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My second attempt to play Polish alter-ego journeyman, but not from "top-notch" Polish club, but possibly the lowest possible on original FM2017 database. Using only Instant Result match option.

Discussion
The Beginning:

I chose Znicz Pruszków ("candle (on grave)" because in 2016/17 they went into Polish First Division ("I Liga" and were the primary candidates to relegation back into Polish Second Division ("II Liga - four regional third tier). Pruszków is also close to Warsaw, where the character (my alter-ego) manager comes.

The backstory narrative of my manager was: young primising Polish Defender (Right) who had been playing in German 3. Bundesliga, but just after changing club to some minor 2. Bundesliga club, he got and injury. Severe injury, that lasts for 10 months. At this point, he decided to quickly switch career from player to coach/manager; thanks to quite good wages in 2./3. Bundesliga, he managed to get Continental Pro bage*.

* - okay, I just forgot to switch into recommended coach badge after choosing starting club...


25-year old (lets call him Michał, Michael from German language or whatever...) manager started his quite successfull beginnings on backyard of national Polish football... If you didn't know, Polish nationality in FM2017 grants you Fluent proficiency on both Engligh and German languages. It's a quite big advantage over many Polish managers, if you want a journeyman mode [and possibly making it at bit less realistic...]

Countries/League interests? Mainly:
- The most: Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Germany (even 2. Bundesliga), Switzerland, Netherland, England (including Sky Bet Championship)
- Simply preferred: Belgium, Romania, Croatia, Denmark
- Tolerated: Slovakia, France, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Serbia, Italy

As you see, no Southeastern and mostly Eastern European countries!
2016-2020 on Znicz Pruszków (Polish First Division/I Liga)

I wanted to play at least 2-3 years on that club, to practice how to climb step by step while having almost no funds (like 45k Euro/month wage bugdet, only increasing to 55-60k Euro later on...) and transfer bugdet close to zero (in last days of Michał's glory; it went into hilarious over 50k Euro amount...). In terms of reputation and position, it could be like managing Sky Bet League 2. Still, Znicz is an proffesional club, propably one of the poorest polish professional football clubs... Stadium wasn't good either: like ~1440 seats and basically every season, the board expands stadium by 500 seats each time.

The main goal was to climb into Polish Premier Division ("LOTTO Ekstraklasa" in three years, otherwise leave club later.

The results were:
- First season 2016/17: 7th Place, being the most positive surprise of I Liga .
- Second season 2017/18: 4th Place, basically failed attempt to get promotion (first two places gives promotion into LOTTO Ekstraklasa,). The last, 34th game decides either 2nd, 3rd or 4th place [lost].
- Third season 2018/19: 1st Place. This was a first season, when (first at spring) I started to receive interesting offers of job interview, many of it foreign (like mediocre-to-low 2nd and 3rd tier clubs). Earlier on, perspective of mamaging random second tier polish team was not an option at all - if I could manage promotion with Znicz Pruszków, why even change a club to those consistently beaten by me, over time? And no, I wasn't undefeated that season...
- Fourth season 2019/20: 9th Place at top polish league, barely losing fight for "champion group" (best 8 teams after 30 games, that fights for positios, the league points are cut in half and there goes 7 last most important games of the season) Being the rookie of LOTTO Ekstraklasa means the board expectations was just bravely fighting to avoid relegation. For me, it was rather "bravely fighting for grant any significant income without selling much of a squad". I propably succesfully requested improving training facility ONCE...

Since February 2020, I started to receive like 20-30 job interview offers per month! I refused to manage an Ireland national team just because (in-character) the offer went in February, not in May (and heay, salary like 120k Euro per month looked HUGE). But after April 2020, I felt that I can't manage more than 7th or 8th place in LOTTO Ekstraklasa in three-year perspective, In-character, Michał wants a change, new place for new ambition.

