Sorry for the short-lived Wales story, everyone. I should have paid more attention to the team details where it showed that I would have to bring two U19s to every league game. That's just not my cup of tea. This time I paid attention and we're off to Slovenia.
Slovenia on the whole had the 36th best UEFA coefficient ranking in 2011, which puts them in the bottom third of countries. They also have two playable divisions right out of the box so I'm going to pick the worst professional second division team and start bringing them up to the top division. Also, on a recommendation by Stam, I'm loading all English based players to add a little more familiarity along with the small Slovenia database.
NK Mura 05 Murska Sobota is my team of choice. We'll call them Mura 05 for short. I did a quick wikipedia search on them, and it looks like SI actually has their facts a bit wrong with this team. NK Mura 05 was actually dissolved in 2004 due to bankruptcy and this team is actually ND Mura 05. ND Mura 05 is not considered a legal successor to the now-defunct NK Mura 05.
At any rate, my board recommendation was that we would achieve a mid table finish which is right around what our media projection is - 5th. That gives me a 70k transfer budget and a 9k per week wage budget; of which I'm currently spending ~5k per week. Things look promising in terms of being able to get the club shaped up quickly. I'll report back shortly after I've had a chance to put a first team together.
My assistant with 9 CA and 8 PA seems to like the club and I tend to agree with him for the most part.
The preseason went quite well and after a bumpy start to things, the team began to settle into my 442 tactic. We set out with a high workload with a focus on team blend to get everyone on the same page with my tactic and here is where we stand going into league play:
I really like our chances going into live play and I'm hoping that an extremely strong showing thus far translates into some early season magic. Lastly, here is the starting eleven and bench that we will be utilizing:
August was a bit of a downer, given my high expectations coming out of a torrid preseason. That said, we went 2-2-0 for the month and sit in 3rd place; 1 point behind table setters Krsko. The first two games of the season made the preseason look like fool's gold. Interblock, a team that we routed 3-0 in the preseason, led for the majority of the game and we didn't salvage a draw until the 65th minute. Our next game vs Dravinja didn't make matters better as we failed to get on the scoresheet. Our offense finally seemed to get traction in the third game vs Aluminij, a game where we netted three goals in front of an away crowd. We then stretched our winning streak to two games at the expense of Krsko.
September marks the start of the Slovenian Cup and I'm hoping we can continue our positive form into cup play.
Here's the early stat sheet for the team. As you can see, I'm still working on finding the right striker pair up front. My trequart has netted two goals but my poacher hasn't bagged any yet.
If August was a bit of a downer month, then September is maybe a head-scratcher. Our first round opponent in the Slovenian Cup was fellow league 2 team Dravinja. We managed a scoreless draw against them in league play in front of our home fans and I liked our chances even though we were playing away for the Cup. We went into the half with a 1-0 lead but it was Dravinja that had all the fight in them from then out. A goal in the 56th minute leveled the game and then a 79th minute strike proved to be the game winner. We never even looked up to the challenge after we fell behind, to be honest.
Despite our early exit in the Slovenian Cup, we continue to play well in league play. We currently sit atop the standings and have yet to lose a game. We also have netted the most goals and have the best scoring differential.
That could all change quickly, however because while we're currently only down one starter, it happens to be my trequart - Matjaz Gasior. He leads us with 6 goals and has the second most assists with 3. If the physio report is accurate, we will be without our biggest playmaker for 4 to 5 months.
October was the month that finally saw my undefeated streak come to an end. Our away game against Dob served as a warning shot but we didn't listen. Nor did we necessarily feel a need to. After that scoreless draw, we rattled off three consecutive wins where we scored 3 goals in each game. So much for missing our trequart, right? Well we were certainly missing something in our game against Krsko. Krsko dominated us in every facet of the game en route to a 2 goal victory. Thankfully we still hold a lead at the top of the table by 2 points.
With the season half way done, I'm thinking we have the legs to complete this journey and win promotion to the 1st League. We've proven to be solid contenders throughout the campaign thus far and our two long term losses have revealed that we have more depth than I had originally thought.
In Gasior's absence his strikemate, Milko Kovac has stepped into a leading role. Kovac now shares the lead with the injured Gasior, with both frontmen having scored 6 goals each. Gasior is still expected to be out another month or two but things are looking good if the two strikers can play off of one another when that time arrives.
