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The Luke Henderson Story

Finding a way in Scottish football
Started on 22 December 2019 by Luke Henderson
Latest Reply on 23 June 2020 by TheLFCFan

#054 - Thank you Rangers!
10/05/2027 -- Finally a bit of luck is joining us! We finished fifth and Rangers has won the Scotch Cup, which gives us the opportunity to play European Football next season. Although it’s nothing more than the European Conference League, but I’m glad anyway. It’s the first European qualification for Hearts in 4 years time and for me personally the very first time ever! Although our last matches this season weren’t that great, but who gives a fuck! Against Partick Thistle and Livingston (both at home) we played a very sloppy game and away against Rangers, when the fifth place was already secured, they made quite clear we have a very long way to go. We only collected five points more in comparison with last season, which isn’t a huge step forward to be honest. But, we finished fifth and won a prize, that’s all what counts. From now one we need to finish at least fifth every season, but of course I’m hoping we slightly can achieve more throughout the next seasons.

But the big question is, will Henderson stay at Hearts? The answer is yes! At the end the board has decided to lengthen my contract with another two years. It’s the only possible and right decision I think. We handled to win the first price within fifteen years, we qualified ourselves for European football and maybe the most important fact: nearly all of the players are together with me and still having faith in my working methods. So, we go further with Hearts, but it isn’t really surprising if I tell you there is still a bunch of work to do before we can compete with the best clubs in the league. First I will summarize our players achievements throughout the last season and which ones of them are staying and which guys are going to leave us.

Squad performances
Goalkeeper Zander Clark didn’t convince me that much, so at some point I give Stone and Graham a fair chance. But they didn’t proved themselves either. So you could say Clark is the less worse option I have. He has a contract for another year and he will be my first goalkeeper next season as well. Although he didn’t saved points for us, he is one of the few players with good leadership attributes, so we have to deal with him another season. Thereafter I will start searching for an upgrade. Stone and Graham are the back-up goalkeepers again.

We didn’t have the money for replacing everyone (that’s mainly the reason why Clark will be the first goalkeeper again), but our last line needs some improvement for sure. Nix and Pugh didn’t achieve really bad, but it wasn’t great either. We send them back to their own clubs and we probably will never hear anything about them anymore. Although I will remember Nix for his magnificent goal against Hamilton in the dying seconds of the game, which saves a point for us. Also Tom Field is going to leave us. The 30-year old Irishman didn’t add much to our style of play and he is running out of his contract. We will searching for a new left full-back, but most likely Ian Imrie will be our new left full-back. He is not a great header, which makes him vulnerable in a position as a centre back, but as a full-back I think he will be decent. Centre backs Findlay and Williams will stay and also right wing-back Anthony Ralston will be here for another year. But five defenders is not enough obvious, so we will search for two new centre backs and a right full-back who can compete with Ralston.

In our midfield central playmakers Cochrane and Mimnaugh played quite well. Both are staying of course. Lloyd Kenny is developing himself very well as a right midfielder, so this 17-year old talent from our own youth system will definitely staying. Left midfielder Scullion performed also quite good and Kyle McAllister can play nearly everywhere, which is really useful. Both of them are staying with us either. But all other midfielders are leaving us. Clare and Deli already signed a contract at their new club, Docherty is running out of his contract also and Liam Henderson didn’t has enough quality. The 31-midfielder is still under contract, but we are trying to sell him this transfer window for sure. Kevin Brown is returning to Portsmouth, he acted as a back-up player for Scullion, but the couple of times I used him as a substitute he played really really awful. Once he collected two yellow cards within ten minutes after he was brought in (which costs us points as well) and from then on I was already done with him to be honest. So we are going ahead with only five midfielders. That means we need at least three new guys here.

Our strikers did quite well. Tompkins performed much better and his value is growing steadily. If one of the interested clubs made him an offer for around £25,000,000 I will probably sell him. Mainly because we need the money. Celtic loanie Easton did his job, but for next season we are trying to buy a solid second striker ourselves. Masson and Saunders are still very young, with 18-year old Saunders looking really promising. One of them will probably send on loan next season if we can buy a proper second striker next to Tompkins. So, we are going further with fourteen of our players. We have some money in the bank for doing transfer, but it isn’t that much. I think we are heavily dependent to attract some free agents, wherefor playing European football might be an important benefit to interest players for joining Hearts.

