Many scanned old books come with no table of contents. And Googling how to add tables of contents usually show up less helpful advice such as “buy Acrobat”. To save myself from having to Google this stuff again, it’s time to record it here.
This blog was down for a few days because Ubuntu update screwed the Apache2 PHP mod. Unfortunately, I wasn’t really paying attention.
Season 11 is full of worries. The team is weakened in multiple ways. Financial woes. Unhappy players.
But… it is also the first season I won the premier league.
Victor Hatuka (€1.5M). The deal was to loan him back for a season, which turned to be much worse than I thought. Not only it’s a financial burden, but also his personality changed from Perfectionist to Determined. And AMC is such a crowded position.
Branko Hustic (Free). Yes. That Hustic. His four years at AC Milan was less than successful, but he is still better than everyone else at the position besides Semenov.
Tomas Petras (Free). Felt inadequate because I also had Ovsyannikov.
Matteo di Benedetto (Free). Served as a first-team player.
Nicolas Pohl (Free). Screenshot taken at the end of the season. He was OK as an AMC and OK as an MC, but the pecking order is low for both.
Ivannikov (€450K), Bijlsma (€3.9M) and Kartashov (€1M) because I already have Semenov and Hustic for the position and also potentially Hatuka for the next season, so I do not really need all these backups. They were all sold at discount prices, but I signed them on free transfers in the first place, so no regrets.
For forwards, Osipov (€725K), Galperin (€250K), Larionov (€500K) and Leovac (€475K). Osipov actually produced a few good matches, but he wanted more first team chances which I obviously could not afford. Galperin and Larionov have the potential but not the personality to blend in my squad. Leovac was a sad case, since he was suddenly unhappy about broken promise (about first team chances) near the end of the season, when I really could not afford a morale drop. He was worth at least €3M but obviously I can’t ask for that if he had only two or three months contract left.
Ryzhov was unsettled by Milan’s offer, so sold for a potential €11.5M. However, he would only leave at the end of the season, so I paid another year of salary while largely only using him as a super sub / big match player. All the while he kept improving. Now I feel that perhaps I should have just forced him to stay, since our reputation is quickly improving anyways. But then perhaps I wouldn’t be able to achieve this with unhappy players.
Considering that I also signed Hustic back from Milan, I am pretty sure that Hustic will has a few warning words about being over-ambitious.
Finally, Godfred Donsah to Shandong for €675K.
These sales have left me with very limited options for the central forward, and despite largely retaining the old central midfield pair of Yegorov and Moskvichev, the performance has slipped as well.
I think only Arapov and Andreyushenko are notable this year.
We ended up with 66 points, roughly on par with historical champions.
In the Europa League, we ranked the first in the group stage, and progressed through the first knockout stage only to be defeated in the second.
The Russian Cup drew us and Zenit in an early meeting, so we were knocked out earlier than expected. But losing to the expected champions isn’t really a big deal in my opinion.
All in all, we won the league at the pre-season odds of 19.0. Admittedly that just says if an average bot retries 19 times they would also win once, and there is no evidence that I am better than the average bot, but who cares. I am the player.
Awards and stats
The number one improvement goes to Ryzhov, but he is sold so there is no point looking at him.
Semenov is still a joy to look at though. Just don’t look at the negatives about how he feels he wants to move to bigger places.
The season is a milestone moment. When I finish this long game and look back, I would probably conveniently say “the first decade” and “the second decade”, because it is the 11th year in which we reached the top and broke into the European Championship.
However, in the same season we suffered a lot in terms of squad depth. There are a lot to be done to retain the team strength, let alone improving it.
Football Manager’s schedule generation has been a bit weird: the teams with European competitions often have lots of matches rearranged to make way for the European games. It is not uncommon that a team with European games to have played 4 fewer games than a team without.
For the past few seasons, I qualified for Europa League, and I was affected by this problem. The board often criticized me for the low league position, without taking the schedule into consideration.
This season, however, is the reverse problem: I have been constantly at the top place, because I am the only strong team without European competitions. It was all roses from the club board, but I know that once the season ends they will judge me on the actual ranking, which, again, makes it feel very weird.
Anyway, I maintained pretty good form to near the end of the season. When I had 3 games left, I needed to win the first game against Zenit to win the Russian Cup; win the second game against Zenit to potentially win the league, and, win the last game to secure a place in the European Championship. Unfortunately, I whiffed on all three, so all the way back to Europa League.
