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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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That is some excellent defending. Nice job of the two teams on keeping each other's strikers at bay

If the A-League is still off, I foresee a period in Southeast Asia then

After much deliberation, where I talked things over with friends, family, and former managers: I decided it was time to depart Team Wellington. It hadn’t been an easy decision to make, as I've enjoyed my time here tremendously, but it makes sense to depart after such a successful campaign. It’s a risk that I feel that I need to take, and although there aren't any jobs of interest to me at the moment: I'm sure that’ll change soon.

I've now told the club that they can start to look for a new manager, and I've packed up my unit too. It’s a shame to be moving on, but it’s the right thing to do for my career. If I'm stuck here too long: I’ll never be able to get out.

The board expected us to get into the post-season playoffs, so the fact that we finished top of the table, and went on to win the playoffs: that made them very happy.

Our dominance in the league was noticeable, and our fans responded to our dominance by helping us have the highest average attendance in the league, with us averaging 1,388 a game: 69% of our capacity. We won a host of awards over the course of the season [team-wise and player-wise], whilst I was quite honoured to have been named as ‘Manager of the Year’ for the league.

It’s been a real redemption story for the club in the league, and I'm pleased to have played my part.

Once again: we surpassed the expectations of the board in this competition. They were only expecting us to make the semi-final stage, so naturally: they're pleased that we went on to win the competition.

I found this competition quite annoying to be honest, as it just went for too damn long. There was too big of a gap in the fixtures, and the length of the off-season could be so much longer for the players if this competition was wrapped up by the end of June or July. It’s just silly the way that they schedule it, and I was relieved when it was all over.

There was no minimum expectations placed on this competition, so I placed no importance on it either. Should I have given it more respect? Possibly. At the end of the day: I'm not losing any sleep over not winning it.

There's an argument to be had that I shouldn’t leave the club until I've won every piece of domestic silverware that New Zealand has to offer, but I'm not willing to hang around another year for a trophy that the board places absolutely no importance on. That being said: I kind of wish I’d won it!

This was the competition that I was most desperate to win, and that feeling was matched by the board: they expected us to reach the final. Considering where the club was when I got here, and the fact that I'm still not sure how we even qualified to be in the competition this season: they seemed overly ambitious in a way.

Thankfully: we met their expectations. I had such a fun time in the OFC Champions League, and it was such a pleasure to be able to repay the initial show of faith that the club had in me by winning it. I was certainly helped by the players that I've been able to bring to the club, and the likes of Michael Olaha and Michael Uchebo ran riot in this competition.

I'm fortunate to have been able to build a remarkable squad here, within the budgets that the club has set me, and it’s a squad that could go on to become a real force here in New Zealand. With that being said, there's always a chance that there’ll be departures, but for now: almost everyone is staying. Michael McGlinchey is retiring, the club has told me that Michael Uchebo won’t have his contract renewed due to his age [32], and they're now telling me that Nigel Hasselbaink won’t have his contract renewed due to his age [32] too. It’s frustrating: they both deserve new deals!

I've already made a few moves for next season, with Fijian central-midfielder Dan Hall agreeing to join the club, whilst Cook Islands international striker Maro Bonsu-Maro will join too. There’ll definitely be a more “Oceanic” vibe about the club next season, which is something that I wanted to try to implement.

Below are the final statistics of our squad:

In a move that was quite a shock, in a good way, the club also announced that there’ll be an expansion to the stadium carried out. Due to the council owning the stadium, it’s them that’ll be footing the bill for it, and the 2,000 capacity will become 4,595 at the conclusion of the expansion. Credit where credit’s due: this is a great move by the club. With the progress that they're making on-and-off the pitch, it’s only a matter of time before attendances will rise more than they already have, and it’ll be a wonderful atmosphere.

Whilst I'm sad that I won’t be at the club to re-open David Farrington Park, I'm happy for everyone that will be. Maybe one day I’ll return to the club: as a spectator.

