Full Throttur


A 52 season FM’07 career by The Good Doctor
Running:  All divisions in Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, N. Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Wales.

Season 1 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2006 – Icelandic First Division

This is a steep learning curve.  The alphabet is similar, but there are a couple of extra theta-like letters including one right in the name of the club Frank sends me to.  Wikipedia explains how to pronounce it, so now I know that at least all I have to get to grips with are the names.  They are all called FirstNamesson.  It should be easy enough, but for some reason I just can’t separate them all reliably.

As far as the club goes, they’ve just been relegated from the Premier Division, so they expect to go up again straight away.  To be honest then they shouldn’t have hired an unknown who doesn’t speak the language, should they?  No money and a big loan to pay off.

The wages are under budget, but there are far too many duffers getting way too much.  Actually the standard here is great.  The entire player population of Iceland should move to the BSP at least.  I feel fairly confident, but I still run some purging of the real dross, because I can’t stand the cash leaking away on players who won’t ever progress past the reserves/U-19s.  It’s like a dripping tap to me.  And I’m saddled with a duff coach (I get him to leave by mutual consent) and a very poor AssMan who I can’t afford to get rid of – and his contract runs to 2010 … urggghh.

On the pitch it’s a pretty boring first season.  No threat of relegation, no chance of promotion, no chance in the cups, no players signed.  The board and fans are OK, not chuffed but OK.

Final position:  4th  (P 18 W 9 D 3 L 6 +7)
Players out: 13 (frees), sold 1 for GBP1k
Players in:  0
Average crowd:  1141

Season 2 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2007 – Icelandic First Division

Continue the purge, including free transferring all the new youth intake.  Another similarly poor season, not helped by the fact that FH, relegated from the Premier last season, go all Invincible on our First Division asses, winning the league by 16 points.

I’m distracted enough by them that I only realise with 4 games to go that I’m playing the wrong FirstNamesson at AMC – Star-in-the-making FirstNamesson is warming the bench and Barely-good-enough-to-be-in-the-squad FirstNamesson has played 18 times.  Dammit.  Cups were horrible of course.

I’m officially an under pressure manager by the end of the season.

Final position:  5th  (P 22 W 9 D 5 L 8 +5)
Players out:  12 (frees), sold 2 for GBP20k altogether
Players in:  0
Average crowd:  729

On the positive side the financials look like they will start to get better soon, if people start turning up to watch us again.

Season 3 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2008 – Icelandic First Division

We’re expected to be there or thereabouts at the end of the season, and the players seem to finally get what they’re supposed to do in a non-4-4-2 tactic and we’re doing great.  I have the right AMC, I’ve got a target man who is actually winning headers, and all goes great.  Halfway through the season, I’m officially a talented young manager and I’m offered the England job.  What??  Replacement for Steve McClaren is a Sunday-league player who’s managed 2 1/2 seasons at a small club in Iceland?  Maybe they do want to replace like-for-like, but of course I turn it down (and sign a new contract at Þróttur at the same time).

As the 18th game approaches we’re top, and celebrate winning the league by beating IBV 7-2.  We’ve won the league! o/

But hang on, the game’s not saying we’re C or even P in the table.  I know sometimes it fails to realise that you’ve clinched promotion, but the league’s ended.  What?  There are 4 games to go?  Yes, eagle-eyed readers will spot that the First Division expanded in 2007 to 12 teams, so there are 22 games in a season.  I was so distracted by my failure to play the right team that I missed the fact that we played 22 not 18 games last season.

4 games to go, 2 away first up and 2 at home.  Even though we lose both away games, we beat Breithablik (another new-letter-containing-team) in the 21st game to go back top, though there are 4 teams now chasing the 2 promotion spots.  We’re playing middle-of-the-table Afturelding, and I’m confident we can win.  And we should have done, but, of course, their keeper plays a blinder and despite All Out Attack for 60 minutes, their solitary goal stands up and we lose 1-0.  Other results don’t go our way and we finish one point from promotion.  Disappointment is a real presence here at Valbjarnarvöllur.

Final position:  3rd  (P 22 W 11 D 6 L 5 +18)
Players out: 11 (frees), sold 1 for GBP22k.
Players in: 1 for GBP1k (Managed to actually get someone to come to Þróttur!)
Average crowd:  961

And we’re very very close now to being in the black after being GBP200k in the red at one stage.

Season 4 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2009 – Icelandic First Division

One of the problems with such a short season is that it is hard to make up ground on teams ahead of you.  Just-relegated local rivals Valur were the class of the First Division this season and Fjolnir chased them all the way.
We started off in a mediocre fashion, went unbeaten for 9 games in the middle of the season, then stumbled over the line in a mediocre way to end up 9 points behind the top 2 in a disappointing 3rd.

The two teams that were promoted last year (Haukar and Breithablik) are coming straight back down.

One positive note, in every way, is that we now have £(thanks, George)50k in the bank.  Hopefully we’ll be able to improve the training facilities soon, and get some better youth coming through.

Final position:  3rd (P22 W11 D5 L6 +12)
Players out: 15 (all frees, including the entire youth intake)
Players in:  2 (for £8k – spent my entire budget)
Average crowd:  1162 (top in the division)

Roll on next season.

 

Season 5 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2010 – Icelandic First Division

My reward for getting us into the black is to have a £1k transfer budget, which means that of course we’ll be sticking with the same squad from last season.

But we’re helped by the fact that the teams that were relegated from the Premier were not that great, and a couple of really poor teams were promoted into the First Division.  Although this season had its share of pain (equaliser at 5:30 of added time when the fourth official said 4 minutes?), bastard Afturelding beating us 1-0 again (after I mistook their ground, Varmarvöllur, for ours, Valbjarnarvöllur, and promised a victory) we still scored when we needed to and took the title by 3 points.

We saved our best performances for the minnows, beating them by a combined 21:3 over the four games.

Lots of work I think to keep us in the Premier next season, but o/.  The board are pleased, saying that they always thought we’d be promoted under my leadership and they’re glad it’s finally happened.  Hmm, “finally” doesn’t sound like a complete vote of confidence does it?!

Final Position:  1st (P22 W13 D5 L4 +27)
Players out:  8 frees (youth intake brooming)
Players in:  None
Average crowd:  1062 (less than half of top team Haukar and 100 less than last season?)

 

Season 6 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2011 – Icelandic Premier Division

This was the most gut-churning season I’ve ever played in CM or FM.  I expected to struggle in the Premier, as in our previous 5 seasons we’d never played well against any Premier Division side.  I’ve never been relegated and not been sacked so I fully expected to test the board’s patience.

Scouting brought only one addition, a nice DM for £5k, but while trying to get the physio and GK coach on FT contacts (we’re almost completely PT currently, as are most teams in Iceland) they were both negotiating back to PT, but before I could reup their PT contracts they both left the club.  Trying to re-sign them was unsuccessful, and I was taking a trip to the job center.  The best physio available was a big step down and the only GK coach applicant was worse than a bag of balls.

We lost every one of our 7 group games in the Upper League Cup (against both Prem and 1st Division opponents) and our first Premier league game to record 8 straight losses, but then amazingly injuries forced me to rejig the team and we started really playing well.  Got a bit lucky with the first draw, then lost a couple unluckily, were lucky in our first win and then went 7 games unbeaten to put us 2nd in the league.  I started to think we might just pull off something wonderful.

Then 3 things happened in a couple of days.  The transfer window closed, and both of my first team GKs injured themselves (I had no reserve team GK).  Scouts limited to Iceland only were sent out continually to try to find anyone on loan.  Nothing.  I had to play a grey GK and we lost 7 straight.  It was take-a-shot, score-a-goal time at Þróttur and was so bad I had to turn the highlights off.  We dropped to 8th, one place and one point above relegation and the final game was away to local & fierce rivals Fram who were in 4th.  Luck was with us (and a returning actual GK), and we came away with all 3 points to secure Premier Division football next season.

Hopefully the money we made this year will mean a bit better transfer budget next – we’ll need it!  We’re now +£320k!

Final position: 7th (P18 W6 D2 L10 -12)
Players out: 4 frees (youths)
Players in: 1 at £5k
Average crowd: 1820 (3rd best in the league)

 

Season 7 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2012 – Icelandic Premier Division

With 3 games to play, we were handily placed in 4th, only a point behind 2nd and with all 3 remaining games at home.  High hopes of a respectable finish were dashed by L/L/D (and a very hard fight for that 1 point there) to finish 7th.  Clear of relegation, but a long way from a UEFA/EURO cup place.

Best news comes on the final day when bastard Afturelding are relegated from the First Division.  Good riddance.  And oddly enough despite £425k in the bank the club is only valued at £325k (£12k debt)?

Final position:  7th (P18 W7 D3 L8 -4)
Players in:  4 for £9k
Players out:  5 on frees (broom the youth intake – but not the GK!)
Average crowd:  1682 (4th best in league)

 

Season 8 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2013 – Icelandic Premier Division

I lost my temper with the team this year, which probably means I’m holding them back from doing better than they are.  But 2 consecutive games lost because my GK passes straight to their ST?  We are in relegation trouble throughout the year, and narrowly avoid it on the last day (Valur losing away to second place IA mean we’re safe despite ending the year XXX).

