Welcome back! My second season is down in the Swiss Super League with FC Vaduz, after last seasons successful half a campaign in charge and with healthy budgets in place I have a good feeling about the upcoming season! We also have the European Conference League to play, the only European Competition I can enter unless I win it!!! The joys of not playing in your native leagues!Continue reading “(FM20) FC Vaduz – 2059/60 Season Review”
Welcome back! Firstly I just want to to say thanks to everyone who read the previous post, also some of the comments and DMs I’ve have had have been amazing and it’s so nice to see so many people were concerned for me. At the moment I’m doing OK, as I write this it’s Thursday AM, I’ve had an OK couple of days but still a long way to go.
Anyway, back to the reason you’re here and that’s FM20! My first season is down with Vaduz, the Liechtenstein side in the Swiss Super League. I took over at the start of 2059, we sat 9th, in the dreaded relegation play-off spot and 5 points adrift of Thun in 8th. We had a lot of time to turn things around though!Continue reading “(FM20) FC Vaduz – 2058/59 Season Review”
I bet you didn’t think I’d be putting a blog post out this quickly after calling it a day for FM20 did you? Well here we are, the previous challenges are over and done in one amazing save. It’s been nearly 3 weeks now since I wrote that previous post (even though it actually came out less than a week ago) over those few weeks I’ve struggled with life in general, health issues, mental issues, etc. So this post is going to tell you all whats been going on in my life and the reasons why I’ve decided to carry on the blog instead of having a break.Continue reading “Can you call this a return already? The reasons, my health and what next”
Welcome back! So this COULD be the final season, the final chapter in what has been the best save I’ve ever had on FM. It all started back in November with Haugesund in Norway, 39 years later, over 50 posts, this could be the final one.
I am now 2 achievements short of completing MY challenge. 200 points short of topping the European and England Hall of Fames. I’d suggest it’s going to take 1 or 2 trophies to overtake Pep (Euro) and SAF (England). So let’s see how it went.Continue reading “(FM20) Newcastle United – 2057/58 Season Review – The End?”
Hello and welcome to my shoddy and poor-spelt attempts to bring you some sort of decent Football Manager content. My name is The FM Newby or Martyn if we talk on a regular basis. Welcome to the third part of my mimi-series where I took back at the 24/25 season and the journey from Gibraltar around Europe.
Before we start talking about matches, there had been some changes to the personel. Gordon Paton had been signed by Liverpool, but was allowed to remain with us on loan for the rest of the season. Fransisco Tavares had been sold to Liverpool too. Joe Okereke had left permantely for Barcelona, partly because of the emergence of Mosab, partly because he didn’t want to sign a new deal. Jamie O’Sullivan had agreed his transfer to Tottenham, but wouldn’t be leaving till 1st July.
26/2/25 AC Milan Champions League 1st Knockout Round (H)
There were easier ties we could have got, but at this stage, anyone was going to be difficult. Life gives you lemons yada yada yada. Once again we lined up in our usual 4231 formation, with former Milan boy Ancona looking to prove his old team wrong for letting him go. I didn’t need proof, I knew they were!!!
The biggest surprise for me was when the teamsheets came in and Donnarumma wasn’t in goal for Milan!! At the time, I’d never heard of Alessandro Plizzari. But having watched a stream of Doop‘s, he raves about him, having signed him for Palermo. And I have to say, he was impressive. He was the only player to score over a 7 out of the 14 players who appeared for Milan. And he deserved because he kept us at bay a lot longer than it should have. It took a moment of brilliance from Cunningham, dribbling from the halfway line to the edge of the box and then unleasing a shot that beat Plizzari, hit the inside of the post and flew in. We could and should have scored more, but a 1-0 lead was a good result to take to Milan.
