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Short little save trying to win Watford some European Trophies and some Domestic ones too!

Watford - European Journey


I was looking for a nice save to do that, wouldn't take me season upon season of back to back promotions to finish, with November coming soon bringing a new Football Manager with it, however I didn't feel like doing my usually end of game Liverpool Career, who are the team I support. So, I decided to have a look at the Premier League teams and see who caught my attention, I was close to doing something with Stoke or West Brom, but I just couldn't get into it. I considered doing Swansea yet had the same issue. Then I thought about Leicester, but I really wanted a save where I would win them there first Premier League, so I looked through the Trophy's and noticed Watford haven't won it yet, coming close however in the 1982-83 season with a second place finish. So I started my journey with them, and I immediately decided I wanted to add a philosophy, where we would develop our own players. Its worth noting that, as I type this I have already completed the first season, and wanted to be sure I was enjoying it before posting it here. So Gino Pozzo agreed to it, then also agreed to match the philosophy and upgrade our Youth Facilities, Recruitment and Training Ground!


I looked at the squad and decided we have an overflow of Centrebacks and not enough home grown players, as such I set out to sell some of our non homegrown Centrebacks, without much luck. In the end just loaning them out till the end of the season to sell them the following transfer window. I also noticed that we had a lack of quality full backs, on both sides, so bought in Joel Ward (£12.25M {£13.25M}) and Charlie Daniels (£9.5M {£10.5M}) to help with that issue. I also bought in a little bit of depth for the left side, bringing in Àlex Moreno from Rayo Vallecano SAD for £3.1M. By this point the finances were a little on the low side so I decided to leave it there and just keep an eye out on the loan market, so we set off on our Premier league campaign, with the board told we will get a top half finish.


I decided to play a 4-2-3-1 Formation, changing it to be more defensive when needed with Defensive Midfielders or using the contain mentality to play for the draw. During this time I was keeping an eye on the worlds youth intakes, and noticed that Africa has had there regen days, so went and looked at the youth teams of the African nations, I came across this 16 year old Egyptian goalkeeper, by the name of Ahmed Khalifa, scouted him and it looked promising, continued scouting and I knew this was the guy I wanted to guard the Watford net for years to come.. So I put in a £50K bid, and to my surprise his club, Zamalek, negotiated with me, they locked in 50% of next sale, however I intend to use this guy for a long time, so I wasn't too worried, added £205K over 48 months and £1M after 50 league appearances. I tried to negotiate but they were pretty stubborn so I accepted there demands given the potential I think this guy has. Contract agreed and I think great, new 16 year old keeper from next year! I didn't notice something however.. The date at which Zamalek will let him join me, which is 1/1/19.. So I have just over 2 years till I get him in, but here he is -


So with him coming in soon we continued our Premier League journey, being disappointingly knocked out the EFL cup early by Peterborough and then in early January the FA Cup by West Brom. This just allowed us to focus on the league however. After 19 games we sat in 7th, I was delighted, however, this was not the end of the journey for the Watford boys, and we kept fighting for every point in the remaining 19 games. We needed some depth to our Midfield too in January, bringing in Marko Grujic on a two year loan deal from Liverpool, a nice little loan deal for both parties. We beat teams like Liverpool (H) and Everton (A), even drawing to Manchester City (H)! Eventually.. it all came down to the last day of the season.. We sat in 7th, level on points with 6th place Liverpool and 5th place Chelsea, knowing that both of those places would be Europa League, with both Manchester Clubs finalists in the FA Cup, but already qualified for the Champions League..

Regen day came and.. oh my.. did we have a nice regen day, with two young centre backs coming in one called Mark Hall, who my Head of Youth Development rates more than Stephen Stanley, the one who I personally rate higher and think will be the better centre back, despite his height being 5'11". I will upload them below this paragraph so you can see them for yourselves.



We had Swansea a game I thought we would win easily, and we did, 2-0 with vital goal from Amrabat and Success in his breakout season. We had done all we could, it was down to Liverpool and Chelsea now. Chelsea has started strong and faced Leicester, a team I thought they would beat comfortably, however, they lost 3-1, all thanks to Jamie Vardy having a party (and a hat-trick).. So we were up to 6th and into the Europa League! Then came Liverpool's time, facing League leaders Arsenal, and Watfords day just got better, as they lost too! Putting us in 5th place for the 16/17 season!


