Update for FM'07 Zen and the Art of [s]soccer[/s] football Management (2nd Edition)
14-02-2011, 07:30 PM (This post was last modified: 14-02-2011, 07:37 PM by The Good Doctor.)
Just moving this here and bringing it up-to-date. I'll copy-and-paste the original bits of thread in the first reply. I've taken out the comments since they probably wouldn't make much sense without a lot of formatting work I'm disinclined to do.

(Achieving Zen without the electro-shock 'therapy', hopefully)

So before I started a new game I reread Full Throttur. It is a thread full of frustration and I pondered why. Looking at some recent games we played in that save I see something along the lines of 'Louhans-Cuiseaux won't believe they've lost this game' roughly (very roughly) 10times more often than 'Louhans-Cuiseaux will take this!' The stress was coming from trying to control the result of a game and not being able to. Not only that, but feeling the game was 'cheating' me by teams I was outplaying or at least outshooting winning the games much more often that seemed reasonable.

So in this new game I will control only what I can control - my approach to the game - and I will leave the game to do what it will. My 'good faith' approach has the following pillars:

- we will focus on development of players through the reserves rather than by buying
- we will run profitably without the need for 'bailouts' from ownership
- we will always try to attack and play attractively, never 'parking a bus'
- we will never criticize the officials

Ultimately this means that we may not achieve success per the normal definition of the term, and I foresee that it could be very hard to get a team to the level required to be sustainable in this manner, but I do not want to feel I compromised anything to 'make it work'. And ownership's demand for trophies/promotion may mean that my job turnover it higher than I'd like.

Approach developed, onto the games ...

Leagues loaded:

Bulgaria (B Group and above), Finland (First Division and above), Greece (National B Division and above), Iceland (First Division and above), Slovakia (Second Division and above), Switzerland (Challenge League and above).

Frank chose Juventus. Not that one, SC YF Juventus of the Challenge League in Switzerland.
14-02-2011, 07:36 PM
Season 1 - 2006/7 - YF Juventus - Switzerland Challenge League

Newly-promoted to the SCL. Predicted for relegation again, though there are some half-decent players here. The trouble was going to be at ST with no real quality finishers.

And so it proved. Lost to the good teams, and played well against the poorer teams but ultimately could only draw at home to Locarno 1:1 (their only shot on goal, of course) and 9-man Baulmes 0:0. We won our last game but Locarno drew against top-of-the-table Neuchatel Xamax and we went down by a point. Sacked, of course.

P34 W8 D8 L18 -31 17/18
1point from safety

Season 2 - 2007/8 - SK VEGUM Dolne Vestenice - Solvakia Second Division

Newly promoted team with no non-grays at all, predicted 12th. Couldn't hire a physio all year (no response) so all injuries took ages to heal, no money to spend. First game with all grays ended 0:10. Luckily teams offered loans which I took. Eventually sold my best player and signed a team full of $1k transfers, but we were dead bottom. However, this league is a place of never-ending happiness where you can always see the sun, day or night. There is no relegation in the rules! However, since we were 'newly-promoted' I wondered whether there could be financial reasons for replacing teams. No. There's a bastard second half of the season playoff where the bottom 8 teams (ie the ones not promoted) play each other twice, and the bottom two go down. Not a problem, since we were in better form at the end of the (first) season and should be OK. Ah, no, the points from the first half carry forward, so we started 13points behind, and some shocking results for the teams ahead of us doomed us. Sacked.

First season P22 W3 D1 L18 -29 12/12
Second season P14 W5 D2 L7 -5 8/8
17points from safety.

Season 3 - 2008/9 - Bdin - Bulgarian Western B Group

Another newly-promoted team with no history and only 4 non-grays, predicted 13th. Brought in some scouts, a GK coach and a physio (!) and got in some half-decent players. Ultimately though another season with lack of ability at ST meant we struggled to score and that is never likely to mean an easy season. Teams around us had either unbelievably good players or 'Bdin won't believe they've lost this' or both. Sacked.

P25 W5 D3 L17 -29 14/14 8points from safety (sacked when relegation was confirmed rather than playing the last game).

Now looking for somewhere for 2009/10. I've quite a lot of karma banked, I think!

Season 4 - 2009/10 - Pirin (Blagoevgrad) - Bulgarian Western B Group

Applied for and was given a job at another Bulgarian newly promoted team, but this time Pirin had some form - they'd been in the A Group since the mid-70s, then a bit of up-and-down and then a mystery season in 2005/6 where they played only 2 games and disappeared. Didn't finish the season, didn't get relegated, just straight out of the league, apparently. Presumably some financial irregularities, but why they didn't go into administration I haven't been able to find out.

