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Jbc's Pentagon Challenge

Hoping to complete my first pentagon and thought it would be fun to share the journey!
Started on 30 May 2020 by Jbc199923
Latest Reply on 3 September 2020 by Jbc199923
An amazing run of form that has you in a fantastic position AND with a decent cushion to fall back on. Don't bottle it now!
2020-06-17 17:48#274413 ScottT : An amazing run of form that has you in a fantastic position AND with a decent cushion to fall back on. Don't bottle it now!

Haha I''ll try not to!! It has been truly amazing, but nothing less than we have deserved, and we have finally shown how good our team is over an extended period!
Mitra Kukar – Club 1 – Season 5 – Update 5

After my last update we head into our final few games with Mitra Kukar as we look to tie up the league title and go out with a bang!

We started off with another comfortable win over Makassar, however our attention was focused on our next two games as we played Bandung and Tira, second and third in the season. First up we travelled to Bandung as we aimed to completely knock them out of the title race. And it started well with another towering header from Aryanto half way through the first half, but an equaliser from Bandung on 64 minutes made for a nervy finish. An just when we thought that we had secured a decent point, Bandung snuck in a last gasp goal to snatch the 3 points.

That result gave Tira the chance to close the gap at the top before we played them in a crucial title deciding game. Additionally, Tira payed an extra game during the week due to them being involved in the upcoming cup final, so entered the game just 1 point behind us (although they had played an extra game). Apart from the game against Tira, I feel that the rest of our run-in is very straightforward so this game is absolutely huge.

The game against Tira was a very tight affair as you would expect with both defences seeming to come out on top, however it was our defence that manged to finally break the deadlock as Aryanto nodded down from a corner for his centre back partner, Sukmana, to poke home at the back post. That turned out to be the only goal of the game and we secured all three points, which I felt probably won us the league. We left the game with a 4 point lead over Tira who had 4 games to play, whereas we still had a game in hand.

Our game in hand turned out to be a demolition job as we tore Madura United apart scoring 5 goals, including 2 late strikes from Sulaiman, which meant we moved 7 points clear at the top of the league. Surely we couldn’t throw it away from here with just 4 games to play?

We followed on from our victory over Madura in fine style again as we face Pusamania Borneo on a crucial weekend. We fell behind just before the break despite being the most dominate side, however Rudi scored two quick goals on 63 and 68 to kick off a crazy final 20 minutes. Borneo drew level on 73 minutes whilst at the same time Tira conceded in their fixture meaning that if we could find a winner we would be crowed champions!

We rung the changes and pushed for a winner in the final 10 minutes and finally secured the three points as we hit top gear in the final 3 minutes with Rudi completing his hat-trick on 87, before goals from Ramdan and Sulaiman finished the scoring.

That result, combined with Tira being unable to find a winner in their game meant that we had won the league as we led by 9 points with 3 to play, and we had a superior head-to-head against Tira this season (drawing 1-1 earlier in the year and recently winning 1-0)!

We had done it! What a final season this had been for me and the club, I couldn’t be more proud of what we have managed to achieve here – however I will go into this in more detail tomorrow as I will have a full overview of my time with Mitra Kukar.

Following us officially winning the title I felt it was the right time for me to announce that I would be leaving at the end of the season, so that I could get a proper send-off from the fans in our final 3 games.

Understandably, both the board and fans we dismayed at my decision, however my ambitions lie higher than winner the Indonesian Shopee Liga 1!

Unfortunately, we couldn’t quite finish the season as I would have wanted as we won our remaining away games, before rounding off the season with a bore 0-0 draw in my final ever game in charge. Ironic really when you consider how few of these there have been during my time here!

And just to confirm, here is the final league table when all has been said and done:

Squad performance
Overall, a very good season from everyone involved. I can’t speak highly enough of Rudi and Ahmad this year, both scoring over 20 goals which is incredible, as well as Aryanto being our 3rd highest scorer from the centre of defence! Sulaiman has also had a much better season this time around and has managed to score 9 goals from just 11 starts. On the right wing, I have been impressed with both players, Talipudin and Erliandry, who have both produced a fair even number of goals and assists per start (Talipudin 4 goals, 14 assists in 32 starts and Erliandry 2 goals, 7 assists from 16 starts).

The runaway fans player of the year this season is Ahmad with 52% of the vote, and he also picked up league player of the season as well as top scorer as well.

