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The Pride of South Australia

Started on 10 March 2020 by Feliks
Latest Reply on 31 March 2020 by Justice
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Feliks's avatar Group Feliks
10 monthsEdited
Hi everyone. Basically, I have an all-time great save with Adelaide United FC in FM15. I have managed the club for 28 seasons now, and the side is entirely homegrown through my own youth academy. It's been a really fun save and I feel like writing about the upcoming season. That's pretty much it, enjoy it hopefully, if not it should still be fun for me.

1on1: Hugo Montgomery

Hugo Montgomery has seen it all in his time as Adelaide United manager, and then some.

The 58 year old has overseen drastic change both at Commonwealth Stadium and in the A-League itself. He has witnessed both institutions rise to become the most prestigious and feared in Asia.

Like I do every year, I sat down with the legendary boss following the conclusion of the season to gauge his thoughts on the Reds as they continue to forge a new path of youth development.

"Hugo, it's safe to say that last season was an up-and-down one for the club's standards - maybe not every club, but certainly for Adelaide United. Losing the Asian Champions League final, trailing to the Mariners for much of the season and an embarrassing exit in the FFA Cup semi-finals to the Bentleigh Greens. Why do you think this was?"

"I think it is pretty clear we are taking a bold approach at the moment, we are investing very heavily in our youth academy and fast-tracking a lot of players into the first team side. You look at players like Steve Johnson and Christian Ricciuto, when they were starting out they only really got a look-in at ages 19, 20, 21. Nowadays we have the ability and the willingness to give someone like Tory Tibaldi or Rob Hiern an extended run in the side at a much younger age. These are all supremely talented individuals, and even with such a young side we were able to clinch the championship, but with this will inevitably come a level of inconsistency that will only improve with age and experience."

"You did field the youngest squad by average age in the league last season, tell us a bit more about the challenges and the perks of managing such a young team."

"It's very fun, that's for sure. We have put so much time and effort into building our Next Generation Academy over the last 25 years and to see such immediate success from its graduates is extremely rewarding. Like I mentioned earlier, the inconsistency comes part and parcel with such young players but the tradeoff is we're seeing them develop much quicker and give themselves every opportunity to succeed overseas."

The Adelaide United youth squad have 4 of the last 5 Youth League titles

"In regards to players going overseas - you lose captain Harry Williams on a free transfer to Holland and just recently allowed Steve Karakasilis to join Trabzonspor. How will these departures affect the side moving forward?"

"Harry will be a big loss, for sure. He's been an outstanding servant of the club for a long time now and a great captain over the past 2 years. We couldn't lock down a suitable contract for him and it was entirely fair of him to decide to test himself in Europe. I used to be very, possessive I guess when it came to my players leaving the club. But I think now we have such high quality young players coming through the ranks that I'm actually happy to give our players a chance to shine in Europe like Marc [Calandro] and Peter Deeley have, for example. Steven is exactly the same, he developed extremely well here and was a staple of the side at a young age but after a certain point what more do you have to prove as an individual here? He has a Champions League, he's won the championship multiple times - why not test yourself in Turkey?"

"Steve Johnson - will this be his final season?"

"No. No, I don't think it will. We all know Steve is ageing like fine wine at the moment and has been a pillar of consistency and brilliance for this young side, he's such an incredible role model and the last of that 'golden age' I guess you would call it. His body is still holding up well and if he's playing at the elite level currently I see no reason why he can't still be playing in 2, 3 seasons time."

Despite turning 36 during the season, Steve Johnson is widely considered to be at the peak of his career.

"You've obviously emphasised the young players at the club, talk us through some of the players you're most looking forward to for the new season."

"Well the obvious culprits at the moment are definitely Rob Hiern and Greg Rayner, two 16-year olds who broke into the first team squad towards the back end of last season. I can genuinely say they look like being two of the most talented players to come out of our academy so there's expectation there for sure. Greg, who's the very first son-of to come out of the academy, will have a real crack at a first team spot this season with the departure of Steven [Karakasilis] and if he can do that at 17 that will be extremely impressive indeed."

Greg Rayner's dad, Nathan (pictured above), played over 400 times for Adelaide United over a 15-year career.

"Steven Brown was one of your best players last season, coming back to his boyhood club on loan from Dnipro. Is making that move permanent one of your goals this season."

"Definitely, definitely. I think Steven is extremely happy to be back and he's still in talks with Dnipro about his future there. He knows that if he does decide to come back there'll be a contract on the table for him, he was one of our best players last season and I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do this season again as one of our experienced guys."

