Welcome back! So I’m now into my 9th season with Rapid Wien and after last seasons domestic league and cup double I’m now only 4 trophies from topping the Austrian Hall of Fame, but there are tough times ahead! Let’s hope I can sort out the major problem affecting us and keep winning those trophies!
The Main Issue
Let’s start with this shall we! You would think getting a new ground to be one of the most exciting pieces of news and when it popped up I was over the moon
A brand spanking new 48k seater stadium, a massive improvement on what we currently have (30k). GET IN!!!! Then you look at the cost.
- Cost of Stadium – £143m
To be paid by:
- Loan – £107m
- Sale of old Ground £8.5m
So where is the other £27.5m coming from? Yes it been taken straight out of the clubs bank balance. So my lovely £20m bank balance is now well and truly in the red. Yes we are going to make some money from sponsorships and developments but that £52m sponsorship is spread over 15 years.
So the bank balance has been destroyed and then we look at the loan, £107m to be paid back at £1.1m per month! Holy shit!!!!!
So last season we were losing generally between £1m and £2m per month depending on prize money from Europe, so now we are looking to lose between £2m and £3m per month. The bank projections say by the end of this season we will £30m in the red, 2 years £55m, 3 years £80m! YES EIGHTY MILLION!!!!!!
So we have some serious issues to address, I don’t want to sell my players as I want to keep this squad together, I can’t cut their wages either. So I have 2 ideas:
- Say fuck it and just keep spending, the board have given me £20m to spend
- Be cautious, make sure that my legacy isn’t sending the club into financial ruin and try and win these final trophies by saving money and promoting youth.
Well I decided to go with option No. 2 for this season and see how it goes. Tough times ahead!!
I didn’t want to let anyone go but as you can below we did lose a few players.
Firstly we lose 3 players in free transfers, I had already mentioned in my previous post we were losing star CB Kovacevic, we also lose LW Szabo who had been a solid back up for a while but wouldn’t sign a new deal. Gehrke was a reserve player and on a non-contract deal
Now to the 3 players who left for money. So I did it again! For the 2nd season in a row I lost my No. 1 GK because I forgot he had a release clause! £6.5m was a shockingly low price for an wordly GK, I really need to keep checks on players release clauses! Our No. 2 GK Bastians also left in January alongside young Striker Hajek who, with Willems and Caeca in front of him wasn’t getting the game time he wanted so he was moved on.
So let’s take a look at who came in. Clearly with the finances in a poor state I didn’t go mad!
Andrea Della Monica – Left Wing – Season loan from Inter
My replacement for the outgoing Szabo, with Kouame my No. 1 LW I didn’t need to go splashing the cash on a top quality player so went for the loan option instead.
Luis Gutierrez – Goalkeeper – £2.5m from Lanus
My replacement for Arranz. A top quality GK and was my back-up option 2 years back when I signed Arranz, he will fit in perfectly as my No. 1 GK.
Phillip Reiter – Goalkeeper – Free Transfer
Signed in January as my back-up GK replacing Bastians.
Ljubo Tosic – Striker/Winger – £1.8m from Partizan
Tosic was signed before all the ground stuff kicked off, a quality player and £1.8m is a cracking deal, I like my Strikers to be able to play on either wing as well and will be a good back-up for this season and was one of the main reasons Hajek was allowed to move on.
So that was all my business done. Not as much as normal but I’m happy with my dealings and also happy I managed to keep hold of the majority of my key players.
As you can see I didn’t sign a replacement for Kovacevic, I had mentioned in my previous post I was losing 3 of my 4 CBs, Kovacevic left and Reith retired but I managed to persuade Garate to sign a new deal, so with Garate and Bordin and my 2 young CBs (who I will talk about later) I didn’t need to bring anyone in to fill the gap.
So for the past 3 seasons we have ended 3rd in our group, dropping into the Europa League, this season I was more determined than ever to get out of the group and into the knockout rounds, mainly to help out with the finances!
When the group stage draw came out I was quietly confident I could achieve that. Spurs, Spartak and BMG stood in our way and my god what a group stage we had!
5 wins and only 1 defeat which came in our final game where I rested a load of players as we had already topped the group. What an achievement and we had some stunning results along the way.
