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Romanian FM 2012 Story: Time To Rebuild

Hello friends, I’m happily writing a new episode of my Football Manager 2012 story on a bright spring day in Bucharest. Well, the episode won’t be as happy, but I hope you will enjoy it nonetheless. As you remember, last season we made another clean sweep on the domestic front, won the title by a landslide margin and lifted the Romanian Cup again without breaking a sweat. On the more important front, the European one, we managed to win our Champions League group against all odds but then we got knocked out by Bayern Munich in the first round.  This episode will cover our summer of preparations for a new attempt to conquer the Champions League, with some good news and some pretty bad ones.

Good news first, I hear you say? OK, good news first :) The board decided to keep investing into the youth and training facilities, I think we have the best ones in the nation at the moment and, after these improvements are completed, our training facilities will be just as good as those you can find at any big European club.

Then I have to proudly report that the Romanian First League (Liga 1) is still moving up the European rankings ladder, that’s entirely good news even though the other Romanian teams are not helping us much with this effort.

Moreover, we moved up quite a few places in the European Club Rankings again, we’re on the brink of the top 20 and I believe that if we move inside that top 20 we might have a good chance of being seeded second instead of third in the Champions League group draws.

Our efforts preserved Romania‘s European qualification places and I hope that the other teams will give us a hand in increasing those numbers.

And that’s where the good news come to an end. Now let’s go for some so-so news: the initial budgets were not too impressive…

… and neither were the expectations budgets, even though the board got used to winning the title every season.

The bookmakers think that Rapid Bucharest might mount a real title challenge this season, I really hope that they are right because we need a strong domestic rival for a change.

And now, the bad news… I lost five of my first team players this summer, that’s the bad news. OK, one of them was going to be sold anyway, and that’s goalkeeper Alberto Maciel. The other four were sold because they were unwilling to extend their contracts that were going to run out in 2021, so I had no other choice than to cash in. We received quite a bit of money, that’s good, but we lost Hernan Prestia, Hernan Arangio, Steven Khumalo and Zezinho. Those are were big names for the club, especially the likes of Arangio or Zezinho, but I had little or no choice.

The even worse news is that I failed to find good enough replacements for all of those lads. Don’t get me wrong, there are quite a few good players on my shortlist but the best ones are not interested in joining our club at the moment and the other ones… well, the other ones are not good enough to spend loads of money on them. So I bought only two first team players, both of them strikers: Peter Guba, a quick and talented lad, and Guido van der Meulen, a young and very talented Dutch player.

As for the other replacements, I decided to go for in-house names and I promoted the following players from the under 19 team: Vaninho and Tomas Held, both goalkeepers, and Gabriel Neacsa, a Romanian midfielder. The two goalies are good and I think they can become even better, while Neacsa will be forced into the first team, mostly because there is a real shortage of good Romanian players and he’s the one showing the most potential in his generation.

Here’s how the squad looks, you can click the names to view the player profiles:

Goalkeepers: Tomas Held, Vaninho

Right backs: Ali Amara, Darko Andric

Left backs: Danut Gongolea, Sebastien Verdier

Centre backs: Georgica Dicu, Xavier Dumont, Juan Belencoso, Sammy Mbarga

Central midfielders: Hector Fernandez, Markus Winkler, Yasen Zlatinski, Joaozinho, Christian Kaufmann, Roman Benes, Gabriel Neacsa

Strikers: Rastislav Benko, Daniel Mazzoni, Manoel, Dramane Sow, Peter Guba, Guido van der Meulen

The bad news are over now, the pre-season and early season results were pretty good. We lifted the Romanian Super Cup again, no worries there, and we also smashed Benfica in a friendly. Then we recorded two consecutive draws in the Liga 1 but I’m not too worried about that, we were quite unlucky on both occasions.

The Champions League group stage draw was not necessarily good news, but not bad either considering we were seeded third. I admit that I would have preferred another second seed instead of FC Porto but I guess we can put up a fight for the second place in the group.

We have met FC Porto before twice, also in the Champions League group stage, and we clinched a 0-0 away draw and lost 2-1 at home, that was back in 2017. As for the other two teams, we’ll be facing them for the first time. The schedule doesn’t look too good either, especially because we’ll have to play the decisive last game away at FC Porto.

The Champions League odds are unchanged as far as we are concerned, we were 40-1 last season as well. However, it’s not good to see that Man United are among the top favourites…

But the post ends with good news, our financial situation is secure and I intend to save some money for next summer when I’m planning a few important signings. Well, if those players will be interested that is…

That’s all for now my friends, I guess this will most likely be a transition season because the squad does look a bit weaker than it was last season due to those five players leaving. But who knows, maybe it will turn out better? Your thoughts are expected in the comments section, as always.


