2.1. Return of the King

Contents : financial analysis (or lack thereof), major squad rebuilding, you can’t win anything with kids, Irish Overseas, La Liga opener, VAR and the Prodigal Son returns 🔥

 

🎵 Suggested tune: “Without Me – Eminem (Acoustic Cover)🎵

 

It’s official – Los Chicharreros a.k.a. CD Tenerife are back in La Liga Santander. Operation “Roy de los Rovers” is well underway and it’s so far so good for life on the island ☀️⚽.

We exceeded our initial objectives and managed to gain promotion at the first time of asking, albeit through a grueling 50 game season that included 4 playoff games to seal our fate…thank f*ck we didn’t go on a decent cup run! While the lads went about their business for the summer break, there was no time to hit the beach for me as an immediate major squad rebuild is of the essence – especially considering the bookies are tipping us for immediate relegation this season:

The first piece of good news comes from our good patriarch Senior Miguel Concepcion, who advises that he agrees with my pleas for an upgrade to our training facilities and is going to shell out €1,000,000 over the next 12 months to pimp out our training ground at El Mundialito.

El Mundialito Training Camp

The other piece of good news comes in the form of two successful contract renewals. After being linked with a move to Liverpool, 18 year old German CB Yann-Auriel Bisseck dismisses all speculation and signs a new 4 year deal with us that most importantly now has a €20 million release clause compared to the previous €5 million one. You’ll Never Walk Alone is now You Will Never Get This! This also encourages Carles Alena to want to remain at Los Chicharreros for another year, as both he and Barcelona agreed to extend his loan deal for a further season – a great piece of business as good as a new transfer signing, we will need all the La Liga level talent we can get to ensure our survival.

Tough Sh*t Liverpool

Finances💰

Speaking of money – finances are not something I usually spend a whole lot of time on in Football Manager, I usually just focus about Transfer and Wage budgets and let the suits deal with the rest behind the scenes. However my perception has since been changed after reading @FMGrasshopper‘s really insightful and informative article about what he calls “The Glass Ceiling” at his club Lorient, something which I hadn’t considered previously with regard to income mainly due to the fact that the English Premier League (where I traditionally would have managed before) is absolutely flooded with cash while the Spanish League does not offer the same financial windfall. In his article, he analyses how the club struggles to increase it’s income year on year due to the fact that they are already maximising their stadium, sponsorship and TV revenue, and nothing short of European Qualification will significantly increase this. The more I think about it, the more I fear the same could happen here at Tenerife largely due to the fact that we pretty much sold out most of our home games in SD2 last season at Estadio Heliodoro Rodriguez Lopez (c. 22,284) and Senior Concepcion isn’t yet willing to invest in that side of the infrastructure just yet.

Home Attendances 2018/2019

Being in La Liga (and hopefully staying there), I would hope that we will be able to increase our TV Revenue and Sponsorship which in turn might help us to convince Miggy to reinvest in the stadium. These were our main income sources last season (excluding Gate Receipts and Season Tickets), so it will be interesting to see what this looks like as our first season in La Liga progresses.

2018/2019 Income

The sad reality comes later when we realise we are rock bottom of the commercial income pool – quite literally, we are the lowest earning team in terms of commercial revenue which means I will need to step up the game in terms of how I manage and concentrate on is revenue and finances. Our Glass Ceiling is most certainly a real threat to watch out for – it might not be the biggest but it’s certainly up there (#loveagoodpun).

ROCK BOTTOM

Recruitment

Naturally, the change to our league status means a change to our personnel here at Los Chicharreros. Senior Concepcion informs us that we will be given €8.25 million to spend in the transfer window as we embark on our first mission which is La Liga survival. “€8.25 million?!” I exclaim, “sure that will barely cover the cost of a flight over here for anyone that might join us?!“. Miguel is not impressed and advises that I can ask as much as I like but it won’t do any good, so I storm out the door and start taking off my shoes and socks to start counting about how many youth prospects I can afford with that amount of cash. Looks like I can stretch it to around €10 million if I am clever with the budget, so myself and Inigo get the pen and paper out to discuss transfer targets and have a few games of naughts and crosses in between.

First in the door is a player we had previously at Blackburn during my first FM19 save – Ademola Lookman arrives from Everton on a season long loan after making just 7 appearances for The Toffees last season. Lookman was emmense during my Championship winning first season at Blackburn where he won both Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year, so I am hoping for more of the same from him as he flies South over the Atlantic Ocean.

Next in the door are two youth prospects, one of whom we mentioned in a previous post as we attempt to fill @FMEdmundo‘s recommended objective of signing and developing an Irish youth prospect. First, American midfielder Gedion Zelalem arrives on a free transfer after being released by Arsenal having never played a competitive game for the Senior team, his attributes aren’t too bad for a free signing and hopefully he can build upon his current 3 star potential. 18 yr old half-Irish/half-Swedish Ryan Johansson also joins the club on a season long loan from Bayern Munich, mainly as a way for us to get an in-depth scouting report to see if he would be worth the €7 million they wanted for him initially. Upon arrival however, we see that he has seemingly declared for Sweden over the Republic of Ireland (not another Declan Rice situation!), which is upsetting considering he has apparently declared for the boys in green in real life.

Gedion Zelalem
Ryan Johansson

Our first fee-paying signing is a somewhat controversial one. After a lot of deliberating and thanks to some reassurance from one of my trusted advisers on Twitter @FMPoacher, we decided to bring in Ruben Semedo from Villareal for what will hopefully be a decent value €1.3m (€700K up front). For those of you not aware, Semedo (a beast in previous FM versions) landed himself in serious hot water after an incident in which he and some friends allegedly tied up and assaulted an individual before they burgled his home – later declaring that they were trying to recover money loaned to the man. Semedo was jailed in 2017 and later released on bail in July 2018. Let me quickly state that this signing in no way condones his actions or behaviour; the reality is that he is quite a decent Centre Back in the game and with my limited budget it was the most logical signing available considering I have yet to sign our main transfer priority: a Striker, and hopefully someone that can contend to be our next Roy de Los Rovers.

Ruben Semedo

Next off the plane are not one but two full backs on loan from the German Bundesliga which are definitely badly needed as we have been quite weak in terms of strength and depth in that department. Well known (in FM) right sided German wing back Felix Passlack arrives from Borussia Dortmund on a season long loan after playing 40 games for Norwich in the Championship last season; he is closely followed by Austrian left back Marco Friedl who arrives on loan from Bayern Munich; both players have 4 star potential and have really decent all round attributes, and hopefully they will be good enough for La Liga this season (although wait until you see the La Liga Top Scorer odds that I will show you shortly before making any assumptions about my defence! #thestruggleisreal).

Felix Passlack
Marco Friedl

So far so good, we’ve managed to bring in 6 players for less than €1 million of our current transfer budget. Inigo is getting antsy with the first game of the season soon approaching, especially considering the fact that we still haven’t found a Striker as yet. With Fernando Coniglio and Nano finishing their loans at the end of last season, we currently only have one first team Striker in the squad in Jose Naranjo so its time to get the skates on and ask Miguel to get the checkbook out again.