After all the panic about whether you would survive the season with Hearts, I'm glad it has ended positively. Hopefully this is the start to you enjoying a more successful run with them.

#055 - Rangers, just fuck off please…

12/08/2027 -- Two months ago we loved them. Now we are hating them, just as we always did before. We lost our first league game against them in a fully loaded Tynecastle Stadium. Sadly. Although it was a spectacular match for the neutral football fan, I can’t remember we gave away goals so easily: 3-5. One penalty (which wasn’t a penalty to be honest) a free kick which hits the crossbar and passed the white line by only one millimetre, two terrible mistakes from our defenders and only one decent field goal after a solid counter (their last goal in the additional time after we played very attacking to force a late equalizer). It wasn’t our day obvious, but at least we gave them a game. Which is a huge step forward in comparison with our last game against Rangers at the end of last season.

The next league game wasn’t great either, but a bit unlucky as well. Dundee United scored a goal from the only chance they’ve got, which is another indication Clark isn’t a goalkeeper who is going to save points for us at some moment. Luckily our new signed player Perry Storey banged in a missile close in front of the goal fifteen minutes before the end of the match, for which we earned a point. Although we deserved far more. In between we played our first matches in the European Conference League. The first round was an easy 9-0 victory on aggregate against Lechia Gdansk and the first game away in the third qualifying round against Olimpija from Slovenia results in a very solid 4-0 win. In the fourth round (I’m pretty sure we are going to make it) we could play against Sankt Gallen or Steaua Boekarest. Which give us a fair opportunity for reaching into the group stage, which is my (and the board) main goal. It could be far worse if we had drawn against Porto, Dinamo Kiev or Milan for example. Finally I have shown our current financial situation, to give you an idea it’s nearly impossible to buy players!

Our newbies!
But you can attract good players without a lot of money though. Although the fact we are playing European football now is also helping us I suppose. The first guy who joined us is called Ryan Burke. A decent left full-back from Aberdeen who is definitely an upgrade in comparison with Field and the competitor of Ian Imrie. We payed £500,000 for him. The fact we are buying players from Aberdeen is making clear they are still years ahead of us. Currently we are busy to loan another left full-back, but I’m delaying the deal because I’m not sure yet. Next time you will hear if he joined us or not.

On the right hand side of our last line we bought 19-year old talent Tony Bryson from Motherwell. He didn’t cost that much, so I thought I give it a try. His physicals are brilliant, his mental state okay, but technically… Well let me say there is some room for development! His wage isn’t really much either, so if he fails we can sell him next year immediately. Mark Vincent is our new centre back from Leicester City. We wanted him already last year, but he chose for another club. Now he wants to Join Hearts on loan and he seems a beast. Not the best header in the world, but he is going to battle with Findlay and Strang for the second position next to Ro-Shaun Williams who’s status for being a starting player is quite secured. Strang is the player who I mentioned earlier before and the guy who not fully convinced me yet. He was on loan last year, but I decide to give him a fair chance. It should be not for nothing that all the big clubs are chasing him isn’t it? So far he achieved quite well to be honest.

In our midfield we did a good job either. We signed Lewis Ferguson (from Aberdeen again) and Englishman Ronan Darcy, both on a free. Ferugson will be more like a back-up player, but Darcy looks pretty damn good. A very all-round central midfielder without any big weaknesses. He is valued at £8,500,000 which isn’t bad for a free agent! But that’s not all. We also bought Callum Caldwell from Norwich City for £750,000. The 23-year old Scotchmen didn’t played that much in is his career so far, but still seems a talented player. He is very technical, quite pacey and always trying to search for the ‘killing’ ball. For some reason I have some good expectations from him!

Up front we searched for a solid second striker next to Tompkins. Although Masson and Saunders are looking very promising, they are just too young for carrying the whole team. Although our new guy isn’t that old either, he is far more experienced in comparison with Masson and Saunders. One of my scouts found this tank! Let me introduce you Perry Storey. You could spot him easily between all our other players. With 2,00 meters tall he is our largest player in the squad, although he’s not the best header in the world. But given his posture he has some really good physical attributes, is very technical and a good finisher. I think he could become a king together with Tompkins! Because we bought Storey we decided to send Masson on loan. Saunders will be our back-up striker. As already said he is a very promising youngster who I will give as many play-time as possible.

