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…

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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.

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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.

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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!

1.05 – Getting Settled

We return to the Sylvan Paulsson saga to find Rupel Boom on a 8 game unbeaten stretch, the only downside being that 6 of them were draws. The particular highlight being the 1-0 victory over preseason league favourites Beerschot-Wilrijk that saw their manager sacked in the referee’s changing room immediately after the game, it’s a cutthroat business I’m afraid. It also meant Sylvan had nobody to share his customary post match beer with, so who’s the real victim here? But anyway, here’s the stretch of results since our last update.

While all these draws are obviously not ideal, it does give us hope that with a little bit of good fortune the team could put together a decent run to get amongst those top 6 teams. It’s also worth noting that the team haven’t had any games where they’ve took a battering, both in terms of the scoreline or the general flow of the game.

The team have also had to contend with having to field 3rd choice left winger (and usual left back) Nick Van Der Westerlaken after suffering couple of injuries to preferred starters Seppe Kil and Jonas Laureys. While Van Der Westerlaken definitely did not embarrass himself whilst playing in a less familiar position it did coincide with the team really struggling to produce a reliable way of creating goals. This is something I likely would have missed if I wasn’t paying such close attention and taking notes on games for the sake of the blog, so that’s nice. It appears our most reliable way of creating chances has been from balls into the box from that left side where the opposite winger Mertens is waiting to poke home from close range. Hopefully, with Kil’s recent return to the line up the team should start finding the back of the net more consistently, possibly evidenced by Mertens sudden return to goal scoring form since Kil’s comeback.

 

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As for the two areas for improvement we deemed worthy of keeping an eye on in the last post, goals from corners and player mistakes leading to goals, there are some slightly mixed results. We’ll start with the good news, in the 11 games since our last update we’ve conceded 0 goals due to players making mistakes, so we appear to have been justified in our decision to not panic and let things regress back to the mean. However on goals from corners we’ve conceded 2 in 11 (0.18 per game) after 2 in 7 (0.29 per game) in our previous post. While this is an improvement it still puts us at 18th of 19 in the league in this particular stat and could be something we consider tweaking between now and our next update. Tied to this is the number of times our defenders make slightly errant, but not ridiculously poor, back passes which our goalkeeper has decided to consistently leave and give up cheap corners to the opposition. Usually this wouldn’t be too much of an issue but considering our record defending corners is pretty poor I’d much prefer it if the keeper would make the arduous 6 yard journey from his line to collect the ball. I’m not sure if this is a match engine issue, as a lot of the balls he leaves defy common sense, but we’re going to experiment with setting his role to sweeper keeper (defend) to see if that can coax him off his line in such situations.

Finally, slightly off-topic but something I’ve found pretty interesting in understanding how we perceive player performances has been moving from extended to comprehensive highlights in games. I think in particular defenders get a bad rap when games are viewed in extended/key highlights because you’re pretty much guaranteed that they’re going to do something sub-optimally if the clip is deemed a highlight. Watching in comprehensive highlights gives you a little more balance in showing you times when a defender does his job correctly to stop the opposition from getting in a position where an extended/key highlight would occur. That’s not to say everyone MUST use comprehensive highlights but it’s just something to bear in mind when playing, that defender who makes a slight error to cost you a goal has probably done the correct thing in that situation 10 times but the highlights didn’t decide to show you it happening.

The next update will come around the end of the transfer window (although not sure how much room we have to manoeuvre on that front, but wait and see) and will also have a look at how Sylvan has progressed as a manager as he hopefully gets his hands on his first coaching badge. Until then, GAAN BOOM!

1.04 – Off to the Races

So here we are, Sylvan has two full months of managerial experience under his belt, thus surpassing Alan Shearer in his mission to prove that playing experience isn’t everything. In this update we’re going to focus on what we’ve learned from our early experiences in the third tier of Belgian football. But before we get into the boring stuff, lets have a look at how Sylvan has handled his first month of competitive fixtures.