I must have spent 3 hours scouting strikers….several targets were identified and I had bids accepted for John Guidetti, Kaspar Dolberg, Adalberto Penaranda, Tammy Abraham, Oliver and Divock Origi – all of whom declined to even enter contract negotiations (b*stards), and time was quickly running out for us to find one let alone two strikers to move to Los Chicharreros. Finally we reached a positive outcome when we agreed a deal with Crvena Zvezda to sign 20 year old Serbian wonderkid Dejan Joveljic. Dubbed the next Slobodan Santrac, Joveljic has a long way to go in terms of attributes however hopefully we can develop him here and build on his current 4 star potential. I have seen a few community members mention him on Twitter etc so let’s hope he can bring something to the team!

Panic Stations

When the sh*t hits the fan

We suddenly find ourselves in a perilous situation – it’s transfer deadline day and we still haven’t found a Striker that we hope will be our main goal-scoring threat this season as we look to ascertain our place in La Liga Santander. Repeat bids for all of the above failed again (Origi chose Southampton while Guidetti opted for Alaves 🤬). Will there be time for CD Tenerife to sign anyone before the transfer window closes?!

Admittedly – I panicked; I did something I rarely have ever done in agreeing to pay Sao Paulo €775k per month for Brenner, adding up to around €6.5 – €7 million for the year. Possibly an absolute waste of money, however if we can get 15 goals out of him I feel it will be a small price to pay if it helps us stay up this season. I actually first came across Brenner in @fryman7′s OTBC Youtube series with Norwich City last year in FM18, where he developed nicely and ended up banging in loads of goals for last year’s FMWEC Champion (I recommend checking out his YT channel 👍) Hopefully he can hit the ground running and replicate this form for Los Chicharreros, and looking at his attributes he certainly has the potential to shake things up at this level.

THE HOPES AN DREAMS OF AN ISLAND ARE IN YOUR HANDS MATE

So that’s the transfer window done and dust….shit wait, there is still one absolutely banging signing to tell you about!

El Retorno del Rey (The Return of the king)

We had mentioned before (only once or twice :P) that our current blog/save adventure is entitled “Roy De Los Rovers“, if you haven’t already read why please feel free to check out the full story here. For the shortened version, see below:

The Prodigal Son Returns

Roy Makaay, our former scores goals for fun absolutely banging shithouse Striker, returns to the club as a coach for the Tenerife first team. Makaay, having spent the last 6 seasons as a youth coach at Feyenoord, is no stranger to Tenerife having spent two seasons here before moving on to Deportivo La Coruna and later Bayern Munich where he scored over 150 goals for both clubs across 6 seasons. Hopefully he can bring some much needed inspiration and attacking power to our Strikers on the training pitch..bienvenido a casa Roy!!!

The man the legend

Sooo – that now is officially the Transfer Window done and dusted, having signed no fewer than 9 players in total (slightly alarmingly all under the age of 25 – did someone say you can’t win anything with kids?)

I can’t help but feel an uphill struggle may be on the cards this season, particularly when looking at Transfer Activity across the rest of La Liga where even Levante have spent more than us (on one player!). Federico Bernardeschi arrives at Real Madrid for a cool €75m, as does Marcelo Brozovic for a nice round €50m – they weren’t long spending the €95m they got from Liverpool for Marco Asensio! Barcelona signed two extremely solid defenders in Hugo Mallo and Ruben Dias for a combined €93m, while even the likes of Celta Vigo and Real Betis splashed the cash as they gear up for what should be a cracking first season for us in La Liga.

La Liga Summer Transfers 2019

Pre-Season and the league opener

There is a pep in my step as we approach the first game of the new La Liga season. Pre-season went extremely (and worryingly) well where we managed to go unbeaten in 7 games, the highlight of which was a 3-0 win over Ajax (revenge for Dolberg’s rejection 😆).

There was also positive news following our busy transfer window – the bookies appear to be more confident in our survival this season with our media prediction now updated to 16th from the original 18th place predicted finish. I look around but I can’t seem to find any Paddy Power on the island, maybe I have gambled enough with the signings of Semedo and Brenner..

Speaking of the Irish – while enviously admiring the signings made by our competitors this season, I notice that I will not be the only Irishman competing in La Liga this season. Shane Long joins Eibar on loan for the season, after scoring 3 goals in 22 games for Southampton last season. Fellow Irish international Stephen Ward also makes the journey South from English football as he joins my recently promoted rivals Deportivo La Coruna for a fee of €1.4m from Burnley. Interesting to see an Irish full back arriving in Spain with the last two Irishmen to play in La Liga being Steve Finnan (Espanyol) and Ian Harte (Levante) – expect to see Seamus Coleman and Matt Doherty here soon! At least I will have someone to go to the pub with on Paddy’s Day ☘️☘️.

Shane Long’s on 🔥🔥

As our preparation is underway for the League Opener against Deportivo and the lads are starting to feel positive, the bookies are at it again as they announce the Top Scorer odds for this season. It’s only when I see the list of names in front of me that I realise what a tough task we have ahead of ourselves – the leap from SD2 to La Liga is far larger than I had anticipated, and I almost dread the thought of coming up against some of these lads!!

Looking forward to keeping clean sheets vs this lot

the moment of truth

Finally it’s here…after 400 days (since taking over), close to 100 hours of playing time, 9 blog posts and several hundred pina coladas, it’s time to play our first game in La Liga where we take on and hopefully get revenge over Deportivo La Coruna, the team that finished ahead of us in 2nd place last season and took that coveted automatic promotion spot out of our reach before we entered the playoffs. Deportivo have had a somewhat fall from grace since their golden period during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s which peaked with them reaching the UEFA Champions League Semi Final in 2004, where they narrowly lost out to Jose Mourinho’s eventual winners FC Porto by just 1-0 on aggregate.

Having played Championship Manager since the CM2 days in 1995/1996, I have a fond nostalgia for Deportivo who have had some absolutely awesome FM players over the years – names such as Djalminha, Rivaldo, Jorge Andrade, Salaheddine Bassir, Mustapha Hadji, Albert Luque, Diego Tristan, Juan Carlos Valeron, Walter Pandiani and of course our blog inspiration Roy Makaay bring back epic memories of sitting in front of our old family PC for hours on end watching that infamous loading screen, however there is no time for reminiscing today as we get ready to do battle at Estadio Heliodoro Rodriguez Lopez which we hope to turn in to a fortress today.

I decided to take a small gamble on a formation that I played previously for 3 seasons at Blackburn, which worked well during pre-season and gave us quite a few clean sheets and some solid defensive performances. I don’t expect to score a hell of a lot of goals this season, and with Brenner not match fit having only arrive off the plane from Brazil, Jose Naranjo starts up front with Borja Lasso behind him in the Shadow Striker role where Bradley Dack excelled during my Blackburn save. We hand debuts to Friedl, Semedo, Passlack and Lookman and decide to give Sondre Rossbach the #1 jersey this season. Deportivo also look quite strong with Mosquera, Diego Rolan and new signing Shinji Okazaki up front, and will look to have some of their own luck of the Irish as they give Stephen Ward his La Liga debut at Left Back. Here’s how the teams line out for their league opener:

CD Tenerife vs Deportivo La Coruna

The game kicks off and it’s a nervy start from MaddFM‘s young Tenerife side, with Deportivo having an early attack that is eventually dealt with by Rossbach in goal. The game continues and before long there is immediate controversy in the 12th minute – as Gomes takes a shot on goal which is brilliantly saved by Rossbach and pushed out for a corner, the referee decides he has seen an infringement by Nelson Semedo on Shinji Okazaki despite neither of them having any impact on the shot at goal, and he decides to check the VAR for a replay of the incident! The Tenerife fans clearly feel this is an outrageous decision (much to the delight of the Deportivo fans), and while the ref deliberates over the footage there are cries of “F*CKING BULLSHIT REF!” from the home supporters (in Spanish of course). This doesn’t dissuade the ref however who after a couple of seconds points at the spot and it’s an early penalty for Deportivo La Coruna. What kind of b*llocks decision is that? (pardon my Spanish)

Absolute joke of a decision

That decision silences the Home fans and looks to have rattled Los Chicharreros, who look fairly solid at the back but struggle to get the ball up to the forward line and trouble the Deportivo defence. Manager MaddFM demands more of his players in the hope that they will buck up their ideas considering they have home advantage, and as they approach half time there is another burst of silence in the stadium as a mistake by Carles Alena allows Shinji Okazaki to put Deportivo 2-0 up on the brink of half time. Disaster for Tenerife!