Since I'm staying in Bulgaria I decided to investigate the team in a little more depth. They're named after the Pirin mountains, in SW Bulgaria (ie closest to Greece/Republic of Macedonia). However, there are other teams named Pirin:
- Pirin (Blagoevgrad) - that's us
- Pirin (Razlog) - also in WeB
- Pirin (Gotse Delchev) - in the A group
- Pirin-Blagoevgrad - in the A group
- Pirin 2001 (Blagoevgrad)- not currently in the leagues
- Pirin (Zemen) - also not currently in the leagues
- Pirin-Barca (Borovo) - also not currently in the leagues
Yes, if we end up in the same division ever, we will have a local battle of punctuation against Pirin-Blagoevgrad. When I tried to look up my team in Wikipedia, it was showing that a languid Tottenham and Manchester Utd ST was an ex-player, but I suspect I was seeing Pirin-Blagoevgrad and not Pirin (Blagoevgrad). 5 out of 7 of these Pirins play in some form of green uniform also (the other 2 are blue) ... confusing!

Still, streamed some Chalga and played through a season quite quickly ... made easier by the fact that the scouts managed to find a very serviceable AMR who quickly became converted to ST. He led the league in scoring by a long way (21 vs 13 for second), and was converting early-season losses into mid-season wins by the time he came. The media prediction for 9th was soon history, and we were a strong second coming into the last few games. Then our form deserted us a bit, and we drew and lost games we could have won, before sealing second on the last day with a very undeserved win at Hebar. Ultimately Vidima-Rakovski won the league by 10points, while we went into the 2nd place playoff with Spartak (Varna) from the Eastern B Group. I felt that we wouldn't fully justify going into the A group overall, and was concerned that it could be a bit soon for us, but ultimately I needn't have worried as we continued our late season form slump into the playoff final and lost 2-1. I doubt we'll be relegated next season so we probably have some breathing space to set things up a little closer to how I'd like them ...

P26 W15 D4 L7 +19 (thanks, AMR!) 2/14

Season 5 - 2010/11 - Pirin (Blogoevgrad) - Bulgarian Western B Group

An up-and-down season saw us swinging between top and 10th, and finally settling for 5th. The main difference was AMR - 21 goals last season, 6 this (with 2 in the last game). We also had to play Bdin which made me feel a bit queasy actually. We beat them 4-0 at home but of their 2 victories all season who do you think they beat 5-1 at their place? Us, going through a GK-injury-fest (we also managed to fit in a 4-8 loss to Yantra in that time).
Still on the positive side we had one former and one current player make their first appearances for the national U-21 - very proud.
And the financials are getting better - a profit of about $1m on the year with no cup run. Still no improvement to the training ground allowed by the board. Maybe next year. I signed a new contract.

Players in: 5 for $42k
Players out: 7 for $850k

P26 W11 D6 L9 +1 5/14.

In group A the relegatees will be Pirin-Blagoevgrad (the battle of the punctuation is on!), and, sorry to say Keefa, Vidima-Rakovski (they came last).

Season 6 - 2011/12 - Pirin (Blagoevgrad) - Bulgarian Western B Group

Another middling season, beating the teams below us and losing to the good sides above us. The brightest spots were taking 4points (including winning 3-0 at their place) from Pirin-Blagoevgrad. Those points dropped kept them in the B Group. We lost 1-9 aggregate over the two legs to Keefa's Vidima-Rakovski (though they also missed out on promotion) and had our highest attendance of almost 12000 at home to Loko (Sofia) of the A Group in a cup game.

Sold our best players of course but the scouts (and the U19 games) kept turning up decent replacements. The bank account keeps getting better (up from $200k to over $2m now), but the board still won't fund any training ground improvements. Hopefully soon ...

Players in: 4 for $29k
Players out: 5 for $800k

P26 W11 D7 L8 +2 5/14

Not pushing for promotion until the facilities are better - the reserves coming through are too far from good enough yet. A consistent 5th or so would be perfect!

Season 7 - 2012/13 - Pirin (Blagoevgrad) - Bulgarian Western B Group

The lesson of the day is: "Be careful what you wish for, you might get it"

A low-key season was expected (media prediction: 6th), but the ST the AssMan found in an U-19 game turned out to be great (well, for this league). He wasn't league top scorer - quite - but he kept us humming along nicely, and got a national U-19 callup along the way. I also drafted in decent DC in the January window and we were top with 6games to go.

