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Romanian FM 2012 Story: Plan Undone

Hello friends and welcome back to my Football Manager 2012 story. As you remember from the last update I had a plan for the winter break: we were in third place at the halfway point of the season but still in financial trouble so I was planning to sell a few first team players to make room for a new Brazilian youngster plus a few of our own young talents. Well, the plan didn’t work out but I guess it wasn’t entirely my fault. Let’s see what happened…

I certainly wasn’t willing to sell Santiago Vazquez for the moment, that thought didn’t even cross my mind. Moreover, there were no transfer rumours about him so I never saw the following piece of news coming:

I found myself staring at the screen for a few minutes, I just couldn’t believe it. I understand the chairman’s decision given the club’s finances but that still was quite a shock. I tried to offer the player a new contract but he didn’t even want to negotiate, he left the club after just half a season with us! It’s true that the transfer fee is quite exciting for a small club like ours and we’ll also receive 10% out of the next transfer fee…

That takes me to the winter break transfer news, here’s a quick recap and some details:

Players out: Santiago Vazquez, Dragos Balauru, Georgian Marcu, Valentin Simion, Lucian Filip, Chakib Benzoukane

Some of these players are on loan to buy deals so the income wasn’t quite what I had expected as we only got an extra 200,000 pounds to add to the big Vazquez transfer. However, our wage budget benefited from these moves, it went down significantly.

Players in: Manoel (free), Tshepo Tshabalala (26,000 pounds)

You already know about Manoel from the previous episode, Tshabalala is a young left back from South Africa that could solve our perennial problems on that flank.

Players promoted from Under 19’s team: George Serban, Timur Peniu, Ciprian Nastase

And that’s all. I had a bit more money to spend but I decided not to throw the cash out the window since there were no players that could have made a difference in that price range. We played 10 friendlies to get the new lads into the team’s tempo and also to make a bit of cash and those games went well as we won nine and drew one with no goals conceded. I was pleased to see new striker Manoel grabbing a few goals while young defender Timur Peniu also did well overall.

On to the real business now, the league matches started at the beginning of March. The first match was supposed to be quite easy but it wasn’t, mainly because I had no less than nine first team players away on international duty! Despite that we managed to scrape past 17th placed FCM Tg. Mures thanks to a goal from Vlad Rusu. Then we faced bottom team Sageata Navodari and I have to say I was quite disappointed to watch a wasteful display from my lads. Luckily we were saved by a late goal from Joabe but I had more than one reason to be worried: we had no less than three injuries at the end of that game: Zarko Markovic (5 to 6 weeks), Tshepo Tshabalala (3 to 4 weeks) and Timur Peniu (two weeks).

The first real test of the month was coming up, we were hosting reigning champions Steaua. The big team from Bucharest was not doing too well though, they were in 7th place before the game. I was facing some real squad problems though apart from the three injured players as Denis Alibec and Ionut Peteleu were suspended.

Viitorul vs Steaua (Liga 1)

Starting Line Up: Octavian Ormenisan – Miroslav Sedlak, Alvaro Casanova, Ionut Putanu, Florin Krajcar – Mihai Onicas, Alexandru Lazar, Nenad Grumic – Manoel, Marius Albu, Joabe

The game started with a rather boring show from the two teams and unfortunately that poor display continued throughout the first half. The only interesting moment was on 25 minutes but it wasn’t a happy moment at all: Manoel had to leave the field on a stretcher and was going to be out for between 5 to 7 weeks! Not a good start for the Brazilian…

Things were a bit more lively after the restart and we could have broken the deadlock on 56 minutes when a fine move brought the ball to Joabe in a good position inside the penalty area but the striker hit the side netting. Steaua carved a good chance for themselves eight minutes later but that one went to waste as well so the game ended goalless, I guess it wasn’t a bad result given all the absences in our squad.