Overall, I am obviously delighted to have won my first title as a manager and feel that it is now the perfect time to leave Mitra Kukar in search of a new challenge. I am definitely going to miss this incredible team we have built over the 5 season I have been here, but I have no doubt that they will continue to challenge at the top after I have left.

*Join me tomorrow as I have a reflective overview of my time at Mitra Kukar. I will also be selecting my two favourite players from every team that I manage and making an overall squad by the end of the challenge. Let me know who you would select as your two best Mitra Kukar players from my time here. Thanks for your support!*
Congratulations! I knew this would be your season!
2020-06-18 19:59#274451 ScottT : Congratulations! I knew this would be your season!

You called it! Now you need to guess the next club...
2020-06-18 20:51#274457 Jbc199923 :
2020-06-18 19:59#274451 ScottT : Congratulations! I knew this would be your season!

You called it! Now you need to guess the next club...
I don't think my powers stretch that far just yet... ;)
Mitra Kukar – Overview

After winning the league yesterday and rounding off my time at Mitra Kukar, I felt that it would be nice to have an overview of my time in Indonesia before we move on to the next team. This way, anyone new to the series can have a quick overview of each club rather than reading through every post.

Overview of time at the club
Just to confirm, I have now officially ended my time at Mitra Kukar, so I am now a free agent. It is with a heavy heart that I have left, but I know that as good at my team was, there was no way I could have won the Champions League with them. During these kind of saves I am always bad at knowing when to move clubs, but I’m sure you will all agree that I have moved at the right time.

So, a brief overview of my time as manager of Mitra Kukar:
  • We joined as an unknown manager, with no coaching badges or experience
  • Upon arrival we were at the end of the Liga 2 season and were fighting for promotion, which we eventually secured through the crazy play-off system
  • In our first season in the Shopee Liga 1 we finished a distant second, but it was a great achievement nonetheless
  • Our third season at the club ended in disappointment as we finished 4th, missing out on a Champions League place after a dreadful run-in
  • In our fourth season we finally won our first piece of silverware as we lifted the Piala Indonesia cup, defeating local rivals Putra in the final. This meant we qualified for the Champions League for the first time.
  • As we expected, our Champions League group was a struggle and we picked up just 1 point, despite giving a very good account of ourselves over the six group stage games.
  • And we ended our final season with the club by winning the Shopee Liga 1 title – our first league title as a manager.

As you can see from the above graphical overview of our time at the club, we have won 2 trophies (right column) and have won numerous manager awards, although interestingly I didn’t win any manager awards in 2022 when we finished second in the league. In 2020 and 2023 I was also crowed manager of the year.

Progression of manager
During my time at the club I have massively enhanced my reputation as a manager, not least with my aforementioned achievements on the pitch, but also off the pitch as I completed both my National C and B coaching badges during my time at the club. I am now a 1.5 star manager, meaning I have gained a massive amount of reputation from my time here.

Best players
As mentioned at the end of my last update, each time that I leave a club I will be selecting my two favourite players from the team and making a ‘Dream XI’, which will also be accompanied by substitutes depending on how many clubs we go to.

I have thought long and hard about my favourite two players at Mitra Kukar and considered the likes of Sulaiman, so good for two season, but drifted away in our final two years at the club. I could have also chosen Fauzi for his continued performance season after season, scoring 46 goals in our first 3 years at the club. Or I could have chosen Rudi, a simple incredible final season with us, contributing 27 goals to the team. And I’m sure there are plenty or other players that I could and maybe should have picked but the two players I have chosen, unquestionably changed our team when they arrived at the club.

Firstly, my favourite player during my time at the club is undoubtedly Talipudin. The incredible winger from Brunei joined at the start of our first season in the Shopee Liga 1 and was one of my first big signings. I have to admit that I had doubts about how he would get on and if I would eventually have to replace him, but he was exceptional, year after year - save one year where he was very quite, but still contributed 11 assists. In total he contributed an astonishing 51 assists in just 4 years, as well as 21 goals from the right flank. Simply put, he absolutely outshone my expectations and without him, we wouldn’t be league champions today. I’m sure you’ll all agree just how good a player he has been for us.

