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DNZY Comments
@bigmattb28 - Glad to still have you on board! I know, I've already experienced two in this save.







This was truly a must win or else we'd have a bigger hole to dig ourselves out of. Luckily Sioni's lethargic attitude paved way for a key victory and surely see them face the drop. Guy Ngah hooked a lovely cross in for Piskunov to head in the opener, then Piskunov returned the favour on the counter to put Ngah through for the Cameroonian to blast home a second before the break. Sioni did trouble us late on in receiving a soft penalty from the referee, however Chepelyuk's kick was read well by Kupreishvili to keep it out. One step closer to safety.


Sadly our useful playmaker Ponomar was caught in the crossfire meaning Zirka recalled him.



An entertaining scrap which we got the better of. Torpedo ballooned two key efforts in the first five minutes and were duly punished with an unmarked Guy Ngah half volleying and defender Dmytro Reznyk taking advantage of sloppy marking from a corner. Although we were caught on the break for Lavrentjev to pull it back to 2-1, we always had control and exuded confidence on the ball. Second half it was only a matter of time before wrapping it up, Kupreishvili assisting a long pass to Nadiradze who blasted home at their near post. Nearly there lads.



Aaaand breathe. Quite an impressive victory too given that Zugdidi have always been a bogey side of mine, however their shaky recent form gave way for the underdog. Zugdidi's keeper will not want to rewatch the highlights reel, at fault for both first half goals; Yegor Piskunov rounded him with ease and Sergey Trufanov beat him to an aerial call to head into an open net. Kept the visitors in the pocket throughout and guarantee survival...not that we should have been in this precarious position to begin with.




Can I finally place my greasy mitts around some Georgian silverware?


You bet your ass I can! For a final that consisted of two sides playing 4-3-3 this was painfully uninspiring and underwhelming, but at least we were the side to place one in the onion bag. Man, myth, legend Yegor Piskunov latched onto a neatly crafted ball by Nazarov to produce the only highlight of the game. Matters not, the cup belongs to me!



A superb ending to a rocky season and perhaps a fresh start going into the next. November began with an acceptable 2-2 draw away to Chikhura, I say acceptable as the goals we conceded were awfully soft and would have battered them in the dressing room if we had surrendered the points altogether.
The curtain closer wasn't much to write home about, deadest of rubber facing Dila in a no pressure stalemate, rotating the lineup for a few of our benchwarmers.



Let's not sugarcoat it, seventh place is far beneath my estimations of the club and should not be encouraged. Couple of extra games we could have snuck into the top four but we'll happily take the cup slot into the Europa League next season. Tskhinvali have come a long way since my last stint in Georgia from being a relegation yo-yo side to league champions. Also warms my heart that Martvili stayed up this season while Sioni and Samtredia faced the drop. Much work ahead for us.


Future is bright at least for Dinamo Tbilisi as they secured the U19 league.

I'm more than happy to test. Been using the site since '08.

Welcome back bud! @Shedender

Solid first season.

@r96Skinner - Glad to still have you on board!







A massive leap to safety, grabbing the game by the hips from the get go. One of the quickest goals on my FM adventures, 17 seconds is all it took for Khvadagiani to half volley home and put Sioni under severe pressure. Despite missing two sitters, it was only a matter of time before the second; Oleg Bermudes fouled Zaalishvili in the area, sent off, Khvadagiani did the rest. Much needed relief.



This is like crabs in a bucket; as we try to escape Samtredia drag us right back in. Truly hopeless here, only one side came to play and a cheap header from a free kick was only a taster. Abesadze doubled his tally sneaking goalside onto a through ball, then went on to concede two penalties - Kupreishvili saving the first to his credit but guessed wrong for the second kick by Asatiani. Dobryanskyi probably did the right thing getting sent off before the final whistle to skip the bath and just drive home before I let fly with the hairdryer treatment afterwards. Embarrassment.



Easily our best performance yet, another cheeky nibble at Batumi. Excellent discipline on the counter attacks, all three of our strikers netting in the first half including a maiden strike from story favourite Yegor Piskunov to end a rotten goal drought, Ngah and Khvadagiani also getting onto the picture. Took the foot off the gas a little bit on the flipside to allow Batumi a soft goal but still had a firm grip of things. If that weren't bad enough for Batumi, they conceded an absolute fluke from Khvada through a cross-cum-shot (stop giggling) that landed in off the post to leave their keeper pretty red faced. Momentum firmly with us.




One step closer to a long overdue piece of silverware. Had faith of going with a second string again, but with one or two more seniors to boost our chances but we felt a lot safer during proceedings. Guy Ngah used his power to drive home the opening goal midway through the half, almost getting caught up in excitement as Betlemi went straight down the other end and almost caused us putting a spectacular own goal in - backup GK Maximenko spared blushes with a double stop. Ngah and Chkhaidze combined in a slick move to put the result beyond doubt.



Of course it is. The "when idols become rivals" cliché. Rest assured it won't be sentiment over the prize.



A semi final consumed by nerves. Martvili will rue a miss by their new loan striker Denis Stepanov who caught on to a whipped cross and missed from less than six yards straight at Kupreishvili, which could have sealed the game. Equally Khvadagiani broke away in a 3 on 2 situ, but denied by experienced Goguadze who of course we signed before my departure. With two rolls of the dice, I brought on Roman Nazarov to clinch it for us and did exactly what it says on the tin as he hammered in Zaashvili's cross top bins and send us to a cup final.



Torpedo Kutaisi are the last hurdle to leap over. Having a wishy washy midtable year but will no doubt be a tough opponent. Let the battle commence.



September began with fortunate point at home to Chikhura who more or less helped us in conceding a penalty and a red card in a match they largely controlled. Two scoreless draws followed the Sioni win; speaking of Torpedo Kutaisi, we should have buried them six feet under but Khvadagiani had a shocker up top, in contrast we were non existent away to Dila but in truth neither side deserved to win it.
The transition into October was pretty horrendous, three defeats on the bounce to Samtredia, Tskhinvali and Zugdidi respectively and stretching our winless streak to five games. I do have a feeling the cup semi sparked life back into us to overpower Batumi, but didn't quite catch on in a second meeting with Martvili who gained a bit of revenge in holding us all square with Nazarov cancelling out Stepanov's late first half strike.



Man, these final five games are so crucial. Sat back in the relegation zone with the luxury of a game in hand over Samtredia, Martvili not entirely safe either. Our final five are as follows: Chikhura (A), Sioni (H), Torpedo Kutaisi (A), Zugdidi (H) & closing curtains with Dila (H). All tied in with a cup final too, how we prioritise each is so vital. As much as I crave silverware, staying in the division is surely of greater value. I love the stress of being a manager.

@bcsaulJ - Thank you my man, they do take a while write up especially since I'm limited on time these days. Glad you're still enjoying it!






Without upsetting the dynamic of the squad too much, only opted to bring in a new centre back and a familiar goal machine on loan.


Yegor Piskunov - ST(C) - end of season loan from Saturn

Reunited and it feels so good. No introduction necessary, absolute goal fiend at Martvili and aiming to offer more in the top flight. Hasn't progressed dramatically attribute wise but being a traditional poacher, all he needs to know is where the goal is. A welcome entrant.


