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The Nearly Men

A story of redemption
Started on 28 June 2019 by JT
Latest Reply on 8 September 2019 by TheLFCFan

So firstly this post does not signal the end of my Cracovia adventure as that is still going strong in my 7th season with a nice little victory in my first group game of the Champions League. This instead is a 2nd adventure to go alongside it.

What is this adventure? Well it is a story of redemption. A story as old as time itself. First we should understand the definition of the word

the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil
So how does all of this relate to Football Manager? Well for a select group of teams they got to the holy land of the Champions League final and almost became Champions of Europe for the first time. However, they all slipped at the final hurdle and never got their hands on the title. For these teams they blew their biggest moment, their chance to rule Europe and they have never got to right that wrong.

With a new addition this year to the list, it feels like the right time to try and take these former finalists one step further and lift the Champions League trophy for the first time and to right the wrongs they faced previously. So the clubs in question are

Atletico Madrid (1974, 2014,2016)
Reims (1956, 1959)
Valencia (2000, 2001)
Fiorentina (1957)
Eintracht Frankfurt (1960)
Partizan Belgrade (1966)
Panathinaikos (1971)
Leeds United (1975)
Saint Etienne (1976)
Borussia Gladbach (1977)
Club Brugge (1978)
Malmo FF (1979)
Roma (1984)
Sampdoria (1992)
Bayer Leverkusen (2002)
Monaco (2004)
Arsenal (2006)
Tottenham (2019)

So the aim of the save is to take as many of these teams to Champions League glory in what is essentially a Journeyman save. I can only manage clubs that are on this list but of course this list can change and adapt as the seasons role on. If the AI takes one of these clubs to glory they are exempt from the challenge but if a new club gets to the final for the first time and loses they are a newly eligible club.

The first question is where do i start?
Good luck! I remember you originally starting a story like this when you first came to FM Scout. I hope this story is every bit as successful and more. I would personally love to see you start with one of the smaller clubs, like Malmo, but I'm intrigued to see who you go.
2019-06-28 09:12#258088 ScottT : Good luck! I remember you originally starting a story like this when you first came to FM Scout. I hope this story is every bit as successful and more. I would personally love to see you start with one of the smaller clubs, like Malmo, but I'm intrigued to see who you go.

Thanks Scott. I did indeed do one of these saves last year with Stade Reims so you can almost rule them out. Almost but not definitely.
Goodluck with this, JT.
JT's avatar Group JT
5 yearsEdited

Leeds United

Sorry to disappoint Scott but i didn't go Malmo to start as i went a little closer to home with Leeds United. So why Leeds? Well out of all of the teams they are technically the furthest from their goal of redemption being outside of the top flight. Something that has been the case for 15 years with the last 8 seasons being spent in the Championship. A former big club in England and a Champion of England in 1992, this club now deserves it's redemption. So i have thrown out Bielsa and taken charge myself as it is time Leeds are back in the Premiership challenging for glory.

I would normally give a bit of history on the club but you all should be pretty familiar with the side. They have 3 league titles to their name, 1 Fa Cup, 1 League Cup and 2 Fairs Cups. Most of which were won in the heydays of the 1970's, and it is back to the 1970s we must go to understand why this club is on the list

1975 European Cup Final

Now for many a Leeds fan this final is the most controversial final of all time. I will of course let you make your own minds up but this day has gone down in History for Leeds fans as they felt that they should have been crowned champions in Paris instead of Bayern Munich.

Bayern were the reigning champions having beaten Atletico Madrid the previous year and were the strong favourites to retain their title. The match itself was a feisty affair with Leeds putting in some rough challenges injuring a couple of the Bayern players. However, Leeds fans prefer to concentrate on the two penalties that were never given and Peter Lorimers goal that was wrongfully disallowed for a sign that the game was rigged. Now nothing was ever proven but two goals in the second half for Bayern gave them their 2nd European cup in as many years. The Leeds fans went on to riot and got their club banned from Europe for a few years as they claimed conspiracy

That was the closet they came and now it is time to right those wrongs. So let's look at the squad as it stands.