There are plenty of reasons to be happy with that start as we chase that sacred top six, but there are still a number of areas we will look to improve/keep an eye on as the season progresses.

The key positive we’ve taken away from these opening fixtures is that we’ve been capable of controlling possession and dictating the pace of the game quite well. As ideally this is how we’d like the team to play anyway, it is promising that they’ve shown they are naturally comfortable with it and hasn’t had to be mandated upon them by the tyrannical Sylvan. To get an idea of this here’s how we stack up against the rest of the league in terms of possession/passing (note that the total passes completed might be somewhat skewed by the teams who currently have a game in hand).

 

Now this is all wonderful, but it hasn’t been all sunshine and lollipops, if we’ve been controlling games so well why have we conceded all these goals? Two things in particular appear to have been the cause of half (5 of 10) of the goals we’ve conceded in all competitions so far, goals from corners (2) and individual player mistakes (3). While this isn’t great, it is important  that we keep things in perspective, players always will make mistakes that lead to goals (especially in the lower tiers) and goals are going to be scored from corners. What is important to find out is whether these stats are because we’re poor in these areas or whether we’ve just run into a bit of bad luck over a pretty small sample size. So we’ll be keeping a close eye on these two particular areas for now hoping to see them regress back to the league average before we start having the lads working on defending set pieces for 3 hours a day in training and start slapping ‘if in doubt kick it out’ posters around the changing room as a means to drive out the possibility of defensive mistakes. So as of right now nothing changes, but we’re watching, always watching.

 

We do have one brief off the field update for this post. Rupel Boom FC are happy to announce a partnership with AA Gent of the Juliper Pro League. Manager Sylvan Paulsson is thought to be excited by the agreement and is excited at the possibility of testing his abilities against the Champions League side in future preseason friendlies. As part of the deal, promising central midfielder Sad’eeq Yusuf Ahmat will spend the season on loan at Rupel Boom. Ahmat has yet to appear for Paulsson’s side after arriving at the club nursing a mild back strain but sources within the club are said to be enthusiastic about the youngster from the little they have been able to see of him at the training ground so far.

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So now we’ve had a chance to settle into Sylvan’s crazy new life in Belgium we’re ready to get down to business and really make a fight for these top 6 spots.

If you look at the numbers:

  • Currently 3rd/4th in the table depending on Overijse’s game in hand,
  • 7th in the league in salary per annum (yeah Sylvan is a Soccernomics guy, what upcoming young manager isn’t?)
  • 8th in media prediction
  • 4th in average attendance

While those numbers don’t mean making the top 6 is a given, I think Sylvan’s first season in management could be considered a disappointment by many of his critics if Rupel Boom finish any lower than 8th. The time for talking is over. Sylvan has some doubters to prove wrong and that can only be done on the pitch. In the next post we’ll see just how that’s going for him as he (hopefully) reaches 4 months in management.

Until next time, GAAN BOOM!

 

1.03 – Baby’s First Preseason

Sylvan has traversed his way through his first preseason as a real life (virtual) football manager and finds himself still in a job, which is great for the longevity of this save if nothing else! So how did we do?

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A pretty decent set of results for the rookie all things considered. There are two results I feel are worth pointing out, just in case you aren’t too familiar with the basement tiers of European football (and boy are you missing out if so!). Firstly, the 2-1 victory over Lierse was pretty satisfying as they’re from the division above and we handled ourselves well against them in general which is hopefully a good sign for the upcoming season. On the other end of the spectrum the 3-2 loss to Lienden (a Dutch amateur team) was slightly less enjoyable, Lienden went 2-0 up after 5 minutes and things started to look a bit bleak. Luckily the lads decided to actually take part in the final 85 minutes and pulled level just after half time only for the dutch team to add a 3rd from a corner take the win. But overall, other than those first 5 minutes which were truly woeful, the performance wasn’t THAT bad and we can head into the competitive games with our heads held high.