Sergey Trufanov - D(C) - £15k from Rustavi

Scouted him for a while with Martvili after impressive displays for Rustavi, the only drawback were his wage demands being too high for us - not anymore. Defensive rock with his strength and can lock into challenges well while winning the ball. Strong determination means he'll no doubt improve at his young age of 23 and have faith in him to airlock the backline of silly goalworthy mistakes. Not the only reason I bought him.


Because we'll be missing another CB for a while.





Off to a promising start. Dila's first half dominance failed to pay off with two key misses and a point blank header cannoning off the bar. Coordinated ourselves in the second half to upset the balance of play; Sergey Volkov finished like a true striker into the roof of the net, while a blistering counter attack thanks to an unbelievable run from Guy Ngah was squared to Zirka loanee Ponomar to tap in the second. Just gotta ride your luck sometimes to get results.



Back to the old watering hole and hosing these shower in their own back garden. Simple cut back to Dobryanskyi in a move started by Yegor Piskunov had us well on our way until a clumsy penalty broke down all our good work. Result was never in doubt though, Volkov came back from injury to ping a beautiful header off the back of Ngah's free kick to restore the advantage and the Nigerians work rate did not go unrecognised as he combined with Piskunov to stroll into an empty net. Game recognise game.



Bittersweet draw against that chucked me to the curb. Poorly exposed down the left blank where we conceded twice from crosses into a fiery Denis Stepanov who was a peculiar nuisance all game - scoring twice and let us off the hook with a potential hat-trick. Dobryanskyi equalised the first time with a superb free kick on the edge of the D but still trailed going into the dressing room. Took us little time to draw level again, lovely threaded balls down the central route, Piskunov laying it on a platter for Khvadgiani to tuck in. So very nearly lost it towards the end, leaving Mikeladze with a free header but luckily straight at Kupreishvili. Fortunate result in my eyes.




An hour drive south to second tier Algeti, has the stench of an upset.



Not far off was I? Our second string struggled and if it weren't for the chemistry of our two senior players Ponomar & Khvadagiani, this would have swung the other way. An early lead may have given us a false sense of security as Algeti fired back immediately through Volkov and their confidence soon flowed as Kulikov drilled in a low header to completely dumbfound us. Looked a lot sharper second half, Khvadagiani and Ponomar wove stunning passes to each other and turned it around. A game to question squad depth, ability and who's truly fit to wear the kit.



Another away day, another second tier throwaway. Slightly more confident about this one.




Pitted against Icelandic nobodies Knattspyrnufélag Fjallabyggðar, I pray for the commentators ripping their tongues out to pronounce this club name.



Hardly a contest with the opposition fielding greyed out farmers. Guy Ngah practically finished the tie in half an hour, an own goal the non leaguers would frown upon and a quick second half strike from Dobryanskyi was enough of a performance in leg one, obviously letting the home team have a little pride to score one. Chopped and changed in leg two, same level of dominance. Guy Ngah helped himself to another, set up a worldie for Tedo Chkhaidze who himself assisted to Davit Nadiradze. Job done, next.



Sticking to the cold climates, much tougher opposition in Strømsgodset.



YA BEAUTY! Praise be Khvadagiani and his shithousery to upset the odds and progress. Strømsgodset should have blown us away in the first leg if not for some key Kupreishvili saves and their horrendous end product, however Andreas Ødegaard (no relation to Martin) snuck in the only goal in Norway - although did seem to impede the keeper in doing so. Rallied in a few chances to snatch an away goal, forcing their keeper into some good saves. Flying back home the Norwegians the stage was set to pull it back from a late penalty no less, Khvadagiani held his nerve to balance the tie. From there Strømsgodset melted like the proverbial glacial fjord and a long hoofed ball upfield was the perfect recipe for Khvadagiani to beat the keeper to the ball and flick a header into the empty net. You love to see it.



Home to waffles and Marouane Fellaini, Standard Liège come next.



Sadly a step too far above our weight class. Was almost set up in a carbon copy way to the Strømsgodset game away in Belgium, failed to clear a free kick and the second cross evaded everyone but Kauffmann at the back post unmarked to grab the win in leg one, also hitting the post twice while we could barely craft anything in the opposition half. Back in Tbilisi, it didn't have the same outcome as the previous round - in fact the exact opposite. While we created more, we were too open and far more liable to mistakes, one of which being conceding a penalty for Bouchez to kill the game. Khvadagiani desperately unlucky to hit the bar twice in quick succession and Liège profited on the counter, twice stung by young Belgian prospect Nolan Girardet. A cataclysmic end to our European adventure.



In among the Europa League and friendlies we've made a promising start to life in Tbilisi. Opening with that win over Dila before being bored to death in a scrap with Samtredia.
The Standard Liège defeat seeped into our league form with a horrendous defeat to Tskhinvali who were 3-0 up before 25 minutes, left it to damage limitation. Then followed up with the Batumi win, the cup win and the Martvili draw.
Team gelling into each other nicely, creatively potent especially from midfield and Khvadagiani's goalscoring threat has been a joy to watch.



Okay, we're still in the pig heap but eight points from my first five league games isn't too bad, bridging the gap to safety and ambitiously beyond. The game in hand will be crucial to attempt to leapfrog our way out of danger, only then will be consider the bigger picture.


Factually incorrect I guess if you take the Soviet aspect out, but congrats to Irakli for breaking the all time record goalscorer title with his 90th and no doubt plenty more to come.

@bcsaulJ - I mean, there's absolutely no comparison there!

@Eric Portapotty - You did indeed, but can you call the outcome of this stint?




Following the unplanned excommunication from Martvili, my career remains in the historic plains of Georgia and with a club who need no introduction. FC Dinamo Tbilisi (αƒ“αƒ˜αƒœαƒαƒ›αƒ αƒ—αƒ‘αƒ˜αƒšαƒ˜αƒ‘αƒ˜) are the most decorated clubs in the country accumulating over fourty trophies in their 95 year history and also a former European Cup Winners' Cup winner. The club were a constant within the Soviet Top Leagues, not suffering a single relegation during their participation in 1927, a feat only shared with Dinamo Moscow & Dynamo Kiev. After the dissolution of USSR, the club cut ties with the Soviet Leagues in 1989 to participate in the newly formed Georgian “Umaglesi Liga”, briefly omitting the word Dinamo from their club name to replace it with Iberia, distancing themselves from their Soviet past – a decision U-turned just two years later. The club are simply nicknamed the Blue-Whites (αƒšαƒ£αƒ αƒ―-αƒ—αƒ”αƒ—αƒ αƒ”αƒ‘αƒ˜) based off their royal blue and white stripped kits and a crest resembling a double-headed eagle.


If the club name wasn’t a dead giveaway already, they are situated in the capital and largest city of Georgia, Tbilisi (αƒ—αƒ‘αƒ˜αƒšαƒ˜αƒ‘αƒ˜) also referred to as 'Tiflis' during the days of the Russian Empire. A major metropolis of just under 1.5 million people, it is the centrefold area between the Northern and Southern Caucasus region and was a former seat of the Imperial Viceroy during the 17th and 18th centuries. Recent years have seen Tbilisi surge in popularity among tourists with its long, diverse cultural history spanning since the 5th century. Major attractions include the ‘Old Tbilisi’ city, the ancient fortress of Narikala (αƒœαƒαƒ αƒ˜αƒ§αƒαƒšαƒ) and the gargantuanally pictured Holy Trinity Cathedral or ‘Sameba’ (αƒ‘αƒαƒ›αƒ”αƒ‘αƒ˜αƒ‘ αƒšαƒαƒ•αƒ αƒ). It is the fourth largest Eastern Orthodox religious building in the world and holds almost a greater capacity than Old Trafford and the Bernabeu combined.