Matvichuk was unsettled by Rostov’s interest. I don’t understand why… Rostov plays in the same league and does not have a higher reputation than us. Anyway, I don’t feel like forcing him to stay. Instead I signed Magomed Giraev (€550K). The good thing about him is that he is much more similar to Justiniano and Silva, making rotation much easier.
Then, during the mid-season break, Chevallier who scored 10 goals (7 league and 3 cup) in half a season wanted to go to Espanyol. Again, I let him go, but this time I spent a whopping €5.5M on Yury Ovsyannikov. Unfortunately, there was a rule unknown to me which says that a player can’t be registered for three teams in the same season. As a loanee he already registered for both Dinamo Moscow and Sochi, so he couldn’t play for me in the season at all.
Besides these, I also signed Philipp Max, Florin Andone, Gianluca Sanna (mid-season) and Alexey Kartashov (mid-season) on free transfers. Max was supposed to be a cover for the left back position, but Isaev was good and consistent, so Philipp doesn’t get play time. Andone already has a retirement date set, so he was meant to be a one-year solution to avoid a potential weakness in front. It turned out that we did indeed have a weakness in front and Andone was useful, but not exceptional. Sanna does not get play time because Goreta was so much better and Dorokhov gets all the remaining time. Kartashov was useful, but still hard to get play time because Semenov is becoming a star, and Bijlsma is angry enough that I had to give the remaining time to him.
And finally, I signed the youngster Islam Dolgov (screenshot taken at the end of the season) as another left back option, and he was one of the reasons Max didn’t get to play.
Besides the above-mentioned Matvichuk, Chevallier and Max, Tashaev, Hansen and Gutiérrez also have transfers arranged in the last season. Paulson left on a free transfer. Terekhov and Megamadov started to feel like surpluses, so they were sold for some extra revenue.
This year’s youth intake is described as a potential golden generation.
Golden, perhaps, but something is definitely lacking there…
I signed the top three and fired the others. They actually have quite some potential, but I doubt the potential offsets the negative influences they might bring to youth teams.
The game is in a confused state with regards to European qualification. It says that I achieved it, but actually I didn’t, possibly because the last slot was decided by whether the Russian Cup winner is among the top four in the league.
And, as already mentioned, we ended up in the third place for the domestic league and the runner-up for the cup. Which is arguably the best result except Season 8, but the fact that it took a very poor run to prevent us to achieve more is saddening.
Finances and board
The finances situation is poor, but said to be stable (if you trust the in-game projections, which seems to be always off). I think that the situation is caused by us failing to qualify for continental football in the last season. The next season should see things improve.
However, a takeover happened during the season. The new boss apparently has different priorities. I talked to them, and apparently they dislike “signing young players for first team” but like “develop players using club’s youth team”.
I thus added the develop player one into the club’s philosophies. Hopefully, this will make club requests with regards to youth development easier. The old board was very stubborn against the idea of improving youth recruitment, for example.
The end of season awards. Most good stuff goes to Goreta, who has been incredible. Chevallier is the forward in the Team of the Season, despite having only spent half a season here. Giraev is indisputably the signing of the season.
Development story number one, Mikhail Semenov. He is still not a top performer, but 6 goals, 3 assists and 2 PoMs are a respectable stat. Reflecting this, he is now touted by media as a wonderkid.
Number two, Yegor Ryzhov. Despite the recommended role being central midfielder (attack), he is actually solid defensively as well, with enough height, strength and tackling to deal with threats of various kinds. But what is easily overlooked is his ambidexterity, which makes his first touch all the more relevant.
It is hard to say who is number three, since nobody really compared to the two in terms of improvement. Still, Goreta is worth mentioning because he is about the best player this season (sans Chevallier).
Finally, Kirillov, who I feel won’t actually work out. However, he scored 3 times (two of which are penalties though) and won one PoM. The problem, like I said in the last season, was that his playstyle seems to be only relevant against particular opponents, so that unless he gets really good, it would be very hard for him to start games.
It now feels that S9 was a particular disaster and we are now back on track. Problems remain to be solved, but at least I am now safe from immediate resignation and things are once again improving.