Then the wheels fell off.

We lost to Hebar, Botev 21 (relegation candidates), Keefa's erstwhile Vidima-Rokovski and relegation-threatened Berlite orli before scraping a win at relegated and last-placed Gigant.
We finished:

A consistent 5th or so would be perfect!


The main highlights though were taking all 6points from the Hyphens (bitter local rivals Pirin-Blagoevgrad) and STs callup. Still no expansion of the training facilities.

Players in: 5 for $13
Players out: 7 for $200k

P26 W12 D7 L7 +6 5/14

Season 8 - 2013/14 - Pirin (Blagoevgrad) - Bulgarian Western B Group

This was the season that I started to move towards the model I set out at the start. Even though the facilities haven't been improved at all, and the reserves' standard isn't great, I started working some of the reserves into first team games. And they did OK; not great, but OK.
What nearly ended the experiment early was the fact that we scored an amazing amount of goals that were pulled back for offsides. With a slightly thinner squad than we've had before (because of sales) we conceded more, too, and some of those were late winners/equalizers that cost us a better finish.
In a mirror image of last season, with 5games to go we were 13th and in the second relegation spot. But we went unbeaten from then, ending up a comfortable but disappointing 10th. We drew both games with the Hyphens, but lost both to Vidima-Rakovski (sorry, keefa).

Overall some progress towards the main end, but a little backsliding on actual performance.

Players in: 2 for $17k (in the January window)
Players out: 11 for $250k (9 frees)

P26 W6 D12 L8 +3 10/14

Season 9 - 2014/15 - Pirin (Blagoevgrad) - Bulgarian Western B Group

Started sluggishly, bottom after 9games. But then found just enough form to get ourselves up to the media prediction (8th). Still couldn't beat keefa's Vidima-Rakovski, and they were promoted after finishing second.
The facilities were improved, but show no status upgrade on the Information tab. And the 'Board Room' suggests that the Board are prepared to listen to any requests I have, though when I ask for the youth facilities to be upgraded I get the 'don't bother us any more' response ...

Our cash balance is now $4.5m. Hopefully (more significant) facility upgrade soon.

Players in: 2 for $28k
Players out: 10 for $1.2m (7 frees)

P26 W9 D6 L11 -1 8/14

Current players
Bulgaria - 0
Bulgaria U21 - 1
Bulgaria U19 - 3 + Ukraine U19 - 1

Bulgaria - 0
Bulgaria U21 - 3
Bulgaria U19 - 2

Finances: started at $200k, now at $5m.

The balancing act will be trying to keep my job as we upgrade the facilities and allow the more talented players in the squad to leave for bigger teams. So far the expectations of board and supporters have been moderate ...

[Edit] The Ukranian has played for the full national team now!

Season 10 - 2015/6 - Pirin (Blagoevgrad) - Bulgarian Western B Group

Again a sluggish start and we were 13th after 8 games, but then just kept climbing and scratching out results. Had no chance of overtaking leaders Loko (Sofia) but won 1-0 at Hebar on the last day to pip the Hyphens to 2nd. Their GD was better than ours, but this league is separated on results between teams and once again we took 4points from them. Take that, (probably) nearest rivals!

The B-Group playoff against Rodopa went poorly - we dominated, but missed our main ST (just working his way back from injury) and lost 2-0. They go up, we stay in the B Group.

Ukrainian DC played well for his national side, and our Bulgarian U-19 GK was a revelation. Half of our side now have 'Wnt' against them. Even Dinamo Kiev came in for our U-21 ST.

Players in: 3 for $22k
Players out: 12 for $1.3m (7 frees)

P26 W13 D6 L7 +13 2/14

Season 11 - 2016/7 - Pirin (Blagoevgrad) - Bulgarian Western B Group

A bit of a generic season for us. Slow start, gradual improvement to mid table. The best news was that the facilities are being improved again, and all of a sudden it's our U-19s that are MoM in their games, not the opposition. Some look like they will come through to the first team.

The Hyphens went unbeaten this season, but we drew both games (including a last-minute equalizer for them in the second game). They're promoted of course so we'll miss the best games of the season, unfortunately.

