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European Challenge

Hello Football Manager Stories community!

My name is Bhargav and I have been around the community for about two years now, but mostly as a wallflower, watching what is going on. I live in America and I am proud member of the (quickly growing) American “soccer” fandom, and I am a proud Man Utd fan (I spent my childhood in Dubai so I’ve been a supporter of the Red Devils since before they won everything). I am a relative newcomer to the FM series; my first game was 2010, but my passion for the game is definitely strong and only growing! I was lucky enough to win a free copy of FM 2012 during the competition in October (thanks Johnny!) and I decided, “why not try and write my own story?” With that in mind I present the first issue of my journey in FM 2012!

I decided to embark on a European Pentagon Challenge, which is winning the league and top domestic cup in England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France, while also winning the Champions League at least once. I’m still not that good at FM (but hey, I’m learning), so this should keep me busy for a while. I really want this journey to be a great learning experience. I’m always reading up on different tips and strategies (which is actually how I came across the site, by following links to Darren and Johnny’s strategies and techniques) and constantly reformulating my game, so this is going to be a real test of whether or not I am a real FM master and hopefully I can create a few strategies of my own! I hope that maybe some of you will learn a thing or two as well along with me. Without further ado, here goes!

I loaded up the EPL, La Liga, Serie, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 and I decided to start with the Ligue 1 in France since it has the lowest UEFA ranking. The next step was picking my club. I immediately ruled out Lyon, Marseille, and PSG. I didn’t feel like winning the Ligue 1 in my first try =P  But in all seriousness, this is supposed to be a learning experience (it always is) and I wanted a sterner test.

I decided to sign on with Evian since they were predicted to finish dead last. Hopefully, I can steer them to safety.

So let’s take a look at the team. Evian Thonon Gaillard Football Club (Evian TGFC) is based in Thonon-les-Baines on the Swiss border. The team is pretty new, founded in 2003, from the merger of two older teams, and is already in the top flight, having started in the CFA (the fourth level of French football). They won the Ligue 2 last year but for whatever reasons are predicted to be in last, behind the other two teams that were promoted alongside them. Their nickname is “Les Savoyards” and they play at the Parc des Sports in Annecy, which is a 13,595 person ground that the team DOES NOT own! It actually belongs to an amateur side, Annecy FC, to whom Evian pays £425K a year. Hopefully before I leave the club we can fix this. Unfortunately, the club has pretty poor facilities as well, so that’s definitely something I need to fix.

So onto the club:

Hey, not too bad. For those who are having a tough time viewing the image (I am still trying to get the hang of formatting the pictures) Ghanaian international Jonathan Mensah (not to be confused with Ghana captain and Lyon player John Mensah) is my best player, followed by Denmark’s Christian Poulsen who I’m sure some of you will remember for his time at Juventus and Liverpool, former French international Sidney Govou, who had an awesome career with Lyon, Congolese international Cedric Mongongu and the currently injured Daniel Wass who is on loan from Benfica. Overall this squad isn’t too shabby – I wonder why we’re predicted for the drop?

Mensah

Mongongu

Govou

Poulsen

Wass

Ah. Maybe because my reserves are very poor and I have no U19 squad! I guess that what happens when your facilities are so bad (3 silver stars for training and youth facilities. I will definitely pester the board about improving those) . . .

Maybe I’m being stupidly optimistic, but I think a Mid-table finish is quite possible. Unfortunately, Evian doesn’t have the best finances, so it’s all free transfers for now.

Going through the backroom staff, I’m a little less optimistic. The club has no scouts and most of my coaches are quite poor. I’m a big proponent of hiring awesome coaches, or at the very least an incredible assistant. I like having at least 8 coaches and the assistant but the boardroom is keeping me at 6 coaches =/ I went out and managed to find a few decent coaches, no big names, but at least my backroom feels stable. And I got 4 good scouts; I can’t believe the club had none!

In terms of tactics, I will be using Darren’s Barcelona tactics is my primary 2 and the Arsenal tactic as my third. I will be playing around with them to make them more effective for my team, but for at least the first friendly I will leave them as is. I will also be using the training schedules on the site because of past successes with them.

So let’s take a look at my squad for the first half of the season:

GK: Bertrand Lacquait and Stephen Andersen

They are both pretty similar so they will compete with each other over the season. I am satisfied with both of them.