And we all know “cups suck arse”, but good draws and finding good form at odd times (I fielded a full-strength line-up each round, but wasn’t bothered at all if we won or lost) meant we won the Icelandic Cup (and pocketed, wow, £11k for winning it).  The upside though is I think we qualify for the UEFA/EURO cup next season.  Hopefully that will let the board scout outside Iceland which, tbh, is getting pretty old pretty quickly.

Final position:  8th (P18 W5 D6 L7 -11)
Players in:  2 for £8k plus 2 for £5k after the end of the season
Players out:    15 for £1k
Average crowd:  1430 (6th in IPD)

 

Season 9 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2014 – Icelandic Premier Division

League form was mediocre again, going from 4th after a good run to 8th after a poor one, and needing a result in the last game to avoid relegation (seems familiar).  Luckily we make the most of our chances and win away at Stjarnan, with Thor plunging from 7th to 10th (last) and Breithablik following them down despite a thumping 3-0 win.  It was so close that we nearly lost out on goal difference to a team that scored only 8 goals all season.

Icelandic cup was again favorable and we only just lost at the semi-final stage.

The EURO cup was over and done in one round, though not before we’d given Elfsborg of the Swedish Premier Division a fright.  We lost 2-1 at home, but led 2-0 away at HT only to give away a couple of goals in the second half and bow out.

The club now has over £1m in the bank, but try as I might I cannot sign anyone decent.  We are starting to improve the facilities though, as the board are finally allowing something to be done there.  Still can only scout Iceland.

I signed another 2 year contract halfway through the season, and was (again) offered the England job.  Rejected (again).

Final position: 7th (P18 W6 D3 L9 -6)
Players in: 3 for £5k
Players out: 8 for £51k
Average crowd: 1424 (6th in IPD)

 

Season 10 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2015 – Icelandic Premier Division

A dream start to the season after injuries forced me to play our best team in their best positions (apparently), and we only lost once in the first 9 games (first half of the season) to be proudly leading the table and dreaming of glory.

From there the second half of the season was inevitably terrible, winning only once to slide to fourth.

The cup though was another oddity as it was last two seasons and we kept our good form going to make it to the final where we had to go to penalties to beat Vikingur.  None of my lads had penalty taking over 10, but they were perfect penalties nevertheless, and a save and a couple over the bar meant we had won the cup again.  EURO here we come (part II).

Even though we upgraded the training facilities, they’re still listed as only ‘adequate’?  Odd …

Final position: 4th (P18 W7 D8 L3 +9) – it seemed worse than only 3 losses I tell you
Players in: 3 for £30k and the one who cost all the money is already a full international.  For the Faroe Islands.
Players out: 12 for £0
Average crowd: 1968 (3rd in IPD)

 

Season 11 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2016 – Icelandic Premier Division

I thought this year we could push on from the promise of last … but it was more of the same.  Trying to sign anyone again was frustrating – they’d rather stay on a £100/week contract in the Icelandic First Division than come and play for us on £600/week.  And I found I could not trust my scouts very much at all, and that’s all I’ll say here.  Did actually manage to sign another International (yes, Faroe Islands) ST who was great, but not good enough to drag us out of mediocrity.

We started with a W3 D3 L3 first half of the season, hit some kind of form around the EURO games, then lost our way when we were eliminated from Europe.

Domestic cups came and went quickly (so no long run in the Icelandic Cup).  I signed a new 2-yr contract.

Europe though was an odd affair … First Qualifying round was against Mattersburg of Austria.  They had only grey players.  Good greys, but only greys.  And they won nothing the previous year in Austria (which isn’t a running league in my save) or even came close.  There are only 19 Austria clubs modeled, and they were randomly picked I assume,  Away leg we started poorly but deserved a 1-1 draw rather than the 2-0 defeat.  Home leg saw us playing in the middle of our purple patch and winning 4-0 to qualify for the next round.

The Second round was against St. Johnstone of Scotland.  They are in the Scottish First Division in 2015, and also won nothing the year before. I sense some sort of simplified model here, even though Scotland is one of the full leagues in the save.  Couldn’t do much against them, losing 1-0 at home and 3-0 away, though we did have some chances in both games.

We’re £1.6m in the black (because I can’t sign anyone!) but only inching closer to professional status (all coaches want PT contracts) and not making many improvements to the facilities (the board are getting upset with me asking all the time).  I think it’ll take another 10 seasons at least to have this club working properly.

Final position: 4th (P18 W7 D5 L6 +4)
Players in: 2 for £90k (all for the international)
Players out: 5 for £0
Average crowd: 1654 (6th in IPD)

 

Season 12 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2017 – Icelandic Premier Division

Well, this season the board and supporters are expecting European qualification, and I think we can do it thanks to our young Faroese international ST.  He really is a great player, and helps us be really competitive in our early games.

But inevitably other eyes are watching his progress and Stabaek of the Norwegian Premier Division offer £1m for him in staged payments.  The chairman doesn’t even ask me (although I’d probably have accepted too) and away he goes.

Without him we aquaplane for a bit, then a bit more, and finish the season slumped in 7th.  As ever the money doesn’t help because I need to get players to the club, but no-one wants to come to Þróttur even for 10 times what they’re making elsewhere.  I have £1.3m unspent transfer money at the end of the season.

We’ll see whether the board’s patience has run out (many requests to improve facilities, a touchline ban for the last game of the season and final position way below their expectation) …

The ’10 years’ estimate may have been a touch optimistic.

Final position:  7th (P18 W4 D7 L7 -1)
Players in:  5 for £36k
Players out:  7 for £1m
Average crowd:  1282 (8th in IPD)

 

Season 13 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2018 – Icelandic Premier Division

Well, after throwing an awful lot of contract offers around I finally got a couple of players to join, and they seemed to make the difference, lifting us from our awful form to something slightly better.  Without our star ST though we were slightly toothless, and struggled during his long injuries.  However, in a fairly even league this year, we were overall the best and clinched the title on the last day over rivals Fjolnir.

It’s Þróttur’s first ever IPD title, and we got £12k for winning it!

The league is a bit of a lottery though, with such short seasons, and so we will have to strengthen a lot to defend the title next season.  Plus of course gear up for a CL campaign!  Hopefully our profile will be raised a bit now and I can start to spend some of this money (now >£2.4m).

Final position:  1st (P18 W11 D3 L4 +16)
Players in: 1 for £0 (2 others just before the end of last year also for £0)
Players out: 1 for £1k
Average crowd: 2124 (3rd in IPD)

Other possibly surprising news in my save this year …

Columbia won the World Cup for the first time, beating Norway in the final.
Sunderland retained the English Premier Division title (and have won it 3 of 4).
Cadiz won the Spanish title, with Real Madrid just avoiding relegation.

 

Season 14 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2019 – Icelandic Premier Division

As noted previously couldn’t get anyone decent to come and lost my DL and could only sign a backup DC, backup DM and an ML prospect.  We lost our only ST worthy of the name to injury halfway through the season, and limped over the line to repeat as champions with a fortunate 2-1 win away to FH in the last game (a draw would have been enough for FH to win the title).  Every game except 2 were decided by one goal, which meant it never felt very secure.

But the CL was quite exciting.  First qualifying round was against Dinamo Tbilisi and the first leg was in Georgia.  The biggest crowd we’ve ever played in front of (28,347) saw us play our best game of the season, coming away with a deserved 4-0 win.  The home leg was a bit of a formality, but we made sure we took care of business, winning 2-1.  Second round was against Vejle of the Danish Premier League, and the first leg was again away.  They were much better than us, though it took a very questionable penalty to make it 3-1 to them in the end.  At home we lost a goal early, but fought back to threaten another upset but could only win 2-1 and out we go.  That penalty did prove decisive.

Final position:  1st (P18 W11 D4 L3 +12)
Players in:  3 for £5k
Players out:  4 for £1k
Average crowd:  1985 (4th in IPD)

 

Start of season 15.

The Good News? The youth facilities are being upgraded.

The Bad News? “It won’t take very long to be complete”.

Just adding a trampoline and an XBox then?

And breaking news … Varzim of Portugal Liga De Honora (a level down from their Premier League) offer me a job! Halfway through their season, in 6th. Plenty of money in transfer and wage kitty.

I’m going to pause here as Tolkein did at Balin’s tomb. I’m uncertain how to go forward. I suspect I’ll stay but maybe a little more research on Varzim will convince me to stop banging my head against the board at Throttur. Hmmm.

In the end, it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. I rejected the offer from Varzim, and their chairman was very classy, saying he was disappointed, respected my decision, and hoped to make me the club’s manager at some point in the future.

In the end it came down to seeing something through to the end – or, at least, as far as I can take it. Varzim would have been a shortcut I’m not ready to take. Yet.

