Football Manager 2019 Shinnik Season 4

Seasonal Changes

The best defender among those that formed my shabby defense line last season, Ivan Khomkha was sold for a healthy profit. Along with Radik Khairullov and Valery Tskhovrebov, I basically sold my whole defense line. To compensate for that, I also brought in new defenders.

Defenders

Béla Horváth has become my best right fullback.

And Semyon Matviychuk becomes my first pick central defender.

Midfielders

Khetag Khosonov has been a great playmaker this season. Late this season I try to train and use him as an attacking central midfielder, since the playmaker concept is a bit old fashioned. In one game it would work greatly, but in another game the playmaker might be completely shut up if the opponent sets the tactics properly.

I want to make everyone more or less able to create chances, and it means that I should not stick one player to the playmaker position.

Anyway, I have digressed. Khosonov is brilliant.

And finally, Maxim Chernyshov. Stories say that when my scout asked him (in Russian) if he preferred to cut inwards or outrun from the outside, he answered, “what?” He is a player who is equally adept at using his two feet, and he can play either role equally well.

I, at first, was confused by this and gave him few chances, but later the season it became apparent that he is obviously my best wide player.

Also, Solodkin’s injury proneness often means I don’t get to choose.

Youth Intake

The youth intake just gets worse and worse.

From what I read from various sources, the game handles youth intake thus:

  • It generates a pool of players for each nation;
  • The Heads of Youth Development of each team pick players according to their judging ability, preferred style and perhaps the club’s geographical location (I keep receiving local talents from Yaroslavl, for example) from the pool, ordered by the clubs’ youth recruitment ratings.
  • The players then get their current ability influenced by the clubs’ youth tutoring ratings.

Thus, if I get worse and worse players despite keeping the same Heads of Youth Development and the ratings, and Russia as a whole does not decline in the footballing world, it must mean that other clubs have improved their youth recruitment ratings.

In other world, we are beaten in the advertisement competition.

The better players among them are Sergey Vorontsov, Vadim Goncharov and Dmitry Makarov.

Season Summary

We reached the 6th place in the Russian Premier League, though a EURO cup place is quite far from reach.

The B-team, which is technically delegated to its own head coach, also performed well. Note that as a B team it cannot promote from the third level, so I do not have incentive to move good players into it. Keeping it there is useful though.

The best eleven sees little change besides the addition of Horváth.

And indeed, Horváth has been such a huge success. The Hungarian has become a fan favorite, defended well and provided 4 assists this season.

The top scorer again has only scored 5 goals, this time by Dyadyun.

Player Development

Béla Horváth

Béla is already very good and had little development in most attributes. However, he gained a whole 3 points of determination in this season.

Yaroslav Titov

Yaroslav (a nice name for our team, by the way) has become faster, more determined, better at marking and positioning himself, and simply better in all aspects.

Maxim Churkin

Churkin has also improved his determination by one point and moderately improved in all aspects.

Others

Novichikhin, Khosonov, Matviychuk and Terekhov all lost some determination and did not see major improvement either. But as they (except Novichikhin) needed some time to adapt to my team, their actual performance is better than when they first joined us.

Finances

The payroll gets higher and higher, but at the same time our income steadily increases and the prize money is also increased due to the good performance. Overall, the financial outlook is stable, but we do lack money to improve facilities or youth recruitment (which has been an embarassment for seasons).

Social Groups

I have been looking at the social groups every now and then, however, it has usually been one core group and one secondary group consisting of new players. This time, however, I have three pretty stable social groups: the core “fairly professional” group, the secondary “balanced” group, and another secondary “Belarusian” group.

Obviously, the “fairly professional” group is the most important one, as I want a core of high professionalism. However, members of the second group actually holds more influence. While Cherevko is still my captain, his lack of playing time has caused a reduced status.

The Belarusian group actually contains Béla, who is from Hungary. They are actually grouped for multiple reasons: they are all foreign (to Russia), they are all newcomers, and they are all with high professionalism. Hopefully, as second factor fades, the group will merge with the core group and then the core group will again become more influential.

I like this aspect of game. Signing a player is a consideration in so many aspects. You want not only high ability (or potential) and tactical suitability, you also care about mentality, and how they blend socially with other team members.

Conclusion

This is the first season in the premier league where the end-of-season meeting ended in a consensus that we will not be relegated next season. Higher expectations come from solid performance, better squad depth, but it also means harsher treatment if I fail to meat the expectations. Perhaps another narrow escape like it happened in Season 3 would not fare well for me!

