In my last post, I mentioned that one of my key objectives was to focus heavily on building a top class backroom team, so my first mission as manager of CD Tenerife was to overhaul the existing staff roster and start recruiting right away – bearing in mind that one of the objectives of this save is to hire as many Spanish speaking staff as possible. This proved quite challenging in that I have always traditionally recruited UK and Irish coaches and scouts etc, and the quality of the Spanish speaking staff that were actually interested in joining Los Chicharreros was pretty limited at this stage of our save. Overall, I am pushing for an 80/20 split between Spanish speaking and Non-Spanish speaking backroom staff – time will tell if I can maintain it!
La Segundo Entrenador (The Assistant Manager)
As I’m sure most of us agree, having a decent Assistant Manager is crucial in this beautiful game (great article about PL assistant managers here). Ignoring the fact that their in-game advice in FM is often b*llocks as well as some of their tactical advice etc, it is still a vital function within the game. My main use of an Assistant Manager is generally for opinions on players (both new and existing) as well as for things like training/team reports and handling tactical briefings – basically a guy with a head on his shoulders that isn’t too vocal or full of sh*t, which can be easier said than done in this game! According to @FMInside, a good Assistant Manager should have decent attributes for Man Management, Judging Player Ability and Judging Player Potential (see the full article here), so I generally try to take that in to account along with good Determination and Adaptability. Bearing in mind that neither me or my FM Manager profile possess Spanish as a listed language, I decided to restrict myself to hiring a Spanish AM and after trawling through the staff database, I was left with two choices for the role:
Option 1: Real Betis icon Alfonso Perez – who either side of scoring 57 goals in 152 appearances for Los Verdiblancos also had spells at both Real Madrid and Barcelona (as well as 38 caps for Spain). This guy was so good that Getafe FC named their stadium after him despite having never actually played for them (he was born there).
Option 2: Former Southampton and Derby County midfielder Inigo Idiakez – who in addition to being named in the 2004/2005 Championship PFA Team of the Year also suffered the ignominy of missing the winning penalty for Southampton in the 2006/2007 Championship Playoff final, sending his former club Derby County back to the Premier League. Being honest – he deserves the job for that alone!
While it was tempting to go for Alfonso (and perhaps a more obvious choice), we decided on the latter and Inigo Idiakez takes up the Assistant Manager role at CD Tenerife, leaving his post as U19 Manager at @Thesammydoda‘s beloved Luton Town FC.
With that finally decided (only took around an hour lol #FMtime) – it was then time to build our coaching, medical and scouting teams. Again, this was not an easy mission considering the 80/20 Spanish/Non-Spanish speaking rule – if you are like me though you will be well used to spending hours pouring over lists of players and staff and eventually it all came together just in time for the opening Secunda Division game versus Elche CF (match report & highlights towards the end of this post).
Coaching Team – Old vs New
Scouting Team – Old vs New
Medical Team – Old vs New
Let’s also just take a moment of appreciation for the unsung FM legend that is Phil Cannon. I’m pretty sure I have hired him as a Coach or Assistant Manager in every version of FM since FM13, his attributes are out of this world and he must be in the good books of whoever is responsible for Staff attributes over at Sports Interactive 😀
Right where was I – ah yes, pre-season. Before we look at the schedule and results of all our pre-season friendlies, let’s first take a look at our transfer activity which basically took up about 90% of my FM time since my last post mainly due to the fact that we have a peanuts budget combined with a significant lack of quality player willing to relocate to Tenerife (how bad) to play Secunda Division football.
With one of our key objectives being Youth Recruitment, I decided to focus our (limited) budget (starting at approx. €1.5m) on players under the age of 22 – not just for the obvious reasons of value and potential etc but also looking at the average age of the team which is a slightly alarming 28 years old. With 8 of the first team all over 30, it’s doubtful that there will be many contract renewals regardless of whether we get promoted or not, so I’m hoping to gain success with a well balanced combination of first choice youth players combined with age and experience already at the club.
First piece of business which I was extremely happy to pull off was the signing of 17 year old Croatian winger Antonio Marin from Dinamo Zagreb for a fee of €1.8m (€900K up front) – this was a coup for both the club and for me personally as I had agreed terms with him for Blackburn in Season 2 of my #ArteEtLabore save only to have Chelsea swoop in at the last minute and have his head turned towards Stamford Bridge – RAGING I was, therefore we are delighted to bring him to Estadio Heliodoro Rodríguez López where I hope he will become an absolute superstar assuming I can keep him at the club (€5 million minimum fee release clause was unavoidable as is mandatory for all Spanish football contracts – he will be offered a new contract for Christmas that’s for sure).
