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Drago Barišić - Taking over the World

Started on 28 November 2021 by J_ames
Latest Reply on 27 January 2022 by NTBgaming
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Ok then I stand corrected
That is an incredible result man considering the form they were in!

With just 7-days between the semi-final and final, it was crucial for us to take the pressure off the lads, so they didn’t go into the final mentally exhausted already. All the pressure is on Auckland City, and rightfully so, but take nothing away from this group: they're battlers. I've mentioned multiple times that although we may lack quality, we have a lot of team spirit and determination, and because of that: it’d be foolish to count us out. For that very reason, I'm not going to change our line-up, or the way that we’ll set ourselves up tactically.

I think that this will be a big test for us, and honestly: I think it’s a step too far for us at this present time. I’d love to win the final, don’t get me wrong, I'm just being realistic at the same time!

The final was to be played at Porritt Stadium, which [unfortunately] made it quite difficult for our fans to get there. It meant that there was a strong Auckland City presence in the stands, which tipped things in their favour that little bit more. I'm not going to lie: I looked at their starting-11 and was in awe. They have Obafemi Martins for Christ sake!

It was an even game early on, with the excitement of it being a final seeing it be an end-to-end game, but once both sets of lads settled, it was us that took control of the game. Not in terms of carving out attacking chances though: just the possession. It’s something that I've found very frustrating, and my frustration only grew when we conceded a silly penalty, which Emiliano Tade had no issue with tucking into the bottom-left corner. It was a really poor way to end the first-half, and I went into the interval wanting to vent my annoyance at the team, but knowing that I couldn’t.

I took a much calmer approach, and tried to guide the lads through how I wanted the second-half to play out, but as I looked around the room: I saw no belief from them. They looked shattered, and I knew that we’d need a stroke of luck to get ourselves back into the game.

Our second-half performance was quite good, but there was just no quality from us in the final-third, which meant that things would always be a bit difficult. Full credit to Auckland City: they absorbed our pressure, and countered us well when they won possession. An unfortunate own-goal for Liam Higgins with 69-minutes played consigned us to defeat, and honestly: I was a fair result. I've no doubt that we will find ourselves in another final in the future, and I'm confident that when that happens: we’ll be in a much better position to win it!

There's no shame in this defeat in my opinion: we gave it our best.

It’s been a great baptism of fire for me here at Team Wellington, and I'm looking forward to doing a bit of a review of the season, and then going from there. I've already got a good picture of the direction that I want to take the club in, and we’re talking to a lot of players about [potentially] moving here for next season. I've been quite surprised by the calibre of the players that are interested in coming here, and it says to me that we’re in quite a good spot. New Zealand is a great place to live, so there's that side of things that’s quite enticing, and it’s just about finding that right balance.

The board has set our budget at €25,000/month for next season, whilst our transfer budget will be €10,000. I personally can’t see us requiring a transfer budget, though there's some staff members that we’re interested in talking to where we may have to pay compensation to get them to the club.

For now, it’s time for a bit of a break, and we’ll then get ready for the 2022-23 season!

@Harleygator: I decided that I wanted to try something different for my FM22 story, and I'm quite pleased with the results so far! Thanks for the compliment!

@TheLFCFan: I couldn't believe what I was watching! It was so satisfying to see the lads perform to the best of their abilities, though the result in the final shows that this squad just isn't quite good enough to take us to the next level. With that being said, with the right additions: that could change.

@Tango: The time off worked in our favour, and maybe if we'd had a month to prepare: the final might've gone differently!

@mgriffin2012: There's been a lot of changes at the club since Drago took charge, and with the off-season just around the corner: more changes are coming. There's exciting times ahead for the Team Wellington fans: I'm sure of it!