I was delighted, despite our poor Cup form we managed to get into the Europa League, a feat I thought impossible for the first season. The board set out budget for the year at roughly £33M Transfer Budget with an extra £130k Per Week wage budget. I knew straight away what I needed to do...

That is where the budget went, I shall show below some of the Regens in this list, a few looked better than they have turned out but still.. The one disappointment with the transfer window was not being able to persuade M'baye Niang to sign for us permanently, AC Milan had to accepted £14M as part of the loan, however Niang wanted to play Champions League for them instead, so we bought in Matt Richie. We also got an agent offer us Edoardo Goldaniga from Palermo and fought off Chelsea, West Brom and stoke for his signature. At 23 he already looks a solid choice for CB providing us with a little bit of depth for the Europa League, while also being a little of a barrier in between our two Regen starlets who are coming through the academy, filling the role until they can step into the first team -


I also revamped the midfield, selling Ben Watson and Abdoulaye Doucouré and bringing in Felipe Gutiérrez and Sergio Álvarez, we also let Pantilimon go, bringing in Benoît Costil on a free. With Everton relegated we acted like vultures, looking into there players, Barkley was tempting but wanted too much in wage, Lukaku was extortionately expensive, so we just settled for Leighton Baines, a quality player who has some European and International experience, something we needed at Watford greatly.


While looking through the Youth teams of national Teams, I found this guy at Wales U19, Richard Thomas, and we bought him in too! He wasnt too sure, so he will be playing some cup games as a persuasion, but I like the look of him as a future winger for us, see what you think of him -


So thats the majority of the transfers talked about, the outs were mainly moving unwanted players on, and loaning out the youngsters. I did go after Grujic on a permanent deal, however Liverpool wanted £50m + 50% next sale. So we have him on loan but he can be recalled, which I expect them to do at some point. We also now have Adalberto Peñaranda back from his rather successful loan spell at Malaga, Where in 33 mainly substitute appearances he scored 11 getting 1 assist too. I LOVE the look of this guy, and think he will be our striker for some time to come, eventually taking over from Troy Deeney as our first choice. I shall also put him below so you can check out the Complete forward for yourselves -


Pre-Season went well, winning all of our friendlys, and as I type this we are 4 days from our Season opener VS Swansea at the Liberty Stadium. Gino Pozzo has also said we will be expanding Vicarage Road, from 21,250 to around 24,000. We formed a new affiliate with Hibernian, where we are the Senior affiliate, giving us somewhere to loan players and a first choice to buy clause on there players.


So.. The season begins.. Lets see if we can get another Europa league finish, as that is what we have told the board, as well as getting a little way into the cups!

We beat Swansea 3-1 in the opening day, and all of a sudden a lot of interest was being generated for 17 year old Portuguese target man João Basto, who had interest from Arsenal, Man Utd and Bayern.. However.. WE MANAGED TO SNAP HIM UP..


I have had to promise him cup games, but at 2 star current already I dont mind that at all, his speed needs some work but otherwise I am very excited about the potential of this guy! We got him from Setubal for £170K however, there is a 40% next sale clause, if he plays 50 times, we give them £5M, and over 48 months we are paying them an extra £75K.. I know its alot for some potential, but I really like this guy, and just from the interest in other clubs I had to snap him up!
Really enjoyed reading this so far mate! Excellent to see how well you progressed in the first season and you've made some very good signings. The youngsters you've brought in also look very promising. Grujic was an excellent player for me when I had him on loan for a season at Southampton!
Really enjoyed reading this so far mate! Excellent to see how well you progressed in the first season and you've made some very good signings. The youngsters you've brought in also look very promising. Grujic was an excellent player for me when I had him on loan for a season at Southampton!

Thanks @Manno, really enjoying it so far and so hyped by the regens so far too!

