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The Gaffer Series: Just Like Fergie

Follow French manager named the Gaffer as he attempts football manager challenges and vibes on FM21
Started on 27 February 2021 by LeGaffer
Latest Reply on 25 May 2021 by LeGaffer
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Some exciting arrivals there and even more excited to see Hyuk come through in the first team!

Episode 22: From 20th to 2nd Place!

After these early transfers, the 2024-2025 season began after a good pre-season in China. Some of the results of the preseason gave the Gaffer confidence for a successful season. However, the first game against Tottenham did not go as planned. A dismal loss away from home gave the Gaffer an indication that this season might be tougher than he expected. The Gaffer is deploying a new 4-3-3 system as he wants to utilize Rice, Maia, Gomes, and Bakayoko in the same lineup. This system might change after the terrible performance at the Tottenham Stadium.

After a second loss and draw in the PL, Newcastle United found themselves sitting in 20th position. Not the start the Gaffer was looking to begin the season. The month of August ended with the team in the relegation zone. Going into September, the atmosphere in the dressing room was beginning to dip but, the Gaffer had faith in his team.

Newcastle United suffered their third defeat in the league to Leicester and from that game on will go on a 12-game unbeaten run going into the new year. There was one injury to the squad which could be identified as a reason for the bad start. For starters, first-team goalkeeper Fariñez suffered an abdominal injury and was out for 2 months. Backup Yann Sommer was placed in goal who did his best but let in far too many goals. There were also small and minor injuries forcing some important players to miss one or two matches.

Within that unbeaten run, Newcastle United won convincingly against Liverpool and some close games against Man United and Chelsea. The Gaffer was awarded PL Manager of the Month in November after winning all his games during that month. In the Europa League, the side managed to qualify for the next rounds by finishing in 1st place in Group D. The teams Newcastle played gave the Gaffer some trouble during the matches, but his team managed to come away with some win’s solid wins.

The Gaffer was more concerned with the results as opposed to the performances in the Europa League. This team will be a force to be reckoned with in the latter stages of the European competition. Newcastle sadly did miss an opportunity to go further and win the Carabao Cup. A dreadful penalty shootout against Wolves forced the Toonside out of the cup competition.

The impressive run by the team up the PL table put a smile on the Gaffer’s face. He is finally witnessing how good his team can be and that they can make a push for the Premier League. Something must have clicked for the Newcastle players; they have been performing day in and day out. Forwards and midfielders have been on a tear especially star striker Patson Daka. In 16 games played, he has scored 16 goals in all competitions so far. Bowen, McNeil. Gomes, Allan Saint-Maximin, and other attackers are in some fine form chipping in with assists and goals.

Defensively, the team is still quite shaky but, with the forwards playing exceptionally, it is not the biggest of worries. One thing noteworthy was the Gaffer’s switch to a 4-4-1-1 shape which provided more cover for the defense. To keep other teams on their toes, the Gaffer makes slight adjustments to his tactics. It has proved to be successful so far as seen in the last two months' results.

Information has been circulating in the media that some players are unhappy with their playing time at the club. The Gaffer was asked what his thoughts were on the subject. He stated “All the lads are happy to play when called upon and sad when not, but I cannot play everyone. Some of them like Zaha and Bakayoko will have to be patient. I have spoken to them and they will need to be ready when injuries occur or player performances drop but at the moment, I can give them the minutes they want. This is well said by the Gaffer. There are still more matches to be played and squad rotation will be key for the second half of the season. The winter transfer window is now open, lets see who the Gaffer and his recruitment team bring into the club if any.


Episode 23: Worse End to the Season!

The Newcastle board decided to accept a bid for the first team GK Fariñez from Valencia on the last day of the winter transfer window. Before the Gaffer could have a say in the bid, Martinez was on a plane to Spain. Frankly, it was difficult to keep hold of Fariñez for long as many clubs were after him. Furious with what transpired, it prompted the Gaffer to call the Director of Football immediately to bring in a new GK. Having recently played against Leicester, the Gaffer suggested to DOF to sign Altay Bayindir them or Aaron Ramsdale from Sheffield United.

