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Grêmio FBPA - Season 3: Eternal Glory

After a humiliating relegation, an obscure young manager takes charge of his favorite club. In this story, he plans to lead his Imortal Tricolor back to glory; showing all that he'd do differently
Started on 1 December 2021 by Tango
Latest Reply on 3 February 2022 by Harleygator
Tango's avatar Group Tango
2 yearsEdited

I. Preface

I am finally bringing you a story that I had been working on for a while.

First of all, I think that I have to disclaim that this story is deeply personal to me. I will be finally managing a Brazilian club, and it will be the one I am unreasonably crazy about. This story will be so personal that I will use my real name for it - taking a small poetic license with the last name.

Honestly, I never thought that I would bring my favorite club to a FM story. As I support one of the big clubs in Brazil, who lifted the Copa Libertadores as recently as 2017, it never really made sense for me to write a story about a club that has been on the top for so long. It always felt like there was nothing to write about. Until then.

All of a sudden, my life as a lunatic for my club has been struck by a dark cloud, living a bizarre dystopia. With three matches to go, we are virtually relegated to the second tier in Brazilian football, the Série B. Unlike Cruzeiro or Vasco, the other giants that went down, Grêmio is doing financially well, and was even considered to be a candidate for the national title by some pundits before the league started - in hindsight, they were extraordinarily naïve, as our problems were already visible back then.

This story is so personal that it has been tough to write. While writing this story, I often find myself being overly visceral with the stuff I write, allowing my feelings to get the best of me and my writing. I have written and erased quite a few pages already. Usually, I deal really well with my feelings by letting the irony take over the anger, and even ironize my own anger, but sometimes the anger just overflows and it becomes hard to control. Probably I care about football way more than I should.

So I decided to just be myself and honestly write about what comes to mind.

I hope you enjoy it.
I'm looking forward to this so much! I've always found Brazilian football so interesting, and I had a save years back as Grêmio Barueri which I enjoyed tremendously. I look forward to seeing the moves that you make with the club you love so much, though I imagine it'll be tough for you at times to make decisions. Will you rule with your heart, or with your head!? I'm not sure, but I can't wait to find out :D
I can definitely relate to the emotional part of writing about your beloved club. I hope you manage writing your emotions well and fire your club back to the top. I'll be following.
I've always had some intrigue around saves in South America so I'm looking forward to seeing what you can conjur up here
@bfrparker esse é o propósito do save, inclusive

@J_ames I just hope I can keep my heart close to my head

@Oz96 yeah, it will be a challenge, but I also think there is some content to extract from it as well. Thx m8

@mgriffin2012 I am definitely biased, but South American saves are quite enjoyable!
Tango's avatar Group Tango
2 yearsEdited

The embarrassment of the Gremista dystopia

Column by Marco Schwartz

Geromel, the 2017 Libertadores captain, with a lot of reason for mourning. Ph: Ricardo Giusti

Grêmio will be meeting the infamous Série B for the third time in 2022, inaugurating a whole new way of relegating a big club.

Big clubs going down a level is not something unusual in this country. Among the "G12", only Flamengo, São Paulo, and Santos have never seen Brazil's second tier, and half of them have seen it for more than a season.

What is new with the relegation of our Imortal Tricolor this season is the context. Most big clubs go under after years of accumulating debt and some months of delay in paying wages. So if there is one thing that we bring to the table in 2021, it is innovation.

When Romildo Bolzan was elected the club's president in 2014, plenty was said about reasoning the club's finances, and it worked for a while. After all, there is merit in lifting the 2016 Copa do Brasil and the 2017 Copa Libertadores after a 15 year titleless run. In harmony with the fans and with a lot of money in the bank, however, what followed the glory was an inexplicable attachment to financial reports.

Year after year, Grêmio accumulated cash by selling our best talents and replacing them with other clubs' garbage. That's the word: garbage.

With the scrapping of our squad, we entered an era of embarrassment, which the board had failed to realise. The humiliating 0-5 defeat at Flamengo in a Copa Libertadores semifinal was a signal of decay that Mr. Bolzan chose to ignore. As we let go our best players and replaced them by a bunch of morons who somehow think they were part of the winning squad by osmosis, we went only down from there, with another whooping Libertadores elimination (1-4 at Santos) and a terrible Série A run that has seen us drop from the title fight to 6th in the 2020 season.

Despite being a club legend, the manager Renato Portaluppi is also to be blamed. How many times did we have to see the pathetic scenes of him asking for unrealistic signings, and when the negotiations obviously broke down, he asked for players way past their prime as replacements?

In the end, we built a squad of "Friends of Renato", and no one could ever manage this squad after his departure. A bunch of spoiled 35 year-old brats, who claim to themselves the success of a team they were not part of. For these and many other reasons, the only club that paid integral salaries during the pandemic break will play the Série B in 2022.
When you let the inmates run the asylum, eventually the place is going to burn to the ground. The club is having to suffer the indignity of a relegation, due to years of making poor decisions. With relegation now confirmed, it's time to get rid of the self entitled pretenders, and return the club to winning ways off the backs of players that are hungry and proud to play for the club!

