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Darren – Ultimate European Challenge HSV bitter sweet season 11/12

Hey folks, I’m back with an update from my Ultimate European challenge. As you know these posts are been done in season updates so as you can imagine there’s a lot to get through. Lets start by recapping my European career so far. After accepting a job offer from Hamburg SV, I had ten games at the end of the first season to turn it all around. I managed to guide the German side from 10th to 6th during my short first season. However, the start of my second season showed the boards lack of ambition as they only offered £2.5m for transfers and rejected every request. I still managed to make the budget work with some great signings but was far from happy with the board. That is where we left off, so lets carry on the journey and see how I did during my first full season in Germany.

Bundesliga August-September results

After signing a few players it was time to see which ones would play well and where. Suazo took no time to settle with a hat trick on his debut. Kranjcar also did well with some assists and a goal from the left. However, Rakitic was struggling in central midfield. We won 6 of the 7 games including a victory over title rivals Bayern.

Bundesliga October-December results

After a great start and with Winter approaching I wanted to capitalize and keep up the momentum going. October was a good month seeing us win 3 games and draw one. Then November saw us win 4 and draw 2. A very good run of form including victories over Stuttgart and Schalke. Westermann also found the net with his head a little more, this was a key factor to our unbeaten run.

Bundesliga table at the midway point

A good start to the season left Hamburg SV top of the German league. Leaving Dortmund 7 points off the pace. If we could keep up the recent form I’d surely be celebrating an early trophy.

Bundesliga January-February results

January was a pivotal month for my side, we lost 3-1 to Bayern and that gave the German giants some real momentum. Thankfully this result did not have a bad effect on my squad. We still managed to win 6 games out of the 7 available during January and February. Suazo was scoring for fun and Elia had finally started to assist a few as well.

Bundesliga March-May results

The final fixtures of a huge season were upon us. Bayern had started to make up some of the deficit and were looking dangerous, so mistakes weren’t an option. We started March in very worrying form, Nurnberg and Werder Bremen held my side to 1-1 draws. I then breathed a sigh of relief as we went on to win five games. A bad 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Schalke brought forward a few questions, but then one further victory and an away draw seemed like good results. This was it, I had done everything possible to try and claim the Bundesliga, it would come down to how well Bayern had done.

Final Bundesliga table

A long and at times difficult season had seen some great results and very consistent form. This was the backbone of our title victory and an impressive 12 point gap from FC Bayern. I was absolutely ecstatic with the trophy and also surprised to dethrone Bayern so quickly.

German Cup results

This competition was not just used to rest some key players. Part of this challenge is to win the major domestic Cup in every country. Therefore I was going for it with everything I had. The early rounds were very easy and it wasn’t until the quarter-final that my boys faced a challenge. We showed our commitment to this competition with a 3-0 victory over Dortmund. Then the draw saw us miss Bayern for the semi-final, but get Leverkusan away instead. Another tough match, but we came away 3-1 winners and started to prepare for the Cup final.

German Cup Final – Hamburg SV vs FC Bayern

There was a lot riding on this match, I could complete the double and the challenge objectives for Germany along with it. My side had beaten FC Bayern 4-0 and 1-0 at home in the league but recently lost 3-1 away from home to the giants. Form suggested a close game but I was strangely confident. I have proven competent as the underdog in matches like this and hopefully I could add this to my CV on FM.

I have already beaten Bayern many times with Newcastle and HSV on Football Manager, there is one tactic that seems to work. Its my 4-4-2 with a very deep defensive line, very slow tempo and very narrow width. I was not keen on letting Bayern play so decided to use a standard strategy rather than my usual counter. Anyway, my opponents had a full strength squad and so did I, lets see what happened in the highlights.

Westermann was up to his old tricks from set pieces. :) The centre back set up the first goal, scored the winner and defended valiantly…my man of the match by a mile!! This was a fantastic achievement and meant that all the trophies required from Germany had been won.

Bundesliga Awards 2011/12

After winning the domestic double, my side were bound to be in for some awards. I kicked off this process with the ‘German Manager of the Year’ award and ‘German Players Manager of the Year’ award.

Hamburg SV were also represented by three players in the ‘German Team of the Season’ awards. Westermann, Aogo and Suazo all managed to make the cut and deserved it in my opinion.

Two players were given special credit for their performances. Humberto Suazo walked his way to top goalscorer with an impressive 26 goals in the league. Aogo also earned the ‘German Players Defender of the Year’ award.

Lets take a quick look at their stats, these two players were instrumental to any success we achieved this year. It’s such a shame Suazo is 31 years old, he has been amazing but will not last more than one further season. I am however very proud of the find as I got him on a free transfer.

