Still making my way through your thread and I'm only up to the top of this page but wanted to speak about a couple of things before I forget-
1- I notice your board have this issue with entertaining football. Do you know how they quantify that? I think it's purely from the number of shots you have but that seems an arbitrary and rather poor way of calculating entertaining play.
Is this going to be an issue for you going forward?
2- I like the spider graphs / radars, a lot. Do you know what the definition of 'key pass' is in FM20? It used to be a pass collected goalside of the defence but it no longer is and I'm trying to work out whether or not it's a useful metric. I'm really disappointed in the lack of progression in terms of stats the game records, this is a key example
1 - I think this has been re-addressed with the 20.2 patch, but a lot of is has come from those 1-0 wins where we, exactly as intended, score and then keep the ball! Without strikers, we seem to be creating less chances (I guess as we can't lump it up to them or go over the top) but they seem to be better chances. I will take this, for now.
2 - I don't, sadly. There seems to be a lot of key passes, particularly coming from deep, so I echo that not being correct now. I too am not too impressed - we can't see the player stats in anything more than a list and the comparison feature in a 'slightly' graphical way is only between two players. I was hoping for developments into xG and the like - particularly as CCC's never seem to be particularly accurate anyway.
I'm not a fan of the overview in the Development Centre as it doesn't allow much customisation so I've reverted to using a custom view in the Under 19 section.
This is the first intake where there is a player who looks, on paper, to have the makings of a player that could challenge for a slot within the first team:
Miguel has the potential to fit into my style of passing football as well as offering a physical and hardworking presence within our pressing system. He's got good teamwork and work rate combined with reasonably good physical attributes. He does lack somewhat technically, but that is always an area for a position such as DM where I need to balance the need for physicality and the need for a ball player - particularly when both centre backs are good in that area.
He is Balanced/Outspoken (Controversy 15-20) which doesn't tell me a whole lot about his ambition and professionalism, just that it's not likely to be either very low or high and his determination is ok (somewhere between 5 and 10). He, now that he has signed, is classed as team leader within the development squad, which would further suggest a good current ability and, with him in the core social group, I see nothing too untoward with him as a (fictional) person.
However - given his height and lack of glaring weaknesses within his technical game, I want to train him as a ball playing defender with some extra focus on his defensive positioning at this stage. I will be spending a short amount of time over the summer building the tracker I want to use for player development and he'll be my first guinea-pig.
I was worried about the fixtures going into April - Logrones away was 1st vs 2nd at the time and the media had been hyping it up, with their manager talking about my lack of directness. I have literally no idea what I did, aside from instruct our players to play their normal game and feed Brian Pena, who had made a successful return to form with four goals in March. It all went quite swimmingly and that may be the largest away win I have recorded in my FM career - particularly in a league game of a reputable country. We stuck five past mid-table Sabadell but the defeat to Gernika made a bit of a mess.
Guess who we go to on the last day of the season. RCD Espanyol B. Of course.
A 1-1 draw away at Espanyol B was enough. However, I've fallen to a weird bug and the C- manager rating will need to be watched closely. Hopefully, new expectations next season will resolve any issues there.
Of course there is the small task of getting out of the, at best, ridiculous Spanish third tier playoffs. We face Real Madrid's B side first in a 'first phase' semi final.
A very pleasing end to the season where we dispatched two second teams, the first of which featured two players who Real Madrid paid £11m for, each - this shows the huge gulf in quality between the teams. In the end, we made the league look a lot more difficult than it really needed to be but I am delighted to be up and into the second tier of Spanish football.
I only made two signings last summer, Esteban Bastiani and attacking midfielder Helinho. The latter played very few minutes as he looked to develop but it was the former who made a real impression - leading the way on assists this season. Below are his stats and they are compared with the winger who had the best season anywhere else in the world, the elite Kylian Mbappe.
Whilst the players are, obviously, completely incomparable, these graphics do tell an interesting story. With no strikers, we are entirely reliant on Brian Pena to score goals and, ideally, I'd love a winger that, like Kylian (he played 95% of games on the right wing rather than up front) who can find the net, at an average of 0.6 a game. Esteban notched four in the whole season with a meagre 1.35 shots a game (Brian Pena has scored 30 times this season from 2.64 shots a game for an in-team comparison). As I would expect, Bastiani plays as a W(s) and is much more involved in the build up whereby I image Mbappe is maybe an IF(a) or RMD(a) maybe and just is the end product. Whilst promotion to the Liga123 won't see an overhauled squad - it may see an increase in scouting budget and transfer money which may give me a chance to find 'my Mbappe' - hopefully as a compliment to Esteban and Brian in my attacking triumvirate.