DC: Mensah and Mongongu; Subs: Matteo Ferrari and Malkhaz Asatiani

I am probably most pleased about the center-back situation. Mongongu and Mensah are already quite good and they are high potential players. The back-ups are players I brought in as free transfers. Ferrari is over the hill but he still a good player and Asatiani is an experienced, solid defender. These four players will likely constantly rotate over the course of the season, since they are all similarly skilled. I will give preference to Mensah and Mongongu because they can grow, while the two older players have peaked.

DR: Daniel Wass and Guillaume Lacour

Wass is a solid player with potential. I will definitely try to purchase him from Benfica. Lacour is a solid back-up of similar skill, but as a player in his 30’s, he is unlikely to grow any further.

DL: Lee Young-Pyo and Fabrice Ehret

I brought Lee in as a free transfer. He is one of the oldest members of my squad, but I have him for just a season and he still has a contribution to make. Ehret is a left winger but is capable of playing left-back and will deputize as needed.

CM: Poulsen, Jerome Leroy, Oliver Sorlin, Eric Tie Bi, Cedric Barbosa, and Brice Dja Djedje

The blood drained from my face when I was looking at this. This is the heart and soul of my team, and I can tell you right now, the team looks poised for a heart attack. Unfortunately, I could not secure the services of better players. Poulsen is 31, Leroy is 37, Sorlin is 32, and Barbosa is 35, so this position is in dire need of an overhaul. Apart from Poulsen, the other 3 old guard members are of similar, mediocre skill and will rotate for the starting positions. Tie Bi and Dja Djedje are young and not that great. Unfortunately, they don’t have much potential either. Expect major changes come January but until then, fingers crossed!

ST: Youssef Adnane, Govou, Itamar, Saber Khelifa, Yannick Sagbo, and Kevin Berigaud

I am also pretty disappointed with what I have up front. I brought Itamar in on free transfer to help out Govou. Both of them are in their 30’s but still have life in them. The other 4 strikers are in the last chance saloon. They are all in their mid-20’s, when they should start firing all cylinders, but they are languishing with they below average statistics, though my backroom staff swears that they can grow into much better players. I couldn’t get anyone else, but maybe my awesome coaches can pull some of this hidden talent.

I also told all my reserves to go packing because they were all old and overpaid.

Overall, I am pleased with what I have. We are by no means a championship winning squad, but save for a few weak spots, I think we should avoid relegation comfortably. I will definitely have to enter the transfer market in January to strengthen my attack force and midfield and possibly left defense, but we will see how this team fares.

Friendlies:

So a bit of a mixed bag. None of the teams we faced were top-flight, but as a newly promoted team, I wasn’t expecting us to give Lyon or Marseille a run for their money (though it would be nice =P). I will chalk this up to the team is still trying to master the tactics

So that’s all for now. I am sorry the post was so long but I hope you enjoyed it nonetheless. I look forward to reading all your comments and suggestions, whether it’s regarding my journey or on my writing style; anything . Please, please, please give me advice. As much advice as you can. Like I told you, I am really trying to learn and grow as an FM player. Also, if you have any requests for screen-shots, etc., let me know! Until next time!

 

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rolando
rolando
9 years ago

welcome onboard! Seems like a beautiful challenge and I defo approve your choice of a team! Good luck with the transformation of the club, looks like you’ll need to bring quite a lot of new faces to keep afloat! Anyway, hope you have a successful campaign and looking forward to your future posts :)

Dan
Dan
9 years ago

Everyone loves a pentagon challenge so I can’t wait to see how you get on. Evian is a good challenge and I hope you do well.

Good luck!

vaibhavc
vaibhavc
9 years ago
Reply to  Bhargav

@Dan-How come you dont post your stories anymore?

Daniel
Daniel
9 years ago

welcome Bhargav!
im confused :-( why does it say you have a wage budget on £9m? and no transfer budget? but other than that good luck :-)

Daniel
Daniel
9 years ago
Reply to  Bhargav

oh i totally understand now. thank you! Well, i hope you have a great season and many wishes to a successful time at your new club!

denson
denson
9 years ago

Looking forward to your first story seems a good choice of club.

Good Luck!

Stromson
9 years ago

Welcome aboard Bhargav, nice to have another American around. :) This sounds like a great challenge, and I’m looking forward to how it turns out. I really like the looks of that French AMR.