So the Europa league group stage draw is upon us.. We are in pot 3, almost pot 4. I drew the first two pots entirely first and had a look at the groups we could go into and none seemed particularly nice for a side like Watford, however Group A, B or G were on my Radar, all with 1 tough team, but also a team I thought on our day we could beat. My hopes of Group A were dashed when Qarabag were placed into that group, followed by Mainz into Group B. We were getting closer to Group G, a group I was keen on, however, out came the name, Watford. We were in Group F, currently joined by Fiorentina and Trabzonspor, in retrospect, it could have been worse. Now it was time to see who would be finishing off our Group. I couldn't believe my eyes, we drew Setubal. The very team we bought João Basto from, the latest product in our academy, would he be facing his old club? Only time will tell with Deeney on a dry streak and Peñaranda getting tired..

Thanks @Manno, really enjoying it so far and so hyped by the regens so far too!

Europa League group draw coming up shortly, will edit this post once its been drawn!

Good luck with the draw mate
Good luck with the draw mate

Thank you! The draw could've easily been worse, with Napoli, Servilla, Lazio and Gladbach just some of the teams in this years Europa League. So this group looking at it is a challenge but on our day we could make some magic..

Thank you! The draw could've easily been worse, with Napoli, Servilla, Lazio and Gladbach just some of the teams in this years Europa League. So this group looking at it is a challenge but on our day we could make some magic..


That's a very good draw for you. Obviously it's going to be tough, but you've avoided some real giants in there! Looking forward to the next update

So we have had a disappointing start to our season, our defence is slightly falling apart which is now lead to me dropping new signing Goldaniga for Prodl, who was one of the rocks in our defence last year, when we came 5th in the Premier League. I also took a look at our squad depth for the attack, and noticed we were lacking something, and you may notice a new signing..


What I had noticed is the right side of my attack had very little depth, with Pereyra needed in the AMC position, just Matt Ritchie was truly comfortable playing at AMR with the Inside Forward role, something this formations works well with. With only £500K left in my budget I looked at what assets we had at Watford, to see if there was any way to raise a little bit of cash to bring in some depth, there I noticed 25 year old Dutchman, Steven Berghuis, and I reckoned I could get maybe £2.5M for him, so looked to see if there were any semi good back up options available, bearing in mind Berghuis could play AMR himself. I was browsing the transfer list and found Alessio Cerci, Athletico Madrid had transfer listed the 30 year old Italian for around £1M, however with a little negotiation we got them to £950K, with a potential to hit £1.2M in clauses he quite honestly wont trigger as my back up player. So in he came, Watford new number 30 Cerci!


I don't expect him to get many goals or assists really, just a squad player to take a load off of Ritchie once in a while, and just provide a little more depth up in attack, with him also a capeable player at striker, and all three positions in attacking midfield.



The transfer window has ended, we didn't have anyone come in and the outs consisted of loans only as well as the free transfer of Juan Carlos Paredes to Elche, a Wing back with a poor attitude I was just glad to get that £15K per week of the wage bill. With the end of the transfer window of course comes the Europa League group stage registration. Here is our squad for the Europa league -


The goalkeepers are of course self explanatory, with both Gomes and Costil fighting for the number 1 shirt both will be needed for what will be a tough season ahead. Jamie Lacy is there as he is trained at Watford, and helps fill that criteria. In defence there once again isn't and surprises, with a nice depth of players there, Ben Jones and Marian Huja are there to also help fill the trained at Watford criteria. There is some surprise exclusions in midfield however, with Sven Kums missing out due to registration rules and Valon Behrami missing out through injury (3-4 Months, Damaged Achilles Tendon). This is perhaps the weakest area for Watford this season, with a lack of a top quality midfielder. Sven misses out due to me wanting to include Adalberto Peñaranda in the Forwards. Included in the forwards is Isaac Success looking to capitalise on his successful first year at Watford by bagging some Europa League appearances. Jubril Adedeji is the final player of our Watford trained contingent, here purely because of registration rules, and unlikely to play any significant part in our Europa League journey this season. Other exclusions include Àlex Moreno and João Basto, with both missing out on registration rules. Moreno will be a miss for us, a useful squad player however with Success and Amrabat capable players at the AML position, he was a sacrifice we had to make. I would have liked to include Basto in this years Europa League squad, however I feel at only 2 star current ability he would be better suited as our EFL and FA cup striker, as well as being a good substitute for the league.

In other news..