There is nothing much to say about. WordPress silently added an image rescaling functionality without any configurable UI. It automatically scales uploaded images when it thinks they are too “big” and thus “unoptimized for SEO”. The Football Manager game logs therefore have blurry images, while the Europa Universalis ones didn’t, because they were uploaded before the update that brought this functionality.
Here is the complaint: shouldn’t the default behavior be as straightforward as possible, and leave tasks like SEO to dedicated SEO plugins? That way, people who doesn’t care about SEO (like me) won’t need to worry about anything.
To make things worse, WordPress still keeps the original big images. There is just no button to use them. They just sit in a purposeless back store, wasting the space for no purposes. Speaking of which, vanilla WordPress should spend more time on media management, like, allowing me to organize my images with folders. Just a few years of Football Manager is already a chore, and I can’t understand how can people use WordPress as actual photo galleries. That is an area I am not comfortable with plugins, since I feel it is tightly coupled with all underlying mechanisms and is best not touched by any outsider.
OK, back to topic. I added this to my subtheme.
add_filter( 'big_image_size_threshold', '__return_false' );
Problem solved, but it’s a problem that should never appear in the first place.
After an eventful Season 8, the game (and the player, that is, me) never ceases to excite!
In short, I set a very high seasonal goal, then brought in many free transfers. It turned to be a disaster: the free transfers took too long to merge in the squad, meanwhile dragging down the team and complaining about lack of first team opportunities at the same time. By the time I mostly sort out the problems, I had little time to turn the tide.
Evert Bijlsma (free tranfer). One of the top performers. Had I not have the other future star, Semenov, He would have been featured even more this season.
Alexandr Novitskiy (free tranfer). A solid goalkeeper that started most of the games. I am still not sure it is the wisest move to spend a foreigner slot for a goalie though.
Régis Chevallier (free transfer). As belligerent as his name (“King Knight”) sounds. Started the season extremely poorly, by getting himself a red card twice, and both times happened at the beginning of the respective games. However, he improved a lot in the season and by the end he seemed a reliable choice between him, the unhappy Hansen, the inconsistent Leovac and the injury-prune Capanni.
Sontje Hanson (free transfer). A real world Ajax production. Plays well as a striker, plays well as a shadow striker. Only problem, I thought I gave him enough time to play, but he didn’t agree. Sold as quickly as possible to reduce cost and avoid unsettling others. Overall, he is part of the sad story of this season.
Andrey Ivannikov (free transfer). Became the third choice for shadow striker after Bijlsma and Semenov, but due to being a Russian he has more chances to feature. Still, not as good as expected.
Raúl Gutiérrez (free transfer). Doesn’t complain but never get going either.
Viktor Claesson (free transfer). He had played in the Russian league for years, spoke good Russian, and thus almost immediately become a team leader upon joining. However, his preferred tactical role (a left-wing Raumdeuter) isn’t part of my default tactics and making way for a short term sign feels weird. Ultimately, I can’t figure out how to use an offensive player without pace nor stamina, besides as a super sub. He wasn’t flattered by the super sub idea, so another unhappy guy in the locker room.
And, probably due to his high status, the first time I heard he was unhappy he was already complaining to all players. The second time, already to the reporters. There was never a chance to settle this privately…
Alexandr Tashaev (free transfer). Screenshot taken at the end of the season. Another unhappy guy who quickly signed for another club. Admittedly, despite the scouts’ low opinion for him I should have him start a few games to see what happens. He was decent in the cup games he played.
Finally, Godfred Donsah (€300K) during the mid-season break. He scored a goal in his first Shinnik match, but afterwards, disappointing. He wasn’t unhappy yet, but there is always the danger…
Besides these, I signed lots of young players with good mentality but lacks ability or potential. Alexandr Kalinin (free transfer) might be an exception as he looks like at least a good backup player.
Berezov (€5.5M) was angry because I promised European Championship but only qualified for a qualification round. Andrea Marcucci fetched €115K, which still puts us at a loss because he was never good enough to play.
Hansen, Claesson and Tashaev have transfers arranged already.
I sign young players for both high potential and good mentality. But there are nobody with good mentality this year, so I only signed the top three players.
Yegor Ryzhov. He turned out to be one of the top performers of the senior team, scoring one goal and contributing one assist in his 4 starts and 1 game as a sub. Now he is a fairly professional player whose stated goal is “feels the team has more potential and wants to help them realize it”.
