20 years have passed now on my Hall of FM-ame save and my love for this game gets stronger and stronger by the day. I can’t believe how much fun this has been! Last season was definitely a campaign of up’s and down’s. An Austrian Cup win was great but ending 2nd in the league and also a poor showing in Europe meant overall the season was disappointing. Moving into this season I know I have to start pushing more, bring in more revenue from European games and also start bringing in better players whilst also giving my young guns a chance.
Only 4 players left for any money and as you can see there was 1 big out. I mentioned in the last post I was thinking of selling LW Althauser, £9m probably wasn’t as much as I could’ve got but it was a decent deal and good for him to hopefully show his potential, fingers crossed he doesn’t get as many injuries there as he did here! CM Gorin also left as he fell out of favour and £1.4m was a decent profit on him. Sturm was one player I didn’t want to go, he was one of the men I had pinpointed as a future star but he just didn’t stop bloody moaning, I got bored and sick of him always knocking on my door so took the easy route and binned him off! Bastian is a reserve GK.
We also lost star young CB Cavar who joined Bayern, his contract was up and he refused to talk to me about a new deal.
So not many outs but I needed to strengthen in a few areas. I needed a big replacement for Althauser on the LW, I needed to replace Cavar with a back-up CB and I also needed a back-up Keeper as I decided to let No. 2 Addo go out on loan, the deal was too good to say no! (100% wages paid and £50k per month). Another spot I needed to fill was at AM, I switched back to my 4231 tactic so needed someone there as last season I had Tommy Ask on loan.
An absolute steal of a deal. This guy is going to be a star. Only 25 years old so has so much more time to improve as well. A staple in the Belgian national side, what a bargain!
Mamadou Kouame – Left Wing – £3.4m from Slavia Prague
A big outlay but a fantastic looking player. Could easily become better than Althauser and for half the price. He has great pace and also fantastic mentals and technicals. This guy alongside Bangala could be amazing.
Phillipp Maier – Central Defender – £950k from Red Bull Salzburg
A decent cheap young Austrian who will provide good back-up in defence. One for the future and I will try and give him some game time as and when required.
David Mayr – Goalkeeper – £230k from Wiener Neustadt
Not a world beater but for the price it was a good deal and Austrian as well so not clogging up any foreigner spot. Will provide back up to No.1 Araujo.
I also brought back RW Camara for his 3rd season on loan here, there is no one better for a decent price and at only £8k per week it’s a good deal.
We had a much much better European Campaign this season but once again it ended rather prematurely.
2nd place in the league was good enough for a best placed Champions League spot, where we would enter in the 2nd Qualifying Round. It was a tough start where we faced Polish side Lechia and we scraped through 1-0 on aggregate.
Into the 3rd Round and we were handed a tie against Swiss side Servette, a tough game as they had been doing very well in the Swiss league the past few seasons. A first leg hammering set us on our way, a brilliant 3-0 win, then came the 2nd leg, let’s keep it tight, or not as the game ended 4-4! Absolute chaos is all I can say about it!
And so to the big one, the play off round, get through and we get into the Group Stage and a windfall of money to boot. We were handed what looked on paper to be a relatively easy tie against Turkish side Besiktas, it could’ve been a lot tougher with the likes of Celtic and Lyon in the draw.
The first leg was absolutely stunning, 1-0 up at half time we then went on a rampage scoring 4 times in 18 second half minutes, 2 late goals from Besiktas made the scoreline a bit more respectable for them but we had won the game 5-2! In the 2nd leg we once again played sensationally scoring 2 first half goals to put any nerves at bay, we added another before they got one back but we had done it, an 8-3 aggregate win and we were in the Group Stage!!
Where we handed a bloody tough draw. Monaco, Bayern and Guimaraes stood in our way. Looking on the face of it we had a good chance of third and a Europa League spot but what happened was dreadful!
Our defence in the league was watertight but in the Champions League we were as leaky as a Southern Water main. A 5-2 defeat away Bayern was followed up with a 3-2 defeat at home to Monaco.
We did grab our first win with a nervy 2-1 home win over Guimaraes but the next game was the killer, get anything out of the away tie to Guimaraes and we would most certainly claim that third place spot. We lost 2-1 and played terribly.
We then once again got absolutely battered, firstly a 5-1 hammering by Bayern at home, this coupled with Guimaraes beating Monaco meant we had to win the final game to get third….we didn’t! We lost 5-3 to Monaco to end bottom of the group.
Bottom, 11 goals scored..GREAT! 21 goals conceded…DREADFUL!!!!
But overall a good campaign, the Group stage was my aim and we did that and pocketed a good £17m+ in the process.
So yeah the Cup went very very very well! 1st Round and it’s always the opening game of the season, we played lowly St. Veit and I went full strength just to give the boys a motivator. My god did it work as we ran out 13-0 winners!
The next rounds were a lot tougher, I mixed the team about a bit but we eased ourselves into the semi finals with hard fought wins over Admira Wanker, Schwechat and Grodig.
In the semi finals, we avoided Red Bull (who lost in the other semi to SV Reid!) and faced SV Horn. The game was awful, like the worst game of FM I’ve ever seen and at the end of extra time it was 0-0, then came the most nerve-wracking penalty shootout ever. 10 penalties each, numerous missed but we ended up nicking the win courtesy of a miss from their LB Berger and my CB Scheiner smashing the ball into the net. A terrible game but a win is a win and we are into the final!
