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Old 05-15-2019, 09:44 AM   #1
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Points North (FM 15)

I'm back (again) with a different kind of Football Manager story.

This time, I've decided to begin my story without an initial destination in mind. All I know is that I'm going to load up the Scandinavian countries--Norway, Sweden, and Denmark--and see where my journey takes me.

My managerial alter ego has a more impressive resumé this time, too. Aidan Harris, age 36, is an England international with 68 caps in his trophy case. He holds all his coaching badges. Aidan's second nationality is Norwegian, and he also speaks Swedish and Danish. Perhaps he spent some of his playing career in Scandinavia. I almost never manage good-sized clubs, and I think I'd like to give it a try this time--without the headaches that invariably come when a rookie manager with no coaching badges tries to take over a club filled with accomplished professionals.

I like FM 15, so I'll use that edition of the game. And, I'm using real players this time, so we'll see whose paths I'll cross along the way.

The story will begin in the late spring of 2014, as an unemployed Aidan Harris begins his managerial journey. Please join me as we see where his northern odyssey takes him.

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Old 05-15-2019, 10:09 AM   #2
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Here's a list of some of the Scandinavian clubs I think I'd like to manage one day. A club might make the list for a number of reasons. Maybe I've heard of them, or I know players who have played there. Perhaps I think the city is intriguing; I like historic cities (I teach history), and I tend to be drawn to cities on the coast or in the mountains. It might be something as simple as a badge I like or kit colors I prefer, or a name I like for some reason.

Anyway, these clubs are on my "favorites" list:

Norway
  • Odd
  • Stromsgødset
  • Tromsdalen
  • Viking

Sweden
  • Djurgårdens
  • Malmö
  • Sirius
  • Sundsvall

Denmark
  • Lyngby
  • Odense Balklub
  • Randers
  • Viborg

Ideally, I'd like to manage one (or more) of these clubs at some point on my journey. Tromsdalen, Sirius, Sundsval, Lyngby, and Viborg are currently at the second level of their national league systems. The others play in their country's top flight.

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 05-15-2019 at 10:10 AM.
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Old 05-15-2019, 10:35 AM   #3
thehitcat
H.S. Freshman Team
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Sounds fun. Can't wait
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Old 05-15-2019, 10:37 AM   #4
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
5 November 2014

The first four months or so passed uneventfully. A number of lower division clubs sacked their managers, but none of those jobs appealed to me. Then, a few days ago, I learned that IFK Luleå dismissed Fredrik Waara after the club barely escaped relegation.

The Luleå job was intriguing for several reasons. The club was founded in 1885, and I like the fact it has a long history. The beautiful city of Luleå is located on the Baltic Sea, close to the Arctic Circle. I decided to express interest in the job, despite the fact that a manager with my qualifications should probably aim higher than the third division of Sweden.

The next day, one of the clubs on my short list sacked their boss. GIF Sundsvall play in the Swedish First Division Elite, the second tier in their league system. Again, I expressed interest in the job and, this time, I've gone as far as applying for the position. We'll see if their chairman contacts me for an interview.
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Old 05-15-2019, 10:37 AM   #5
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehitcat View Post
Sounds fun. Can't wait

Thanks, thehitcat. I hope you enjoy the journey!
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Old 05-15-2019, 11:09 AM   #6
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
21 November 2014

Far northern countries like Norway and Sweden play football in the summer, and as their seasons ended in November, a number of clubs cut their ties with managers whom they felt fell short of expectations.

On the 10th, one of my dream jobs opened up. Malmö were predicted to defend their Swedish Premier Division title, but a run of five matches without a victory in April and May sent them perilously close to the relegation places. The team rallied, and moved back to the top of the table with two matches to play. Malmö unpredictably drew with last-placed Elfsborg and 11th-placed Halmstad, allowing Kalmar and AIK to edge past them.

That was enough for the Malmö board, who gave manager Åge Haralde his pink slip. I promptly submitted my application. The same day, Viking boss Kjell Jonevret indicated his interest in the Malmö job, too. That could create an interesting scenario; if Jonevret moves to Malmö, Viking will need a manager--and they're on my "wish list," too!

The next day, Luleå hired a manager of middling ability called Anders Wallerstrom. I never heard from them. Perhaps they thought I was too big a catch to pursue.

