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Time for another crack at this.





Man or machine? The big Mik does it again, whitewashing Turnovo to a grim relegation wallow. Striking twice in the first 114 seconds, completing his hat-trick on 24 minutes, missing a penalty on 38 but rectifying with a fourth goal before the half time whistle. Mario Hoxha was presented with a gift after Turnovo's keeper fumbled to leave but a quiet affair at the Ecolog Arena. EIGHT AND COUNTING.


Tearing the league apart.



Press F to pay your respects. Vardar were ruthless with six clear cut chances, converting three of them to end our glorious streak. Two penalties did the damage, Ristovski easily dispatching both before a late counter attack left us for dead. Means we can no longer challenge for the crown, but a valiant effort either way.



Out of nowhere, Bregalnica have put themselves in pole position going into the final day ahead on goal difference. Shkendija play us on the last day, needing to better Bregalnica's result against Rabotnički...what does this have anything to do with us?


Vardar winning the Macedonian Cup means third place is our only gateway into Europe. Rabotnički need to lose, Makedonija need to drop points and winning against Shkendija is imperative.



D. I. C. K! The Brazilian obscenity delivers from the bench to crush Shkendija's ambitions for back to back titles. Bledar Kelmendi latched onto a deflected Huremovic free kick to take an unlikely lead, but Alban Muleci had other ideas. Shkendija sent a barrage of shots our way only for it to blow up in their face. On came Dick to tuck away a wonderful move from Lleshi on the right. A fantastic way to end the season!



Drew out quite the crowd, just over 9,000 for this local derby.


Bregalnica finished 8th last season, avoiding relegation through a playoff. Today they were crowned Macedonian champions for the first time in their history. Gratz to them, but did we get into Europe?



So close. So f*cking close. Bregalnica saved two penalties to hold onto a 0-0, meaning goal difference favoured Rabotnički in an incredibly tight race to the end. No Europe for Renova next season. Metalurg Skopje, Turnovo and amazingly Pelister faced the drop.




Boy wonder Kristian Lleshi is becoming one of the hometown heroes as of late, pipping Huremovic and Syväjärvi to the award of player of the season at the ripe age of 17. On top of that it was no surprise he left with the young player of the season award. Talking of young stars, Mario Hoxha is also seeking to become a gem in the dust with his stunning winning goal against Metalurg Skopje won goal of the season. I find it ironic how Dick took the signing of the season accolade yet fails to make the seasonal best XI...?


What a memorable last nine months it's been for Mikk - 23 goals, 7.11 average performance, seven man of the match awards, he is a pleasure to work with. Long may it continue! Sasa Huremovic's intentions are to depart the club at the end of his contract in June, leaving with a stellar knack for assists and killer passes - Fabianski too getting 9 assist credits. Won't dicker over discipline, defenders will be defenders and some take one for the team.


Never seen this before, by virtue of playing less time than Bregalnica's Brahimi, Syväjärvi was presented with the golden boot in the Macedonian league. Harsh, but makes sense. Well done that man!


Two of our players snuck into the overall best XI for the season. Syväjärvi unquestionably but Tomas Juska's second half of the season was meritorious at the back. Great season all round.


I'm not even mad about this, Bregalnica winning their first ever title takes precedence over my miraculous turnaround towards the end of the campaign. Not bad at only 37 too.




Players come and go in a brief span; some leave as favourites, some leave as forgotten foes, some even leave as mercenaries - Conor leaves as a true CJL hall of famer. Twenty two years in the game starting from his rise through the ranks at Dungannon, I saw so much devotion and passion in his game. He defended his team like a gatekeeper protects his castle, his aerial duels stronger than anybody I've witnessed at this level.

He played a pivotal part in the unbelievable quadruple winning season at the Swifts, playing a perfect 50 games . Shielded with his centre back partner Gary Turner, this Dungannon side could have been one of the best Northern Ireland had seen - rivalling the likes of Glentoran and Linfield of old.

When I flew to Lithuania to take on the Stumbras Kaunas job, something about my defensive core seemed so...hollow...like it was missing the final piece of a jigsaw. Conor was always top of the shopping list, like that one bottle of aged red wine you can't find at any regular supermarket. It was no coincidence he'd take us to glory, first season into Europe and the second to a league and cup double.

Following up with the same suit in Estonia with Levadia and Infonet - back to back to back titles. Success followed him everywhere. We were true friends at a professional and personal level.

The late stage of his career at Macedonian club Renova, I could see him declining and the spark just disappeared too soon for his aging physique. I only wished we would provide him with one final decoration to conclude a truly magnificent journey at lower league football.

Conor yearned to share his experiences of the game with youth players, he was an excellent tutor with a very intelligent mind. Breaking things down as finely as nutrition, exercises and spatial awareness when an attack is sprung. He has wisdom beyond his years.

All good things must come to an end they say.

We'll miss you Conor, thank you for your service and all the best for your future in coaching/management. We'll meet again one more time mark my words.