The System

Now we’ve had a bit of time to work with the squad we present you with the two tactics we have switched between through the preseason.

Having literally never attempted a strikerless system on FM before what better place than the Beligan Third Division B to try it out for the first time? Sylvan’s background in the scientific method came in handy and we experimented with 45 minutes of each style in our preseason games to hopefully get the most reliable understanding of how the two tactics compare against the same opposition.  We’ll avoid going too deep into the methodology so that those of you who have made it this far don’t start to regret that decision, but it involved a lot of clipboards, white coats and all that lark. Both tactics seemed to be performing pretty equally after 5 preseason games,and both formations yielding 3-1 scorelines after their respective 5 halves of football. Eventually we opted for the conservative approach and settled on the 4-2-3-1, for now.

We’ve so far opted not to add any instructions (other than the ask the keeper to distribute to the full backs) and tried to hold back on using a lot of the more specialised player roles for the benefit of simplicity. As you can see above, the players still haven’t quite got their heads around things tactically but I guess that’s one of the drawbacks of them being part timers, not to mention it being a pain in the arse to achieve any level of match fitness. But later into the season we’ll come back to these two systems and analyse any tweaks we may have made along the way.

The Squad

I have a feeling this post could be on the longer side so for now we’ll just introduce you to a couple of players who should be important for us this year.

Dirk Mathyssen

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Mathyssen seems to Boom’s most talented player, the 26 year old Belgian looks to have the ability to play as both a provider and scorer which allows us a bit of flexibility in how we play. He also boasts good work rate, teamwork and determination attributes which are general attributes I enjoy in players, especially in terms of the tactical systems it may allow us to consider. Dirk didn’t have the greatest of preseason ratings but was often only playing 45 minutes each game so we wont read too much into that. Another slight concern with him was that he doesn’t want to be ‘distracted by the responsibility of tutoring’, I’ll remember that when it comes to handing out the armband Dirk lad.

Jeroen Mertens

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Oh Jeroen, Jeroen, Jeroen! You may or may not have noticed from the preseason results that this was coming. Despite being all too eager to  take Mathyssen’s poor preseason form with a pinch of salt we’re more than happy to jump on the Mertens hype train after a pretty impressive scoring record so far. His attributes explain his preseason pretty aptly, most of the time you’ll find him using that pace to dash in at the back post and use his pretty impressive finishing stat (especially for a part timer) to slot home anything that falls in front of him. Now lets see some more of this when the competitive games come around! Starting to get the hang of this motivational speaking lark).

The Signings

Going into the year we felt we could probably take a crack at this season without having to make any additions to the squad, but we finally cracked and decided we needed some cover for left back Nick Van Der Westerlaken (who I’ve recently learned is also an electrician, the more you know) as nobody else on the books is even semi-competent there.  So off goes our Chief Scout Eddy Laevaert to have a look at a few loan listed options, we’ll just label content of his reports as underwhelming.

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Cheers Ed, you must have worked really hard on that. This left us with little choice other than to trust his judgement and approach the player he rated highest. Enter Timo Cauwenberg of second league Geel, we agree with his club to pay 50% of his weekly wages (£90) and he joins us for the rest of the season and Sylvan’s first deal goes down without a hitch.

You did good this time Laevaert! Shortly after this we get the opportunity to adjust (lower) squad bonuses for the cup and after a quick budget adjustment we manage to cover Timo’s £90p/w and also free up an extra £80 to contemplate another cautious dip into the transfer market. We would ideally like to pick up someone who can compete for a spot at both defensive and central midfield positions, but Eddy’s opinion of those available for loan isn’t particularly glowing so we head into uncharted territory, the free agents. The extent of our knowledge of these players is pretty much their age, height, weight (who exactly is in charge keeping track of unemployed footballers body weight?) and footedness. At least the loan listed ones had a transfer value as a means of screening potential targets! Luckily/unluckily for us there appear to only be 4 players who fit our Out of Contract, Can play centre midfield, Can play defensive midfield Venn diagram and only one of those is under 30, so no pressure or anything kid but Scout Eddy is coming for you. He returns with another ‘report’ but he’s 1 for 1 on signings so we take his word for it and offer Nathan Stranart a deal. He turns his nose up at the idea of an actual contract and instead would prefer a pay as you play non-contract deal, but we work things out and welcome a second new face to Gemeentelijk Parkstadion A (which isn’t a mouthful at all).