FML

Half time..two goals down..VAR is a bollocks..Alena has his head in his hands. This is not going well and I let the lads have it as the hairdryer is out in the dressing room. Where is your passion lads? Do you even want to win this game? I challenge them to go out and win the second half, and restore some pride for the home fans after that dismal first half performance. I also decide to make a double substitution bringing on Antonio Marin and Dejan Joveljic to hopefully spice things up and cause chaos for the Deportivo defence.

We start the second half much better, playing the ball around more and probably settling in better considering its a new team and a new tactic, as well as a very young squad on the field (average age is just 23). We look to spread the ball around more and start to grow in confidence and quality, and finally we manage to pull one back on 57 mins when Antonio Marin converts an awesome cross from Right Back debutant Felix Passlack – sending the Tenerife fans in to ruptures that echo across the island all the way as far as the Thomas Cook tourists enjoying the bright lights of Playa de las Americas.

Sadly, that was our last real attack of the game and despite an encouraging and more spirited second half performance, the game finished 2-1 to Deportivo and we taste defeat in our first game of the La Liga season. VAR and a costly mistake by Carles Alena mean that Deportivo take home the three points, and perhaps over-confidence from pre-season combined with a lack of time for this young squad to properly gel together mean that there is much work ahead on the training ground for Los Chicharreros. I tell the lads to keep their heads up, there are plenty of games left to be played and ultimately, F*CK VAR and the horse it rode in on 😆.

That’s it for our first post of the new season! Sadly it was a bit of an anti-climax in terms of our first league game, however with this young and talented squad I look forward to the challenge of trying to develop them both individually and as a team, as well as looking in to what we can do in terms of mental development, team cohesion and finding a tactical strategy that will help us to step up at this level. As always, thanks for reading and following this blog/save adventure – without giving away any spoilers, there is plenty more controversy and action to follow so keep an eye out for my next post! You can subscribe to the blog below or else keep an eye on my Twitter account for a new post each week – thoughts, feedback and retweets are always appreciated 🤜🤛. Cheers, @MaddFM.

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1.8. The Playoffs

Contents: Where will we be playing our football next season?

🎵 Suggested tune: “The Final Countdown – Europe (Spanish Acoustic Version)

Having never really expected to have a realistic shot at promotion, I also never expected that I would be simultaneously fighting for my job at the same time considering we were touted to finish in 9th position at the start of the season! Despite my pleas to Senior Concepcion over some tapas and sangria that 4th place was a more-than-respectable finish, the board are convinced that only promotion will be considered as a worthy achievement in our first season at Los Chicharreros.

We now move on to the playoffs where we basically have to start over and have 4 games in order to gain promotion to La Liga and potentially save our job here on the island! It has been a epic season, and regardless of whether we gain promotion I think we can take a lot of positives from our performance, particularly from the younger players that have kept us going and put us in a really good position which we would certainly have taken at the start of the save. Xadas has been immense all season, amassing 16 goals and 13 assists in his 38 starts for Los Chicharreros – surely a candidate for player of the season but time will tell! (the fans voted for him anyway :D).

Xadas Stats 2018/2019 season

Real Zaragoza‘s 5th place finish (interestingly also where they were touted to finish at the start of the season) means that they will be our opponents in the SD2 Playoff Semi Final, with the first leg taking place at La Romareda. The last time I endured a playoff was managing Gateshead FC back in FM18 in the Vanarama National League after a grueling 46 game season (which sadly we lost to Leyton Orient) so needless to say I am keen to get a win and break the MaddFM playoff curse.

Zaragoza have a rich history of developing a lot of Spanish and South American talent, and its only upon researching that we discover the likes of Cafu, David Villa, Fernando Morientes, famous extravagant Paraguayan goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert and one of my all time CM/FM heroes Juan Eduardo Esnaider (my first ever signing on Championship Manager 3!!) all were developed at Real Zaragoza before moving on to enjoy huge success at club and international level.

Thankfully their current squad doesn’t boast the same level of talent – although for some reason they fielded almost two completely different sides against us in each leg! There were some international matches taking place (we were again missing our 1st and 2nd choice goalkeepers in Leg 1 as mentioned in my last post) so perhaps this explains it – either way, after winning the first leg 2-0 (Naranjo, Xadas) – it was too little too late for Zaragoza as we then stormed to a 3-1 victory at home in the second leg to take us through to the Secunda Division Playoff Final; our opponents and the only thing between us and top flight football next season: Albacete Balompie.

Zaragoza vs Tenerife – SD2 Playoff Semi Final Leg 1
Zaragoza vs Tenerife – SD2 Playoff Semi Final Leg 12
First and Second Leg Results
WE ARE GOING UP

The Playoff Final

It’s a sellout at Estadio Heliodoro Rodriguez Lopez as Tenerife seek to return to La Liga Santander for the first time since the 2001/2002 season when were spearheaded to promotion by a pre-Valencia, Liverpool, Inter Milan, Chelsea, Napoli, Real Madrid and Newcastle Rafa Benitez.

Tenerife field an almost full strength side with Fernando Coniglio returning up front to lead the line despite going almost 15 full games without scoring. Xadas and Naranjo have been in decent form for Los Chicharreros, who also give a start to 17 year old German Central Defender Yann Aurel Bisseck after impressing when called upon this season.

Albacete have a surprisingly decent side, with key player Nestor Susaeta their strongest attacking threat having already clocked up 19 goals and 16 assists this season making him top scorer in the division (not bad for a 34 year old). Arsenic and Arroyo are also solid at the back, and might feel confident against our Attackers today who have been rather goal shy during the second half of the season.

Here is how the teams line out this afternoon:

Thankfully – goal shy the game was not!! Despite going a goal behind on 10 minutes, a red card for Zoran Arsenic led to two goals in quick succession by Xadas (including a well taken penalty), and Naranjo added a third just before Half Time to make it 3-1 at the break. Albacete attempted to park the bus and succeeded for most of the second half until the unthinkable happened….Fernando Coniglio, on a 15 game goal drought, popped up out of nowhere and smashed home his 11th goal of the season – crazy to think he had scored 10 goals in 21 and will finish with 12 goals in 36 appearances!! Albacete (worryingly) scored a consolation goal on 88 mins and the game finished 4-2 to Los Chicharreros – advantage us for now!