@Tango: It was quite an exciting final for the spectators, who got their money's worth in terms of the entertainment they witnessed. Regarding any moves... I can neither confirm, nor deny, where Drago might be headed! I imagine it'll come out in the comings days!

It's sad to leave after all this success, but when you dream big you gotta get used to leaving things behind

I’d flown home to Italy, and I was delighted to be able to spend some time with my family again. I’d worked hard in New Zealand, saved a lot of my wages, and it gave me a small timeframe to be able to just sit ‘idle’ and not stress too much about finding another job. With that being said, I'm open to all possibilities outside of Oceania, and I'm excited for what the future may hold.

There's been a few reporters that have left me voicemail messages and asked me a few questions, which I've answered, though I've refrained from commenting on any manager who is finding their position under threat. I’d hope that they wouldn’t do it to me, so I'm not going to do it to them.

I was recently asked by someone I knew for my CV, which I promptly sent over to them. Whilst I'm not sure if it’ll lead to any opportunities, I was happy to have been asked by him.

As things stand, this is my CV:

Being back in Italy allowed me to do something I've always loved doing: attend Lazio games. Things weren't going so well to start off the 2023-24 season, but what did they expect when they'd just sold Ciro Immobile to Manchester City for €47,000,000!? Whilst they'd signed former Pisa youngster Lorenzo Lucca as his replacement, many of the fans [me included] were furious with the decision to sell Immobile. He should’ve been someone who retired at the club, and the board have harmed the clubs chances of a successful campaign by selling such a proven goalscorer.

Don’t get me wrong: I think Lucca will go on to become a good striker. It’s just a case of him not quite being ready for regular Serie A football, and there not being anyone else who can share the burden in terms of goals.

The major concern that the club has at the moment is the fact that Sergej Milinković-Savić is unhappy, and he's been quite vocal about it. The last thing the club can afford is to lose the Serbian maestro, because if they do: relegation is very much a possibility. You can have as much money in the bank as you want, but if you don’t have enough talent on the pitch: you're fighting a losing battle.

I was recently made aware that Team Wellington had appointed my successor, with them electing to appoint Wynton Rufer, who’d been at Waitakere United. I actually recommended to the club that they should take a chance on Michael McGlinchey, who’d retired at the end of last season, and for a long time: he was the front-runner for the job. It’s a real shame that he didn’t get it, as I feel it would’ve been a good chance for the club to continue on the path that I’d begun to take them down.

Regardless: I wish Wynton the best of luck in the role.

There's been a few messages from other New Zealand-based clubs, namely Canterbury United, who wanted to see if I’d be interested in returning to the country, and I couldn’t help but chuckle as I read their message. I just sent a simple “no thanks” back to them, and hoped that they wouldn’t be too offended.

I'm sure that in the coming weeks: I’ll try to secure my next job. At the same time: I'm not rushing into anything. My next move needs to be carefully made, because my spell in New Zealand went really well. I don’t want to take the first job I'm offered, out of a fear I mightn’t get another offer, only to the job be a complete disaster. It’s all about talking to the right people, to make sure that it’s the right club for me.

If it is: I’ll gladly sign on the dotted line.


I recently added/removed leagues to the database, purely due to where I might be interested to go next. Below is the image [click it] of the league set-ups now in my game, or it’ll have a date attached of when it’ll be removed from my game. Once I land my next job, there's a chance that I add/remove more leagues, as I plan ahead for my next stage of the ‘Hexagon challenge’ that I've set myself.

@Tango: Not gonna lie, it was a bit of a kick in the nuts when I saw the stadium expansion announcement! It would've been awesome to manage the club in a stadium of that capacity, especially if we could sell it out, but it wasn't to be. You're 100% right about having to be prepared to move on, there's no time when you can afford to get sentimental with a club.

That rest is well deserved after everything you managed to do in New Zealand!
It's gonna be interesting to see where Drago moves next, although by the looks of it, an African country seems likely. Good luck with the next part of the challenge!
Your cv is too short maybe you can add some soft skills in it to make it look bigger
NOVEMBER 19, 2023

I ended up spending close to two months without a job, and as much as I enjoy being home in Italy: I was ready to get back to work. I was making more of a conscientious effort to try and secure a position somewhere, I’d reached out to quite a lot of people, and there'd even been a few near misses. I was quite interested in a move to Africa, so it’s where a lot of my attention had been focused, but I was still open to managing elsewhere.

