A Single to Tulungagung Please…

An FM’09 career by bazhsw

Leagues loaded: Australia (all) England (all), Germany (First Division only), Indonesia (all), Italy (Serie A only), Malaysia (all), Singapore (all), and Spain (LIGA BBVA only)


Never one for the beaches of Spain I find myself holidaying in Java, Indonesia. There after a night on the booze I got talking to this guy with a llama called Frank and whilst boasting about my football knowledge mentioned that a local team, Persikad was looking for a manager. In a drunken show of humility I said I didn’t want the job since the previous year they had been promoted to the Indonesian Premier League and as a consequence shouldn’t be touting for business with Frank anyway. Out of the shadows stepped a gentleman who said he couldn’t give me any wages but I could sleep on his couch and I could eat at the club cafe for free. How have I ended up here?

3/6/08 Hired as manager of Perseta Tulungagung

Perseta Tulungagung – Indonesia First Division First Phase Group D

Reputation: Local

Finances: £-17,000

Estimated value: £120,000

Stadium Capacity: 7500

Training Facilities: Basic training facilities

Youth facilities: Minimal youth facilities

Media Prediction: 11th

Board expectation: Bravely fight against relegation / 1st Round Indonesian Cup (should be easy that one!)

Transfer Budget: £0

Wage Budget: £0 pw


  • Players: 43 for £0
  • Staff: Physio, Coach, 6 Scouts for £0


  • Players: 19 for £0
  • Staff: Physio, Coach, 5 Scouts for £0

Initial thoughts are that I’ve a job on my hands, there are only 12 players on the books and only one of them has any kind of wage. The league looks tricky in the sense that every team seems to play in dark blue and seems to begin with the letter ‘P’ and many of them start with the letters ‘Per’. Will I really be playing the same team every week?

Pre-season went really well with a W7 D1 L1 record although most of those teams were of a lower standard. Pre-season was hectic as I offered trials to tons of players to have a look at them and having teams who can pay wages poach all my best players! In total 26 players and staff either came in or left, including four who signed then left before the season proper started!

The season started with a splutter as early on I realised that the lads I had were a bit lightweight and the squad was decimated by injuries. In one game I had five players pick up a knock of some description. The early form wasn’t great but I was pleased, at one point I only had one recognised striker available and he wasn’t that good. It was clear the issue was goals as we picked up a few of 0-0’s and 1-1’s. When we did lose, it was only 1-0. I also think it took me some time to adjust to the nuances of Indonesian football, being brought up on the English game. The form picked up and we started to find the back of the net more often. By the half way point we were safely mid-table with a record of;

Pos 5 P11 W4 D3 L4 F10 A6 GD+4 PTS 15

The second transfer window brought more activity with plenty of comings and goings, including signing a goalkeeper who stayed with us for a massive three days!

The second round of the Indonesian Cup gave us a tie against Super League (two tiers above) club Pelita Jaya Purwakarta. We got a very credible 3-3 draw at home in the first leg before succumbing to a 4-1 defeat in the second leg. I wasn’t too down-hearted as we had to chase the game somewhat and it was a definite step up for my team.

In the second half of the season the team looked in freefall as we lost four out of six but we bounced back to win the next four including stuffing Persiko Kota Baru 6-1 at home. Going into the last weekend we needed to win at already promoted PSBI Blitar and hope Persidi Idi lose (possible as they had one point from their previous three) and also hope Persekaba Yakuhimo FC didn’t win the following day. A super rearguard action saw us hang on for a 1-0 win at PSBI whilst Persidi lost again needing Yahukimo to drop points. Lady Luck truly was on our side as they drew 0-0 and we were through to the second phase of the First Division and also promoted to the Indonesian Premier Division.

First phase final table:

Pos Team Pld Won Drn Lst For Ag G.D. Pts
1st Q PSBI 22 11 6 5 27 12 +15 39
2nd Q Perseta 22 11 3 8 31 18 +13 36
3rd Persidi 22 10 6 6 28 21 +7 36
4th Yahukimo FC 22 10 6 6 28 22 +6 36

The Second Phase didn’t go to well and perhaps as a sign of things to come we only got one point from the three games. It’s clear to me though that the club needs to go part time if we are to compete in the higher division. We made £79,000 profit this season and I am certain that many of the better players in the squad are going to move to part time or full time clubs in the off season. For whatever reason I couldn’t get my strikers to bang the goals in all season, my top scorer was a centre half who scored most of them from the penalty spot. On a positive note we were announced the overachievers of the year for the Division!

I noticed at the end of the season there was a huge financial disparity between the big clubs sponsored by corporations and the amateur clubs who played in the First Division. The biggest club got £2,500,000 in sponsorship whereas I had to make do with £20,000. Indonesia really is a place of the ‘haves’ and ‘have not’s’.


Promoted to Indonesian Premier League, finishing 2nd in Indonesian First Division First Phase Group D in 2nd place.

Placed 4th in Indonesian First Division Group Second Phase Group A

Pos 4 P3 W0 D1 L2 F1 A5 GD-4 PTS1

Indonesian Cup:

2nd round lost 7-4 on aggregate to Pelita Jaya Purwakarta
(1st leg – Perseta Tulungagung 3 Pelita Jaya Purwakarta 3)
(2nd leg – Pelita Jaya Purwakarta 4 Perseta Tulungagung 1)

Average Attendance: 471

Finances: £62,700

Highlights: Giving the Super League club Pelita Jaya Purwakarta fits in the 1st leg;

Doing the double over Persekaba Yahukimo FC – in both matches we were 33-1 to win, Yahukimo were favourites to win the league, a semi-pro club with three times as many fans and they’d beaten us in a pre-season friendly before we turned them over twice. What made it extra special though was doing them at their place after they’d just ‘stolen’ my first choice left winger (amateurs wanting wages!), our old guy totally bottled it, missing a sitter and we kicked lumps out of him too;

Promotion to the Indonesian Premier Division;

Winning Manager of the Month for January 2009

Lowlights: None whatsoever.


