The legend of the Lernaean Hydra is that if you cut off one of it’s heads, two more will grow back in it’s place therefore rendering it virtually indestructible in Greek mythology. After losing record signing Fabio Silva to a broken leg in November 2022, we will have to hope for a similar mythological rebirth in the form of backup strikers Adam Idah and Dejan Joveljic, whom we need now more than ever to step up to the plate if we are to fulfill our save goal of dethroning Barcelona and the two Madrids from the pinnacle of Spanish football.
Last we heard, MaddFM‘s CD Tenerife were sitting in 3rd place in La Liga after 15 games as we entered November 2022 for the start of a completely unwanted and unjustified two month Winter Break caused by FIFA’s masterpiece that is the scheduling of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Despite having already played against Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, our 4 league defeats have come against lowly opposition in the form of Getafe, Real Betis, Sevilla and Espanyol therefore while we are playing well against bigger teams, there is much to be done against the rest of the pack if we are to have any chance of league success this season.
In case you missed it – below is our current squad that we have built since taking over almost 5 FM years ago:
Goalkeepers: Sondre Rossbach (Denmark), David Babalola (Spain)
Unsurprisingly Ireland failed to qualify for the World Cup however much to our disappointment, Mick McCarthy was deemed to have done a good job and keeps his position as Ireland Manager (one of our save objectives is to obtain the Ireland job but Big Mick ain’t going nowhere 😠).
One man who didn’t do a good job however was waistcoast enthusiast Gareth Southgate, who failed to get England in to the finals after finishing 3rd in their qualification group behind Switzerland and Russia in what was arguably one of the easier groups in the qualification stages. Southgate resigned after their last qualifier vs Cyprus and was swiftly replaced by none other than Sean Dyche whose latest great achievement was bringing Burnley to 13th in the Premier League 👀.
In short – the UK & Ireland’s hopes and dreams lie with Scotland who are drawn in a group with Spain, Japan and Cameroon, and heroic victories over the latter two meant that they finished in 2nd place in their group to join Nigeria, Italy, Mexico, Romania, France, Canada, Spain, Paraguay, USA, Argentina, Holland, Belgium, Uruguay, Croatia and Brazil in the last 16 of the Qatar World Cup. Biggest surprise of the group stages is that Canada pipped Portugal to qualify from Group C while Germany crash out of Group E behind Paraguay and USA – I guess the heat and/or conditions in the Middle East must have been an issue for everyone except FIFA’s bank manager.
Scotland’s dreams were shattered by holders France in a 3-1 defeat, who advance to the Quarter Finals where they face Italy in the only all-European tie of the round. Nigeria advance past Romania to face Spain who just about beat Canada by 1-0; Uruguay brushed off neighbours Paraguay to progress and face the Dutch who beat Croatia in the last 16, while the tie of the round saw Brazil emerge comfortable 2-0 winners against rivals Argentina, and will now play Belgium in the last Quarter Final fixture.
There’s a huge shock in the last 8 as Nigeria knock out one of the competition favourites Spain on penalties, meaning they become the first African nation ever to reach the World Cup Semi Finals and will face Brazil who are comfortable winners over Belgium winning 3-1. Favourites France succumb to a 2-1 defeat to Italy, who will meet Holland after they beat Uruguay in a repeat of the 2010 Semi Final.
No surprises this time around – wins for both Brazil and Italy mean that we will have a repeat of that infamous 1994 World Cup final and perhaps some redemption for @FMTrequartista‘s beloved Roberto Baggio who famously missed the decisive penalty to hand victory to the Brazilians.
Finally, after a few weeks of limited beer and partying due to Qatar’s strict drinking laws combined with temperatures of close to 40 degrees throughout the tournament, the World Cup Final saw Italy take on Brazil at the Khalifa International Stadium (c. 68,030). Clearly the previous weeks have taken their toll as both sides see out a 0-0 stalemate which also saw Roberto Firmino sent off after just 13 minutes for a silly two-footed tackle. Despite Lorenzo Insigne missing the first penalty for Italy, crucial misses from Eder Militao and Gerson meant that it was 35 year old Italian stalwart Leonardo Bonucci who scored the winning penalty for Italy and it was indeed redemption for the Azurri led by former Fiorentina, Inter and Lazio manager Stefano Pioli.