On the subject of football stadiums, Dinamo Tbilisi boast the largest stadium of Georgia and named after the greatest Georgian footballer of the 20th century, the Boris Paichadze stadium. Built in 1976 as the ‘Lenin Dinamo stadium’ after the Soviet communist leader, the name was officially renamed in 1995 to the club legend who scored 111 goals in 195 games. The highest attendance recorded was a staggering 110,000 as spectators witnessed Dinamo Tbilisi famously stun Liverpool 3-0 in a European Champion Clubs' Cup (now Champions League) tie. Along with club duties, the stadium doubles up as host for the Georgian national football & rugby teams and in 1995 the record attendance was equalled in a UEFA qualifier with Germany before the stadium was renovated as an all seater just shy of 55,000. It played host to one of the most entertaining UEFA Super Cup finals in 2015 as Barcelona beat Sevilla 5-4 after extra time.


Without question Dinamo Tbilisi are the kings of silverware on Georgian soil; record holders for the most domestic league titles (17), domestic cups (13) and super cups (7) which included six consecutive doubles between 1992 and 1997. Although their domestic dominance have been mildly impressive, it truly paled in comparison to their USSR glory days in the 1970s-80s and were a true force to be reckoned with. The Georgians lifted the Soviet Top league in 1964 in a ‘winner take all’ decider against Torpedo Moscow winning 4-1 and reclaimed it in 1978 with four points to spare over Dynamo Kiev and Shakhtar Donetsk. Furthermore acclaimed the Soviet Cup twice, comfortably dispatching Ararat Yerevan 3-0 in 1976 and a much tighter penalty shootout victory after a scoreless stalemate with Dynamo Moscow. To this day their greatest ever honour was their maiden European success in the now defunct European Cup Winners' Cup in 1981, beating the likes of West Ham and Feyenoord to set up a final against Germans Carl Zeiss Jena in Düsseldorf with goals courtesy of Vladimir Gutsaev and an 86th minute winner from Vitaly Daraselia to emerge victorious 2-1. Sadly nowadays their European journeys have been cut short, failing to edge past CL/EL qualifiers apart from the 2004-05 season where they were knocked out of their UEFA Cup group comprising of Newcastle, Sochaux, Sporting and Panionios – losing every game.



Long gone are the days where Dinamo swept up domestically, nowadays its more evenly spread out among others such as Dila, Tskhinvali and the latest holders Zugdidi. Mind you they still remain top dogs for all domestic competitions; lifting a further 24 league trophies, 26 cups and an eye watering 33 super cups. Now thats all well and good as a tale of a fallen giant in hopes of reanimating their past glories, however when it comes to this challenge I rarely have time to rebuild and would be reluctant to staying longer than I anticipated...honestly I’m really starting to dislike the Georgian top flight based on repressed memories *cough Batumi*.



Everything looked set for liftoff on the back of yet another Super Cup final success beating Zugdidi 2-1, coupled with the opening day victory at home to Samtredia; but suddenly winning became a scarcity with only two wins in their last sixteen games, struggling for goals too. It leaves us bottom of the division with only sixteen points but no cause for concern yet, when have we seen that before? Batumi déjà vu?



Eyeing up the squad, I’m at a loss to why they’re performing so poorly. On the surface this is a strong looking squad, overall professional demeanour and the dressing room isn’t too fractured either (famous last words). Only a handful of teens juxtaposed with only one player over 30, majority hitting primal age. Am I missing a trick here?

KEY PLAYER - Ucha Zaalishvili - D(R)


No nonsense full back with strength to barge light wingers like plastic bags in the wind. Well versed mentally with good solid concentration and positioning, technicals you'd expect from an established international right back and built like a defender with a Subbuteo base. Could offer something on the overlap too if I train up his speed and crossing.



The board obviously don't trust me with any booty at the early growth of my Tbilisi tenure, nice fat wage budget though to add a couple of extra stars to the mix. Pretty pedestrian expectations, mid-table may be asking for too much, how about we step out of the mud and cleanse ourselves before trying on the tuxedo yeah? Cup quarter finals easily doable. Did they fail to mention we're also in the Europa League qualifying? Anyways lets get to work.

«This comment has been edited»

@HockeyBhoy - That's the plan! Shame really, I was really liking the club.

@Eric Portapotty - That's funny how you mentioned Dinamo Tbilisi.




Nation: North Macedonia
Media Prediction (Odds): 3rd/10 (6-1)
Expectations: Challenge for title
Pros: One of the front runners in North Macedonia. Strong squad in prime age group. Predicted for European football nearly every season.
Cons: Finished 6th last season. No title in four years. No European qualification next season. Rejected my last three managerial vacancy applications. Load of foreign players make it difficult for squad registration rules.



GFY. Never applying for this crowd again.


Nation: North Macedonia
Media Prediction (Odds): 9th/10 (150-1)
Expectations: Avoid automatic relegation
Pros: Strong 5th placed finish last season, safely avoiding predicted relegation. The name Shkupi is hella fun to say.
Cons: Transfer / wage budget not enough to transform current squad. Simply not strong enough to challenge for the league. Relegation yo-yo club.



Something on the table. Reluctantly pondering.


Nation: Bosnia
Media Prediction (Odds): 2nd/12 (5-1)
Expectations: Challenge for title
Pros: Finished third last season. Qualified for Europa League. Excellent squad depth. Predominantly ambitious and professional dressing room. Club have not finished below 6th in last two decades.
Cons: Failed to make shortlist for manager vacancy last time. No trophy in five years.



Come on, seriously. Have you not seen my trophy collection?


Nation: Bosnia
Media Prediction (Odds): 1st/12 (15-4F)
Expectations: Challenge for title
Pros: Richest club in Bosnia. Title holders. Bookies favourites to retain title. Champions League football. Professional squad personality.
Cons: Winless in six games. Many key players wanted by bigger clubs. Hyper-focused on central players, no wingers in sight.



Had a feeling. There was very little hope they'd consider me. *sigh*


Nation: Georgia
Media Prediction (Odds): 8th/10 (100-1)
Current Position: 10th
Expectations: Achieve mid-table
Pros: Most successful club in Georgia. Stronger squad than Martvili. Board have accepted my demands should they consider me. Current Georgian cup and super cup holders. Decent wage budget.
Cons: Bottom of the league with 16 points from 17 games. One win in ten. Not a sniff of a league title in six, becoming seven years. Over £600k in the red. £0 transfer budget. Similar circumstances leading to the Batumi relegation.



Spoilers, I'm staying in Georgia. Poisoned chalice? Perhaps, but optimistically the only way is up from here.






Favourites for the league title? My ass. Game lacked any substance but the only thing that mattered was on the scoreboard. Off the bench came Ionescu to drive home in the midst of a right melee in the Samtredia box. Goguadze barely tested.



Could've sworn Martvili were tipped for the drop? Not based off this form. Completely dismantled Tskhinvali's tactics within half an hour; Yegor Piskunov stepping up to the plate with both his dangerous left foot and also his head, Sergey Shiryaev also used his head as the visitors really struggled defending set pieces. Goguadze with a third clean sheet in a row, saved a point blank effort from the South Ossetians who didn't offer anything for a consolation. Dominating right now.