We also handled to sell Liam Henderson. English Championship side Crewe Alexander made a bid of around £850,000 for him which isn’t that bad for a 31-year old guy with only a one-year contract left. So, at the end we’ll take it. Well, that’s all it for now. The transfer-window is open for another two and a half weeks, but this is pretty much it already I think. Currently we have 22 players in the squad, ideally I’m working with 23 players, especially if we are reaching the group stage of the European Conference League. So maybe one more guy will join us, most likely on loan because our transfer budget has dropped till £1,000,000 which I definitely want to keep. Summarized I think we did a really good job this transfer window. A good mixture of youngsters and players who are mid-twenty joined us, most of them Scottish as well (for some reason the flags are not shown in the playes profile anymore, maybe because of the new patch I guess). I think the squad should be good enough for at least finishing fifth again. Maybe battling for the fourth place is just a little bit too much of an ask currently, but I definitely want to come far more closer to Aberdeen, Hibernian, Rangers and Celtic then last season.
Some good signings there. I especially like Ronan Darcy. He will be a very useful asset to have.

#056 - Form dropped after difficult fixtures

16/10/2027 -- After we handled to win eight matches in a row, which didn’t happen before since Luke Henderson acts like a football manager, our run ended in misery because of a couple of difficult matches in a row. But before these matches all seems okay, with qualifying ourselves for the European Conference League group stage being our main highlight. We beat Sankt Gallen, a decent team from Switzerland, but a golden Joe Tompkins scored a hattrick in the away game and granted us £2,500,000 prize money, which we need really hard. In the group stage we are facing Dundalk, Gent and Shakhter Soligorsk. I think there are definitely opportunities for us to extend our European presence over the winter period. We scored three points already out of the first two matches, although we deserved a little bit more out of the away game against the most difficult opponent in our group, Gent.

Our bad run started with a defeat against Celtic. Of course Celtic. They are still by far the best team in the league and gaining a point against them will always be a lucky one currently rather than we deserved it. The away game against our main rivals Hibernian is always hard, but they are struggling a little bit. But two fatal mistakes from one of our most reliable players (Ro-Shaun Wlliams) grants them a 2-0 lead before half time. But after the pause we scraped ourselves together and fought us back in the game, with substitute Reegan Mimnaugh saving a point for us with a beautiful free kick. The match thereafter we faced Celtic again, this time in the third round of the League Cup, which we won last year. Because of our busy schedule I send a lot of reserve players on, which Celtic did as well. It was a close game, but one moment lacking concentration delivered them the late winning goal. If we could beat them than it must have happened today…

The next game we played against Gent. We played pretty well, but one genius moment from their striker (who is paid £42,000 per week, three times as more than our best paid player) was enough for losing the game. It’s was his first goal of the season as well. Of course it was... Okay, time to end this bad run of form. We are far better than it currently looks like, but the schedule is not really in our favour. Ross County would be a perfect chance to turnover our bad run. But despite having twenty changes, hitting the woodwork twice and their keeper who saved their asses more than once it wasn’t our day obvious. They even win the match almost after their only shot on goal from distance hits the woodwork and via the back of Clark almost passed the line. But he was able to grabs the ball just in time. That should really pissed me off if that one was getting in…

One more player joined us
The transfer window is closed and we handled to buy one more player. We don’t need him that much, but he seemed a prospect for the future. We made a bid for him last winter already, which was accepted and we had an agreement as well with him personally, but he couldn’t receive a valid work permit… He is from Peru, so he really needs one. But we are not give up that soon and tried it again. Our deal was almost the same, so now we had to ask for a work permit again. After it was rejected for the second time we appealed and thereafter his work permit was suddenly granted for the time of his contract, three years from now on. So we can present you Santiago Rey, a promising right full-back with some really good figures for his key attributes. He is just nineteen years old and my scouts do believe he has some great potential. He will probably not play that many this season, but I think next season we can slightly bring him in if he develops himself as our scouts do believe. Underneath I’ve shown our total overview as well for all the transfers we completed this window.

Unlucky against Gent. You do have a good chance of progressing in that group. The league title doesn't give an accurate reading at the moment. You have some attractive games coming up which will shoot you up the table if you manage to navigate through them as I expect you will. Good luck!