The second player on my list might come as a surprise to some of you, but when you consider just how much his presence changed the team, I think you’ll understand why I have selected him. I have gone with Aryanto or ‘The Giant’ as I will affectionately remember him. Now I know I spent £22k that we didn’t really have to bring him to the club at the age of 32, but when I signed him I was only looking at one thing – his height was 6’2”. Before his arrival we shipped an massive 42 goals from set pieces over the course of just 2 seasons, which amounted to over half of our goals conceded, however after his addition we conceded just 16 goals from set pieces over the next 2 seasons (this includes that Champions League where we conceded 4 alone during to the superior height of players from other countries).

And he didn’t just help us keep a solid base, he also scored an incredible 17 goals from his centre back position through a mixture of headers and penalties. For me, without his addition I think we would have struggled to win the league due to the sheer volume of goals we were conceding, so therefore Aryanto makes it into my top two players from Mitra Kukar.

So, there it is, our first two players in my ‘Dream XI’, but the end of the save I hope we will be able to look back on this team with some great memories!

And that’s a wrap for this section of our journey! I have to say that leaving the team that took a chance on me has been emotional and I will continue to keep an eye on their progress. I’m sure the next time that I leave a club I will give you all a quick update on how the other clubs I have managed have been getting on as well.

I would just like to take the time to thank Mitra Kukar – my first management experience in Indonesia has been amazing, and also to thank everyone for reading and commenting, it has been amazing to see how many people have taken an interest in my story so thank you - and we are still just beginning!!

*Join me tomorrow as I announce who my new team will be as I look to move up the managerial ladder – let me know where you would like to see my go! As I have already said, thanks for all the support and I hope you are excited for the next leg of the journey!*
It's been a fantastic start to your journey. There's still a Champions League to be won, so perhaps another move in Asia? I'm interested to see where you head next either way!
Tianjin TEDA – Club 2

So, my new club is Tianjin TEDA who compete in the Chinese Super League and are based in the north east of China! As predicted by most people I have decided to stay within Asia to hopefully get the Asian leg of the pentagon ticked off before moving to a new continent. I had plenty of opportunities from other Chinese clubs, as well as a few clubs in Australia, but I am actually amazed that I have managed to get a job at this level already. After leaving Mitra Kukar I initially thought I would have to go to a second tier Chinese or South Korean side before making my way up in order to compete at this level. I am however, a fairly unknown manager for the players who have a much higher reputation than me, so it might take a few months for me to earn their respect which is never ideal.


Tianjin TEDA are a club that has gone through a lot of change in their fairly short time as a football team. They were originally formed in 1951 under the name North China FC, before being renamed 3 further times, before becoming Tianjin TEDA.

As many of you will know, the influence of mega money has brought Chinese football to the forefront of the world's attention in recent years and Tianjin are no different. They are owned by the TEDA group and have a budget capable of competing with anyone else in the league. However, despite their riches, they have never won a top flight title in their history.

Location and stadium
As mentioned, Tianjin is located in the north east coast of China, fairly close to Beijing.

The club plays its home games at the Tianjin Olympic Centre Stadium, or the Water Drop Stadium as a reference to its shape. The stadium has a capacity of 60,000, however it looks as though the club only sells about 50% of these tickets for most league games.

Meet the Team
I have had a quick look at the team since joining an to be honest I am struggling to see how they have only managed a mid-table finish for the past 3 seasons! There is some real quality in this team, particularly the 4 foreign players we are allowed (although these could be improved), as well as some decent Chinese talent within our ranks.

Our best foreign player is easily Juan Foyth, former Tottenham Hotspur centre back and one of our better Chinese players is Qiao Bentang who plays as an attacking midfielder.

So overall, I feel that we have managed to get a position at a very decent team and we have a decent squad to get started with. We currently sit in 12th position (out of 16), just 4 points above the relegation zone, so the board only expect us to not get relegated this season, but I think with the squad we currently have this should be fairly easy.

Helpfully, I have joined at the start of the summer break in China, meaning I have about 3 weeks to get to know the team, as well as make transfers, before our first league game.

*I hope you are excited for the beginning of our next chapter and are looking forward to see how we get on in China. Let me know your thoughts on my new club and my next update will be an overview of our first few games as well as any transfer activity*
A fantastic move for you! There's some great potential to really go after the Asian Champions League in time with Tianjin.
Tianjin TEDA – Club 2 – Season 1 – Update 1

Following my appointment as the Tianjin TEDA manager in my last update, I will be bringing you the results of my first five games in charge as well as a few transfers as we look to pull ourselves clear of the relegation battle.