18/3/25 AC Milan Champions League 1st Knockout Round (A)
It was a good result for all of 2 minutes. That 2 minutes was all it took for the good work in Gibraltar to be undone as Mario Stanic gave Milan the lead with his first goal of the season (Obviously!). At this point, Milan were all over us and threatening to score at any point. Paton once again had a good game and kept us in it. It was a desperate clearance that gave us the chance to breathe. O’Sullivan got away down the right and got far enough forward to get a cross. Graham won the header at the far post, nodded it back to Cunningham, who managed to volley it first time into the top corner. I won’t deny it, I went f****** ballistic. Although it wasn’t as mental as I went just 3 minutes later, when Uwakwe was fouled in the box and Salab Naim stepped up and scored his first ever goal for the club!! What a turnaround it was!!
We were brought back down to Earth another 3 minutes later when Naim, presumably still overexcited about his goal, was caught ball watching and stood by as Rúnar Grétarsson equalised on the night. We were still leading on aggregate, but there was a long way to go.
Milan continued to push forward but it was to no avail. Paton & co held firm and although Milan hit the post, that was as close as they got. We had been to the 1st Knockout stage once before in 21/22, where Bayern gave us a footballing lesson. This time we had shown everyone how far a small team from Gibraltar had come.
9/4/25 Liverpool Champions League Quarter Final (H)
Quite honestly, I was quite happy to get this far. Liverpool would probably be a step too far for us, especially looking at the quality of players Liverpool have. We’d put up a fight but we would eventually lose. And as long as we played well, I’d be ok with that.
DID WE HELL!!!! Mosab was a man on a mission, scoring in the 3rd, 45th, 50th, 80th and 87th minute to nab an incredible 5 goals!!! Another goal from Molina and a consolation from Mo Salah gave us an amazing 6-1 win the first leg. If I was excited about the 2nd leg of Milan game, that was nothing compared to this!!! Each goal was greeted with the stunned face of amazement… then the realisation hit home. We would be (more than likely) in the Champions League Semi Final. Good lord what had we done?
15/4/25 LIverpool Champions League Quarter Final (A)
I was more than fully aware that the one goal Liverpool scored in the first leg meant that it was almost inevitable that we would lose the 2nd leg 5-0 and go out on away goals. It’s the way FM worked for some people. And the way Liverpool…. it was never going to materilise. We hit them hard from minute one and had more shots, more shots on target, hit the woodwork and had 3 clear cut chances. We did enough to win.
But we didn’t. Somehow Liverpool converted a chance through Chris Corbett after a mistake by Naim. It was against the run of play and it made me worry that the comeback was on it was. But it never came and we continued to play in the same manner that had served us well. We just couldnt find a way through. Cunningham picked of player of the match but it wasn’t quite enough. However we were still in the Semi-Finals against…
29/4/25 Real Madrid Champions League Semi Finals (H)
Somehow we had been drawn at home in the first leg for the third consecutive tie. And we had only drawn the behemoths of European football, Real Madrid themselves. Having won their 14th La Decima in 2020, it had been a great few years domestically for Real. They have usurped Barcelona as the team to fear and won four consecutive La Liga’s. If Liverpool wasn’t big enough, this was the proper big time!
The game started slowly with Madrid dominating possession but not creating much. All of a sudden Hakimi whipped a cross in and the full back on the opposite side, Grimaldo suddenly appeared to put Madrid ahead after 20 minutes. It was a blow but not an unexpected one.
Madrid continued to dominate whilst we had brief but regular forays forward. Cunningham was running the show from midfield and was proving why teams bid £20m for him. As Madrid took a short goal-kick, Cunningham charged forward, robbed Nicoló Barrella, squared for Mosab to finish into the corner. Cue bedlam in the tiny 5,000 seater stadium.
The score stayed like that until the end, with the pattern of the game remaining largely the same. Both teams had chances but neither could take them. What made matters worse was that Cunningham picked up an injury late on which meant he was unlikely to appear in the 2nd leg.