Football Manager 2019 Shinnik Season 3

Seasonal Changes

Following the excellent performance in the last season, Shinnik 2 had entered Second Division – West, and turned professional. I guess the previous semi-professional status was imposed as part of the league limitations, but implementing it to B teams still sound weird.

Attackers

To fix the severe forward problem, I brought in Vladimir Dyadyun and Khyzyr Appaev:

Unfortunately, Dyadyun joined later than Appaev, and Appaev immediately complained as he felt his position was threatened by Dyadyun. My attempt to appease him without making promises backfired, and I ended up with an unhappy Appaev.

To make things worse, Bulia was still angry about the selling of Tarasov. I thought his request was like “give young players a chance”, but actually he also cared about their performances, and my attempt to bring more young players to play made him even more unhappy about the result. It was until the later stage of the season he decided to forget about it.

A more important addition to the team is Alexey Terekhov (screenshot taken at the end of the season). He solved my “where should I play Matskhashivili” problem — now that I have two strong AMCs, it became mandatory that I build my formation around this reality. And hence 4-4-1-1 became my main tactics for this season.

Defenders

Igor Kuzmenok (€11K), Roman Yakuba and Papa Gueye (€165K) are added to reinforce the defense line. Unfortunately, Gueye spent one season (with 12 appearance and decent performance) before he decided to retire.

Kuzmenok had been the fourth pick, and Smolkin was also often ahead of him because of his young age and Bulia’s unhappiness thing. As a result, Kuzmenok was a bit under-utilized.

Yakuba was loaned out.

Outgoing Players

Evgeny Steshin and Dmitry Samoilov were sold out as they still had long contracts and were good players but under-utilized in the previous season.

The youth player Dmitry Beznyak fetched €165K after being unsettled by his favored club SKA Khabarovsk. At least no senior player is mad at me this time.

Cherevko is still very useful (in both mentoring and playing), but he generated rather poor coaching abilities, and he only wants a coach/player contract, which I ran out of slots for.

Youth Intake

Another year of disappointing youth intakes. I guess it proves that the youth coaching and youth recruitment ratings matter much more than Head of Youth Development attributes.

Anyway, Alan Yurjev and Maxim Gavrilin might be useful:

And Iljas Akinfeev might bring some positive change to the U18 team, I guess.

Season Summary

Since the original captain Nizamutdinov had retired, I chose Cherevko as the new captain for his decent leadership and awesome personality. However, there are three or four players who were more popular than Cherevko, and my decision caused a wave of unhappiness. Which turned out to be a metaphor of what is to come during the season.

Unhappy forwards, less-useful-than-expected defenders, and apparently my wingers also connecting fewer crosses (possibly due to my opponents figuring out how to counter me), and my second season in the top tier league was an unfortunate one. We ended up in the 13th position, and had to avoid relegation via the away goal rule.

The team best eleven makes little change.

None of the players had an average rating over 7, and the best player is our goalkeeper, Novichikhin.

Another positive thing that happened in this season is that we managed to upgrade the training facilities to “great” and the youth training facilities to “average”.

Player Development

German Novichikhin

The attacking sweeper keeper has been the top player this season. He also won the second place of Russian Young Player of the Season.

Yaroslav Titov

Titov has been rather poor this season. However, in one match he had been so poor that when I fined him for poor performance, he learned from his mistake and changed his personality to Professional.

Of course, professional personality with determination 9 and also a low ambition is about the worst kind of professional, but it is still something nice to have.

Maxim Churkin

Finally, Maxim Churkin has featured in many matches this season after getting familiar with the more advanced position (MC as opposed to DM).

Finances

Higher expenditure, projects to upgrade training facilities, and lower season bonus (due to a worse position) makes a much worse financial position.

Conclusion

I get the kind of dramatic downturn that makes this game so interesting. Everything falls apart, yet I survived.

Now we can enjoy the hard fought season break, and hope that the next season will be more lenient to us.

 

Football Manager 2019 Shinnik Season 2

Seasonal Changes

Both Nizamutdinov and Yashin decided to retire after this season.

Due to the aging of Nizamutdinov and the end of the loan of Samodin, the team was lacking in attacking, and I brought Serbian former national team striker Dragan Mrdja. However, Dragan is too slow to pose much threat in front of goal, and he had to contribute more in the form of assists. He also decided to retire after this season. Despite scoring only two goals, he managed to make it into the overall best eleven.

Injury problem also led me to reinforce the left midfielder position with Vladimir Kamešs, a Latvian national team player who had played in Russian for years.

The lack of strength in central field led me to bring in Oleg Aleinik:

And the future of my defense line might lie on the expensively bought defender, Marat Smolkin:

Another future star, Alexandr Solodkin, turned out to be too injury prone to do anything this season. Despite the unfortunate events, he might still have a future here.