It did come at a price though.


Not the only one (during training that is). Two important figures sidelined.



Everything has gone down the jacks. Our attacks have been fruitless, midfield is looking creatively barren, defending has become cowardly, but this game really did my nut in losing to the bottom club. Nothing could be done about TeleΘ™pan's wonderful curler but the other two were just sheer incompetency. Second goal given away too easily in the middle, Pakhomov unmarked to easily finish under the poorly positioned Maxim Kuznetsov. Third was just as laughable, a cross pinged off our defenders kindly into the path of Lavrentjev to finish what was left of us. The sad part is, the scoreline didn't justify our performance. Yesin and Piskunov missed clear cut opportunities and had Kutaisi on the ropes for large spells. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.



The striking contrast of how we started March to how we capitulated in April. We welcomed the new season with a bullying 2-0 display over Dila with our midfielders receiving the plaudits; Osei & Shiryaev amongst the goals and an assist from new boy Boris Pisarev coming off the bench. Everything fell into place delightfully picking up a trio of wins and going joint top of the league...then the injuries happened and the bruisings commenced.

Zugdidi's triple pronged attack line too hot for our noob asses to handle. Missed out on revenge against Dinamo Tbilisi as Pisarev scored one of the goals of the season in a 2-2 scrap. Paid an unwelcome visit to my former employers Batumi to ironically choke a lead from Mikeladze to fall flat on our backs, to be fair their second goal was pretty unstoppable. Chikhura completely demoralised us in a first half barrage where the only real chance we had was an Ionescu free kick off the crossbar. Crossed swords with our Pirveli Liga rivals Sioni, both goals sourced from corners but if it weren't for a stalwart Goguadze performance we'd be dead in the water. Concluded with the spanking to Torpedo Kutaisi.



To my surprise we haven't been left behind yet. Only ten points separating top from bottom we lie in the middle of the park and not too far off the top four after a quarter of the season. The only caveat is our worrying lack of form.

But lets not lose perspective, maybe finding a senior affiliate to help us grow financially and/or have a few loan players lined up from a superior club to elevate our club image. I'm sure the board won't disagree.


Oh. Well, uh, yeah, hmmm. It turns out I'm working for a board of clowns.


I didn't mean for this to happen, but if you get a club up to the top flight and are still not gaining any respect from the board - it's time to leave.

«This comment has been edited»





Difficult decisions to make for some, easy decisions for those overstaying their welcome. Arquimedes, Khundadze and to an extent Sălăjan and Denisov served a great purpose in the promotion battle, but personally I don't think they'd cut the mustard at a higher level therefore refraining from offering a new deal. Made a light profit in Gigatadze's move to Mertskhali as he didn't suit my philosophy and the Varduashvili loan move I'll explain in a moment.



Upgrades for the new season ahead, failing to mention that we extended Piskunov's loan deal for an extra three months which was a mighty relief. More or less every general area covered, new keeper, full backs, a primary playmaker and two additional strikers to vanguard along with our Russian friend.


Giorgi Varduashvili – D(R) – unattached free agent

Best to clear up the confusion about signing this guy and immediately loaning him out. Why? Greed I guess. Offloaded by Lokomotivi Tbilisi I decided to strengthen our right back department...until someone better came across my radar. Rather than letting him slouch on the bench, Sioni decided "he'll have him for 6 months". Sort of no fail situation when you think about it; we're not paying his wages for the majority of the season, he's getting game time elsewhere to improve his stats. Everybody wins.


Giorgi Tsikarishvili – M(L)/AM(L) – £6.75k from Lokomotivi Tbilisi

Previously on loan last season, the left winger impressed and decided to make this his permanent residence for a nominal fee. Everything to look for in a generic winger, takes on opponents with his quickness, stays tight to the byline. So-so crossing but we can't expect players to 'Bend it like Beckham' in the Georgian divisions. He was adamant to leave too, making contract negotiations that bit more digestible.


Dmitry Axionov – D(L) – £12.5k from Rustavi

Another player anxious to leave from the below division. Hitting his prime, this was the best possible time to retrieve him for another financially efficient deal. Rock solid mental stats drew me into this guy and had been scouting him towards the conclusion of last season. Technically not the most gifted I'll admit, but if he doesn't attempt anything too fancy we'll be just gravy.


Iulian Ionescu – ST(C) – unattached free agent

The man playing second chair to Piskunov. Just hitting into his thirties, Iulian looks like the perfect super sub to change games. Excellent flair, outstanding determination, perfect free kick taker and over 100 caps for Moldova. Didn't exactly excel in the Turkish 1.Liga but can easily look beyond that. A bit pricey on the wages but being a short term deal, I can't exactly see a flaw in this purchase.


Andro Kvekveskiri – D(R) – unattached free agent

Our primary right back and perhaps the reason why Sioni were sniffing out Varduashvili. Mentally sound and filled out that little bit extra than his competition, more balanced and pacy to take on challenges. Another player entering into his prime, again not the most technically equipped but if he's not doing rabona passes across the 18 line, we should get along fine. If not, can always recall your man.


Boris Pisarev – M(C) – £21k from Saburtalo, potentially rising to £23k

Our marquee signing of the window if you want to call it that. A little tug of war on pricing but I believe this guy will be worth the purchase fee, even if he were involved in a recently relegated Saburtalo side. Ticks all the boxes from a technical standpoint, strong determination and in excellent physical shape. A beautiful partnership alongside Osei?


Aleksandre Goguadze – GK – unattached free agent

Bringing some experience to the table, 35 year old goalie Goguadze wrestles with Kuznetsov for the number one jersey. A former league & cup winner with Dinamo Tbilisi, no doubt he'll reorient in the Georgian top flight after his release from (former) Turkish side Kayseri Erciyesspor. Assertive in the air with his robust 6'2" build and shows good reflexes for someone in their mid thirties. Well past it when it comes to speed and agility but all in all a very worthy investment.


Magomed-Shapi Yeshin – ST(C) – six month loan from Samtredia

To conclude, we brought in a low risk loan move on deadline day to add some attack to our arsenal. Bit of a one trick pony as a striker with added acceleration to snipe at the right moment. Hasn't exactly made his mark for his current club other than the reserves, but a handy third choice backup if disaster strikes..


..which it did. But more on that later.



Board making it quite clear that they're not expecting any fireworks on our return to the Umaglesi Liga. Should have enough fight to at least not get a record low points total. Third round of the cup achievable too.


The media also not fancying us to pull up any trees, only Sioni predicted to do worse at an equal 500-1 shot. Let's do it.

@bigmattb28 - Thank you my man, glad to be back.

@bcsaulJ - Sure did!

@Eric Portapotty - The Georgian gulag is not enjoyable, let me tell you!




He came, he conquered. Literally from a different world, Saturn's Yegor Piskunov was a superb loan investment for Martvili. Sealed both my approval and the fans' approval to claim player of the season ahead of Osei and Shiryaev and claimed young player of the season. Among all that, his long range floater in the 4-0 triumph over Guria was a deserved goal of the season. Another inspired buy was the purchase of Brazilian centre back Ulisses, despite not knowing how to communicate "chuck it into row Z" in Georgian he galvanized the fort which is all I could have asked from him. On a free too.