- Promising Egyptian goalkeeper Ahmed Khalifa has broken into the Zamalek first team, so far playing 29 games, conceding 46 and keeping 3 clean sheets. I still think hes got great potential and cannot wait for him to finally join up with the squad in the 2019 January transfer window


- 29 year old Etienne Capoue is expected back in training in 3 weeks time, after being out for some time with a double hernia, a relief for our midfield, who need the veteran man back to help control our midfield.
- Serbian midfielder Marko Grujic remains a Watford player for the time being, with Liverpool choosing not to recall him. However I expect them to recall him depending on how he performs in the first half of the season.
- There have also been changes to the back room staff of Watford, with both the Chief Scout and Head of Youth Development having their contracts terminated by mutual consent. They have both been replaced with Francesco Garrubba being appointed to the position of Head of Youth Development, having previously been a Scout for Italian Serie B outfit F.C. Crotone and Ian Atkins, Aston Villas former Chief Scout now stepping into the same role at Watford. Both have great ability's for their roles, with Garrubba particularly pleasing, being on the same wave length as the rest of the team at Watford looking to bring players through for the 4-2-3-1 formation, instead of 5-3-2.
- Gino Pozzo, Watford owner has also increased the wage budget for Scouts, Coaches and Physios, allowing a new class of staff to be bought in over time.
Unlucky with the start you've had in the league. I'm sure it's just a case of gelling together ahead of the new season. Cerci looks to be a good signing!
I finally got a chance to sit down and play so here we go.. The Europa League group stage is over and im here to update you on how we are performing. The date is 11th December 2017 currently in game.

Europa League


So, we only went and did it! Top of the group! Not only that, but Setubal came second! So the two teams I personally thought would be the groups 1st and 2nd, came 3rd and 4th. We had a nice time so far, nice and consistent and ive done the 1st round knockout draw. We face Frieburg, a nice draw and a team I think we can beat on our day!


Premier League


So after a rough start we found our feet, we started playing defensively, looking for draws and gaining points, and overall I am happy with were we are, we did well enough to attract a job offer too, which I will post below, and 7th is good enough for me, we can still push into Europa League from here, which is great news.


The Cups


If im honest, I have very little to say here, the FA cup has been drawn but no games and we are out the EFL cup in a bad way.. so Ill keep it short with the screenshot.

Other News

Our young striker is injured for 4-5 months.. Crushing.. I really hope it doesn't too badly affect his development. Other than that its been pretty normal, no big news to share!


brilliant story, please continue
2017-18 Season, January Update

The game date as I write this is the 2nd February 2018, I wanted to get the January transfer window done before this update, and we have both ins and outs to talk about, the clubs facilities and the clubs chances in the FA Cup. As well as the usual League performance update. There isn't a Europa League update, the 1st leg vs Freiburg takes place 15th February 2018, after both legs are played I will post an update on the Europa League, and if we make it through, the next opponents!

Premier League

Lets start with some news about the Premier League, and its good news! We have moved up one place since the last update to 6th place, Goldaniga has found his feet and has become a real rock at the back, with Peñaranda finding his shooting boots and starting to get goals, he had gone 15 games without a goal, but fortunately that is at an end, when he scored in a 2-2 home draw to Southampton. I'll leave the league table below for you all to have a look at.


FA Cup

Oh dear oh dear.. Cups just aren't our thing apparently as we blew a 2-0 lead vs Millwall to lose 3-2.. Gutting, however, Mark Hall and Stephen Stanley played the full 90 minutes and were absolutely solid until l the final 15 minutes, I look forward to them one day leading our Watford defence!


The planned work on both our Training and Youth facilities has been completed. With the expanded stadium expected to be completed 22nd June 2019, so still a long way off! We now have State of the art training facilities and Excellent youth facilities, which can only help us to nurture the young talent coming in.


Winter Transfer Window


I wouldn't say there are too many surprises in the outs, and for the ins, there is no one spectacular so I shall just explain my reasoning for them, rather than post lots of screenshots! We shall start with the outs, Sven Kums wasn't playing for us, not even a bench player, and was not good enough, so when West Brom made a £2.5M offer, I negotiated with them, and it was a nice £3.8M coming in to the club, and most welcome. Leighton Baines was quite honestly a poor purchase, hes not performed, not been able to even rival Charlie Daniels for a place in our team, and as such, I let him go for £250K, and honestly, I am amazed we got that for him. The three major loans of Behrami, Moreno and Zárate are simply because the weren't playing, and I had no intention to play them either. They are on a lot of wage for what they actually bought to the team, and as such, I am glad they are on loan deals away.