Perseta Tulungagung – Indonesia Premier Division Group B

Media Prediction: 12th

Board expectation: Bravely fight against relegation (again!) / 2nd round of Indonesian Cup

Transfer Budget: £0

Wage Budget: £2,470 per week


  • Players: 14 for £0, 1 DMC on loan
  • Staff: Six different staff for £8,000


  • Players: 4 for £1,000
  • Staff: Coach for £0

When it came time to renew my contract the board offered me the same deal – a big fat £0 per week. I quite naturally negotiated since a) I’d just got them promoted b) they had just made £79,000 last season and c) the assistant manager was on more than me. The negotiations didn’t go anywhere and other managers were mentioned for my job so I felt it was time to see if I could pick something up in pastures new. I basically applied for every job going. Whilst I was getting incredulous looks from chairmen across the globe Perseta decided to go semi-professional! This was great news so I asked for a contract again and was blessed with a whopping £90 a week for three years. Going semi-pro had its difficulties as I had no idea what my wage budget was going to be and I was desperate to keep last season’s stars.

I had an early shock as my star player (he was the best player, defender and goal scorer from last season) wouldn’t sign a contract with me and moved on.

The season started very badly and one win and six defeats in our first seven games saw us rooted to the bottom spot. Things looked really bad when we played previous bottom team Persibom Bolaang Mongondow who had yet to win during this season. At 84 minutes the score was 0-0 but we still managed to lose 3-0! That game seemed to be a catalyst for things to get worse as we were then knocked out of the cup on aggregate 3-2 in the 1st Round to First Division minnows Persedikab Kediri (who were second bottom of their First Division phase when we met them). We were awful in the first leg and lost 2-0 (and we were outplayed and it should have been more).

The second leg had a glimmer of hope as although we really didn’t play well we scored twice on the second half to pull it back to 2-2. My young centre half got sent off on 87 minutes and everything was in tatters as we conceded in the third minute of injury time.

The early cup exit was more disappointing as the club was losing between £20,000 and £40,000 a month despite the only noticeable difference was the £2,000 I was spending on wages I never used to, attendances had nearly doubled so it was a really strange thing to happen.

After only one point from 8 consecutive league games I eventually gained a win and after shuffling the wage budget was able to get some quality back room staff. Sadly I lost my Brazilian Coach who I had recruited early on. He was brilliant but wouldn’t sign a contract so I was surprised he stayed as long as he did. At this point I also said goodbye to my Player / Assistant Manager who I really didn’t want in both positions. I would have kept him as a player but I wanted someone better for the Assistant Manager Job. He didn’t see it that way so we parted company when his contract ran out. At the half way point of the season I was bottom of the league, nine points from safety with a record of;

P14 W2 D1 L11 F10 A30 GD-20 PTS7

The second half continued much like the first and a disastrous 7 game run with just one point gained sealed the team’s fate and we were relegated with still five games to play. Ironically the day we were relegated we finally ended our run of six straight defeats with a rearguard action beating Persisam Putra Samarinda 2-1, ending the match with nine men due to having four injured during the match. The last day of the season said it all as we were beaten 8-1 by Persiba Bantul, the only silver lining being that we won the second half 1-0!

So where did it all go wrong? I had a feeling that at the end of last season we were promoted on the back of a good run by goal difference only. There were times that season were we played awful. Our showings in the Second Phase were warning signs that we were not going to be good enough. I never realised how much we relied on goals from my centre half who left. It’s clear that the set piece and penalty spot threat were not replaced when he left. I had a feeling that I had signed to many players in my first season and in the second season they were still struggling to gel. Finally, the biggest problem was that I still couldn’t get my strikers scoring. I used eight strikers in varying combinations with varying instructions and just couldn’t get goals out of them. On paper they look good and I hope some of the young ones will come good but for two seasons it hasn’t been working. No player scored over three goals this season.

A personal highlight for me was in the game back in England, my favourite team Preston North End got promoted to the Premier League, all the sweeter since it was via the play-offs. In ‘real life’ Preston has been in the play-offs seven times and has failed in every event to get promoted, an unenviable English record!


Pos 15 P28 W5 D2 L21 F24 A63 GD-39 PTS17

Indonesian Cup:

1st round lost 3-2 on aggregate to Persedikab Kediri
(1st leg – Persedikab Kediri 2 Perseta Tulungagung 0)
(2nd leg – Perseta Tulungagung 2 Persedikab Kediri 1)

Average Attendance: 563


Highlights: Having three players represent Indonesia Under 19’s, Under 20’s and Under 21’s.

Lowlights: Relegation, losing 5-1 at home to Gresik United, conceding three goals in six minutes to lose to Persibom and being 8-0 down at half time to Persiba Bantul.


Perseta Tulungagung – Indonesia First Division First Phase Group D

Media Prediction: 4th

Board expectation: Win Promotion / 2nd round of Indonesian Cup

Transfer Budget: £1,000

Wage Budget: £2,000 per week


  • Players: DR, MC (both £0), DL (loan)
  • Staff: Scout (£0)


  • Players: DC, DR, MR, STx2 (all £0)

Well after last season’s disappointment the board wanted a respectable position back in the First Division but I’m not one to settle for less so I told the board I would win promotion.

The early part of the season was disappointing as I managed to lose three of my first four games, although two of those teams (Persidago Gorontala and Persemalra Maluka Tenggara) went off to dominate the division. We then went on a super unbeaten run of 17 league games chipping away at the ten point gap the top two sides had. I felt draws away at Persidago and Persemalra probably put paid to our promotion hopes (2 points from a possible 12 against them just wasn’t enough) but with two games to go we were two points behind Persidago and the second promotion spot. Both Persidago and Perseta won their next game but Persidago won their last game on the Saturday leaving the result of my game on the Sunday immaterial. My players didn’t turn up for the last game and we lost thus ending my hopes of keeping the unbeaten run going.

My new midfielder (now christened M&M) put in some super performances (player of the season, most assists and second top goal scorer) and my strikers performed marginally better along with a much improved defence. I felt the team still struggled to finish teams off as we dominated games which ended in conceding late equalisers. My job is very secure even though I failed in the promotion challenge so hopefully if I can keep much of the team we should walk the division next season.


Pos 3 P22 W12 D6 L4 F37 A14 PTS42 GD+19

Indonesian Cup:

1st round lost 5-2 on aggregate to PSSB Bireun
(1st leg – PSSB Bireun 3 Perseta Tulungagung 2)
(2nd leg – Perseta Tulungagung 0 PSSB Bireun 0)

Average Attendance: 325

Finances: – £53,510

Highlights: The long unbeaten run

Lowlights: Missing out on promotion

Career Stats:

League 75 28 12 35 93 100 -7
Cup 8 2 1 5 12 015 -3
Friendly 30 19 3 8 48 28 20
TOTAL 113 49 16 48 153 143 10
43% 14% 42% 1.35 1.27

(in an update to last season my midfielder ‘M&M’ was named signing of the season!)