The third accepted and done job interview was successfull (the failed was SV Koeln [!!!] and Hradec Karlove [after climbing into first czechian league]) - FAC Team fur Wien comes as a freshly promoted Austrian club by someone else. It was just an opportunity to try myself in a slightly better league, for not slightly larger money...
2020-2022 - FAC Team fuer Wien (Austrian Premier League/Powered by *bla bla bla* Bundesliga)
Two years of needed, but not so pretty experience.

I quickly realized, that Floridsdorfer Athletiksport Club is the Austrian version of Znicz Pruszków itself: maybe more money (180k Euro month wages, but's relatively was it poor comparing both Wien rivals, Red Bull Salzburg or Sturm Graz...), but similar small stadium, similar funds problems, and of course Michał was the worst paid manager in Austrian Premier League. The board ambitions was the same - "Brave Fight for Trying to Aviod Relegation". But there were 10 teams, and only the worst scapegoat got relegated - hm... it looks like better conditions than LOTTO Ekstraklasa, where two teams of 16 are relegated...

And this was the first time, when Michał used wingerless tactics just because the strict wage bugdet and non-extistent transfer bugdet (100k Euros, wow!) was too small for buying at least four mediocre promising wingers (both for two sides of field). That's why I tried to 4-2-2-2 DM, then 4-4-2 Narrow Diamond tactics (at Spring '21 and later on).

But in nutshell:
- First Season 2020/21: 6th Place, and quarterfinals as OeFB-Samsung Cup. It looks like rookie's dream, to actually mean anything in very small elite group of clubs. Since that, I was almost "unmovable" from manager seat...
- Second Season 2021/22: 4th Place, managed to secure UEFA Europa League spot. Not just by position, but also for getting first real silverware (winning Polish First Division doesn't count!).
- Two nominations for Best Manager of Austrian Premier League (3rd, then 2nd place). That season also later gave me an "Polish Manager of the Year" award...

It looks cool enought to stay another season or even more, right? Earning very needed money on possibly achieveable group phase, right? That was Michał's plan. But things started to ruin quickly...

Firstly, the board decided to get 20 milions Euro loan for building a new stadium (~13,4k seats), named by their no-name legend Karl Jiszda; while FAC Team barerly was worth more than 4 milions Euro.

Secondly, suddenly the montly wage budget had been cut down from 259k Euro to 198k! Yes, by 60 thousands Euro! In other words, to fullfill new board demands I would have to sold even a half of my squad? And fighting for UEFA Europa League? Staying in Austrian Premier League and achieveing enything?

Already I was rich in job interview offers. SC Braga? Nah, they rejected. Hamburger SV? Too. But the third job intervew was successfull, again! FK Mlada Boleslav, the one of top Czech teams, were looking for manager after sacking previosly for getting only 5th place.

Michal's fate was positively sealed. Similar money per month, but in definitely no-poor club and finally with ambitions and capability for much more than just being lucky underdog. At 9th June 2022, Michał meets his best [for now] years of career...
2022-2027 - FK Mlada Boleslaw (Synot Liga/Czech First Division)

Joining Mlada Boleslav was a brilliant move. This was the club, where you can achieve something over and over again and grant some stabilization. Very good training facilities, good youth facilities, larger budget and FINALLY some milions Euro on transfer bugdet. And things get started better by season each...

My primary goal was to fight for 2nd place (at least 3rd, for UEFA Europa League spot)), and for domestic championship during second season. I planned to stary for 2-3 years, depending how much I can do.

Results gives more than I expected! First season - 1st place! And things get better and better. I made up a ton of silverwares:
- 5 x 1st place at Czech First Division [Mlada Boleslav never made domestic championship]
- 2 x Czech Cup
- Three another "Polish Manager of the Year"
- Once, Czech people granted me and "Best Manager of Czech First Division"
- Countless amount of "Manager of the Month" [it's quite silly that you just need win and win and win, and have at most one draw or loss in a month...]

Trivia #1: My character (Michał) learnt Czech langage in just 5 months! "Poor" proficiency (2 months), "Good" (2 month), then "Fluent"(1 month). I think that it's because of nationality (Pole), already being fluent in Polish, English and German, and maybe the game takes into account recent 2 year experience in Austria?
Trivia #2: Stadium of FK Mlada Boleslav had [has in real life] capacity of 4500 seats. After two seasons, the board increased it to ~6100, then 8151 seats.