30 goals in 37 appearances, 7.5 average rating, nine man of the match awards...even getting injured for a spell of 4 weeks, Yegor Piskunov truly rocked the Pirveli Liga. Moses Osei had a ton of speculation surrounding him being linked to bigger clubs but he didn't get distracted, the Ghanaian midfielder was talismanic to the promotion with his ten important assists. Robert Sălăjan didn't get to feature too much in midfield, but slightly worried that his 85% pass completion inducted him as the best passer - definitely room to improve there. Ulisses did get involved at the backline, perhaps a little bit too firm on his challenges with 8 yellows and 2 reds had the worst discipline but I'm very much looking forward to how he performs at the higher level.


The journey doesn't stop at Martvili, although being linked to more reputable sides, I'll be staying for an extra season.






Promotion fight in hot pursuit with a battling victory over relegation condemned Machakhela, but it wasn't without trouble on the way. Twice pegged back after fan favourite Osei and a stunner from Novitskiy granted us the advantage. Machakhela so dangerous on the break but so wasteful in execution and that was their inevitable downfall. A quickfire salvo brought home the bacon; Novitskiy's flicked header capped his brace and Arquimedes played in a smart 1-2 to bury the home side to the Meore Liga.


Elsewhere, this was hardly a surprise but might wind their season down in favour of us.



What could have been. Tsiklauri two footing the opposition left us at a huge disadvantage for 80 odd minutes and Sioni's fast attacking tempo was too much to deal with. Pavel Mitin took centrestage to bury any hopes of picking up anything from the game, that was until we got our second wind. A late fightback with goals from Piskunov and Khundadze almost brought a dramatic twist to the tale, sadly too far gone. A red day for our boys.



Objective completed. Inflicted a first half wipeout of Guria to seal the maiden promotion of my long journey. Given an early scare by Toni the response was electrifying; Ulisses with a rare goal to draw us level, Osei from range, two tidy finishes from Piskunov and a hilariously tragic own goal concluded one of our best performances this season at this final stage. The scoreline must have fed into Rustavi's psyche as they bottled a 2-0 lead to Betlemi and conceded an injury time winner to confirm the news. Martvili are going up!



Excluding the unlucky defeat to Sioni, a fantastic end to the season kicked off with the 4-2 success away at Machakhela. Far from impressive hosting Betlemi but the groundwork in the first half helped us to claw onto a 2-1 win. Fell short of expectations for a fourth and final time against STU, our 23 shots should have equaled a hammering, not a mediocre 1-0. I can pardon it as they saved their fight to rinse Guria to serenade the streets of Martvili. The season closed out with my landmark 1500th game of my save, dominating Shukura but only finishing 1-0. Written in the stars, Yegor Piskunov finished his loan spell on a high in claiming his 30th goal of a scintillating season for the Russian. Without him Rustavi would have left us in the dirt.



There we have it, back to the Umaglesi Liga and vindicating my unforgettable relegation with Dinamo Batumi seven seasons ago. Things could have gone a little smoother but Sioni were worthy champions finishing fourteen clear. Rustavi's team on paper looked too good for this division, in actuality they folded under pressure to finish five adrift (can't see many of them staying around). Machakhela's loudmouth manager criticised my every decision in press conferences, now he can find out where it all went from for side in the pit of oblivion along with the battered and bruised STU who only grabbed their first win on matchday 33.

Pardon the long gap in posting, life and work have been getting in the way of posting recently. I'm hoping to be a lot more active in the next couple of days. Sincere apologies to the loyal fans of my story.

@Dan - Thank you my man, apologies for such a long absence!

@bigmattb28 - Cheers mate, again apologies for being so inactive recently.







The prospect of winning the division goes up in smoke. Our brave second half efforts weren't enough to combat an incredibly tidy, organised backline and a stacked Sioni front three. Anton Tretjakov's double left us in dire straits, while at the other end we had the finishing performance of nightmares, notably a 6.0 disaster for Yegor Piskunov. Sub Khundadze squeezed one in late to give us the dimmest ray of light but it's now safe to assume we'll have to armwrestle for the second promotion spot instead.



Another sloppy first half performance, but pardoned with second half brilliance by our on loan talisman Piskunov to bail us out again. The theme of set piece blunders reared its ugly head again, Kuznetsov fumbled a free kick in front of Kalichava and absent marking from a corner allowed a second for Shukura's top scorer. The hairdryers came out and focus was restored; a sloppy backpass gave Piskunov the courtesy of rebuilding team confidence, confidence that was marked in the equalising goal. A true stunner hit with power, cutting in from the left on the edge of the area and flew into the top corner with five minutes remaining. One point better than none at all.


What a lad.



We're making a habit of late comebacks. Tbilisi will be going Loko for all the wrong reasons, somehow not making their dominance count leading twice as we gave away a soft penalty approaching the break before Nadiradze extinguished Piskunov's equaliser. Then came a stunning late onslaught all thanks to the Brazilian sub Arquimedes, not only a great mathematician but got involved in all three late goals - scoring twice and assisting Shiryaev to leave the home side lost for words.



September started and finished strong even with Sioni clipping our wings. Betlemi were done in 44 seconds with a majestic solo effort by Piskunov. Winless STU yet again caused us problems, failing to dispatch the university students and squeezed by with a 77th minute winner from that man again. Third choice striker Giorgi Khundadze was given the opportunity to step up and seized the moment with a double in a comfortably controlled 2-0 victory over Guria.

Stepped into October with winter chills trickling down our spinal cords as form began to dip, retrieving results from losing positions away to Shukhura and Loko Tbilisi was only a taste of what came later. Outthought to our stern promotion competition Rustavi, butterfingers Kuznetsov had a lot to answer for spilling a free kick to hand us a costly defeat. Failed to end the month strongly, in fact we were creatively weak to labour to a 1-1 draw with Algeti as Khundadze continues to make a starting case after coming off the bench to equalise.



A grueling promotion race enters its climax between ourselves and Rustavi, slightly easier run in despite one final fixture away to runaway leaders Sioni, but hopefully will take their foot off the gas if and when they are crowned champions. Two points in it, Shukhura and Betlemi a little bit too late to catch up at this rate. Will I secure the first promotion achievement in this save?

Nice to see you back @Eric Portapotty, I do feel you need to move on from the Cayman Islands soon if there's very little progression with Latinos.

Man, this is such an enjoyable read. Great work! Are you going to do the next season too?

@b0nb0n - Glad I've inspired you again, should create a new story yourself.


*I apologise for my recent absence, it has been a difficult last few months for me but getting back on the right track. Hopefully I'll be able to update this more regularly due to the recent Covid-19 pandemic. Thank you for your patience.







Yegor Piskunov proving why he is hot merchandise in Georgia with yet another dazzling display to take down promotion sniffing Guria. Having been caught by surprise with Toni's perfectly angled finish, the pacy Russian was a nightmare on the breakaway and twice composed himself to overturn the deficit going into the break. Guria had their moments of authority in the second half, having a goal ruled out before Katsadze's effort flew over Khutsidze's head to have the sides level again. Our dominance in the stats would not go in vain, restoring our advantage from a corner with Piskunov rounding off his third hat-trick of the season. Sergey Shiryaev's picture perfect free kick ended whatever was left of Guria's fight. Great game for the neutrals.