Today, Sundsvall decided to bring back a name from their past. Irish manager Patrick Walker first managed there from 2002-2004, part of an extensive journey across Norway and Sweden.

Malmö haven't contacted me for an interview, either. All I can do for now is wait. And wait.

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 05-15-2019 at 11:09 AM.
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Old 05-15-2019, 11:57 AM   #7
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
10 December 2014

The festive season is well underway now. Will I have even more reason to celebrate this Christmas, with a brand-new job beneath the tree?

Somehow I missed the fact that Odds Ballklub, another of the clubs on my "wish list," sacked their manager back in mid-November. On the 26th, Jostein Grindhaug resigned his job with FK Haugesund and moved 360 kilometers or so down the road to take the job at Odd.

That move seemed, well, odd. Grindhaug was a Legend at Haugesund, playing there for 12 seasons and becoming their all-time leader in appearances. Why would he make a parallel move to another team in the Premier Division?

I decided to take a closer look at Haugesund. They finished fifth in 2014, after being predicted to come in 9th. I like the Fairly Professional personality of their squad. On the other hand, their finances are a mess--valued at £3 million, the club is staggering under £12.25 million in debt.

I thought about it, and decided to put my name in the hat for the Haugesund job, too.

Two days later, the board at Odense Ballklub lost patience with Ove Pedersen, who couldn't guide the team off the bottom of the table. I decided to wait before I acted on this opening. OB are a mess right now, and I'm not sure I could repair things well enough to save myself from Pedersen's fate.

Then, two days ago, I got a message from Leiv Helge Kaldheim, the chairman at Haugesund. He invited me in for an interview, and I accepted.

I agree with Kaldheim's desire to sign young players for the first team. I asked him to increase the youth development budget, but I wasn't surprised when Kaldheim turned me down. After all, they're swimming in debt right now.

Today, I received an offer to manage Haugesund! They're offering me a two-year contract at £1.4K a week.

Now I'm wondering what I should do. I still haven't heard anything from Malmö. Managing there would probably be my dream job. Should I go ahead and take the offer from Haugesund, or try to delay them and see if Malmö come in with an offer? Are the financial problems at Haugesund so great that I should take a pass?

Decisions, decisions...
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Old 05-16-2019, 09:43 AM   #8
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
17 December 2014

I asked the Haugesund board for a week to think about their offer, and they agreed. Malmö never got in touch with me, so when Haugesund contacted me today to renew their offer, I agreed to sign on the dotted line.

I'm now the manager of Fotballklubben Haugesund!

I'll be back later with more information about my new club and their players.

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 05-16-2019 at 09:43 AM.
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Old 05-19-2019, 02:42 PM   #9
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013

I like my new team's logo. The gull fits well, since the city of Haugesund lies on the northern end of the Karnsund strait, which connects the Bokna fjord with the North Sea.



Haugesund looks like a beautiful city, which helped me decide to try my luck managing there. I might have held out for one of my "dream jobs" if I hadn't seen how pretty a town it really is. It's a smaller city, with a population of about 37,000.



It's an historic city, too. Harald Fairhair, the (possibly legendary) first king of Norway, made his home close to the site of Haugesund. The battle that is said to have unified Norway for the first time was fought near there in 872.

I'd show you a picture of the stadium we'll be playing in, but it will be only a temporary home. A brand-new Haugesund Stadium is scheduled to open in January 2016. That's why the club is £12 million in debt. Otherwise, the finances seem OK, with about £3 million in the kitty.
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:04 PM   #10
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
1 April 2015

I had three months or so to shape my squad, but I didn't have the money to do very much. There were several players--forwards Pontus Engblom and Christian Gytkjær, center back Vegard Skjerve--who made it clear they had no interest in staying with the club after I took the job. They might have been planning to leave already, but I couldn't talk them into staying. Gytkjær and Skjerve left when their contracts ran out on 31 December. I managed to sell Engblom to Luzern for £80,000, which was a fairly good deal.

Skjerve's loss wasn't too painful, because I had two other very good center backs in the team, and a decent backup. I did need to find a new striker, though, and I talked the board into paying £200,000 to Bramm for Marcus Pedersen.

Now, as the Premier Division season is about to begin, here's how the Haugesund team looks. The star ratings come from my assistant manager, Mark Dempsey (11 for Judging Player Ability, 12 for Judging Player Potential.)

