christos Angelikousis was developing well but as he’s 16 he can’t play or go on loan yet so he was stuck where he was.

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Christos Angelikousis

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Sneak peak at transfer news

I was pro-active and after having tracked this lad for over 8 months I had noticed he was transfer listed by Napoli and his asking price had dropped from £6 million to just £4.1 million, I had to move quick on this one.

Despite interest from Hamburg they never actually bid and he amazingly agreed to join Union Berlin. £4.1 million and £36k p/w was a delightful deal. Welcome Emanuel Mammana!

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Thanks again for all the support for the blog, it really does mean a lot and interacting with those who are enjoying it is making me enjoy this even more. If you do enjoy this then please give it a retweet on twitter, I’m @johnmcintosh19 or comment in the comment sections below or on twitter and I’ll get back to you.

Eisern Union

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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.