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For some reason the board decides to hold a press conference to unveil Stranart and Robert Kelly from Eurosport is the only person in attendance, and he already dislikes Sylvan which seems pretty rude. Intimidated by his snappy dressing and flowing golden locks by any chance Robert? Annoyed that your boss has sent you abroad to provide fluff pieces for Eurosport.co.uk about that weird English guy managing in the Belgian third tier? Anyway, we can’t dwell on this too long, because that’s exactly what Robert Kelly would want us to do and we have a league to go win!

The Cup

Rupel Boom’s first Competitive game of the season comes in the 3rd round of the Belgian Cup versus non-league Diest (don’t ask where the first two rounds went, I don’t know, FM doesn’t even know, just move past it already). The squad still aren’t fully match fit but hopefully that will be a problem for everyone else too so we’re not we’re trying not to worry about that. Rupel are 1-6 favourites away from home and manage a pretty comfortable 5-1 victory to start Sylvan’s career with a win and set up a 4th round tie next week with second tier side Union SG. In a shocking turn of events the cup victory also leads to WS Bruxelles (second tier team) making a bid of 3.7k (rising to 4.7k after 50 appearances) for one of the previous games scorers Yannick Put. This leaves us with a bit of a decision on our hands, the thought process for which I’ll run you through now.

Sell:

  • The strikerless system we toyed with in preseason didn’t seem inferior to the 4231 alternative.
  • While he is our best striker he’s not an exceptional talent.
  • Receiving a mild cash injection in any form at this level can’t be a bad thing.

Keep:

  • He just scored the 3rd goal of Sylvan’s managerial career, and as the first of which was an own goal he’s technically number 2. IF SYLVAN PAULSSON IS THE MOON, YANNICK PUT IS OUR BUZZ ALDRIN! (Kind of?)
  • It is only two days before the start of the league season which wouldn’t give us much time to adjust our plans.
  • 7k doesn’t really assist the club financially or give me the room to significantly strengthen the current squad (3.7k is about £70p/w, and I’m also only receiving 40% of transfer fees).

So for now, Yannick remains, but the club will start looking at what is on the market and send Eddy to line up some potential replacements if the interest doesn’t go away.

 

We shall return with another update after we’ve got 4 or 5 league games under our belt, hopefully with a decent cup run to boast about, when we can start to have a clearer idea of the task ahead of us. Also, since the last post I’ve been informed that people of Boom speak Dutch so we’ll proceed with GAAN BOOM to sign off! GAAN BOOM chaps, GAAN BOOM!

1.02 – Getting on the Ladder

Every managers career starts with that first club willing to take a risk on him (especially a manager without an illustrious playing career on his CV). This first job will be pretty important, if we screw this up we could struggle to find someone to take us on next time, no pressure lads!

So, where do we start the journey? England is out of the question, Sylvan has too much pride to approach an English club cap in hand after how they have treated him in the past. On top of this, we started the save in July so all of the Nordic nations minus Denmark are already half way through their season, which isn’t the way we would ideally like to kick off our career. There a also a number of jobs that are obviously outside of our current ability, we rule out a few from the top two tiers of Holland and Portugal and this leaves us quite limited in our options. Eventually we settle and apply for two jobs.

The first of which is at Belgian 3rd tier team Rupel Boom (whom we chose partly due to them having such a cracking name), but upon further research it turns out Romelu Lukaku came through their youth system so that’s pretty cool. We also handed in our CV at Romanian 3rd tier team FC Bihor Oradea. Following a little more research (always learn about your prospective employers kids!) we found that their stadium is named after a club legend from the pre-WW2 era, Iuliu Bodola. Not the Iuliu Bodola stadium, not Bodola Park, literally just Iuliu Bodola, but they can squeeze 18 thousand people in there so that’s pretty impressive.