If you’d like to recreate this next season with Þróttur at home, here are the simple steps to follow:

–  create a team with only one reasonable striker
–  have said striker get injured for a considerable length of time
–  work very very hard to replace him from your shortlist, scouting, cup games etc.
–  offer contracts to n players where n exceeds the size of your first team squad
–  for i = 1 to n step 1
–  playername does not wish to come to Þróttur
–  offer a contract anyway, paying as much as you can
–  playername snubs Þróttur
–  next i
–  compound the issue by having one (half decent) player tell you what he wants, lowball him, have him reject that contract and then all subsequent contracts where you massively exceed his previous requirements
–  start the defense of your title by going 2-4, including ‘half decent player’ scoring both goals in a 2-0 home defeat.
–  get so frustrated that you ask the board to improve facilities again, expecting to be able to push them (with an ultimatum) to sacking you and ending this misery
–  have the board accept your request for facility improvement!

I should point out that Half-Decent Player is on a current contract of £100, wanted £1200 and is now rejecting £2000/wk.  Similar wage increases were offered to the entire set of n players.

Season 15 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2020 – Icelandic Premier Division

So the Threepeat was gone after the 2 and 4 start (Decent ST injury) during which I rode the team really hard.  When Decent ST came back we played well (9-1-2), I eased off, but we could only pull ourselves up to 3rd.  I think that’s a EURO cup place though, which was the board’s expectation.

The real adventure came in Europe.

CL Q1 – Zeljeznicar Sarajevo – 1-0 away, 0-1 home, won 3-0 on pens.  Deserved.
CL Q2 – St. Pat’s Athletic, Dublin – 0-1 away, 2-0 home.  Slightly fortunate
CL Q3 – Genoa (currently top and unbeaten in Serie A) – 0-4 away, 1-3 home.  Lucky not to lose by triple digits.

Getting humiliated in the CL group stages will have to wait for a more favourable draw then.

But hang on … lose in CL Q3 and you’re into the EURO cup 1st round for some reason!

EURO 1 – Dunfermline Athletic – 1-0 home, 2-3 away (through on away goals).  Just about deserved over the two games.

The EURO groups are an odd thing – groups of 5 but you only play each other once.

EURO group E drawn with Arsenal (oh please let that game be away!), Zenith St. Petersburg, Trabzonspor and Olympiakos.
Zenith St. P away (we need a new bus!), took the lead but class eventually told and we lost 4-1
Trabzonspor home, should have done better but couldn’t get anything on target and lost 2-0
Arsenal away (yes!), we could have been 3 down inside the first minute, actually let in the first just after a minute and expected the floodgates to open.  But yet we got a penalty on 7 minutes and are drawing at half time.  In the second half we survive a barrage and have a chance to win it right at the end.  Great play on the right by Decent ST, a fantastic cross to Half-Decent ST (yes he signed eventually), he’s 1-on-1 with their GK, but puts it into the side netting.  A draw!  A lap of honor around the pitch.
Olympiakos home 0-2, should have drawn.

Final position:  3rd (P18 W11 D1 L6 +8)
Players in:  3 for £30k
Players out:  5 for £1k
Average crowd:  2439 (2nd in IPD)

 

Season 16 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2021 – Icelandic Premier Division

Be careful what you wish for … you might get it, as they say.

We’ve gone professional, I can (and do) scout Scandinavia and bring in a stack of new faces, and the training facilities for both seniors and youths have been updated.  The board decide to add a couple more changes for this year.  We’ll have an increased capacity for the 2022 season (of 1600 seats) which means that we have to play all our home games at KR-völlur this year.

Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

And all the changes completely transform the team … into a goal-shy sack of crap.  For example, Decent ST scored 14 IPD goals last year, 3 this.  I can’t wait to get back to Valbjarnarvöllur!  We draw so many games, including our EURO cup games against Dinamo Minsk, going out on away goals in the first round.

One odd thing happened this year.  Most of our ‘home’ games drew 4000+.  But the ‘away’ game against KR drew only 2300.  What?  Maybe the away stand is open to the rain?  Does this happen at the San Siro or Allianz Arena?

Final position:  4th (P18 W6 D8 L4 +1)
Players in:  6 for £93k
Players out:  23 for £0 (a purging of the reserves – it worked; we won the reserves league this year)
Average crowd:  3758 (1st in IPD)

Season 17 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2022 – Icelandic Premier Division

An odd season with a worrying financial trend saw us finish second even though we were the class team of the league.  We lost games we didn’t deserve to lose, and in such a short season you don’t have time to make up for those aberrations.  In particular we lost at home to eventual (repeat) champions FH even though we had the best chances and outshot them significantly and those 3 points were the margin by which we lost the league.

I also had my 500th game in charge at Þróttur this year.

But the financial situation is not at all good.  The board decided to further increase the capacity at Valbjarnarvollur (now over 5000, with 2500 seats), and even though I splurged at bit in Scandinavia we’re losing £150k a month.  It’s not all wages either, since we’d be losing money even if the wages were zero.  Luckily the veterans I signed have their contracts expiring soon so I can trim something, and I do have some stars that teams are fighting for, but this ground and professional status look like it means we must qualify and do well in Europe each year to survive.  That’s not how it looked a couple of seasons ago …

[Edit] Fierce local rivals Fram also turn professional … I wonder whether it’s working as well for them?

Final position:  2nd (P18 W11 D3 L4 +19)
Players in:  3 for £0
Players out:  11 for £0
Average crowd:  4528 (1st in IPD)

2022 World Cup, played in Brazil, won by England, beating Japan in the final.

Spent a few days playing Finance Manager 2007, with particular reference to the books for Þróttur Reykjavik.

There are a couple of problems with this situation, as I see it.

1.  The season is 4 months long, yet FT professionals expect to be paid year-round.

This fact is compounded by the fact that

2.  There are only 9 home games to get enough revenue together to cover the whole year.

Yes, marketing; yes, sales.  I can’t control those things, of course.  Prize money?  In Iceland?  Ha!

The last point is

3.  A wonderful entry in the Expenditure ledger of ‘Other’ totalling £500k/yr.  This is what makes me lose money even if I don’t pay any wages.  I thought about looking to see what this actually is to see if I could reduce it, but I thought that probably constitutes tipping etc so I’ll leave it as a mystery (better off not knowing, etc).

So the problem is I have to get a long way in Europe and/or sell players to survive economically.  And thus the horns of the dilemma.  To spend hoping that one star gets picked up for big money or to try to be a bit more thrifty and eke out the pennies.

Since I have to get deep into Europe and do well in the league I’ve decided to set myself a tripwire.  If funds go below £1m I’ll quit and let the board hire a more financially astute manager.  With that ‘budget’ I shouldn’t lead the club into Chapter 11 since they’ll have some money to rework things if I have to go, but it gives me the room to buy players I think will help us in the league and hopefully be valuable commodities.

On to the rest of 2023…

 

Season 18 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2023 – Icelandic Premier Division

The season started with the sale of Carries-Team-On-Back (ML) for his release clause of £2.5m which put us back to where we were 2 years ago financially (ie balance = £6m).  But even without him this was an easy walk to the title, as repeat champions FH fell to 6th and the others took points from each other.  By winning it, I became the most successful manager in Icelandic history.

EURO Q1 – Tre Fiori (San Marino) – won 6-2 (agg) easily
Q2 – Altach (Austria) – won 4-1 (agg) tighter games
Q3 – Legia (Poland) – lost 1-0 at home (own goal) but won 2-0 away (winner in 94th minute!)

One odd thing then … before the groups were drawn I checked our European history, and it said we were in Group F this year.  Strange, I don’t remember seeing the groups.  Clicked on Group F and it was blank.  Continued a couple of times, and here we are, draw for groups.  Hmmm, I wonder what group we’ll be in?  Ah, Group F.  The fix is in.

Hammered by Rangers (Scotland), had chances against Belenenses (Portugal) but another og meant we lost 2-1, hammered by Messina (Italy) and close but beaten by the better side by Betis (Spain).

CL next year but getting to the group stages there will be hard.  Q3 is a tough round …

Final position:  1st (P18 W12 D4 L2 +20)
Players in:  4 for £550k (3 after the European squad was submitted)
Players out:  Lots for £2.6m
Average crowd:  4676 (1st in IPL)

 

Season 19 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2024 – Icelandic Premier Division

Bought in some decent talent that should be worth something and improves us as a team, and we ease to the title again.  We’re only slightly better than most teams in the division, but that little bit of quality tells at critical times.

In Europe we do quite well:

CL Q1 Shelbourne (Rep. of Ireland) 3-1 agg.  Straightforward
CL Q2 Domzale (Slovenia) 5-1 agg.  Closer than that scoreline indicates.  Early goal in the second leg (away) settled the nerves
CL Q3 Spartak Moscow (Russia) won 3-2 away (bit lucky tbh) then won 4-0 at home in even encounter that was overshadowed by kit row (see previous post).