Perseta Tulungagung – Indonesia First Division First Phase Group D

Media Prediction: 4th

Board expectation: Win Promotion / 2nd Round of Indonesian Cup

Transfer Budget: £1,000

Wage Budget: £2,100 pw


  • Players: DR, DC, MR (all £0)
  • Staff: Coach (£0), Ass Man (£1,000)


  • Players: 7 (all £0)
  • Staff: Ass Man (£0), Coach (£2,000)

The close season saw me linked with jobs in League 2 and the BSP back in England but it was just paper talk and the board offered me a two year extension and pay rise so I stayed. The board wanted me to finish in the top half of the division but again I told them I would get promotion. 5 friendly wins (including one over previous season’s Super League winners Persija Jakarta) and I felt we were raring to go.

The start of the season started well but although we drew four of our first five games I was still pleased we were hard to beat. Our unbeaten run (including friendly matches) lasted 15 games before we were knocked out of the cup on penalties to non-league side Persikab Kab. Bandung. I was disappointed to lose but Persikab are one of those teams you get in ‘unplayable FM’ – their players were better in every position (including an Argentinean who was Super League quality), they had ten times as many fans and a link to a Super League club. At least we didn’t concede in open play but I was disappointed that my banker penalty taker (who didn’t miss the previous season) let me down and it was another first round exit.

After the cup exit we continued our super run in the league going on to win 16 consecutive games including 10 consecutive clean sheets. A particular highlight was with five games to go we were away at second placed Persinab Nabire who had won all their home games so far in the season. A 2-0 win virtually guaranteed promotion. I was delighted with this form since it took me over half a season to replace the assistant manager who left at the start of the season (Three Ass Man’s in four seasons – I must be difficult to work with!). I was really determined to go the whole season unbeaten so I was a bit gutted when we lost the last game of the season 1-0 to Persebi Boyolali. Even so it’s hard to be disappointed ending the season having the best attack in the league, best defence and best away form!

The second phase saw us drew in a group with the team who knocked us out of the cup last season, PSSB with PSJS Jakarta Selatan and Persiter Ternate. A win against Persiter in the first game set us up well for the game against PSSB. We battered PSSB for 90 minutes, having ten good chances but PSSB scored in the second half with their only chance on goal. Because of this result we had nothing to lose in the last game against PSJS. A 2-0 lead at half-time and the scores level at Persiter vs. PSSB meant a goal for Persiter could change everything. On the 74th minute we conceded but the scores were level in the other game. On the 76th minute Persiter took the lead and we only needed one more goal to reach the final. Alas, it was not forthcoming and we missed the chance to play in the final.

The season has been great but I am cautious regarding next season. Last time we played in the higher level we were played off the park almost every game. Much of that side is still playing although there is a good argument that the team is much more gelled together than in the past and the young players are all two years older. I have been quite cavalier at times this season knowing that most First Division strikers couldn’t hit a barn door from five paces so I may need to defend a bit more intelligently in the higher level.


2nd in Indonesian First Division Second Phase Group A

P3 W2 D0 L1 F3 A2 GD+1 PTS6

Indonesian Cup:

1st Round lost 5-4 on penalties to Persikab Kab. Bandung

(Persikab Kab. Bandung 0 Perseta Tulungagung 0)
(Perseta Tulungagung 0 Persikab Kab. Bandung 0 aet. 4-5 pens)

Average Attendance: 550


Highlights: Beating previous year’s Super League winners Persija Jakarta in a friendly. Winning Indonesian First Division Manager of the Month for October and December 2011. The 2-0 win over Persinab. Going unbeaten away from home all season in all competitions. Promotion (obviously)

Lowlights: Losing for the first time in the league on the very last day of the season.

(Update from previous season – M&M my DMC had most assists for the season and along with my young ML was in team of the year!)


Perseta Tulungagung Premier Division First Phase Group B

Media Prediction: 12th

Board expectation: Bravely fight against relegation

Transfer Budget: £0

Wage Budget: £3,600 pw

In: 8 for £0

Out: 7 for £0

Pre-season went well with a contract extension for me, a few new signings for free and only losing once in friendly matches. Not being able to play 25 players at once last season saw three really good players leave at the end of their contracts due to wanting First Team football elsewhere. I didn’t want them to go and was a bit concerned about depth for the forthcoming season.

The first few games went relatively well with four points from the first four matches but we really signalled our arrival in the division when we met Persemalra (our rivals from two seasons ago) and destroyed them in an 8-0 drubbing, our highest scoring victory! September was a super month for the side – we won all our games, my left back was Young Player of the Month and my left midfielder was Player of the Month (no surprises were the goals were being created from – my left midfielder also won this award in November). Although there was a long way to go it only took eight games for us to surpass our point’s total of three seasons ago when we were hopelessly overmatched in the division.

The Indonesian Cup was a disappointment for the fourth season on the trot as we lost on away goals to First Division side PSIS Semarang, in particular since we were 2-0 up at half time in the 1st leg. The cup form has been disappointing since the club has been losing money for four years now and a good cup run would boost the coffers. It’s particularly frustrating because I feel this side could beat anyone in Indonesia on a good day.

At the halfway point we were top of the league, but more importantly eight points clear of 5th place so it was looking good for qualification to the Second Phase and a chance at promotion. After winning Manager of the Month for December the team lost their next two away games but I wasn’t too bothered because they were against fellow promotion challengers. I was concerned with team morale because it seemed every player either a) didn’t think I rated them highly enough or b) wanted 1st Team football or c) were upset because the rest of the team were upset. Injuries to my three first choice central defenders (out of the four on the books) and some pretty poor team selections I made saw us go into a real slump. Even though we qualified for the Second Phase with three games to go the facts spoke for themselves. We lost all but one of our away games in the second half of the season, including one to already relegated bottom of the table Yahukimo and got only five points from our last eight games. Our unbeaten home run also ended in the penultimate home game of the season.

The second phase went as expected as we were outplayed in all three matches. I feel quite disappointed in that we haven’t gone up although I guess back to back promotions are a tall order. It’s clear that there isn’t enough quality in the side (no fancy Africans or South Americans which every other side has an abundance of) and there is no money on the horizon for us to be competitive for those kinds of players. Despite such a high finish and our attendances trebling only ?29,000 was knocked off the debt so I am some way from having cash to spend – maybe I have taken Perseta as far as I can.