Match highlights: click here to watch

Luckily we had a much easier game coming up, away at newly-promoted CSMS Iasi, and we managed to make the most of it. Ionut Putanu bagged his 10th goal of the season, then Marius Albu scored his first goal of the season and we cruised past the opponents. Things were a bit more complicated against 8th placed Astra as we found ourselves one goal down early on but then striker Denis Alibec stepped up and bagged a beautiful hat-trick to hand us the three points. (click here to watch the highlights)

There was one more game to play before the end of the month and we were facing it from the top of the table! We were about to meet 3rd placed CFR Cluj, a team that was just four points behind us, so you can see that it was quite an important match. Unfortunately our squad problems were even bigger before that game: Ionut Putanu and Florin Krajcar were suspended while Alexandru Lazar and Mihai Onicas were added to the injured list that already had Markovic, Tshabalala and Manoel in it… That’s why I was forced to play Sedlak out of position and a not yet fully fit Peniu

Viitorul vs CFR Cluj (Liga 1)

Starting Line Up: Octavian Ormenisan – Ionut Peteleu, Alvaro Casanova, Timur Peniu, Miroslav Sedlak – Dejan Danicic, Corado Carstoiu, Nenad Grumic – Joabe, Vlad Rusu, Denis Alibec

We dominated the first half, I was pleased with that, but we were unable to create any decent chances. Moreover, the opening 45 minutes ended with yet another injury: Alvaro Casanova had to be taken off and I also had to replace Timur Peniu at the break in order to avoid another serious injury. With those two changes two of my back four were youngsters from the under 19 team!

Despite our improvised defence we managed to create a great chance just four minutes into the second half, right back Ionut Peteleu bent a perfect cross at the far post but Denis Alibec‘s header was parried by the goalkeeper. Our weak defence showed the first crack on 57 minutes when we allowed the visitors to score from a corner kick, I admit that I was quite sure that we were going to lose the game at that point. The lads played way beyond themselves though, they started to press forward and managed to make it all square again after just eleven minutes when a superb move saw Joabe playing a delicious back heel pass to Dejan Danicic who found the back of the net. We continued to advance in the opposition half but we nearly paid a costly price for that two minutes from time when we were saved by the crossbar on a big CFR chance. The game ended 1-1 and I was quite happy to remain unbeaten under the circumstances.

Match highlights: click here to watch

That draw pushed us down in second place but I wasn’t too sad about that, we just had to hang in there until some of the injured players would recover. I think that losing a top four placement would be quite a tragedy at this point, we should be able to reach the Europa League next season! There are 10 games left though, anything can happen…

Denis Alibec has firmly establishing himself as a star player in this squad but this season’s revelation is Ionut Putanu, the young lad that was promoted from the under 19 team this summer!

The injury report looks a bit less tragic now, we have four players out of contention but at least three of them will be back before the end of April. That is if we won’t suffer any other setbacks…

If you look at our schedule you can see that April will be decisive both for our title hopes and for our Romanian Cup ambitions. I am quite worried to be honest because I fear that the slim squad won’t be able to cope with such a busy month and that’s why I’m considering resting most of my important players in the cup games given that FC Brasov are a second tier team. Apart from that we are going to meet 4th placed Rapid, 5th placed Timisoara and 6th placed Pandurii in the most important games of the month.

That’s all for now my friends, thanks a lot for reading and for your support. I’m looking forward to your comments but please don’t talk badly about my chairman because he accepted the Vazquez bid, I still love Gheorghe Hagi! :)


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Martin PickardMartin - F.M.J.SAlexSearsjames devine Recent comment authors
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Dan Ireland
Dan Ireland

Well done johnny you should be able to get into Europe if you keep playing like that! It’s a shame about the Vazquez deal was looking forward to see him develop at the club but that’s football for ya! :)


Holy cow, and I thought I had injury problems back at FC United! I admire your patience sir, I would’ve been hollering over all those setbacks, but you coolly guided your club through it with nary a scratch. Color me impressed. :)

Second place is an excellent achievement given the club’s size and financial state, and you’re even beating my pre-season prediction of third. ;-) Good luck the rest of the way, Europe is calling!


Good form Johnny, you’re doing extremely well this season and really challenging for the title :) Shame about Vazquez going and Manoel getting injured, but you’ve coped admirably and Alibec’s form has made up for those losses. I think the title race will be tight, hopefully you can grab it, good luck!


Oh man, Vasquez left :/ I was looking forward to seeing his development at the club. Don’t worry, I won’t say bad things about Hagi. It is unfortunate for you, though. So many injuries! It is like SI is wanting to prevent you from doing well!

Ana Garcia

Shame you couldn’t get the whole amount of £1.2 million in one lump some, but that will still help your finances.

Losing you most promising players is annoying and I am finding that out too at the moment. :)

But you are still on course for a place in Europe then think how good your finances will look!!