Both clubs were kind enough to offer Sylvan an interview and after he charmed his way around questions concerning his age and lack of previous experience things went pretty well. Oradea were first to approach him with a contract offer of £300p/w and were polite enough to allow Sylvan a week ponder it (Read: wait for word from Rupel Boom). When Rupel Boom were then happy to pay Mr Paulsson £375p/w, we had our first career decision on our hands. In the end, despite feeling more than a little guilty for leaving Oradea hanging, moving to Belgium seemed logistically much easier than starting up in Romania, plus Sylvan speaks a little French which could come in handy, maybe. But yes, Sylvan is starting his career off in Belgium, and is named new manager of RUPEL BOOM FC.

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The OFFICIAL coat of arms for the city of Boom appears to be some sort of Angel/Wizard/Pope/Queen lady under a tree, holding a small child, who is also apparently missing some portion of his face. (Awfully sorry if you are a proud Boomenaar, and hopefully you will accept me learning the word Boomenaar as a sincere apology for my insolence).

Is Sylvan ready for Belgium? Home of waffles, chocolate, Hazard, Sjokz and sprouts, I’m sure he’ll do fine (sprouts really do get a bad rap). But is Belgium ready for Sylvan? I guess there is only one way to find out.

First thing we realise upon taking the job is, THE BELGIAN LEAGUE IS PROPERLY MENTAL. There are 18 teams each of the two third tier leagues (A and B, Rupel Boom being in B) and it appears that teams finishing 7th-18th all get relegated (what now?) and although the sentinel of knowledge that is wikipedia and FM league rules don’t seem to agree on what happens to the lucky survivors it seems as if the top two get automatic promotion, with the winner of A & B facing off for little/no reason other than giving the fans a nice day out. Then it appears that teams from 3rd to 6th across the two divisions have to fight it out for 5 promotion places. Nobody is entirely sure what they do to choose which 5 of 8 teams make it up to the Belgian Second League, but our personal aim is to make that top 6 to avoid the drop and then see what happens from there. The media prediction has us at 40-1 for an 8th place finish but we’re joined at 40-1 by each of the teams predicted 3rd-10th  so  we should have a reasonable shot at keeping our heads above water. Interestingly Beerschot-Wilrijk are 8-1 favourites for the title, miles ahead of Hasselt at 33-1 in second. We did a bit of research on Beerschot-Wilrijk and it appears that they recently merged the Beerschot and Wilrilk clubs after the Beerschot end went into bankruptcy and have since won back to back promotions (as well as a third this season in real life, which we of course do not count, what is this real life you speak so fondly of?). Who knew we’d actually end up learning something on this adventure?

So where were we? After half an hour staring at the league rules we can finally have a nose at the club itself. Our brief and unexciting meeting with the chairman is followed by chat with the fitness coach. Boom appear to be lacking an assistant manager, which is a bit of a blessing as it means we can bring in our own guy without all that horrible sacking stuff, not to mention the compensation that goes with it. Sylvan pops out mid-meeting and gets on the phone with Bart De Nul and offers him the assistant job straight away.

When we return to the fitness coach, apparently unperturbed by our brief absence we turn down the offer of an intra-squad friendly as there are currently only 4 actual players in the under 21’s and instead organise an additional friendly against Olympic Charleroi, before sending the fitness coach on his merry way to go do fitnessy things. We have a quick scope of the rest of the staff situation but opt against picking up any of the recommended under 21 or under 19 staff and instead will just move up the 5 people currently in these squads to keep funds down. From a glance at the finances it doesn’t seem as if the club is going to perform to wonderfully financially so we’ll try to be a thrifty as possible.