It was a relief to miss out on Red Bull but SV Reid were having a good season in the league so it was always going to be tough. We started really well and on 18 minutes DM Haugen nodded in from a corner to give us the lead. We doubled that lead on 38 minutes when RW Camara nipped in at the far post to stroke home a Kouame cross. 7 minutes into the second half and the tie was over as Camara grabbed his 2nd goal. They did score a goal late on but it wasn’t enough and we had won our 2nd cup in a row!
Austrian Premier League
It was an absolutely stunning season! We went unbeaten for the first 12 games but a few rubbish 0-0 draws meant our lead at the top was only 2 points. Over the next 10 games up to the league split we had a slight blip but so did many other teams and as we entered the Championship group our lead was 4 points.
In fantastic Austrian style we had this halved so the lead was 2.
The start of the Championship group was amazing as we won our first 5 games not conceding a goal! This combined with numerous slip ups from other teams meant our lead with 5 games left was 8 points, title nearly wrapped up? Well not just yet, it got slightly tougher as we firstly lost at home to Red Bull and then a draw away to Mattersberg meant our lead had been slashed to 3 points with 3 games left.
First up was 2nd placed SV Reid and we demolished them 3-0 to put us 6 points clear with 2 left and with Red Bull even further behind we knew 1 point from our final 2 games would seal the title.
Next up? Red Bull away, how good would it be to win the title in their own back yard!!??!
Revenge is sweet, revenge is a dish best served cold! What a game, what a win and what a way to win the title!
My first Austrian League and Cup double and what a way to do it. It was an amazing season overall and the most pleasing thing is how far ahead we ended.
Player of the Season
I have to go with new boy Bangala, he was an ever present and the one player who could change a game with one piece of magic. The best £600k I’ve ever spent! 40 games, 16 goals and 11 assists, I’ve finally found an AM who does stuff! He also won Austrian Premier Division Player of the Year and grabbed Goal of the Season.
The Conveyor Belt
This is a new little section talking about who from my youth ranks I’m looking to bring into the team. I have so many 5* PA players who are 20 and under and I really need to start seeing how they can perform in competitive matches.
There’s also a raft of 4.5* PA players as well! My team is stacked with so many awesome young players so I need to start making them better players.
So my plan each season is to earmark between 2 and 4 of these players to bring into the first team to replace players who either are out of contract, retiring or I want to sell as I don’t feel they represent value for money with the wages I’m paying.
So at the start of this season I lost Wieland (DM/CM) who left for Swansea after his loan finished with me. I also needed a back-up AM, I had switched back to 4231 assymetric tactic and with Bangala, my new recruit being first choice I wanted a back-up who could fill in when required and play some of the cup games.
So these are the 2 players:
Delic especially was amazing and quickly became more than just a back-up, he didn’t score many goals but his work rate in midfield was one of the reasons we were so good defensively and also good with the ball.
Anton didn’t get as much game time mainly because Bangala was so good, I have so many good AMs in my youth ranks that I may look at sending Anton out on loan next season to make sure he gets as much time on the pitch as possible.
So for next season I’m looking at 3 spots to fill. Right Winger Bruckner is leaving to join PAOK, Striker Patrick Hodler is retiring and also RB Milovanovic who is my best player looks to be leaving as he is being chased by the European elite, bids are too high for me to say no so he will go and I will bring in my 5* PA RB to play as back-up to my current No. 2 RB Schwab.
So these are the 3 players who I will bring in:
Stefan Strobl – Right Back – Came through my second youth intake (2035) and I immediately knew he could be a star, has had a few decent loan spells and now looks ready to take the step up into the first team.
Malte Baldauf – Right Wing – Had a really good season on loan at SV Reid and I now feel he is good enough to step into the first team as back-up for Camara who I’m signing for nothing at the end of the season after his brilliant 3 years on loan here.
Jan Adelwarth – Left Wing/Striker – I earmarked this guy at the start of my save and after a couple of seasons out on loan scoring lots of goals I feel now is his time to step up. He looks brilliant and has improved a lot with the extra game time.
At the end of the next season review I will show you how they did and how much game time they got!
So what a season, and next season we need more of the same. Champions League group stage qualification is a must next year as is at least 1 Austrian trophy, 2 however would be amazing. I can see a Red Bull backlash but I feel my squad is good enough and also my plans to bring in some youth and get rid of some of the dross we have in the first team will push us on.
Once again I won’t be making any signings unless we lose anyone. I am hopeful now we have won the double and back in the Champions League it will entice players to stick around.
Hall of Fame Update
So with those 2 trophy wins this puts me top of another hall of fame! I’m now the greatest English manager ever!
I’m also closing in on the top 10 in Austria, there is still a long long way to go to top it though. I think I need another 8 or 9 trophies!
One final thing is to say goodbye to the man, the myth, the legend that is Patrick Hodler who is retiring, this shows you how long this save has been going on! Hodler came through my first youth intake at FC Sion and it’s now time for him to hang up his boots. It isn’t the end however as he will be staying on to manage my “B” team!
A brilliant career that certainly tailed off after I left Sion but it’s a player who will live long in my memory!
And on that note that’s where I leave you. Thanks for reading and I’ll speak to you all soon.