Coniglio finally scores
Full Time Score

The second leg at Estadio Carlos Belmonte started equally disastrously (might have to work on that) with Gentiletti smashing home on 12 minutes for Albacete to make it 4-3 on aggregate, however an own goal from Blas five minutes later levelled the game, and whatever Manager MaddFM said at half time (in his broken Irish/Spanish accent) must have worked as a resilient Tenerife emerged from the dressing rooms to score a well worked team effort which was neatly finished by Box to Box Midfielder Luis Milla on 49 mins to seal promotion for Los Chicharreros – La Liga football next season confirmed!!!

The goal that sealed our promotion
Pivotal match was our first game 😆

So – mission accomplished for Season One! Our original objective was to get promoted within two seasons, I fear that we may be getting promoted slighthly prematurely as our squad is largely a Secunda Division squad (with the exceptions of Marin, Xadas, Bisseck and perhaps Lasso and Naranjo) – major squad rebuild will be required assuming Senior Concepcion is willing to invest some funds during the summer!! Xadas was also deservedly voted as Signing of the Season for SD2, hopefully he can take that form to the next level next season when we face a much tougher level of opposition in the form of Barcelona, the Madrids, Sevilla and Valencia.

And that was Season One! Before we leave it there and the lads head off on their holidays, I think now is a good time to have a quick recap on our original objectives and see how we have been progressing after our first year as Manager of CD Tenerife:

  1. Obtain Promotion to La Liga within first 2 seasons – Complete! ✅

2. Build a concentrated and extensive team of staff with a particular focus on Youth Coaching and Recruitment – Work in Progress🛠️🏗️

3. Try to sign as many Spanish speaking staff members as possible

4. Develop a strong affiliate network domestically and internationally, both for inbound loan benefits as well as youth development

5 times this season!

5. Minimum of 50% of all incoming transfers will be paid up front

6. Develop at least one youth prospect or uncapped player to obtain an International Cap for Spain within first 3 seasons

Could he be the one?

7. Find our “Roy de los Rovers” – an absolute shithouse of a centre-forward the like of which Los Chicharreros have never seen before

Our top scorer wasnt even a Striker – Xadas topped the charts with 16 goals, followed by Coniglio with 12. Much to do here – watch this space!

8. Get the Ireland job and manage both club & country, ensuring qualification for all major tournaments

Unfortunately this guy is still in charge..

9. Sign and develop a young Irish player for the first team and also get him capped by the Republic of Ireland – Work in Progress 🛠️🏗️

Ryan Nolan‘s impending arrival is a step towards this but I am not convinced he will be good enough and will be aged 20 when he gets here. Ryan Johansson is another option, however he has recently declared for Sweden which might put a furhter spanner in the works!!

The most exciting Irish prospect I have come across (thanks to @FMCatenaccio ) is Gavin Bazanu, who is a half Irish / half Nigerian Goalkeeper currently on the books at Manchester City. The chances of us getting him are slim however he will be closely monitored – look at those attributes for a 17 year old:

Touted as the next Shay Given! Praise indeed ☘️
Twitter scouts are 🔥🔥

So, overall we aren’t doing to badly and by and large the save is going to plan with La Liga football secured for next season! In other news, the aforementioned Manchester City won the English Premier League, narrowly pipping Tottenham to the title by just a single point – Arsenal and Chelsea take the remaining Champions League spots and somehow Chris Wood finished as Top Scorer with 22 goals; explain that! Despite Liverpool not getting a Champions League spot in the league, they will be in the competition next season after beating Juventus 2-0 in the final, two goals from Bobby Firmino crowning them Champions of Europe. Here in Spain, Real Madrid are the champions of La Liga finishing 3 points ahead of Barcelona and 5 ahead of A. Madrid – dreading the thought of playing them next season! Antoine Griezemann was top scorer on 23 goals ahead of Kevin Gameiro on 21 and Gerard Moreno on 19.

English Premier League 2018/2019
La Liga 2018/2019
Champions League Final 2019

And I guess that’s it!! Thanks very much for reading, hopefully you are enjoying following our progress and also the content of this blog – any thoughts or feedback are greatly appreciated so I can continue to improve (please comment below!), and as usual likes, shares and retweets etc are very welcome. Can’t wait to get cracking in to Season 2 in La Liga where I have no doubt the going will be tough and Los Chicharreros will have it all to do in order to survive and compete at the top tier of Spanish football!! For now I will say gracias y buenas noches, and once more leave you with this, our goal of the season from Luis Perez:

Cheers – MaddFM.

1.7. El Bueno, El Feo y El Malo (The Good, The Bad & The Ugly)

Contents: contract negotiations; signing an Irish youth prospect; the Good, the Bad & the Ugly; self-destruct buttons; promotion within our grasp and the return of Los Vengadores 💪

🎵 Suggested tune: “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly – Flamenco Version

When we last left off, we were sitting joint top of the Spanish Secunda Division (SD2) with CD Tenerife after a somewhat underwhelming January transfer window (considering we had no funds to spend on players) – level on points with surprise leaders Real Zaragoza and only behind them in 2nd place due to the fact that they beat us earlier in the season which as per the Spanish league rules is more important than goal difference in differentiating teams that are level on points (see my last post for more info on this).

Speaking of the transfer window – one deal which we forgot to mention and which is part of one of our key objectives for this save/blog was the signing of Ryan Nolan who will join the club at the end of the season when his contract expires at Inter Milan. As suggested by @FMEdmundo, our objective is to sign at least one Irish youth prospect and develop him in to a first time player and eventually a full Irish international, so hopefully he can help us to fulfill this objective and show the same potential that he is currently displaying at Internazionale in real life (great article about the lad here).

Introducing Ryan Nolan – courtesy of Inter TV

Just before the business end of the season is about to kick off, beloved Chairman Miguel Concepcion approaches with an offer to sign a new contract at Los Chicharreros – our current contract is up at the end of the season as is usually the case when starting a new FM save.

Due to our current league performance, our expectations have risen significantly with the board now expecting us to win promotion at the first time of asking – they’ve clearly forgotten about our initial media prediction which was to finish in 9th place well outside the playoff spots. Having signed a deal worth €7,500 per week at the start of the season, I think €10,000 per week is a reasonable request – not that its all about the money (unless you are attempting Top Notch FM’s money grabbing journeyman challenge – well worth a read here!) – however we will need a solid contract to afford my new beachside villa on the island andif you don’t ask you don’t get 💰. After some table tennis negotiating, Senior Concepcion agrees to our demands and we sign a 2 year deal that will take us up to the end of the 2020/2021 season.

MUST BE THE MONEY

Unfortunately the players didn’t react as positively to this as I did, as February saw us take just 4 points from 4 games, a good win against Numancia overshadowed by poor performances against Almeria (H), Lugo (A) and crucially a home defeat to Deportivo La Coruna at the end of the month. A serious injury to key BBM Luis Milla also didn’t help our cause, with torn calf muscle ruling him out for pretty much the rest of the season. March was slightly better but only just – despite going unbeaten for the whole month, we completely forgot how to score goals and managed to pick up 6 points in 4 games, beating Alcorcon (A) and drawing with Real Zaragoza (H), Real Oviedo and Cadiz (meaning Cadiz also take 4 points from us this season).