Nation: Gibraltar
Media Prediction (Odds): 2nd/10 (9-2)
Expectations: Challenge for title
Pros: Far stronger squad than Renova. Top three finishes for over twenty years. Definite title challengers. European football almost a guarantee.
Cons: Boca Juniors (GIB) walk the league most seasons nowadays. Underwhelming budgets. Nearly half a million in debt.


The fans may welcome the decision.



Sadly, Gibraltar must wait yet again. Perhaps it's fate.




The obvious retirement of McParland is the parting that kills me most in this window. Perunicic retired too, but does anybody remember him? Newly promoted Cementarnica 55 did us a favour by taking third choice keeper Meta for a bit of cash, while Vicente can garner some first team action without us paying his wages. Win win.



The quest for centre back replacements was well and truly on, practically got two for the price of one. An area in serious need of rejuvenation.


Dimitar Todorovski - D(C) - £22k from Pelister

Relegated Pelister had an abundance of players wanting to leave, Dimitar was right on the money. Already seeing resemblance to McParland in terms of his intelligent mental stats, at a young age too. Good with his head and tackling, minus his worrying lack of speed. Thankfully he isn't the only option to help out in the defensive core.


Vanco Sabani - D(C) - unattached free agent

Let go by Vardar this summer, didn't make major salary demands, it was all the matter of putting two and two together. Injects a bit more acceleration to his game accompanied by his excellent teamwork and work rate but being sub six foot, might be best to sit in behind Todorovski on the cover. Bubbled under in the Macedonian U21s for a long period and now breaking into the main squad, it'll surely boost him for the future. Two strong signings.

..but there's one more on the way...



Something to look forward to in January, Karl is coming back to me!


I don't believe what I'm seeing! Huremovic was adamant to leave us behind, however he's made a dramatic U-turn to sign a new two year deal. The admiration for me must be incredible.


Bastig had doubts about staying too on the account of his homesickness, but a one year deal preserves him just before he turns 37.



At least our strikers are doing their job. Dick and Mik collectively scoring seven goals in our four friendlies. Note that we beat Romanian heavyweights FCSB (Steaua Bucharest) in the process.


Speaking of Mik, he heads the predictions for top goalscorer at Evens. Forty goals since his arrival, it's hard to argue why.


Vardar yet again the bookies favourites for the league title in this so called 'redemption prophecy', I'd honestly save your money. 65-1 odds for us, I'd save your money also.




Non league Napredok Kicevo first up, lessons learned from last years competition - might make a proper stab of winning it this season.





Off to a good start, though it was only against newbies C55 - a rather vicious C55. Took a penalty to eventually picklock our way in front, Syväjärvi opening his account for the season. Former left back Adis Skando welcomed himself back to the crowd by sending himself off and giving way to a second courtesy of Lleshi. Veleski suffering the same fate to leave the visitors finishing with nine men. Explosive way to start.



Can't complain, Shkëndija will always be brutes in this division. All that said, it took for a well struck 25 yard free kick by Muleci to break skin despite Bastig's best efforts of keeping it out. Vanco Sabani won't be too popular in the dressing room, leading with a two footer and a straight red. Fair result on the balance of play.



The defending champs failed to live up to their pedigree with a narrow defeat. Dick hit a sweet spot curler from 25 yards to hand us an early lead. Huremovic came close to doubling but his header lacked any sting to make it easy for their keeper. Two out of three, a solid start.



Safely saw off the returning Skopje. Always in control despite being pegged back by Ebersbach's screamer after a calamitous og at the other end. Juska finished comfortably from a corner and Mario Hoxha put his laces through a fortunate deflection to ease to another three points. Looking well organised.



Making mincemeat of Shkupi who offered precious little. Fabianski grabbing the only first half goal, followed up by a deflected Mario Hoxha free kick, while Syväjärvi's close range curler culminated another simple three points. Couldn't have asked for a better start bar the Shkëndija setback.




No first round banana-skin, professional job done at minnows Napredok. A minor hiccup had us trailing early on but Kelmendi and Syvä set things straight. Best side won.



Good record against Bregalnica in all competitions, two legs without any consequences should surely see us through to the quarters.



Brilliant start to our latest season, excluding the unfortunate defeat to Shkëndija. A nice plethora of scorers showcase the amount of teamwork flowing through our veins.



The only side who racked up better results were Vardar, unbeaten start so perhaps we might have underestimated this so called 'resurrection'. Long way to go.





There is only one Martin Bastig! The tall Estonian denying Rabotnički a predicted victory, crucially swatting away a penalty to keep the game honours even. Poor attacking display from us, barely broke into their 18 yard area.



Quite the opposite against leaders Vardar, looking rather comfortable however lacked the final blow to condemn the roulette colours to their first defeat of the season. Nothing clear cut created, mainly just half chances which both keepers dealt with accordingly. Rather unlucky to be honest.



