By now I’m hoping you have read the previous season review with Magdeburg and understand what is going on! If not I suggest you go take a read before going any further!
When I left you last I was sitting on a job offer and that was from Newcastle United. It took me 48 hours to decide on what I wanted to do and I’ve finally made a decision…..
WELCOME TO NEWCASTLE!!!!
I won’t lie it’s been a tough choice to make. On one hand I was at club where my job security was high, I had moulded myself a squad over 7 seasons and built myself a good reputation. On the other hand those 7 seasons had been fraught with disappointments, from a one season foray to the Bundesliga only to go straight back down, to a play-off defeat to then last season where we ended 5th and struggled massively.
With the “Parkin Challenge” 98% complete I was beginning to wonder if my time here was coming to an end, the reason for that was I kept looking at the Achievement Hunter challenge, whilst here I had only managed to gain one and that was 1,000 career games!
I needed to find somewhere where I could gain those other achievements, now you may say Newcastle aren’t in a position to get those but, for me I felt in my heart of hearts that a change was needed and I was joining a club, a big club, a base that I could build on and start winning trophies a damn sight quicker than what I was going to do at Magdeburg. Someone needs to come here and bring back the big times, the mid-90’s era of Keegan ranting, Shearer banging goals in, Phillipe Albert chipping Schmeichel in that 5-0 win over Manchester United, let’s do this!!
Anyway enough trying to explain myself, I’m in England, up in the North-East, Newcastle are still based at St. James’ Park and I cannot wait to get my teeth stuck into this challenge!
But first let’s just take a brief look back at my time at Magdeburg…
Taking over the 17th May 2037 I have been here for 8 years. Over the 7 seasons we’ve over exceeded in every season but unfortunately for me we never ever got near to where I expected.
Only 1 season in the top flight which ended in relegation and only 1 time did we go past the 2nd Round of the German Cup.
One thing I have managed to do is improve the facilities at the club. I leave the club with the Youth Facs increased from Average to Good and the Youth Recruitment and Junior Coaching from Average to Exceptional.
There have also been numerous records broken whilst I’ve been here.
- Record high league postion – 17th in Bundesliga
- Record Purchase – Costin Andries – £2.5m
- Record Sale – Andrejs Butriks – £8.25m
- Record League Scorer for Club – Marcus Michel – 78
And many many more!
Although he didn’t play as much as I maybe wanted due to the fact I was having to tick off nations in the Parkin Challenge my best player was Striker Marcus Michel. One of only two everpresents at the club from when I joined Michel broke the record goals in a season for the club and also ends at the clubs leading league goalscorer.
The other guy I have mention if Right Winger Oleg Wagner, he came through the 2039 Youth Intake and after half a season in the 2nd team he brought him straight into the 1st team and boy did he perform well. I have mentioned him in previous posts as the man who is going to gain the 300 appearances/100 goals achievements. Because of this I will be going all out to bring him Newcastle!
There were numerous highs during my 7 seasons here, from beating Dortmund in one of very few wins in our single Bundesliga season, to seeing my San Marino and Faroe Islands boys score and win MOTM to help me along with the Parkin Challenge but there is only one moment that made me jump off my seat.
That was the day we wrapped up the Bundesliga-2 title to gain the clubs promotion to the Bundesliga.
We went into the final game of the season trailing Freiburg by a point knowing we had to beat Braunschwieg and hoping Freiburg slipped up. They drew 0-0 and we ended up winning the game 3-1 to win the League title in our 4th season at the club.
There were two moments here, I could’ve picked relegation from the Bundesliga but for me it would’ve been a miracle if we’d stayed up. The one moment I’ve picked is losing in the play-off final in the season after relegation. We’d missed out on automatic promotion in the final game and ended up in a play-off against Nurnberg.
Promotion in this season was huge, we needed to go straight back up to help with the finances and also to satisfy my aims for the save. We ended up losing the 2-legged tie 4-2 in one of the biggest disappointments of the save so far.