Unfortunately for us – while we were dropping points all over mainland Spain, league favourites Malaga CD were finding form and decided to go on a 12 match unbeaten run which resulted in them flying up the league, knocking Real Zaragoza off the top and making a clear statement on their intent to return to La Liga via the automatic promotion places. We touted Malaga as pre-season favourites at the start of this blog/save, and it seems now they are finally realising the hype and making a late surge up the league. Speaking of Malaga, it was great to see another member of the FM Community also documenting a save here in Secunda Division 2, with @ManagerDiaryUK currently blogging his own save with Malaga at the moment – really cool to read someone else’s journey at this level (even if it technically makes us enemies) and I highly recommend giving it a read here 👍.

In addition to Malaga, Deportivo have also started to find form around this time, and as a result the pressure is on to see who will hold their nerve to obtain an automatic promotion place and who will be left to battle it out in the playoffs.

El Bueno, El Feo y El Malo (The Good, The Bad and the Ugly)

By the end of March we were sitting in 3rd place in SD2, a point behind Deportivo La Coruna in 2nd (I was so into it that I forgot to take screenshots of the league table!) – both of just a few points behind league leaders Malaga. It was here that things began to escalate:

El Bueno (The Good)

April was a slightly longer month and saw us play five straight league games in a row (not surprising seeing as we had crashed out of the Copa Del Rey on penalties back in October). The good thing about this was that 4 of those games were at home, and not only did we win all 4 but we also picked up a point away at RCD Mallorca who are probably most well known and loved by Barcelona fans due to the fact that they produced/developed both Miguel Angel Nadal and Samuel Eto’o before their respective moves to the Catalan giants.

Former Mallorca legends Nadal (most capped) and Eto’o (all time top scorer)
April form

The highlight of this run was an epic hat-trick for Xadas against Cordoba – I probably haven’t mentioned him much but he has been outstanding all season, so far contributing 10 goals and 10 assists to our campaign. The result of this fine run of form in April left us in second place just one point behind league leaders Malaga.

EL Feo (THE baD)

Naturally it was at this point that FM decided we were doing too well (am I the ony one that has felt that before?!) – not only did our top scorer Fernando Coniglio (who had scored 11 goals up until March) end up going on a 15 match dry spell, the month of May saw us lose all four of our games and most importantly our Home tie against Malaga which effectively was a league decider. Talk about pressing the self-destruct button!! Somehow we only managed to score 4 goals in the whole month which saw us drop down to 4th place – almost certainly out of the automatic promotion places, and with the playoff’s looming it would take another 4 games in order for us to gain promotion to La Liga at the first time of asking.

MAY THE 4TH BE WITH YOU? Not likely..

EL Malo (THE Ugly)

It was also around this time that things began to get ugly behind the scenes at Los Chicharreros. All that Spanish charm and “looking to the future” contract negotiation talk with Senior Concepcion proved to be quickly forgotten, and suddenly we found ourselves in a highly insecure job situation whereby the board apparently have turned on us and our fate would be decided in our second last game which was an away fixture against Albacete!!

As I have said before – if I wasn’t already feeling the heat down here by the Equator, I was certainly feeling it now. We managed a 2-2 draw with Albacete (after going 2 nil up before half time), and Shakespeare himself couldn’t have written a better climax to the tale as our last game of the season (not including the impending playoffs) is the second Canary Islands Derby of the season and the return of Los Vengadores as we welcomed Las Palmas to Estadio Heliodoro Rodríguez López for what (somehow) could be our last game as manager of CD Tenerife.

Los vengadores (the avengers)

Although we are sure to finish in the playoff places and still have a great chance to gain promotion to La Liga at the first time of asking, somehow I am fighting for my job as we prepare to welcome UD Las Palmas for the second Canary Islands derby class of the season, and look to gain revenge for our 1-0 defeat earlier in the season. A win would see us potentially take 3rd place meaning a potentially easier playoff draw (as we would meet whoever finished in 6th position) – a defeat could see the board decide to sack their first ever Irish Manager and go it alone in their quest for La Liga promotion. I still have no idea how we are in this situation but we will battle on nonetheless!!!

Both teams line out almost identically, and even though Las Palmas have nothing to play for apart from a chance to finish inside the SD2 Top 10, they appear keen to seal Manager @MaddFM‘s fate and put a dent in Tenerife’s promotion aspirations which already have taken a hit with the absences of first and second choice goalkeepers Dani Hernandez and Sondre Rossbach whom are both somehow on international duty with Venezuela and Norway respectively!

Team Line-Ups

The game started catastrophically for CD Tenerife, going 0-1 down after 12 minutes thanks to a neat header by Las Palmas CB Cala from a corner delivered by Tana. Set pieces continued to trouble the Los Chicharreros defence, and they found themselves 0-2 down on 21 mins when Cala’s CB partner Aythami rose above the Tenerife defence to smash in a header from another well taken corner by Tana, and a disastrous first half led to an absolute tyrannical half time team talk by MaddFM along with two changes in the form of Antonio Marin and Jose Naranjo – desperate times for the Irishman who’s job could be on the line if the result stays the same.

Tenerife started the second half much stronger and the double change appeared to be an inspired one when Marin converted a cross from Naranjo (aided by the chest of goal-shy Fernando Coniglio). Marin and Coniglio combined well again on 80 minutes, this time setting up Naranjo with the equaliser on 80 minutes – could there be a comeback on the cards for CD Tenerife? The game looked like it would finish in a 2-2 draw, however it was not over for Tenerife Attacking Midfielder Borja Lasso who stepped up in the 91st minute to absolutely smash home a 25 yard screamer in the top right hand corner (recommend checking it out below). Absolute scenes at Estadio Heliodoro Rodríguez López, and Tenerife emerge victorious in what could be the last Canary Islands derby for a while if Los Chicharreros are successful in gaining promotion to La Liga.

Avenged the sh*t out of it 💪

So, finally a win after going 5 games without one and more importantly, our job is safe even though overall we finish in 4th position which means we advance to the playoffs and the epic saga that has been Season 1 is not over yet!! In my next and final post for Season One I will narrate our journey through the Playoffs where hopefully we will be able continue our “Roy De Los Rovers” fairytale and achieve promotion to La Liga Santander and commence our quest to dethrone Barcelona and the Madrids from the peak of Spanish football.

Final league positions 2018/2019

As always, thanks for reading!! Please feel free to comment and provide feedback (especially if you are enjoying the series), Retweets and Likes are of course always appreciated also. Really enjoying this save so far, so much so that I have to slow down just to blog it all :D. Cheers, MaddFM.

1.6. Trouble in Paradise ☀️

Contents: Canary Islands Derby, transfer window antics, goalkeeping howlers, training analysis, first ever youth intake (newgens! 🔥) and quite simply – the goal of the season .

🎵 Suggested tune: “Dick Dale & Del Tones – Misrlou🎵

In the last post we discussed the Canary Islands Derby against UD Las Palmas. The history books state that Las Palmas have historically been the more successful team in this fixture winning 29 out of 64 games played versus our measly 14, so the plan was to gain revenge and defend our legacy in this epic clash.

Canary Islands Derby clashes

Both teams come in to the game in polar opposite form – Tenerife arrive in Gran Canaria following back to back victories against Rayo Majadhondra and Albacete, while Las Palmas have lost their last 3 league games to Cadiz, Real Zaragoza and Deportivo La Coruna. Despite being away from home and without the injured Mauro Dos Santos and Borja Lasso, Tenerife are considered favourites for what will hopefully be an epic clash at Estadio de Gran Canaria.