Upon promotion, I've told the lads that I won't be making too many changes. Below is the comparison in the squad for the players who appeared in both the 2022/23 season and the 2023/24 in order to look at how they improved their games in our promotion season:
The key players all improved - Pena made a huge leap of 0.23 as did Restrepo - 0.22 and Puigmal 0.29. There are some fringe players who aren't performing too well - Rangel with one goal in 51 league appearances and a career AR of 6.61, Christian Albert, who had a really poor season after his immediate first team birth was taken by Bastiani and Julio, who was been usurped by Puigmal. I really like the above attribute and I may continue to monitor this kind of thing over a three to four season spread to see peaks and troughs in player performances, and why.
Next season my aim is literally to stay up, and nothing more! I'd like to make some money and maybe recruit two or three new signings, should they become available. With the potential of promotion, my scouting kind of slowed down as I was unsure of what kind of quality I would want and could attract. I also want to look at the development path of some of my youngsters, particularly Villalba, from the last intake.
A) We can scout anywhere we want now. Perfect to build this team on a budget:
B) I've added a B team in the Tercera division. This was great, until it cost me £800k to do so!
C) TV money is coming in. The projections look really promising for us. My job is to maintain this low wage bill and keep player and staff recruitment as cheap as possible to ensure that these are met and we can use some of this to boost facilities:
Firstly, here is a preview of my squad as I head into the season, my first in the Liga 2 and the club's first since it's well earned promotion last season:
I have kept a largely unchanged side for this season - down to both the fact that I didn't really have any money to spend (a £550k budget isn't great when you are ~£1m in the red) and also because I was unable to really set my recruitment off to find players at the tail end of last season when I was unsure of the level that we'd be playing at this season.
Five players have arrived this summer, for the grand total of £0. These deals have both provided me some extra depth in areas that I am weak and also upgraded the playing staff in that area.
Firstly, Benjamin comes in to add some extra depth to the backline. He's professional, versatile, determined and featured 41 times for Barcelona B at this level last year so I feel he is a perfect addition to the squad. He's good in the tackle, can mark and head and has good technique and that is combined with good concentration and decision making. He's also good physically across the board for his age. I am strong at centre back and I feel that he may come to outgrow us and move on and that is fine - providing that I can turn a good profit on him.
Angel has played purely non-league football for Lorca to this date yet I have taken a punt on him as backup in our time as a lower second tier side. He's two footed, versatile, young and has a decent personality and is good at passing, works hard, makes good decisions and is incredibly quick off the mark. He's a lot more under-developed than Benjamin, but, with William Santos ahead of him - he'll only see a small portion of football this season.
Pablo was a pain to play against in his time at Andorra. He has one game of experience at this level and two at La Liga level but is good pretty much across the board. He's the oldest player I've brought in and his personality and media handling of Balanced/Media Friendly doesn't tell me a lot about him, but he does add some quality, and some height, that I feel was missing last year. He'll play as an IW but I really want to see him in the box and scoring goals for us.
Playing at Gil Vicente, in the second tier of Portuguese football was Juan Villa, a 24 year old Colombian. He was signed on a free and, like Angel before him, is two footed. He's also really determined and has an excellent workrate - just what I want in his ideal role: the supporting Mezzala. He has got a good ability to pass, dribble, shoot and cross and is composed, decisive and works hard or the team as well as being physical too. I have high hopes for him replacing Julio in the heart of my midfield.
Neto signs on loan as backup for Pena. He's very similar in the fact that he can make a good Trequartista due to his good technique and first touch and gets away with a poor workrate but he's not quite good enough to usurp my own Spaniard. Neto isn't my player, nor do we have an option to sign him - therefore I'm going to use him mostly from the bench.
Being promoted as champions is always a worry for me - firstly, because we were too good for the league below and I know that this won't happen again and secondly because I always feel guilty not trusting in the players who have got me into this league. I know that the step up to this league is going to be tough - there are some really good teams in it; Granada, Tenerife and Malaga have been relegated from La Liga and there is always a concern when you are facing the B sides of Valencia and Real Madrid as you never quite know who is going to turn out for them.
