As seems to be the case regularly these days, it’s been a long while since my last [Dortmund] update. In that update, I suggested the save may well be done & finished as we completed our aim of an unbeaten season. This proved not to be the case, and I’ve actually completed a number of seasons since them.
This is largely because a variety of new objectives have taken priority; back-to-back(to-back) Champions League titles, a new stadium, creating a new side after dismantling the old one for massive transfer fees and, most importantly, Robert Wechner’s goal tally. One of the main joys of Football Manager is finding regens who fit your style & philosophy, and morphing them into a deadly player capable of ruining the opposition. Wechner is just that, and he happened to come through the academy. In the last article I wrote, I noted that he’d never reached Gerd Muller’s Bundesliga record of 365 goals; but not because of a lack of ability, just that I’d never manage him to that point as the save was done. But I continued, and at the end of this season I checked it. How many Bundesliga goals had he scored?
At the end of my introductory post on the new Udinese save, I mentioned the situation was something of a ‘clusterfuck’. In truth, it was a lot worse and I had to complete more outgoing transfers/loans than in any transfer window ever.
The Summer all began with the loan players returning. This was fine. Whilst there was lots to deal with, we were at the end of June and there was plenty of time. However, the day before they were all due to return, the board announced they were considering a consortium takeover and this resulted in a temporary transfer embargo.
Regardless, planning went on, and we’d been given a £360k p/w wage budget. This seemed fairly reasonable… until the loanees returned. At this point I thought something must’ve been wrong, because upon trying to offer a new contract to one of our current players, the maximum value was an absolute pittance. So I checked the finances, and we were now paying £640k p/w in wages.
Before I start, I’d just like to advise anyone who reads these posts and enjoys them to follow me on Twitter. I post about my game quite a lot and there’s things I put on there that don’t really suit the format of a blog, so you could well miss them if you don’t follow me. Thanks.
At the very beginning of this string of Újpest posts, I noted that there were five stages we needed to complete before my job with the Budapestians was finished. The ‘domestic consolidation’ phase that we started with went on slightly longer (four years in total) than I was hoping, but after a wonderful 2016/17 season, we’ve finally reached stage two: ‘domestic dominance’. The criteria for completing this phase are as follows:
• Consistent title challenges year-on-year
• Steadily improving youth academy
• Beginning to focus more on Hungarian talent
With the step up to the next phase (‘continental consolidation’) being:
• Improved performances in continental competition each year.
• Viable youth academy
• Beginning to focus more on Hungarian talent
Apologies for the slightly underwhelming nature of my previous article. My heart wasn’t really in the save at that point and I was playing largely on key highlights, flicking through the games and weeks as quickly as possible in a bid to move on from PSV. Having to go through the whole season before finding a job was particularly frustrating, given Laurent Blanc was sitting at either Insecure or Very Insecure in the PSG hotseat for the vast majority of the season. But eventually the offer came and here I am.
Since my last update at the end of the 2013/14 season, we’ve completed our squad overhaul. In the end it ended up as less of an overhaul and more of a sale of the deadwood and the arrival of three central midfielders. Ah well.
The first two guys were planned for a while. I knew we needed a dominating presence at DM, a player who could dictate play but also act as the primary playmaker from deep. With Maher and Hiljemark at CM and both being incredibly dynamic players who push on, the DM is likely to be left to deal with opposition counter-attacks. As he was available on a free transfer, Ekdal was a no-brainer. In the previous update I said the transfer budget was largely flexible, but when you can get the same quality of player on a free transfer then you go for it. I had planned for Ekdal to be my DLP-D at the base of a ‘1-2’ shape in central midfield, but that changed later in the window due to this man..