OK so I’m sure you’re wondering “wait a minute Steve is updating us mid-season? What the f*ck is going on”. Well there’s two reasons 1) This save is getting madder by the minute and I have to update you and 2) If I did all this in one post you would be like “this is too bleeding long!”.
So this post is a mid-season update (don’t get used to it!), I will show you my transfers in and out, update you on the League and Cup and also explain what the heck is going on in Europe!
Let’s start nice and calm and go through my transfer business prior to the season starting.
We say goodbye to three first teamers and two originals from the start of the save. Berg (like the board told me) was shocking and I packed his bags for him. Karamoko was a tough one, he was decent but wasn’t playing and I had some better players lined up to come in. Then there’s Wadji, the unlucky one, an 18 month ban when the game started, he looks great but never took off and was never going to be in my plans, £475k was a great deal!
So that’s the out’s, now for the in’s. In my previous post it was noted to me that I did’t really explain my plans for the squad for this upcoming season. So here we go! Below is my “Squad Builder” spreadsheet where at the end of each season I put my enter in my players to formulate my plans.
From this I can see where my gaps are and also decide if there anyone I want to let go or send out on loan. Kone is one of those players who I feel could benefit from a season away so he will go out on loan. With the three players mentioned above leaving it does leave me some gaps, these are:
- 1, maybe 2 Central Defenders. Playing 3 at the back means we need at least 5 CBs and with my players suffering from disciplinary-itis (getting booked too often) I felt it best to get myself 2 more in.
- A back-up GK. Hetle is a great back-up but I felt I needed a third GK, if it works then Hetle will go out on loan.
- A top quality goalscoring Striker. Yes I have Friday, Ibrahim and Aga but with a lot of games coming up and with over £3m in transfer budget I feel it’s best to strengthen in this department.
So with that explained let’s see who came in.
Zoran Arsenic – £1.4m from Jagiellonia
A large outlay and a record fee paid, Arsenic has been on my radar for a while but I never felt I could fit him in my plans. With Karamoko going and me retraining Accardi as a RWB this guy will pretty much walk into my team. Quality attributes all over!
Miran Kuci – £550k from Strømsgodset
The second CB to come in and Kuci will be the sixth choice. He looks really good, great mentals and has the over 12 in Marking, Tackling, Positioning and Heading, the ones I look for most in a CB.
Tobias Lauritsen – £900k from Odds
A total left field signing. I wanted a goalscoring centre forward so why not go for the guy who ended last season as the Eliteserien’s top goalscorer! 18 goals in 28 games last season and 81 in his 184 league games. Is this the guy alongside Fred Friday to claim our first ever league title?
Viljar Myhra – £43.5k from Strømsgodset
The third choice Keeper, really good quality for such a small fee. 11’s and 12’s in nearly all his goalkeeping stats.
So that’s the four players signed for the first team filling all the gaps in my spreadsheet. I did go out and buy some youth players due to a shocking intake but I will go through them in the second part of the season review, why? Because there are much more important things to talk about!
Europa League II
So when I last left you we had just topped our Europa League II group getting us into the knockout rounds. Just in case you didn’t notice the Norwegian League runs from March-December and because of this Europe runs over two Norwegian seasons.
So we received a bye in the Last 32 due to us topping our group and in the Last 16 we faced a tricky tie against FC Nordsjælland, after losing the first leg 3-1 our fate looked sealed, then came the home leg! Tronstad scoring in the first half and Lauritsen scoring just after half time levelled the game, we defended for our lives and went through on away goals! COMEBACK!
Into the Quarters and we faced Everton, who had just knocked out fellow Norwegian side Rosenborg. In the first leg at home we were brilliant, taking a 2 goal lead only to let Everton grab an away goal in the last minute. The second leg was barmy, we took the lead putting us 3-1 up and we looked to be easing through, only for Gylfi Sigurðsson to grab 2 late goals to send it to extra time, then up stepped the man, the myth, the legend of the save!! Fred Friday scores!!!! All we have to do now is hold on, defend boys and it’s over, we bloody did it! Into the Semi Finals!
But this is where the amazing run would end. We faced Athletic Bilbao and they showed their class, they absolutely smashed us home and away beating us 7-2 on aggregate. An amazing run, financially incredible giving us in total £4m in prize money, but there was something even more amazing to come!
This run, alongside Rosenborg’s run to the Last 16 of the Europa League II had given us one monumental rise in the Nations Coefficients! We sat in 19th, then suddenly we were 9th! I mean what the hell!
This rise means some major major news.
Norway’s Qualifying spots for the 2021 season (last season), which is qualifying for the 2022/23 European Comps were:
- Winners – Champions League 1st Qualifying Round
- 2nd-4th (or 2nd-3rd and Cup Winners) – Europa League II 2nd Qualifying Round
The co-efficient jump now means for the 2023/24 European Season:
We have a guaranteed place in the Champions League Group Stage!! Alongside that 2nd place gets into the Champions League Qualifying, 1 teams gets in the proper Europa League and 2 teams go into the Europa League II. So whoever wins the League this year gets automatic qualification to the Champions league Groups and all the money from it!
WHAT A JUMP! And amazing news for this save!
So after all that I’m sure you’re now wondering how it’s going domestically!
Some big expectations from the board this season but with me wanting to put all my eggs into winning the league and with Europe I gave my youngsters a chance, it was a risk but my word they repaid me!
As I write this update we have got through the Quarter Finals! Just look at some of those wins, most of the players you will recognise but these were not playing in the league, we also had a couple of youngsters score including one of my youth intake players from last season Helge Vesterfjell.
Again huge expectations from the board, this was one of the reasons I took the risk in the cup. We had to start well and we had to win the league, especially with the lure of the Champions League!
And my word have we started well!
14 games in and we are unbeaten, it’s been a stunning start to the season, just under half way through and we are 9 points clear! It really couldn’t have gone much better.
All those greens! And I’ll be honest we should’ve won most of those draws! Goals have been shared all over the pitch with my top scorer being Midfielder Ramadani with only 4 goals! We have 27 goals scored by 13 different players. This is fantastic but it slightly concerning how few goals my strikers are scoring. I am currently mucking around with their roles to see what I can do but most of the chances missed are one on ones. I am putting this down to lack of training in these areas so I am altering the training schedules to try and get us banging more goals in!
A couple of other players worthy of note half-way through the season are:
- Olav Øby – after not featuring much last season, he has played in 11 of the 14 league games, scoring 3 and getting 2 assists. He is playing amazing in the Mezzala (A) role.
- Charlie Wright – The Englishman signed last season hasn’t featured as much as I hoped but has bagged his first goal for the club and has put in some great performances when called upon.
- Mathias Fjørtoft Løvik – The superstar RWB has turned in some sensational performances and all from a player who had his head turned in pre-season. AC Milan and then Rosenborg offered £2.7m for him. He asked to go and I accepted AC’s bid, he then turned them down and decided to stay (bit strange!), since then he has been amazing. 14 games, 2 goals, 4 assists and 7.19 average rating.
So that’s the update over, my word what a start to the season it’s been. Top of the league, a great run in Europe, plodding along in the Cup and then there’s that major European coefficient news. This save has just taken a major turn, if we can just hang on and win the League this season we are guaranteed around £13m for going straight into the Group Stage!
Anyway this is where I’ll leave the post, the second part will tie up how the season ended, any transfer business done in mid-season and I’ll also take you through the youth players I have signed and my strategy around this.
Thanks for reading!