Current Squad

So the squad that i inherit is largely a decent one and it reflects our predicted finish of 4th and a run at the play-offs. In goal we have Kiko Casilla who is experienced and probably better than the Championship. A commanding figure and with young Bailey Peacock-Farrell we look good in goal. The first choice defence looks perfect for this level with Jansson and Cooper being strong centre halfs with Ayling, Douglas and Berardi all decent and competent full backs. The problem is the complete lack of depth and with just 6 defenders in the squad we are going to have to look at bringing in some reinforcements.

Kalvin Phillips is a good central midfielder and Pablo Hernandez despite being 33 has the attributes to not only score but create a lot for this side. With the exciting Jack Clarke in the side the midfield has plenty of options as to how we will set up. With the main goal threat coming from Kemar Roofe and Patrick Bamford who are going to be up there in the race for the Golden boot.

We have £2.5m and just £15k per week to make any changes with the main concentration being on a left back and a centre half to get us through the season. The Championship can be a real slog at times and with Cooper injured to start the season and Jansson away on holiday because of the World Cup we will need to strengthen quickly.

So there we have it. Team selected and the adventure begins. Any tips, advice, players i should be looking out for. Let me know.
I may be slightly disappointed by your selection, but Jack will be really pleased as a Leeds hooligan. ;)
Don't mind Scott, he supports the worst professional team in England.
2019-06-28 16:12#258104 Justice : Don't mind Scott, he supports the worst professional team in England.
Explains how we survived in League One against all the odds x

Leeds United - 18/19 Summer window

Transfer Window

It has been a relatively quiet transfer window for me in Yorkshire as i looked to add some finishing touches to help round out the squad for what is a hard slog of the Championship. We were short in the defensive areas in particular and that is where i concentrated my search to start off with. For a solid centre half option i did look at Mavropanos of Arsenal but he refused to come on loan and Portsmouth didnt seem keen to sell me Matt Clarke or Jack Whatmough so it was off to France i went as we loaned in 18 year old Boubacar Kamara from Marseille to be the 3rd choice centre half for the season. With Cooper's injury and Jansson returning late from holiday he will be needed in the early stages to step in and i think he can do that.

It was than to left back and this one was much simpler as we simply cancelled the loan of Tom Pearce who was out at Scunthorpe and the 20 year old is another good young option for when Douglas needs a rest. The final move was to add another body in the midfield, with Hernandez the only solid option at AMC with Klich able to step in, i just wanted another option and it was back to the Emirates as we loaned in Joe Willock. I had great success with a Mezzala at Cracovia and i rate this guy highly in real life so i am hoping he can adapt nicely to the system here.

Outgoing wise, there was a lot of talk about Jansson, Phillips, Clarke and Roofe being the subject of bids but none materialised and instead i loaned out a number of young players to get some game time whilst selling a couple who were never going to make the grade of the Championship let alone the Premiership.

On the field

Now i had a lot of success in Poland with a controlled possession in a 4-2-3-1 formation and that was how i wanted to play here in Leeds. If it could work in Poland than it could work in England right? Well yes and no as August had some mixed results. A great opening day win over Stoke got my hopes up but than we struggled against Derby going 2-0 down before managing to hit back with 2 goals of our own to avoid defeat. A dogged 1-0 win in the Carabao cup over Accrington didn't fill me with hope and another laboured result against Rotherham and Swansea started to knock my confidence a little bit.

The Norwich game saw some awful defending but the bright spots from the match were when we moved to a 4-4-2 with an AMR and an AML. Having Bamford and Roofe up top together, gives us a better dimension and we suddenly look like we might be able to put away some of the chances we created. It showed in the 2nd round of the Carabao cup as we blitzed Newcastle 3-1 at St James Park before doing the same 3 days later to Middlesbrough in another 3-1 victory.

All in all a pretty encouraging start as have taken on some of the tougher sides in the League and we have progressed nicely in the Carabao cup where we have Stoke at home in the 3rd Round in what is another winnable tie. So far so good here in Leeds
An encouraging start, but a steady start. Hopefully you'll be able to improve on this over the next few months. The Championship is a tough, unpredictable division, though!