Related image
Estadio de Gran Canaria

Sadly – epic the clash was not! Despite making what I considered to be an inspirational team talk to the lads coupled with what I hoped would be an effective tactic away from home (more to follow) – we absolutely bottled it on the day and despite having far more shots on target and slightly more possession throughout the game, we failed to make our chances count and David Timor’s 67th minute goal condemned us to a 1-0 defeat in our first ever Canary Islands Derby. Disaster!!

How the teams lined out in the Canary Islands Derby
Should have would have could have

Sadly our first Canary Islands Derby ends in defeat and Las Palmas take home the bragging rights as we depart for our return flight to Tenerife – we welcome them back to Estadio Heliodoro Rodríguez López in the final game of the season on 9th June 2019 where hopefully we can put things right and restore ourselves as the pride of the Islas Canarias.

Training

A few people had asked me about training and I have read a lot of blogs / articles about different approaches and training methods. Training is something which I have traditionally left to the Assistant Manager however with the changes to Training in FM19 I have tried to be more hands on with training schedules as well as with Individual Training and Mentoring.

With regard to training schedules – I have tried to keep this relatively simple and focus on the type of football we wish to play this season. I broke this up mainly in terms of assigning a schedule depending on who we are playing each week, and then dividing the week up in to specific units to cover tactics, technical skills, defending, transition, attacking etc. @FMSamo‘s training article was an excellent analysis of how you can adopt a similar type of approach, whereby training is broken down in to units and cycles (check out his article here) – our training schedule is something akin to this but instead of fortnightly cycles, it changes depending on whether we are Home or Away and/or due to face weaker or stronger opposition. We usually adopt a more forceful Gegenpress style in games where I feel we are the favourite, and a quicker Direct Counter Attack style away from home where we expect a tougher challenge (which they all are at this level):

Training schedule for Home / easier games
Training schedule for Away / tougher opponents

Most people will have also read @Cleon‘s excellent piece about the new Training feature in FM19 – what I really like about this is that it talks about tactical familiarity and dynamic match preparation, which is basically what we are trying to achieve at Tenerife by building training schedules based on the tactics we employ, and then adapting the training units depending on who our opponents are each week. Again, it is difficult to measure the effectiveness of these (and I am certainly no expert!), but as this article eludes to – there isn’t really a right or wrong approach to training, and it’s all down to what suits you and how you want your team to play. I definitely recommending reading the full article which you can find here.

What’s also interesting about the new FM19 training feature is training ratings – it is evidently clear that some players seem to excel in training over others, and the challenge (in my opinion) is to try and target players in order to boost their training ratings. This for me is probably the best way to measure training effectiveness – what’s interesting about this save is that it has constantly been our new signings that have trained consistently at the higher levels; whether that is down to the fact that I have signed them, their age or that I have really focused on integrating them in to the squad through mentoring is still unclear, but nevertheless the results are there and now the challenge is to try and have the same impact on the rest of the squad.

Do new signings train harder?

Transfer Window Shenanigans

The fixture against UD Las Palmas also coincided with the reopening of the January Transfer Window in Spain which finally saw 22 year old Norwegian Goalkeeper Sondre Rossbach complete his much anticipated move from Odds Ballklubb for a fee of €1.1m (€650k up front), after being recommended by @daveazzopardi on the 5 Star Potential podcast. He looks like a really decent keeper all round, still only 22 and hopefully he can develop and live up to his 4 star potential here at Los Chicharreros.

This move comes at a good time for two reasons, both of which are our current Goalkeeper Dani Hernandez who is a 33 year old Venezuela International. Hernandez showed himself to be quite competent in the first half of the season, however recently and in true FM fashion he has made quite a few costly errors that have cost us games and more importantly points in our quest to return to La Liga:

To add fuel to the fire, Hernandez has also been linked with a move to promotion chasing rivals Real Zaragoza, who we initially didn’t consider as a title contender however their recent form has pushed them up in to the Top 4. Whether he goes or not remains to be seen however we expect that Rossbach will be an extremely efficient replacement if called upon.

Would they be doing us a favour?
Dirty Leeds

Unfortunately we have no transfer budget to work with during this window after the arrival of Rossbach, which means our main goal for the month is to try and hold on to all our players if we are to have a realistic chance of getting promoted this season. The most challenging part of this is that all player contracts in Spanish football must legally have a Minimum Fee Release Clause (Buy Out Clause), which is fine if you can set it at €500m as Real Madrid did with Gareth Bale (see here for some interesting reading) however here in Secunda Division 2, clauses are much more reasonable meaning there is a constant fear that your best players can be snapped up without the manager having any say in the matter. This combined with the fact that our board now only give us 50% of all incoming transfer revenue will make it a nervous few weeks for the rest of January.

Image result for squeaky bum time gif

In other news – while all is quiet on the transfer window front in SD2, the same cannot be said with regards to Manager Movements in this league where a number of high profile appointments have been made for this level. January saw Las Palmas replace Paco Herrera with former Sevilla, Tottenham and R. Madrid boss Juande Ramos; Granada replaced Diego Martinez with previously mentioned former Tenerife manager Pepe Mel and Sporting Gijon sacked Gregorio Manzano in favour of former Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest afficionado Aitor Karanka.

The defeat at Las Palmas led to mixed form for Los Chicharreros for the rest of January, with Tenerife needing an own goal to beat Elche CF away before being held to a scoreless draw at home to Gimnastic de Tarragona meaning they took 4 points from us this year! This rollercoaster of form means that we sit in 2nd place in the third week of January, level on points with top of the table (and surprise package) Real Zaragoza – an interesting point to note here (and something I fondly remember debating with @FM_Guru88 in an online league previously) is that Goal Difference is not the determining factor if teams are level on points, but rather it is based on Head to Head form. Zaragoza’s 2-0 home win over us back in October means that they pip us for 1st place despite our slightly superior goal difference – definitely a change to what we are used to in the EPL and good to know going forward!

Head to Head > Goal Difference

The one piece of positive news to come the end of the month was that both Dani Hernandez and Mauro Dos Santos decided to stay at Tenerife at least until the end of the season….oh, and this:

GOAL OF THE SEASON CONTENDER

Having gone a goal down on the brink of half time, Tenerife had to dig deep in order to get back in to the game against a strong Albacete side who have been performing far above their original media prediction of 18th and are currently sitting comfortably in the playoff zone. Carlos Alena equalised for Los Chicherroros with a calmly taken penalty on 71 minutes, before Right Back Luis Perez wins the game for Tenerife with a glorious perfectly taken strike from 30 yards out:

SCENES 🔥🔥🔥

🌍⚽ Around the World⚽🌍

At this point, lets have a quick look at what is happening around the other main European leagues now that the transfer window has closed and we approach the business end of the season.

Tottenham sit at the top of the English Premier League after 24 games, just 2 points ahead of London neighbours Chelsea – it looks like a standard season of FM disappointment for some of the more high profile strikers in the PL, with Aubameyang leading the goalscoring charts on 15 goals ahead of Chris Wood and Callum WIlson on 14 and 12 respectively.

Keeping an eye on my own team Newcastle – not only are they echoing real life performances and sitting in 14th place at the end of January, they also look to have secured the signing of the transfer window in Nicolo Zaniolo from Fiorentina for what could be a bargain transfer fee of €5.5 million.