2022 seems to be the year of the veteran as 35 year old Edinson Cavani wins the Golden Boot with 6 goals for Uruguay, and an altogether forgettable tournament comes to an end in Qatar and the rest of the footballing world are left to pick up the pieces as we attempt to reignite our league campaign in January following two months of non-competitive football.
Total Gridlock 🔒
Well thank you FIFA – if it wasn’t bad enough that we spent the last two months playing meaningless friendlies (which bizarrely included a game against Chelsea for Eden Hazard’s testimonial), our reward is that we have 10 FIXTURES in the month of January alone. Cue a busy month for our physio team as we prepare for games across 3 competitions.
We open 2023 with a Copa Del Rey win over Rayo Vallecano, followed by a hard fought away win in our last Champions League game against Dinamo Kiev which sadly isn’t enough for us to qualify having suffered back to back defeats against Juventus as well as Benfica in our opening game – that means we will again contest the Europa League after losing in the final to Milan last season, however we will have to do so without first choice Left Back Jordi Grasa who picked up a broken foot in the Ukraine – what did I say!
We then play Bilbao not once but twice in a row, firstly in the league where we pick up a vital 2-0 Home win, and then somehow 4 days later in the same fixture and stadium we are trounced 0-4 in the Copa Del Rey – one less competition to worry about I guess! 9 points from 5 more league games means that we stay in 3rd place after 20 odd games – the bad news is that our hopes for Adam Idah and Dejan Joveljic to step up and make names for themselves have somewhat faded as they only manage 3 goals between them over the 10 games, and April can’t come quick enough for the return of star striker Fabio Silva.
Naturally with all this fixture congestion, our squad was starting to look a bit stretched in terms of fatigue and match fitness. With little or no money in the bank, we turn to the loan market where we bring in one familiar face along with an exciting prospect who I have observed in a few other FM Creator’s saves that will hopefully bring some flair and creativity to the side as we look to ignite the second half of our season.
Matt Smith returns to the club on loan from Manchester City having spent a full year with us in 2021/2022 where he picked up 5 goals and 3 assists in 32 appearances as a Box to Box midfielder. Smith is quality in the game and has outrageous technical, defensive and attacking attributes making him a perfect all-round midfielder.
Also landing on the sunny island of Tenerife is German Winger Oliver Batista Meier, who joins us on a 6 month loan from Bayern Munich to give much needed competition to Xadas and Sancho on the wings. I first saw Batista during a live stream by @Lexphonix who had him at Schalke, and more recently observed @FMEadster calling him his favourite FM19 player after bringing him in on loan at Anzhi Makhachkala.
Farewell to an FM Legend
It’s mixed emotions at Estadio Heliodoro Rodriguez Lopez – as the arrival of two new players brings excitement among the Los Chicharreros fans, we are then shocked by the news that arguably the greatest FM Coach of all time has decided to retire from the game.
If you have somehow never heard of Phil Cannon, allow me to briefly repeat myself after already profiling him back when I signed him at the start of this save. In real life, Phil Cannon has been in charge of Academies at both Blackburn Rovers and Everton, and was a key part of the development of a number of well known players including Wayne Rooney, Jack Rodwell, Dan Gosling, Grant Hanley, David Raya and Jack O’Connell. It is in Football Manager however that Cannon is more well known, and FM players have been signing Cannon as an Assistant Manager, Coach or Head of Youth Development for almost 10 years in the game due to his outrageous coaching attributes – in fact, if you have signed and appreciated Cannon in the past please drop a #Cannon 👍 on my Twitter post for this blog article as a mark of respect for the big man 👊.
Thanks for reading! My next post will take us up to the end of the 2022/2023 season (our 5th as Tenerife Manager) to see if we can mount a serious league challenge and finally surpass one of the big three at the top of La Liga – will Fabio Silva be the same player he was after that horrific leg break? Please hit the Follow button to keep updated on the next post which will be out next week – Likes, Comments and Retweets are also appreciated on Twitter if you are that way inclined 🤘. Cheers, MaddFM.