A careless error sunk us at home to Makedonija. The ever reliable Tomas Juska left his pass back to Bastig too short to leave total confusion, Petrovski left with the easy task to tap it home. Visitors played like they were on their own turf, tormenting us as we failed to fire back with shoddy attempts.




Our good form versus Bregalnica continued with a neat two goal cushion to take to Štip. Teenage backup keeper Andi Beciri brought off a sublime point blank save very early on as nerves almost got the better of us. Our Finnish finisher Syväjärvi struck while the iron was hot, sealing a brace to have us cruising. An unmarked Iljovski foolishly gave Bregalnica an away goal to take back to their gaff, however the coolest man on the field Huremovic danced past two defender and had time to pick his spot with an excellent third. Looking good for the quarters.



League form not the best right now, failing to score in any of the three we faced. Glad we're keeping a few clean sheets, but a right blend of both goals and clean sheets seems to be missing - can't have it both ways sadly.



Sliding down to fourth but still not a million miles from top spot. Aiming for at least top three this time around.

Man, you're awesome!! I follow you from Italy, please don't stop telling your journey! Go Renova!
Fino alla fine
@bcsaulJ - Thank you man, I'll keep this going don't worry!






Crawled over the line to see off C55, yet again a penalty getting us off the mark. Syvä didn't sweat to put it away, yet somehow it was the only goal of the game. Cementarnica will kick themselves, squandering two massive opportunities in the first half to escape unscathed. We weren't any better in attack, throwing three clear cut chances away - Juska somehow missing from four yards onto the post. Adis Skando yet again saw red, seeing us back to winning ways.



Much needed rotation helped us overcome Sileks on our travels. Dick added some Brazilian flair on affairs with a breathtaking long range goal before Kelmendi doubled our lead midway through the half and it could have been a trio if not for Dick failing to put away a one on one. Switched off immediately from the restart and nearly lost everything within 90 seconds to leave us trembling. Thankfully a misjudged leap from the Sileks keeper allowed Todorovski to head from his first Renova goal to take the three points in the end.



Honours even at the Ecolog, Shkëndija failing to outfox us this time. Took only 27 seconds to show our intent, Jaanus Vazinski left free to stab home a cross from the left. Safe to assume it wasn't one for the archives in terms of goalmouth action but the visitors eventually drew level - Bastig failing to take command of an inswinging free kick, Stojanovski glanced his header into an empty net. Vidovic's late red didn't sway the game sadly, but a well earned point.



Blew a big invitation to take down Bregalnica, ending in a dull draw. Both wingers Lleshi and Fabianski need to up their finishing, both cut inside and both choking. Bregalnica nearly caught us by surprise, striker Zvonimir Tokic inches away but the crossbar got in the way of them taking everything. Can't say I'm too impressed with this.



Far too close for comfort, needing a late penalty to overcome the bottom side. Lleshi a lot more composed to slide one under the keeper just four minutes in. Skopje's only effort on target cliché-ly went in, a header from Flak winning an aerial duel with Kelmendi. Second half was all us, spurning big plays presented to us. The relief of hearing the ref's whistle to award us an 89th minute penalty was music to our ears, Syväjärvi finishing coolly despite the keeper guessing correct with his dive.



Terrible. Shkupi were only clinical due to our bewildering lack of concentration at the back. Flimsy marking from a corner for Panovski's opener, then moments into the second half an open goal with no closing down practically allowed Markovski to just walk it in. No substance up front, even though recording more shots. Truly dreadful.




Our first leg lead was enough to see off the return of Bregalnica. An early goal gave us early wobbles as they turned up the pressure cooker knowing one more unanswered goal would nudge them ahead with their away goal. Dick drove in a vital equaliser to make it a level playing field with away goals just after the hour, seemingly silencing any form of retaliation from the league champs. Quarter finals here we come.



Of course...the holders...(do possess a good record against them though).



A month that began smoothly ended with a few twists and turns. Everybody chipping in with a few goals, but I have concerns about how we venture forward - Dick and Syva need to offer a bit more.



Virtually no change in the league table. Just a bit further from the top than last month.





Ughhhh..we didn't deserve to lose this but all our good efforts were in vain. An even contest turned toward Rabotnički's side of the scales with two goals coming towards the break, including a penalty deep into the injury time to leave us stewing in it during the team talk. Despite the visitors looking dominant, a silky passing move caught them out and Dick had a rather large hole to stuff it in the back of the net (graphic, I know). Mario Hoxha only recently turned 18 and shows bright signs of his future, driving a 25 yard scorcher to level a game that seemed somewhat hopeless. Sadly the end result frustrated us, Rabotnički restoring their lead with a sloppy backpass by Todorovski. Barely coughed up any half chances let alone an equaliser. We'll kick ourselves for this.



GET IN! Nothing more satisfying than a late winner in a match we thoroughly deserved the rewards. Leaders Vardar didn't make it easy for us, Emini turned Sabani inside out and knocked us behind after a quarter of the game. The response was superb afterwards, Kristian Lleshi balanced affairs thanks to a cross that luckily everybody missed apart from him loitering at the back stick to tap home. 92 minutes elapsed, it was time for some heroics as our Finnish finisher Syväjärvi came clutch to win us the game. Did you know that Syväjärvi in Finnish translates to 'deep lake'? Well he left Vardar drowning in one.