English PL Transfer Activity

Also echoing real life are the number of manager departures in the Premier League with 4 dismissals having already occurred at the time of writing – most interestingly the arrivals of Marcelo Bielsa at West Ham and AVB at Wolves.

Spygate – coming to a Premier League near you

Real Madrid currently occupy top spot in La Liga on 45 points, level with arch-rivals Atletico Madrid and only 1 point ahead of Catalan giants Barcelona.

Youth Intake

Thanks for reading so far! Before we finish, it is worth mentioning that we just had our first intake of youth players in the squad which means our first batch of newgens here at Los Chicharreros. We haven’t yet made a huge impact on youth training, recruitment and facilities at the club apart from hiring a new Head of Youth Recruitment (Domingo Grau) and boosting our Youth Coaching team by adding former World Cup winner Bixente Lizarazu and former Celtic, Barcelona and Man Utd Striker Henrik Larsson to the coaching ranks (focusing on Spanish speaking former players where possible as per our objectives) – however I was hopeful that we might be able to unearth one or two youngsters whom we could start to try and develop right away as we build our Roy De Los Rovers project.

U19 Management Team

The reality was that overall the intake was fairly average, however one player in particular stood out in the form of Yeray Padrón who at age 15 has decent attributes for a DMC (looking at Positioning, Agression, Tackling and Bravery) and hopefully is someone we can push on and develop in the coming months and years.

I think that is more than enough for one blog post!! Thanks for reading and hopefully enjoying the journey so far, Roy De Los Rovers is certainly underway and hopefully we can continue to build and push for an unexpected early promotion to La Liga in Season 1. Please feel free to like, retweet and comment below – all appreciated! Cheers, MaddFM.

1.5. Spanish Omelette for Christmas?

Contents: an obscure 90’s legend, Los Vengadores (The Avengers), a dream debut for a 17 year old, comical free kick taking, Irish youth prospects and of course some festive Christmas cheer.

🎵 Suggested tune: “Feliz Navidad – Jose Feliciano🎵

They say if you want to make an omelette, you have to break a few eggs – that pretty much sums up the first few months of our first season at Los Chicharreros a.k.a. CD Tenerife. Our fantastic 6-1 win in the opening game of the Secunda Division was quickly forgotten about with a 0-1 defeat away to Gimnastic de Tarragona – a team from the Catalonia region predicted to finish 17th in the league at the start of the season. If I wasn’t already feeling the heat in Tenerife, I was feeling it now! While I would love to blame it on the fact that they had Luis Suarez playing for them (albeit a different Luis Suarez to the one we all know and loathe), it was a 91st minute goal that condemned us to an earlier-than-expected first defeat of the season.

On the topic of media predictions, I am conscious that we haven’t yet analysed any of our competition in this league – particularly looking at who we expect to be our main rivals in our quest for promotion to La Liga, so allow me to do an extremely brief overview of those that I expect to be challenging with come the end of the season:

Image result for malaga cf

Malaga CF – having just been relegated to Secunda Division after finishing bottom of La Liga last season IRL, Malaga are the odds on favourite to bounce back up at the first time of asking having spent the past ten successive seasons in the top tier of Spanish football – even finishing 4th in 2012 and reaching the quarter-final of the UEFA Champions League after topping a group that contained Italian giants AC Milan, before narrowly being knocked out by Dortmund 3-2 after a 0-0 draw in the first leg. Not only are Malaga renowned for producing top quality talent and developing a number of players who went on to succeed at the highest level – Saviola, Hierro, Isco, Cazorla, Demichelis and Monreal to name a few (as well as my current Newcastle hero Salomon Rondon) – they probably hold one of the stronger squads in the league this year including familiar names such as Dani Pacheco (formerly of Barcelona & Liverpool), Javi Ontiveros, Alex Mula (wanted by Chelsea and Newcastle as we speak) and Alfred N’Diaye who fans of English football will remember had spells at Sunderland, Hull City and Wolves. Fully expect they will be challenging come the end of the season – watch this space.

Image result for deportivo la coruna

Deportivo La Coruna – another cracking team during the 90’s with FM and real-life legends such as Bebeto, Diego Tristan, Djalminha, Coloccini, Mauro Silva, Valeron, our blog patriarch Roy Makaay and a pre-Barcelona Rivaldo – Deportivo are another example of a fallen giant who will surely be in contention for the promotion places at the end of season. Despite Diego Rolan currently out on loan at Alaves, they look strong with players such as Valencia graduate Fede Cartabia, 4 star ability Borja Valle, former R. Madrid midfielder Pedro Mosquera and new signing Pablo Hernandez from Leeds who has picked up 4 goals and 3 assists in his first 6 matches.

Image result for las palmas fc

UD Las Palmas – our main rivals who we will face in the Canary Islands derby for the first time since 2015, Las Palmas also look like they will challenge to bounce back to La Liga after last year’s relegation disappointment. Slightly less renowned for producing world class talent (although they did have former Everton Striker Vinny Samways for a 6 year stint in the late 90s – WTF?!) – they definitely have the quality to mount a serious challenge this year with Sergio Araujo their main goal threat and arguably one of the best strikers in the league this season. Las Palmas have won 29 of the 64 derbies previously compared to our 14 wins so we will certainly have some avenging to do in a few months time.

Xadas & Marin – Los Vengadores
This actually happened (Photo: @cm9798)

Apologies, I’ve literally gone completely off topic – back on point we go. Following our shock defeat in Game 2, we then went on an absolute bender of good form – going 6 games unbeaten where we picked up 5 wins (including a victory in the Copa Del Rey 2nd Round vs Cueta FC) and a draw against a decent Almeria side who had Pogba in their starting eleven (thankfully Florentin, not Paul). The highlight of this run was not only beating promotion rivals Deportivo away from home at Estadio Riazor, but the winning goal which came in true FM fashion:

For the love of the game

By the end of September we were joint top of the league with surprise package CD Lugo, and even better still receiving the Manager of the Month award for our troubles:

Gracias a todos!

That run came to an end at home to Cadiz (where our favourite FM legend Cherno Samba spent a couple of seasons back in 2004-2006), which then opened the floodgates to 3 straight defeats in total with subsequent losses to Real Zaragoza (away) and Almeria again proving to be our bogey team knocking us out of the Copa Del Rey on penalties much earlier than planned in the 3rd round. A series of aggressive and assertive rants/tyrades to the lads during this period seemed to do the trick to get us back on track however, as we then went on an absolute belter of a run winning a record 7 games in a row which propelled us back to the top of the league by the end of November and another Manager of the Month award in the back pocket:

The highlight of this and one of the most rewarding moments for a “Football Manager Football Manager” (how else do you describe yourself? 😋) was the unexpected early debut of our 17 year old newly signed German CB Yann-Aurel Bisseck, who not only started in a 2-0 away win at Extremadura due to injuries, but also bagged a brace with two spectacular headed goals from set pieces – both delivered by Xadas.

Unbelievable Jeff

Speaking of youngsters (and with the January transfer window approaching) – as well as some of our objectives being to develop young talent and to one day manage the Republic of Ireland national team (much to @Shrewnaldo‘s disbelief 😆), a suggestion from @FMEdmundo was also to try and sign/develop a young Irish player at Los Chicharreros seeing as Tenerife do of course have an Irish Manager ☘️☘️). Let the research commence! So far I have identified two potential targets below to help achieve this objective (two Ryans in fact) – Ryan Johansson of Bayern Munich who was born in Luxembourg to Swedish and Irish parents, and Ryan Nolan of Inter Milan who became only the fourth ever Irishman to play in Italy after Paddy Sloan, Liam Brady and Robbie Keane. Time will tell if we can attract either of them and whether they will develop into Irish legends – hopefully we can at least avoid a Declan Rice situation with both of them in the near future 🙊.