My usual formation is what the game calls 4-1-2-3 DM Wide, with a holding midfielder in front of a back four, two central midfielders, and two wide men flanking a center forward. I also play 4-4-2 from time to time. Both formations ought to suit the players I have fairly well.


Goalkeepers

Kristiansen is an excellent ‘keeper with no glaring weaknesses. He is the club captain, but he’s been expressing his desire to move to a bigger club. His contract expires this year, and our chances of resigning him will depend on the team’s success.

Bråtvelt is a decent youngster, but I wonder if his mental makeup is strong enough to enable him to achieve his potential. I wouldn’t mind finding another second choice goalkeeper.


Defenders

Våge Nilsen is a fixture at left back. One of the team’s best players, he has every skill I’m looking for in an attacking full back. His partner on the right side, Wembangomo, is very athletic, and will be a real star when he learns to read the game better.

I’m very happy with my center backs, who are both fast and tough. My predecessor bought Amundsen from Lillestrøm, and I’m glad he did. He’s a talented young center back with lots of pace and a mature understanding of his role. His partner will be Lædre Bjørdal, who has won three caps for Norway.

Croatian veteran Kramaric and young Haraldseid provide depth on the flanks. You’ll read more about Haraldseid later. Koch is the primary backup at center half. He’s cut from the same cloth as Amundsen and Lædre Bjørdal.

Our Director of Football, Asbjørn Helgeland, brought Nyman in on loan from FC Inter (Finland) on the last day of the winter transfer window. Hardworking, determined, and composed, the Finnish international is an ideal fit for the holding role in my midfield trio. He can also do a job in the back line, or playing farther up in the middle of the park.


Midfielders

Bamberg is the team’s most popular star. He brings some Brazilian flair to the side, usually operating on the right wing. Aase will play on the left side of midfield. He lacks the pace I might want in a wide man, but his technical ability makes him dangerous.

I’m going to find a place for Haraldseid to play as often as I can. It seems like every club in Scandinavia was trying to get us to loan him out. He can play all along the right side, and he might also appear as a central midfielder.

I like Haukås a lot. He’s a powerful presence in our engine room, with the physicality and polish to influence the match in a number of ways. Klaussen is a handy player who fits fairly well in a number of positions. He and Mawejje will battle for the number 10 role. Aashelm can be useful as a creative midfielder or a deep-lying forward.

Andreassen is a faithful club servant who has been with the team since 2003. Unfortunately, he believes he's achieved all he can at Haugesund, and is thinking about ending his career somewhere else. He can play anywhere in the defensive half of the formation, and I'd like to keep him around.


Attackers

When we play with a single striker, the well-traveled Pedersen will lead the line. He is fast and brave, and has a clinical touch. Komazec, a big, strong forward with a booming left foot, offers another kind of presence in front of goal, and should complement Pedersen well when we use two up top.

Aashelm and Agdestein are decent backups. Agdestein can also play out wide.

So, in summary:

Strengths:
  • a very good goalkeeper
  • a solid back four
  • a good defensive midfielder
  • attacking flair

Weaknesses:
  • poor passers, throughout the team (16th of 16 teams in the league)
  • unimpressive work rate
  • poor decision making
  • lack of a creative, playmaking central midfielder

The work rate issue is one I will be working hard to fix, if I stay at Haugesund very long. I won't tolerate a team full of slackers.

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 05-23-2019 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 05-22-2019, 09:46 PM   #11
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
12 April 2015

I was a little surprised to see us receive a youth intake this spring, because I thought Norwegian clubs welcomed their youth candidates in the fall.



Svendsen is clearly the pick of the litter, but he is far, far from a finished product, and at 5’8”, might not remain a center back for long.

Hansen is a pacy right back with good marking and tackling skills, but he needs to become more comfortable with the ball at his feet.

If my staff evaluations are accurate, most of the other youngsters have limited potential. Some of them do have positive personalities which might enable them to develop into useful players. Bo is a perhaps the best example of one of these players.

For now, I’ll keep all of them, but I'm not too excited about most of them.
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:03 PM   #12
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
1 June 2015

I’ve always struggled with how often to update a Football Manager story. I’ve tried writing up the highlights of each match, the way some of you do, but I never manage to keep that up for long. Semi-annual reports don’t feel right to me, either; I want to keep the momentum of my posts moving faster than that. I think I’ll try updating every other month for now.