So the first time in 4 years we had progressed to the Champions League knockouts and we were handed a really tough tie in the last 16. Real Madrid were our opponents, we were away first and we went for it, with 15 minutes to go we sat 3-2 up then came the major kick in the teeth, a Delic red card and then 2 late Real goal condemned us to a 4-3 defeat. It was a stunning performance but it was also disappointing to lose. In the 2nd leg Real scored early and then doubled their lead by half time, we got a goal back but it wasn’t enough and we were out 6-4 on aggregate
It was another fantastic run in the cup, as you can see below we, as usual breezed through the opening rounds, we were handed relatively easy ties all the way through. Our semi final victory over Altach was a little tougher but only because I was resting one or two tired players for the important league games.
Into the final we went where we faced old foes Wolfsberger, a terrible game decided by one, scrappy goal from a corner, central defender Garate pounced on a poor piece of goalkeeping to score the only goal of the game and give us a 1-0 victory, not the best victory ever but a win is a win and another trophy to add to the cabinet!
Austrian Premier League
As usual we absolutely dominated the league, we lead from the front and although we lost a couple more games than usual we entered the championship group 5 clear of Salzburg.
This was cut to 3 in the usual points slashing style. The championship group started amazingly we won our first 5 games and looked to be coasting. With 4 games left we had the chance of wrapping up the title at home to Wolfsberger but blew a 2-0 lead to only draw 2-2, then came a 0-0 draw away to Salzburg, Wolfsberger then slipped up giving us an unassailable lead at the top with 2 games to spare. Another absolutely stunning season and we ended up winning the league by 9 points.
And with that we won our 2nd consecutive league and cup domestic double!
So who stood out this season?
Jaud Bangala once again was absolutely sensational and seems to be getting better with age, now into his 30s he has had in my eyes his best season so far.
39 games overall, 29 in the league, Bangala scored 20 with 14 assists, he picked up 11 POTMs and averaged an impressive 7.81, he also won the Premier League player of the season.
Striker Philip Willems has another belter of season scoring 28 goals overall in 36 starts (8 sub), he ended as the leagues top scorer by some distance (22 goals, 2nd had 14).
And here for your perusal is the whole squad.
The Conveyor Belt
I earmarked 1 player from the previous post to make an impact this season and 2 others I felt could become first team regulars.
Firstly was central defender Predrag Stamenkovic, unfortunately he didn’t get anywhere near the game time I expected, mainly because of numerous injuries but also because of the emergence of the other central defender I spoke about in this section in the last post.
Andres Lechner in my eyes was the weaker of the 2 players but my god did he have a great season, alongside Bordin he was sensational making 18 starts and averaging 7.34.
The other player I wanted to give a chance to was central midfielder Nemad Popov and because of a long term injury to star man Delic he got a lot more game time that expected. 12 starts, 3 sub appearances he scored 2 and assisted once, averaging 7.38. Alongside former conveyor belt-er Kostic they built up a great partnership which I hope will flourish in the years to come.
So who am I going to be looking at next season?
Well hopefully it’s this guy, Right Back Jonay Cabrera, signed 2 seasons ago for £1.6m after he popped up in a scouting recommendation I now have him as a natural RB whereas before he could only play RWB, with Otegui pushing on I need to look at a replacement and I really do feel this guy can be the one.
Hall of Fame Update
So with those 2 trophies added to my collection I am now only 2 away from topping the hall of fame, so it could be only 1 more season left!
Clearly the main aim of next season is to finish this part of the challenge, but with finances in a state there is no room for any transfer business, finances at the end of the season are currently -£24m and dropping by at least £4m per month.
If I can keep this group of players together there is no reason why I can’t win another double and top the hall of fame this season. Players seem content to be here with no one requesting any moves so my hope is to have no transfer business whatsoever, keep this squad together, ignore the finances and win the double!
Some amazing news that somehow I seemed to have missed for 3 years! I wish FM would actually tell you when these incredible things happen! In 2040, 13 years after my departure from FC Sion I was honoured in the most amazing way!
FC Sion’s new ground has been named after me, something I’ve seen on FM in other peoples saves over the years but never has it happened to me!
Well that’s all from me for now, thanks for reading and I’ll speak to you all soon.