The welcome return of Maxim Kuznetsov between the sticks.


Couldn't have come at a better time either.


Sadly it wasn't the grand comeback he anticipated. Lokomotivi must have worked on their six-yard box choreography, earning a rather soft penalty finished off by Olexiy Kuchynski. Midfield favourite Moses Osei didn't leave us empty handed in the first half with a coolly placed side pass into the bottom corner. Poor set piece positioning was our downfall with Semenov breaking away from the marker and headed in the winner. Yegor Piskunov had an unlucky afternoon, somehow managing a shot that hit both inside posts and also straying offside in the last five minutes to have a crucial equaliser ruled out. Another murky display against the railwaymen.



Rustavi saved by the goalframe to scrape a point by the skin of their teeth. Both goals originated on the counter, Davit Lomidze was left open in a 3v3 situation to provide Rustavi with a fortunate lead. Piskunov rattled the crossbar twice to the relief of their rickety defence, until a moment of brilliance on the counter for us, cutting in from the right and finished like an experienced, legendary striker.




Having pushed Machakhela aside, the reward was a blockbuster spectacle at home to Dinamo Tbilisi.


But it will have to be done without the creativity of Shiryaev in the middle following an injury in our previous league match with Algeti.




I've no words. I simply cannot digest how we lost when we played the game of our lives. Six clear cut chances, woodwork blocked us thrice, made one of the strongest teams in Georgia look like a schoolboy outfit. What an exhilarating game, not often I get these high octane emotional rollercoasters.



With Moses Osei back in training, June was the perfect clean slate to end the miserable fortunes of May. Yegor Piskunov individually obliterated Betlemi in a 3-1 victory, while also contributing an important equaliser against league leaders Sioni in an evenly balanced contest. Our second string barely overcame winless STU with third choice striker Grigol Khundadze attempting to back up a case for first team football. Concluded the month strongly with that Guria dub following the midweek cup triumph over Machakhela.

July and August failed to blend into the same pattern. Taxed hard with the Lokomotivi Tbilisi defeat, too many lacklustre draws and too many missed opportunities against they likes of Shukura, Rustavi and Algeti which on other days would have been bankers for maximum points. All things considered with the disheartening cup exit to Dinamo Tbilisi, the squad bounced back courageously to mount pressure of struggling Machakhela, Arquimedes turning up for a change with a standout 86 minutes with a brace and an assist.



No major progression, tumbling between second and third with Rustavi as Sioni continue to break away at the top. The accumulation of draws have played a big part in hindering any early promotion plans and I fear if it continues in this fashion, we'll be bitterly disappointed come the 36th game. Betlemi and Shukura need to be shooed away on the other foot, within touching distance of ourselves. September & October will be huge months ahead and a cup exit might help the cause to seek that elusive promotion.

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Another awesome season, also how on Earth did Athletic Bilbao get to a CL final?

@HawkAussie - I'm more thinking of dividing it into thirds or quarters of the season, it'll depend on how the narrative goes. Appreciate the feedback though.







What a statement to make in the first game. I expected a tight encounter with Lokomotivi Tbilisi, but it looked like they were still recovering from the shock of last year's relegation. A brace from our returning loan striker Yegor Piskunov and Brazilian mathematician Arquimedes had us cruising into a comfortable 3-0 half time advantage. Artem Zaikin marked his debut off the bench with a sweeping strike from Mikeladze's cross for four, while Piskunov completed a deserved hat-trick on the counter in the final ten minutes. Can you tell we're not messing around this season?




Two games in, two promotion candidates taken down a peg. Although our first half dominance was quite pronounced, Rustavi squirmed their way into the lead with their only shot on target - Gavrilov drilling low on the greasy surface to dupe Otar Khutsidze in net. The second half response was more than effective to oust Rustavi's slim advantage; Roman Yakovenko headed in just two minutes after the restart and a debut goal from Alan Bobrov with a deflected free kick resigned the home side to a costly defeat. Still no defeats under my Martvili reign - who's next?




At the fifteenth attempt, I finally lost a game to a tyrannizing Sioni side. Although Sergey Shiryaev briefly eliminated Sioni's lead, their front three were frighteningly good at finishing as Tretjakov and Bryzhytskyi helped themselves to a goal buffet. Despite the visitors' attacking threat, they were still vulnerable on the counter as Mikeladze's deep cross was met with a tap in from Moses Osei to make it a close contest. Unfortunately, the previously relegated side tightened their grip on the game to hand us my first Martvili L.



Who doesn't love a late goal? This match could've gone either way with fellow promotion hunters Shukura. An early penalty miss and a superb save gave a heap of confidence to Khutsidze in net, but could do nothing about Gaprindashvili's sensational arrowing hit into the top corner from 25 yards out. It was another bad day at the office up front for the usual goalmonger Yegor Piskunov, however substitute striker Grigol Khundadze stole the limelight as he escaped the offside trap to provide some last minute limbs for the travelling faithful. Mind you, this result brought a serious problem post-match.


And you'll see why Osei's injury was so damaging.



Carrying on from our first two victories, Algeti, Machakhela (just about) and Betlemi met the same fate to construct an eight game winning streak before Sioni came barging into town.

That Sioni defeat definitely rattled us as we somehow tripped up to basement dwellers STU in a horribly scrappy and embarrassing performance.

Guria were no trouble at all, exploiting their fragile defensive core with route one football and Yegor Piskunov having an absolute field day.

And here is where Osei's injury took centre stage after the Shukura draw. Drawn into so many errors with nobody to break up the midfield play.

Piskunov's piss poor finishing amounted to a key loss away to Lokomotivi Tbilisi, bottled a crucial lead at home to Rustavi, slouched to an ill-disciplined and heavy home defeat to Algeti finishing with nine men in the process and finally rounded off with yet another miserable duck egg away to Machakhela.


This ain't it chief.



Not a position I'd like to be in. After building an early lead, we kept top spot warm for rampant Sioni by ways of our sloppy form. Now all of a sudden the promotion talk is taking a backseat; five other teams are gravitating to that second spot held currently by Guria. Shukura, Rustavi and Betlemi licking their lips at the prospect too. Surprised how poorly Lokomotivi Tbilisi have started but have a sneaking suspicion they'll get their second wind. Still seething at how we somehow drew to relegation favourites STU.

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Seven new recruits to the squad in the aim to boost us to promotion…well, technically six. One was a gentle reminder not to be your own scout and signing someone on a whim.


Mikheil Gavaketashvili – M(L)/AM(L) – unattached free agent

Definitely a signing under very false pretenses. The right midfield department was looking rather understocked so pounded the pavement to find someone remotely interested in keeping the bench warm and this guy with Umaglesi Liga experience would do fine….until I found out that he plays on the left, a position we were fine in. Making matters even worse, I stupidly gave him a two year deal. Oh dear.


Alan Bobrov – M(R)/AM(R) – unattached free agent

In light of my farcical miscalculation, I found a proper candidate to play second fiddle to Mikeladze. Former Shakhtar youth academy hopeful, Bobrov doesn’t hold a candle to our captain but provides us with the more advanced wing option should he be called upon. Concerned about his casual personality but he was economically persuaded with a low wage.