7/5/25 Real Madrid Champions League Semi Final (A)
I’m disappointed to admit that this is where our journey ends. Madrid were far too good for us in the 2nd leg and showed it. We competed well but it wasn’t quite enough. Naim going off with ankle ligaments damage in the 25th minute and O’Sullivan had an absolute shocker. Cunningham did regain fitness in time, but he was largely ineffective. I’m not going to lie we weren’t good enough, but it was just one game too many for us. As soon as Hakimi scored the first, it was game over. Isco added another just before half time. Curtis Jess got us back in it briefly, but we just couldn’t muster enough energy to challenge properly. It just brought Madrid back into the game and they added a third in injury time. A disappointment but there was nothing but pride.
It hurt me that some of the players decided that they weren’t staying for another season. I don’t see winning the Champions League as a viable ambition, but you do have to wonder what would have happened if they’d stuck around for another season.
I rank this little story as one of my biggest ever achievements in Football Manager. We didn’t actually win anything, but taking a team from Gibraltar as far as the group stages was achievment enough.
If you’ve got this far, well done and thank you sticking around. I do hope you’ve enjoyed this style of writing and it is something I’m considering doing in the future. Who knows, one day maybe I’ll be writing about how we’ve won the Champions League. Crazy I know, but anything is possible in Football Manager. I want to thank/abuse Steve, James and Alex for making me give blogging another go and especially to Steve for hosting my work. In comparison I’m a poor blogger, but I’m grateful none the less. Being a member of The FM Library is one of the best things I’ve ever been involved in and it makes me extremely proud of the community we’ve built. I’ll stop talking now, so until we cross words again, happy FM-ing everyone!
The FM Newby
Welcome back to what COULD be the penultimate season in this save! I am now possibly only 2 seasons away from completing the Achievement challenge. Amazing to think it could nearly be all over! Anyway, back to reality(ish), last season was a shocker, only 2 trophies won…the Euro Super Cup and the Premier League, which made it 9 in a row but we failed in both domestic cups and most importantly in the Champions League. Let’s call it a blip. We all know this squad is good enough to be challenging on all levels so let’s smash this season!Continue reading “(FM20) Newcastle United – 2056/57 Season Review”
Hello and Welcome to the 6th part of my Afghan Hounds save – where I attempt to win the Asian Champions League with a squad of Afghan Nationals.
Today we cover the 2023 Asian Confederation Cup and the 2024 Afghan Premier League season.
To ketchup on the series so far, click here..
Letting go of decent players is a tough job – 63 into 35 is a difficult task but I have near enough done this.
Rather than go through each player I will summarise. Zelfy Rehemi, Yar Mohammad Ayoubi and Yousuf Barkmaz are probably the biggest names on the list. Barkmaz was a regular last season at Left Back but i’ve got a couple of 16 year olds that have greater potential so that’s where I am putting my faith. Ayoubi and Rehemi were signed with great fan fare and both have delivered great performances but have been superseeded by better younger models. In fact none of the below have let me down in any way – they’ve just been improved upon.
We’ve now got a squad of 45 players so we are still a touch heavy, but I feel more organised and have several on the transfer list so whilst they are still contracted they have no future.
August to October 2023
It’s always nice to meet old friends out in the world. Persatuan Sepak Bola Indonesia Jakarta were the side that we dispatched at the Zone Final stage last year, so it’s nice to meet them a round earlier this time around. Our match sharpness is very poor going into this one and we scrape through thanks to a Sarfaraz Ali Sakhizada penalty right at the end. Only taking a one goal lead to Indonesia is far from ideal.
We took 28 fans with us in a crowd of over 40,000 people, but they were the happy ones as Anoush Amiri and another Sakhizada penalty saw us through – it was a match of little quality but we took our chances.
Our opponents in the final of the Inter Zone Play-Off have the best name ever – April 25 Sports Club – a side that plays in a 114,000 stadium. Once again we fly to North Korea.
Amazingly we took over 1,000 people from Afghanistan to North Korea for the opening leg and it was a case of creating and missing good chances until we were finally able to make one stick.