Good luck!


It’s difficult to criticise Hagi for accepting the offer for Vasquez, especially when the finances are still far from certain. Even with the departure of Vasquez, you’ve been doing very well, and a top four spot looks pretty assured. You’re well placed to even have a shot at the title should U Cluj hit a bad patch of form. Your own worries with injuries and the fixture congestion will also play their part of course. European football next season looks to be well on the cards, and that should go a long way to solving your financial situation.

Once the finances are finally secure, I would hope that Hagi will then leave all the transfer dealings in your hands. I can imagine the horror though when you saw that message, as I remember something similar happening to me a few years ago.

Darren Smith

Wow Johnny, talk about rising in the face of adversity. Despite losing Vasquez you still fought on and the title race is truly alive…I can’t wait for the finale.


Hi Johnny

Well, I wasn’t expecting to see Vazquez depart so soon though your team has carried on brilliantly without him it seems. I hope your squad remains strong and you take the title. Good luck mate!

George Dobson
George Dobson

well done Johnny good luck for the rest of the season unfournate about the Vazquez transfer.

Malhar Bhadbhade
Malhar Bhadbhade

thats great work Johnny, and you’re certainly establishing yourself in the Romanian first division. i think in around 2-3 years, you will be competititve in Europe too. all the best for that and the rest of the season. looking forward to reading your next posts. i know how frustrating it is to lose players (though i dont have as big a challenge as you in any way)…lost Sanogo to ManUtd for a meagre 6.25million from PSG :(

p.s. – the regen striker you still have is quite amazing…i think he would be an incredible signing even for a mid-table Premier League sign,


Oh dear I probably should have kept quiet about the Manoel and Vasquez strike partnership, guess there is no chance of that happening now

Well at least you are in a good position and look set for some European football next season, looks like April will be a make or break month as you are facing the teams close to you, good luck!

Poor Manoel, he has not had a chance to make an impact due to his injury I assume?

Chris @ Chester
Chris @ Chester

Oh man, I must admit I do get annoyed when the chairman accepts a bid like that. But looking at it in your case it seems that will go a long way to secure the clubs finances. It’s good to see the youngsters stepping up and I hope the worst is over in terms of injuries. I think Europe looks good, maybe even a surprise league championship? In any case good luck buddy :-)


Losing Vazquez so early after joining is certainly a great loss and I’m really sorry to see that happening. However, the teams showed that they can continue the great performances even without Vazquez and the 2nd spot in the League is definitely a great achievement! Good luck for the rest of the season!


Hi Johnny,

It’s a pity to see Vazquez go but you have signed an able replacement in Manoel. Too bad about his injury. Despite that, you are still doing well and challenge for the title. Things will turn better when those players come back. Hopefully results will improve then and you will be lifting the title. Good luck.

james devine
james devine

hey johnny

chin up about Santiago Vazquez mate :) shows how loyal players are today dosnt it :L i think it might work out to be a good deal for the club esspecially with 10% sell on clause just imagine manchester united or barcelona putting 20mill in, 2mill isnt a bad share :D

you have a good squad who seem to be in inspired form this season and with you as manager i dont see top 4 being a hard target ;) who knows maybe even the league?

keep up the good work :)


Shame you lost your best player Johnny, but it’s always going to happen so there isn’t much you can do. Have you tried increasing their asking price? I always do this, then the vulture’s stop sniffing around.

Great going in the league! I hope you win the title,good luck!


The conclusion to the season is going to be exciting with the possibility of the title and at the very least a place in Europe. I’m glad to see your financial worries have eased following Vazquez’s exit. Keep up the good work.

Martin - F.M.J.S

Hi Johnny

Even though i have been reading your post i have been to busy to comment so sorry for that. But back to your post. It was a shame to see Vazquez go but you are still up there and you can still win the League. So good Luck with rest of the season :)

Martin Pickard

Right I’ve caught up lol…Great first half of the season Johnny…nice to see up at the top! It’s very difficult when the board step in and sell players from under your nose…it’s happened to see before and to lose Vazquez was very difficult but, you managed to pull your team together and maintain your brilliant first half performances and your now in a position to get European football and also in with a shout of the League Title. European football will take your save to the next level for sure…not only with the team you’ll be playing but the money you’ll recieve…your debt will evapourate almost instantly…keep it up Johnny…I cant wait for the season finale :)

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