I definitely feel that I have lost the dressing room so next season will be interesting. If they cheer up and the strikers remember where the goal is (none have been in form in the last half of the season) then I think we will challenge the top four. If the team continues to sulk I feel we could go down.


4th in Second Phase Group B

P3 W0 D0 L3 F1 A6 GD-5 PTS 0


1st Round lost by away goals to PSIS Semarang

(Perseta Tulungagung 2 PSIS Semarang 2)
(PSIS Semarang 0 Perseta Tulungagung 0)

Average Attendance: 1,559


Highlights: My record 8-0 win over Persemalra; Winning Manager of the Month for December; The form in the first half of the season

Lowlights: Another 1st round cup exit; the shocking slump in away form in the second half of the season.


Perseta Tulungagung – Indonesia Premier Division First Phase Group B

Media Prediction: 9th

Board expectation: Top half position / 2nd Round of Indonesian Cup

Transfer Budget: £0

Wage Budget: £3,460 pw


  • Players: 6 for £0
  • Staff: Coach for £0


  • Players: a DMC for £0 and a DC for a whopping £3,000
  • Staff: Coach for £2,000

After the meltdown of the previous season I was unsure of whether to stay or go. I knew many players weren’t happy but there was no money to replace them in order to succeed in this division. I went from ‘popular manager’ to ‘under pressure manager’ in the space of a few weeks as football is wont to do so when the board offered me a two year extension I thought ‘what the hell’ they can sack me if I fail! My brilliant left winger was named Premier Division Young Player of the Year and whilst I cracked open the champagne he demanded a move to a bigger club. I said no and he seemed ‘delighted’ at my ambition only to ask again a week later and go into a giant sulk when I re-iterated my position. I don’t want to sell him but I can’t be doing with ‘good’ players sulking either. Pre-season saw some shocking results and some quite good ones but a midfield injury crisis saw me thin on the ground for the start of the season proper.

The early part of the season went well and a quarter of the way through we were unbeaten and in the top four as well my central defender being the Young Player of the Month for August. The form wobbled in October and I was very disappointed to lose my Coach who got offered an Assistant Manager post elsewhere. Good luck to him, he’s going to be a big gap to fill.

October is the month where my dreams of financial stability are raised only to be crushed. In previous updates I’ve stressed the importance of a good cup run as I feel it is the only way for the club to become profitable. I also feel a good cup run will be a springboard to getting better players at the club. I was praying for a good draw and I looked on in dismay as tons of non-league and First Division teams were drawn out of the hat. True to form I was blessed with a two leg tie against PSIM Yogyakarta who was currently sitting pretty on top of Group A of the Premier Division. Thanks for nothing who ever pulls the balls out of the hat. The plus side of this tie was that it was an opportunity to play my new striker who was unregistered for league games. PSIM had a striker I was s*it scared of and true to form he banged one off the post after about five minutes. However we got a goal shortly afterwards and held off some real pressure to go in at half time 1-0 slightly fortuitously. Although PSIM equalised early in the second half through ‘The Terror’ we really turned it on and scored a further three to be 4-1 up and my new striker bagging two! We gave away a silly penalty which they scored but we scored again to give us an unlikely 5-2 win.

The second leg was a game which I will be having nightmares about for ages. New striker scored his third in two matches early on to see us leading 6-2 on aggregate but managed to injure himself after 20 minutes and everything went wrong from there on in. PSIM scored twice just before half time to make it 6-4. I shored EVERYTHING up and all my plans were undone by my previously impeccable centre half who got himself sent off on 52 minutes. 1 striker on the pitch, ten men, 38 minutes to stop them scoring twice. 57 minutes PSIM score again and I’m beginning to worry. I’m given a lifeline though on 62 minutes – I get a penalty and my best penalty taker (only on the bench because of this one talent he has) is on the pitch! He coolly steps up to give us the vital second away goal AND PUTS IT WIDE!!! (He’s never playing for Perseta again after that). PSIM do the only decent thing and score 5 minutes later to make it 6-6 and despite throwing everything at them we don’t get the extra goal. Fifth first round exit on the trot. I hate the Cup.

Back in the real world of the league things were going really well and at the half way point we were top, capped off by coming from 4-2 behind away at top club Persela Lamongan (who I had never beaten) to draw 4-4. Although we were top only three points separated the top five so I wasn’t anticipating promotion just yet. Later on we had the ‘run of death’ where we played 6th, 3rd, 4th and 1st in consecutive games and although I was very pleased with one win, two draws and just one loss those dropped points made the race for the Second Phase tight indeed. However, the team held their nerve and we effectively won the first phase in the second to last game beating the aforementioned Persela 2-1. February saw two of my players pick up Player of the Month and Young Player of the Month whilst I grabbed the award for March.

Nothing went right in the Second Phase. First of all the seeding went wrong as I played a 2nd and two 3rd placed teams meaning the other group had the two 4th placed teams. The first game was against my close rivals Persela. Once again they couldn’t beat us as we played woefully up until the last quarter of an hour before we scored two late goals to draw 2-2. Next up were PSIM who knocked us out of the cup. A mad 8 minutes in the first half saw us concede three times on the way to a 4-0 loss. Even so, a win in the final game at home against Pupup Kaltim Bontang and a win for Persela would be enough to get promotion. We score early on to make it 1-0 before a BLATANT (and proved correct by FA silence) offside goal to make it 1-1. The news from Persela is good as they are winning and we need just one more goal. A few minutes before half time we get a penalty. And we miss it. From there we were shocking and having to throw everything forward ended up losing 3-1. Persela won so if the linesman wasn’t a cheat we’d be up and now I feel quite bitter.

So what for next season? The team clearly crumbled for the big matches and it’s the same old story – not enough quality and no money to spend. The biggest error I made of  the season was smashing my wage budget for a midfielder who played in a grand total of 3 competitive matches – oh well, win some, lose some. In positive player news, there’s a big clear out coming in the summer and I’ve signed everyone I want to keep for the following season. The team are still sulking but many of them will be gone in the summer. Despite winning the First Phase attendances were down and the debt has increased.