#057 - Yeah, show me some green folks

16/12/2027 -- We finally showed our fans some sexy football! After our undeserved draw against Ross County we played a whole bunch of brilliant games. During the first eight matches after the Ross County game we scored an astonishing amount of 34 goals. For the first time since I’m here I feel some confidence before a game rather than hoping for another good result. The current 4-4-2 tactic works very good to be honest, with almost every player in our midfield capable of scoring goals, which is a huge benefit. Although our lack of back-up players for both the right and left wing position is a bit of a problem. It’s still an outcome for the period when we had to sell almost all our wingers because of work permit issues. The two weeks period without official games couldn’t become on a better moment. All the seven matches before we had to puzzle a lot to establish a fresh team every time, but for some reason we managed to balance the team enough despite having some injuries and tired players. That’s the reason we scored a lot less goals suddenly, but as long as we are winning these kind of matches I’m definitely not complaining. We have won 9 matches (and still counting) in a row in the league currently, which brought us in the fourth position at the table. We could say we are some kind of battling with the top teams as well, so my main goal for this season is already fulfilled.

In the meantime we also managed to qualify ourselves for the next phase of the European Conference League, which I’m very happy with (and the board as well). Sadly we couldn’t win the second game against Gent at home, otherwise we had finished first in the group and gaining some extra benefits for the draw. Now we are facing Galatasaray in the next round; surely a tough opponent. But to be honest I’m already pleased we reached this far.

For a while goalkeeper Zander Clark was injured, so we had to bring in Stone again. Not ideal, but he is achieving quite well so far to be honest. However, I’m in a search for another first goalkeeper again, which is very hard to find actually. Clark is getting old now and his physicals are dropping heavily, currently even more because of his 3 months recovery time after he picked up an injury at the training. I found only one interesting goalkeeper who’s contract is expiring at the end of this season, but he is asking way to much money. So I have to wait until the end of the season I guess when we receive some good prize money hopefully, so I can give it another try (if he hasn’t signed another deal by the time). I’m also busy for hiring an extra left or right midfielder for the rest of the season. We really need some extra squad depth for this two positions, especially if we survive a couple of more rounds in the Scotch Cup and European Conference League. Hopefully I can reveal some more news after the upcoming winter transfer-window.

Note: Thanks Scott, appreciate it! As you have seen we performed really good the last period, so hopefully we can extend our current run of form as long as possible. I think we already lost to many points to compete with Celtic, but we are making progress in comparison with the last two seasons, which is a good thing. Coming up next: can we extend our unbeaten run in the league and could we compete with Galatasaray in the European Conference League knock-out phase?
Brilliant form! Massive improvement lately and hopefully this is just the start.

#058 - Nobody can stop us now!

01/03/2028 -- It’s official now: We are definitely on fire! Before the winter period we played brilliant already, but we managed to extend our amazing run of form the next two months as well. From the 14 matches we played since the last update we only lost once and played one draw. Remarkably both against Saint Mirren in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup, because of which we are knocked out... I didn’t even played with reserve players or something, I just strongly have the feeling this is one of the famous ‘under the carpet’ AI settings in FM which is saying that you aren’t allowed to go further in the cup this year. Both matches we were the better team, but the ridiculous return in our own stadium, with Saint Mirren scoring three amazing goals from distance even strengthen my feelings more that I’m definitely FM’d this time... But to be honest, I wasn’t really disappointed about this result. In the next round we had to play against Hibernian away, another tough opponent. We wish Saint Mirren all the best against our rivals.

The fact I’m not even disappointed about our knock-out says everything about our current run of form in the competition and the European Conference League as well. Our winning streak in the league is still going on, with the counter currently sticks at an amazing amount of seventeen(!) victories in a row. Could you believe? I definitely not at the beginning of this season. But it isn’t bringing us much further at the table actually. Celtic is winning almost as much as we did, so we are still behind them, currently with a gap of eight points, although we have a game in hand. The most satisfying result over the last two months was the game against Rangers, without any doubts. For the first time we managed to win a game against one of the two big clubs from Glasgow, in their own fully loaded Ibrox as well. A bit luckily to be honest, but we don’t give a fuck! In the second half we turned the game around, with two goals from youngster Lee Saunders, who is scoring very frequently. The second goal was a terrible mistake from their goalkeeper, who is on loan from Chelsea. This is the same goalkeeper I mentioned in the last update and who I wanted so much at the end of this season, when he is running out of his contract. Maybe I have to consider it once more, ha-ha!

