It’s not you, its me

Jumping in to the world of a journeyman was a new experience and one that at times didn’t sit easily with me.  Much as the annoying player who is too big for his boots, I planned on treating Lokomotiva Kosice as a stepping stone to bigger and better things.  As a result I didn’t feel the need to invest in youth or put anything in place for the longer term (sounds like the Mourinho approach!) and instead focused on the short term.

I started with a low rep and low stats and not surprisingly the collection of Slovak cloggers at my disposal were none too impressed.  They spent much of their time playing on their mobile phones and much less of their time listening to their new gaffer.  Team talks often fell on deaf ears, although the shallow bunch were always willing to receive some praise when it was forthcoming.

The plan for season one was to consolidate.  The bookies had us down as a middle of the road team with only an outside chance of promotion, and as I got used to the new game, my new surroundings and then my new laptop, I was more inclined to agree with them.

I decided to work with the players at my disposal at least until January and then review things in the three month (!) winter break.

The pre season form was certainly nothing to get too excited about.  The plus side of conceding twice in six games was tempered by the fact we only scored three times in the same six games.

The fans were already showing signs of discontent with yours truly coming in for some stick on social media.  Not to be deterred we ploughed.  I would like to say things improved but I am not here to lie to you.  After a truly awful start I was pleading with the board not to send me back to England with my tail between my legs.

Things did pick up as the season progressed and we ended up in mid table after an eight game unbeaten streak.  This coincided with a change in approach on the pitch.  I had two quick strikers at my disposal and not a lot of creativity in the middle.  I decided to adopt some percentage football and started launching it long and the more simplistic approach seemed to pay off.

I brought in two players on loan from the Slovak top flight in the January window and this added quality saw a much better second half of the season.

We had a couple of horror shows including a 1-6 reverse at Poprad but overall were playing better.  The players started to hate me a little less after a consistent spell of blowing smoke up their rear ends.

We were predicted seventh place so exceeding expectations by one spot, whilst not amazing, was steady enough.

I had at this point acquired a new laptop and once I had moved everything over was in the position to play much quicker.  I ploughed straight in to season two with largely the same squad aided by the permanent signing on one of my loanees and a couple of useful regens from my first cohort.

This time we sat in third place at the winter break but very much in contention for promotion.  First place secures automatic promotion and second place get to play off against second bottom from the top tier.

Somehow we managed to go unbeaten for the second half of the season, securing top spot with a game to spare.

I was delighted at this as although it was on the cards I did have my doubts with the lack of a play off safety net.

I must confess that I didn’t feel any affinity to Lokomotiva Kosice and yet again channelled the grumpy Portuguese as I looked to new horizons even as the celebrations were going on around me.

 

With that in mind, it was not even with a heavy heart that I tendered my resignation.  I knew that we wouldn’t compete in the top flight and wanted to broaden my horizons.

So here I am, out of my comfort zone on the dole looking for a new club.  A few months went by but then the phone rang.  I didn’t recognise the number nor the international dialling prefix +48…

EDIT – this was an intentionally brief post to bring things up to date.  The plan is for more depth as the game develops.  For anyone who is tech savvy I am also posting updates on FM Slack on the #journeymen channel.  If you need any assistance give @FM_Samo a shout over on twitter.

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Wherever I lay my hat

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas? Balls to that retail induced horror show, I’m talking about the annual Football Manager release.

In years gone by I’ve ended up with over elaborate ‘reveals’ with teams whittled down from 10+ the final pick. This year I’ve been missing inspiration to the point where I’m penning this piece with no clue where I’ll end up plying my trade.

What I do know is that the lack of desire to start an empire is leading me down a different path. In years gone by I’ve had saves from the lower reaches of France, Germany, Italy and Spain that have all culminated in top flight football and in three of the four titles and elite competition. Failed attempts at the same challenge in smaller leagues rules that plan out, so I am trying something different (for me) and giving a journeyman save a try.

Only once in the last six years of FM have I left a club to move to another. As in real life, I tend to fall in love easily and don’t like to leave. I’ll be breaking out of my comfort zone and experiencing more clubs than Geordie Shore on tour.

The plan is to wind up with a big job in a big league, but for the first time I’ll work my way up to it rather than start with said club or turn a David in to a Goliath.

I don’t want to start in England and also want to give the aforementioned league a miss. I’ve also been to Sweden and Belgium recently so they are out.

With that in mind, my bags are packed and I’m off to FC Lokomotiva Kosice in deepest, darkest…….let me check…….yep, Slovakia.

The plan? Win games, build my rep and move on. Add leagues, play in Europe, build my rep and move on. Will it work? God knows! I’ll give it a damn good try though.

Thanks for reading. Poďme to urobiť as they said in Kosice

You can be my Wingman any time

With half the season gone we were sitting happy at the top of the league.  As with most FM saves, when things are going well, it is easier to fire it up and get some game time in.  This was proving to be no exception and I was rattling through the games at a rate of knots.  What I hadn’t really done was look at squad development in any depth.  I had brought a couple of younger players through to the first team squad but didn’t look at how things might pan out in the future. Continue reading You can be my Wingman any time

Adios Spain, Halla Sweden

You know that feeling when an FM save is ebbing away?  The urge to play has faded and it is habit that brings you back.  Well alas I realised I had reached that point with Alcoyano.  Rather than plod on, I decided that with a number of months left before FM18 I could easily get in to a new save, so that is what I’ve done.

All my recent successful saves have involved bringing a club up through the divisions (Amiens, Hansa Rostock, Sudtirol and Alcoyano).  This time round I have decided to chance my arm at a youth development save.  I think part of the reason I wasn’t enjoying Alcoyano was it was a real struggle to develop the club enough to bring players through.  I had pots of money from wheeler dealing but the infrastructure developments were taking too long. Continue reading Adios Spain, Halla Sweden

Breaking the duopoly

Fourth place in our second La Liga campaign was way more than I’d ever anticipated.  Little Alcoyano from the Valencian foothills were off to have bash in the Champions League having never played a competitive continental game ever.  Whilst this was obviously a huge achievement it is something we were not really equipped for.  The squad that finished fourth was small and still contained a number of players from the Segunda campaign who whilst trying their hardest were not of the greatest quality.

I decided to invest as much as we could across the board strengthening all positions.  We had £14m available to spend but not a lot of wriggle room in the wage bill (more of which later). Continue reading Breaking the duopoly

Sixth season successes

Finishing 10th in our first La Liga campaign was more that I could have dreamed of given the scant resources at Alcoyano.  As I alluded to in the last post, we would have settled for fourth bottom but instead thrived amongst the big boys.

Rather than resting on our laurels I immediately set about making changes that could help continue our progress.  With some money in the bank and my achievements setting me in good stead I approached the board to ask for investment in both the training and youth facilities.  Whilst I was happy being a wheeler dealer I always like the academy to through a decent player my way every now and then.  Unfortunately in this save I haven’t had anyone of sufficient quality to challenge for a place in the first team, even lower down the leagues. Continue reading Sixth season successes

Sink or swim

My first game in charge of CD Alcoyano was an inauspicious 0-1 defeat to the unfortunately named Prat in August 2016.  Since then we’ve been on a bit a journey and find ourselves at the top table in La Liga for the first time in the club’s history.   Having secured second place in Segunda it was time to welcome to big guns to El Collao, and they don’t get any bigger than the pride of Catyluna.

4-fix-out Continue reading Sink or swim