One final thing we make sure to do before really getting our hands dirty at Rupel Boom is ask the chairman if he’d be so kind to stump up the £450 required for Sylvan to acquire his very first coaching badges. Mr. Leijs is kind enough to send us to get our National C licence and in 4 months’ time we may have a nice shiny qualification to show for it.

The next post(s) will likely come at the end of preseason, where we’ll run through how the friendlies went for us, have good look at the squad at our disposal, as well as tactics, comings, goings, and any other exciting things that unfold at the start of our adventure!

Allez Boom! Gaan Boom!

(If anyone knows the predominant language of the people of Boom that would be lovely. Also Dutch seems pretty much Geordie which I’m 100% comfortable with so I may or may not be fluent).

1.01 – The Start of Journey

Having never having successfully ran a blog prior to this, never really having managed to successfully create a football manager dynasty prior to this, this is probably a terrible terrible idea that will go down in flames. I also have little/no experience managing clubs outside of the English Football League so this could be very interesting.

This blog is likely for those of you who just want to see the world (and myself) burn. Where we will differ from the majority of FM blogs (other than the fact most of them are far more informative and entertaining than this ever will be) is that those guys tend to waltz into a club like the rockstars they are, with tactics that have won multiple domestic and continental trophies,  and destroy everyone in their path whilst we get to bask in their reflective glory as they create a footballing empire that most of us peasants could only dream of. Over here however, any glory may be slightly less guaranteed. But off we pop on our adventure…

Lets start things off with a little biography for our own unlikely hero, Sylvan Paulsson. Paulsson, 24, is an Englishman with Finnish forefathers (perhaps they were supposed to be Icelandic, perhaps I’m an idiot who can’t click the correct boxes) who dabbles in a little French, alongside his native tongue and of course fluent Icelandic Finnish. Young Sylvan wants nothing more than to be a football manager and his lack of any formal coaching experience and very limited playing career are only minor stumbling blocks separating him from that dream. What he does have going for him is that he’s got a bit of a trendy mod look about him which can only aid him in getting his foot in the door at a few places right?

After years of being snubbed by even the smallest of minnows in his native England he’s ready to take his talents (namely that lovely coat/hairstyle combo) into mainland Europe to prove a point to the English brass that he has what it takes to make it in the football management game.

In line with this we’ve loaded up the following leagues:

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It’s pretty decent chunk of Europe, minus some places even desperate Sylvan doesn’t particularly fancy relocating to (sorry Turkey, Russia et al), as well as Wales/Ireland which he feels he’s already somewhat overqualified for. Hopefully the old PC can handle this bulk of leagues without exploding. We’ll likely cut some of the lower tiers out once we’ve built a bit of a reputation for ourselves to keep things moving along nicely.

Our Goals

  • The ultimate goal of this save is to complete our redemption tour and make our way back to good old Blighty and bag a few Premier League titles (maybe European? Who knows?) before giving the old two finger salute to the people who snubbed us as we ride off into the sunset.
  • Try to avoid constant uprooting of Sylvan’s imaginary partner, imaginary kids and imaginary dog once he gets to that stage of life. Nobody wants to have their kids pulled out of their nice stable private school in Oslo to have to start all over again in Budapest.
  • In line with this we’ll also be considering this if/when we are offered jobs at other clubs, is the increase in wage/opportunity worth the upheaval? Will Sylvan be able to find a new Jiu-Jitsu school in Copenhagen? Is there a supermarket with Marmite in the international section in Ljubljana? Can he pull off his trademark coat in the Libson heat?
  • Also as a thoroughly decent guy Sylvan will be looking to not boost his own career at the expense of the future of the clubs he’s running (I’m looking at you Mr. Redknapp) and hopefully leave them in a position to be more successful following his departure than it was prior to it. We’ll keep an eye on how they do as we progress and hopefully we can leave a bit of a lasting legacy behind us wherever we go.

So our adventure begins, in our next post we’ll have a look at some potential landing spots for big Sylv and hopefully be at a club ready to judge the lay of the land.