May the Fürth Be With You – XVI

 

Part XVI – The Fürthest

 

“Football Manager giveth, and it taketh away”

MaddFM, Fürth 2026.

 

When we last left off, the mighty Kleeblätter aka Greuther Fürth had just finished in 5th place in the 2025/2026 Bundesliga (our 7th season at the helm) and been given a €25m transfer budget with Manager MaddFM actively seeking a new Defensive Midfielder to replace outgoing stalwart Paul Seguin who departs following 8 seasons at the club.

 

After some deliberation, we were left with two choices to fill the Half Back role that has become a vital cog in our tactical formation:

 

Option 1

 

Option 2

 

Being Irish it’s hard not to overlook Hodge and he appears available for around €15m from Hull whom he joined for just €525K from Man City 4 seasons ago. Kana looks the stronger player on paper, however Anderlecht (how is he still there) demand €21m up front for his services which would pretty much deplete most of our funds knowing we still need to make a few more signings to keep improving the squad year on year…it’s decision time once again.

Joe Hodge (DMC)

Hull City – €17m (50% up front)

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Around the same time, we receive a €10.5m offer for Josh Sargent who also has been with us since the start of this save, with Spartak Moscow keen to secure the American international’s signature – while Sargent has scored some important goals for us and been a solid backup main man Noel Bilic, he only scored 4 goals last season and has started to decline in quality in the last year or two – the bid is accepted and he heads east to ply his trade in Russia. That means we now need a new Striker, we had Bilbao newgen Mikel Martinez on loan last season however he failed to score a single league goal, therefore it’s back to market we go. 50% up front for Joe Hodge took about €9m from our €25m budget, which was effectively cancelled out by the Sargent signing – therefore we have about €20-€25m to play with.

Adam Idah (STC)

Norwich City – €30m (50% up front)

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With 26 goals in 50 caps for Ireland and still only 24 years old, Adam Idah becomes our 13th Irish signing at Greuther Fürth so far to date after 7 consecutive seasons in the Premier League with Norwich. With bags of pace and power as well as really good finishing and composure, he will provide much needed backup/competition for Noel Bilic in the lone Advanced Forward role. That pretty much takes up the majority of our budget, however we neglected to mention one signing which we agreed back in March, that of Matías Palacios who arrives on a Free Transfer from Man City.

Matías Palacios

Man City – Free Transfer (Out of Contract)

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Decent business

Just when we thought all the new additions were complete – we receive an update on another new addition to the Kleeblätter family:

 

 

With an increase of 12,000 seats this is of course great news, however by the time we are finished our dealings in the transfer market our overall bank balance is already €10 million in the red – it’s going to be a long season for the bean counters of Greuther Fürth.

 

Greuther Fürth 2026/2027 Squad List ⚽🟢⚪

 

Goalkeepers: Gavin Bazunu, Peter Walsh

Defenders: Ryan Porteous, Nicolo Armini, Scott McKenna, Marko Djira, Simon Asta, Zinho Vanheusden, Joao Ferreira, Marvin Brack

Midfielders: Ferran Torres, Joe Hodge, Fin Back, Luca Connell, Josh Cullen, Maxence Caqueret, Alex Blesa, Edon Zhegrova, Pascal Le Lay, Matías Palacios

Forwards: Noel Bilic, Adam Idah

 

Definitely a stronger squad than last year which will be vital considering we are in Europe for a second consecutive season. At the time of writing, FM21 is almost on the horizon and I recently announced my plans for the next edition of this magnificent game:

 

Wouldn’t you know it – in some kind of romantic, poetic FM multiverse parallel storyline, look who one of our opponents will be in this years Group Stages:

 

 

You love to see it, even though Wolves have since snapped up Angers’ best player Rayan Ait-Nouri in real life around whom we had planned to build the team – we will certainly look back in anger if he turns out be be half as good as he is in this current save where he plys his trade at our rivals Borussia Dortmund.

 

World Class

Now, on to more pressing matters – let’s start the 2026/2027 season where our goals are as follows:

 

  • Qualify for the Champions League (Top 4 finish)
  • Noel Bilic to break 20 league goals
  • Get to Europa League Semi-Final
  • Alex Blesa to get capped for Germany having changed from Spanish to German citizenship
  • Produce an Irish Newgen having failed 7 times already
  • Hope that Mick McCarthy retires or gets sacked from the Ireland job

 

With 3 of our opening 5 fixtures against the top 3 teams in Germany (Bayern, RBL and Dortmund) – we don’t ask for much, right? Let’s do this.

 

 

20 games in

 

 

The less said about those 3 opening games against Bayern, Dortmund and RBL the better as we lose all three and concede 12. Thankfully the same cannot be said in the Europa League where we dominate our group winning 5/6 games and going unbeaten to set up a Knock-Out round draw with Dinamo Kiev, the team who knocked us out last year (more poetic narrative FM, GG). This give us a fantastic morale boost and we start to pick up some momentum throughout the first half of the season including revenge over RBL in a 4-3 win which helps us climb to 4th briefly, however those earlier draws and a defeat to Bayern leave us in 8th place after 20 games played – still a lot of games left, but definitely feeling the effects of having so many additional games in the calendar due to European football.