Nice to see you taking a similar route as me by writing about your favourite team! I'm hoping you enjoy it as much as me, despite the slight disappointment for Gremio in recent years. All the best!
A harsh experience for any fan to go through and something that I am sure you never thought you'd experience. Whilst in the real world I hope your club can come back and show the success they once had not to long ago again, FM provides you the opportunity to show them how to do it! Excited to see how this goes!
@J_ames that is the word... Hungry. IRL I really wish they will ditch the old guys that don't feel that they have anything else to proof. We need people wanting to show some service for once

@Jack that's a save that I do every year I'm not satisfied with our results. Just never thought it'd come to the point of being worth a story

@TheLFCFan in fact, relegations in Brazilian football are to be expected by everyone. The problem is to go through it for the 3rd time in 30 years, and with a lot - A LOT - of money in the bank

II. A tale of passion and bluff

Fans are not happy with the board and are not afraid to show it. Ph: Anselmo Cunha / Agência RBS

When I wrote my article on the relegation and sent it to the press, I honestly thought I’d be fired. And I wouldn’t complain, given that as a club employee, it would be understandable to be fired after slamming the president like this. And well, they did try to fire me. It just backfired massively.

I joined CBF Academy for football coaches really soon. Other kids my age wanted to be players, jump on the pitch and suddenly get in a plane to Europe. I wanted to be a manager, because being a player involves a set of sacrifices I just don’t feel like making, as I enjoy booze and food. Although I don’t have the discipline for being a player, I have a passion for both Grêmio FBPA and football, and I wanted to get involved somehow.

And passion makes you do stupid things, such as the article above. According to Brazilian law, the article is enough reason for me to lose my assistant manager job without severance pay. And that would probably be the end of my career in the club of my dreams.

The thing is that I am not the only passionate person for Grêmio. Like me there are 10 million more, 10 million who read my article or learned about it somehow, 10 million who agree with me. I know, I know, they would probably agree with anyone criticizing the president like this. Given the shattered popularity of our president - that only himself cannot fathom - I wasn’t that worried about bashing him publicly, but I really did expect some backlash after criticizing Renato, a club legend and still worshipped by many fanatics. The fuss about it, however, was surprisingly minimal. He defended himself by publicly blaming the board for not liberating funds and that was it.

So when they tried to fire me, the Gremistas immediately understood this decision as a “Shoot the messenger” situation. They were frustrated, angry, and massively embarrassed by their club being relegated with a good financial state, as the club spent years away from relegation risk with rather poor financial reports in the past. And they reacted accordingly, as in the picture that illustrates this post.

So the president came to me like nothing happened, saying that I could stay. As someone who worked with him in the club for some years, his behaviour didn’t surprise me, as he always screws up and then tries to mend the situation acting like nothing happened. This time, however, I didn’t have any of it:

Me: yeah, things will have to change if you want me to come back.
RB: ok, then go.
Me: you know I’ll run straight to the arms of these people outside, right?

He stayed quiet for an awkward amount of seconds, as if calculating the situation.

RB: Fine. Fire away. What do you want?
Me: I want the next manager to be an inside hire. Thiago (Gomes, coach/assistant manager) and I are sick of assisting managers that know less of modern tactics than us. You can’t imagine how hard it is to respect the authority of someone who knows less than you. I am tired of having to dumb down what I say to not sound arrogant.
RB: You know what? Your demands are fair. You’ll hear from us soon.

As Thiago is older than me, I was talking about him. I thought that he should be appointed the new manager. I honestly think he is a good choice for the job. So it came as a surprise to me when the president asked me back to his office.

RB: You are young. You have innitiative. You have until the end of the State Championship to impress.

Me? I’m only 26, the press will eat me alive and spit my bones in a few games. I knew what he was doing. He was bluffing. He wanted to throw me to the wolves outside and make me taste my own medicine. So I answered:

Me: That is perfect and I appreciate the opportunity. We can talk about numbers later as your assistant prepares the paperwork.

And I double bluffed. I was terrified of being appointed manager that early, but I refuse to yield.

Then he brought the papers with a quite reasonable financial offer. Triple bluff.

And I signed it. Quadruple bluff.

And then he signed it. I lost. F***.

Me: One last demand: I want your support. If I want to let a player go, I want you to rip his contract. You won’t do to me as you did to the others.
RB: I’ll see what I can do - he said, smiling.

And that’s how two abstract elements of the broad set of stuff, passion and bluff, got me into the manager position at the club of my heart. I will lead the Imortal Tricolor in the State Championship, and as much as I am terrified, I’m also pumped. I know how to improve a lot of things here. I just hope I will be able to turn theory into practice.
A good poker player knows when to fold. But being a bad poker player doesn't make you a bad manager.
Best of luck. :)
Perhaps this is the greatest game of chicken you could possibly lose. A fresh start and despite the nerves a real opportunity to make the club great once again.
Though not the most prominent member of staff at the club, an inside voice criticising the club is likely to unite the many who feel the same as you. A huge leap and show of faith shown by the President, but if it goes wrong then he has laid out his terms with regard to impressing in a short space of time. A man with real passion for the club might be just what it needs to turn the ship in the right direction!

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