1.06 – Travelling the Rocky Road

“Life is a rollercoaster, just got to ride it” – Ronan Keating, 2000.

“With a little bit of good fortune the team could put together a decent run to get amongst those top 6 teams” – Me, two days ago.

Yeah, so, about that…

Screenshot 2016-07-21 13.43.15

Ouch. These results also coincide with a club takeover (unfortunately not by a Saudi prince) who are quick to pull Sylvan in for a meeting to discuss his position at the club. Thankfully, Sylvan’s fledgling career is saved on the promise that results will get better over the next month. At this stage we’re losing confidence that things can actually get better but whilst most sane Football Manager players might just sneak off and start a new save when the poop hits the propeller, we have a blog to write goddammit! So we have a minor twiddle with our instructions and player roles as well as bringing the lads in for a team meeting to hopefully give them a bit of a boost, but at this stage we’re really just crossing our fingers and hoping for a bit of luck to fix our players shattered confidences.

So first up is Kelmis, a team struggling towards the bottom of the table and a team we should be beating. 22 minutes in and pretty unsurprisingly at this point, we concede from a corner. Sylvan is spotted in the dugout pricing up one-way Eurostar tickets to London but before he has chance to make any rash decisions Jeroen Mertens makes it 1-1. Boom look dominant (as they often do) but rarely look like scoring (as they always do), that is until 78 minutes when Boom are awarded a penalty for a foul on Mertens right on the edge of the box. Mertens dusts himself off and converts to give Rupel Boom the lead which they hold for an important 3 points. Maybe this could be the start of that run we’ve been waiting for?

Short answer, no. 27 minutes into their next game Boom centre back Jef Vogels clatters into Diegem midfielder Kader Camara, is shown a straight red and concedes a penalty which Diegem duly convert to give them a 1-0 lead. Boom perform well despite being a man short and pull level from a penalty of their own at 35 minutes, only for Diegem to be awarded another penalty on 66 minutes which proves to be the winner. Disappointing.

Then something incredible happens, Rupel Boom win their next 3 games 2-1, 1-0 and 4-0 against 6th, 5th and 19th in the league respectively and the boards confidence in Sylvan’s job moves from very insecure to very secure, what a difference a month makes.

Screenshot 2016-07-21 14.09.22.png

So as Sylvan’s position appears to be safe for now we can go through some of the off the pitch activity that has taken place in the past couple of months. Firstly the club has agreed new contracts with starting goalkeeper Jasper Otte, left back and club captain Nick Van der Westlaken, left winger Seppe Kil and current top goalscorer, right winger Jeroen Mertens. The club is also looking to tie up contract extensions for a number of other first team players before the season ends. On top of this the club have added new Head of Youth Development Patrick Viaene to the backroom staff, in a move which looks to see the club move forward in creating a strong academy system ready to feed talent into the first team squad.

Screenshot 2016-07-21 14.13.29

Finally, we’re proud to announce Sylvan Paulsson has completed his National C coaching license so now can be considered to have some clue what he’s doing on the training ground. Here’s how he’s progressed in his first 7 months in management:

I find this pretty interesting having never really played an unemployed save or paid too much attention to coach stat increases so it’s something we’ll keep an eye on. Sylvan is currently only in charge of the defensive and tactical coaching for the first team which probably explains why they are the stats making the biggest jumps.

Also, I’ve had a few questions answered about the structure of the league and I know a few people have been wondering too so I’ll do my best to explain it. Currently 3 tiers of the Belgian football league exist in Football Manager, the Jupiler Pro League (16 teams), the Belgian Second League (17 teams) then the Belgian Third Division A and B (18 teams in A, 19 teams in B). However the league is currently being restructured and the start of next season (2016/17) will have the Belgian First Division A (16 teams), Belgian First Division B (8 teams) followed by the Belgian First Amateur Division (16 teams) and then the Belgian Second Amateur Division (3 divisions of 16 teams). So effectively this means for this season 9 of the current Belgian Second League teams and 7 of the current Belgian Third Division teams will come together to make up this new Belgian First Amateur Division, with the remaining Third Division teams moving into the Belgian Second Amateur Division.

Yeah this is lovely but where does it leave us? The top two teams from our division automatically move into the Belgian First Amateur Division. The four teams in 3rd to 6th move into the playoff semis (a single game, with extra time and penalties) with the losers going to the Second Amateur Division and the winners moving onto the final. The winner of the final moves into the First Amateur Division whist the loser takes on the losing team from the other division’s playoff final for the final spot. Hopefully that clears up some of the confusion (likely replacing it with a whole load of different confusion). The only thing left to worry about is whether the new 4th tier (Belgian Second Amateur Division) will be playable on FM or whether it moves into the non-league territory. But let’s not dwell on that and focus on the push for the holy Belgian First Amateur Division.

Well it seems like all of a sudden the league is getting interesting with 10 games left and Rupel Boom maybe (possibly?) hitting their stride we could be in for an interesting run in. The next update will hopefully come with a couple games left in the season if the team are in contention for those top 6 places or we’ll probably fly through to the end of the season if we’re likely ruled out at that point and either outline a plan for next season or outline a plan for Sylvan’s future away from Boom if he’s not offered a new contract and/or Rupel Boom become unmanageable. But for now, GAAN BOOM!

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