The transfer for Ramsdale was difficult to complete in a short amount of time, so the Gaffer had to settle for the Turkish shot-stopper Altay. Altay is such an exceptional keeper who saves the team numerous times in the matches. Other transfers the occurred included Bakayoko going to Real Sociedad on a loan who later paid $37 million to sign him permanently. Zaha was loaned out to La Galaxy and Callum Wilson was loaned out to RB Salzburg. The DOF then loaned in center midfielder Manuel Ugarte from Liverpool and signed Raphael Guerreiro on a pre-contract as a backup LB as he is 32 years old. Apart from Altay, no big money signing came in, and to be frank, the transfer budget was depleted.

Another season for Newcastle United is done and dusted. Disappointingly, the Toonside club ended with no silverware. In the Premier League, the team did an excellent job of catching up to Liverpool who were miles ahead in the title race back in March. The disappointing thing was that they bottled the chance to win the title after such a great effort to catch up.

The PL season came down to the game against Bournemouth one week before the end of the season. That draw cost Newcastle United the chance to go level on points with Liverpool heading into the last match of the season. They sat 3 points behind the league leaders and a win was their only chance to win the title, however, the lads let down the Gaffer and fans. With no chance of winning the league now, the Gaffer decide to play some of the youngsters against Man City which they were battered 4-0. The team finished in second place on 85 points, just 5 points behind Liverpool and with a much better goal difference.

In the Europa League, the team did not fare well in the latter stages. After a wonder display at home against Atletico Madrid in the semifinals, all they needed was one goal in the away fixture to secure a place in the Final. It is not easy to go to the Wanda Metropolitan and secure a win in that environment. Nonetheless, the Gaffer was confident in his team and wanted nothing short of 3 points. Well, the Gaffer got the opposite of what he hoped for. Atletico was on a mission to secure their place in the Final and pummeled Newcastle in a 5-1 extra-time match.

Truth be told, Newcastle did not deserve to be in the Europa League final after such a horrible first-half display. Not to mention, they were let down by their skipper Declan Rice who received two yellow cards in the first half. The only bright spot from the match was how resilient the lads were in the second half. All they needed was a second away goal to secure the win. Playing with 10 men, Newcastle was bound to concede and towards the end of extra time, Atletico put the game to bed.

In the FA Cup, the team was knocked out in the fifth round by Tottenham. The draws were unfavorable to Newcastle United. The team managed to beat Man City in the fourth round only to turn around and get drawn against Tottenham. A more favorable draw in the FA Cup and I am sure, this team would have made it to the Finals.

The performances of the players were very great baring the early season woes and terrible finish to the season. The lads seem to pick up for each other if one player is not in great form. Three of the midfielders ended with double-digit goals and Patson Daka finished top scorer for the team. In terms of the league, four players made it into the PL team of the year with Myloka Matvienko winning the PL Player and Players’ Player of the Season. The Gaffer can fault any of the lads for their performances, to be honest.

The lads bought into the Gaffer's new system, tactics, and training methods which was instrumental in their rise up the table into second and a Europa League Semifinalist. While the board has been great in support of transfers, they have also done tremendously in improving the facilities around the club. Newcastle United has State of Art Youth facilities along with superb training facilities. The season did not end the way the club wanted but it is something to build upon as there is only three-season left for the Gaffer to win the PL title. Therefore, the next two summer windows are crucial, and the Gaffer wishes his recruitment team and DOF will make the right signings and player sales.

A strange up and down season there. A real push to get over the bump next year I think!
That hair is monstrous!
2021-04-09 17:37#283113 TheLFCFan : A strange up and down season there. A real push to get over the bump next year I think!
Yeah, wished the team had a better start to the season we could have been ahead in the title race
2021-04-09 20:07#283123 Justice : That hair is monstrous!
Hahaha, the more hair, the better
LeGaffer's avatar Group LeGaffer
3 yearsEdited

Episode 24: Can Newcastle United be PL Champions?

With the disappointing end to the last season, the Gaffer sent his team away on vacation knowing that winning silverware this season is a priority. He asked the lads to ponder upon this “Imagine the feeling of lifting a PL or Champions League trophy and come back next season ready to win one or both. The goal for the club is to only qualify for the Europa League but, the Gaffer is ambitious in achieving his goals and wants his team to have the same mindset.