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SearsMalhar BhadbhadeKevinMohammad SadekAcss Recent comment authors
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hey johnny i hope your season goes well, hopeully your team isnt so bad


The squad looks worse compared to last year, no offence. It sucks that you couldn’t get better back-ups, but I have to say the goalkeeping area looks impressive. The group is a hard one, but I can see you nicking second place.


Sadly you’ve hit the problem which was likely to come at some point, being a league which isn’t one of the big hitters. The league is still climbing up the rankings, so there is hope Romania will become more desirable country to play in.

It’s always frustrating when you have no choice but to let certain players go, especially when they are among the best in the team. The two keepers however look very impressive given their age. Hopefully you’ll be strong enough to achieve 2nd in the Champions League group, but it’s definitely not any easy draw, but could have been much worse I guess.


Hi Johnny,

It seems you are facing a tough task after losing five of your best players but the pre-season friendlies suggested otherwise. I am sure you have enough quality to retain the title in the domestic league and go through to the Champions League 1st knockout round.


Not the easiest pre-season you’ve ever had Johnny, but I still think this team is capable enough to give Porto a run for their money. Peter Guba and the two young goalkeepers both look decent although not as good as their predecessers.
The scheldule in Europe looks tough, as you would expect Porto to collect maximum points in their double header with the forth seeded team while you take on United. But looking forward to matchday six as that could easily be the deciding game…
Good Luck


I think you should be fine, there’s still a ton of talent on your roster. Bringing up the new kids was definitely the way to go. Getting them some solid playing time should go a long way in a couple of seasons. Looking forward to the updates!!!

Darren Smith

Well that was unfortunate Johnny, losing your best players is never easy and can feel like a real set back especially when the replacements you crave aren’t available. But as long as you can maintain the domestic dominance and hold your own in Europe then you can build again next season.


Zezinho looks like one of your best player which is a bad one but can I ask what logo pack you are using ?

Martin - F.M.J.S

Thats a tough Pre Season Johnny losing 5 players and I am sad to see Zezinho go but I am sure you will be ok without him. The start of the Season is positive and as for the CL I feel you will have a tough game against United but I think you should be able to get through to the 1st knockout round. :D

Tegar Triemanudigdo

Hmm….this could be tough, but hey, at least you’ve managed to secure good financial.

I’ll wait and see the new team of yours, mate.


Wow did not expect both Maciel and Prestia to be sold, the goalkeeping position looks a bit empty, hopefully the youngsters will step up, looks like a tough group again in the Champions League, hopefully you can get off to a good start against Sturm Graz

Hopefully the 15 million that you earned in transfers will be used to get some players in Johnny, your team is fairly highly ranked in Europe now too, and I would think that the quality of the facilities would make your team attract some great players

Good luck

Ana Garcia

Always hate that when in a smaller country, when you build up a great squad with lots of promising players then just as you make huge progress players wont sign contracts or your chairman steps in and sells your better players and its back to square one!

But I guess that’s part and parcel of the game, your squad may be slightly weaker than last year but you still have enough to do well this season.

Your group looks tricky due to the lost players but at least financially things are as good as they have ever been.

Good luck!! :)


Hey Johnny,

You lost some good players there but brought in a couple of good replacements too. The lads you brought up from your obviously prospering youth academy seem full of potential so there’s good news there! :)

I think that as long as you continue to dominate Romania then you can steadily build on the Champions League and maybe you just need some luck in that department to help you on your way. Your finances are looking great though and since you seem to have a pretty supportive board I think things can only get better and better.

Good luck!

Bence Répási

Hi Johnny!
Despite the losts of some great players your team is still very good, i doubt that Rapid can be a real contender this year, so you’ve got time to little bit reshape the club. The CL will be more trickier i think, since your club was drawed in a tough group, maybe the most realitsic goal is the Europa League, but i hope Constanta will prove me wrong!


Nice work Johnny and good luck for the season


It really seemed a challenge to keep your players at the club with all those interests in them, but I hope you’ll manage without them. Looking forward to see how this CL season goes, pretty tough group with Manchester and Porto there. Good luck! :)

Mohammad Sadek

I agree with you Johnny that all these difficulties make the story more enjoyable and it probes how you are good as a manager and i know you ‘ll do miracles again .

Mohammad Sadek

proves *


Hi Johnny

Just got back in from the UK. A very interesting summer with huge changes within your team. I very much like your new GK Tomas Held and Peter Guba seems to have settled in nicely and finding the back of the net. Tough Champions League group :(

Malhar Bhadbhade

hi johnny,
pity losing some of your best players, but as you said, its a transition period, so i think you will be fine in the long term. you are dominating domestically as usual, and in time, i’m sure you’ll be able to challenge for the premier league title. best of luck


Whoa, that was a big clear out but the extra cash will be put to good use! Tough looking CL group but I hope you prevail, good luck!

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