But our amazing results aren’t limited to the league only. We also blown away Galatasaray in the first knock-out round of the European Conference League. What was believed to be a really tough opponent didn’t looked like that in any way. We smashed them with an astonishing 12-1(!) on aggregate. Although their players didn’t seemed very motivated for this tiny and unimportant third European Cup, it’s a huge shame they concede twelve goals over two matches. But, I’m not complaining at all, for us this is a huge prize and I want to reach as far as possible. In the next round we are facing Aarhus Forening from Denmark. Although they loaned in a couple of very good players from all over Europe, I definitely think we have a good chance for reaching into the quarter finals! Hmmm, maybe it’s not good saying these kind of things…

Although many of our players are performing really well, I’m especially delighted with the current achievements of Reegan Mimnaugh and Daniel Scullion. We bought both players for a very little amount of money two-and-a-half year ago, but their value is almost ten times as more right now. Scullion was even designated as a player who was superfluous whilst at Aberdeen. How big should be their regret? It must be huge. At least I will if I was at Aberdeen the day they let him go. At a first sight Scullion doesn’t seemed a brilliant player, but almost all of his key attributes are very good. Beside of that he is a good finisher, despite his finishing has an attribute of only 7. He scored sixteen goals already in all competitions this far, a huge amount for a left midfielder I would say. He even reached into the Scottish national team and earned two caps!

Mimnaugh is our Max Ashmore. You will remember him I think. He was our playmaker and one of the best players at Spartans. But his attributes didn’t looked very great. Exactly the same counts for Reegan Mimnaugh. Although his passing and vision are really good and very important for a central midfielder, most of his other attributes are just average; or at least not very spectacular in either way. But he is kicking ass on the pitch. Together with Cochrane he is one of the key players in our tactic we use (balanced 4-4-2). There’s another big benefit: Mimnaugh is also a great free kick taker. I think mainly because of his visions though. He frequently scored a free kick himself, but is also capable for crossing balls perfectly into the opponents box, giving one of our defenders or strikers good opportunities to score a goal from set-pieces. Beside Mimnaugh and Scullion I also have to give some credits to our strikers. Tompkins, Storey and Saunders are really enjoying scoring goals. I had some doubts about Tompkins when I bought him because he wasn’t very ambitious, but he proved himself pretty much. Hopefully we can keep them at Hearts for next season as well, I’m pretty sure there will be some big interest for them at the end of this season.

Note: There are twelve more games to play in the league from now on and at least two more in Europe as well. I’m probably coming back to you guys with one more update before the end of the season, I think at the point we have to play the last three or four matches in the league. And, who knows, maybe the final phase of the European Conference League as well. Stay tuned!
Wow! A great run continues and what a victory over Galatasaray!

#059 - Preparing ourselves for the final push

16/04/2028 -- After we did won our second knock-out round matches against Danish side Aarhus Forening and so qualifying ourselves for the quarter final, we had to play against Gent for the third and fourth time this season. We faced them before in the group stage (0-1 and 2-2) and we know this Belgium club is pretty good. They have a lot of players who are paid much more than £2,000,000 a year and valued over some £20,000,000. They are battling to win the Belgium league and eliminated Tottenham Hotspur in the round before. Although we did a good job we were a bit unlucky in both matches. In our home game they scored the 2-2 equalizer in the 90+4th minute after a crucial missed header from Strang with Lopez profiting from it with scoring a magnificent goal from outside the box in the upper left corner of the goal… He also scored the first goal, and so increasing his season total to three goals. Of course he did, but why always against us? In the return Mimnaugh forced an early goal with an amazing strike, but just one minute later he heads in a stupid own goal. In the second half Tompkins missed a penalty for 1-2 which could bring us into a very comfortable position, but soon afterwards Gent scored the 2-1 by them self which was our breaking point for sure. We tried to force the equalizer, but the players were just to tired to create anything. At the end they even scored the 3-1. Overall they probably deserved to survive this round, but I strongly had the feeling we could do more.

But I’m quite happy with our performances in Europe this season. We won a lot of games, granting Scotland a whole bunch of points for the coefficient list. Maybe we can profit from it as well in the upcoming seasons. In the league we did our job, although the last few weeks we are struggling a bit. Mainly because our busy schedule we have a lot of tired players and on top of that our defenders are not performing well currently. But, we managed to win most of the games, only the home match against Hamilton was quite bad. It was the first loss after we handled to win 21 matches in a row (for which I earned the Catenaccio batch from Steam, something I never achieved before in FM as far I know of!).

