It is a sign of the progress made that you feel your team is an established side, which it most definitely is! Onwards and upwards!
23/24 End of season Review
The key was to keep the momentum going for the rest of the season as we bid for our fifth league title and our first domestic double with a little European adventure on top.
The Winter transfer window opened and there was a little business for us. I said in my last update we were well stocked at centre back and if a good offer came i would be tempted to let someone go. Well that happened, although it was a little out of my control as Werder Bremen matched Alexander Hack's minimum release fee of £3m and the German was on his way out of the club. It wasn't the greatest fee but as a non Pole he helps me in my quest to add more Polish talent to the side.
We did replace though as we loaned in 21 year old Polish centre half Janusz Filipowicz from Hamburg for the rest of the season to be our fourth choice for the rest of the season. Secondly we also purchased a new goalkeeper as Antonis Stergiakis joins from our feeder club Slavia Sofia for £1.3m but was immediately loaned back to them for the rest of the season. The 24 year old Greek is better than Mora and Bodart and it will likely mean one of them will leave next season.
On the pitch - Domestically
With 4 games to go we had our 5th League title in the bag as the boys finished the job off despite have a little wobble (4 games without a win) towards the back end of the season.
In terms of performances against other seasons it was right up there. Our best year for goals scored (71) and our best defensively by some way (Just 20 conceded) but it was our 2nd best points total (6 behind our best). A few too many defeats for me and we were lucky Korona drew so many games as they were a real tough nut to crack this season and seem to have leapfrogged Legia and Lech as my main competition with both sides really struggling this season.
However, the real icing on the cake was that we finally won the Polish Cup giving me a historic double (treble if you count the SuperCup which i dont) as we went the whole tournament without conceding adding a 1-0 win over Legia, a 1-0 over Gornik Zabrze and a 2-0 win in the final over Zaglebie Lubin to give Cracovia their 1st ever Polish Cup
On the pitch - Europe
Unfortunately though our European adventure post Christmas was a short one. The first leg in Krakow was a brilliant back and forth game for the neutral but we conceded twice and despite winning 3-2 on the night i knew our away form in Europe is just not strong enough and it wasn't as we lost 3-0 to Roma to go out of the competition.
Still a great performance and one that has lifted Poland up to 13th in the Coefficients meaning in two years time we will have 2 Champions League spots and if we win the league we will go into the 3rd Qualifying round rather than the 1st which is a massive start. It also might mean some competition domestically as the money from Europe might allow some teams to compete with me.
As a season it has been great and the trio of Anders Trondsen, Branimir Hrgota and Lyle Foster banged the goals in for us all season. Trondsen once again walked away with the fans player of the year and was one of 10 players selected in the Leagues team of the year as we won pretty much every award going (Other than me as i didnt win manager of the season!)
So the real question is where do we go from here? Well we need some more homegrown talent as we are desperately short on that front and that will be one of the things i will look at as i try and move some foreign lads on and buy local talent. It will cost a lot though as the Polish clubs want some astronomical fees for their better players but in reality it might help make the game more competitive as i flood them with money, they buy better and all of a sudden I am building a nation rather than just this one club.
We will also have the vultures looking as Foster, Nwakali, Trondsen, Tourinaghia, Portanova and Dudl are all being chased by some big clubs. I expect i will sell one or two but only if some big bids come in and if i can get some decent reinforcements for next season.
Onto Season 7!