Jonathan Downer
Jonathan Downer
9 years ago
Reply to  Bhargav

From DC (well, Virginia technically)!

erbsademon
erbsademon
9 years ago

Looking forward to following your story. Should be a good challenge to learn from. With that type of wage and transfer budget I would suggest signing under 23’s with some potential on free transfers.

I’ve lived in the city and suburbs of Chicago for the past 16 years. Which school are you going to? I’m a DePaul grad.

nielsneutron
nielsneutron
9 years ago

Welcome Bharkov

Great to see a new writer on the team and its the winner of FM2012. Fantastic investment FMS. I already enjoy your writing style and I do like the team you have selected since I am Danish.

And then you praised two Danes as well. I didn’t really know that Wass look so good perhaps Darren should look into him on the Scouting Network.

Darren Smith
Admin
9 years ago
Reply to  Bhargav

@Nielsneutron Yeah I have just looked at him now but unfortunately hasn’t developed much in my game…possibly due to poor facilities and training?

Wahay a newbie, welcome mate and thanks for the kind words too. This story looks very interesting and should prove to be a challenge, you already have a mountain to climb in France so its all shaping up nicely. Good luck mate and welcome again!

Edwin
Edwin
9 years ago

You pitchfork reading bastard! Great post, you’ve got a mountain to climb!

Laxeyman
Laxeyman
9 years ago

Hi Bhargav, nice to see you posting here :) You seem to be embarking on a brilliant challenge and Evian looks like an interesting side to start with. Your squad looks decent and I’m sure you’ll avoid the drop. Good luck!

TheZiggy
9 years ago

Definitely not an easy challenge to start with Evian, but I would imagine avoiding relegation shouldn’t be a big problem. Some of the ageing players are a bit of a concern, so I guess there will be quite a clearout when you get to the end of the season. The poor facilities are not going to make things any easier. Good luck.

Ana Garcia
9 years ago

Hola y bienvenidos!!

or hello and welcome! Its nice to see a new face, I must admit my eyes lit up when I saw pentagon challenge I thought yay someone else is joining me!

But then I saw European and I felt sad that I would have do South Africa on my own! :(

LoL! Its an interesting challenge, I always find its the best way to dive straight into different leagues and just learn as you go making mistakes then learning from them.

Your team looks quite good and with a few new signings am sure you can achieve your target of a mid table finish.

Again welcome to the site and the very best luck on your story. :)

CsAtlantis
9 years ago

Well at least with Evian I’d assume that your players can get the mineral water? :P

You know, maybe you should take a look at Ahmed Soukouna, he’s a young striker on a free with good potential, though I think he should’ve gotten snapped up by now

Your club looks okay but as you say your midfield is very old (oh yea, take a look at Oumar N’Diaye and Luigi Bruins while you’re at it) so you might struggle with injuries and fitness later on in the season

Good luck for the season, Ligue 1 is a very balanced league

Kevin
9 years ago

Hello Bhargav
Greetings from Toronto, Canada and welcome to FM Stories!! Like you I am a United fan going back to…well way back and I’m probably the oldest FM player in the world! Anyway, excellent first post and a very cool choice of team to start off your challenge. All the best and good luck!!

Kevin
9 years ago
Reply to  Bhargav

Actually I go back as far as Charlton. Best, Stepney and Denis Law. See, I told you I was old :)
Thanks for the finances comment!

Kevin
9 years ago
Reply to  Bhargav

You bet, though just on TV when there were black and white TV’s only.I remember them winning the European cup against Benfica!

Lye
Lye
9 years ago

Hi Bhargav,

Greetings from the other side of the earth, Singapore :) Great to see a new writer as well and the challenge will surely keep you busy. I guess you will be addicted soon. Great choice of club to start with and a difficult one due to the financial constrain but the squad you have looks good for survival and probably a mid-table position.Good luck.

Kevin
9 years ago
Reply to  Lye

Ha!
I like that Lye…other side of the earth :)

Johnny Karp
9 years ago

Welcome Bhargav and good luck, I’m sure this will be a cracking story regardless of the on-pitch results.

vaibhavc
vaibhavc
9 years ago

Its great to have another writer here, welcome. When I saw your name, I remembered that you won that competition. Did you have an old blog?

Sears
9 years ago

Welcome on board the FMS ship mate, hope your enjoy your stay here, it really is a wonderful place :)

Michael Vallance
Michael Vallance
9 years ago

just found this story now so a great start really looking forward to reading

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