Now for the ins, lets start with probably the most surprising, Wayne Rooney. His agent actually came to us saying we should buy him, but his wages are extortionate so I decided to change tact, and sought the loan deal, and to my surprise, we got it done, a nice, solid Advanced Playmaker for our team, lots of experience which will come in hands, just a really useful squad player and I'm chuffed he's joined the Hornets, nice solid loan deal to start things off. Next up is Mathieu Valbuena signed for pretty much the same reason as Wayne, some decent experience, and Pereyra was getting very tired as our only Playmaker. He has great determination too, so I'm looking as potential youngsters for him to tutor. Lucas Leiva, is someone I love, as a Liverpool fan in real life I always feel he was undervalued for his contributions to the team, a solid leader and defensive midfielder, and someone who when we need to park the bus and be aggressive, will help us do just that. Now my personal favourite signing is the free signing of Nicolás Tagliafico, a better left back than Daniels, certainly better than Baines, and the fact we beat Liverpool, Racing Club and a couple of Chinese sides to his signature has me delighted, hes played a few games and impressed, and at 25, I hope he can get a little better and be with us for a little while! The other name of Hassan Hajji is a regen who my scouts said is amazing, and when we've got him they are like why did you sign him? So.. yeah.. not really sure what we will do with him yet, he could turn out great so maybe a loan spell in the summer is in order!

That's the update on Watford for now, I will update you again soon when I have time to play the Europa League tie and if we get through, draw the next round!
Europe League - 1st Knockout Round Results

The first knockout round gave us a nice draw in Freiburg, someone I thought we would have a solid chance in beating. First we went to Frieburgs Stadion an der Schwarzwaldstraße to face them in what would be a surely tough fixture, so I set us up with a 4-2-3-1 DM Wide Asymmetrical, with a Defensive mentality and Structured team shape. With Valbuena and Lucas Leiva cup tied we had a pretty obvious starting eleven. The game did not get off to a good start when Freiburg scored in the 9th minute, Mike Frantz scoring for them. With us playing defensive I was trying to limit goals until the 62nd, when Mark Uth was sent off for Freiburg, so I turned up the tempo and went to control, with a flexible mentality, and we got our reward when Capoue scored a fantastic long range effort in the 64th minute to make it 1-1, I thought we were done, game over at 1-1 and it would be all down to the second leg, oh boy, was I wrong.. Only 4 minutes later, the 68th, had Mike Frantz then been sent off for them, sending them down to 9 men. I once again upped the tempo to attacking, we were dominating, and in the 69th minute, a pinball moment in the box and a ricochet of Christian Gunter, it was in the back of the net and was 2-1 Watford. At this point I put us on defensive again, to preserve a lead, something Watford have done well this season. However, Capoue was then sent off in the 76th minute for a reckless challenge, so I set us on contain. Where we managed to see out the remainder of the game. So 2-1 Watford after the away leg and I was confident we would be able to progress with our home form being pretty good. The second leg was no where near as exciting, with us counter attacking the best we could, and Sergio Alvarez scoring in the 17th minute to make it 3-1 on aggregate, unfortunately, the 27th minute saw Goldaniga have a poor slip in his recent form, with a straight red. So I put us to contain to see out our lead, where it became a relatively boring game, then, from out of nowhere, Pereyra scored a wonderful goal to make it 4-1, and we were surely through to the next round... and... well....


WE DID IT! Through to the Second Knockout Round! I have also done the draw for this round, with a lot of tough teams through to this stage Lazio, Ajax and Lyon to name but a few.. I think we kinda lucked out, as on 8th March 2018 we play R.C. Celta SAD. I will update once both of those legs are played.


Youth Intake

Just a quick update to say that we have had our youth intake, and we have only one name worth mentioning this time, Solomon Lamptey, AML mainly a winger but could be retrained to be a Inside forward.


Thats all there is to say for now!
Well done on beating Freiburg, @BIG Chromer! Hopefully you can repeat it against Celta, even if it will be tough.
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