Eventually: an agent reached out to me. As I read his email, I was somewhat sceptical of what he was saying, but after looking up his details and reaching out to mutual acquaintances: I was told he was someone who could be trusted. I decided to reply to his email, asking for some more information, and let him know that if there was serious interest in my services: I’d be willing to travel to interview for a position.

It took a few days for me to hear back from him, and unfortunately: I was asleep when he tried to call! Fortunately, he left me a voicemail, which went as follows:

Luke Hendricks:
“Hi Drago, it’s Luke Hendricks here.

I thought I’d give you a brief update on the situation here in Africa, and if it’s still something of interest to you: I'm hopeful we can work something out. I’d be very interested in working with you on the continent, so again: let me know if that’s something that you want sorted.

Basically, at the moment, there's a few positions across the continent. Guinea Bissau has multiple vacancies, as does the Ivory Coast, whilst there's a few vacancies in the likes of Uganda and Kenya too. I'm told that there will be a few positions opening up in Egypt and Morocco soon, but as things stand: I'm not certain that you’d be in a position to find work there at this stage.

Personally speaking, I have close ties with clubs in the Ivory Coast and Kenya, so if you asked me where your best chances laid: that would be my answer.

I hope you're well, and I hope to hear back from you soon.

Bye for now,

I sent him a message to let him know that I’d be interested in working with him, and part of the reason behind it was that I appreciated his honesty when he mentioned that I mightn’t be able to find work in Egypt or Morocco just yet. I know plenty of agents that would’ve tried to string me along, get me signed to a mandate, only to then try and get me to take a position elsewhere. It happens every day, and unfortunately: it happened to me during my playing career. I was one of the lucky ones though, as I challenged the validity of the mandate, and was able to secure a “release” from it.

Over the coming days, Luke and I talked quite a bit, with him keeping me updated on where I stood regarding the jobs that’d applied for. It was all positive stuff, and I felt a sense of relief that a new job might be just around the corner, as well as being quite excited about it too.

Eventually: he got back to me. He emailed me through a ticket for a flight, as well as a reservation at a hotel, and told me to bring a suit. He’d secured me an interview: the rest was up to me.

As I made my way to the airport, I took a look around: it might be a while before I return to Rome!

Just over 15-hours later, I was departing the airport, and into a taxi. I was taken aback by the city, and in a few hours, I’d sit down with Luke and discuss the interview I’d have in 24-hours. There's a lot of prep work to be done, in order to be ready, but I'm excited to be here.

I'm the right man for the job: I just have to convince the club now.

@NTBGaming: Managing in Africa is something that I'm always intrigued to try to do on FM, though it's a shame that SI only have the licensing for South Africa. I'm pleased to have been able to get some additional leagues though, and hopefully it all works out!

@Tango: I was thinking the same thing when I looked at it. It'd be kind of cool if you could "make a career" or have one made for you by the game depending on the 'past playing experience' that you select when setting up your manager. That'd be tough to do though, so I can understand why we can't do it.

Loving this story mate.

Incredible job in New Zealand and will be interesting to see which club has their eyes on Drago over in Africa!
Absolutely smashed New Zealand to pieces and possibly even more impressive was the ability to turn such a massive profit on some of your summer signings in the next window. Sure clubs will look at that especially those who are strapped for cash. Also like the sound of this Luke guy, seems like he knows what he's doing ;)
Making the move from NZ to Egypt or Morocco would be quite the leap, and it is understandably complicated. I know very little about clubs in Côte d'Ivoire and absolutely nothing about Kenya, so it may be fun to learn more about one of these places!
NOVEMBER 20, 2023

The hotel that I’d been booked into was quite a nice place to stay, and I got up early enough to go down and eat some breakfast, before Luke would come to meet me before the interview. The club had booked a conference room at one of the more affluent hotels in the city, which told me they were taking this interview seriously, and I was confident I’d be able to show them that I was the right man to take their club forward.