Newcastle United lads arrived back to St. James Park in early July to commence their annual pre-season tour to China. No summer tournament meant that the full squad will be available to the Gaffer during the preseason. Therefore, after a month of preseason games and training, Newcastle United was raring to begin the 2025-2026 season. The preseason was not much of a test as quite frankly, the side battered the teams they faced except Monaco (1-1 draw). The Monaco match was a good preseason practice for the PL and Champions League.

The first match of the season was in the Community Shield against PL and Fa Cup winners Liverpool. Newcastle who finished 2nd in the PL was handed an opportunity to win some silverware early in the season. Newcastle United came away with a 2-0 win against the might Liverpool and the Community Shield. No matter the silverware the Gaffer wants to add it to his trophy cabinet and so he led his lads into victory. There is not much to say from the match as Newcastle United won convincingly. Angel Gomes put the team into the lead with an early first-half goal and Allan St. Maximin, sealed the win in the 90th minute. Excellent display and this win was a confidence booster going into the season.

Before playing against Liverpool, the DOF and recruitment team made some transfer business which the Gaffer approved of. The Gaffer wanted to build depth with quality players to have cover for injuries and rotation during the busy months of the season. Thus, the DOF signed two players from Tottenham. Sergio Reguillon and Panagiotis Retsos – both defenders will most likely be first-team starters during the season. Needing depth at GK, the DOF found a wonderkid from Argentina who goes by the name of Laureano Rojas. Having signed Altay Bayindir in January, the competition of first-team GK just got more interesting. The Gaffer says both men will play but he is leaning towards Rojas as he is 20 yrs old and has more potential to develop. The team also needed depth in front of the goal and so, when Talles Magno became available, Newcastle snatched him up.

Weirdly, the DOF decided to make a loan bid for Gio Reyna from Arsenal. This caused some confusion with the Gaffer because the club did not need another attacking midfielder. Not sure why Arsenal let him go either. In terms of player sales, Real Madrid snapped up Jamal Lewis after several low bids for the left-back. The board made this decision to recoup some money. Wilfred Zaha was shipped out to a country no one has heard of in an $11 million deal.

The Gaffer made some player promotions from the youth team. 18-year old striker Phil Proctor who is another wonderkid was promoted to the first team, he was then immediately loaned out to get more first-team play. The second player to be promoted was 17yr old goalkeeper, Ashley Daly to add more depth in that position. Two players with great potential who are not far from the first team.

The start of the season was what the Gaffer was looking for except for the minor setback against Leeds in the PL. The Newcastle side beat Chelsea, holding them to one shot during the entire game. Then losing to Leeds which was unacceptable by the increased standards of the club. Finally, Newcastle United finished with two solid wins against Westham and Aston Villa. The defense has kept 3 clean sheets so far and if they keep getting clean sheets and wins, this might be the season for the Gaffer and Newcastle to win the PL title. The champions league draw was tough with Inter and Porto in the same group as Newcastle United. The lads have a great chance of advancing to the next stages with the quality they have.

Episode 25: 20 Games Unbeaten!!!

Newcastle United has done something their fans and current board members would have never dream of. The team is currently sitting at the top of the Premier League table after running rampant in the winter months of the season. Newcastle United was unbeaten in the PL and all competition leading up to the end of the winter transfer window. It is quite a remarkable feat for a side that is predicted by the media to finish in 12th place.

While the media does not have faith in the team, the Gaffer is backing his lad heavily for a PL title and push for European silverware. In his press conference, he mentioned that the lads believe in each other and play for the badge. Players are on top form and winning games even after going down one goal down.

The strikers have struggled to finish their chances, other players are stepping in to make up for the missing goals. This speaks to the testament and character of the players in the dressing room. The team has kept 16 clean sheets which are pleasing to the Gaffer. One change the Gaffer made was leaving the control of training to his assistant managers and solely focusing on managing the players and tactics. He placed his trust in his assistants and it has paid off as seen in the result in the last couple of months. The current formation has been working to perfection securing solid wins and performances.

In a European competition, the team finished top of the tables with 15 points winning every one of their remaining matches comfortably. Newcastle has been drawn to face Dortmund in the Round of 16 of the Champions League. In the FA Cup, the team is in the fifth round facing Brighton next. Unfortunately, Man City knocked Newcastle out of the carabao cup in the fourth round. Not the biggest of concerns but it would have been nice to make it far.