Man...we were in the crosshairs all game with Makedonija, bleeding our heaviest defeat in a while. We were merely a shadow of how we toyed with Vardar last match, chasing shadows too. Defenders could get close to Makedonija's liquid football to pile on the misery. 3-0 down, a penalty was our only effort on target as Syväjärvi attempted to tape over the cracks. Mihaylov added the fourth to put an end to a proper bludgeoning.



Spiralling out of control, falling to our fourth defeat in five at the hands of Sileks. To be honest, both of their goals were pretty unstoppable - a free kick from Radulovic followed up in the latter stages by a powerful Dragan Jordanov effort from range. Jaanus Vazinski nearly drew us level from an attacking corner, but their left back shielded it off the line to hang on to a clean sheet. Seriously need to take a long, hard look at ourselves.




Same result as in the league, taking a vital lead to the Philip II Arena in the return leg. The fuse was lit early on with two strikes in the opening ten minutes, Huremovic's strike cancelled out by Karapetyan at the other end immediately. With Vardar sneaking an away goal under their vests, a second nearly followed by Emini but the reflexes of Bastig pushed what looked a certain goal onto the post. Luck was on our side as Vardar's keeper picked up a damaged shoulder mid-game and played on, but had no way of stopping Dick's goal before the hour mark and hang on to a slender advantage. Second leg will be tough, especially with the cup holders snatching the away goal.



If it weren't for the two Vardar results, this screen would have looked redder than our faces with such embarrassment. If things don't improve in the league, a red check mark might go beside my name in manager casualties soon. Seems my two centre back signings are finding life tough.



Down to fifth, eight adrift of the top three. Praying for a remarkable comeback just like the end of last season.

What a pity! We were so constant then what happened?! Anyway now let's focus on the comeback and the cup, we want the semifinal!
Fino alla fine
@bcsaulJ - Problem is the team is rather inconsistent. Hoping to get to the final rather than just the semis.





I mean it's hardly an achievement to beat a side who've won once all season. All over them in the first half as the two goal lead at the break suggested, Huremovic and a rare start for Denis Hoxha on the scoresheet. Goce Veleski unbalanced us a little as pressure began to mount but all in all it was a routine triumph.



*sigh* Followed up catastrophically with a heavy defeat to our local rivals. Really good watch, chances at either end with the woodwork rattled numerous times by both teams. Syva and Dick each had one on ones fluffed by keeper Nedelkovski. Ultimately the better team shone with a brace from Julian Gega and one sh*tshow bundled in by Muleci...you have to see it to believe it. I've seen bronze level Rocket League players defend better than this.




Martin Bastig the hero as we preserved a point against the reigning champs. The tall Estonian denied a third minute spot kick in what was the only talking point of the game. An accumulation of eight yellows summarises how scrappy it panned out. Onto the second leg of the cup quarters.



Dick done cocked up his hip. FML.




Ayyyy, we're into the semis! Clean, well organised job with an away goal to bag thanks to a breakaway finished off by who else? Syväjärvi. A late twist nearly befell the game; ninety seconds after hitting the front, Armenian striker Arsen Karapetyan delivered a superb free to level affairs. It didn't matter, Vardar ran out of steam to relinquish their grip on the Macedonian cup.



Definitely got the best of the draw, two legs with Shkupi for a place in the grande finale.



A lot to ponder as the league descends to a winter break, a bit of everything but it's clear to see we're far too patchy in form. Dick's injury means only Syväjärvi and Denis Hoxha are natural forwards, far from natural on a game to game basis - need to see a lot more goals from at least one of them. Creativity in the midfield is the only thing positive to take away.



We're comfortably away from the drop, but uncomfortably far from European qualification.





Two recognisable names for the diehards who followed me at Infonet.


Karl Altosar - M(C) - free transfer from Infonet

Have a lot of faith in this midfield maestro since his days of coming through the Infonet academy, now he rocks the blue and white stripes. Such strong flair with desirable decision making and vision coupled with his technical attributes adds so much more creativity in what will now become a midfield three. Sixteen at the free kicks, bound to net something from dead balls.


Lukas Varadin - D(R) - unattached free agent

A return for the Slovak right back, ironically coming in to replace Sander Kõiv for the second time. I've been heavily under fire since the Kõiv signing, so the younger, fresher and more ductile Varadin may help us seeping goals from crosses. Hasn't played for the guts of a year and a bit so match sharpness needs a proper workout during friendly season.



A mini gathering of teams from Serbia and Bulgaria kicked us into shape before the season resumes. Strong wins over Mladost and Lokomotiv Plovdiv were just what we required, plus a draw to Jagodina and ignoring a heavy defeat to Montana. Back to business come February.