We’ve qualified for the group stage!  And even better news is that getting to the group stages means we get £3m, though we’re 5000-1 to win the competition.  Don’t waste your money betting on us.

Drawn with Aberdeen (Scotland), Lazio (Italy) and AEK (Greece).  Give AEK two good games (edit – lost both), get a lucky point away at Aberdeen but otherwise thrashed and deservedly so.  The worst part was playing Lazio with the old white-type-on-very-light-blue-background commentary frustration.  That and the goals flying in to our net.  Oh and when Aberdeen came to Valbjarnarvöllur we had to play in our away kit.  I don’t think there’s an outraged state beyond apoplectic, is there?  Maybe back to Squad Leader times … just go Berserk at EUFA?

Finances are looking very nice, no-one has come in for any of the prospects so far, even though one did get the Icelandic golden boot for most goals in the domestic season.

Working now on more new recruits …

Final position:  1st (P18 W13 D3 L2 +25)
Players in:  8 for £650k though 4 of those were after the end of the season
Players out:  12 for £0
Average crowd:  4858 (1st in IPD)

 

Season 20 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2025 – Icelandic Premier Division

Domestically this season was as good as it could have been, as we won the quadruple (Champions Cup, Upper League Cup, Icelandic Cup and the league).  But there were worrying signs as we lost form dramatically at times and especially when we lost key players.

In Europe we did OK.  We beat Kaunas (Lithuania) 6-3 on aggregate, then beat Modrica Maxima (Bosnia & Herzegovina) 4-0.  But Zaragoza (Spain) were easy 5-2 winners and then in the consolation EURO cup qualifier against Steaua Bucharest (Romania) we were humbled 5-0 away after winning the home leg 2-1.  No group games for us …

Final position:  1st (P18 W11 D6 L1 +18)
Players in:  7 for £625k
Players out:  3 for £0
Average crowd:  5083 (1st in IPD)

On a side note I’ve never had a ‘wonderkid’ play for me, and I wonder how wonderful a wonderkid must be since the ‘young midfielder’ I bought from FH must be just this side of it.  Pity his ACL went mid-season.

Since there’s now a long break where there should/could have been European action I thought I’d go back through my airline ticket stubs to see how many air miles I logged.

The running total is 86216miles for each squad and staff member.

It took us 28537miles to achieve our first European group point (away at Arsenal), and then another 31947 before our second (away at Aberbeen). We have clocked 25700 since that point, so clearly we’re only ~6000miles away from our next point!

Furthest trip was to Tbilisi, Georgia (2990 one way). The shortest to Aberdeen, Scotland (826 one way).

Air miles holiday in Honolulu all round!

Season 21 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2026 – Icelandic Premier Division

Well, a terrible season.  We were expected to challenge for the title, but were always second best to unbeaten Valur, and eventually slipped to third on the last day of the season.  The only consistency we had we inconsistence, and paid the price in some very odd defeats (some against the odds and some very poor performances).  I turned down job offers from AC Milan and Lazio.  For this?

And yet …

We should have won both games against Valur, and had (in almost-Wonderkid MC) the best player in the league.  We had won 3 titles in a row, and should have been at least second.  Truly luck was against us.

And I think the god(s) of FM were looking.

In the CL we were seeded and went straight into Q2 against old friends Kaunas (Lithuania).  A 5-2 aggregate win was about right.  Q3 was all about being outclassed by Dinamo Bucharest (Romania), 3-0 on aggregate didn’t flatter them.  So we go into the EURO cup play-off, against IFK Goteborg (Sweden).  The away leg was a 3-0 defeat that should have been 3-1 or even 2-1, but they are clearly the better side.

In game time we finished 3rd in the IPD here.

Then for the home leg I threw caution to the wind, and attacked them from about 25minutes in.  We scored right on half-time, and so began the greatest reason to play FM.
Another goal a minute into the second half made our belief stronger, and a magnificent effort 2 minutes later from almost-Wonderkid lifted the roof off Valbjarnarvöllur.  When he flicked in a volley with 10 minutes to go I couldn’t believe it.  We were ahead now, but an away goal would kill us.  It didn’t come.  We were through 4-3 on aggregate!

That luck stayed with us as we (again, deservedly) beat Valur on pens in the Icelandic Cup after a 0-0 draw.

EURO group games:
Rangers (Scotland) – H – 0-2
Genoa (Italy) – A – 0-3
Leicester City (England) – H – 1-3
Porto (Portugal) – A – 0-2  Losing for fun in these groups is oddly unsatisfying.

Other news:
Switzerland beat England 1-0 in the 2026 World Cup Final, held in Brazil.
Real Madrid followed Barcelona in being relegated from Spain’s First Division
Almost-Wonderkid won the Player of the Year award, but then didn’t make the First Team of the best players in the league?

Final position:  3rd (P18 W9 D5 L4 +11)
Players in:  2 for £160k
Players out:  3 for £0
Average crowd:  5101 (1st in IPD)

Repeated improvement requests now have us with top training facilities and good youth training (improving as we speak).

 

Season 22 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2027 – Icelandic Premier Division

A decent season with a very close run-in which ultimately helped us.  We went into the last game 1pt ahead of Valur, playing Fjolnir away, while they played 4th placed FH away.  We led and should have won our game, but lost 2 goals in the last 10minutes to lose 2-1, sending me scurrying to check the latest score from the other game.  At the same time we conceded the second FH equalised against Valur and we won the league on GD.  We should have done better but missed a lot of chances throughout the season.

We added the Icelandic Cup a week later, in a revenge game against Fjolnir.

In Europe we went through easily against Torpedo Kutaisi (Georgia) to EURO Q2 against FC Midtjylland (Denmark) but had a DC sent off for the professional foul and caved at the end to lose 3-1 at home.  Winning the away leg 1-0 was no consolation.

Overall I’m stuck with a bit of an odd bug that may limit how long I can stay here … I cannot ask for an increase in staff wages and they have not gone up for 6years.  I’m losing AssMen after their contract is up, and just lost the only good GK Coach who applied a few years ago.  No way to ask for a rise for them and no way to keep them …

I have two real stars – Almost-Wonderkid MC and Speedy ST.  Almost-Wonderkid has been the subject of lots of enquiries, but nothing concrete.  He broke his leg at the end of the season which nearly derailed the double.  I’m getting prepared to lose both of them next year.  Promising DC went on a free rather than sign a better contract here.  ba****d.  Though he’s straight on my shortlist to pick back up if things don’t work out at Mainz (Germany).

Final position:  1st (P18 W11 D4 L3 +21)
Players in:  2 for £75k
Players out:  31 for £0k
Average crowd:  5080 (1st in IPD)

 

Season 23 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2028 – Icelandic Premier Division

Easy league title win, with a relatively fixed squad playing really well.  Should have been undefeated, but we won by 12 points anyway.  The midfield for the IPD team of the year was almost all Þróttur.

In Europe we drew Villareal (Spain) in the CL Q3 and lost 1-0 in both legs.  In the consolation EURO play-in game we drew Sunderland (England) as we lost our best player Almost-Wonderkid to injury in an Iceland international game.  At home we came back in the last 15minutes to draw 2-2.  Away we led twice to give us hope but ran out deserved 5-2 losers.

Final position:  1st (P18 W15 D2 L1 +30)
Players in:  1 for £0
Players out:  5 for £525k
Average crowd:  5066 (1st in IPD)

 

Season 24 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2029 – Icelandic Premier Division

We were a bit lucky this season.  FH pushed us all the way, but a couple of dominant wins in the last three games meant we Three-peated again as champions (we’ve now won 6/7 and 8/12).  Valur also went professional and towards the end of the season so did KR, joining us and FH.

In Europe we easily got through Q2 against Zrinjski (Bosnia and Herzegovina) 5-0 agg, and then got the best possible draw against Basel (Switzerland) who are mostly ‘greys’ (good greys, but still greys).  A tense 2-0 win at home was followed by a oddly dull 0-0 draw away, featuring only one ‘highlight’ in the first half.  Still, that’s OK for us and we’re in the groups.

We give a decent account of ourselves in every game except the 5-1 defeat at Genoa (Italy), but score our first win in the groups beating Rapid Bucharest (Romania) at home 4-0 (and we should have at least drawn away to them too).

That win means we finish 3rd in the group, and therefore go into the knockout stages of the EURO cup, but those games happen early next year.

Final position:  1st (P18 W12 D2 L4 +26)
Players in:  2 for £60k (got Promising DC back cheaply)
Players out:  2 for £1m (no-one seriously trying to take Almost-wonderkid MC or Speedy ST from us)
Average crowd:  5051 (1st in IPD) [EDIT – misread my own writing]

It looked as though I would only have 1 or 2 seasons more at Þróttur midway through the season.  Even after selling Left ST for £1m our finances were draining fast.  Qualification for the CL groups means we’ll be back up to £8m or so, meaning another 3 or 4 seasons if we miss out on groups all that time.  Finances are the only thing that will make me leave; well, that or being fired.