Ulisses – D(C) – unattached free agent

Pretty much the marquee permanent signing as agent offers once again come in useful. Despite not playing a single game for his old club in Brazil, the 21 year old looks mentally and physically brilliant with his HMT rock solid. Potential windfall for fans of James Joyce too.


Artem Zaikin – M(C) – six month loan from Bastion

More creativity added to the midfield triangle in a tried and tested 4-4-1-1 formation. Not expecting him to set the world on fire but has the technical bones of a playmaker, combined with strong vision to make killer passes in times of need. A safe, no risk signing.


Giorgi Tsikharishvili – M(L)/AM(L) – season long loan from Lokomotivi Tbilisi

Fallen out of favour with his recently relegated parent club, we’re providing the pacy left winger with a new opportunity. The form needs to improve immediately but willing to risk him as the first choice, especially since his set piece game is on point.


Mario Gilabert – GK – unattached free agent

You may recall this guy as my third choice keeper at Boca (GIB) who was never breaking into that squad past Godfrey or Webb, well this may be his opportunity to lock down the number one choice. Standard run of the mill, good height and reach, good agility, strong handling, lack of game time in his career is the only caveat.

Never had an intention to invest in another goalkeeper…only for this piece of news to land on my desk.


I mean, you were relegated the season before last and didn’t kick up a fuss. Enjoy the bench, Maxim.

Vitaly Terekhov – D(R) –
season long loan from Samtredia


Taking a gamble with this Ukrainian right back, given his awful recent form would fly red flags to any club. As long as he stands strong, doesn’t get too caught out of position, maintains concentration and clears safely it’ll be a successful loan signing given that our only other natural RB is out long term.



Looking like a rough promotion battle between a contingent of capable teams. Relegated Sioni & Lokomotivi Tbilisi are the obvious candidates, but newly promoted Rustavi have a legion of overpowered players who certainly wouldn’t look out of place for most if not all top flight teams. 6-1 for the grand prize, I’m hoping my newly shaped team can eat those odds.


Board giving me an ultimatum, its promotion or bust. The other avenue is a cup run but for the sake of it, the return to the Umaglesi Liga takes priority.

@bigmattb28 - No shame indeed, just a bit bummed that we were that close to a group stage.

@bcsaulJ - Unfortunately there weren't any other jobs to go for than those three. Thanks for the feedback, really appreciate that you're enjoying the club overviews which do take a while to complete!


FORMAT CHANGE: At the risk of taking forever in getting updates out, I've decided to abandon the monthly roundups and take larger chunks of time, only going over key games as match reports while the rest are briefly summarised. Let me know if you prefer this sort of format.






Samegrelo are the supposed leaders of the division, not the impression I got as we somehow failed to win the game. Yegor Piskunov and Moses Osei both struck the post in either half and making their keeper sweat while Samegrelo failed to hit the target. Solid point, disappointing that we dropped the other two.



This was a major blow, not only missing out on being champions but also the promotion race. Twice in front, twice pegged back thanks to two goalkeeping blunders from Kuznetsov. Shiryaev got the ball rolling early with a curling free kick, but dabbed out by Svanidze's looping cross going over everyone into the net. Piskunov thought he'd won it after catching the rebound of his missed penalty in the final fifteen minutes. Alas, Betlemi went route one and caught Kuznetsov and Bediashvilli out in a web of miscommunication to allow Andrey Konkin to sidefoot home as injury time neared. May live to regret this result.



An attacking masterclass to outclass title chasing Saburtalo. Moses Osei yet again on fire from midfield with two sensational hits from range on either side of early second half goals from Mikeladze and red hot Piskunov to coast to a 4-0 lead. The visitors stole one for pride at the death will an equally brilliant long ranger but it matters not to the side already going up next year. Are we going to join them though?



Elsewhere, life at Martvili started positively with wins over the bottom two clubs WIT Georgia & Liakhvi before somehow weathering an Algeti storm to escape with a goalless draw, including Kuznetsov saving two penalties.
Piskunov and Novitskiy combined to overthrow ten men Shukura with ease and despite the taxing draw away to Betlemi, team spirit and confidence was still rolling sky high to conclude the season with a trio of victories against Guria, Saburtalo and Machakhela for one last push for promotion.

Question is - were our efforts in vain?




Unfortunately, yes. Even with a nine game unbeaten streak, Samegrelo held on by two points to get promoted with Saburtalo. Can't help but question the scoreless draw with them which could have been the fine difference in the final stretch. I won't beat myself up over it, didn't lose a single game in charge and the team I have are good enough to fight for it next season.

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Some may be thinking “has he gone mad?”, and perhaps you’re right as I reduce myself to the Pirveli Liga (second tier) on my return to Georgia. FC Merani Martvili (αƒ›αƒ”αƒ αƒαƒœαƒ˜ αƒ›αƒαƒ αƒ’αƒ•αƒ˜αƒšαƒ˜) are a club initially founded back during the Soviet Union days in 1955 as Salkhino Gegechkori, transitioning into Chkondidi Martvili and Salkhino Martvili before settling on their current moniker in 2006. The name Merani refers to a mythological horse (or pegasus) representing ‘freedom’ cited in a famous poem written by Georgian poet Nikoloz Baratashvili in the 19th century and depicted in the current club badge. Red and white are their traditional kit colours.


Lying 280km, or a four and a half hour drive west of the capital Tbilisi, Martvili (αƒ›αƒαƒ αƒ’αƒ•αƒ˜αƒšαƒ˜) is a small city home to only 4500 people. Lying on the banks of the opalesque Abashistskali River, the city was originally named ‘Gegechkori’ (αƒ’αƒ”αƒ’αƒ”αƒ­αƒ™αƒαƒ αƒ˜) after Sasha Gegechkori, a Georgian Bolshevik activist involved in Sovietization of Georgia in 1921 but changed back after the fall of USSR. Officially declared as a city in 1964, Martvili may not be the largest in the nation but is surrounded in natural beauty, green trees and it’s breathtaking canyon leading into the smaller village of Gachedili (αƒ’αƒαƒ­αƒ”αƒ“αƒ˜αƒšαƒ˜). What makes it a city though? All answers point to the 7th century monastery rebuilt in the 10th century to what is now known as the Martvili-Chkondidi Cathedral.


Curtained by tall pine trees, the ‘Murtaz Khurtsilava’ stadium (or the Martvili Municipal Stadium) is the picturesque venue for home games. Named after the former defender who represented USSR at World Cup ’66 and Euro ’72, the ground holds a capacity of 2,000 people on what looks to be an astroturf surface, however it is unclear if this is the case due to the lack of documented information on this stadium, not even the year of it's official opening is known. All I can say is it looks breathtakingly beautiful for what it's worth.


Unfortunately Martvili and footballing success or honour do not go hand in hand in their short existence. Drafted into the Pirveli Liga (now called Liga 2) in 2007, the club came agonisingly close to promotion on three occasions with consecutive third placed finishes until eventually a second place finish ensured promotion to the Umaglesi Liga in 2011. Mid-table mediocrity greeted them in the top flight before eventually being relegated in 2016 in cruel head-to-head record circumstances with Zugdidi. Financial struggles were to soon hit (or at least I’m guessing); despite finishing second the following year, they were denied entry back to the Umaglesi Liga and if that weren’t enough punishment, the pegasus lost it’s wings and fell further down the pyramid in 2018 to Liga 3 but thankfully made a swift return to Liga 2 at the first attempt. Martvili did however make headway in the Davit Kipiani Cup (Georgian Cup) with a semi final appearance in 2010, losing to eventual winners WIT Georgia and even closer in 2016 but couldn’t upset Torpedo Kutaisi in the final and folding to a 2-1 defeat. Understandably, the club have never came within a whisker of European football.



