If you missed the introduction to this challenge it’s over here, so check that out first before we get down to business at our first club. Our hero Sylvan will begin his journey out of the football wilderness in the Ukrainian Persha Liha (second tier) at Arsenal Kyiv.
The History Lesson
Getting your head around Arsenal Kyiv’s history is not the easiest task, but to simplify things we’ll just pinpoint Arsenal Kyiv’s birth as 2001, when the former government run CSCA Kyiv was sold and renamed Arsenal Kyiv. The new club remained steadily in the Ukrainian Premier League, as well as making two appearances in the UEFA Cup/Europa League in 2001/02 & 2012/13, before filing for bankruptcy and losing its professional status in 2013/14 after not being able to land the necessary sponsorship deals to stay afloat. The club spent a year in the amateur leagues before applying for reinstatement to the Durha Liha (third tier) for the 2015/16 season and gained automatic promotion to the second tier for the 2016/17 season, which is now. Phew. Also side note, Wikipedia reliably informs me that the Arsenal Kiev fans are ‘strongly tied’ with the anti-fascist movement and hold strong left wing views, as apposed to right wing city rivals Dynamo, so that’s nice.
The Board’s/Our expectations
Now that’s out the way we can place ourselves firmly in the present. Sylvan is tasked with helping Arsenal avoid relegation from the Durha Liha. The league structure itself is nothing too out of the ordinary, 18 teams play each other twice, top two go up, bottom three go down and the 15th placed side plays a two legged playoff game with 4th place in the third tier to keep their place in the league. So our sights are set on 14th & up.
As far as personal expectations go we’ve earmarked this as a two year plan, firstly keeping Arsenal’s heads above water in season one before hopefully guiding the team to a respectable top half finish in season two. Hopefully meaning we can leave the club in a position to push for promotion in the future while we go onto bigger and better things elsewhere.
A quick glace at the squad gives us 3 key talents we’ll look to build the system around in year one.
Navid Nasimi – Left winger. Nasimi is only 21 so room to improve still, good physicals for this level and a strong dribbling attribute, will hopefully letting him loose on the left wing could cause problems at this level.
Igor Skoba – Defensive Midfielder. Skoba is a solid anchor man for the side and should hopefully shore things up at the back if this season is to be as tough as expected. Slight issue that he’s 34 so we may have to adapt how we play if he drops off hard but for now he’s a key player.
Sergiy Sitalo – Goalkeeper. 4.5 star ability, great stats all round, if nobody tempts him away from us him he could be crucial to our survival hopes this year.
This is subject to change/tweaks as the season goes on and we get a better idea of how the squad compares to the rest of the league. But for now we’ll try to keep it as simple as possible, basic, boring, fundamentals.
It’s pretty difficult to do any sort of in depth recruitment at the beginning of a save such a this, we have zero real life knowledge of suitable players, Sylvan has a 1 in both player & youngster knowledge stats and our scout reports leave a little to be desired. Luckily the squad we have looks pretty decent with some good younger players available to play roles. But if we could pick up a left back and a right winger willing to play for a few hryvnia a week (don’t say football manager isn’t educational, also don’t ask me to pronounce that) then we’ll be off to the races.
Sylvan may be ready to begin his managerial career again (not that FM16 happened) so here we go! Catch Sylvan’s first forays into management next time and cross your fingers that this save is going to go further than last years pathetic season and a half before fizzling out.