When trying to save the game I accidentally hit New User … and the game’s suggestion for the New User was ‘The Young Doctor’.  Very good!  Almost added him while laughing.

 

Season 25 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2030 – Icelandic Premier Division

This was a really odd/frustrating good news/bad news season.

The good news?  We went unbeaten in the league!
The bad news?  We drew so many games we finished 2nd, 7 points behind winners Valur.

The bad news?  Almost-Wonderkid left on a free.  ba****d.
The good news?  At least it means I pay FH 30% of £0.  ba****d sell-on-fee-clause I couldn’t negotiate out of the transfer, hah!

The good news?  Speedy ST’s transfer fee bought me a couple of very nice replacement STs …
The bad news?  … who are out almost the whole season injured.  Hence the draws.

In Europe Q2 against Sarajevo (Bosnia and Hersogovina) was an easier-than-it-looks 3-1 agg win
Q3 was against Arsenal (England) and we were never going to get anything from this, losing 5-0.

The EURO play-in game was against Cluj (Romania), and we stuffed them 8-2.

EURO league games:
Ajax (Holland) away – 2-2 great draw
Hearts (Scotland) home – 1-2 should have drawn, played really well
Rapid (Romania) away – 0-2 defeat where oddly we didn’t create much
Hannover (Germany) home – 1-0 win against the odds

We were 3rd in the table after our win, but needed Ajax to beat Hannover in the last game, and they didn’t.  Still not bad.

News just before this game that Almost-Wonderkid did his ACL again.  Shame.  He’s going to be great … eventually.

Final position:  2nd (P18 W7 D11 L0 +15)  [EDIT – 11 drawn games not 1]
Players in:  4 for £475k
Players out:  8 for £7.25m
Average crowd:  5066 (1st in IPD)

We can’t get over the hurdle of winning the title 4 times in a row.

 

Season 26 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2031 – Icelandic Premier Division

Terrible season where we should have finished 6th but got a very lucky 3-2 win away at Gindavik on the last day to get into 3rd.  I was playing ‘Lose the dressing room’ the whole way, trying to whip something out of them that just wouldn’t come.

Example:  we’ve just drawn at home to second-bottom IR, and have been comfortably outplayed by them.

TGD (for it is he):  That was complete crap.
Sundry voices at the back:  You’re not giving us enough credit, boss.
TGD:  CREDIT?  FOR WHAT???  You put the shirt on the right way round this week?  Congratulation for your hattrick during the warm-up?

I should have dropped them all to the reserves for that, but didn’t have the balls.  What’s beyond apoplexy?  We also luckily won the Icelandic Cup which probably saved my job.

Europe went surprisingly OK.  Seeded in the 4th group for the group games, beat the 5th team and lost to the rest but could have taken points from Panathanaikos and Lokomotiv Moscow.  We’re getting better and better in Europe, but maybe I need to think about my transfer and reserve promotion policies … we still haven’t recovered from losing Almost-Wonderkid.

Final position:  3rd (P18 W8 D7 L3 +21)
Players in:  1 for £300k
Players out:  17 for £3.7m
Average crowd:  6166 (1st in IPD and almost double Valur in 2nd)

 

Season 27 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2032 – Icelandic Premier Division

A bit of a generic season.  Always threatening to dominate, then finding amazingly awful form at key times.  I suppose our inconsistency is down to having to play so many youngsters since one place we are dominant is the injury table, but it seems more like the whole team goes up and down, not just the kids’ form.  Limped over the line to win the title with the worst record of a winner in 20years.

Europe was … well, I don’t really know what to say.  In the EURO play-in game we lost to an awful penalty to Genk (Belgium), who tbh looked a class above us.  Without that we’d have won on away goals, and rightly so on balance.  But we’re in the top 150 in Europe!

Signed a new 4 year contract, and for some reason all the staff pay limits went up!

Final position:  1st (P18 W11 D1 L6 +15)
Players in:  3 for £125k
Players out:  3 for £47k
Average crowd:  7504 (1st in IPD)

 

Season 28 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2033 – Icelandic Premier Division

Another season where I was relaxed at the start then got more and more wound up as it all went wrong.  Home form is what killed us. We played 9 league games at home, conceded only 3 goals, but had 4 draws and a loss.  Time to tune things up next year I think.

Won the Icelandic Cup to again save my skin, and possibly a EURO cup slot.

Got to the group games in the CL, beat Munchen (Germany) 1-0 at home, but lost the rest to finish bottom of the group.

Final position:  4th (P18 W8 D6 L4 +18)
Players in:  2 for £200k
Players out:  2 for £0
Average crowd:  7553

 

Season 29 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2034 – Icelandic Premier Division

Two nice shiny new STs as the start of the season – not tarnished by the memory of open goal misses like the old ones.  But it’s the purchase of a DL and development of a previously-bought DR that are really the story of the season.  With DL on board I can change back to a more conventional formation, and we only conceded 7 goals all season (4 of those in the three games after we were knocked out of Europe).

We should have gone unbeaten but had a bit of a nightmare away to 2nd placed Valur.  Still, won our title back.

Europe, ummm, not so much – knocked out by Slagelse (Denmark) in Q2.  I’m now in the odd position of cheering for KR in the CL after a plucky 1-1 draw away to Ajax put them through to the groups on away goals. Hopefully their doing well will boost our seeding as well (we’re currently 109th).

The ground expanded again, now to 11750 and we almost sell out a couple of times.

Final position:  1st (P18 W13 D4 L1 +23)
Players in:  4 for £325k
Players out:  7 for £7.75m
Ave crowd:  8532 (1st in IPD)

 

Season 30 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2035 – Icelandic Premier Division

Really only minor changes this season, letting a few promising young players go and getting a few others some time in the first team.  We won the quad fairly easily, except for the Icelandic Cup where one of my promising GK backups (sold to KR) played the game of his life to take the final to penalties, though we eventually won.  Otherwise it was a walk to the title, by 13points this year.

The season also featured my 1000th game in charge of Þróttur, a nice 5-0 win eventually.

The Good Doctor’s 1000th game in charge.

In the CL we played apparently the same game many times … they scored from basically their first attack (usually a fantastic finish), and we’d slowly work our way into the game.  We got through Q2 against Ujpest (Hungary) 4-0 on aggregate, then drew PSV (Holland).  The first leg was our best performance of the season – a 4-1 win after being 1-0 down inside 5mins.  The away leg was really tight as we were 3-0 down (and going out on away goals) inside 30mins, but midway through the second half we scored and that was enough.  The groups went OK (after being seeded in the 3rd group!), took 4 points from Olympiakos (Greece) and beat Newcastle (England) deservedly at home to finish 3rd.  The EURO 1st Round knock-out games are in 2036, against Rapid Bucharest (Romania).

Final position:  1st (P18 W14 D3 L1 +29)
Players in:  2 for £10k
Players out:  11 for £1.1m
Average crowd:  10474 (next best Valur 4260)

 

Season 31 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2036 – Icelandic Premier Division

Well, this season probably marks a turning point in my career here.  I’ve decided that, after building up the youth resources so much that they’ve won the reserves league 8 times in a row (this season’s record – P22, W21 D1 L0 GF98 GA7 to win the league by 25points), and with the difficulty I have getting players here, it’s time to start pushing the youth through seriously.  In many ways it’s also to avoid all these good players in our reserves going to other Icelandic teams and pissing me off.

As we left 2035 we’d finished 3rd in our CL group, so were down to play Rapid (Romania) in the first EURO knock-out round.  3-0H and 1-1A was enough though it was close.  EURO 2 was against Crystal Palace (England) and a tight 2-1 home win was followed by an even tighter 1-1 draw away to send us into the quarter finals.  It would have been nice to have drawn Lazio (Italy) since a key THROB (Þróttur Old Boy) now plays there, but we drew West Ham (England) and went out 5-0 on aggregate.  Going so deep kicked us up to 80th in Europe though.

The league was OK, we didn’t score as well as we should but retained the title by 7points from Valur.

CL Q2 saw us play Modrica Maxima (Bosnia) again, and we went through 5-0.  Q3 was against FCU Poli (Romania) and 8-1 on aggregate wasn’t too bad.  CL Group saw us finish 3rd but we almost won it, just failing to hold on to a 3-1 lead over Bologna (Italy) in the last game and we lost out to Bologna and Villarreal (Spain) on GD as we all finished on 10points from our 6 games.  Good improvement though, and I hope we can maintain our European form with more kids next year …

Final position:  1st (P18 W11 D5 L2 +17)
Players in:  2 for £10k
Players out:  25 for £1.7m
Average crowd:  10795 (next best Valur 4234)

[Euro knock-out games to follow in 2037]

 

Season 32 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2037 – Icelandic Premier Division

Started off with the EURO cup games from last year, playing Racing (Spain).  Lost 5-4 away in a game we should have won, but were then outclassed at home 3-1.