Back to our cutting edge selves, winning narrowly but dominating proceedings. Despite the flurry of half chances, one did hit the back of the net - Altosar assisting on his debut with a pass into Syväjärvi to power home from just outside the area. Then again, it is only Skopje who are deep in relegation slurry and we should have tallied a lot more.



Good preparation for when we face these lads in the cup semis. It was clear the opposition's tactics were damage limitation with a pathetic 5-3-2 sweeper ensemble. Even that didn't keep us out, Jaanus Vazinski struck fierce early to set us on our way. Altosar is proving to be a handful and nearly doubled the lead but for the post getting in his shot. With the final third of the game left, a penalty came our way to which Syväjärvi rather overweeningly finished down the middle. Best of luck if you play like this in the cup Shkupi, otherwise it's easy access to the final for us.



Sure we played two of the bottom three, but winning both absorbs confidence in our game. Altosar and Varadin both a breath of fresh air since coming in, the Infonet crew making things happen.



With the sides above us dropping big points, we take a huge leap forward back into fourth, lying three points away from the top three. Perhaps our season could turn around with the final quarter of the campaign drawing near.




Far from our best intake, but given the trajectory of previous figures like Kristian Lleshi and Mario Hoxha, Rudi Kelmendi could follow suit.


Rudi Kelmendi - D(C) - youth intake

Isn't a million miles away from a starting position, already a tall and strong figure minus the mental game. All things said, he possesses a decent HMT trio with good leadership abilities and can get fiery in battles. Not saying he'll be A material but may just be a gem in the rough.


On the subject of youth, Mario Hoxha may only be 17 but moved straight into the Macedonia senior set up in a debut cap against Kosovo. Very proud manager.




Late drama as we snatched a massive win at the death thanks to one man - Jaanus Vazinski. The Estonian midfielder has been our talisman in recent games and rubbed out Daniel Georgiev's first half strike to leave the final twenty minutes on a knife edge. The dramatic twist came with the final corner of the game, Vazinski completely unmarked to bury Rabotnički and take a big step forward to Europe.



A vision called out to me before the clash with Vardar - "drop Bledar Kelmendi for Damian Fabianski". The resulting action brought us victory with Vardar's season dissolving yet again. From a narrow angle, the chosen one had been left free and squeezed it in at the near post to silence the home fans before the hour mark. The game should have been done and dusted but for a great stop from Vlatko Markovski to deny Syväjärvi. Four wins on the trot.



Devastated as Makedonija's late onslaught brought us to our knees in anguish. The returning Dick headed in with credit to a superb assist by Fabianski, fighting off four players in the build up to take the lead against the run of play. Makedonija did not play nice from that point, pushing us further and further back to hang on by a thread. Eventually they broke the tether to loop a header over Bastig from Robert Spaseski and within eight minutes our lead was vaporised, Mihaylov tapping in the typical 'FIFA sweaty goal'.



The less said about this result, the better. Dragan Jordanov ruthless in the second half with four goals in the space of nineteen minutes. We couldn't put away jack sh*t.



But hey ho, C55 are all but down thanks to us putting the final nail in their coffin. Took a lot of probing before finally piercing through the bottom side's back four, Mikko Syväjärvi decisively finishing at the back post from a Kristian Lleshi cross. Should have made this a lot easier than it was but a win is a win to end the mini losing streak.





Have it all to do in the second leg, weirdly contested game and I'd go out on a limb saying Shkupi were mightily lucky. All over them before a poorly marked corner and a defensive error led to two Markovski goals to leave us trailing at the interval. Vazinski was presented with a stroke of luck, pinballing off a few defenders before his shot eventually went in to keep us in the tie. That was all well and good until Markovski struck again to complete a hat-trick and us two goals adrift again. Loris Karius made a brief appearance on the field, or so it seemed as a goalkeeping blunder allowed Dick a vital second away goal to take back to the Ecolog Arena. The final place is still up for grabs. 1100th game not so memorable.




Little good, little bad. I can get past the first leg defeat in the cup but we did throw a lot away in the league, failing to hold out against Makedonija and crumbling to Sileks spectacularly. Nine points from fifteen is still no bad feat. Jaanus Vazinski unquestionably player of the month, absolutely solid and making dramatic improvements in the midfield.



Eight games to go, just three points away from the top three. Vardar in complete freefall while Shkëndija and Makedonija pull away. Bregalnica and Sileks trying to chase us down but I'm hopeful we'll shake them off.

Black or white, we have no middle ground! Anyway the league table is good and the final in the Cup still seems within reach! Go Renova!
Fino alla fine
@bcsaulJ - Cheers for the support dude, hoping it'll pay off come the end of the season.






Good solid draw to disrupt Shkëndija's title pursuit. Arguably, we had them on the ropes at times with Syväjärvi denied by Nedelkovski early on. Let our guard down on the half hour to fall behind, Muleci got to the ball first ahead of Bastig to slip it in. With nothing much happening, one good move resulted in an unlikely equaliser - Lleshi driven all the way to the byline to cross into Syvä for a first touch finish. The story could have been so much sweeter however a late Shkëndija own goal had been chalked off for offside. I'll take it either way.