Dmitry Galperin. Has the potential, but the casual personality is going to be troublesome. Imagine this: other guys are training hard, while this guy finds a corner in the training room, and plays Football Manager 2019 on his laptop! He even spends more time writing about what happens in his game on a blog, than improving himself!
Vladimir Kirillov. Short poacher-type strikers seem to be over-represented among generated young players. In other words, they get generated often but seldom make it to senior teams. I am usually not impressed with how single-dimensional they are. But Kirillov has heading and teamwork, so it might adds something to him.
European competitions were a disaster for us. In the Championship qualification round I met Sporting Lisbon, then in the Group Stage of the Europa League I met Chelsea. It always felt like uphill battles.
The domestic league was a mystery. At times I was four games behind top teams due to schedule problems. The team was at times ranked 7th or 8th but it was all bad statistics and offered little insight, but it prompted the club management to give me one final month for improvement. Thankfully, the month was packed in action and the team happened to be in a good run, so the improvement goal was easily reached. Then another poor run saw us ending up in the 5th position and missing out European competitions.
Semenov has been excellent in training and saw major development in key attributes. His actual performance leaves much to be desired though…
And Ryzhov… who only joined the team for half a season and already made a difference.
Few of other players have very notable developments.
So the game is in its 9th season and it is ever exciting — now I escaped the board’s decision to fire me, but they remain unhappy about this season and I am now in a dangerous position.
Two seasons’ (mis)management left me a squad with a curiously high person count but still have a few positions (right winger, for example) seriously lacking. There are much work to do next season, and the allowed margin of error is narrowing…
Yep. Another season. A season with the best results so far. A season with the worst events so far.
The game engine has been criminally underestimate our income for quite a while. As a result, during the middle of the season I was unable to extend the contract of any player. The other teams seized the opportunity and bought players from me using the minimal price clauses.
As a result, multiple important players left.
Also, the season was marred by multiple terrible injuries leading to players resting for 5 months each. I had to buy players to cover the vulnerable positions. This was the theme of the season.
Igor Demenko (€1.2K)
Arsen Megamadov (€190K) was signed to replace Novichikhin since he has a better personality. Unfortunately, his ability turned to be low, which made him not very influential and instead he was influenced and soon changed to be a Fairly Professional team member.
Denis Dorokhov (€1.5M). He was signed because we were severely lacking in the left midfielder position. On one hand he was the last straw to the (imaginary) dire financial situation, on the other hand he was about the only left winger I would rely upon during the season.
Sergey Frolov (€1.3K). Signed for perfectionism, but again, without reputation or ability to quickly establish oneself in the squad, one would only be negatively influenced by the team and turn into yet another Fairly Professional player…
The mid-season window was one I lost lots of important players. So there were panic buys.
Danijel Goreta (€250K). Screenshot at the end of the season. Probably the future star, but foreign players tend to take longer to blend in.
Victor Yerastov (€1.2K). Screenshot taken at the end of the season. The goal is to add some flair to a mostly defensive group of midfielders, but he was unable to add to the team in this season.
Andrea Marcucci (Free). Probably shouldn’t have signed him.
And Magomed Smolkin (€1.1K), an attempt to sign a youngster before the scout reports. Which was a failure.
Koleinn Birgir Finnsson was unhappy about the number of matches to play here. He left the team.
The mid-season fiasco began with an irrefutable request for Khetag Khosonov (€2.2M). Then Béla Horváth (€1.6M). Then Magomed-Shapi Suleimanov (€8.25M). I also used the time to sell Maxim Churkin (€450K), Alexey Litvinov (€120K) and German Novichikhin (€725K).
With only half a season in Shinnik, Khosonov still won the Head Coach’s select award.
We have some good players and professional players, but not both. In comparison, Aliev from the last season was much better.
Some of the better players:
The season begins with the Russian Super Cup, a single match between the league winner and the cup winner. It ended up in our favor.
The Russian Cup, we were not lucky and drew Spartak Moscow in Eighth Final and lost. In Europa League we made it to the quarterfinal and lost to Arsenal. Ironically the eventual winner was Wolfsberg, which we encountered in the group stage and beated them on goal differences.