As promised I made no signings until the season was over, promoting some of the reserves who had been doing so well.  And they performed great, taking us to another quad (and our first 4-peat of the league title).  The league was quite tight for a while with local rivals Fram neck-and-neck, until we beat them at home 4-1 and eventually won by 7points from them.

In Europe we finally made it out of the CL group stages and in some style too.  We went up to 69th in Europe, but of course still had to qualify.  Q2 against Birkirkara (Malta) ended 9-0 to us, and Q3 against Artmedia (Slovakia) ended up 12-0.  We were seeded 3rd in the groups.  Beat the 4th seed Grasshoppers (Switzerland) home and away, split the games with 1st seed Leicester City (England) – we dominated the home game – and crucially took 4 points from 2nd seed  Kaiserslautern (Germany) even though they outplayed us in both games to finish top of our group.
The knock-out 1st round drew us against Anderlecht (Belgium) but those games happen next calendar year.

One fun note – TNS (Wales) made it to the CL group stage, and won a game! (vs Hearts (Scotland)).

I don’t have a lot of cover for some positions, but the now-depleted reserves won their league again (9th in a row) and we have some good DCs coming through to eventually replace my club captain.  It’s funny how our academy system seems to produce good players in specific position.  I sold the Iceland national GK (he wanted to leave) and his replacement from our reserves is now Iceland’s national GK.

Final position:  1st (P18 W14 D2 L2 +28)
Players in:  2 for £250k (both after the season)
Players out:  15 for £2.5m
Average crowd:  11219 (next best Valur 4140)

We did get a change of chairman this year, though it didn’t seem to affect anything.  The hard challenge now will be to manage the expectations of the youth coming through – they all want regular first team games and can’t all have them, of course.

I’ve been misreading the HoF numbers for England.  3rd place is quite attainable, since it goes (avoiding naming):
Liverpool manager – 560
Often-injured England captain – 292
Recently departed – 242
Arsenal and Huddersfield Town manager – 240
“I’m in the top one” – 240
England WC winning manager – 240
The Good Doctor – 210

 

Season 33 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2038 – Icelandic Premier Division

CL knock-out games started the year, we (slightly) outplayed Anderlecht (Belgium) in both legs but both were drawn 1-1 so pens decided it an we went through to face Leicester City (England) in the Quarter Finals, and get our asses handed to us 5-1.

The domestic season was pretty straightforward throughout, and we cruised to another quad.

CL groups showed we used up all our luck in the previous years.  Despite playing quite well in both legs against Fenerbahce (Turkey) we lost both games, lost both against Roma (Italy – the CL holders) and only took 4 points from 4th seed Maccabi Haifa (Israel), but 3rd place sees us into the EURO knock-out games.

Final position:  1st (P18 W15 D1 L2 +43)
Players in:  1 for £210k after the end of the season
Players out:  5 for £3m
Average crowd:  13423 (1st in IPD, next best = Valur 3771)

The ground is being slowly enlarged, hence that attendance figure.  In financial terms we’re now 5 times bigger than the only other professional club in Iceland.  Top players still don’t want to come here though!  Valur’s attendances are slowly dwindling – are we killing football in Iceland?

 

Season 34 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2039 – Icelandic Premier Division

Well, this was a season when we crapped the bed a couple of times, and chose critical times to do it.

Crapping #1:  Icelandic Champions Cup disaster (4-1 loss to FH)
Crapping #2:  Icelandic Cup quarter final penalty loss (to KR)
Crapping #3:  No dishonor is losing at Newcastle (England) in the CL groups, but 5-0?
Crapping #4:  This is the crapping to rule them all.  Aberystwyth (Wales) away, lost 2-0.  Finished bottom of our CL group.  No EURO knock-out games.

We went up to 26th ranked in Europe at the start of the European campaign, but still can’t scout outside Scandinavia, and it is starting to seriously piss me off now.  We’re ranked 26th, don’t you think we should be able to scout a little closer to home – England & Scotland for example?  I think this is truly fucked up.  I have had £millions to spend in the last few years and cannot do it.  Example, very nice DM chose 1/3 the wages and no CL to play in Denmark over us.  Scandinavia is not home to an untold wealth of top class talent in 2039.

I have a year left on this contract now, and I think I’ve got to move on, sadly, unless the board change the policy (which I can’t request).

On a side note KR have reverted to semi-pro status so we are the only professional club in Iceland again.

Final position:  1st (P18 W13 D4 L1 +31) (Lost the last game of the season, dammit)
Players in:  2 for £40k (1 after the end of the season)
Players out:  5 for £600k
Average crowd:  16868 (1st in IPD)

I put my favorite team down as Norwich City (England) at the start of the game, and they’re down in League 2, so they could be a possibility.  Maybe somewhere in Italy would be fun.  I didn’t choose very disparate leagues and I’m regretting it now.  Hungary or Greece perhaps … next save.

 

Season 35 – Þróttur Reykjavik 2040 – Icelandic Premier Division

Well, this was to be my last season at Þróttur.  I wondered whether to use Pl**er Se**ch to make up for the fact that there was no way a club ranked 24th in Europe wouldn’t be able to scout Europe (or take sponsorship from someone other than a local firm for £10k/yr when they’re getting exposure in the CL).  But ultimately I decided that I’d play to the rules the game had set and move on.  I’m really hoping that an AI manager gets to ignore the rules and takes the club on.

We were good enough in the league but crapped the bed in the Icelandic Cup semi-final and deservedly lost in OT when I was playing for penalties.  The CL Q3 game (we’re ranked high enough now we start straight at Q3) was marred when our GK was sent off after 13minutes, and they scored the penalty.  We lost that game 2-1, could only draw at home 1-1 and went into the EURO cup where my last game was to complete a 6-1 win over Zagreb to confirm our EURO group stage participation.

I was 5th in the World in Time at Current Club (12689days), and am 3rd in the English managers HoF.

In 35years at Þróttur my overall record is P1236 W677 D240 L319 +980.  Overall players in £3.5m, overall players out £34m.  We have training and youth facilities that are best in the world.  The reserves have won their league 12times in a row, and 17 of 20.  We won the ULC 8 years in a row and 10 of 11, the Icelandic Cup 8 of 15 and the league 7 times in a row and 16 of 23.  Our stadium has been expanded little-by-little and now fits about 20k.  Started in the red, now have £30m in the bank.
It is possible to be a (quite) big fish in a small pond.

Norwich won promotion so I don’t think they’ll be needing a new manager … I don’t know where to go but I think it’ll have to be a smallish club in a bigish league.

Final position:  1st (P18 W13 D3 L2 +32)
Players in:  0
Players out:  16 for £1.4m
Average crowd:  (19110)

Overall I’m pleased with my time here.  The club has a great future I think.

Louhans, France (Reuters)

French police say they are not able to proceed any further in the strange case of the allegedly amnesiac football manager.
French National football club SC Louhans-Cuiseaux pulled off an apparent coup when they signed English manager The Good Doctor to rescue the team’s fortunes.  Doctor had taken unfancied Icelandic club Þróttur Reykjavik to the Champions League and EURO cup quarter finals and joined Louhans as their promotion bid was faltering.
But after an initial stabilisation period the expected improvement never came and Louhans avoided relegation by just one point.
“After the Monaco game he just seemed unsure of his best team, didn’t bring back regulars after suspension or injury and appeared confused even how to view home team stats during the game” said ‘Doctor Out’ lead organizer Eugene Ionesco.
The Louhans board grew increasingly concerned with performances but allowed Doctor to clear out most of the first team and all the reserves after the end of the season despite the very vocal presence of the ‘Doctor Out’ campaign and rumors that Doctor was taking backhanders from rivals Gueugnon.
Doctor himself mumbled about a ‘2month work trip without access to his laptop’ although he was in charge of every single game during his tenure at Stade de Bram.
Police have said that they assume Doctor’s nationality is the problem but there is no criminal case to answer.

Season 37 – Louhans-Cuiseaux – French National

Nice, but no.

Final position: 5th (top 3 promoted)

 

Season 38  – Louhans-Cuiseaux – French National 2042/43

Expected promotion, promised a title fight, missed it by that much.

Final position:  19th (relegated)

 

If you guessed that I kept the core of the squad that finished 5th, added some promising loans and quality veterans, but key injuries, international call-ups and suspensions and flat out poor morale through the whole season meant that we just kept dropping down the table, you’d be right.

My first relegation.  I don’t know yet if I’ll keep my job … I wasn’t actually sure that there were leagues below the National, but there are and we’ll be exploring those shortly.

French CFA (where the A stands for Amateur) is very strange.

4points for a win, 2 for a draw and 1 for a loss.  Why is this better than 3/1/0?  Well, apparently there are situations (I wonder whether they’re modelled) where you can lose the point for losing, by forfeiting the game for example (not turning up?).  I can’t see that making a difference at the top end but perhaps it could at the bottom.

 

Season 39 – Louhans-Cuiseaux – French CF-A 2043/44

Dropped points at key times and finished 3rd, 3points from 1st.  Nothing for that in this league, so another season in CF-A beckons.