Meandered our way to victory at the champs Bregalnica, needing to take the lead three times in doing so. Funnily enough every goal came from some sort of pullback or cross, Kelmendi grabbing the first to lead at the break. Zvonimir Tokic made life difficult for us, pegging us back twice in between Mario Hoxha's goal to restore our advantage. Syväjärvi played a blinder with two assists and deserved a goal for himself, deftly heading home from a corner which Bregalnica somehow failed to get in the way of. Lifts us right into European contention again.



This was a cakewalk. Skopje going down with a whimper in a game they just showed no fight, taking a 3-0 half time lead thanks to a rare goal from Todorovski, a penalty taken by Syväjärvi and a maiden goal from Karl Altosar who has transformed this midfield for the best. It could have gotten embarrassing for the visitors but the only blushes were for Brazilian Dick, inadvertently knocking the ball into his own net.



A second meeting with Shkupi after our semi final second leg bout, this one a lot more comprehensive. Shkupi failing to register a shot on target, apart from hitting the post once - other than that it was plain sailing. Dick sealed their fate, latching onto a lovely weighted ball by Kelmendi to control and finish in typical Brazilian fashion. The red card to Berisha in the end Unbeaten in five in the league with only four games left. Can we repeat the momentum of last year?


Dealt a huge blow for the final run in.




LETS GO BOYS! Into the cup final, coming from behind to sneak through on away goals. Took us a while to settle, a shaky first half had us one down with a quick counter attack resulting in Artim Bozinovski blasting home to grab a key away goal for the pigeons (yes, that is actually their nickname). Handled the game by the scruff of the neck after the restart, simple passes led to Dick finishing strongly moments in. Pressure building, Syväjärvi rattling the crossbar but thanks to a spill at the near post by the Shkupi keeper, the Finn somehow found the net from the tightest of angles. Advantage us, a red card for Petr Nemec all but ended the game for the visitors. Who is our final test against?



OOF. Rabotnički are always prickly customers, this is going to be a tight call.



Very strong month for the Gipsari, Syväjärvi and Dick drinking in the goals - six between the two of them. The injury to Lleshi will hurt us going into May but we remain hopeful on what should be my final season at Renova.



Nail-bitingly close, Makedonija might be a bit out of our reach but third place is neck and neck between us and Vardar. Fourth place might even be good enough for Europe given that us and Rabotnički are in the top four.

Yes!! We're in the final! Now we want to win, Rabotnicki doesn't scare us!
And what a fantastic comeback in the league! Now we have to defend the third place, it will be difficult to fight against Vardar!

P.S. Syvajarvi is on fire! how many goals has scored so far? I guess some big team will be interested in signing him...
Fino alla fine
@bcsaulJ - Too many to count haha, probably over 50 since he's joined!






ASDFGHJKL;'##!!1 I absolutely hate losing in injury time. Two own goals at either end didn't exactly showcase the quality that the Macedonian league had to offer, nor did our finishing. For all our efforts, not one came closer than Sasa Huremovic being denied on the line from close range. Into injury time, Rabotnički broke forward with Stoychev on the right whose pace left our left back for dead to deliver a sumptuous cross for the match winner Anton Dimitrov. Devastated isn't the word. No league heroics again this year.


There is no GIF to express how I'm feeling about this news. Out for the remainder of the season INCLUDING the cup final. 18 year old Andi Beciri, your time is now.



Well I'll give the lad credit, he showed great maturity between the sticks to help us to a clean sheet but most importantly we benefited at the other end. Despite Syväjärvi choking a massive first half chance, Dick reimbursed with an early second half strike to leave Vardar trembling. The visitors rattled the crossbar but failed to penetrate us before they foolishly handled in the area to allow Dick a second goal from the spot. Key victory given the stakes.




Damn, Makedonija condemned us to the same fate that befell us in our previous encounter. Striking early from Syväjärvi gave us a huge lift, thought it only riled the home side up. Chance after chance, finally one caught us off guard, Atanas Mihaylov put some welly behind a right footed finish that Beciri could only watch bulging the top corner. We looked powerless as Makedonija wanted to rubber stamp a league title, doing so in the dying embers from the same man again - costly giving them possession when we were on the attack and countering us violently. Congrats to them.



Our top three hopes burned to cinders, totally beaten at the hands of Sileks. We fell on our own sword with a first half penalty blunder, Dick saw his kick denied by Stojkovski in net. Someone obviously put something strong in the Sileks cup of tea, slaughtering us in the second half with a total of 12 shots on target, three of them going in. A penalty from Jordanov, a powerful header from a corner off the dome of Stojanov and Nikolovski on a breakaway had us waving the white flag. A torrid way to end my final season at Renova.




A last shot at silverware and European football for next season. Would we bring home the bacon?