Leeds United - September & October 2018

On the field

11 More matches played over the last two months and a whopping 9 clean sheets tells you the story of how it is going. Defensively we are superb right now and we just don't give away many chances to the opposition and when we do, Kiko Casilla is stopping pretty much everything. After 16 games he has an average rating of 7.01 which as we know is almost unheard of from a goalkeeper. However, it would be wrong to put it down just to Casilla, as it is evident the defence is doing their bit as every defender we have played is averaging over a 7 right now with Barry Douglas being the pick of the defenders with 2 assists from left back and looking a real threat going forward.

If there was to be one complaint it would be that we are not finishing teams off as easily as we should be. Some games we are getting 20+ shots on goal but coming away with just 1, whilst in other games we struggle to make 6 shots and come out with a 0-0 draw. So we need a bit more of an attacking flow at times but Patrick Bamford has been the star though leading the Goal charts (8) and Assist Charts (4) and without him we would be a little lost this year.

Up to 2nd in the league and in a bun fight with Norwich, Wigan and Sheffield Wednesday for an automatic spot. If we can carry on defending the way we are than we have every chance of keeping this going. We have also been in Carabao cup action with Stoke in the 3rd round eventually put away on a Penalty shoot out with back up keeper Peacock-Farrell being the hero saving two penalties. The 4th round saw us against Everton at Elland Road and it was another team performance as Stuart Dallas smashed him in a worldie to put us through to the Quarter finals where we will take on Arsenal.

All in all the charge is on and we have the Premiership in our sights
Big leap on the table in cuthroat division! Nice!

Leeds United - November & December 2018

On the field

Unbelievelably we hit 2019 still with just the one defeat under my management as November and December saw us slip a little defensively but the attacking power was more on display as we continue to hunt a Premiership spot for next season.

An incredibly healthy gap over the play-off spots of 9 points and 17 from the side just outside the play-offs surely means we should be getting an Automatic spot come end of the season. It than comes down to, can we catch Norwich who are also on a very long undefeated streak and take the Championship title back to Elland Road. We both have the joint best defence in the league whilst their attack has been a little more potent than ours hence they have the 5 point gap on us for now.

However, all i can do is concentrate on ourselves as we have moved back to the original 4-2-3-1 with Kemar Roofe really struggling to get among the goals. It does mean at times Patrick Bamford has to do it by himself and his 14 goals puts him joint top scorer in the league. Our defence are still the top performers for us on the field whilst we have struggled a bit to get our talented wingers and central midfielders playing well consistently. However, towards the end of December Jack Harrison improved and young Jack Clarke is starting to get going giving me a little bit more hope.

However, the biggest result of the period was the League Cup Quarter final where we managed to hold Arsenal to a 0-0 draw and beat them 4-3 on penalties thanks to Kiko Casilla this time saving penalties from Lacazette and Xhaka to send us through to the Semi finals. Its only Man City in the way so no biggie and probably no hope of an unexpected Cup victory but the run has been amazing. Hopwefully something similar in the FA Cup where we have a Yorkshire Derby against Barnsley.

Now we do need some reinforcements for the rest of the season. Eunan O'Kane is off to Hull having not played a game and the likes of Klich and Alioski are attracting interest and out of the side more than in so both could leave to free up some more funds. Right now i am probably looking for a 2nd option for the AMC slot with just Hernandez half decent there and maybe another striker as Roofe is just not cutting yet which might mean Taylor Roberts leaving on Loan at the very least.

It could be a busy little Winter break with FA Cup, Carabao Cup and some important Championship games to go. Either way... the Leeds party is rolling on
In a strong position, just have to keep going from strength-to-strength to maintain a promotion push!
Looking good at the moment. Norwich and yourselves are forming a strong gap to the sides closest to you and if you can continue to maintain these results, you'll be celebrating promotion at the end of the season. A great achievement in beating Arsenal in the Carabao Cup - Man City may be a step too far, but who knows! Best of luck there, it would be astonishing if you could find a route to the final.

You are reading "The Nearly Men".

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