“Quelle est la morale?”
“C’est a vous de la trouver.”

 

Season 40 – Louhans-Cuiseaux – French CF-A 2044/45

The key to this season was the fact that my ‘Knowledge’ screen, and indeed many others (eg ‘Finance’) are borked.  What I could see was a set of countries, a set of bars representing knowledge of those countries and then a completely scrambled RHS of the screen so I couldn’t see who was providing what knowledge.
So I sent my scout to Holland.
And he unearthed the last 2 pieces of the puzzle.  Not great players, but good enough to put us on a 15 game unbeaten streak to pip Boulogne-sur-Mer to the title (and the sole promotion place) by 1point after they lead almost the whole season.
Everyone’s ecstatic.  Have they forgotten who took them down to this God-forsaken hole?

 

Season 41 – Louhans-Cuiseaux – French National 2045/46

I think the pants may indeed have been shaking, as all that shaking reminded the Second League teams that they had a nice fat billfold in there.  “Hey, that team came up, let’s eviscerate them”.  Off went my prize young DC and ST.  And my AssMan.
Still, we looked good at times, got up to 4th at the halfway stage then started a gentle and comfortable amble down the table to finish 9th.
Only real highlights were finding gems in a nice DC, an ML (who won Most Promising Player of the Season) and an AMC – hope we can keep them for next season.
Lowlights were the 6 game stretch we scored one goal and a game against Martigues where they injured every left-sided player I had in a 40minutes stretch, including MPPOTS ML and then his replacement 6 minutes later.  No bookings for them.

Now we’re back in a real league I’ll stat up a bit:

Final position: 9th (P38 W15 D10 L13 +10)

Previous club watch:  Þróttur have actually been back down to the Icelandic First Division, but came straight back up with a better record than I ever had in the First Division.  They’ve won nothing since I’ve left, but maybe things are looking up …

 

Season 42 – Louhans-Cuiseaux – French National 2046/47

Splashed the cash a bit this year to upgrade the attacking options and enjoyed last year’s star players coming on.  Dutch AMC was great at arriving late in the box unmarked and scoring.  Not because he was tactically astute, but because he’s so slow he couldn’t keep up with play.  I failed to get in decent cover for the first team in defence though and relied on the reserves.

Incidentally, no reserve games at all?  How are they supposed to develop?  The U-18s play in a league, but not the reserves?  That seems odd.

We started moderately, climbed the table quite well on the back of Flash STs goals and beat First League Le Havre away 4-0 in the French Cup.  All was looking good until a series of suspensions and injuries took out our defense and we drew or lost the next six games.  But when the first teamers came back we conceded only four times in the final 10games to overhaul Saint-Priest, Tours and Monaco and be promoted as champions.

Many accolades came our way.  ML won French National Star Player of the Season, Flash ST won Top Goalscorer and Most Promising Player (DC was 3rd), Dutch AMC won National Player of the Season (I wonder what the difference is between Star Player and Player of the season – Average rating vs most MoM?

Final Position: 1st (P38 W20 D12 L6 +40)

Challenge for next season in the French Second League will be to keep these stars – 2DCs, ML, Dutch AMC and Flash ST if we can.  I wonder whether the reserves get a game there?

Previous club watch:  Þróttur came 3rd in their first season back (qualifying for Europe) and are currently top in their second season.  Get in!

 

Season 43 – Louhans-Cuiseaux – French Second League 2047/48

Managed to keep hold of most of the team that got us promoted, added a DC and a free-kick specialist/sort-of ST and a very good DMC and we really played well this season.

Even though I love one-touch football and intricate passing the goal that made me say ‘WOW’ was from a goal kick.  Out to just by the edge of the centre circle, flicked on by Flash ST and there was lumbering AMC volleying it into the far corner from 35-ish yards.

Stupid MD accepted a bid of less than half he was worth a couple of weeks later and he was on his way – to the National?  He wanted to move up and he moved down?  I’ll keep tabs on him and try to get him back asap.

We got to the top of the league and although Marseille reeled us in they then fell away at the end of the season and we were promoted as Champions.  First league football is coming to Stade de Bram, though my main DC is off to Albecete on a free.

Final position:  1st (P38 W24 D7 L7 +36)

We also got money for finishing top of the ‘Attacking Table’ where you get additional points for winning by 2 or more goals.  Odd … but I suppose I understand it.
ML won Second League Player of the Season, and Off-on-a-Free DC was 3rd.
GK was Second League Star GK of the Season and GK of the Season, both well deserved.
My favorite goal was 3rd in Goal of the Season, though the top goal was meh.  Goal 2 was terrific but I love watching Dutch AMC’s volley fly in.

I’ve asked for the stadium to be expanded, accepted a new contract and we’re all looking forward to the new season.  Hey, maybe the reserves will get some games now.  The U-18s won their league and we have quite a few promising youngsters, though now we’re in the first league I don’t know if they’ll get a chance to play much.

[EDIT – Plans for ground expansion turned down due to ‘strong local opposition’ – “Eheu!”]

 

Season 44 –  – French First League 2048/49

So this was Louhans-Cuiseaux’s first ever season in the First League, and it was equal parts exciting and disappointing, really.

We started by getting hammered at home by Angers, but then just seemed to always have enough luck over the next few games to go unbeaten and we were top of the league 8games in.  And as we stayed there for the next 10games I started to realise that the quality of French football isn’t that great.  Sure, there were some great players, but clearly the teams didn’t have a whole 11 to that standard.  We could never have done this in the EPL, for example.  I also realised that only the Champion goes into the CL; 2nd and 3rd go to the Europa.  Good seeding there on this evidence.

I was eyeing the job at Norwich City since I set them as my favorite club, and they were bottom of the Championship.  But by the time they sacked their manager there were only 9games to go and I couldn’t leave that close to the end of the season.  It appeared to be between us and Sedan for the title but as we lost the ability to score so did they and Yzeure (recently winners 5 times in a row) were top by 2 points from both of us with one game to go.  We won 2-0 at Angers, who were now featuring Dutch AMC and although Sedan beat Marseille Yzeure could only draw 0-0 at home to lowly Lorient and we had won the title on GD.  Meh.
That win also won us the Attacking Table for another £1.7m.

But overall I’m quite surprised by how poor it is here.  Of course the Norwich job is now gone, and I have to replace my star GK (signed to leave halfway through the season on a free).  But given the competition I think we will be OK even with a small stadium.

I’m not sure what my future holds.  I’m now a wily old manager (aged 69), and I suppose I’ll stay here to see where we can go in the CL.  I suspect not very far.

Final position:  1st (P38 W19 D13 L6 +25)
Players in:  3 for £3.4m
Players out:  9 for £3m including Star DC who just kept whining

 

Season 45 – Louhans-Cuiseaux – French First League 2049/50

I don’t know if you all have the same type of video compilation shows, but here it’s called America’s Funniest Home Videos, and every so often they have montages of a few minutes’ worth of clips where men, women and especially small children manage to propel objects of various sizes and masses into the nads of adult males.  Cue hilarity from half the audience and chuckling sympathy from the rest.

That’s how this season felt.  One long montage of me being hit in the nads.

Instability from a club takeover didn’t help, taking down half the stadium during an expansion didn’t help, losing a great GK on a free last season turned out to be a disaster, new players coming in that couldn’t settle in the area was a nuisance, unbelievable bad luck at the start of the season (and I’m looking at you, CL Group game away at Feyenoord (Holland)) leading to mass outbreaks of morale ranging from Poor to Suicidal was tough to deal with, our best ST going 23hours without scoring felt like a hair shirt and our best MR/ST going 49hours without scoring was starting to feel par for the course.

Then a shining patch of form and luck and we climbed from 19th (out of 20) to 6th and won the League Cup.  Woo-hoo!

Best ST broke his leg and we went the rest of the season winless (scoring only 4 goals in 10games after the LC final) to fall to 11th.  D’oh, and back to the montage.

The new chairman seems determined to comment on players’ form and team performances, without actually investing anything in the club.  Thanks for the help, then.

We are in the EURO cup thanks to the LC win, but no-one wants to come here and our best ML and Champions League best player winner (!) is off to Liverpool on a free at the end of the season.  Fun times.

Final position:  11th (P38 W12 D12 L14 -2)
Players In:  6 for £7.5m
Players Out:  7 for £4m
Average crowd:  11537 (20th (last) in FFL)

Season 46 – Louhans-Cuiseaux – French First League 2050/51

Well, I splashed the cash this year on a couple of new STs, hoping to introduce the biscuit to the basket.  One was a free I’ve been chasing for a while, the other a young stud from Italy who cost me the biggest fee I’ve ever paid – £8.25m, when my previous highest had been £1.5m!  He should be great, but wasn’t all that this year, and the free ST wasn’t great either.  The other big outlay was for an AMC that again looked great and didn’t deliver at £6m.  Maybe next season.