Finally, after a very long winning streak and a very long streak of not losing, the last few games were played rather poorly, and even a win against Dinamo Moscow in the last match was not enough for us to bounce to the top.
End-of-season awards and statistics.
Voronin and Kukushkin won the best player and top goalscorer for the B-team respectively.
Nikolay Yarkin. Due to Horváth’s departure and Pinto’s injury, Nikolay Yarkin turned into a very important team member. His primary position is still right fullback, but his ability to play on both wings helped a lot.
Isaev and Berezov continued to improve, but they probably hit their potential limit now.
Ditto for Capanni, who had a very good season.
Mikhail Semenov, Mikhail Aliev and Ruslan Popov are able to start matches, albeit only occasionally.
Unfortunately Alan Yuriev mostly worsened.
And Pinto, plagued by injury, was also setback.
It goes by the famous quotation “it’s the economy, stupid”, that without a solid financial foundation, the success won’t last.
Ironically, due to how economy is modeled in the game, perhaps the best way to stay financially stable is to stay in the European Championship as best as I can. The prize money would probably be my single major income source for the future years.
For the squad, it feels weakened when compared to it was one year ago, but it also felt that we no longer have particularly weak or vulnerable positions. Left fullback is probably the most problematic position now, but a healthy Isaev would suffice.
Also, now I am with a transfer budget larger than I ever had, it is time to look for useful additions to the team.
Another few months have passed without me posting anything about the Football Manager game. During those months I was generally very busy, and when I wasn’t, I was playing MTG or No Man’s Sky.
Still, I actually left my Football Manager save game at the end of Season 7, so it is time to quickly document what happened in the season.
Mikhail Yegorov (€2.7M). He instantly became an important playmaker. However, before he blended in the squad, he was influenced by the team and his personality changed to Fairly Professional.
Vladimir Moskvichev (€2.1M). Defensive midfielder is a position I rarely use in this run, but he was also useful in the neutral position. He also turned into Fairly Professional.
Magomed-Shapi Suleimanov (free). A good player, but does not perfectly fit in our current formations. Still, he contributed a lot in Europa League games.
Bychkov (€1.3K). A transfer for the future, but due to injuries he actually started a few games.
Nikolay Yarkin (€1.1K).
Kirill Andreichenko (€1.1K). Started a few games. Determination dropped to 14.
Alexandr Goncharov (€300K). He has good personality, but his height might be a problem if he were to be the first pick goalie.
AC Milan came up with a offer for Branko Hustic, which immediately unsettled the star of the last season. Instead of trying to force him to stay, I opted to negotiate a good deal. It ended with €2.1M with extra clauses that could potentially raise the value to €8M.
Let’s be honest: before I am able to persuade the management to increase youth coaching budget, I will not put too much hope in youth intake.
Still, the top ones look promising.
And Mikhail Semenov. I failed to take a screenshot during the youth intake, so the following image is at the end of the season.
We finished the premier league at 4th, and will be able to play Europa League again. However, we lost significantly more games. Still, we are very above the expectations, and the results brought me another Head Coach of the Year.
And now, the whole team agrees that we should be a Europa League regular.
Despite the worse league position, we made progress on other fronts. In Europa League, we made it in the second knockout round, only to lose to Bilbao.
And we won the Russian Cup.
And finally, here are the end of season awards.
And seasonal stats.
Marko Leovac had a good season, though his attributes only increased a bit.
Ditto for Maxim Berezov.
Luigi Pinto turned into a key player.
Luan Capanni had a disappointing season, troubled by injuries and poor form.
Maxim Chernyshov is the best performing player in the league this season, and he improved a lot as well.
Alan Yuriev broke into the first team, as a rotation player.
Béla Horváth regained some of the lost determination, and his addition of the left back position enabled him, Isaev and Pinto to coexist well.
And the biggest improvement is probably from Alexey Isaev, whose continued improvement makes the loss of Titov rather forgettable now.
The league feels more like a grind now — instead of top performance, what matters is avoidance of poor runs. I am not expecting huge improvements in the short term now, since luck plays a big role. However, I expect to see gradual improvements in club reputation, facility, consistency in performance and depth in squad.
The hard disk failure has stopped me from playing FM for a while, but I am eventually back…
With the major breakage, much needs to be done to get the system back to a usable state. But perhaps more importantly, I need to make a plan to make future recovery less frustrating.