Eventually, it was time to make my way to the interview, and although it was already incredibly hot outside: I still wore my suit. The heat is something that I’ll have to get used to, though the average temperature year-round is 26°C, so I'm a bit relieved by that.
We took Luke’s rental car to the meeting, and as we drove to the city, there were plenty looks of intrigue when people saw my face. Everything changes with a smile, and there were so many happy faces looking back at me, so much so that I already felt like I’d made the right decision in coming here for the interview. Maybe it was just meant to be? My nerves were well and truly gone by this stage: I just wanted to get started.

But first: the interview!

As I walked into the conference room, I took the seat that I was gestured towards, and mentally prepared myself for the questions that were about to be asked of me.

I felt that the interview had gone extremely well, and I sat there listening to their vision of the club, the issues they felt existed under their previous managers, and how they wanted to position the club in the future. It was all good stuff, and I found myself [unintentionally!] nodding in agreement at times, though that’s not exactly a bad thing. The board here are ambitious, they're realistic, and I get the feeling that deep down: they're ‘football people’. Which means that they're not able to be bluffed by someone with some ‘buzzwords’ like other clubs may be.

After a while, I was able to present my ideas for how I wanted to take the club moving forwards, and as I looked around the room: I saw I had them intrigued. I talked about the tactics that I wanted to implement, which many would consider a bit “outrageous” at first glance, but it’s all designed about excitement and goals. I mentioned potential signings that I felt were achievable, and I commented on everything that I felt needed to be addressed. Part of me is worried that I was probably talking for far too long, but there was a lot of information that I wanted them to know.

Eventually, I re-took my seat, and listened to their response. To their credit, they asked me if I had any final comments to make, and I decided that I did.

I stood up again and said:

Drago Barišić:
“I understand the position that your club’s in at the moment. I believe that whilst I mightn’t have the amount of experience in management that you’d prefer: I can still turn things around here.

Football is all about passion, and bringing your fans into the stadium to witness something special every time there's a home game. I've watched the results from the second-half of last season: there was no passion, and no entertainment for the fans. I feel that there's too many players currently at the club that don’t fit what I feel is the clubs identity, and if I were to come in: I’d like to change that.

When you're a club that has a majority of its fan base from the working class, I believe that the football club needs to mimic their ethos. Fans don’t want to pay their hard earned money, to watch a footballer stroll about the pitch and not put in a shift. They want to see someone that’s working their backside off, just like they have to every day, just so that they can pay for a ticket on the weekend!

This club has a hell of a lot of potential, and I'm hopeful that you’ll allow me to turn things around here.

Thanks for your time.”

The journey back to my hotel was a quick way to get some feedback from Luke, who felt that the interview had gone incredibly well. I was quite pleased with the way that I’d handled myself, and I was sure that I’d given a good account of myself too. If I miss out on the job: I’ll have no regrets. I feel I’ve given them plenty of food for thought, and I'm hopeful that they’ll be able to come to a decision in the coming days.

It’s been an exciting few days, and I've decided that I'm going to spend the rest of the day at the beach: relaxing in the sun. If I'm going to be living here, I may as well start to adjust to the climate!

@Jxgsaw_ : Cheers mate! Hopefully Drago did well enough in the interview to convince the club that he's the right man to lead them to glory. It'll be a fun experience in Africa, I'm sure of it!

@TheLFCFan: I'm not sure if it's just me, or others are having the same kind of experience, but I've found it much easier to sell players on FM22 so far. It's a 'skill' that should be included on the manager's profile ["Sells players for profit"] imo. Also, Luke seems alright, but like any agent... you can only trust him as far as you can throw him!

@Tango: I did a season in Côte d'Ivoire in one of my previous stories, and it was a hell of a lot of fun tbh. Unfortunately, in that save, I had a glitch where I couldn't qualify for the CAF Champions League! Fortunately, I've already checked on this save, and that's not an issue. I'm just excited about the possibilities that Africa can afford a manager like Drago.