 

North, South, Fürth

 

And so arrives our 8th opportunity to try and produce an Irish Newgen here in Germany. As mentioned in my last post (and several others), we have been trying our damnedest to achieve this through Irish staff, affiliates, scouting etc with zero success so far; with FM21 approaching we are rapidly running out of time; will we be any luckier this time around?

 

Does Northern Irish count? 🤦‍♂️

 

The nearly man

We are getting closer at least! A very average intake so far as have been most of them in this save – the quest continues.

 

We head into February 5 points off the Champions League spots while also preparing for a visit to Ukraine for the Europa League knockouts – preparation went well as we go unbeaten for two months, wins over Dortmund and Leverkusen propelling us up to 5th and level on points with the latter! For the first time we have a clear cut chance at Champions League football next season without having to rely on other results – 7 games left to decide our fate.

 

 

  

Neck & Neck

A well earned 1-1 draw in Kiev means that our 1-0 win at home puts us through to the Europa League Quarter Finals…HISTORIC 👀.

 

Europa League Quarter Final Draw – EASY

There’s a line in one my favourite books from my youth (Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer) that states “Confidence is ignorance. If you’re feeling cocky, it’s because there’s something you don’t know“. Even though we were confident of overcoming Portuguese side Maritmo to reach the Europa League Semi-Final, what we didn’t know was that we would go on to lose two of our next 4 league games and completely throw our Champions League aspirations in jeopardy:

 

 

If that wasn’t bad enough – in our third last game of the league, well – see for yourself:

 

90 + 6
That one’s for you @NowAndThenFM

Suddenly it’s advantage Leverkusen – with just 2 games remaining, they sit 3 points clear and our Champions League dreams begin to fade….

 

 

Meanwhile in the Europa League…

 

Europa League Semi Final

An English team awaits us in the final if we can overcome a Lyon side that still boasts the lkes of Moussa Dembele, Bruno Guimaraes, Amine Gouiri and Rayan Cherki as well as signings such as Jeff Reine Adelaide and Olivier Ntcham.

 

WE ARE IN THE EUROPA LEAGUE FINAL!!! A 2-1 win at home in which we also missed a penalty is followed by a scoreless draw away, and for the first time in the club’s history we will battle for European silverware…the big question is, who will be our opponents?

 

NOT SO EASY

Out of Our Hands

 

Two league games left to play, 3 points outside the Champions League places. Our fate is no longer in our own hands – to have any hope of qualifying, we will surely need maximum points from our two remaining fixtures against Hertha Berlin and Dynamo Dresden, while also needing Leverkusen to drop points in arguably two more difficult fixtures against RBL and Stuttgart. Will the Gods of FM be smiling down on us, or will Leverkusen have the last laugh in yet another rollercoaster season here at Fürth?

 

OK that’s good

 

H o L y S h I t ….

 

WE’VE DONE IT! Or at least – they didn’t!! This campaign throws one final curveball in which somehow Leverkusen manage to end up in 6th place following a loss and a draw in their last two games, while our back to back wins (including our best performance of the season against Hertha) push us up to finish 4th, just a point ahead of Schalke who nab 5th place – as final days go, this was absolutely epic and the Kleeblätter are still in shock at the prospect of playing Champions League football next season. I’m in shock myself!!

 

Final League Table
Mission Accomplished

Needless to say Chairman Niall Quinn is ecstatic – €86 million prize money would do that to a man 😄 .

 

 

Unfortunately for him and all involved, our bank balance before this sat at minus €32 million after the season’s expenditure combined with new stadium costs and installments on prior transfers – of course the €86m will go a long way towards correcting that, however it remains to be seen how much we will have in our arsenal as we prepare for Champions League football here in Bavaria.

 

👀

 

Did someone say Arsenal? There’s no time to revel or even think about next season – we have the small matter of a Europa League Final to attend to.

 

 

It goes without saying that this is the biggest game in the club’s history, so you can imagine my reaction to the first piece of news that pops up relating to our clash against the Gunners who themselves also just finished 4th in the Premier League:

 

F F S

The good news is that Arsenal are also without key players Mohamed Ihattaren and Gabriel Martinelli..with them priced at 6/4 and ourselves available at 13/8, we might just have a game on our hands…

 

 

This game was streamed live on Twitch – here is how things looked after 5 minutes.

 

How it started..

By half-time we were 2-0 down, hopes of European glory and silverware slowly fading. Tactical changes and a good bollocking ensued, and on 70 minutes it was that man Noel Bilic who managed to get us back in the game and make it 2-1 to give us a glimmer of hope with 20 minutes remaining.

 

SCENES

 

Unfortunately that’s how it ended! We did well to get ourselves back in the game but on the whole, Arsenal were comfortable and never looked like losing – even the €10 million prize money isn’t enough to lift our spirits, but we live to fight another day and with about a month left until FM21 arrives, plenty of time for us to kick on and smash at least one or two more seasons before this save reaches a conclusion – more to follow next week as we embark on our first ever Champions League journey!!!

 

 

 

As always, thanks for reading – as we gear up for the new game be sure to hit that follow button below and on Twitter. You can also jump in the WeStreamFM discord to get involved as we get hyped for November!

 

Cheers,

 

 

 

 

 

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