As mentioned in the last update the transfer window was open on my arrival, and I got busy with a few big signings to boost our survival hopes.

The most important position for me was goalkeeper, as every team has to have a Chinese goalkeeper. So I did the most sensible thing and went and spent almost half our transfer budget on the Chinese number 1, Hu Shuo. He looks like a decent keeper and is a definite upgrade on the keepers that were here before, so I am very happy, particularly as he has signed from our rivals Beijing.

Midfield was also a weak area for us so I spent another big fee on Spanish U21 international Juan Manuel Ibanez from Atletico Madrid for his release clause of £25m. He looks truly amazing for a team of our size and I am hoping that he will be able to dominate the midfield battles for us.

Our only other major signing is our new striker, Rafaelzinho from Flamengo in Brazil. Again, we matched his release clause of £11.5m and for the money he is easily one of the top strikers in the league. I am expecting him to bag in goals for fun once we get going.

My first game was against bottom of the league Zhejiang Greentown, so I was hopeful that we could get a result. The game did start solidly with both defences playing well for a bottom of the league scrap, but it was Greentown who scored the first goal on 39 minutes, before Ma Jin (our 17 year old striker) equalised right on half time for us, my first goal as Tianjin manager.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t hold tight until the break and conceded just a minute later, as the game eventually petered out following a drab second half. Not the result we wanted at all as we gifted 3 points to a relegation rival.

The following game was just 4 days later against mid table Shandong Luneng, also away from home, and we put in a much improved display with goals first goals from Ibanez and Rafaelzinho, as well as another from Ma Jin in a 3-1 win. This was massive, not only with it being my first win as manager, but I felt we had already started to play the way I wanted us to.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t carry this form into our next two games as we fell to back-to-back 1-0 defeats against Shanghai and Changchun in two very poor performances, before we recorded a third successive defeat to our rivals Beijing Guoan. This was not a surprise given that they are top of the league, however I had hoped for a slightly better display, with Ma Jin scoring our only goal in a 2-1 defeat.

Overall, we have picked up just 3 points from my first 5 games and I am slightly concerned that the challenge of keeping this team up might be harder than I anticipated.

Despite us only picking up 3 points, we have managed to extend the gap to the bottom 2 by one point, as we now sit on 15 points from 18 games. I anticipate that if we get to 25 points then we should be safe, however this means we will probably need another 2/3 wins in our remaining 12 games which seems unlikely given our start as manager.

Overall, not the start I would have wanted, but I do feel that the signings we have made are of a good standard so once they settle in we should be fine. I do really feel we have a good core here, its just about how long it takes me to unlock it.

*My next update will be the next 6 games in our quest for survival, and we play both of the bottom two teams in our next 3 games which could be massive in our season. Thanks for all your support and I agree with ScottT, this side has the potential to win the Champions League if we can make the right additions!*
Huge contrast to Kukar in terms of finances! A welcome contrast though, I'm sure. The aim in the short-term will be to steady the ship and begin to gauge an understanding of the team ahead of the next couple of seasons where you can hopefully improve.
Tianjin TEDA – Club 2 – Season 1 – Update 2

Following our poor start to my time at the club in my last update, I was hopeful that we could improve, particularly as we played both of the bottom two teams.

Our first game of this update was just my second home game as manager as we welcomed Wuhan Zall who were just 4 points above us in the league. We started the game very well and we took an early lead through Ma Jin, his 4th goal since my arrival, before a second half strike from Ibanez secured a crucial 2-0 victory.

The next 2 games were absolutely huge as we first faced basement club Chongqing Lifan, before taking on second bottom Qingdao Huanghai. I was hoping that if we could pick up 6 points then we would likely be safe this season, however it was us that gave away the 6 points as we fell to a terrible 3-1 defeat in the first game, despite an early goal from Rafaelzinho, before a 93rd minute winner secured Qingdao a 1-0 victory in the second game. Needless to say I was not happy and made some tactical switches going into the next game.

I decided to switch to a 4-3-1-2, hoping that by crowding the midfield it would mask our weakness in that area of the field and give us a strong foothold in games against weaker opposition.

So our first game with our new tactic was against Dalian Professional, and we recorded an impressive 2-0 victory with Ma Jin scoring a goal either side of the break.