Players in: 2 for $6k
Players out: 11 for $1m (9 frees)

P26 W8 D10 L8 +0 8/14
14-02-2011, 08:17 PM
Excellent stuff. Those finances Money Money Money

Promotion will come, I'm sure of it.
[Image: jptykes.png]
"Whattya saying? That you wanna be like me? Don't you understand that I just barely wanna be like me?"
14-02-2011, 08:22 PM
Season 12 - 2017/18 - Pirin (Blagoevgrad) - Bulgarian Western B Group

This was a 'skin of the teeth' season. As usual, out went the class of the team and the star ST the scouts found in the Eastern Group was injured for most of the season, and we struggled.

In the end we got a point at home to Rilski sportist (just about deserved) and all three away to Chavdar (not at all deserved - a penalty winning it for us 5minutes from time), and even though we lost to Slavia (Sofia) in the last game we couldn't be caught by Septemvri and they went down.

There seemed to be a significant improvement in the teams around us this year, though of course there was always one or two no-hopers promoted and then relegated again (thankfully 2 this year!).

Players in: 1 for $26k
Players out: 11 for $1.3m

P26 W6 D6 L14 -16 12/14

Season 13 - 2018/19 - Pirin (Blagoevgrad) - Bulgarian Western B Group

Much better but not as good as it could have been with a bit more luck. All of these next three seasons had one defining game that meant the end of our season. This season it was us chasing the leading three of Berlite Orli, the Hyphens and Levski (Sofia). Three games to go, playing Levski away and got crushed 5-0. Never recovered.

Players in: 2 for $25k
Players out: 6 for $7.75m

P26 W13 D7 L6 +5 4/14

Season 14 - 2019/20 - Pirin (Blagoevgrad) - Bulgarian Western B Group

Levski (Sofia) again. Chasing quite well, and going OK despite losing two great STs in the transfers last year, when we come up against the away fixture at Levski (Sofia). They ended up losing one game all season, and it didn't come against us as they crushed us again 2-6. We drew and lost some winnable games and trailed in 8points from 2nd place.

As a continuation of the general improvement around the league our reserves and U-18s seemed to get worse even as the facilities were getting better. I had to bring in more than usual to replace those that left since the youth were not good enough.

Players in: 7 for $67k
Players out: 10 for $2.8m

P26 W11 D8 L7 +3 6/14

Season 15 - 2020/21 - Pirin (Blagoevgrad) - Bulgarian Western B Group

We were top and hadn't conceded in 5games, then lost a couple of games in a row, struggled to regain our form, but still went into the last games with a decent chance of the top two. Playing Hebar away we lost 3-4 despite outshooting them 7-3 in on-target shots (yes, a tragic own-goal from about the halfway line by my Ukranian national team DC was the 4th). We won our last two games but we needed results to go our way on the final day and they didn't quite ... Slavia (Sofia) beat Rilski sportist at home with their only shot on goal, from one of the STs I sold in 2017/18. Unbelievable.

Players in: 0 for $0
Players out: 13 for $0 (many enquiries but none agreed)

P26 W12 D9 L5 +14 3/14 2points off 2nd.

Finally with many upgrades the facilities are 'Top' and 'Excellent' and the reserves are starting to look promising again.
14-02-2011, 09:41 PM
Great Read Thup
Trying to build a successful team, Berwick by Berwick
14-02-2011, 11:05 PM
Is there a Doctor in the house!Waves
Good to see you GDoc and this is some struggleThup
Keep it up.
(29-05-2014, 07:27 AM)keefa Wrote: Mile + pot = Very happy Mile

15-02-2011, 10:49 AM
Wow. That's some good, honest, hard working Llamaing going on in Bulgaria Doc. You are very fortunate to have found a club and board reasonably satisfied to stay in Western B Group and allow the development of young players (for good profit mind). With the finances secure don't you fancy keeping hold of the squad for a couple of seasons and aim for promotion?
15-02-2011, 02:14 PM
Quaility stuff, and I imagine very rewarding.
Just need a few quality kids through at the same time and i'm sure that promotion will come.
Fingers crossed for you.
16-02-2011, 05:49 AM
Good to see this save here, a cracking read as always Thup

16-02-2011, 10:05 AM
Thanks for all the encouragement!

(15-02-2011, 10:49 AM)Soulfusion Wrote: With the finances secure don't you fancy keeping hold of the squad for a couple of seasons and aim for promotion?

Yes, it's getting quite close to that point probably, you're right. I think it'll be more a case of a strong push from the reserves/youth since the teams that come down from the A Group are generally very good and we'll need to match them at least, of course.