Zakar Saadat was the hero in the return leg, scoring the only goal of the game. Just the 250 making the trip from North Korea. The final itself will be an identical one to last season – Shabab Al-Ordon Club and this time they will be looking for revenge.
So 12 months to the day when we met in Jordan, we meet again but this time we had the home advantage.
We were full strength, and we had Zakar Saadat who has missed both of our Asian Confed Cup victories with injury so far, so it was lovely to have him on the journey with us.
The first half was a near mirror image to last year – we storm into a 2-0 lead and then they score just before HT to halve matters. We dominated and looked the far better side. The next goal was crucial and thankfully it, just like last time, went our way with 17 year old striker Mohammad Nasim Amiri getting the winner. From then on it was comfy! Three times in a row we have won this one now – hopefully this gets us in the Asian Champions League next year.
There is, within the game, a group of about 15 players currently playing their Football in other countries, who are Afghan nations and up until now none of them have been convinced to return to play for the Afghan Hounds in their homeland, until NOW!!!
Sharif Mukhammad is very much closer to the end of his career than the beginning but he does bring a good level of versatility and experience to the middle of the park – most likely will be a squad player but he is showing the rest that coming home is not a bad thing.
The league rep has also improved, and we have moved higher in the Asian Continental Cup Qualification Places – still not in the Asian Champions League but after 3 wins, and a runners up slot in 4 years we must be incredibly close.
There has also been a little bit of movement in transfer window – all of these are 17/18 year olds with high potential to get some game time.
A slightly sluggish start to the league campaign with a draw against Shaheen but then 3 straight victories meant that we ended the month at the correct end of the table.
We got automatically into the Group Stage of the Asian Confederation Cup now so there is not a huge amount of games in February – just the 3 in fact. The big one is at home to Toofan at the end of the month. We warmed up for it by getting back to back victories so we went into the match with identical records, 5 wins and a draw from the opening 6 matches. Teenage sensation Hamidullah Abdourazi celebrated getting his first professional contract with a man of the match display in our win.
We’ve been creating quite a few chances this season so it would be nice if we had a quality striker in the Youth Intake…
Shams Cutrupi has a very good finishing attribute (13), Pace (14), and Composure (7 – that’s good for Afghanistan!)
Rahman Naurozi is almost the perfect Central Defender – 10+ for Heading, Marking and Tackling… Let’s ignore the Jumping Reach and Strength at 1 shall we… I did say almost..
Not as golden as last season, but some decent additions. We’ve actually seen some half decent personalities come on board for the first time as well.
Some fairly familiar opponents in the Asian Confed Cup. We’ve played all of these sides before in this competition so we know exactly what we are up against.
New boy Shams Cutrupi wasted absolutely no time in making his mark, getting two as we dispatched Istiqlol Dushanbe on the opening day of the group. We followed it up in the league with victory over Shaheen which was a league record 32nd game unbeaten (you know what’s going to happen soon then..)
Further proof that we are the dominant side in the country.. Thats 12 of the national side from us.
Two games down in the Asian Confed Cup, Two victories – it’s all going to come down to the matches against Altyn Asyr FK Aşgabat, the first one is next month, and the second one is the last match.
An unusual April, normally this month is full with re-arranged league fixtures, but thanks to our automatic qualification for the group stages, we only have a couple of league matches.
The month started with some good news, long time player Maqadar Qazizadah has agreed to coach the first team alongside his playing activities – I always enjoy having that pathway between playing and coaching and it’s a theme amongst my saves, Maqadar becomes the first of hopefully many.
Before the crunch Asian Confed Cup match against Altyn Asyr FK Aşgabat, Souleyman Ahmazadi injured his hernia so he has played his last league football until 2025 – of course, we hope to have him back for August and the resumption of the Asian Confed but we have to get there first. We beat our “nemesis” but lost Zakar Saadat to injury for a few weeks so feels like a draw. 6 midfielders missed the away match against Istiqlol Dushanbe, mostly suspensions. Our hero was Mustafa Wadid, barely fit himself but he came off the bench to score a key goal, even more key when we saw that Alytn had blown a 2 goal lead to draw. Victory in the last match ensured safe passage to the knockouts.