And just like my time at Magdeburg is over, it’s been an emotional rollercoaster and it’s been tough to say goodbye but I 100% know I’m making the right choice!
Club Number 8!!! HOWAY THE LADS!
I’m sure everyone knows about the history of Newcastle so I’m just going to focus on how they’ve done since the save started and I’m sure you will all expect it when I say not well!
The club have won no major honours in the 24 years since the start of the game and have been relegated 5 times, most recently in the previous season (42/43) but luckily for me they have gone straight back up ending the last campaign in 2nd place behind Wolves with an impressive 97 points.
So an immediate promotion back to the Premier League. Their highest position came in the 29/30 when they ended 7th. This gave them their only shot at European glory in the next season where they lost in the Last 16 of the Europa Conference League.
Since the save started there has been 2 club takeovers (no Mike Ashley but he did last until 2032!) with my current chairman Jack Long taking the reigns in 2041.
The squad overall looks really good, we have a plethora of quality forward players and some decent central defenders. In my opinion we’re short at full back (unless we go with wing-backs) and a decent attack minded central midfielder.
The Key Men
Sam Butcher – Attacking Midfield
The best player at the club. All those greens! This is the guy I’m banking on to supply my forward line and hopefully bag a few himself…if I can keep hold of him!
Christian Sanz – Right Midfield
Another quality player. He has pace to burn and stamina to go with it. Technically good and possesses the mental attributes I want. It may be that i play him as an attacking right back if I get my wish to bring a new right winger in.
Rick van der Schaff – Central Defender
Nothing better than a proper solid no nonsense defender. If he can just work on his passing he could be amazing!
Justin Maxwell – Striker
The man I’m hoping to bag me some goals. 10 for finishing is a worry but I’ll look to play him as a more withdrawn striker playing with Butcher in just behind. It looks a dream already!
Thorfinn Souttar – Goalkeeper
The highest rated prospect I have and he does look really good. I’ll be moving him straight into the first team as my 3rd choice keeper. He just needs to sort out his 1v1s and needs improvement in some of his mentals and physicals.
Michael Ainsworth – Central Midfield
He isn’t rated massively highly but I can see something in this guy, for a playmaker he has the majority of attributes I want but does need to improve his Off The Ball and Anticipation. I may send him out on loan for a season to give him some game time.
As expected the club boast some brilliant facilities. St. James’ Park still has a capacity of just over 52,000 and hasn’t been expanded. Fingers crossed as the save goes on and I improve the team and our fortunes we may get a new ground built.
We also have Superb Youth and Training Facilities and Excellent Youth Recruitment and Academy Coaching which can only be good as I would love to try and bring through some local lads into the first team.
The Club Vision that was agreed when I joined is quite relaxed. They want me to use the academy to bring through youngsters to the first team which I always love to see and to play attacking football. That will be hard as we attempt to stay up in the Premier League!
The 5 year plan is also quite relaxed as the board just expect us to just remain in the Premier League
For a newly promoted team it’s nice to see some healthy budgets. £56m in the transfer kitty gives me the opportunity to bring in 3 or 4 players and there is around £190k per week of spare wage budget.
The balance currently sits at £50m and as you can see below is expected to increase over the next few years, this is always helped in the Premier League with the massive TV deals they have.
And now for the plan! Well I really don’t have a long-term goal here apart from the fact I need to start winning things and fast! I’m not going to set myself a goal like I did at Magdeburg. The main aim in the first season clearly is to stay up and to hopefully have some kind of decent cup run.
I am planning to stay here for a while (you’ve heard that before haven’t you?!) and hopefully in the first couple of seasons we can win a cup competition. I’d like to be challenging for the European spots with 3 or 4 seasons.
Other that we will just see what happens!
Anyway that’s all from me for now. I hope you all approve of my choice (yes I know some of you won’t!).
Thanks for reading.