Apparently there's a huge 3 month gap in the middle of league play in the Second League!
November saw us get back to our winning ways, with a very emphatic 6-1 drubbing of last placed Drava as the final game before the long holiday. With 15 games in the books and 12 to go we hold a fairly comfortable 5 point lead at the top of the table.
In three months time we should be back at nearly full strength, too, which is a very good thing for us. Regardless of how the other teams can do when they are firing on all cylinders, we know we can get to the top of the table with some key injuries. At full strength, I expect us to have a fairly easy time securing promotion.
I had a feeling this was going to happen. Several teams had been submitting transfer offers for our winger. And for good reason too. Bohar has shown a knack for scoring goals from his position on the right wing and is the second leading scorer on the team with 8 goals.
Having felt that someone would make an over-the-top type of offer I began scouting for a replacement right winger weeks ago for a replacement for Bojar. So we sell Bojar for 500k and bring in his replacement for 150k - Matej Perosa. Bojar is more athletically gifted, but Perosa is much better mentally and technically. If Perosa can add a little more stamina he could actually turn out to be a better fit in our tactic.
After almost a 4 month holiday from league play it was nice to get back down to business in March! It wasn't a complete holiday for the team because we continued to play friendlies every 4 days to make a meager profit and to help keep the players in form. We blasted through the vast majority of those friendlies which were scheduled with anyone that would accept from League 1 down. And to be honest, I holidayed through the games themselves because it got so boring.
New right midfielder Matej Perosa is gelling rather well. In three league games since joining us he's netted one goal, one assist, and averaged a rating of 7.53. And our buddies Qatar FC are calling again for one of our big scorers. This time they want frontman Milko Kovac. They have recently lodged a bid of 150k for the 50k rated striker so this could be headed down a familiar path.
And while we have some strikers on hand that look capable of taking Kovac's place, he has really settled into his role as poacher and looks like an assassin out there on the pitch at times. He has more than twice the goals (13) as the second highest scorer (6) and is also tied for the most assists (8). He is a handful to deal with up front and the team is really showing how to work around him.
Regardless of what happens, we will push onward this season knowing that we won't lose Kovac. At least not until the transfer window opens back up in June. That's about a month after league play has concluded and we look like a near lock for promotion at this point. With 9 games to go we are now staked to a 10 point lead at the top.
Looks like your running away with the league, nice job. I set my assman to take control of friendlies too, don't think I've controlled a single friendly on FM11.
Our mission has been accomplished. Our final game in April, a thrilling come from behind victory over Dob, saw us clinch the league crown and promotion in the offseason! With four games remaining on the schedule it will be interesting to see how well the team maintains focus with nothing to play for.
Here we go again. Another foreign team poaches one of our top players. This time it's Man City's little brother, Al-Jazeera, and they've come for our starting right fullback, Ziga Kous. Kous is a young two way player and I was hoping to keep him for few more seasons. We got another 500k bid, however, and I can't blame the chairman for taking the money. Assuming this deal goes through, the 1m in outgoing transfers will be the only thing that makes the team profitable on the year.
Mura 05, 2010-2011
We were a successful one and done team in the Second League, earning promotion after my first season at the helm. As always, I expect the level of competition to increase significantly as we move up to the PrvaLiga. And while the challenges will be greater, so will the rewards. The top team goes to the Second Qualifying Round of the Champions Cup, second goes to the Second Qualifying Round of the EURO Cup, while third and fourth go to the First Qualifying Round of the EURO Cup.
Interest in the team will hopefully
increase at this point and that should help get our finances turned around. Throughout the season we typically leaked ~25k per week even though we were well under the weekly wage limit. And while we led the league with an average attendance of ~1250, I'm hoping we can triple those numbers and start to push for sellout games at home. That shouldn't be hard to do if we avoid relegation.
Our first signing comes earlier than most that I usually do. We are losing our starting trequart who was on loan, however, and I was keen to find a more permanent replacement. Meet. Dejan Bozicic. He's far from perfect mentally, but he's very sound technically and physically.
Signing #2 is Matjaz Lunder, who will look to fill the starting right fullback role that was vacated recently by Ziga Kous.
Ian Emersic is another signing that shows my intentions this season - build up a team with more pace and stamina.
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