4th Second Phase Group B

P3 W0 D1 L2 F3 A9 PTS 1 GD -6


1st Round loss on away goals to PSIM Yogyakarta

(Perseta Tulungagung 5 PSIM Yogyakarta 2)
(PSIM Yogyakarta 4 Perseta Tulungagung 1)

Average Attendance: 1239


Highlights: Winning Manager of the Month for March; Winning the First Phase

Lowlights: Everything going wrong in the Cup, again. The nightmare of the Second Phase.

It’s weird because every season bar one I have exceeded expectations (if you don’t count the cup). Apart from the first season in the Premier Division we have either got promoted or just missed out on promotion. Financially when you get a £20,000 sponsorship and other teams in the division get over £1,000,000 and your average attendance is one of the worst in the division it is hard to compete.

(Slight braggart hat on) I think I have been very astute in the transfer market (continuously getting better players for nothing) and my style of play effectively gives opposition defences headaches. Where the problem is that big clubs come down from the Super League and effectively they have to finish 5th in the Division in order to avoid having to play them in the Second Phase. If I can get away with a squad of just 4 players then maybe I can attract that kind of player. Maybe I just struggle against the better teams…

The squad is young and getting better. It isn’t hell as such but next season I can see myself reaching the Second Phase and just praying for some luck when I get there (in my rant about the Cup and Second Stage maybe I have conveniently forgot the times when Luck was on my side.


Perseta Tulungagung – Indonesia Premier Division First Phase Group B

Media Prediction: 5th

Board expectation: Reach the Second Phase / 3rd Round of the Indonesian Cup

Transfer Budget: £0

Wage Budget: £3,137 pw


  • Players: 6 for £0
  • Staff: Two coaches for £0


  • Players: 10 for £0
  • Staff: Scout and a Coach for £0

In an update from the previous season – my two central defenders were in team of the season. Because I play quite an attacking style of football it goes to show how much I relied on them at the back, and how they delivered more often than not. Also, the young midfield dynamo I picked up for nothing was signing of the season.

Pre-season saw the club demand increased success with reaching the Second Phase the aim and the third round of the Cup (ridiculous after 5 successive first round exits). To help me with this ambition they gave me no transfer budget and £300 less a week for wages. Super!

The first half of the season went relatively well but we were definitely inconsistent, thrashing good teams and losing to bad ones. On paper we were stronger than the previous season and the division didn’t look as strong. However, my decision to trim the wage bill and loan out the ‘not good enough’s’ saw me very thin on the ground and a long term injury to my best defender and two long term injuries to my 1st choice and 3rd choice midfielders (out of the five I had) saw me have to muddle on. Despite losing four games out of fourteen, at the halfway point we were third in the table so I was hopeful of getting some momentum in the second half of the season with a fit squad.

On the whole the Cup was a positive since we reached the second round for the first time in ages. We made really hard work of Persipare Pare-pare who were bottom of the First Division Group C. The second round saw us with a really hard draw against 2nd place Super League club Persema Malang. Although I was delighted with beating them in the 1st leg, we should have won by more than one and paid for it in the 2nd leg.

The mid-season transfer window saw me make a possible great signing – an 18 year old defender about a foot taller than 90% other Indonesian footballers. I may as well put him a box marked ‘Secret Weapon’! When he can actually kick a ball the right way he could be a good one at the back and a nightmare on set pieces. We’ll see…

I think the team was a little hung-over from the Cup defeat as we then went on a poor run, only winning once in nine games. We spluttered our way into the Second Phase on the last day of the regular season, finishing fourth, despite losing 10 of our 28 games. I’d managed what the board asked of me but we hadn’t looked good at all in a while.

However, the team discovered some backbone in the Second Phase. The first match against Persepar Palangkaraya was the ‘must-win’ game for me and we lost the lead twice to come away with a point. Next up was Persikabo Bogor which we won 1-0 in a really tight game, playing the last 20 minutes with ten men, four out of position because I’d used all my substitutes. We needed at least a draw against Gresik United in the last game. Gresik had run away with the division but we’d beaten them 3-0 earlier in the season and lost a close game 4-3 so I knew I had a chance. Gresik equalised late on and I had a nervy 10 minutes (with a six yard box clearance in injury time) but 1-1 was enough to see us through and we had been promoted! We lost the final 1-0 in another tight game against Perseman Mandkulari but the biggest shock was my top striker broke his leg and will be out for six months next year!

I’m delighted at the promotion, particularly since I’d lost in the Second Phase the last two years. I’m not expecting much of anything next season, just going to enjoy a relegation dogfight. I will have no money for players and my wage budget is almost certainly going to shrink. I absolutely need another striker and a decent midfielder since I have nothing in the way of quality cover. I hope playing in the Super League cheers the players up also because squad harmony is currently 4%.

A special mention must go to the team’s accountant. Despite winning the league and keeping within my wage budget the side lost a further £269,102 this season. After looking at the finances this season £276,558 went on ‘Other’ as opposed to £15,271 the year before – there is also a loan I know nothing about being paid off!


Runners-up (lost 1-0 to Perseman Mandkulari in final)


2nd Round defeat to Persema Malang

(Perseta Tulungagung 1 Persema Malang 0)
(Persema Malang 3 Perseta Tulungagung 0)

Average Attendance: 1059 (down again!)


Highlights: Petty – I know, but beating Persiba Bantul for the first time at the eighth attempt (they beat me 8-1 way back in 2010 and I’ve never forgiven them!).
The home win against Persema and of course promotion!


Perseta Tulungagung – Indonesia Super League

Media Prediction: 17th

Board expectation: Bravely fight against relegation / Fourth Round of the Indonesian Cup

Transfer Budget: £0

Wage Budget: £6,842 pw


  • Players: 8 for £0 and three youth players
  • Staff: Two coaches (both £0)


  • Players: 5 for £0, plus a GK (£1,000), ML (£3,000), AMR (£4,000) and a DC (£5,000)

Pre-season saw many changes to the club. For the first time I am allowed to scout outside Indonesia and the board generously allowed me to take the team on a (working) holiday to Brunei! I’ll also have an Under-18’s team playing competitive football. More importantly, we have gone professional! I’ve a real sense of achievement here in that I’ve taken this amateur club to professional in seven seasons. I was also offered a ‘proper’ contract of £550 per week which I reckon I deserved! I signed five Super League quality players on frees and blitzed much of my wage budget on a couple of coaches, one who used to be at a the club before trying his hand at management and another who looks like the greatest coach in the world – hopefully I’ll see improvements on the pitch. My most exciting signing was a Brazilian AMC – my first foreigner who I have really high hopes for. He would be playing alongside another quality new midfielder – definitely my strongest area for the new season.

