Welcome back! So here we are at the end of Season one with Haugesund in the wonderful land of Norway. It’s been an incredible season, probably one of the most enjoyable seasons I’ve had on FM! Anyway let’s not hang about, this post is going back to my roots, a nice, normal, easy to read season review
So in my previous post I discussed the squad issues and were the gaps were. We needed a RB, RW and 1, possibly 2 Strikers. I managed to get all of them! But for starters there’s something I need to discuss. In my squad review post I loaded the game just to grab the screenshots I needed and stupidly loaded it up in 2020. When I went to start the proper save I decided to go back in time and start at the beginning of 2019, when I loaded the save I realised that there were 4 loan players in the squad! If you were beady eyed in my preparation post you will have noticed these on the squad builder spreadsheet. I was going to attempt to not use them at all, one of them got released straight the way as I didn’t need him, 2 were used as back-ups but 1 did play regular. Let’s firstly take a look at the 3 that stuck about for the season.
With 2 goalkeepers already in the squad who I need to give game time to Snorre will be used as a back-up as and when required, if he moans he can leave!
Another player who will be a back-up, with Hansen and Knudsen as my first choice CBs he won’t get much game time but with Karamoko starting the game with an injury which keeps him out for 5-6 months he will be needed at some point.
Just what I needed! We are very short of Wingers as Wadji is banned for 18 months. Samuelsen will definitely play!
So now that’s sorted let’s take a look at who I’ve brought in:
A top quality striker was always my number one target and this guy fits everything I wanted, physically he is immense and has good bravery, dribbling, passing and more. He needs a bit of work on some of his mental attributes but I have faith he can bang in the goals.
A Right Winger was needed and Jensen looks like the right man for the job. Yellows in all the right attributes. With a major shortage of Wingers Jensen will more than likely start the majority of games with Samuelsen playing on the left.
A very big outlay for someone so young but I am so excited for this guy. He needs work don’t get me wrong but those mentals drew me to him. He is also fast and can finish, this guy could be my Patrick Hodler from FM18!
A back-up Right Back, Desler is my number one in this position but we have literally no one else in any of the squads. Hopefully Damsgaard is happy with a place on the bench, he is also incredibly versatile which could be a blessing as we move through the season.
So that’s the 4 signings, all needed and all look quality. The squad now looks packed, my 25 man squad is full and I have no more room for anyone!
We welcome two new key members to the backroom team. A new Ass Man and a new DOF.
Both are a major improvement to what we had previous.
Right let’s get straight into it with the Europa League, in real life Haugesund ended 4th place meaning they qualified for Europe for only the 3rd time. We enter at the first qualifying round. The club vision stated they wanted us to get to the 3rd Qualifying Round.
And we managed that but it was far from easy. First round and we smashed Welsh side Connah’s Quay, we were then handed one of the tricker ties in the next round. Hadjuk’s squad looks lots better than ours and when we only won the home leg 1-0 it looked 50/50 as to whether we would get through. Then came the away leg and as you can see it ended 4-4! We equalised with 2 mins left and managed to hang on to go through 5-4 on aggregate.
We then faced Strasbourg and they took us to the sword, absolutely battering us 6-2 on aggregate. We achieved what was set out though and made just over £600k in prize money.
Now let’s take a look at the Norwegian Cup, the board expected the Quarter Finals at the least, my aim was to have a semi-decent run, at least Quarters, maybe further. What happened was just insane!
All the greens! We eased past our expected goals with 5 wins, to be honest the games were relatively easy up to the Quarters, no real tests and I did mix the team about a bit. But some of the performances were amazing, the Quarter Final was an incredible game, an even match which we won in the 91st minute courtesy of Oscar Aga!
Into the Semi’s and we were handed the easier of the ties where we face the wonderfully named HamKam.
What was expected to be an easy win certainly wasn’t, they were resolute, we hammered them but couldn’t find a way through, the game went to extra time and then it turned into the Fred Friday party and he scored twice to send us into the final.
Where we would face the toughest one of them all, Rosenborg! I had no expectation of winning. Rosenborg had got the better of us all season, I went totally defensive, just try and frustrate them and grab a goal. My boys decided instead to go straight on the front foot and on 20 minutes we took the lead, Samuelsen tapping in a back post after a lovely move.
Rosenborg came at us, they threw everything at us, Gostomski in goal was a hero, save after save, they hit the post, we went deeper and deeper, then the final whistle blew! CUP WINNERS!!!!
And in the first season as well, what a start! Never have I been as nervous as I was at the end of this game! And with that win it guarantees us Europa League next season. Haugesund’s first ever major trophy as well!
Now let’s look at the League.
We were expected to end 7th and in my eyes 7th was a bit low, looking at the other teams we expected Molde and Rosenborg to be the top 2, everyone else was incredibly close, could we get “the best of the rest”?