But after last season’s nad-related escapades this year was a lot simpler.  Never lower than 7th, but not quite good enough to win anything.  EURO went OK, beating Grasshopper (Switzerland) to get into the groups, finishing 3rd only 1point behind Genoa (Italy) and Swansea (Wales) to qualify for the knockouts, got through 2-1 against Cordoba (Spain) and then 0-3 to Genoa again (really?).
That knocked our confidence, and we slid for a while, then got ourselves back on track just too late and finished 2nd behind Sedan.  £11.5m though for finishing 2nd is not too shabby.  DR’s gone on a free to Man City – he came through the reserves so that’s nice.

Liverpool with my ML and ex-captain were relegated, as Torquay won the EPL for the 2nd time in 3years!

We could push on next year but will need to fill holes at DL (getting old) and MR (always injured).

Final position: 2nd (P38 W20 D9 L9 F46 A25 +21)
Players in:  5 for £14.25m
Players out:  15 for £3.9m
Average crowd:  12540 (19th in FFL)

In my 2051 PSG (just called Paris in FM 2007, but they play at Parc des Princes so I think it’s the same team) are in the FFL but have finished mid-table-ish since 2037.  Marseille have been down to the Second League a couple of times.  Lyon are in the National and have been down to CFA level.

In England, Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool are in the Championship (Liverpool currently bottom), Everton are in League Two.  EPL winners for the last few years:  Southampton, Bournemouth, Coventry, Torquay, Bristol Rovers, Torquay.

In Spain, Barca and Real Madrid have been yoyoing up and down between the First Division and Liga BBVA.  Recent winners of the First Division Recreativo x 6, Cadiz, Recreativo, Elche, Cordoba, Zaragoza, Sant Andreu.

In Italy, Serie A winners have been Bologna, Genoa, Piacenza, Pro Patria (Dulce et Decorum Est?), Piacenza, Roma and Piacenza.

WC winners have been Spain x 3, Switzerland, Italy and England.  The 2010 WC was won in my world by France.

CL winners have been Recreativo, Genoa, Juventus, Genoa, Cordoba, Recreativo, Stuttgart, Sant Andreu.

Season 47 – Louhans-Cuiseaux – French First League 2051/52

More of the same, really.  Started well, top and playing great but then the Young Italian wanted out, and after a bit of discussion I put him on the transfer list and started planning for life after him.  Bought an ST who was lethal against me, and he was not lethal for me of course!  And then the Italian decides he wants to stay …

Got as far as the 2nd knockout round of the EURO this year, but morale took a beating from a routine 2-0 loss away to Roma (Italy) in the group stages – I let them know they did OK, but they struggled mentally with the manner of it – and then in a close but predictable beating by eventual finalists Kaiserslautern (Germany) which pushed them to Very Poor.  League form of course went out of the window and we only recovered late on to sneak 6th.  The blessing in disguise – no European games next year!

We are moving to a brand-new stadium named after an ex-player, with a modest capacity improvement and a significant debt load.  Ho, hum.

Final position:  6th (P38 W16 D10 L12 F44 A32 +12)
Players In:  3 for £9.25m
Players Out:  8 for £7.5m
Average crowd:  12563 (17th in FFL)  (Bordeaux top at 56245)

 

Season 48 – Louhans-Cuiseaux – French First League 2052/53

This was the first season i can really say that I didn’t have a clue what to do to make things better.  Usually you know there are some weak links but if you could only sign a better DC you know things would be rosy again.  But this had me beaten, and I wondered what the game was asking me to fix to get a bit closer to the top again.

Part of the issue I suppose is clearly morale, and the way that poor morale just seeps and spreads though the team.  Not sure quite what to do about that of course!  Players seem to come, not really feel too happy about being here and want to leave after a year or so, and then of course they’re playing unhappy and maybe less than motivated … bah.

So we were 7th ish for most of the season until a bit of a slump at the end left us in 14th.  Let a lot of unhappy players go, and lost some to frees (including some I’d brought through from the U-18s, ungrateful persons that they are).  The board are slighty concerned but the fans want me out.  We’re due to move into the slightly larger new stadium for next season, but I can’t say that I’m going to give them something exciting … though the scouts are out!

Final position:  14th (P38 W12 D10 L16 F35 A37 -2)
Players in:  4 for £5.75m
Players out:  16 for £12.75m plus 3 more at the next transfer window
Ave crowd:  12583 (20th in FFL)

 

Season 49 – Louhans-Cuiseaux – French First League 2053/54

An odd season.  I finally switched tactics back to the only other tactic I’ve used in the game – the one from Þróttur, and we played in a way that was worth watching.  The results were a bit odd though …

If the league had run 4 or 5 more games we’d have won it!  It hasn’t changed our last two seasons’ top scorer’s opinion on staying though, even though we just made it into the EURO Vase on the last day and I’ve tried to throw a lot of cash at him.  I was hoping that a quite high-profile signing I’d agreed a while ago but which had to wait for the transfer window would convince him to stay … we’ll see.

The move to – let’s call it Gosford, since it’s after an ex-player – Park was quite OK, but only moved us up one place on the attendance chart, and we have a debt load until 2076.  But still, lots of players I go after think that ‘moving to a French club would be a step backwards in their careers’.  It’s just like being back in Iceland.  Except we can scout everywhere, and we got £9m for our final league position.

I’m gradually understanding this new/old tactic, and I can see that we need a bit more of a couple of key attributes in a couple of key positions so I’m trying to move us that way.  Hopefully I can survive the player churn and get us there before too long.

Final position:  3rd (P38 W16 D10 L12 F52 A39 +13)
Players in:  6 for £5.75m
Players out:  13 for £0 (Frees!  Sometimes you win, sometimes (as here) you lose)
Average crowd:  15757 (19th in FFL)

Oh dear.  We could be in for a bit of a rough ride financially with this game … after this was announced:

“The board has received planning permission to build a new stadium.  ‘Gosford’ Park … will cost £34.5m although this figure will be partly offset by the £1.1m the club will receive by selling ‘Gosford’ Park.

Capacity will go up by 4000, but the additional feature – undersoil heating – Gosford Park #1 already had.  Still, that should make sure we have debt until I retire IRL, let alone in the game.

Season 50 – 2054/55 – Louhans-Cuiseaux – French First League

This season was dominated by the very clear corruption behind the scenes at L-C. Despite having just built a new stadium (Gosford Park) at considerable expense, the board decided to sell that one (for £1m!) and build another (for £34m). After that was all done we have a debt load of £61m.

The actual season was a pretty mediocre one, again, and we were always going to finish mid-table. Had a decent EURO cup run, ended when we lost 3-4 away to Kaiserslautern (Germany), not helped by the fact that we had to play our home game at a neutral stadium (because of the building work) and could only draw 0-0.

Landed some very good transfers in before the stadium plans were announced, including the Savior – a left-sided Peruvian ST – who was fantastic until he fractured his ribs 11games in and was out the rest of the season.

After the financial situation was clear at the end of the season, it’s obvious that I’ll have to sell some players, and pull reserves and U-19s through for a few seasons to clear the debt. Not maybe as bad as it sounds though, since they each won their leagues.

Final position: 7th (P38 W14 D11 L13 +7)
Players in: 5 for £26m
Players out: 9 for £10m

 

Season 51 – 2055/56 – Louhans-Cuiseaux – French First League

I started taking the first steps to clearing the debt. The two loans for Gosford Park and (New) Gosford Park cost us £550k/month until 2076. Ridiculous. We ambled around in the league, getting ourselves up to a EURO cup place at one point before dropping back to our traditional 7th.

The U-18s retained their league championship, and some of the youth look very good. Just as well, since they’re going up to the first team asap.

Final position: 7th (P38 W17 D7 L14 +0)
Players in: None
Players out: 8 for £7m (6frees)

 

Season 52 – 2056/57 – Louhans-Cuiseaux – French First League

Well, that was that. Got through half the season, and was starting to put together a really good team. Some left over from the spending spree (the Savior), some from the reserves and U-18s, some bought from the French lower leagues including a fantastic Iranian GK. Unbeaten in 9, rising up the table after a slow start™, playing some great stuff.

Then the save, which is now 1.28GB uncompressed, ran into a brick wall. I cannot get past Jan-24-2057. Just crash dump every time I press continue from there. Perhaps I need more RAM, but not on this laptop. So this is now definitely in suspended animation until I find a machine capable of running it.

Here are my stats:

Game age: 77
Games played: 1939 (W 998, D 413, L 528; GF 3202, GA 1883 +1319)
Cup wins: 38
League wins: 17
HOF (as English): 2nd
Time at clubs: 12692days, 5890days
# of players bought: 137
# of players sold: 147
# of players released: 302
Total value of players bought: £90m
Total value of players sold: £111m

It feels like a bit of a sad end to the career. I had hoped to get to 2000games, but paid the penalty for too many leagues loaded that I didn’t play in (ie Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Wales. I’ll play lighter saves from now on.

Thanks to all for your help to get here, though.

The Good Doctor