And we followed that up with a further 2 victories, firstly a 2-1 win over Hebei, before another great result as we dismantled title challenging Shanghai 4-1 away from home with both Rafaelzinho and Ma Jin scoring braces.

That result means that we have now won 5 of my 11 games in charge, a massive improvement considering we had only won 2 in 13 before my appointment.

Our impressive results recently have lifted us to a massive 27 points, however we aren’t the only team to have hit a good run of form as, despite picking up 12 points in our last 6 games, we remain just 5 points clear of the relegation zone. Amazingly, Wuhan who were 4 points clear of us just 6 games ago, now sit in 15th place, having been 9 points clear of the drop zone at that point.

Player performance
There hasn’t really been many standout performers during my time so far, expect for our 17 year old striker Ma Jin, who has just picked up player of the month award having recorded 6 goals in 6 games during August.

Given that he is only 17, he does look like he could be a real talent in years to come, and given that he is Chinese this makes him an extremely valuable asset.

Apart from Ma Jin, both Ibanez and Rafaelzinho have had fairly decent starts following their mid season moves, however I think that most players are still yet to hit top gear under my management.

Overall, a much better run of results for us, however we still only sit 5 points clear of the drop with 6 games still to play. Another couple of wins should secure our safety, so we need to keep focused and not take our foot off the gas just yet.

*Join me tomorrow as my first season in charge comes to an end. Let me know if you think we will be able to secure survival. Thanks for your support!*
You should be fine this season. A good run of form there!
Tianjin TEDA – Club 2 – Season 1 – Update 3

Following our much improved run of form during the last update, it was now more crucial than ever to continue our run in order to ensure that we avoided being drawn back into the relegation battle with just 6 games left to play.

Our first game was a real ding-dong battle against mid-table Shenzhen as we twice fell behind during the game before goals from a first goal from Hu Zhiguo and another from Ma Jin earned us a 2-2 draw.

Another draw followed, this time against Jiangsu Suning, however this did mean that we only needed 4 more points to secure our survival this season. And we all but secured survival in a massive result as we secured an incredible 3-1 victory over able topping Guangzhou Evergrande. Guangzhou did open the scoring on 32 minutes, however Polish centre back Walukiewicz struck back just 2 minutes later to make it 1-1 at the break, before a second half brace from that man Ma Jin secured all 3 points.

With survival effectively secured, we welcomed Zhejiang Greentown to the Water Drop Stadium and secured our mathematical survival with a fairly tame 1-1 draw – Rafaelzinho scoring our only goal of the game.

With survival secure I was hoping to finish the season strongly and push up the table, however this was not the case as we picked up just 1 further point in a 1-1 draw with Shandong, before losing 3-1 to Henan Jianye on the final day of the season.

Despite our disappointing last two game, we managed to finish the season in 10th place, 6 points above the drop zone so I cannot be too disappointed. Considering our position when I joined, we have only finished 13 points off a top 4th place. Looking back at some of our results in the short time I have been here, we have recorded defeats against Chongqing (16th), Zhejiang Greentown (14th), Henan (12th) and Qingdao (11th) who all finished below us, so turning these into wins would give us an extra 12 points and put us right in the mix for Champions League football next season.

In terms of the squads performance this season there has clearly been one standout performance – Ma Jin. The 17 year old has scored a ridiculous 16 goals, amazing 14 of these have come since I joined the club half way through the season! His impressive second half of the season has been enough to earn him the ‘Most Popular Local Player’ award this season, as well as league top scorer.

Ibanez has also had a good start to his career in China, recording 2 goals and 5 assists in his 17 appearances from midfield. I have also been impressed with his contribution, not just goals and assists, but his passing and movement has also been a joy to watch at times. His performances have been enough to earn him the highest average rating in the league this season.

Rafaelzinho has been a bit slow to hit the ground so far and has scored just 6 goals in 17 games for the club, however I am hoping that he will be able to improve this tally next season after taking some time to settle in. Bentang has also been a bit disappointing as he was my big homegrown hope, but he has only managed to collect 3 assists throughout his 28 appearances this year.

Overall, I am obviously delighted to have stayed out of the relegation fight and secure a mid-table finish in my first half a season in charge. I anticipate that the winter transfer window will be very busy now that I have had a chance to get to know the players, but with the right additions I feel that we could definitely form a top 4 challenge next season.

*My next update will be covering the transfer window as we head into the new season. Let me know which positions we need to improve in! Thanks for all your support!*

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