Welcome back! Anyone for another post? Good because another post is what you’re going to get! So this is the second part looking at the 2022 Season. In Part One I gave you a mid-season update, we were into the Quarters of the cup and top of the league after 14 games. A brilliant start but could we keep it up? In this part I will wrap up how this incredible season has gone, win the league and we guarantee ourselves a Champions League group spot for next year! But firstly I want to talk about something I briefly mentioned in the last post and that’s my youth team.
Building for the Future
In my the previous post I mentioned that I had signed quite a few youngsters so I thought I’d dedicate part of this post to explain my plans.
I’ve mentioned it before but my last two youth intakes have been pretty bad. A couple of players were OK but nothing amazing. Because of this and due to the finances being pretty decent (more on this later) I have taken it upon myself to sign a few youth players.
This is what the Youth/Reserves looked liked heading into this season.
I sifted out maybe 10 or 12 players and released them as they weren’t good enough. The one big issue in Norway is the squad rules, if you’re not in the 25-man squad you do not play. Because of this I want to try and keep my reserves squad trimmed.
My aim is to have 22 players in the 2nd team/U19’s. This keeps it thin but makes sure that anyone in my first team who needs games can play in the 2nd team/U19s and no one sits there with their feet up. I aim to have the squad up to this number by the beginning of next season.
My plan for these players are:
- 11 will stay at the club, these will be the ones that I want to keep a closer eye on and are the ones I feel will develop better staying here and will get given game time in the Norwegian Cup.
- The other 11 I will look to send out on loan, these will be the ones I feel would be best suited to getting consistent competitive game time.
The final thing to note is these players were signed during the season, I will tell you my 3-year plan for each one starting from the beginning of next season.
After all that rambling let’s take a look at who’s come in:
Grosjean is a decent looking LWB who has already featured twice in the Norwegian cup, scoring one as well. Technically he isn’t good but his physicals and determination, bravery and decisions are amazing for a 17 year old. The aim for him is:
- 2023 – A season on loan
- 2024 – A season developing in the 2nd Team playing in the Norwegian Cup
- 2025 – If his technical’s have improved he will move into the first team to replace Stolas who is likely to have retired by then, if he hasn’t improved then another season in the 2nd Team.
Jacobsen is an exciting looking central defender who can also play at Right Back, central midfield and up front. He is a little short for a central defender but possesses some amazing mental and physical attributes. My plan is:
- 2023 – A season out on loan
- 2024 – A season developing in the youth team, I don’t know if a players height changes at such a young age but it may be I look at retraining him as a CM or DM.
- 2025 – Possible move to the first team if he progresses well or Another season on loan
Jovanovski – another defender and again his mental attributes are sensational for a 17 year old and his phyicals are decent too. He is also a little small for a central defender but my hope is to retrain him as a LWB, utilising his pace.
- 2023 – A season in the 2nd team developing as a LWB, improving his composure, strength and passing
- 2024 – Another season developing
- 2025 – A season out on loan
A large fee for a 16 year old but this is the one I’m most excited about, 14 for finishing, 15 for flair, good pace, good technique and work rate, this guy has it all apart from his lack of concentration! Some serious development is in order.
- 2023 – Develop in the U19s, training as a Pressing Forward and trying to improve his strength and his mental’s.
- 2024 – If he develops well he will go out on loan for some proper game-time.
- 2025 – If he continues like I think he will he could easily be in the first team!
A lot of work required but in general he looks OK. Good physicals, amazing bravery, determination and work rate. I have high hopes if we can just get his development right.
- 2023 – In the 2nd Team, playing as much as possible with a focus on mentoring and defensive positioning
- 2024 – Same as 2023 but will focus on his attacking attributes, mainly attacking movement
- 2025 – A season out on loan to get more competitive game time
Yeah this guy isn’t the best but the fee and the fact he had over 10 for Heading, Marking and Tackling drew me to him. Some serious hard work required!
- 2023 – In the 2nd team, game time, game time, game time, mentoring and a focus on his defensive positioning
- 2024 – 2nd team, get that stamina, quickness and work rate improving
- 2025 – An assessment, if he is improving then he will stay, if not then a loan or a sale will be in order
So with those signings in place here is how my youth team is looking:
Currently we have 17 players but with 3 players over 21 who will need replacing that goes down to 14, so next season I need to bring in around another 8. These are:
- 1 GK
- 2 CBs
- 1 RWB
- 2 CMs
- 2 Strikers
Any maybe a couple more if I feel I need it!
Lot’s of work ahead!
Over the next few season reviews I’ll look at how the players are developing and look at some of the guys who haven’t been signed but one’s that have come through the youth system.
OK now that’s over let’s not keep you in suspense any longer! Let’s see how the season went!
Our run in the Norwegian cup didn’t last long. I stuck by my principles of blooding the youth and it was a risk too far as we were knocked out in the Quarter Finals by Odds. My first cup defeat in nearly 4 seasons and a failure in the club vision as well!