Did I miss something from the text or is the club yet to be announced? :p
NOVEMBER 21, 2023

It took the club less than a day to come to a decision, with them asking to meet me back at the hotel, so that we could discuss terms on a contract. I wasn’t expecting a big offer, but I was hoping to make a similar wage to what I was on in New Zealand. With that being said: I’d be willing to accept a little less, but only if I absolutely had to. I told Luke what I was looking for, and he seemed to think it was ‘doable’, so I showed up feeling quite confident that it wouldn’t take too long for us to agree a contract.

The club was happy to pay the same wage as I’d earned in New Zealand [€3,500/month], but in order for me to get that, I had to guarantee them 100% of any compensation if another club is to approach me, as well as accept a 50% pay-cut if the club is relegated. Considering they'd sack me if we were dragged into a relegation battle: I was happy to agree to the terms.

I'm pleased to announce that I've signed a 2-year deal to take charge of Kenyan side Bandari FC!

As I walked around the facilities, I felt they were acceptable, and I was quite pleased to hear that there's the intention to upgrade whenever it’s financially possible. The stadium is currently having another 1,000 seats added, which will take its capacity to 4,033 upon completion, with the capacity currently reduced by 180 seats during the construction. The construction will be finished before the start of next season, which is great, and I hope that we’re able to get a capacity crowd for our first home game of the season.

The atmosphere around the club is okay, but nothing special, and that’s something that the board want me to turn around. It’s actually something that they’ll be judging me on, as they're concerned by the ‘squad harmony’ that’s gone on during the past year or so, so I need to take a good look at the squad, and see who needs to be moved on. Personally: I think there’ll be a lot of departures during the off-season.

What I found a little bit interesting, and also quite exciting, is the fact that the club hasn’t won many honours since they were founded in 1985. It pretty much gives me a blank canvas to work with, and if I'm able to bring any silverware to the club: it’ll put me in the history books.

Since the season ended, there's already been a few lads that have agreed moves elsewhere at the conclusion of their contracts. Whilst I'm disappointed that I didn’t get to see any of them in action before they agreed their moves, after watching their highlights from last season: I was content to see them depart. There were no ‘superstars’ or ‘key men’ departing, though it’s interesting that big clubs such as Tusker FC, Gor Mahia, and AFC Leopards are signing players from us.

I expect there to be quite a few more departures if I'm honest, and I'm currently evaluating my squad in a much more thorough fashion, so that we can potentially finish in the top-half next season.

As you can see from the league table: there's a lot of work to be done. In the second-half of last season, Bandari FC just seemed to capitulate, and they tumbled down the league placings because of it. Simply put, they just didn’t score enough goals, and they weren't good enough defensively to stop their opposition from scoring frequently. I’ve decided to go down the ‘entertainment’ road in terms of our tactical set-up, which I’ll discuss in the near future, and I feel it’s something that’ll help us climb up the table next season.
At the end of the day, we were only 9-points off finishing in the top-half in the season just gone, so I don’t think it’s too crazy or ambitious to be setting that as our goal next season.

Now that I've secured a job in Africa, I’ve decided to remove a lot of the other leagues, whilst keeping some of the stronger leagues that I may wish to move to in the future. It’s a decision that I've made so that I can load a few of the Asian leagues, which I’ll do around January time [in-game], so that I can get some players loaded there, as I feel that’ll probably be the next continent that I head to after my time in Africa!

@Tango: You didn't miss it, I deliberately left the update as a bit of a cliffhanger! Now that the announcement has been made, preparations can begin on how to turn around another club, without getting too attached in the process. It should be a lot of fun, seeing as I've never managed here before!

Incredible results in New Zealand! I'm surprised they didnt name a stand after Drago when they announced the stadium expansion. With one continent truly conquered, I now wish you the best of luck in the mother land, Africa.
Grabbing pen and paper, time to learn about Kenyan football

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