‘Non-Brazilian new midfielder’ had a great start at the club, picking up player of the month for August. I was satisfied with my start to life in the Super League – we
tended to win our home games and lose our away games. Another thing that was guaranteed was goals – we tended to win by three at home and get stuffed by the same score away. A particular highlight was handing Persijam Sriwijaya FC their first loss of the season after ten games.

The cup was a huge disappointment again. We lost to PSIS who also knocked us out in 2012/13. What was more disappointing was that PSIS were a division lower and we were 4-0 up after 17 minutes and 5-1 up at half time in the first leg only to go out on away goals. And the first goal early on in the second leg was a blatant dodgy penalty. I still hate the Cup!

One point from our first six away games was a cause for concern and I changed my playing style for these games for the first time in five seasons. The change brought instant results as we won our next two away games, including a victory over first place club PSM Makassar. At the halfway point we were 6 points off the title and twelve points clear of the relegation season – a fantastic start. In the transfer window I sold the ‘Secret Weapon’ of last season for a relatively healthy profit as it was clear he wasn’t going to work out. A run of five games with just one point put paid to any delusional thoughts of Champions League football next season but I was more satisfied when Super League football was guaranteed for next season with five games to go. We ended the season in a credible 6th.

Next season will be interesting. If I can sign my squad to full time contracts I believe we will do really well. However, my wage budget is maxed out with only three full-timers on the books. Out of a squad of 22 players I want to keep for next season seven are coming to the end of their contract (with no money to re-sign), a further two are demanding full time contracts and a further two are on the transfer list by choice (including the Brazilian I was wetting myself over earlier). I also have a Coach and Ass Man coming to the end of their contracts that I need to keep. Sure the club are in tons of debt but please Mr. Chairman – give me some money!


POS 6/18 P34 W16 D4 L14 F43 A41 GD+2 PTS52


2nd Round loss to PSIS Semarang on away goals
(Perseta Tulungagung 5 PSIS Semarang 3)
(PSIS Semarang 3 Perseta Tulungagung 1)

Average Attendance: 2724 (a whopping increase through the turnstiles)

Finances:415,015 (the debt just keeps on growing!)

Highlights: The home form and generally holding our own in the division.

Lowlights: The cup exit and having a miserable squad and no money


Perseta Tulungagung – Indonesia Super League

Media Prediction: 8th

Board expectation: Top half finish / 4th Round Indonesian Cup

Transfer Budget: £3,000

Wage Budget: £6,945 pw


  • Players: A left back and striker (both £0), a goalie and two strikers on youth contracts
  • Staff: Fitness Coach (£1,000)


  • Players: 13 for £0 and a goalie for £20,000
  • Staff: Two coaches for £0

Pre-season saw the usual clear out and a struggle to get much of my squad to sign a contract. In the end I got most of them for another season at least. I was however very disappointed to see my top two strikers leave on frees, the best I could get to replace them were a pair of 16 year olds – one looks very good, the other might be a dud. Goals are going to be hard to come by I think. I also managed to sell my 3rd choice keeper for £20,000 – a club record. I also did something I am loathe to do and went over my wage budget but the board only gave me an extra £103 per week and expect a top half finish!

My top striker who left happened to sign for the reigning champions PSPS Pekanbaru who also happened to be visitor’s to Perseta on the opening day of the season. Needless to say, the young lad I took on as an amateur 16 year old in my first season, who became a professional and went through the divisions with me for eight seasons scored after nine minutes and set up another in a 2-1 win against his former club on his debut. Real ‘Roy of the Rovers’ stuff – unfortunately I was on the receiving end!

We had a challenging, yet satisfying season. For the first two thirds of the season we never dropped in the bottom four yet never got more than three points away from the relegation places. A run of seven consecutive home wins in the last third saw us pull away to a credible 7th (the home form was good, only losing two whilst the away form was poor – only winning two).

The mid-season transfer window saw another goalie out and a Pilipino left back and a Thai striker in.

As you will know I hate the Indonesian Cup but this season we actually had a great run, reaching the semi-finals! After despatching bogey team and Super League rivals Persiba Bantul on away goals in a thrilling tie in the Second Round we had a relatively easy route to the semis. There we played Premier Division Persib Bandung. Unfortunately I had a goalkeeping crisis in the first leg as my second choice keeper was with the Under 21’s and my first choice was unbeknownst to me called up to the full squad! (I found this out on the day of the tie and would have pulled my 2nd goalie from the friendly if I had known in advance, and my 1st choice didn’t actually play in the international). Therefore a ‘grey’ 16 year old was in the nets for the first leg (funny since I had sold two ‘Super League quality’ goalies this season). Persib had two chances and they scored two. We won the second leg away 1-0 but out we went. I suppose it’s fair enough since we got a penalty four minutes into injury time in the previous leg to win a game we were dominated in. The run was really exciting although I was disappointed to lose in the end since I thought we could have won it and the increased number of matches did put a strain on the squad.

In duff signing news, last season’s Brazilian AMC I was super excited about is off on a free in the close season. I’m not too bothered as he never played particularly well and didn’t really fit into the side.


POS 7/18 P34 W13 D9 L12 F51 A37 GD+14 PTS48


3rd, beat Persebaya Surabaya 3-2 in Third Place Play-Off

Average Attendance: 2195 (down quite a bit from last season)

Finances:795,444 (almost doubled in a season, soon the administrators are going to come knocking I think…)

Highlights: The great cup run and beating the top three at home

Lowlights: Secret international call-ups…


Perseta Tulungagung – Indonesia Super League

Media Prediction: 7th

Board expectation: Top half finish / Semi-Final of the Cup (deluded board?)

Transfer Budget: £0

Wage Budget: £7,098pw


  • Players: 5 for £0


  • Players: 8 for £0, a DC for £4,000 and a ST for £5,000
  • Staff: Ass Man (£0)

Pre-season saw me sack my Ass Man and promote a coach to the job. I also replaced my Brazilian with a cracking young MC I had my eye on for some time and brought in a couple of Pilipino defenders, a Malaysian left back and a right winger from Laos.