We entered in the 2nd Qualifying Round, the board expected us to reach the Group Stage and that’s exactly what we did!
A relative breeze, I expected a much tougher test in the final qualifying round from Wolfsberger who looked to have a lot better squad than us but we hammered them home and away.
So into the groups we go and we were handed what looked a decent group, the only tough test we would have is Athletic Bilbao, yes the ones that knocked us out the semifinals the last time around! Well to say it went well would be an understatement!
6 games, 6 wins, 2 amazing performances over Bilbao! Payback!!! A fantastic run and we go straight in the 2nd Knockout Round. Don’t forget that the Euro Comps overlap 2 Norwegian seasons so the knockouts will come in the next season review.
Now to the big one! In the previous post we sat top, unbeaten after 14 games and 9 points clear at the top. Well the great run continued NEARLY all the way through the season! In the next 20 games our unbeaten run continued, some brilliant performances, defensively we were incredible. The run was only tempered by a couple of poor 0-0 draws.
Into the final 6 games we only needed 1 win to win the league. Then came a mini capitulation, the boys were obviously feeling the pressure and in the next match we lost our first game of the campaign. A 4-1 home defeat to Strømsgodset, into the next match and with other teams slipping up we knew only a point would be enough to claim the title. We played bloody awful and somehow, from somewhere we held on for a 0-0 draw away to bottom of the table Sogndal! And you all know what that means!!!
HAUGESUND ARE CHAMPIONS OF NORWAY!
The final few games were pretty boring, I rotated but somehow we still ended 13 points clear! WHAT A SEASON!
I really have no words for how this season went, from start to nearly finish we were just amazing, when we weren’t scoring goals we were defending amazingly and when we struggled at the back our attackers pulled it out the bag. And with this next season we are in the Champions League Group Stage!! Un-f*cking-believable! £14m-ish in prize money and that’s just for starters! This save has just taken an incredible turn and now it’s time to capitalise!
So an amazing season but who have been my best players?
First up is Oscar Aga, he won the clubs player of the year in a landslide win. The guy is insane and improving week on week. He had a slow start but mid-way through the season took over from Lauritsen and proved to me why he should start. 30 goals in 31 starts and 12 of them came in the final 11 games. He also got 9 assists. Just amazing, the worrying thing is I’m already fending off £2m+ bids from Basel and Rosenborg, luckily at the moment he wants to stay.
Aga was also named the Eliteserien Young Player of the Year! Which is one of the achievements I am hunting!
Next up is LWB Adrain Pereira. This guy came in last season and has already overtaken the ageing Stolas to take that spot on the left hand side. He ended up as the club top assister with 13 and also chipped in with 5 goals. He is improving massively as well.
And finally a special word for super star Striker Fred Friday, like Aga he had a slow start but still ended the season on 20 goals from 38 starts. He now has 35 league goals, only 24 short of the club record (that would be an achievement), overall he is 68 goals in 160 games. Pretty decent!
And here for your perusal is the clubs Best XI for this season:
And the squad overall!
Now for some sad news, as we entered the final few months of the season I lost one of my star men. I had mentioned Lovik in my last season review post, I signed him at the start of 2019 for £425 (yes 425 quid!), he has improved leaps and bounds, the bids started coming in, he wanted to go and when this bid came in I couldn’t say no.
£7.5m upfront, £1.5m in 3 instalments AND 50% of next sale! WHAT A DEAL! It’s sad to see him go but this amount of money means I could pretty much buy a whole new team!
So there we go, what a season!!!! League Champions for the first time ever and this ticks off another achievement, “Win League with a club that’s never won it before”. The main thing with winning the league is the fact we have straight entry into the Champions League Group Stage in the next campaign. That is massive!
I have also managed to tick another achievement off by getting the club to let me choose an affiliate for the club and I have decided to go with Guangzhou R&F in China.
This takes my achievement ticked off up to 7. If you’d like to see more on this check out my Google Spreadsheet where you can see what achievements I’ve gained and also how I’m doing in the “Parkin Challenge”.
So with the riches of the Champions League coming our way and the amazing sum of money we got from the Lovik sale the finances are set for a good few seasons. The balance is currently at £10m and with obviously the Champions League money to come mid-way through next season it is going to keep going up. Due to this the board have given me some eye-watering budgets for next season.
£7.5m in transfer budget and another £20k p/week added to our wage budget means, if we need to, I can bolster the team for next season. Personally I’m very happy with my squad, the boys are performing amazingly and all deserve the chance next season to try and retain the title and play in the Champions League. I’m expecting bids to come in for my players but hopefully they will want to stay.
The money I have will be spent on boosting the youth squad as mentioned earlier and also trying to get the board to improve our facilities to help us grow our own youngsters in the long run.
Anyway that’s all from me for now. I hope you enjoyed the post. I’m not massively good at these kind of posts but I hope it came across well. I am absolutely loving this save and hope it’s coming across in my writing. The support I’ve had so far has been nothing short of incredible so thank you to everyone!