A shame to miss out on a potential trophy but I think expectations in your short stint have been exceeded so far. Obafemi Martins though, what a throwback!
MAY 11, 2022

Due to New Zealand still having some of the strictest rules in the world regarding the pandemic, the club asked me not to venture too far away during the off-season, which meant I was unable to return to Italy. Whilst I was disappointed to not be able to head home and see my family, I could understand the clubs position, and due to them having taken care of me so well since my arrival: I was happy to stay nearby. It didn’t mean I couldn’t have some time off: far from it! There's plenty of places within New Zealand to relax, and I found a place in Marlborough Sounds to stay for 2 weeks.

What I found cool about the place I booked into was the fact that it was a shipping container that had been converted to somewhere that could serve as accommodation, and for the price I was paying: it was a great deal. I had an amazing view, I had peace and quiet, and I was just able to unwind. I'm quite an intense person, so I need moments like this to take a step back, and by doing so: it recharges my batteries. After just a week, I felt ready to get started again, but it would’ve been foolish to not take advantage of the full 2 weeks.

After 2 weeks in Marlborough Sounds, I was feeling great, and I was excited about being able to go out and chase the signings that I wanted to bring to the club. We’d been in talks with a few lads for weeks, some of them for months, and I feel that in the coming weeks: there’ll be a plethora of signings announced. Whilst it might seems risky to make such wholesale changes, I feel it’s absolutely necessary, and it’s the only way that we’ll be able to challenge for the title next season.

A title challenge!? Yes: a title challenge. The board is only expecting us to qualify for the playoffs at the end of the season, but that’s not enough for me: I want us to compete for trophies.
I was sitting in bed one night, watching YouTube videos on my laptop, and I clicked on one of those “what happened to…” videos that you occasionally see featuring footballers who’d started off well, but fallen out of the limelight. As I watched the video, I could hear my mind ticking over, and I decided that if I could get one of the lads featured in it: I would. It just made sense to me, and provided they were fit and healthy: I was willing to give them a chance to rebuild their career.

It led to us completing the signing of former Nigerian international striker Michael Uchebo, with him a free agent after his departure from Enugu Rangers at the end of the 2019 season. So it’s been a while since he's played any competitive football, but I saw his hunger to get back playing during our conversations via Zoom. He's still desperate to play, and he doesn’t feel as though he's finished showing everyone what he's capable of.

Michael has signed a 2-year contract here worth €2,500/month before bonuses, with the club to organize somewhere for him to live too. He’ll arrive in the coming weeks, and I look forward to seeing the impact he has for us.

There's so much work for us to do in order to be ready for next season, but I'm excited for what the future holds for this club. It’d be such a magnificent achievement to bring success back to the club, especially after the way the team was ripped apart during the pandemic, and it’d give the city an alternative football club to support if they don’t wish to support Wellington Phoenix in the A-League.

Now, we just have to give them a few more reasons to do so!

@TheLFCFan: I did a bit of a 'double take' when I saw his name, and thought it was so damn cool. Unfortunately, I've got attribute masking on, so I couldn't see how good he is, but he'd also agreed a move to Spain at the end of his contract, so he must still be pretty decent!

Given the stats of the players you sign I wonder whether I'd have a shot in New Zealand
A good start to the summer recruitment. Hopefully we will see a few of the younger local talents coming through as Drago promised too. Look forward to seeing who arrives!
J_ames's avatar Group J_ames
6 monthsEdited
JUNE 14, 2022

Talks had been progressing well with our transfer targets, but there was a personal accolade for me in June, with me being awarded my ‘National C Licence’ after 4 months of study. I'm so grateful that the club had allowed me to enrol in the course, and I'm hopeful that I’ll be able to continue to move forward with my career.

Thankfully: they did! Straight after I was made aware that I’d passed my course, I went back to the club and asked for them to allow me to study for my ‘National B Licence’, and they agreed. It means that I’ll be studying another 4-months, but it’ll all be worth it, as it’ll make me a more eligible candidate for clubs looking for a new manager in the future.

In a move that totally surprised me, our chairperson made the decision to turn the club fully professional. Whilst it’s a great move for the club, and will help us progress in the years to come, I did find it quite strange considering that our financial position wasn’t the strongest. With that being said, I'm not going to complain, as it’ll give us more time on the training pitch, and it should help the club achieve the goals that I've set myself.