A good month, Toofan have dropped off this month so our lead at the top is 4 points with a 2 games in hand. We have 9 games in May, including 2 against Toofan but we have the confidence of knowing we have been in this position every year and we do the job.
It’s all about the league this month, 8 matches and the title is on the verge of being retained.
On the face of it playing against Toofan and Altyn Asyr FK Aşgabat, in the space of 3 days would be utterly horrible – they are by far the closest challengers to us, or should I say, they have given us the most difficulties in my time in Afghanistan. But this year is different, Toofan were 7pts behind us and we have already qualified from the group in the Asian Confed Cup so we can relax and enjoy the occasion. Toofan were dispatched in a professional manner and our reserves travelled to Turkmenistan.
Sayed Hameed Naim won us the game with a hattrick – he has fallen down the pecking order and will leave at the end of the season – this is his first appearance of the season. He now has 15 goals in 9 Asian Confed Cup matches.
Because of the way that results have gone we can win the title against Toofan, so no shocks…
I always clarify at this point that domestic honours mean nothing and it’s all about that eventual Champions League place. We went crazy against Shaheen – scoring 5 times in the opening 19 minutes, it was a little disapointing that we only added 1 more in the remaining 71 minutes though. During May we also ticked over the 50 league games unbeaten mark – just over 2 years since our last red dot domestically.
The Simorgh game was fun, 40 players in the international set up meant that we had no Centre Backs, and only 1 striker – superb result to keep our unbeaten run going!
We were more ruthless this season, we didn’t allow anyone really to get close to us, the only negative was the 0-0 draw on the opening day. Player of the season was Hamidullah Abdourazi, 16 league games, 8 goals, 16 assists and 9 man of the matches. An average rating of 8.33 – i’ve never seen one player be that dominant over a team before. He is only 17 so should continue to improve, may struggle to keep hold of him in the future.
The real buzz word was rotation – a grand total of __ players were used. We have so much potential (for this level) at the club – 40 players received international call ups at the end of the season, 14 of them for the main side. Shams Cutrupi scored the most goals (17) and curiously of the players who started 20 or more matches, 4 of the 5 were defenders – we kept things nice and tight and consistent back there.
As seasons go it was fairly routine, the 2 trophies won out of 2 competed in – It’s all about the long term though – slowly, inching forward into the Asian Champions League..
Thanks for sticking around.
Welcome back! Here we are again, another season down, number 12 with Newcastle. Last season was the best one yet, every trophy entered won, 8 league titles in a row, 3 Champions Leagues in a row and I am now No.1 in the Worldwide HOF. There are however 2 more HOFs I need top, Europe and England, I’m still 2-3 seasons away from that so there is a lot of hard work ahead.Continue reading “(FM20) Newcastle United – 2055/56 Season Review”
Hello and Welcome to the 5th part of my Afghan Hounds save – where I attempt to win the Asian Champions League with a squad of Afghan Nationals.
Today we cover the 2022 Asian Confederation Cup and the 2023 Afghan Premier League season.
Here it is again, the traditional list of players that possibly have never been mentioned before, getting their first mention when their dreams of professional football are over.
- Mansur Taheri at one point could have been a contender, came through my first intake and played 26 times, scoring 6 goals including some important ones in the Asian Confed Cup. Never got a pro deal and has been let go at the end of his youth contract.
- Suro Zahedi was someone that I chased for some time and is an example of how an improving squad can sometimes leave a man behind. He is a decent Central Defender for this level.
- David Alikhil ironically took Zahedi’s spot in the team when he arrived, but has been usurped himself.
- Ovays Ziahi has had 2 seasons to impress me in the midfield and has never really delivered. Tends to perform a bit better in the cups but I have a wealth of options.