Roman Tarasov was unhappy when I blocked a transfer request, as he was too ambitious to stay here. Failing to convince him that he had a future here, I decided to allow him to go for the right price. Unfortunately the right price (€450K) is lower than I wanted, but I needed to keep the atmosphere.

Well, things were not so simple. Bulia was upset that I sold the future star at such a cheap price (which I agree, sadly), and I had to promise him that I will play young players regularly.

Finally, Ivan Khomkha turned out to be a very important addition to the team.

Youth Intake

I was not satisfied with the quality of this youth intake, and I quickly sacked the old Head of Youth Development and hired a new one. But now that I think about it, perhaps the players have lower ratings only because the club is now in a higher position and has higher expectations.

Among the youth players, Mikhail Lyubimov looks the most promising:

The other promising guys include Vitaly Voronin and Linar Kukushkin:

The old HoYD, Vladimir Ponomarev, had excellent personality but not so much ability. Perhaps I overvalued the former and undervalued the latter?

… anyway, I replaced him with Andrey Polischuk, who is much more expensive but is excellent in both. Let’s see if he can bring in better young players in the future.

Season Summary

Despite the pessimism of my team, it turned out that my defense line is mostly solid (as long as I don’t use double attacking full backs), and it enabled me to more or less consistently fetch points against weaker teams, and also won 3-0 against CSKA Moscow in a lucky encounter. We ended up in the 8th position (the tiebreaker between Shinnik, Zenit and Arsenal Tula had gone in favor of us).

The result also earned me a Head Coach of the Year.

But possibly more importantly, Shinnik 2 had also been promoted to the Second Division. It is currently still of semi-professional status and uncontrollable, but perhaps the status will change once we reach even higher position?

Since our success builds on a solid defense, the various seasonal awards go to defenders.

Attribute Changes

Nikita Matskharashivili has grown into one of the most important players in the team, though his lack of versatility still makes problems.

But more impressive is German Noivichkhin, who is now my first choice goalkeeper, and has completed his first assist in the league in this season.

Finances

The board had set strict budgets and had accused me of overspending, but apparently by avoiding relegation, the club is in a rather stable financial situation right now.

The club also agreed to improve both senior and youth training facilities. They are currently “good” and “adquate” respectively.

End-of-Season Thoughts

The last season was a defenders’ success, but the lack of strength in attack will become more severe now that both Nizamutdinov and Mrdja retire. It is a problem that needs to be dealt with or I will have big trouble.

The promise to Bulia more or less dictates me to continue to use and try to improve the youth players. Which is a bit troublesome due to how far they are from first team level.

The right back position has been very successful these seasons, but Cherevko is aging and his future replacement, Minele, has a low determination score, and it is a problem with big match catch-ups. The central midfielder position has a similar problem with old Aleinik and young-and-less-determined Kamilov, but Kamilov’s sheer ability makes it less a problem.

Football Manager 2019 Shinnik Season 1

Pre-season Overview

The initial team hierarchy looks like this.

The manager facegen sucks, hence I used a face that completely does not look like me

And the list of players.

Key Players

Eldar Nizamutdinov

The team captain, Eldar Nizamutdinov, is 37 years old, and one of the few players with a positive personality. If he stays healthy he could be the key of short term excellence. And in any way, he would be useful in tutoring the young lads.

Eldar Nizamutdinov in 20

Dmitry Yashin

The vice captain, Dmitry Yashin, is also 36 years old, and also resolute. However, as a goalkeeper, he could probably stay on team for longer, and potentially be the captain for the next few years. The in-game media description of “journeyman goalkeeper” is quite unwarranted, as Yashin has stayed in Shinnik for 6 years.

Sergey Samodin

The third important player, Sergey Samodin, 33, is a loanee forward from Krylja Sovetov. He isn’t particularly strong, tall or fast, but is all-rounded and hard working. It’s a bit hard to imagine him to feature prominently in my team, but it’s also hard to imagine completely ignoring such a useful player.

He previously had a successful spell (11 goals in 17 games) in Shinnik. Perhaps that explains his high club status despite being a loanee.

Eduard Bulia

A forward that is both tall and fast. He is not terribly good at headers, but he makes it up with various other qualities. And he has good mentality attributes.

He will probably be important in a pressing game, and probably part of the team core when the older players retire.

Future Stars

Nikita Matskharashvili

Young and nimble attacking midfielder, ex-CSKA trainee. I need to find a way to boost his determination, but more importantly, he plays at a position where virtually nobody else in the club plays at. Either I accommodate for his talents and build tactics around him, or I train him into a deep-lying forward. I feel the second plan is risky. I never fully understand how to properly train players to unnatural positions, maybe it’s not a good option to begin with.