Interestingly, Marin has also been touted as the next Mario Stanic by the experts at Sports Interactive – Stanic was part of a golden generation that helped Croatia finish in 3rd place in their first ever World Cup in 1998, narrowly losing out 2-1 to eventual winners France who needed two goals from one Lillian Thuram to advance to the final. Stanic scored one of his 7 international goals at the tournament in a group game against Jamaica, and was capped 49 times for his country during a career in which he played at the highest club level for Benfica, Club Brugge, Parma and Chelsea. Not a bad comparison for a 17 year old!
Speaking of release clauses – while I was busy celebrating the arrival of Marin, Watford swooped out of nowhere to steal what I was hoping would be half of my Central Defensive partnership for the season – they decided to meet Jorge‘s minimum fee release clause of €3.5 million (paid up front at least). This was not at all part of the plan, least of all due to the fact that the board only give me 70% of incoming transfer revenue (luckily up from the 55% offered at the start of the season). Despite trying to offer him a lucrative contact and the promise of a few pints every week on me, his head was also turned and he abandoned the sun, sea & sand of Tenerife for the bright lights of Vicarage Road and the Premier League.
Next new face for Los Chicharreros came in the form of well known FM stalwart Xadas for an extremely reasonable €1.4m (€700K up front). I am completely aware that this is probably one of the most common and predictable signings in FM, however having discovered him myself back in FM17 and more recently being reminded to sign him for Blackburn by @FMPoacher during a live stream – it was almost impossible not to sign him considering that he was actually willing to join the club and is affordable in terms of both transfer fee and wages.
My final (permanent) summer signing for CD Tenerife is one that could prove to be either a complete disaster (considering I’ve spent the most of my budget on a 17 year old) or what I’m hoping will be an absolutely genius piece of business for the future. That signing is German Central Defender Yann-Aurel Bisseck who arrives on a 4 year contract from FC Koln for a fee of €3.4m (€2m up front). I came across the lad while scavenging among the Bundesliga U-19 leagues, and once the scouts did their business and his attributes & potential became evident, it was a done deal and I have extremely high hopes for him as we look to take Los Chicharreros to the pinnacle of Spanish and European football. Interestingly (and most definitely to my satisfaction having discovered him), I later learned that Bisseck is the youngest ever German player to have played in the Bundesliga – second only to another FM legend, Nuri Sahin.
*Sidenote: to add the icing on the cake – after signing Bisseck, I then spotted that this kid is touted as none other than the next Jurgen Kohler, whose name will be known by anyone who watched football during the 1990’s where he had spells at Bayern Munich, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund as well as earning over 100 international caps for Germany. Kohler is a living legend of German football – not only has he played in 3 Fifa World Cups and 3 European Championships (winning one of each in 1990 and 1996 respectively) – he also won two European club titles in very interesting fashion; winning the 1993 UEFA Cup final with Juventus against Borussia Dortmund, and then later winning the 1997 Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund against his old club Juventus in what was a reverse fixture of the 1992 clash. If Bisseck even turns out to be half the player that Jurgen Kohler was, I think that €3.4 million will be an extremely shrewd investment.
In addition to the three signings above, I also managed to bring in two established and experienced loan signings in the form of Carles Alena from Barcelona and Joselu from Newcastle United (yes I even surprised myself with that one as a Newcastle fan). I also had Alena at Blackburn, signing him in my second season after getting promoted to the Premier League, he is a fantastic passer of the ball and knows where the goal is from outside the box, and should provide strong competition for Borja Lasso in the Advanced Playmaker role. Joselu was an unexpected signing, both because I wasn’t after a Striker and because I am absolutely not a fan of his in real life. At this level however, I am hoping that he can find a bit of form and provide added strength and depth to the forward line (don’t worry, he is not in my mind to become our sh*thouse Roy de los Rovers striker as per our objectives 😌).
Our first season preparation pretty much went as well as we could hope for, despite the fact that we were forced to play a number of friendlies against absolutely rubbish opposition (for affiliate / training camp reasons). Bit of a bug bear of mine that you can’t cancel these types of friendlies, even if they are good for morale etc. We started off with two cracking wins over Independiente and LOSC Lille, winning both by a narrow scoreline of 2-1 which bodes well in terms of endurance and a bit of steel to hold out for the wins. The game against Lille was also an opportunity to watch a couple of players that we hope to be able to bid for later in life – primarily Nicolas Pépé (who we had at Blackburn in my last save) and Thiago Maia who is an extremely solid DM and I have heard @FMHeathen sing his praises on his audioblog (worth a listen btw!). The only downside of these friendlies was we managed to lose our strongest right back Luis Perez to a hamstring injury, which is alarming considering that RB was one of my concerns when I initially conducted my Team Report! With most of our funds tied up in the transfers above, it will take a magic loan signing or else it’s time for one of the reserves or youth candidates to step up come the opening game of the season.