- Shahar Zia has massively played his part in us becoming what we now are, superb in the first two seasons but has become a bit part player in the past 2. I take no enjoyment in telling him it’s time to say goodbye.
- Zohib Amiri is actually a decent player, BUT he moaned about first team football and got really shirty with me when we disagreed, I stopped considering him for the team and he leaves via the backdoor with his tail between his legs.
- Yar Ali Wafa also leaves – not because I am releasing him, the bar steward has decided to run down his contract and move on. Our best CD by far, 98 scout rated. Does not believe the rest of the squad are on his level. He is correct but I struggle to see where he will go from here..
Ali Yosufzai (1 app), Zohib Salem (4 app, 3 goals), Edriss Rizai (4 app), Milad Jafari (1 app), Milad Nourestani, Mustafa Saighani, Abdul Sabor Islam Amiri, Zubayr Kohistani and Jabar Zekria (all no apps) were all let go at the end of their youth deals.
This could be one of the quieter transfer windows.. With Yar Ali Wafa deciding to leave, we have become lighter than I am comfortable in the Central Defender spots. Hashmatullah Hashemi is still 16 and has come through Simorgh’s Academy and played the last 6 matches of the season for them. He has the usual 5* potential and would already be considered one of the better defenders at the club despite having everything to improve upon. We are fortunate that we don’t need much for our team.
August to October 2022
Very much mixed news… 11 of our squad have been called up for the Asian Games, fantastic that we are so heavily involved but thats 11 players we are missing in the next round of the Asian Confederation Cup. This sort of thing shouldn’t happen! 7 out of our best 11 are not available.
Sonbong Sports Group from North Korea our the opponents, amazingly our scouts are having difficulty finding out about them – who would had guessed that!
I’ve also just noticed that ALL of my goalkeepers are unavailable so a grey out player must make his debut.
I would have preferred more goals at home – 2 players are suspended for the return leg, both of them are Right Backs so this lead is not enough for me to be comfortable.
The gap between matches allowed me to strengthen the attack ahead of the league season, Sayed Hameed Naim has one of the highest finishing attributes in the league (13) and is a real team player. He can’t play in the Continental Cup but should give me a few more options in the league.
Beautifully North Korea knocked out Afghanistan from the U23 Asian Games, so we were full strength for the match in North Korea – and boy did it show… The ugliest victory of the year…
It’s 6,000km between Indonesia and Afghanistan, we continue our magical mystery tour of Asia and play Persatuan Sepak Bola Indonesia Jakarta with no CMs available thanks to too many yellows. We were strong and were able to pull away in the second half to record another comfy victory. We just need to keep things professional in the return leg to ensure we are in the Final.
We did, so we are..
A trip to Jordan in the final – Shabab Al-Ordon Club we are coming for you.
Yet again we have reached the final of the Asian Confederation Cup – twice it has gone to penalties, once we were victors, once we had to wipe away the tears. What will the third visit bring?
Whatever happens it is being done with Zaker Saadat – one of the worst injuries we have had on the save so far.
A common theme in these finals is dissallowed goals – 4 minutes in and we have our first as Anoush Amiri is flagged offside when converting. In the 25th minute, same deal, Amiri shoots and scores and is flagged offside.
The linesman must be broken – Amiri buries a header on 32 minutes but there is no flag? Is the Lino dead? Nope, he remains as he is and we take the lead. 80 seconds later it is 2 as Zefy Rehemi pings one past the stricken keeper.
Otham Ali reduces arrears from the spot just before half time.
If you have been following this save for a while, you know that we pick up a lot of bookings – and eventually it’s going to cost us, Bashir Ahmed Sharza picks up a 2nd yellow and we have 30 minutes to survive with 10 men.