In transfer news, Newcastle has sold long-time player Sean Longstaff to Shandong in China. Longstaff was not getting the playing time he deserved and has been a move on. Longstaff was a great servant for the club and the Gaffer was pleased with the contributions he made especially during the early years of the manager’s career.

James Justin has left the club after the DOF sold him to Liverpool for $50million in the last days of the transfer window. James Justin was the third choice right-back after the emergence of 19 yrs old wonderkid Joe Clarke. Clarke with Porro has been playing well and James Justin fell down the pecking order.

With the $50 million in the bank, the DOF made a signing for another wonderkid from Serbia. 20-year-old Vladimir Savicevic from Red Star Belgrade is a wonderful signing and a first-team caliber center back. He is one for the future if Newcastle can keep him in the long term.

Gio Reyna’s loan was terminated as he was not getting enough playing time. Frankly, he did not fit the bill for the Gaffer and was rarely used. Gomes and Bowen can do the job in the attacking mid position so there was no need for Reyna. Some more youngsters were loaned out to get playing time include Adrian Humphreys who is highly rated by the Gaffer but, it is hard for him to dislodge Daka and Talles Magno from the forward position.

The second half of the season is jam-packed with more fixtures and with an 11-point lead over 2nd place Liverpool and 15 points over 3rd place Manchester United who have 3 games in hand. The fans are hoping Newcastle can extend the lead and secure the PL title.
Absolutely walking it at the minute!
2021-04-19 19:16#283225 Justice : Absolutely walking it at the minute!
I was absolutely surprised by the results myself. Could not believe some of the wins.

Episode 26: Success at St. James' Park!!!

It has been a long time since Newcastle United won a topflight trophy or the Premier League since its introduction. The Toon side fans are buzzing after the Gaffer led his side to capture their first Premier League trophy. An astounding season has concluded, and it finished with 2 major pieces of silverware. First the PL trophy and secondly, the coveted Champions League. Unfortunately, Newcastle missed out on the famous treble as they were beaten by Aston Villa in the FA Cup. The heartbreak was too much to bear for the Gaffer, especially on penalties. Nevertheless, he urged the lads to keep pushing to secure the PL and CL trophies.

The second half of the season continued just like how the first half ended. The unbeaten run continued in all competitions from February until the quarterfinals of the champions league. Newcastle was humbled at home by a Porto side who were also looking to progress into the semifinals. In the Premier League, the team went unbeaten keeping 9 clean sheets and controlling matches for 90 minutes. There were a couple of draws that the Gaffer felt the team should have come out with the victory. However, he knows that the Premier League teams whether big or small can get a result on any given day.

Newcastle finished the PL on 94 points with 29 wins and only 2 losses. The Gaffer has completed one of his challenges which was to win the Premier League within 7 seasons. The next challenge is to win the domestic double which he still has 3 seasons left to accomplish. In season seasons as the manager of Newcastle, the Gaffer has collected 9 pieces of silverware. He is still 29 trophies behind Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Champions League journey was more impressive given the stature of some of the clubs, Newcastle faced. The Toonside got their revenge against Porto in the return fixture with a 4-1 win to advance to the semifinals. The team comfortably beat Manchester United in the semi-finals before facing Atletico in the Final.

The Final against Atletico was the perfect scenario as Atletico dismantled Newcastle in the Europa League last season. On the biggest stage, the Gaffer and Newcastle secured the Champions League trophy with a 2-0 win at the Santiago Bernabeu against Atletico Madrid.

The success of the club this season came down to the players putting in title-worthy performances constantly. Goalkeeper Rojas was awarded the Golden Glove in the PL. Seven out of 11 players for the team of the season came from Newcastle – (Rojas, Retsos, Todibo, Reguilon, Allan Maximin, McNeil, and Na Yong-Hyuk). Allan Maximin and Todibo were Champions league midfielder and defender of the season respectively. In the Champions League team of the season include McNeil, Daka, and Retsos along with Allan Maximin. Lastly, the Gaffer finished as the PL head coach of the year.

The Gaffer was pleased with the majority of the players coming from Newcastle as it shows the quality of the lads. While some of the players did not get recognized in the team of the season, they all were brilliant and contributed to the glorious season. Players such as Rice, Gomes, Maia, Bernado, Magno, and Daka made huge contributions when it mattered.