We are second in the league currently, but surpassing Celtic is too much of an ask I guess. Although we have to play against them in the second-last game of the season at Celtic Park. If we manage to win that game and Celtic is suddenly losing the other two, than we have a small chance to become the champion, but realistically spoken that probably won’t happen. But he, who could even believe that we are here currently! We had a brilliant season so far, and if we win our game in hand against Motherwell we have a gap of 9 points over Rangers. Meaning that one single point out of the last three matches will be enough for finishing second and so qualifying ourselves for the next season Champions League preliminary rounds! It’s an amazing achievement I would say, although the board is still a little bit disappointed that we couldn’t compete with Celtic from the beginning… Get a life dudes!

After the last four matches I’m back again with a seasonal overview; you will be quite amazed by the performances from most of the players I think. Furthermore I will decide which players are going to leave us and which ones are staying, and summarize were we need to strengthen the squad for next season. The only concern I have is our financial situation. Our amount of money in the bank is around zero currently. If we are finishing second we are receiving around £7,300,000 of prize money from the league position and hopefully we receive some TV money from our European campaign as well. We really need it, otherwise I think we can’t offer big wages, with not being capable for attracting better players than we already have as a result. But, maybe our status as a Champions League side (if we finish 2nd) can help us for attracting players.
This season looks set to be the year you break the big two. Hopefully you can finish the job and look to go one step further by beating Celtic to the title next year. ;)

#060 - Just one point

20/05/2028 -- Almost. We did everything we possibly could, but at the end we are a point short. So Celtic is celebrating their 17th(!) league title in a row, but I’m pleased we went almost there rather than missing the big surprise for winning the league. With only four games to play till the end of the season we are following Celtic nine points behind them. We had one game in hand, which we handled to win away against Motherwell. Definitely not the best match this season, but we’ll take it. There after we beat Livingston with 4-0 but more important: Celtic lost two points after they played a draw against Hamilton. So, with only two games to play, one of them against Celtic, the gap between us and them is only four points. If we are able to win at Celtic Park then we gonna have a very exited last playing round of the season!

And that’s exactly what happened. For the first time since I joined Hearts we beat Celtic! In front of their own fans, who become a little bit nervous now because they need to win the last away game against Alloa Athletic if we are beating Inverness in our own Tynecastle Park. After Celtic takes the lead halfway the first half we performed way better in the second half after one of my famous speeches motivated the players to give everything they've got. That sorts out perfectly. After Scullion signed for the equalizer with his 25th(!) goal of the season we give ourselves a massive boost and we showed Celtic all corners of their own pitch. Soon Saunders scored the 2-1 after a fabulous dribble and Tompkins kept Celtic Park quiet when he fumbled in the 3-1 after a scrimmage in front of Celtics goalkeeper. It was our seventeenth victory away from home and together with two draws we didn’t lose any away game this season. A very remarkable achievement I would say.

Only one game left now. We need to win this game. And if we win, Celtic needs to win as well, otherwise we are the champion. I really can’t imagine myself this is really going to happen today. But our promising start (2-0) together with Celtic at 0-1 behind after the first 45 minutes, the crowd, the staff, the players and even me, were slightly going to believe this magical day is really turning in our favour. The thoughts alone had some bad effect at the pitch. We played without any inspiration, everybody was thinking about Celtic whether they are going to lose points or not. 55th minute, 0-1. 65th minute, 0-1. 70th minute, still 0-1. Oh come on you Alloa, score another one, please do it! Ben (Masson, our striker who is on loan at Alloa) you could help us so much! But twenty minutes before the end of the game Celtic scored the equalizer. But, we are still in the lead, one point isn’t enough for them.

Ten minutes later all the nervous faces at the stands were making place for acquiesce. Celtic did what they were expected to do, winning the game after their key-player Robbie Banks scored the 2-1 just ten minutes before the final whistle. Alloa wasn’t capable for scoring another goal, which crowned Celtic as the champion again. For the seventeenth time in succession which is, to be honest, a very remarkable achievement. We went really really close, which I didn’t expect obvious, but at the end it’s a bit disappointingly to lose the league title just by one point. Although sadness was soon replaced by proudness. I never thought we could perform like this with the current squad. Next season will show if we overperformed a bit this season or not. So we finished second, meaning that we are going to play in the third prelamination round of the Champions league next season. If the draw is with us in that round and the next one, we have a chance to reach the group stage. That will be huge, because we are getting a lot of money then which we need so hard.