No we couldn’t but my word it was a good season. We started off really well, winning 4 out of our first 5 games. Then the inconsistencies started to show, we’d win one, then lose one. Some of the performances though were just incredible. We were never top but we were never too far away from the top 4. As the Europa League kicked in and games started to stack up with injuries aplenty we began to fall away from the top, as we went into the final 5 games Brann were miles clear with Rosenborg also ahead in 2nd, the rest all had a chance of 3rd-6th. In those final games we only won 2, dropping us down to 5th place.
But overall 5th is better than we were forecast and more importantly better than the board expectation of “mid-table”. So I have to be happy, next season I have high hopes we can challenge the top boys. Brann winning the league was a massive shock, they lead nearly all the way through as well!
Results – April to July
Results – August to December
Performance of the Season
I have to talk about this game, at this point we were struggling for form in the league and at the same time had the Europa League giving us games every 3 or 4 days. We then faced Kristiansund who at the time were sat just below us, a massive game in the race for the European Spots, what happened next will live long in the memory!
We smashed them 8-1 in one of the clubs biggest wins (not the biggest, that was 9-1!). 4 penalties as well!! Funnily enough this was after the hotfix which was supposed to have fixed the amount of penalties! What a game, 3-0 in 18 mins, 4-0 at half time, then another 4 after their red card!
So season over and what a season it’s been! Let’s now take a look at who were the players who excelled over the campaign.
Right Back Desler ended as Player of the Season, well deserved for one of the mainstays of our team.
32 games played, 1 goal, 12 assists and an average rating of 7.29. This guy was incredible both in defence and attack.
New signing Fred Friday ended as the clubs top scorer, it was a slow start for him but once he got himself that first goal he started banging them in!
17 goals in 36 starts, but 13 of those were in his last 18 games! I really hope he continues to build and improve.
Above is my best XI, below is who I felt our player of the season was:
Cape Verde international Bruno Leite started the season on the bench but forced his way into the team scoring some massively important goals. He ended with 10 goals in 31 starts and 7 assists with an average rating of 7.12. The problem now is he is wanted by Rosenbord and Danish side Midtjylland, fingers crossed I can keep hold of him.
Just a quick note on the challenges I am doing.
I managed to tick off one achievement and that was “Record Purchase” for Oscar Aga of £135k.
In the “Parkin Challenge” where I’m trying to get a player from every European nation to play a game, get a goal and win POTM I have ticked off Norway and Denmark for all 3 and France/Poland for play a game. See the spreadsheet for more info
As and when I tick off more of them I will talk a bit more in depth about it, for now I feel it’s best to concentrate on how the team are doing.
In Other News
One of the interesting things that happened towards the end of the season was the election. Something I didn’t realise we had at Haugesund.
It was won by Hans Jorgen Gjannes and he becomes my new chairman. Whilst he is offering nothing new financially he has updated and increased the expectations on me in the club vision.
Our 5 year plan at the start was the bascially end mid-table in the first season then the next 4 years was to end in the top half. It’s now a lot more than that. He now expects:
- Season 2 – Top Half
- Season 3/4 – Work Towards Europa League Qualification (Top 3-4)
- Season 5 – Qualify for the Europa League
Clearly it’s not going to affect things, we are already ahead of schedule and I fully expect a top 3-4 finish next season, let alone in 2-4 seasons time!
We also received the first news item regarding our Youth Intake, this came through in November and we expect our Intake to come in February.
It really doesn’t read well. Especially the last point “Don’t expect much from this youth intake”, ah well there’s always next year!
Plans for Next Season
So first season down! First trophy won, a decent season in the league and we have a second straight European campaign to look forward to. I don’t think it could’ve gone much better but we now have to get our plans in place for next year.
Squad wise we look good but we have to replace our loan players. Samuelsen is the one we need to look at replacing, we have Wadji but he has another 7 months of his ban left. We also welcome back Ikedi (CM) and Ibrahim (ST) from their loans. We will also be losing two players, CM Grindheim and GK Gostomski who both are leaving when their contracts expire. So I need to bring a couple of players in but no mauve overhaul needed.
But if we do need to look at players the board have given us generous budgets:
Around £8k p/week in spare wages and £1m in transfer budget is more than we could ever need.
Competition wise we need to push up the league, 5th was great but I’d like to be ending in the Top 4 to give us Europe without having to win the cup again. As for the cup I think we can expect another good run, I will make sure the strongest team is put out. As for Europe, I would like to go on step further this season and get into the 4th Qualifying Round. Easy……hopefully!
Anyway that’s enough from me for now. I hope you enjoyed the read, feedback is always welcomes on these posts.
Thanks for reading!