The goal now is to repeat as PL winners and hopefully secure the FA Cup as it has eluded the Gaffer so far in his career. The Champions League is not of importance at the moment but, it is always nice to win silverware. The board and fans are looking forward to how the club will do next season and wonder if this season can be replicated.

SAF Challenge Update

Save Newcastle from Relegation
Win domestic cup (FA Cup)
Win Premier League
Win domestic double (FA Cup and Premier League)
Win the Treble( FA Cup, PL and Champs League)

Gaffer Trophy Cabinet
Premier League(1)
Champions League(1)
FA Cup(1)
Carabao Cup (2)
Europa League (1)
Euro League II (1)
Community Shield(2)

Episode 27: Back to Back Champions???

After the success of the last season, Newcastle faithful will be looking forward to their team replicating their success. The Gaffer has big plans for this season and the main one is to win the domestic double or the treble if possible. The board wants the team to finish in a champions league place, however, the players aim for higher.

Preseason was a success as the team finished with multiple wins especially with a heavily rotated youth side. Some players were with their international teams for the 2026 World Cup so this allowed the Gaffer to use more of the reserve players. Right before the beginning of the season, Newcastle United came away with a 2-0 victory against Tottenham in the Community Shield. Then after the first game of the PL season, the Gaffer side secured the European Super Cup against Hertha Berlin. The team convincingly won both games and the Gaffer was ecstatic to add two more trophies to his collection.

The PL season was off to a good start as well. Wins against West Ham and Stoke showed the quality of the side. The Gaffer hoped his team would go unbeaten during the season but, in football, anything can happen. A shocking defeat to Bournemouth left a sour taste in the mouth of the Gaffer. The Gaffer urged his players to use the loss as an example of how it can be difficult to repeat as PL champions. The month of August ended with a draw against Chelsea which again was a boring and lackluster game to watch. Hopefully, these two results do not lead to a slip in performances and form for Newcastle United.

In Champions League news, the Toonside team has been drawn in Group E with the likes of PSG, Villarreal, and Trabzonspor. This is a fairly easy group except for PSG. The Gaffer would expect his team to perform again this season and attempt to make a push to win it again.

The summer transfer window was filled with big-money signings for Newcastle. The side spent a whopping $133 million on only two players. First, the DOF signed 31 yr old Tolisso from Man City as a squad player, however, his quality is too good to be only a squad play. Secondly, the DOF by request of the Gaffer signed 20-year-old Brazilian wonderkid Juninho from Porto. After watching this lad score 44 goals last season in which some were against Newcastle, the Gaffer could not miss out on this signing. There will be a battle for the lone striker spot between Juninho and Patson Daka. Whoever wins this battle, will have to work hard to keep the spot.

The signings are good ones as Newcastle pushes to win more silverware this season. Hopefully, they can produce the goods throughout the season and stay injury-free. Promoted to the senior squad this season from the youth academy were wonderkid Jan Dobias, Ben Fenwick, and Ricardo Marques who are 19 and 21 respectively. With the large squad, they have been loaned out to get more playing time.

Episode 28: The Robin Hood of Premier League?

The season for Newcastle United has been quite underwhelming based on the quality of the squad. The Gaffer's team with the support of the board should be challenging heavily for the Premier League title. After the not-so-good ending to August, the side became inconsistent in terms of performances. One of the main issues was Newcastle United was losing out on points on fixtures, they should be winning. It all started with the loss to Bournemouth in August and seemingly continued for the first half of the season. The squad drop points against Sheffield United, Norwich, Aston Villa, and Westham. This caused some confusion with both the board and fans. The Gaffer was irritated with his team performing poorly against clubs that they were expected to beat comfortably.