Andrey Ivanov

20 years old and already the first pick left fullback. Looks quite versatile.

Oleg Kozhemyakin

First-pick defensive midfielder and third-pick central midfielder. Similar to the situation of Nikita, Oleg’s presence makes me want to decide whether to use a defensive midfielder in my formation. But to be honest, the decision will probably be based on the opponent, rather than my own plan. Anyway, it looks like Oleg will be part of my plan in many different ways.

Tactics

Following the discussion above, I prepared three tactics. They are currently all basically gegenpress of some kind, but with different formations: 4-4-1-1, 4-4-2 and 4-1-3-2, with  the major variation being about whether to use an attacking midfielder or a defensive midfielder.

Youth Intake

The best young players are Maxim Churkin, Roman Tarasov and German Novichikhin. The former two are both defensive midfielders, while the latter is a very eccentric goalkeeper.

Finances

With just 2,000 season ticket holders and average attendance of just 2,169, the club mostly relied on grants and sponsorship, which means the board room tends to give generous budgets but become more and more stringent during the season. It also resulted in a transfer embargo during the winter.

It turned out the season actually ended in a profit and hence needed to be taxed. FM finances is weird. Or perhaps football financial rules (I’m looking at you, FFP) are weird in general.

End of Season Summary

Despite a slow start (probably due to tactical familiarity), we managed to win the First Division with one game left.

Bulia turns out to be even more useful than I thought. He completed two hat-tricks and is generally unstoppable in the league, though he is also a bit injury prone.

Deobald could play as both Wide Playmaker or Inverted Winger. Inverted Winger sounds like the more natural choice but that never worked out well, but on the other hand Deobald as the Wide Playmaker worked particularly well, and having an attacking left full back, Ivanov, who is also the best performer in the team, certainly helped.

The position of right fullback was problematic until Cherevko was brought in. He is old (30 years old) and expensive, but well worth it. He is also professional and has many positive traits, a perfect tutor for my fullbacks and maybe wingers.

Matskharashivili is not featured in the team but actually played more games than Samodin. He showed great improvement in the season.

Kozhemyakin, while successful, unfortunately spent lots of time in injury. Ivanov is super good but not “future star” in the sense of improvements: he has probably reached his potential.

End

The end-of-season team meeting ended in a surprisingly pessimistic manner: I tried to talk about the potential hardship of avoiding relegation in the next season in Russian Premier League, but all the players felt necessary to educate me that it was no fight and we will be relegated.

On one hand, it means there will be less pressure on me in the next season; on the other hand, it makes me terribly curious about how hard it will be.

Football Manager 2019: Setup for a second game

Having learned that playing Argentina lower leagues in Football Manager 2019 might be a bad idea, I decide to start another game… And hopefully, this time it should not involve complicated mods, or too many mods.

I first considered Algeria, a country that speaks Arabic, Berber and French, which is a very interesting mix considering the in-game language mechanics. However, I decided against it because the game by default offers very little in Africa, as only one country (South Africa) is included by default. I will have to include lots of African databases. And no, I don’t want to debug wild databases this time.

Then I considered Spain, which has an interesting mechanism in that B teams are allowed to play in regular leagues. However, I also decided against it because the Spanish league is so successful. After a successful game in Bundesliga I want to play in a slightly weaker league.

The B team thing leads to another place, Russia.

And, looking at the bear logo of the Russian league, I know what team I am going to pick.Read more“Football Manager 2019: Setup for a second game”

Two simple zsh themes

I have been using bash for a few years, and I found it hard to migrate to other shells because I have already created a small collection of helper functions and scripts for my everyday use.

For zsh, I had quite some analysis paralysis for it: it is not quite functional right after installation, but the commonly installed oh-my-zsh comes with about one hundred themes, and the configuration starts to get overwhelming. And to make things worse, this is not completely about aesthetics: each theme offers different functionality and look and feel.

Read more“Two simple zsh themes”

Football Manager 2019: Argentina Low Level League is Hard

I am not saying that playing in the low level leagues in Argentina is hard. Instead, merely trying to get it working properly is impossible enough. I have wasted enough hours on this. This serves as a warning for anyone brave enough to come up with a similar idea.

As we all know, FM2019 (or any other version of FM) comes with only two playable leagues in Argentina. Those who want to play amateur, semi-professional teams in regional or just low-level leagues are out of luck without the help of mods.

Well, what if we do use mods?

Read more“Football Manager 2019: Argentina Low Level League is Hard”