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”

Theme color meta tag added

It’s mostly a Chrome perk, but a website without a theme-color meta tag looks “less finished” when viewed on Chrome on Android, which I happen to use.

So, here it is.

Currently, it is implemented as a overridden header.php in my child theme. This is the fastest way to get it working but probably not the best way in the long run, because the source version control problems it comes with.