We haven’t lost many matches, which is a very good thing. Until recently, we almost never won a league fixture, either, which wasn’t so good, and that pattern kept us in the bottom half of the table. Recently, however, we’ve begun getting results more often.



I’d like to think part of our recent success is due to some tactical adjustments I made. I always start with stripped-down versions of my tactics, with almost no team instructions. My 4-1-2-3 was working very well defensively—we weren’t allowing our opponents many dangerous chances. However, we weren’t scoring many ourselves, either, and the result was a string of banal 1-1- draws.

I like my teams to control possession without simply passing the ball around our half of the pitch, taking advantage of opportunities to attack when they arise. I want my teams to press fairly high up the pitch. I wasn’t sure our team had the ability to play this kind of football at the beginning of the season. We didn’t compare very well to our opponents in terms of decision making and passing ability, and I wasn’t sure our players were willing to work hard enough to implement a pressing defense.

Several weeks into the season, I discovered something interesting when I figured the average ratings of the 14 or 15 players who were playing the most. I was picking the hardest working, smartest, most dedicated players, in at least one or two cases preferring them to players whom my back room staff rated more highly. The lads who seldom got onto the pitch were the ones dragging our average down. Delighted, I began to instruct the team to play a more positive, creative style of football.

The Norwegian Cup tie against a Third Division side, Selbak, on 22 April wasn’t a very stern test of my new playing style, but we ran out 5-0 winners and looked good doing it. When we dispatched Sandefjord in similar fashion a few days later, I was more convinced.

The changes turned Marcus Pedersen into the most fearsome striker in Norway. In those two games, Marcus put 10 shots on target, and scored on 8 of them. That's right, he hit four against Selbak and four more against Sandefjord. He’s fired himself back into the Norway setup, and he was named to the national team for its matches against Bulgaria and Algeria this month.

All in all, then, I’m happy with how things are going now. We had been demonstrated a frustrating tendency to give away points in the last few minutes of games, turning wins into draws. Lately, however, we’ve reversed that trend. Ari Nyman's goal salvaged a point for us at home to a tough Brann side, and he went one better on the final day of May, when his fine effort from long range sent off Ole Gunnar Skolskjær’s Strømsgodset side.

Unfortunately, we still suffered a loss, when it was learned that winger Daniel Bamberg will miss about a month with a badly sprained ankle.

As luck would have it, we faced the same club three days later in the Third Round of the Norwegian Cup. This time, Kristoffer Haraldseid played the starring role, scoring in the 85th minute to send us through. I’ve decided to go all in and see how long we can make our Cup run last. We’ve drawn Fredrikstad, who are currently fifth in the First Division (the second level) in the Fourth Round, so I like our chances of lasting at least one more round.

The most unpleasant moment of the past two months was the departure of long-time club servant Tore Arne Andreassen on 15 May. Andreassen had mentioned wanting to leave the club to pursue some new challenges. I was fine with that, but I wasn’t fine with the way he handled being told that I’d try to find him a new club as soon as I could. I was surprised that he began griping to his teammates, and I ended up offering the mutual termination of his contract to stop him from wrecking the atmosphere of the changing room.

Tor Andre is still looking for a club that will give him the opportunity to meet those new challenges. Strangely enough, I’m listed as one of his favorite personnel.

I filled Andreassen’s spot in the team with free agent Christian Regniussen. He’s a polished, well-rounded central midfielder with the high work rate, determination, and teamwork I’m seeking to build the Haugesund culture around. His Professional personality is also a big plus. Christian is the younger brother of Norway defender Tore Regniussen.



We’re punching a bit above our weight, operating on a skimpy wage budget that will require our Director of Football, Asbjørn Helgeland, and me to find and bring in players with the right qualities for our style of play and with salary demands we can handle. Regniussen is a good example of this kind of footballer.

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 05-23-2019 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:04 PM   #13
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
After seeing how long this post was, I think I'll write monthly reports instead. Sorry for taking up so much of your valuable reading time!
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Old 05-23-2019, 08:17 AM   #14
thehitcat
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Love it! Keep it coming
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