"Finally, what are your predictions and hopes I guess for the club and where it will head in 2042/43?"

"Titles, obviously, are what we're gunning for. I want to get back on top of the premiership, get back over the Mariners, and obviously we want to win the Champions League again. Two years in a row losing the final stings, especially after we had the chance to break the trophy record. We've got to have a real crack this season to try and wrestle that record off Al-Hilal."

Saudi powerhouses Al-Hilal have defeated Adelaide in the last two Champions League finals, and lead the trophy count 8-6

"Thanks as always for your time Hugo. Best of luck for the season ahead."
Feliks's avatar Group Feliks
10 monthsEdited

Williams takes top prize

Outgoing captain Harry Williams has been honoured at the AUFC Awards Night with his second Troisi Medal for club Best & Fairest.

The 28 year old midfielder enjoyed a brilliant campaign in 2041/42, topping the club and league for assists as well as winning the Asian Champions League MVP for the second consecutive season. Despite having already agreed a deal to move to sc Heerenveen for 2042/43, Williams was proud to win the award for the second time in this career.

"This means a lot to me, it really does. Adelaide United have been such an amazing part of my life and to be honoured this way is, just incredible. I want to thank everyone at the club again throughout my entire time here and I wish you all the very best."

Steve Johnson finished a narrow second in the award, with loanee Steve Brown coming third. Williams also collected the Midfielder of the Year award, again for the second time.

In the other awards, Johnson, 36, was recognised by the fans as their Player of the Year for the second year running and the fifth time in his career.

Steven Karakasilis, another departee, capped a career-best season by taking home Young Player of the Year and Defender of the Year whilst Steven Brown took home Top Goalscorer and Forward of the Year.

Daniel Phillips, who burst onto the scene with 13 goals in 28 games, won the Breakout Player award whilst Ricardo Todarello (coach), Cameron Taylor (coach) and Luke Deegan (youth coach) were presented with Life Achievement Awards for 20 years service for the club.

Grelli a target for Rostov

With a number of Adelaide United players under transfer speculation from abroad, Russian Premier League side Rostov have publicly declared their interest in playmaker John Grelli. In a Russian publication yesterday, Rostov manager Oleg Mushnikov stated his intent to go after the talented Aussie to bolster his mid-table side's chances.

Grelli is just one of several AUFC players potentially on the move, but at 26 is already one of the more experienced players in the squad. With 155 league games under his belt, he will face stern competition from the likes of Tory Tibaldi and Rob Hiern for his spot in the side this season and this may factor in to the club decision should a bid for his services come in.

In other news, contract talks with vice captain Christian Ricciuto have stalled for the time being amid speculation he will be named club captain following the departure of Harry Williams.

International Round-Up

Adelaide United players past and present were in action once more for Australia at the 2042 World Cup, with the Socceroos going down narrowly to France, 1-0.

Australia defended doggedly for over an hour but were eventually undone by a deft header in the 76th minute from Samuel Lejuene. The Socceroos had a number of spectacular attempts denied by goalkeeper Claude Royer, who would go on to pick up Man of the Match honours.

Christian Ricciuto and Jake Migliaccio were the current players to feature, both playing the full 90 minutes. Ricciuto was especially sure in defence and was Australia's best player on the day, helping restrict France to just one goal from 23 attempts and blanketing Manchester United superstar Jean-Luc Poirot completely. Ex-Reds Marc Calandro, Steven Karakasilis and Lachlan Constantini also started with Harry Williams appearing as a half-time substitute.

Despite losing, Australia have gained passage to the Round of 16 where they will face a tough challenge in Brazil.

Asian Champions League Quarter Final Draw

Adelaide United have been drawn against Suwon Samsung Bluewings in the Quarter Finals of the Asian Champions League, set to begin on the 20th of August.

The three-time winners of the competition and 11-time Korean champions have a long and storied rivalry with the Reds in this competition, playing on 38 occasions over the last 28 years. Adelaide United have won 15 clashes to Suwon's 14, with 9 draws and an overall goal difference of just 2.

The first leg will be played on the 20th of August in Suwon with the return leg a week later at Commonwealth Stadium. The victor will play the winner of the other East quarter final between Seoul and Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

In other news, Australia have been bundled out of the World Cup at the hands of Brazil in a 5-0 thrashing, although Bailey Wright is expected to continue as Socceroos manager for the upcoming Asian Cup in January.
Good start. Pleased to see you back mate!
Looking for a better season this year after a tough one by your standards last time around. Excited to see how this goes!

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