It’s also a move that’s impressed our potential signings, and I'm convinced that we’ll be announcing their arrivals in the coming days. They're excited by the project now, and I've no doubt that we’re going to be so much stronger if they sign for us.

I feel that as a club: we’re all growing together. It’s such a wonderful feeling, and I'm so lucky that I landed here in my first job as a manager. Things could have gone so much worse than they have, and I feel that the club is helping me to become the best manager that I can possibly be. Whilst I'm realistic enough to know that I might not be here forever, I'm also realistic enough to know that I should be aiming for more too.

No disrespect to football in New Zealand: it just isn't the level I aspire to coach at forever.

With that being said, I need to show other clubs that I'm worth taking a chance on, and that means that I need to win things here at Team Wellington. Whilst I don’t know what my future holds just yet, I know that I'm in the right place to be able to get myself to where I eventually hope to be.

@Tango: If you're as tall, or as athletic: I'll give you a trial! We're never going to be able to sign fantastic players here on a regular basis, though we may get one for a short time before a bigger club comes in to take him away, so we're going to be taking more of an 'athletic' approach for the time being.

@TheLFCFan: It'll be a mix of 'youth' and 'experience' that we go for in the transfer market, as I don't want to overload the squad with too many youngsters and go through the 'growing pains' that is associated with having a young squad. We're very much in a 'win now' mentality, albeit it'll be done in a way that's financially responsible.

A very important step for Drago with the badges. Whilst its still a mile away from the end goal its the first and half of the second step complete already with the board allowing you to study for the next set.
Big steps made in recent times, particularly the switch to Professional status. It is a risk/reward decision, as you said, with finances not yet at a high level. I would, however, trust in your ability to navigate the treacherous risks associated with a higher spending level and to push the club forward to becoming a bit of a super power in Oceanic football.
I think that given the professionalization of the club, it's worth to stay a little while longer. You could realistically win the league and lift the OFC CL trophy, what would definitely enrichen your résumé

It’s taken quite a while to get ourselves sorted, but I feel that we’ve done well to get our targets without going over budget. I think it’s crucial to be responsible financially, and although the club finances aren't magnificent at the moment: they're not dreadful either. Over the next week or so, we’ll have players arriving from all over the world, but for now: all we’re able to announce is the lads with a New Zealand passport. We’re still in talks with a couple foreign lads about making the move, and I think those deals are close.

We’re not the only club to have made a lot of moves during the transfer window: the rest of the league did too. In my opinion, that should make the league a bit more difficult next season, so it’s imperative that we get the lads settled, up to speed tactically, and we’ll go from there.

Below is a full list of our transfers:

In my opinion, the signing of Jesse Edge is the best of our ‘local’ signings. Jesse is the only player that we paid a fee for, and at €2,500: he's a bargain. I like the fact that he's able to play anywhere centrally, although it’s the backline where he’ll be playing for us this season. Jesse is the cousin of Harry Edge, who we also signed, and they're both said to be delighted to be able to play alongside one another next season.

Jesse has quite a lot of experience in Europe, but it only took an offer of €1,000/month before bonuses for 2-years to get him to the club. From what I imagine, he probably wasn’t earning a substantial wage in the fourth tier of Swedish football, and the opportunity to return ‘home’ might’ve been too good to resist for him.

Regardless: I'm delighted!

The weather here in New Zealand can be quite crazy at times, and we had a giant storm the other day where it felt like the roof of my unit would fly away. Thankfully: it didn’t! I'm fortunate enough to be in an amazing part of the world, and I only have good things to tell friends and family when they ask me how I'm doing. Whilst I do miss them, and I do feel a bit homesick some days, I've got a good support network here at the same time.

I’d love for friends and family to be able to visit New Zealand sometime in the near future, but we’re going to have to wait for the travel industry to get itself back in shape first.

@TheLFCFan: For some reason, I feel like SI have increased the importance of coaching badges in FM22, and if they have: it's a step in the right direction imo. Irl, there are 'minimum coaching licence requirements' for managers in certain leagues, and if that could be adopted by the game: that'd take the realism of it all to another level.