The cruellest way possible. Game was as dull as a butter knife with both sides cagier than anything. On balance we were more likely to score, showing strong heart and determination but eventually came down to the lottery of penalties. Flawless from Rabotnički against our young keeper while our kicks lacked composure - Dick and Vazinski crucially missing. You can argue we had missed big players like Bastig and Lleshi but fate wasn't on our side.



Shocker of a month, four defeats from five. The loss of Bastig played a big part due to Beciri's lack of first team experience. Folded like a deck chair by the final game.



Our final game disaster slid us down to a disappointing fifth placed finish, missing out on the Europa League behind Vardar and those lucky bastards Rabotnički. Makedonija finished as champions for the first time in over forty years, denying Shkëndija in second. Skopje and Cementarnica 55 return to the second tier. In disbelief.

Damn what a finesh To bad! I was sure you would have won it all.

Next season must be yours!
Nooooo! What a bad ending! The team has given up!
What are your plans now? Will you remain in Macedonia or not?
Fino alla fine
Just spent some time re catching up with this @DNZY, I miss ages then come back and enjoy it! Trying to get back a bit more active on the forums again so will be keeping up with this. Cruel last season, hopefully thatr heartache will push the lads on.
@b0nb0n - Yeah, it's a shame it ended this way. Far too inconsistent.

@bcsaulJ - Not sure what the plan is, but you'll soon find out!

@Dan - Glad to see you're still following this, cruel indeed but things are about to change.




Third season running, childhood star Kristian Lleshi is nominated as fans' player of the season and he's not even in his twenties. Another youth product Mario Hoxha wowed everyone with his maturity shown in midfield, bright future ahead of him taking second while Sasa Huremovic is still loved despite intentions to depart the club, the fact he signed a new deal made him third favourite. Brazilian Dick netted goal of the season for his belter against Bregalnica, may be the last time he'll appear at the club. Altosar solidly won signing of the season, creating splashes upon arrival. Lleshi also winning young player of the season.



For all his hard work this season, Mikko Syväjärvi's goal and assist tally topping the charts didn't merit him an internal award which is a real shame. Got involved in half of the club's goals this season, not far from a true icon to the club (also did you know that Syväjärvi means 'deep lake' in Finnish?). Sasa Huremovic was someone we needed over the last couple of seasons, jubilant with his new contract and his influence is apparent, 7.03 average rating plus 89% passing ratio, definitely the ticking metronome in the middle. Dick may have missed a large portion of the year but five man of the match awards is more than enough reason to miss him when he leaves. Jovanovski had a better season this time around at left back, getting stuck in with 6 yellows and Vanco Sabani's first season had some hairy moments with the only red card over the 36 games.


Unfortunately this is where the journey ends. Will I be back? Who knows?


Mixed responses from the fanbase.




Nation: Kosovo
Media Prediction (Odds): 5th/12 (14-1)
Current Position: 9th
Expectations: Mid-table
Pros: Good squad to work with. Have a pedigree of winning the Kosovo league in recent years. Still in the cup.
Cons: Struggling badly in the division. Finances in a sink hole. Seem to be relying on one player for goals. Players underperforming.



After 35 years of this save, am I now finally going to Kosovo?


Or....are Infonet going to beg me back?



Crossing the border into one of the first loaded nations in this save, only taken me three and a half decades to finally land a job in Kosovo. KF Ferizaj facilitate my 22nd job in management. Ferizaj were one of the first clubs behind Prishtina and FC Gjakova to establish a football club from the Kosovan region back in 1923 during the days of Yugoslavia. It is clear that the club had Serbian roots, originally founded as 'Borci' which translates to fighters in this language, however it is unclear when the club transitioned into it's now known name of Ferizaj which is now predominantly Albanian influenced. In fact, not a large amount of information is present about the club other than the fact they are nicknamed Ujqit (The Wolfs) and play traditionally in sky blue and white.


Alternatively recognised as Uroševac (Š£Ń€Š¾ŃˆŠµŠ²Š°Ń†), Ferizaj (Š¤ŠµŃ€ŠøŠ·Š¾Š²Šøћ) lies roughly midway between Serbia and Albania in the southern area of Kosovo, in fact it’s closest border is Macedonia lying just 55km away. With an urban population peaking 42,000, the area had been a trading centre between Yugoslavian Belgrade and Thessaloniki in Greece during the days of the Ottoman empire. In 1999 the U.S. Army built a base just outside the region, ‘Camp Bondsteel’ – the largest and the most expensive foreign military base built by the US in Europe, since the Vietnam War. It’s most discernible landmark(s) are the Mahde Mosque placed side by side with the Church of Ferizaj.



Not a huge amount of information is provided with regards to Ferizaj’s home stadium of Ismet Shabani, when it was built or who even is this Ismet Shabani referenced? The state of the stadium has come under much scrutiny in recent times. Their 2,000 capacity ground had been due urgent renovations for the past two years, however the works have stalled and have left their home in a dystopian state. I know it’s only Football Manager but it really is a shame to see such ruins. The newly built fictional ‘Ferizaj Stadium’ on the other hand holds 3750 spectators.