After earning a draw with Barcelona B, we then went on to win 5 games in a row without conceding a goal, scoring 28 goals in the process – this has to be taken with several thousand pinches of salt however, as they were against extremely lower level opposition in the form of a few lower tier Spanish clubs with which we are a Senior Affiliate. I’ve told the lads not to get too carried away or the hairdryer will be out. On a positive note, 17 year old Antonio Marin looks shit-hot on the left hand side, whether playing out wide or cutting inside and shooting on his right foot. Definitely big things to come for him and I fear I will struggle to hold on to him after the first season if all goes well.
*Another sidenote – does this ever annoy the hell out of you? One of my objectives of this save is to establish a couple of decent affiliate partnerships in order to benefit from loan signings without having to break the bank on wages – twice now I have asked Mr. Concepcion to set this up and twice he has come back with the following:
After finishing 11th last season in real life, the Football Manager gods predict that we will finish in 9th place this season – probably wouldn’t be a bad finish being honest, however Top 6 is needed in order to get in to the playoffs. At this level, the Top 2 teams win promotion to La Liga, while 3rd – 6th face each other in a promotion play-off. I’ve set the expectation with the board that we will reach the play-offs, promotion is certainly a realistic goal however overall I am aiming to reach La Liga within 2 seasons. I’ve also seen numerous bloggs and comments that many FM players are gettting battered the season after getting promoted, so there’s not much point rushing it I guess. Primarily this season is about setting the foundation and overhauling the squad and staff at Los Chicherraros for future reward.
League Opener – CD Tenerife vs Elche CF
Thank you for staying with me thus far!! I hope you have been enjoying the blog as much as I am enjoying writing it, before I let you go I will leave you with one last poorly written Irishman’s excited tale of events that was our first game as CD Tenerife Manager – a home clash at Estadio Heliodoro Rodríguez Lopez against newly promoted Elche CF who hail from the South East coast of mainland Spain.
Initially I thought I would try to play a triangle up top, with Borja Lasso supporting an attacking line of Fernando Coniglio and Jose Naranjo – however the signings of wingers Xadas and Marin combined with the fact that Naranjo also got himself injured during pre-season made me completely change things up and implement a 4-3-2-1 tactic (Custom Gegenpress) which I haven’t utilised since managing Newcastle in FM17. A late injury to Xadas then allowed 33 year old Suso to get a start at AMR (not the Milan guy sadly), and we lined out like this:
Another quick deviation here – although Jorge f*cked off to Watford, I haven’t yet mentioned what will now be our strongest Central Defender for the forseeable future – 29 year old Uruguayan Mauro Dos Santos, who I had slightly overlooked initially but in hindsight looks to be solid as a rock at this level. Hopefully he can step up to the plate and cause havoc for any excitable opposition strikers.
Rather than do a full match report, I will do a brief summary and I have included a quick highlights video below (don’t worry I wont be doing this for every match 😄). We started the match like a house on fire (I probably won’t put in a gif of a house on fire) and we were 3-0 up after 36 minutes with goals from Suso, Marin and Coniglio. Naturally I kept a calm head without getting over excited leading our first game against a newly promoted side (which means I was f*cking roaring the house down) – a quick word with the lads at half time to stay focused and not get complacent (in what I imagine is a somewhat broken half Irish/half Spanish accent) did the trick, and despite Elche getting the first goal of the 2nd half on 60 mins, Suso decided to grab himself a hat-trick and on-loan Barcelona midfielder Carles Alena scored a peach to make it CD Tenerife 6 – 1 Elche CF. Absolute scenes at Los Chicharreros!!!
Last minute transfer drama!!
In a sensational 11th hour transfer offer, CD Tenerife have had a €1.1m bid accepted by Odds Ballklubb for 22 year old Norwegian Goalkeeper Sondre Rossbach (€650,000 up front). Manager MaddFM revealed that Rossbach comes highly recommended after receiving high praise during a recent edition of the 5* Potential Podcast. Upon further scouting analysis, CD Tenerife lodged a last minute bid to sign the young Norwegian who has been capped for Norway at U19 and U21 level, however the transfer fell through as there was not enough time to complete the required paperwork before the transfer window closed! The player will now join the club on 1st January 2019 after agreeing a 4 year deal with Los Chicharreros.
So all in all – a pretty decent pre-season, transfer window and most importantly a win in our first league game of the season! I’m really enjoying the challenge of rebuilding this side from the bottom up, as well as narrating the story through this blog particularly referring to real life and past FM legends. My next post will more than likely be a pre or post Christmas summary of how we are doing in the league so far with some in-depth analysis on how we are managing training and tactical selection, as well as how our new signings are doing and of course a thorough analysis of our progress in finding our new Roy de los Rovers sh*thouse Striker here on the beautiful island of Tenerife. Plenty more to come!!
Thanks again for reading!Comments and feedback would be much appreciated as well as shares and retweets etc, really enjoying writing the blog but would love to hear some of your thoughts and suggestions also!! Over and out 🤜🤛, MaddFM.