My tenth season in charge of Perseta was an exceptionally satisfying one featuring a sixteen match unbeaten run in the league and going unbeaten at home all season in all matches. Despite this and no team having fewer defeats in the league and being the top goalscorers in the division we never really looked like attaining a Champions League place. This was because we drew almost as many matches as we won. Even so, on the last day of the season we had an outside chance of achieving second place (we needed results in four other matches to go our way). Alas it was not to be, but I am pleased we have become very hard to beat.

On paper it looks like we were a ‘one-man team’ this season. My young right winger really came on form, being joint top goal scorer, having the joint most assists, the most Man of the Match awards and having the highest average rating. He also won the Division’s Young Player of the Year award.

The Indonesian Cup was back to usual form. We faced fellow Super League side PSMS Medan in the first round who had just played us off the park in the league. Out at the first hurdle?

Financially we were given a huge lifeline in the form of a £1.3M Gift Loan although the club is still losing tens of thousands every month.


POS4/18 P34 W15 D14 L5 F58 A32 GD+26 PTS59


Lost in First Round
(PSMS Medan 1 Perseta Tulungagung 0)
(Perseta Tulungagung 1 PSMS Medan 1)

Average Attendance: 2191


Highlights: The long unbeaten run and going unbeaten at home

Lowlights:The first round cup exit

Here’s my record for ten seasons in charge at Perseta;

Factoring out the friendly matches the record is;

P335 W155 D71 L109 or W46% D21% L33%

On the whole it’s been positive with three promotions and one relegation and I’ve seen the club grow from amateur to professional. I’ve signed 125 players and staff for £10,000 and sold / released 103 players and staff for £50,000. By far my biggest challenges have been balancing the wage budget and maintaining player morale. The club debt has been a worry throughout my tenure so far.

I’ve just been looking through the squad as part of a ten year retrospective and have noted that just one player has been involved at the club in every season. What is unusual is that I’ve never been the biggest fan of the player yet he always seems to stick around for some reason… I’ll christen him, ‘useless, lazy bugger’. He came on trial during my first season as a 16 year old but didn’t feature that season due to registration rules. Throughout the next nine seasons he’s been on the transfer list at least three times, been out on loan twice and has never been higher than my fourth choice striker. In the early days I kept him because of potential but since then I’ve never been able to sell him yet when contract time comes around he always just gets another year out of me, usually because my first choice strikers move on. What I find unusual is that I’m not opposed to cutting dead weight and have released very good players and paid out lots of compensation in order to free up wage budget. I’m just surprised, looking back how he’s hung onto his job. Anyway, last season, my most successful year he had a good run in the team and was the joint top scorer. Maybe, he’s finally showing that potential….

Next season, as usual he is the fourth choice striker.

I’ve just managed my 500th game in charge of Perseta – a 4-1 win over Perseman Manokwari. My 500th game will always be remembered but I find it uncanny that I had not won any silverware in nearly eleven seasons and like buses two come at once – I won the Indonesian Cup in game 499 and could win the league in game 501.


Perseta Tulungagung – Indonesia Super League

Media Prediction: 5th

Board expectation: Top half finish / Semi-Final of Indonesian Cup

Transfer Budget: £2,219

Wage Budget: £6,677pw


  • Players: A GK for £0


  • Players: A GK for ?0 and a DL for £9,000
  • Staff: 1 Coach for £0

Pre-season saw my second choice goalkeeper not sign a contract and move on and a frantic search for a new number 2. I wasn’t overly happy with the replacement I got. I was however pleased that my first choice goalkeeper had the honour of representing Indonesia in the 2018 World Cup Finals.

On the opening day of the season my 1st choice young striker managed to score and injury himself for 8 months before half time, not ideal for a threadbare squad. From that point on though Perseta were unstoppable and the league title became a chase between Perseta and PSM. Our home record was formidable and we won our first 9 games at home. When we did lose it was twelve days off the two year anniversary of our last home defeat! A pivotal point in the season was with two thirds gone we were away at PSM. We came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 and maintain our four point lead at the top.

On top of the league form the club were succesful in the Cup, winning it for the first time and bringing my first taste of silverware to Perseta! My 500th game in charge was next and we celebrated that with a win that led to us needing just one point from our last three games to clinch the title. I was confident of a win against relegation threatened Persiko Kota Baru in our last home game of the season since we had won all but one of our games at home this season. Alas, nerves got the better of the side and we lost in a shock 2-1 result. Still needing a point in our penultimate game we managed to lose again, away at Persita Tangerang and I was worried that the team would bottle it. The nerves held on the last day of the season and a 2-0 win guaranteed the title and the double!


POS 1/18 P34 W23 D7 L4 F63 A26 GD+37 PTS76


Winners! Beat Persmin Minahasa 3-1 in Final

Average Attendance: 2962

Finances:383,926 (let’s hope the Champions League money helps next season!)

Highlights: Winning the Double. Having my goalkeeper go to the World Cup. Winning Manager of the Year

Lowlights: The unbeaten home run ending


Perseta Tulungagung – Indonesia Super League

Media Prediction: 2nd

Board expectation: Reach the Final of the SEACC / Win the Super League / Semi-Final of Indonesian Cup ? no pressure then!

Transfer Budget: £2,219

Wage Budget: £6,749pw


  • Players: a GK for £1,000 and two youth GK’s for £0


  • Players: a GK for £2,000 and the two youth GK above for £0
  • Staff: 2 coaches for £0

A whopping 19 days after winning the double my top defender annouces, ‘he is very ambitious and feels he will not win the trophies he so desperately wants at Rejoagung’. Despite having a memory like a fish I manage to convince him that the opportunity to win four trophies this season is worth staying for. This player spends the whole season trying to get transferred, I turn down whopping bids of over £100,000 before the issue is finally settled with him injured for four months! The only significant transfer activity saw me flog my 2nd choice goalkeeper in the mid season window and then frantically try and sign a replacement, grabbing one on deadline day!

My first foray into Continental competition was the South East Asian Club Championship where the knockout rounds were held in Laos. We were drawn in what looked like an easy group of Gach Dong-Tam Long An from Vietnam and FC Zebra from East Timor. However the possibility of five games in two weeks with just 18 fit players was a cause for concern. Indeed the entire season was a struggle because there were only 23 players on the books for the forthcoming season and plenty of games to play. Further injuries in the first match left me with just 16 players for the tournament but we get through the group with ease. We beat Khemara from Cambodia in the Quarter-Final, BEC Tero Sasana from Thailand in the Semi-Final and despatched Kedah from Malaysia in the Final to lift our first Continental trophy!