My left back, Aogo, has been immense this season. His crossing and corner attributes have helped him manage 17 assists. Add to that good pace and great technique, you’ve got yourself a star player.

Below are the rest of my squads ratings. Westermann was solid at the back, scored 16 goals and added 8 assists. Elia was also crucial with 11 goals and 13 assists. Rakitic could have done better but managed a good first season with 12 goals and 9 assists.

The Honeymoon ends and the TROUBLE begins!!!

Sorry for the dramatic title, but its called for as my board are starting to tick me off! You may remember my moaning during pre-season when the board only offered £2.5 million for transfers. They also turned down any requests without giving me a chance to object. Well I pushed on to the 2012/13 pre-season to see what they’d offer this time. Bare in mind we’ve just done the double, guaranteed Champions League Football, got a great new sponsorship deal and have £20 million in the bank. The board asked me to challenge for the title again with £3.5 million for transfers and £20K extra for wages.

Are they on crack or just simple!! I can’t believe the cheek, they are ten times worse than Mike Ashley and I never thought I’d say that about anyone. With so much in the bank and loads more due from the Champions League I was expecting at least £12 million. I wasn’t having any of this and addressed my concerns in a meeting with the board.

After telling the board I want to talk about the transfer budget, I proceeded to say the club will move backwards if more money is not provided. The board then said that I have enough cash to meet expectations, this was where I started to lose my temper.  I told them that their lack of ambition is shocking and disappointing, their response made me go red! They said that everything they do is with the clubs best interests in mind and the matter is closed!! I honestly couldn’t believe it. They only offered me 15% of the money available in the bank.

I started looking for an ultimatum option but couldn’t find one, so decided to have the last laugh…I RESIGNED!!! Can’t wait to see those gready useless arseholes make money without me there. I guarantee this will be their last season in the Champions League. As for me, well I’d better get the newspaper out and start searching for a job.

Well that is the end of my reign in Germany. I will start looking for a new job and hope that the next board have a little common sense. Until then I hope you enjoyed the read and look forward to your comments. If you want to join us all in the Ultimate European Challenge, please follow the link and read the rules. Its very simple and should get us all into different cultures and styles of Football.

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Birdy
10 years ago

Hahah Very nice work Darren and you had the last laugh by Resigning it made me laugh reading that last bit. Good luck in your next country! :D

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Birdy

Thanks Birdy, it gave me great pleasure in sticking two fingers upto the board. To be honest their so fickle I don’t think they’ll even notice I’m gone :)

Davewig1980
Davewig1980
10 years ago

One part of me wants to say to you well done, a superb achievement there!

The other side of me is thinking oh crap, i’m going to finish dead last in this challenge!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Davewig1980

lol, thanks David. I’m sure you won’t finish last mate, however first place is reserved for me lol ;) Only kidding, it was a great season until my little spat with the owners.

Lye Kuek Hin
10 years ago

Hi Darren,

You are a real football manager. A double in the bags early, well done. I fully support your decision to resign and look for a better job. The board must be a clown in disguise. Your reputation has enhanced further and i believe clubs without a manager will be approaching you soon.

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Lye Kuek Hin

Thanks Lye, we won the double with relative ease but for some reason every game felt like a struggle. Thats why I resigned…I desperately needed new players to carry on the success and a lot of my best ones were running their contracts down. The board weren’t even letting me offer the best players new contracts so I was happy to say goodbye. Hopefully my next club will be more ambitious.

CsAtlantis
CsAtlantis
10 years ago

Really unfortunate there with the useless board Darren, maybe they’re keeping the money to stock up on beer during Oktoberfest, are there any other jobs available? Perhaps a stint in France or Italy after this? It would be refreshing to have some posts on teams in those leagues (Spain would be tough unless you can get Barca or RM! Could be an awesome challenge though with another team)

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  CsAtlantis

lol, they probably are CsAtlantis…they act like drunken fools so that would make sense. For the first two months of the new season I couldn’t find a job to apply for. Then five came at once. I applied for three. One club laughed me off or so the media say, the other took ages to sack their manager and the third club have offered me a job. I’ve accepted and its a great club with history, however they need a little sorting out but I’m delighted with them. Not going to give which club they are away until I post though, sorry. OK I’ll drop one clue, its in one of your suggested countries (Italy or France.)