Below is the comparison between our attributes and those of the rest of the league:
We have our brand of football and, as I've already alluded to in this thread, I am very much a style over substance kind of manager. We play, hopefully, a nice technical game with short passing that relies on good technique. We are nowhere near the level of some of the teams in this league but, when you look at the attributes that are the best - they are technique, passing, vision, flair and determination - pretty much exactly what I want us to be good at.
We can never play a long ball game - as we are simply not physical enough and I would expect us to fair poorly in games against tough tackling and aggressive sides as we lack the bravery and aggression to match them.
I am looking to set out a plan for teams that I would like us to beat and teams that I want us to remain competitive against - and see if I can almost predict this season ahead.
I haven't been able to afford a single training or coaching upgrade, nor do I have any staff for the youth or B team at the moment and I run a threadbare first team coaching session, of which I don't actually control the training yet. However, I want to get a development tracker up and running for when these things are in place - if only to have some comparative data.
Unfortunately, only two of the four players listed are from my own academy and only two are young enough to have fitted in on this tracker when I have used it previously. I have added my two new breakthrough signings this season; Angel and Benajmin, for comparison. They are both older and will have access to some first team minutes as well as having decent personalities - so I'd like to see them improve well, even considering our poor facilities.
I think that I actually like this more this year than last year - due to the coloured boxes as opposed to the bars meaning I really have no idea of changes under the hood. This shows me the average development to 1DP for the whole cohort of monitored players and, even though I'm not micro-managing each player (how would I really know that a player has improved 'by one point' on his crossing in real life [apart from looking at playing stats, of which I will be doing]) I can see how well the group are doing in each area and re-address balances in training, coaching quality or additional roles and individualised plans.
The group is of decent standing, to be fair, but my only comparative data here is against initial youth candidates from my San Marino save in FM19, whereas here I have players who have made a total of nearly fifty appearances in professional football. We stand out well with passing and technique, which is a sign of both my own recruitment (for Angel and Benjamin) and, hopefully, my HoYD's preferred playing style of Tiki-Taka. We are also determined - which is good, and seems to be improving across the squad, work hard and seem to be particularly physical - an almost complete opposite of the overall first team picture.
At this point, I won't be changing a lot - letting this run with my assistant doing first team training and my two U19 players receiving the standard youth training (they are the only players there as the rest are in the newly formed Guadalajara B squad). I will however, be looking at the training schedules and individual training of these four players and report back at the end of the season before compiling the data to compare from cohort to cohort.
An interesting bit of data that might give me a bit more of an insight into what I will be facing. I am utterly dismayed that I can't filter by division of staff on the staff search screen so this has taken a bit more making than I wanted it to.
Just by looking at this - should Cazorla be at Oviedo by the time we play them, I feel that we'll struggle. Long balls are going to be a danger a) over the top of our relatively high line and b) for winning balls against our small full backs and overall small side, so we will need to adjust appropriately. There are also a lot more managers at this level that favour possession football than there were in the Segunda D2 so I would certainly expect our passing stats to decrease, too.
A really tough start to our life in LaLiga 2 - but we have picked up a good couple of wins against teams I really hoped we'd be able to beat. B teams are peculiar and especially so at this point of the season - where there is less of a need for first team players to be a part of their side in order to (re)gain match fitness. Our big problem has been in front of goal as we've found defences much harder to break down and this has been somewhat down to the poor form of the front three, up until the last game where Pena ended his drought.
In slightly better news, we are now a profitable business and, in a few months time, may be able to afford to spend some of this money upgrading facilities and staffing:
Some concerning performances here but we are in a decent position as we near the mid-way stage of the season. I am most worried about how we have, on three occasions here, collapsed and conceded three times. We can be a little naive and I think that my usual plan, which is to consolidate and attempt to not concede again to keep the score respectable before trying to build back into a game, is somewhat counter-productive as we are inviting more pressure and sitting more under the cosh.
The winter months are going to see a continued tactical focus with little to nothing in the transfer market as I look to kick start the development of the players within the squad.
Velez seem to have a thing for my wingers - they paid the £205k release clause for Guillermo Lopez last year and now they have given me an offer I cannot refuse in winger Rangel. He was my second signing for the club and converted him from a striker to, what I hoped would be, a goalscoring winger. A solitary league goal later sees a huge profit come my way.