I just checked on the Board and they were 'disappointed by our performance in the League this season', despite coming 3rd when they expected comfortable mid-table, so maybe their patience is wearing a little thin. Perhaps their expectations are more tied to my transfer budget ($28m, spent $0) rather than anything else. Of my squad 12/23 have come from the youth system.
16-02-2011, 02:11 PM
Maybe you need to bring in a star to keep the board happy, not for 28m, but keeping the finances stable
Trying to build a successful team, Berwick by Berwick
16-02-2011, 06:27 PM
(16-02-2011, 02:11 PM)ken66 Wrote: Maybe you need to bring in a star to keep the board happy, not for 28m, but keeping the finances stable
Yes, I see what you mean, but I'm trying to develop stars rather than buy them. Of course, if the scouts unearth a gem I can't turn down ...
17-02-2011, 02:08 PM
Season 16 - 2021/22 - Pirin (Blagoevgrad) - Bulgarian Western B Group

We played OK this season helped by the fact that our speedy youth ST started playing with a bit of confidence. We weren't going to catch surprise but runaway leaders Minyor (Bobov dol) but we were strong in 2nd. Then we lost to soon-to-be relegated Botev 21 away and almost-relegated Minyor (Pernik) at home, both without looking like scoring, and the choke was on. In the end we needed to win at rivals Belasitsa in the last game to take second for the playoff space, which we did 3-0, though a less convincing 3-0 win I've yet to see. We really should have lost that game and finished fourth.
Onto the playoff final against Eastern B Group second-placed Cherno more and the game hinged on a red card for them after 52minutes - it looked like speedy youth ST was beyond the last defender when he was fouled and the defender therefore deserved to be sent off, but there was some controversy after the game about it. The game was still even after that, but tiredness told and when they again gave away a free kick near the penalty area my aging DM dispatched it to put us into the 'A' Group.

Although I said to the media that this group of players would keep us up, I'm not so sure ... and our season could easily have been derailed if any number of teams had met the Release Clause for my MR, Ukrainian DC or GK. We didn't really deserve promotion and the club isn't really ready yet I don't think, but let's hope we don't embarrass ourselves. After the final our ML left on a free to Levski (Sofia). D'oh! We'll miss the Hyphens next season as they were relegated.

Players in: 2 for $55
Players out: 8 for $7.75m

P26 W13 D7 L6 +20 2/14
17-02-2011, 02:15 PM
Promotion Celebrate Ymca

All those years of hard work paying off at last. Good luck staying up, and replacing the lost talent.

17-02-2011, 02:24 PM
Good stuff Thup

Will a few strategic reinforcements be enough or do you think you need to overhaul the squad?
[Image: jptykes.png]
"Whattya saying? That you wanna be like me? Don't you understand that I just barely wanna be like me?"
17-02-2011, 02:25 PM
Everything what Keefa said!
Fantastic operation Mr. Brain SurgeonThup
(29-05-2014, 07:27 AM)keefa Wrote: Mile + pot = Very happy Mile

17-02-2011, 03:05 PM
Congrats on the promotion. Thup

How were the board this year...happy for going up I suppose?
Trying to build a successful team, Berwick by Berwick
17-02-2011, 05:50 PM
Thanks all for the kind words, though as I said I don't really feel we're ready for the big time ... we'll see. Obviously I couldn't/wouldn't throw the final but if we had lost I wouldn't have been too worried at all.

My plan is to carry on the way I have been. Buy young talent if I have to, but basically stay with the squad I have where possible. Many have Release Clauses, which seems only fair. But the reserves and U-19 aren't really the conveyor belt they need to be. I can definitely see us being relegated (didn't tell the media thatSmile) but if we do I wonder whether I'll keep my job. Hmmm. Most of my best reserves contracts expired at the end of the season and when I renewed them my AssMan said he didn't think it was worthwhile. Then again, he didn't believe it was worthwhile renewing the contract of aging DM, so what does he know?

And the board were of course delighted but they said they were surprised (not the only ones!). They expected only safe mid-table and we were predicted 4th. Both teams relegated from the A Group did horribly, so maybe the B Group have closed the gap a little ... again, we'll see.
18-02-2011, 12:30 AM
You never know, unknown packages often do well in higher divisions.

It'll be interesting to see if the club can start to produce youths with sufficient talent to keep the club afloat or even push on further.
[Image: jptykes.png]
"Whattya saying? That you wanna be like me? Don't you understand that I just barely wanna be like me?"
18-02-2011, 05:33 AM
3 clubs in 3 seasons and then more than a decade at the fourth. Well done! KUTGW

Oh, and hi :wave:

Currently Managing:
BKV Norrtälje

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