Squad performances
Just as every season I will talk you through the performances of our players. Which guys are going to leave us and who is staying? As always I’m starting with our goalkeepers. As already said before Zander Clark’s physical situation is declining very hard. Mainly after he picked up an serious injury halfway the season. He is definitely not recovering anymore, so he will probably leave us. As long as we are not signing a new goalkeeper Clark will be with us on a monthly renewed contract. Stone performed much better then the season before, so I have a little bit more confidence in him if he will be our starting goalkeeper next season. Graham is still young, but he will probably never good enough for being our first choice goalkeeper. I was trying to sign the keeper from Chelsea who is on loan at Rangers and who’s contract is expiring, but I couldn’t offer him enough wage money. Because of that he chose for another club, despite the fact he was very interested in joining Hearts. We are searching for another one, but as already said, decent goalkeepers are very hard to find.

Our defenders did their job. Strang really surprised me, I have to apologize myself for not using him in the seasons before. But, he is proving I wasn’t right, which delights me of course. Ro-Shaun Williams is steady as always and our guy on loan from Everton, Vincent, fulfilled his task as a reserve centre back. But we will not seeing him back next season. I’m a bit disappointed about the performances of our fullback players. I was hoping these players are influencing our attacking way of play far more often, especially the guys on the right hand side are barely involved for taking car for assist or important cross passes. Only Ryan Burke is an exception for this, he will be staying with us for sure. Bryson is still young, Imrie can play as a centre back as well which is his escape for staying with us, but we are trying to sell Ralston. His figures aren’t bad - not great as well - but I’m expecting more of him. Rey is still young and I didn’t gave him a fair chance so far to be honest, but he is not developing himself on the training either. I will try again to loan him next season.

Our midfielders are just great. Darcy, Mimnaugh and Cochrane as our main starting players and Caldwell as a golden substitute who is nearly as good as the other three guys. On the left hand side of the pitch we have our own Cristiano Ronaldo called David Scullion. He is just amazing. Scoring 27 goals as a left midfielder (not even an attacking winger!) is unbelievable. He is taking care for a lot of assists as well. I’m so glad with this guy. Youngster Lloyd Kenny is doing his job as a right midfielder and having Kyle McAllister as a back-up is pure luxury. He is almost thirty now and last season I was doubting heavily for letting him go or not but I’m very glad I didn’t. Lewis Ferguson is the only guy who stands by and could only looked at it. He is not good enough. If someone wants to buy him it will be okay, if no club is interested it’s okay as well. So, probably we are going further with all of this guys if Real Madrid is not interested in having a new Ronaldo.

Our strikers achieved pretty damn good as well. Together with Scullion these four guys scored more than 110 goals together over the last season, which is just incredible. Still 18 years old Lee Saunders seems the main striker for the Scottish squad for the next ten year if he is developing himself even more. He is brilliant. I’m really surprised no big team is interested in him so far. Tompkins and Storey did a good job as well. What counts for our midfielders does count for our strikers as well: If nobody leaves us no new guy will join us neither.

So, yeah, it’s going to be a calm transfer-window I guess. Because of the lack of funds we couldn’t sign good players who are really upgrading our current squad sadly. Although you could ask yourself if that is really necessary. The only main target for next season is a new goalkeeper, a new centre back reserve player and if possible a new right fullback who is capable for playing slightly more offensive. I’m on a one year deal yet, so probably I will stay at Hearts for at least one season more, there after I have to consider my future if the board is still not cooperating with me to invest more money in the club.

You really pushed Celtic to the very end. That is an achievement within itself. A lot of positives can be taken from this season!

#061 - We could only sniff the money

20/09/2028 -- A big step ahead into the future now. As expected our transfer window wasn’t very excited so I jumped in the new season immediately. So far we are performing just stable. Not amazingly well like last season, but not really bad neither. Our pre-season period was okay. We played nine matches in total, quite many again, mainly because the new season in Scotland is starting really soon all the time. The players are just one month off for celebrating holiday or a couple of them played with Scotland the European Championship (which wasn’t brilliant sadly). Maybe the seasons are starting earlier because I extended the competition in the editor. Talking about that, I’m still very glad I’ve changed the Scottish football pyramid. More and more I have to remember myself that this structure isn’t like this in real life! I’m slightly forgetting it because It’s really enjoyable to play like this. Enough chit-chat, I’m starting with the few transfers we did.