Absolutely nothing happened (not even a highlight) for the next 26 minutes until 4 minutes from time and the 4th goal of the game… Jabar Mukhammad I love you more than you can ever know… Afghan Hounds are retaining the title.. (just..) Ayman Al-Maayta forced one over the line in the dying embers of the match but we held our nerve.
This is big, it means our reputation is improving and allows better players to be developed as the clubs are playing at a higher standard against better opponents – inching ever closer to the Asian Champions League.
In more minor news we have allowed our captain to move on (just before the season starts..). He is rubbish but performs decently, we have an array of 17yr old defenders ready to step up so I am not to worried.. Bashir Cutrupi, just shy of 100 games for the club in his 4 seasons. Bash, no one rated you but you delivered more than what was asked. Thank You…
We don’t start our league campaign until the 11th of Feb – a whole month after everyone else – no idea why! So we start our competitive action in 2023 in the Asian Confederation Cup against Şagadam FK Türkmenbaşy and it’s routine, three goals either side of the interval will be enough to ensure we progress. Rotated the side for the 2nd leg and gave some players a chance to build up the old match sharpness. The 2nd leg defeat was our 1st defeat in the competition for 31 matches (a record both for the club and for the competition)
Rooted to the foot of the table, we got our league campaign off and running away at Simorgh, who finished 2nd last season, a convincing 4-0 win on the opening day lays down a marker and tells everyone we continue to mean business. We will have lots of games in hand for a few months so our league position should always look false.
We are starting to become a lucky side as we almost gave Mawjhai Amu there first win of the season but David Mohammed scored a late equalisier that frankly we didn’t deserve. It seems that every season we play against Istiqlol Dushanbe in the Asian Confed Cup and we boast an 100% winning record, Sayed Hameed Naim took it upon himself to ensure that we made it 5 wins from 5 by scoring all of the goals in the away leg.
But before the 2nd leg, Holy Smokes BatMan!!!
An actual Golden Generation that looks amazing – even the worst player looks a class act. All of them are signed up which means in the next couple of months a complete review of the squad is needed to work out who isn’t developing and thusly should be moved on.
Hamidullah Abdourazi looks to be a set piece specialist. Decent Passing and Dribbling alongside the physical attributes too.
Hadi Gazazat has double figures for PASSING!! The physical side of his game needs work but the boy is only 15 years old.
The month ended with 4 more goals for Sayed Hameed Naim in the return leg as we won 10-2 on aggregate.
I’m not saying this Golden Generation is special but my best 11 has 5 of the intake in the side ALREADY!
The odds of the best nationals coming through our system are in our favour – we have the best reputation and facilities in the country so whilst we are not getting any wonderkids any time soon the best of the poor bunch will be ours straight away. 7 of them make their debuts in the 5-1 win over De Maiwand Atalan.
None of them can play in the Asian Confed Cup so we now have a couple of squads, one for league matches, and one for the continental games.
Altyn Asyr FK Aşgabat are an annoying side, they’ve beaten us before and we are lucky to leave Turkmenistan with a point – we have identical records after 2 games and only the winners progress so we can’t afford to drop any more points.
Sarfaraz Ali Sakhizada is on absolute flames this month – 5 goals is pretty impressive for a keeper. Man of the match, but no mention of the 2 penalties he scored!!
April is the moving month in Afghanistan – it’s when a lot of things can be decided – we have a big 3 matches in the Asian Confed Cup too. The big one is the Toofan game at the end of the month, both sides are unbeaten at the start of the month so it’s shaping to be a hum dinger!
Dordoy Bishkek have FM’ed us – well and truly, we had 20 shots to their 3 and the bulk of the possession and yet we have been defeated. It means we are 3pts behind Altyn Asyr FK Aşgabat so we have to win our remaining games to qualify.
After nearly a year without a club, Yar Ali Wafa has seen sense and returned to the fold.
I had that horrible sinking feeling against Altyn Asyr FK Aşgabat as we created chance after chance after chance but nothing fell, until we scored twice in the last 10 minutes to put us top of the group with 1 match left.