We are, and have to be, a selling club at this point. These two sales represent at least £1.1m in profit and Restrepo moves to a reasonably reputable league whereby he'll be in the shop window for a potential move back to Europe and/or a place in the Colombian national team. Bastiani may not make the first team at Velez (he's definitely better than Rangel and Lopez - who they've poached off me before) but, again, the Argentine market is pretty lucrative which will allow him to fulfil his potential, as he won't do so here.
Wow! We are massively overachieving here - mainly thanks to a great December. The new year has seen our goalscoring tail off somewhat but to sit in tenth place at this stage is huge - particularly with a 12-point gap back to the relegation zone.
I am a little concerned at our recent exodus of players but it has left us in a fantastic financial position and I have decided to bring forward my planned Bosman signing:
Tomas Martinez joins for £32k (that's the fee they wanted for early confirmation) and was initially going to be another one of my 'project' players - yet is actually hugely complete. He's a physical central midfielder but also had good first touch and technique, even if his passing is only ok - he does make great decisions and has good vision. His traits suggest that he's can operate as a Mezzala from a slightly deeper position (allowing me to move to a HB in the DM role [I've never seen this as a role for a possession tactic, but I'm very impressed]) and introduce him to the side. He's in a mentoring group with Brian Pena (great Det and Resolute/M.Friendly/Reserved) so hopefully he can pass that on.
Looking forward to the next few months and the youth intake!
Good progress. Interesting, I wouldn’t sell key players for those figures but you seem to be moving forward well anyway!
Oh, I didn't want to sell them! Rangel, Lopez and Bastiani were all subject to bids that met their minimum release clause which meant I had no say and, as soon as a bid was lodged, they lost any interest in renewing. Restrepo's deal was close to his clause but I accepted as I was able to get a 50% of next sale in, which I wouldn't if the bid was automatically accepted. Dallas are potentially a shop window club so this might pay off in future.
Part of the problem with signing unknown or free players is that they want tiny release clauses. Martinez, who came from Real Madrid Castilla has a £3.6m clause on his £32k transfer fee, whereas I had to initially negotiate Bastiani up to the maximum he'd accept, £500k from about £12k when I approached him. They can be great but also can be a pain!
Fun fact - only one person has scored a league goal for Guadalajara since Esteban Bastiani's 44th minute strike on the 14th December 2024. Aside from that pretty terrible run of scoring, I must say that this season is petering out into one that does disappoint me a little - we have been promoted and, with largely the same squad, have avoided any real kind of relegation trouble. Of course, I will have spoken too soon and will be scrapping it out for the next few seasons but to come through a run vs Tenerife at home (3rd), Zaragoza away (2nd), Gijon away (4th) and Valencia Mestalla away (1st) with six points, shows that we clearly are good enough for this league - just lacking some consistency - as noted in February.
I could argue that, without a striker, I can't moan about not scoring - yet my AM (who is essentially a striker given his role as a Treq) is scoring, it's just everyone else. That list above shows the entire list of goalscorers that we have this season. You will notice that there isn't a single centre back as we haven't scored from a corner - out of design rather than unfortunate circumstances/bad planning. We are a small team and, fitting in with our possession style, take all corners short and work them into the box that way - stopping ourselves being liable to goals scored on the break against us.
This is definitely some food for thought!
88 wins, 53 draws and 58 losses to date with 206 goals scored and 149 conceded, I have started my tenure reasonably well. I've spent a grand total of £37k on transfers and recouped £2.1m. My tendencies are to want to play possession football with a high-tempo pressing game and signing young, and very young, players for the first team squad.
I am also just about to start my Continental A License.
Alberto joins the youth ranks despite being born some 135km south-east in Cuenca. He's just about geographically in the middle of ourselves, Albacete and Valencia - and I'd have assumed he'd of gone in the opposite direction to the La Liga giants in he'd have been good enough. Following the geography trend - Israel Dominguez would have had to come pretty much straight through Madrid on his 164km journey - probably stopping off at one of the bigger clubs if he was good enough. Rafael Varela is just a 10 minute bus ride away in Azuqueca de Henares, Juan Jose Arganda came 256km from a town closer to Murcia and Gregorio Carvajal followed, with his home town of Miguelturra being a stones throw away.
--- We've a nice range of positions, as you'd expect from a HoYD who favours a 4-4-1-1 formation as it's only really Varela who plays solely in a role that doesn't fit in with that. Cristo Fernandez, the man in charge of this, is listed as F.Det and, sadly, he's not given much over in terms of positive personalities with the best personality coming to arguable the weakest potential player.