Since the loss against Sheffield in the Carabao Cup in September, the club has been on an unbeaten run in all competitions. The unbeaten run has been marred by the drop points against some of the clubs below Newcastle in the table. The team has been picking up wins against the top 6 clubs in the PL. Like Robin Hood, steal from the rich and give to the poor. The Gaffer and Newcastle have had to work hard to stay close to some of the top clubs in the PL. Going into the second half of the season, the side sits in 4th position four points behind league leaders Tottenham. Both Man United and Liverpool have games in hand which could see them go above Tottenham in the table. In the Champions League group stages, Newcastle finished second behind PSG after a draw against Villareal in the last game of the group. A win and Newcastle finish first. Nonetheless, qualification is better than none. The team faces Real Madrid in the next round of the Champions League

Not much happened during the winter transfer window. There were some talks that Man United wanted to sign Na Yong-Hyuk. Therefore, the Gaffer will do everything in his power to keep Yong-Hyuk for many years to come. Some of the Newcastle players were handed awards during December. GK Rojas was the World GK of the Year and World Golden Glove winner along with a place in the World Team of the Year. The World Team of the Year included Reguillon, Todibo, and Juninho. Patson Daka finished as African Player and Striker of the Year. Wonderkid Yong- Hyuk was awarded Asian Player of the Year and named in the Asian All-Star squad. The Gaffer is pleased and ecstatic that some of his players were a part of the award ceremonies. This speaks to the great contributions they have all made to ensure that Newcastle United is successful. The second half of the season will be a tough one for the club if they are to win the PL and Fa Cup. The fans and board hope that they can keep the unbeaten run and make a push for back-to-back PL titles.
LeGaffer's avatar Group LeGaffer
3 yearsEdited

Episode 29: Domestic Double!

7 full seasons into his managerial career and the Gaffer has managed to rack up 13 trophies. This is due to the effort and quality of the players he was able to acquire with the support of the board. When asked about his time at Newcastle, the Gaffer stated “I have enjoyed every minute of my time at this club. The wins, the agonizing losses are what makes football the game it is. I am just glad to have embarked on his journey and accomplish the challenges I have set for myself”. The Gaffer has spoken like a true fan of football. Whether some fans like it or not, he has changed the way Newcastle United is viewed in the PL and Europe. But his challenge is not over yet, he still has one more left to accomplish. That is to win the famous treble.

Taking a look back at the second half of the season, Newcastle United went unbeaten in all competitions until the quarterfinals of the Champions League. In the PL, the team never lost a game for the rest of the season. This unbeaten run was crucial because it propelled Newcastle to the top of the table and secure their second Premier League title in a row. The club did get some help from other teams as they climbed up the table. Tottenham and Liverpool both drop crucial points weeks before the last game of the season. This allowed Newcastle to finish on 86 points with 25 wins, 2 losses, and the best goal difference in the league. In the Champions League, the side bowed out in the quarterfinals after an abysmal performance against Porto in the second leg. Not sure what went wrong for the team but Ryan Kent and Todibo received a red card. This made the game tougher to win especially against a wonderful Porto team. Nevertheless, the Gaffer was not too worried as he could turn his attention to the PL and Fa Cup. Newcastle United won the Fa Cup against Arsenal at Wembley. To get to the Final, the team had to win two nail-biting penalty kick shootouts against Leicester (QF) and Liverpool(SF). So that completed the Gaffer’s first domestic double of his career.

In terms of player performances, obviously, the team did well to go unbeaten and climb up the table. However, 11 draws in the PL are quite worrying for the Gaffer. Drawing against teams, Newcastle should be beating comfortably and does not sit well with any manager. Changes will have to be made to ensure players and the team are winning these games. In terms of accolades, Daka finished as top goals scorer with Allan Maximin being the top assister. For The PL Team of Year, Rojas, Todibo, Reguilon, Maximin, Savicevic, Rice, and McNeil were selected for the team. These players were excellent throughout the season. One person I wished made the team was Na Yong-Hyuk who was immense in the early season. He did miss a chunk of the season due to playing in an international tournament for South Korea.

With the season now over, the Gaffer turns his focus to bringing in some talent and quality players who can help the team win the treble either next season or the season afterward. The fans and board hope to see the side put up bigger and better performances next year.

SAF Challenge Update
Save Newcastle from Relegation
Win domestic cup (FA Cup)
Win Premier League
Win domestic double (FA Cup and Premier League)

Win the Treble( FA Cup, PL, and Champs League)

Gaffer Trophy Cabinet
Premier League(2)
Champions League(1)
FA Cup(2)
Carabao Cup (2)
Europa League (1)
Euro League II (1)
Community Shield(3)
European Super Cup(1)

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