The statement about both us and Toofan being unbeaten going into our clash at the end of the month remained true until we met before we put them back in their place… We top the table for the first time this season, 2 clear with a game in hand. May sees 10 games in 26 days…
Right, It’s go time..
10 games in just shy of 4 weeks is going to be tough from a fitness point of view but we should have the depth of squad to ensure we pick up maximum points. Our slender lead means that we probably need around 20-23 points from the month. Not helped by the fact we play Toofan twice in 4 days!
Before we get to the League, we have a huge match – a must win, or at the very least, a must get a better result than Altyn Asyr FK Aşgabat – we are away against the side in 4th place. As it transpired we didn’t need a win as Alytn drew their game but we completed the job, and despite a little wobble we have got past the groups.
We can now put the Asian Confed Cup to one side until August and focus on the league. Back to Back victories plus a defeat for Toofan meant we went into our double header with an 8 point lead with 8 matches left which meant if we beat them twice then the race will be all but done. We dominated the first match but couldn’t find a way to score – we missed a penalty but a point hinders them more than us.
A few days later the same sides met but the outcome was vastly difference, they had a man sent off after 8 minutes and we never let them settle – 5-0 and it could have been more, 11 points clear now with 6 matches remaining with 7th and 8th place coming up in the next couple of days – it’s done..
The Toofan results set a league record of 6 straight matches without conceeding, so of course in the next game we decided to end that streak – 3-0 up and we only managed a draw against the worst side in the league – it will not matter as long as we bounce back with a win against Shaheen, and up stepped 16 year old Mohammad Nasim Amiri to bag his first hattrick for the club, he came through the last intake and looks a brilliant prospect for Afghanistan. 12 Finishing, 12 First Touch and some Ok physicalls for someone so young and small.
Toofan are falling off a cliff, they haven’t won in 5 and a 0-0 draw meant that victory would give us our 5th consecutive title and Nasim Amiri was the man to score the winner to make it happen.
Another unbeaten season as we are among the first teams to finish our season, despite starting a month after the league started and having a Continental campaign included – clearly the fixture computer is not a fan of my methods.
This league campaign felt a bit closer than the last one, but we still won by a street after Toofan collapsed towards the end of the campaign. We had a really strong squad and then a brilliant intake and nobody could match us – i’m not sure I can strengthen any position in the transfer window and my intention is to have a maximum squad of 35 players for next season (before intake) and we currently have 63 so I want to reduce that. My hope is that some of the players I let go can improve our competition and make future seasons closer in terms of where they finished. Toofan will have the Asian Confed Cup as well, their reward for finishing runner-up.
Mohammad Nasim Amiri got 14 goals in 17 matches after appearing in the seasonal intake, an avge rating of 7.64 caps off a brilliant campaign, Sayed Hameed Naim also got 14 in all comps (21 games) but I may move him on as others have higher potential. In all 20 players made more than 10 games and had an average rating north of 7.00, our future is incredibly bright right now. Player of the Year was Jabar Mukhammad, 11 goals, 9 assists, 8 man of the matches in 25 games, we are very lucky to have 3 highly talented Right Wingers and Jabar just about retains his place as 1st choice but it’s getting tight.
Sarfaraz Ali Sakhizada claimed 16 clean sheets (as well as 7 goals) to top a very good year. Both of those are records for a keeper.
Our reputation should improve and if we continue further in the Asian Confed Cup we should get closer to the Asian Champions League and that’s when the party really starts. For now, it’s serious culling time..
Thanks for Reading..
Welcome back! Season 11 is over with Newcastle, my word this just gets better and better! Last season we eventually managed one of my goals, to win back-to-back Champions League titles and with me managing to complete 10 seasons at Newcastle and eventually getting a new ground agreed I only have the HOFs to tick off, then the achievement hunter challenge will be complete! There’s still a long way to go though, I need to win trophies!!Continue reading “(FM20) Newcastle United – 2054/55 Season Review”