Better description of a seasons:
- Season 2022/23: 1st Place achieved at last 30th week. Also, reaching Czech Cup to semifinals. Quite good, isn't. I had some difficulties despite only two league losses: a lot of draws.
- Season 2023/24: 1st Place, more stable than previosly (propably won at 29th or 28th week, I don't remember when exactly), ony one lost league game. Won Czech Cup. And also, first continental experience of Michał: reaching Play-off Round of Champions League, just to lose to Legia Warsawa in overtime (1-1, the 1-2 went in second game). At least, Europa League's Group Phase still grants a lot of money. And I almost reached "Round of 32". Almost, because after having 6 points after 4 games, I lost miserable last two. Next time, maybe?
- Season 2024/25: 1st Place, but dramatic! The crisis starts after losing (again) Play-off Round (Champions League) against Shaktar Donetsk; i lost three games and get some draws during Autumn and I ended Autumn phase (16 games) being at 5th place. I managed to only not lose (draw) one game in Europa League's Group Phase. Things started to boil up, expiration date of Michał's contract was June 2025... Then, It comes miracle! After signing some good players in Winter, the first five league games at Spring phase was victories. Not just won games - the games where I condeded no goals at all! After those five games, I climbed up to 1st place, the board proposes contract renewal. Across 30 league games, I lost 4 games (only one at Spring 2025), but I'm proud of myself that I was able to fight off Autumn crisis... PS: I won Czech Cup too.
- Season 2025/26: 1st Place, quite dominant performance, only one lost league game. But it's not important. Mlada Boleslav achieved their first appearance in UEFA Champions League group phase, after beating FK Partizan Belgrad. The group was Arsenal [Pep Guardiola], Barcelona and FC Kobenhavn. Quite hard, and results were hard too: one won game (Home, vs FC Kobenhavn) and five losses. Still, being able to earn 1,5 milion Euro. In addition, I lost Czech Cup in final, against local rival Jablonec.
- Season 2026/27: 1st Place, first ever undefeated season! Mlada Boleslav beated Young Boys and joined again the group phase of Champions League. There was out of luck again: Real Madrid, Paris Saint-German [Pep Guardiola again) and Porto. I propably reached ouf of luck after first game (crushing 4-1 Porto at home!), because still I lost four game, and achieved in meantime one draw (0-0, home, against Real Madrid). Still, 4 points are better than 3 points, previosly, isn't? And yearh, I lost Czech Cup again, in final stage, against Dukla Praga.

And you could say "Why you don't stay in Mlada Boleslav and become a living legend"? There was a reasons to stay: sort it out squad, reserves and U-19 teams under my wis and three carefully crafted tactics, granting "Rich" status to the club (having 40+ milions Euro available; not mentioning 1,6 mln Euro/month wage bugdet - never used more than 550k/month, and 9-17 milions Euro transfer bugdets). Invested twice on training facilities, once on youth facilities. I got opportunity to turn Mlada Boleslav into "young team local powerhouse" (average age was about 22), but it requires to boringly winning league over and over again and accepting that propably I would never each :Round of 16: of Champions League. It's quite hard to bring some good 20-23 years old players who has already 3,5 starts (and 4-5 star potential) to Czech club; their demands still are beyond limit set by board (90-110k Euro/month, compared to 78k limit for "Key Player".

Things just get boring. Michał wanted to achieve something different, improve a bit as manager.

That's why he joined to job interview offered by HSC Montpellier. Recently, that French club sacked their manager for achieveing 9. place, so failing to get UEFA Europa League spot. That looked like great opportunity: play in 4th European League ever, fight for 3rd-5th place at first, managing a lot more bugdet (over 4 milions Euro/month bugdet, and so on...

Ambitions takes over stabilitiy. Michał joined Montpellier exactly 1825 days after joining Mlada Boleslaw, for a wage of 28 thousands Euros per month...
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