Success is extremely barren in the real world for Ujqit but to appear twice in consecutive Kosovo cup finals is no mean feat. Defeat to Trepça'89 3-0 in 2012 may have been painful, but to lose it the next year on penalties to Prishtina is definitely a kick in the teeth. The club yo-yoed on either side of the top division, establishing a highest finish of fourth in 2013-14. Now during the FM age, trophies have been earned - four titles in fact in a real purple patch for the club. 2036, 2041, 2042 and lastly 2045 were very proud years for the club. Furthermore seven Kosovar cups and the same quantity of Kosovar supercups entered the cabinet, however not a drip of success has fell on the club with a trophy drought since a treble in 2045. Of course being in FM17, Kosovan clubs are ineligible to compete in European competitions.



Uncharted territory for Ferizaj with plenty of defeats in a depressing campaign, a final nail in the coffin for them being the 3-0 defeat to Ferronikeli. Only one league win in seven games doesn't leave us in a great spot in the relegation playoffs but plenty of time to work my magic. Handy that we're still in the cup after a first round win over second division side Behari.



Quite impressed with the setup on paper given five players are four stars and above, which questions why this club are fading at a rate of knots? Arguably the full back department needs a bit of a facelift and potentially central midfield too but time will tell as I throw myself right into the helm of this sinking ship. Seems that the Croats will be the first names on the team sheet.

KEY PLAYER #1 - Ivan Ercegovac - ST(C)


In and amongst the goals a lot is Ercegovac, average height with a solid build who can leap quite well being a target man. I'm usually reluctant to playing with TMs and from the looks of it, he'd much better suit an advanced forward or poacher role with his strong finishing with good composure. Determination sits quite high so plenty more in the mental tank to improve on a daily basis. Five goals might not be much, but I'll try wring the goals out of him.

KEY PLAYER #2 - Nikola Mitrovic - M/AM(R)


So many similarities to Lleshi at Renova, offers lightning quick speed with solid technique and crossing - a cliché morph of a lower league winger. Heavily underperforming with two 6.2s and a 6.1 in his most recent match. Little bit two-dimensional given his technicals and mental stats to gain something extra to his career but a key player to us no doubt.



Mid-table safety is definitely the minimum I'm expecting and lie safely above the relegation whirlpool, especially with decent budgets offered....but there's a catch.


Here inlies the problem, we're losing money quickly being 8% over our wage budget, even with an adjustment sales will need to be made or a mass releasing when June 30th hits.





I dare say we got lucky by virtue of Drita's inability to finish. Took a late first half piledriver from Ercegovac to make it a winning debut. In fact, we had the better chances on top of the goal as Dritan Jaupi brought a sterling stop by Jurgen Duro in net. Drita rattled the bar from a free kick but failed to scheme anything clear cut.



Not as lucky here for my home debut versus Liria. Note to self: never EVER allow a centre back to take a penalty, demonstrated by Julian Agolli's shocker from 12 yards as he hit it straight at the keeper. Ercegovac is definitely a staple in the team, not only delivering from open play but also dead balls with a well hit free kick to nudge us in front. Former Renova striker Dick now plays here, although not scoring he got involved in the build up to a late equaliser which Braha in goal really should have done better with at his near post. Small world, eh?



Four points from my opening two, a solid start. Ivan Ercegovac critical to keeping us in games in his new poacher role. Sadly the momentum dies down as the winter break comes into effect until the end of February. Sigh.



It hasn't lifted us out of the relegation playoff zone but it's a start. Hopeless to catch up with the top teams but to manoeuvre into the top six would be a good achievement, especially with the mess of our own doing. Bring on the next game!

How are you at kosova, the bottom of the ladder!? Aren't you supposed to be going up it not down it!
Well, the challenge is interesting, but the Kosovo championship is too little for you! I'm sure some team from some of the more prestigious championships would have called you; maybe you had to wait a little.
Anyway now we are here in Kosovo so we have to win and bring the team back to the top of the table, it will be difficult but feasible! Go Ferizaj!!
Fino alla fine
@Dan @bcsaulJ - Honestly, no other jobs were available and besides if I'm successful in Kosovo - it unlocks a new nation.




No ins, no outs, no drama, no friendlies...nothing to report.

Oh, except this.



Behold the man made out of soggy toilet paper. What on Earth is this guy doing to himself?





Needed to take the penalty route to advance forward against Drita. Two key opportunities we failed to take in the first half could've made the task easier, Ventura missing from close range while Besnik Lekaj broke free on the counter but dragged agonizingly wide. Drita nearly caught us off guard hitting the inside of the post from range but fizzled out beyond that point. Gentian Braha has had major criticism hanging over him, but three top saves in the shootout silenced it as our penalty game was far superior.


Mehmeti sidelined with no natural left backs in reserve.



Only typical we now stand face to face with the holders next.



Only the one game this month, you know how it ended.

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