We managed to retain the league title with three games to spare, it felt harder this year because there was a chasing pack of about five teams unlike last season when it was a two horse race with PSM. Injuries, suspensions and international call-ups left the squad very thin on the ground throughout the season (sometimes not having even having enough walking wounded for the bench) but aside from the odd wobble the team coped well. What counted was winning tight away games at the top teams when it mattered. Remarkably we ended the season with the exact same ‘W/D/L’ record as last season and the exact same goal difference ? talk about consistency.

The Indonesian Cup was a slight disapointment losing in the fourth round on away goals, more so because ‘former Perseta striker’ (on a goal drought of course) set the away goal up and scored the two home goals to put us out of the competition. I have to admit though that the fixtures were coming thick and fast so at least this gave us some breathing space until the Champions League.

In my first adventure into the Asian Champions League we were drawn in a group with Pohang Steelers from South Korea, Shandong Luneng from China and Tampines Rovers from Singapore. I intended to just enjoy the experience and hoped to get something out of the matches against Tampines. We performed well above expectations getting a fortuitous draw in Korea before winning the home games against Tampines and Shandong, the Shandong win being the performance of the season. The home game against Pohang was a real nail-biter, we took the lead early but then one of my central midfielders got himself sent off on 22 minutes. Somehow we hung on to win 1-0! This meant that if Pohang beat Shandong at home and we beat Tampines away we would miraculously reach the Quarter-Finals. Pohang did their bit winning 5-0 whilst we could only manage a draw in Singapore, despite playing against 10 men for the last half hour. Needing a point away at Shandong was going to be a tall order but we matched them well. In hindsight, perhaps I was a little defensive at 1-1 because we had them on the ropes at times before letting in a late goal to lose 2-1. Still, I was pleased with the overall performance in the competition.

The club made a small profit this season so I am desperate for a bigger wage budget. Out of a squad of 23 players, five are coming to the end of their contract of which I want to keep four and I’ve a further player begging for more money and another on the transfer list by choice. I can’t find any suitable replacements at the moment for the wages on offer. I can’t see us retaining the title as things stand.


Champions ? POS1/18 W23 D7 L4 F67 A30 GD +37 PTS 76


4th Round lost on away goals to Arema Malang
(Perseta Tulungagung 3 Arema Malang 1)
(Arema Malang 2 Perseta Tulungagung 0)

Super Cup:

Runners-up – lost 2-1 after extra time to PSM Makassar

South East Asian Club Championship:

Winners – beat Kedah 4-2 in Final

Asian Champions League:

2nd in group F POS2/4 P6 W3 D2 L1 F9 A6 GD+3 PTS11

Average Attendance: 3472 (the continental games really helped here)


Highlights: Winning the South East Asian Club Championship and retaining the title. Winning Manager of the Year and competing well in the Asian Champions League

Lowlights: Continuous efficiency savings made by the board…


Perseta Tulungagung – Indonesia Super League

Media Prediction: 1st

Board expectation: Win Super League / Reach Final of Indonesian Cup

Transfer Budget: £1,319

Wage Budget: £6,840 pw (an extra £90 wasn’t exactly what I had in mind…)


  • Players: DC & AMC (£0), DC (£2,000), DC (£16,000), AMC (yth)


  • Players: DC, MC, ST (all £0), AMC (£2,000), DC (£16,000) DC (£150,000)

The close season saw the heart of the defence ripped out as my two Fillipino central defenders left the club. My star was sold against my wishes for a whopping £150,000 (it was going to happen sooner or later) whilst the other had to go because I couldn’t meet his wage demands. The board gave me another £15,000 to spend which I instantly spent on an 18 year old my scouts had raved about. My coaches don’t agree and I will feel pretty stupid if I have spent a (relative for Perseta) fortune on a dud. I also lost a decent midfielder due to wage demands. I picked up a couple of Cambodians for next to nothing, one looks decent but the other looks rubbish in hindsight. I was panic buying because of the lack of numbers but I think my usually very good scouts let me down also. I also had the ridiculous situation where I found an awesome 16 year old available on a free who rejected the chance to play Champions League football with me and signed with a non-league team for £5 per week. Well, I hope he enjoyed the first round of the Indonesian Cup…

I also lost an up and coming striker on a free to our close rivals PSM (who seemed to be buying EVERYONE). An 800% payrise from me wasn’t enough to keep him. He made his PSM debut against us in the Super Cup where I hope we made him regret his decision as we thumped them 4-0.

Despite the losses to the side the first half of the season was very satisfying, by the half way point we were top on goal difference but unlike previous seasons we had PSM, Persipura and PSMS all within three points. The team wasn’t as good as the last few seasons but was holding it’s own.

The mid season transfer window saw me sell off the two pre-season buys I thought were rubbish for a small loss. I did pick up a Malaysian defender as a replacement who looked really good.

A good cup run combined with the small squad wreaked havoc though as we had an injury crisis. Three consecutive 3-0 league defeats followed which put us out of contention for the title. Things got worse when we faced PSM in the second leg of the Quarter Final of the Indonesian Cup. Due to injuries, suspensions, international call-ups and a player completely unfit I only had 11 players available for selection. That 11 had a youth player and four players playing out of position. Basically the lack of money for wages for new players had finally hit the team hard and I sadly resigned with most of the back room staff walking with me. (in truth FM10 arrived today, I’d have stuck it out otherwise!)

Super League:

POS 4/18 P24 W14 D4 L6 F36 A18 GD+18 PTS 46

Indonesian Cup:

Quarter-Final awaiting Second leg (Perseta Tulungagung 2 PSM Makassar 0)

Super Cup:
Winners – beat PSM Makassar 4-0

Average Attendance: 3502


Highlights: Getting one over PSM in the Super Cup, Winning July’s Manager of the Month, Thumping then second place Persipura at home in the Cup 6-2.

Lowlights: Losing away at PSM. The dreaded injury crisis. Leaving the club on a low point.

9/1/21 Resigned as manager of Perseta Tulungagung

Here’s some stats for my career at Perseta;

Club Player Loyalty: 19
Domestic Player Bias: 20
Financial Control: 1
Hands On Approach: 20
Squad Discipline: 1
Tactical Consistency: 16

Total Career Earnings: £205,000
Highest Nation Ranking: 3
Total value of players bought: £22,000
Total value of players sold: £230,000

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