Our transfers
As already said I didn’t expect much and that was turned into reality. The only big deal was the leaving of Anthony Ralston. He wasn’t happy at all about the fact I want to get rid of him, but English Championship side Huddersfield Town made a very nice offer for him from around £7,000,000 (the minimum fee I wanted) so we decided to sell him. As a replacement we signed Donald Macgregor from Rangers for only £850,000. A whole different type of player, but I think he is more like an attacking back and not greatly worse in defending in comparison with Ralston. So I think he’s an upgrade for sure. We also sold Ben Masson. Saunders is overtaking him by miles so we don’t need him anymore although he is still young. We bought him two years ago for only £100,000 so gaining around £2,500,000 right now is a good result. Like Ralston he is playing in the English Championship as well next year, but he chose for Aston Villa.

But we can present two players more. First of them is 18-year old Craig McNeil. One of my scouts found this gem, so I made him an offer. He played a full Premiership year for Dundee last season. Not great obvious, but at least he played, which is a great benefit for a young guy like him. We only had to pay £170,000 so it was a no brainer at all. Especially because our own youth academy is bringing in just… Right, nobody. I will use him as a sub this season and if he can develop himself he can become a key player in the future. Because the board is not allowing me to spend money for transfer we had to move to the loan market again for searching a back-up centre back. We found Will Reddie from Everton. Former Celtic manager Kettlewell has joined Everton (they asked me for a job interview as well) and I have a good relationship with him which made it more easy to hire players. Reddie is a talented centre-back, he can replace Williams and Strang easily whenever we need so. We tried to bring in a new goalkeeper as well, but as already mentioned before there are barely no decent goalkeepers to find. Yeah, 35-year old experienced goalkeeper Alphonse Aréola was available as a free agent, but he asked £50,000 per week… Definitely a no-go. Harry Stone has to do the job for us again underneath the crossbar and we offered veteran Zander Clark a new one year deal.

Money smells
Money smells, But we rather prefer to have it instead of being bankrupt. Our Champions League run was short but intense. We weren’t lucky with our draw again (of course not) and faced one of the better teams we could possibly meet. Again a Belgium team knocked us out. Almost every player of Racing Genk is payed four times as much as we do, so losing one and playing a draw in their stadium wasn’t bad. We were pretty close for realising a big surprise, but it wasn’t given to us today. Because of the new European competition rules we are now automatically qualified for the European League group stage, which is more our level of football I guess. Although the twelve millions of Champions League starting money was very welcome to us…

In the group stage we did alright so far. We defeat Maccabi Haifa in their own stadium and pulled out our defeat against Racing Genk in the Champions League preliminary round for beating them in this group. Two important wins, but if we want to survive these group stage we definitely have to win both games against Maccabi Haifa and gaining at least four points out of the four matches against Racing Genk and Everton. So far we are on our way. This year’s League Cup ended rapidly for us. Out of the 31 possible opponents we draw Celtic away, just like last year… Unbelievable. Because there were no matches close in front or after this meeting they showed up with their strongest eleven (just as we did), but our squad isn’t as balanced as it was last year. Despite we took the lead Celtic turned the match in their favour in the second half. Which they deserved. But, I’m not really disappointed about it. We have won the League Cup already, so it’s not a big goal for me anymore. And now the board can’t argue about our elimination against the best team in Scotland! Luckily We did much better in the second round Scotch Cup match against League One side Camelon. With a lot of reserve players we smashed them with 7-0. In the next round we are facing Saint Mirren, one of the few opponents in our league we are struggling with pretty often…

In the league our results were decent but not brilliant. We do beat Rangers at Ibrox again (just like last year), but lost points against Dundee and Ayr United… Ayr was even close to win the game when they scored only one minute before the final whistle, but our new youngster and golden substitute Craig McNeil saved our asses from a big disgrace with a magnificent shot from distance in the dying seconds of the game. Although we deserved far more… We also played a draw against Hibs, who sacked their manager after only five (!) games in the league. Since then they didn’t lose, but I think we definitely need to win this kind of games… So we are already behind at Celtic, and I think you could already say the season is lost if we don’t manage to win our games against them. Hard to say at this point so early, but Celtic isn’t barely losing points throughout the year, so losing points against two small clubs in the league can become deadly already.

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