Wazz
Wazz
10 years ago

An amazing season there but a really bad reply by the greedy board. You could have win lots more in Germany if not for the idiots. Really wanna know what’s gonna be your next team, hoping it’s in England or Italy. :D Good Luck Darren!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Wazz

Thanks Warren, they are very greedy as all I needed was an extra £80K for wages and £12 mill in transfers. They’d have gained that by the end of the season if we were successful. Ow well its their loss. Like I’ve said, my next club has been decided and out of three job applications my favourite choice offered me a contract. You’ll have to wait to find out though. :)

Wazz
Wazz
10 years ago
Reply to  Darren Smith

wrong guy Darren? :P Just kidding. ;)

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Wazz

Ah crap, sorry Wazz. Stupid thing is I knew who I was replying to, I swear my fingers have a mind of their own ;)

Wazz
Wazz
10 years ago
Reply to  Darren Smith

haha! it’s fine Darren. :)

kevin
kevin
10 years ago

Hi Darren
Well first of all congratulatons on an excellent start to the Ultimate European Challenge in doing the double with HSV – very impressive. The short sightedness of your board is totally bemusing and you did the right thing by resigning. Good luck with your job search!!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  kevin

Thanks Kevin, it really was far better than I’d anticipated. The board were very short sighted but I’m really happy with my new club so everything happens for a reason I guess. You’ll find out who it is soon, a challenge really but only because they have high expectations.

Steesh85
Steesh85
10 years ago

Shame about the tight board like. With a heightened rep you should be up for some cracking jobs. I have started the challenge as well with Sevilla who were amazingly bottom when i took over mid december. Do you need screen prints or anything to add me to the rankings??

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Steesh85

The board were really tight Steesh85 but their behind me now. Sevilla are a brilliant starting point, you only need to email me the screenshots when you win trophies mate…Ill add you to the rankings now. :)

Johnny Karp
10 years ago

Congrats on the double mate but I’m sad that you decided to resign. I guess the board forced you out but I guess it was your fault, you showed them that you can win the title with 2 mil! :) Good luck, looking forward to seeing you at the next club!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Johnny Karp

lol Thanks Johnny. I guess I did tempt fait a little. Hopefully the next club will make for a longer career and a far more ambitious board.

Sears
10 years ago

Great stuff Darren, one down four to go. Btw, what role did you give Suazo?

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Sears

Thanks Sears, it will be a long ride but one out of the way is definitely a start. I use Suazo as a poacher, he isn’t really consistent but is great for the German league.

Daniel
Daniel
10 years ago

Darren did you check the club info screen to see if there was any loan debt

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Daniel

Yeh I checked that and they do have some loan debt. However we made £15m last season even with the loan debt. This season would have seen us earn more from extra games, new sponsorship and the windfall of Champions LEague…all things we missed last season. Therefore I predict a profit of over £15 again this season which means they couldhave afforded at least £15m.

Ana Garcia
Ana Garcia
10 years ago

I think you made the right choice Darren, you achieved what you wanted here so move to a side with a better emblem!

Will be interesting to see where you will end up and if you can bring similar success!!

Good luck! :)

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  Ana Garcia

Thanks Ana, the only reason I left Germany is because the board are tight arsed you know whats!! My pre-season budget and constant rejection of simple requests was the final straw. Hopefully we will get a better chairman next time and of course a better emblem for you. ;)

junior
junior
10 years ago

hehehe..OMG…u remind me of martin oneil lol!!but u have a point!!3mil doesnt make any sense!!we done with the treble anyways!!congratz

junior
junior
10 years ago
Reply to  junior

i mean well*** done…

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  junior

lol, believe me Junior I felt like Martin O’neill! I managed to win everything required from Germany so am happy to leave anyway.

GS Fan
GS Fan
10 years ago

Darren,

Amazing story with a surprise finish! Brilliant! On to the next!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  GS Fan

Thanks GS Fan, the next chapter will be ready very soon and I’m loving the new club. :)

GS Fan
GS Fan
10 years ago

OK. In one of your posts you had mentioned that your new team is either from Italy or France right?

Here is my guess as to which potential team you are managing. I’m giving myself ony one guess per league. Here we go!

France – Lyon
Italy – Lazio

drum roll please……………………………………..

ps. better yet, Start a poll to see which team we think you are managing! I think it would be fun!

Darren Smith
10 years ago
Reply to  GS Fan

I’d love to do a poll mate, but its too late now. Ill be posting the update tomorrow, but good idea :) Your guess’ are very good ones but you’ll have to wait and see who I’m managing…tomorrow I’ll reveil all. :)

GS Fan
GS Fan
10 years ago

Looking forward to it! Hopefully your board has been kinder to you and more visionary than the last one.

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