Ryan Johansson @ Bayern
Ryan Nolan @ Inter

By Christmas, the Spanish Omelette is cooking pretty well with us sitting joint top of the league with Real Zaragoza and the league table looking as follows:

Feliz Navidad!

In my next post we will have the first Canary Islands derby against Las Palmas, along with analysis of training and tactics used so far, a review of all the Ins and Outs of the January Transfer window and we will take a look at progress across the other main European leagues and competitions as we move towards the business end of the season.

Thanks for reading as always! Thoughts, feedback and retweets are always appreciated – feel free to drop some comments below if you are enjoying this blog! Forca Los Chicharreros!! MaddFM.

1.4. Pre-Season, El Transfer Window & League Opener

Contents: Building an empire, signing a wonderkid, two 90’s legends, abandonment issues, goals galore, last minute transfer window drama and the opening match of the 2019 Secunda Division.

🎵 Suggested tune:  “Escape (Pina Colada song)” – Rupert Holmes 🎵

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)

How important is 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 😀

Transfer Activity

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!

Stanic CM97/98 profile courtesy of @CM9798

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.

“We’re gonna make ’em an offer they can’t refuse”
B*stards

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.

FM Legend

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.

Jurgen Kohler CM 97/98 courtesy of @CM9798

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 😌).

Carles Barc-alena
The guy has played and scored for Real Madrid..
Summary of 2018/2019 Summer Transfer Activity

Pre-Season

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.

BALLS

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.

Pre-Season summary

*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:

How many directors does it take to change a light bulb?

Season Preview

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.

Building for the future
Media Prediction: 9th

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.

The Tactic

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:

Team Instructions

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!!!

CD Tenerife vs Elche CF – Highlights

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.

1.3. MaddFM takes charge at Tenerife

🎵 Suggested tune: “La Bamba” – Los Lobos & Gypsy Kings 🎵

Before we even kick off this season, a huge shout out to @TheFMEditor85 who has created the latest updated FM19 database following the recent transfer window – please be sure to follow and check out his content!! This means that we are literally kicking off with a brand new database that was released just two hours ago at the time of writing, and due to the fact that Tenerife had picked up a few players in this window I decided to wait until it had closed before kicking off the new save.

Find out how to add Manager photo to FM here

It’s official – we are now managing CD Tenerife in the Segunda Division in Spain, taking over from José Luis Oltra who was in his second spell at the club. We sign a 1 year deal worth £6,750 per week – hopefully they threw in a nice penthouse down by the beach too. Hang on – they use Euro in Spain, so a quick preferences change means we will earn €7,500 p/w and speak in Euro going forward. Chairman Miguel Concepcion welcomes us to the club, seems he has made a successful living in transport and television in addition to his 12 years as Chairman of the Chicharreros. He must be in a good mood as he agrees to increase the Wage Budget and allow us sign a few extra physios – I’ll be putting in a few other requests in due course, however as things stand we’ve been given a modest transfer budget of €671K per week along with wage budget of €166.5K based on us aiming to achieve Promotion at the first time asking (as well as reaching the 5th round of the Copa Del Rey). Might as well aim high, there may also be some room to manoeuvre within the budget so I’d better get the calculator out and f̶u̶d̶g̶e̶ crunch some numbers – hoping to bring in some funds through player sales, but at present only 55% of transfer fees are put back in to the transfer budget. Miguel better be in a good mood in our next meeting..

Board Expectations
Potential budget stretching

Team Report

Not an overly inspiring report from our (for now) Assistant Manager Emilio Isierte – definitely going to be some work to do with this squad. Initial concerns are at RB, DMC and AMR however we will look to strengthen as much as possible in all areas – big squad will be needed, we have to play 42 games in this division in addition to however many Copa Del Rey fixtures we encounter. I suspect loan signings will be essential, hopefully my next post will contain news of a lot of new signings!

In terms of current personnel, newest IRL signing Borja Lasso looks arguably our best player on paper – vision, flair, technique, passing and decisions attributes are all pretty strong for this level, makes sense having signed from Sevilla in the real life January Transfer Window. Hoping for a few goals and most imporantly a truckload of assists from this man.

Borja Lasso

We also look pretty strong up front, Naranjo and on-loan Coniglio both look decent – somehow I might end up having to fit all three of these lads in to a formation, potentially a triangle of sorts up top.

José Naranjo
Fernando Coniglio

My potential back line are pretty average, will definitely need reinforcements – pretty happy with Mauro Dos Santos at CB however, his Heading, Marking, Tackling and Positioning attributes should be more than enough at this level.

Mauro Dos Santos

Dani Hernandez is first choice keeper, at 32 and with his attributes he will be first choice this season but more than likely will not keep the jersey beyond that, especially if we perform a miracle and get promoted to La Liga – reckon Messi would love to see him between the sticks!

Dani Hernandez

Unfortunately we don’t have much to report in terms of Youth Prospects – our U19 squad is half empty and I am informed that our highest potential youngster is Borja Llarena; the kid has 4 stars but at 19 I am not convinced he will improve beyond a mid table striker – hopefully by recruiting a few youth coaches, improving youth facilities and focusing on recruitment etc will lead to a good youth intake later in the season.

Borja Llarena

Another thing worth mentioning is the Squad Dynamics page – the combined age of my Captain and Vice Captain is 66 years, both Suso and Sanz are a ripe old 33 years of age so Leadership and Teamwork will be on my mind when making any potential signings for the future. Plenty of highly influential players in the squad, but ideally will hope to sign a future Captain during the summer transfer window.

Final thing to mention in terms of my initial impressions on the club and squad overall – as a SD1 team, I was surprised to see we don’t have any La Liga parent club affiliates so that will be another focus in the initial stages of the save to try and bring in some decent loan signings without sh*tting on our wage budget.

Goals and Objectives

  1. Obtain Promotion to La Liga within first 2 seasons
  2. Build a concentrated and extensive team of staff with a particular focus on Youth Coaching and Recruitment
  3. Try to sign as many Spanish speaking staff members as possible
  4. Develop a stong affiliate network domestically and internationally, both for inbound loan benefits as well as youth development
  5. Minimum of 50% of all incoming transfers will be paid up front
  6. Develop at least one youth prospect or uncapped player to obtain an International Cap for Spain within first 3 seasons
  7. Find our “Roy de los Rovers” – an absolute shithouse of a centre-forward the like of which Los Chicharreros have never seen before
  8. Get the Ireland job and manage both club & country, ensuring qualification for all major tournaments
  9. Sign and develop a young Irish player for the first team and also get him capped by the Republic of Ireland

That’s probably enough analysis and reporting at this point considering its still 9am on Day 1 of the save – in my next post I will discuss tactics, formations and training as well as including a summary of pre-season and all transfer activity, whereby hopefully we will have not only bolstered the squad on all counts but also will have built a quality backroom team.

Once again, thanks for reading – please feel free to provide comments and feedback, if you are enjoying the blog please feel free to like, share, retweet and subscribe via the links on the side/bottom of this page! Yours humbly, MaddFM.