@Justice: It took quite a while to build the squad once we turned professional, as it was such a hard decision to decide who was or wasn't worth the money that they were asking for. It's crucial to leave the club in a better position upon Drago's departure than it was when he arrived, and leaving a club swarmed with debt just isn't an option. If the person who takes charge upon his departure cripples the club financially: it's on them!

@Tango: Turning professional certainly adjusts the timelines that Drago had set when he took the job, as it means that he can probably win the OFC Champions League sooner, rather than later. But first: qualification must be secured.

There seems to be a big shift in the club under Drago, from the quality of the backroom staff improving (Drago mainly with his courses), to turning professional and now with this large quantity of new arrivals at the club. The impact of course is yet to be seen, but the improvements behind the scenes are surely going to benefit the club short & long term.
I am positive these arrivals will give this club the nudge it needs to be pushed ahead. You were almost there last season

I've been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the local players here in New Zealand, so there was never a time where I felt that I absolutely had to go out and get a few foreign lads in order to accomplish our goals. The foreign lads that we bring in need to be major upgrades on any local lad that we could go out at get, and that’s showcased by us getting Michael Uchebo to the club already this off-season.

We've only brought in two other foreign players, and honestly: it took longer to get them than I’d have liked. At times it felt like things were dragging out far too long, and I looked at alternative options if the deal couldn’t get the deal over the line. Thankfully: they signed.

Below are our two new foreign signings!

The first lad we brought in was Lorenzo Peschetola, with him arriving at the conclusion of his contract with Inter Milan. Now I know what you're thinking, and no: he hasn’t been brought in just because he’s Italian! He's been brought in because he's a fantastic young player, who appears to have a bright future, but needs first-team football in order to fulfil the potential that I believe he has. It was better for him to come to New Zealand and play regularly, than sign for a Serie B or Serie C side, where he’d be placed in the reserve side and forgotten about.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if an A-League club is to take notice of Lorenzo, and that’s why we've locked him into a 3-year contract worth €2,500/month before bonuses. If an A-League club wants to sign him: they can submit an offer. If they meet our valuation: he’ll be allowed to depart.

Also arriving at the club is Raphael Le’ai, with the 19-year old Solomon Islands international joining us from Henderson Eels, where he’d spent the past 3 seasons. This isn't the first time that Raphael has signed for a Wellington-based side, with him having spent time with the Wellington Phoenix in 2019, before returning home to Honiara. I think he feels he has a point to prove, having been stuck in the S-League in the Solomon Islands for so long, and having seen some stuff online: there's quite a lot of hype surrounding Raphael.

Raphael was pleased to accept our 3-year offer worth €2,000/month before bonuses, and I'm pleased to have gotten him to the club. We’re going to play him in the ‘advanced forward’ role this season, which I think he's perfectly suited for, and I feel we’re going to see him score a hell of a lot of goals.

So there you have it: the final two pieces to our puzzle. I'm absolutely delighted with the players that we've been able to bring to the club, and the media seem to think that we’ll be a top-3 club this season. Only Auckland City and Hamilton Wanderers have been rated more highly than us, and having looked at Hamilton’s squad: I think we’re better. With that being said, I'm happy for us to be given the leeway to ‘fly under the radar’ a bit, although I'm sure that won’t last for long once the season kicks off properly.

We’ve now got quite a few pre-season friendlies to play, before our season opener against Canterbury United, with us kicking off the season with an away game.

@Jack: The club is definitely headed in the right direction, and the new owners have been such a great help to the progress. As long as they keep things going well off the pitch, Drago can continue to focus on the results on the pitch. At the moment: it's a match made in heaven.

@Tango: The squad is such a major improvement compared to the one that was built upon Drago's arrival, and it's now quite formidable all over the pitch. Before it was a case of hoping that one or two lads could drag the team over the line. Now: there's 11 potential match winners in the starting-11, and the bench is full of players with 'x-factor' about them too.

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