I think that both the style and pros are a little irrelevant when the players are so poor but Dominguez's intelligence is a positive sign that his anticipation, concentration and decisions may be good - or, just everything else is really poor. I don't know if this column is comparing these kids to those their own age - are they fast for a 16 year old or just fast overall? I would question the latter.
Sadly, this isn't a great intake - the players listed here as potentially being good seem to lack the all round game to a) realise it and b) become well-rounded enough to feature for me, especially given that they are four to five years away from the first time with us at our current standing.
So my first year of tracking player development is over and I am quite pleased with the results. All of the four players are now within the first team and have performed reasonably well. Villalba has now become, in my eyes, the long term successor in the HB role - which means I re-addressed his individual training role a short time into the season. Both Angel and Benjamin have grabbed their chance within the first team and have become important players.
It is interesting to see that, despite both of the older players having amassed more than 2000 minutes each, they haven't developed as much. Maybe this is down to my own input, or lack of, at this time with training schedules or that they are both close to their potential or that their attribute growth is naturally slowing down at this age - as is a path for some players. Never the less - their end point sees them as good enough to remain anyway.
Below is the overall tracker I am going to use for each cohort over the years as my facilities, coaching etc improves. I will then keep a notes section for reviewing whether they've settled into the first team, moved on, been capped for Spain etc. Ideally - this tracker will work for my top two or three prospects each year but I will ensure that I don't forget the rest of the cohort, as, in line with my philosophy will ensure that I do my best to give as many players as I can careers in professional football, at my club or elsewhere.
Sometimes a player will appear on here more than once - for example, they might appear in their first year (ending 17) and then again when they end as an 18 year old and again as a 19 year old, if they aren't in the first team. With my facilities not really up to scratch at the moment and my board wanting me to sign young players to develop - there may be older players appearing on this list, Angel and Benjamin as an example, at the start. It'll be interesting to compare their development (not as much as expected this year despite their first team minutes) with my younger players. I'd expect the number of players older than 19 to significantly decrease as I develop as a club.
Mid. Table. Mediocrity. I don't think there is a lot more to say than that. Eighteen points away from the drop zone does represent a really successful season - one where we haven't been drawn into a relegation battle at all. This, to be fair, is a bit of a shame - I haven't had to think too hard tactically, nor make too many adjustments to get the best out of my players, instead, I have just focused on keeping morale up through praising good performances and training as well as criticising the opposite. The above 17 people represents my whole first team squad and, even though some of these are young, they have been given as many minutes as possible - largely showing the lack of depth that I have as opposed to my insistence for developing youth players.
The convoluted system of playoffs in the Segunda Division means that I may not even be facing the creme-de-la-creme of the third tier talent and, instead, may be facing B sides who have put their best players into the system for those final four matches. I managed Real Zaragoza a few years back and have a little soft spot for them, so, naturally, I am delighted for their promotion. Other teams I have had an interest in over the past few years - Las Palmas: largely due to their isolated location and Real Oviedo: a real 'CM/FM' team and their fan ownership have been good opposition for me. It is also sad to see Santander fade away - their FM stars of yesteryear, Fede and Borja San Emetero are no longer there and sadly they no longer house the kind of talents that my own team, Aston Villa, raided when we signed Olof Mellberg some eighteen (real life) years back.#
Coming into a new division, I would expect a downturn in the statistic outputs of my players - we'll score less as we are faced with tougher opposition and, where possible, are trying to consolidate rather than attack and we may concede more, playing against more physical, technical and downright better players. There are some pleasing figures here - another good goalscoring haul from Brian Pena - my talisman has 75 goals in 155 games from the AM slot, which is fantastic. Elsewhere, I'm happy to see that the assists are split between midfielders and defenders - with the full backs chipping in with a combined 11.
We now have nine players who have been at the club for the last three years - to be fair, a worrying statistic. As mentioned, I'd expect the ratings to decrease as we are faced with tougher foe and as we go from league winners to mid-table fodder. In particular, the performances of Antonio Sola and Willian Santos have concerned me - with both dramatically decreasing. The former has completely lost his place to the ever improving Vilarrasa and Santos' broken ankle coincided with a spell of form for deputy Angel, of which he hasn't been able to dislodge. I feel that Santos, despite his poor season, is still in my plans, although not necessarily first choice but I feel that Sola will be moved on - should I be able to successfully upgrade him to a player who can compete with Vilarrasa - and one who may fit into a slight tactical tweak I want to make.