Ignoring the obvious flaw with them winning the Pirveli Liga in 2018 which is categorically false, the club still haven't reaped much success other than the same league trophy in 2021 and 2037. Lately they've had yo-yo motions between the top tier and second tier, scraping promotions as they see fit with seven runner up spots, which is hardly an honour worth mentioning. The closest Martvili reached in the cup was a measly semi-final in 2059, edged out by Lokomotivi Tbilisi 2 goals to 1. Honestly? I only see it as a stepping stone in my career, haven't achieved a promotion yet in this save and would be a solid way to start.



With only nine games remaining in the season and leaning on the wrong side of form, promotion is not completely out of the question should we steady the ship. Basically a full round of fixtures means we'll have some crucial six pointers but also opportunities against some bottomfeeders like poor old Liakhvi Tskhinvali, good Lord being part of that setup would crush anyone's self confidence. Achievable? Yes. Expected? Not exactly. Let's get to work.


To be honest, their first half of the season was more than satisfactory...but this is a side chasing promotion. One victory in eight, dumped out of the Georgian cup which leaves our focus solely on the objective at hand. Certainly not a one man team by the looks of things so perhaps there is a degree of teamwork embedded already.



Expected a lot worse, their squad ability is actually quite good to gain promotion so what's the big deal here? Player form hasn't been atrocious, morale is steady, slightly worrying our top goalscorer Novitskiy only has six to his name but we won't weigh emphasis on that too much. Squad size may be a little thin but can easily sort that if we go up, the caveat being the possibility of losing some key players in the event of missing out on promotion. At least our star man is nailed down until the end of next season.

KEY PLAYER - Shermadin Mikeladze - M(R)


He's no Stewart Jackson, but he'll definitely do. Has got all the basic attributes of a winger into green territory with crossing, technique, acceleration and pace reaching 13 or over. Still has outstanding determination as he pushes into his thirties. I'll be extremely happy to keep him through the next transfer window. Leader of the pack too.



Top half finish will be ezpz if my predictions are correct. Not going to worry about that insulting transfer budget until next year, at least a five figure wage budget makes up for it. Time to get down and dirty.

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Iceland is a very fun league to play in, best of luck!

Tinpot save. I kid, hope it goes well.

@r96Skinner - You'll soon find out.




Nation: Georgia
Media Prediction (Odds): 2nd/10 (7-1) (second tier)
Current Position: 5th
Expectations: Top half finish
Pros: Six points off promotion with nine games to go. Nothing to lose with expectations.
Cons: One win in last eight games in all comps. Out of Georgian cup. Nothing glamorous in the squad department.



As if a second tier club would have turned me down. Dare I drop down the tiers for work?


Nation: Bosnia
Media Prediction (Odds): 3rd/12 (9-2)
Expectations: Challenge for title / European spots
Pros: Board willing to accept my suggestion(s). Predicted to qualify for Europe. Good positional squad depth. Great gateway job to Bosnian league.
Cons: Half a million in the red. No trophy is five seasons. No league title in two decades. Average squad age of 21-22.



Damn, would have fancied taking them on too despite their flaws.


Nation: Bosnia
Media Prediction (Odds): 2nd/12 (15-4)
Expectations: Challenge for title
Pros: Far wealthier than Željezničar. Predicted to make serious challenge for league. League winners three seasons ago.
Cons: Some key players have left this transfer window. Numerous long term injuries. Squad too focused on central areas.



*sigh* It's pretty sad where your encyclopedic experience in football isn't enough to warrant a spot on the shortlist for a job in Bosnia...

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Letzeburgesch side Progrès get the pleasure of getting swatted first.



Nonchalantly smoking Progrès in 43 minutes. Youth products Ryan Sene and Jamie Perez shone bright in Luxembourg, two goals and three assists respectively. Luke Brennan could've easily racked up a hat-trick, though blazed a penalty over to settle with two goals, while Jackson grabbed the other.

Returning to base, another youth hopeful Max Sharpe lived up to his name with a wonderfully precise effort from range to kill off any unlikely comeback. Fitzy and Jackson's second half strikes added insult to injury in a one-sided tie.



Cymru awaits with Bangor City in the next round.



With all due respect, our squad are just too good for these sides. Silvio Shehi instating himself into the first team midfield bagged his first CL goal in between an unfortunate o.g. and Luke Brennan's bread and butter type finish.

Bangor did make a dent early in the second leg but realistically had no way back. Brennan worked on his penalty taking to go into the break level, before inevitably doubling and tripling his tally. Fitzgerald kept the home crowd entertained to stroll to another heavy aggregate win.



Now we're talking, a real challenge in Basel to cement a Europa League group stage position at minimum.



Lost to a striker who shares a name with a soft drink, a new low for me. Marcel Pepsi escaped his marker to fire in early from a corner which we were unable to recover from. Basel controlled the tempo and hit the crossbar from a free kick, but neither side had much substance in the final third overall. Even with the red card to Bacchetta, Basel's defensive fortress had us restricted to long range and barely tested their keeper.

The return leg didn't look good on paper, but we gave Basel the best of our abilities. Well that was after we succumbed to two sloppily conceded goals, bunched like bananas and left gaps everywhere. Second half slightly improved but defensive frailties remained as Pepsi tapped in number three, leaving it as a fight for pride. Basel's keeper Roger Burckhart played superbly to keep out numerous efforts, until a deflected effort where Fitzy grabbed the final touch to produce our only cheer of the game. Europa League it is.




Worst case scenario facing Galatasaray, can we upset the apple cart?



Devastated, missed out by a technicality. In a first leg devoid of any quality, Gala managed to catch us on the break with substitute debutant Nihat Yilmaz sending Sam McCulloch to the shadow realm and confidently chipping over Godfrey to leave the Turks in control of the tie.

For all the marbles, we had no choice but to play on the front foot in Gibraltar. New signing for left wing, Marcos was left in space to sweep home into an empty net to level the tie...for about 65 seconds as Gala countered up the other send for Stevanovic to give the visitors the away goal advantage. No matter how hopeless it seemed, Brennan beat the offside trap to leave a tense final quarter of the game. Gala's experience in Europe favoured them, shutting up shop and preventing a massive upset. Away goal rule rears it's ugly head yet again.


And with that, I bow out of Gibraltar for good. It's been emotional.

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@HawkAussie @Dan @bigmattb28 @Shedender @r96Skinner @bcsaulJ @KEZ_7 - Thank you all for the continued support! I apologise with the lack of posting recently, I'll be trying to post as regularly as possible!




To my surprise, the fully contracted Luke Brennan's outstanding goalscoring season was eclipsed by on loan Manchester United defender Liam Kelly's 44% of the vote to win the player of the season award...but I suppose if you score six goals from defence, you're definitely doing something right. Kelly also won the young player of the season award. The other United loanee Stewart Jackson also found his way into the top three with his superb right wing performances. There were far too many stunning goals to choose from, however Liam Fitzy's solo effort in the dead rubber versus Europa Point took the cake.



Luke Brennan doubled the amount of goals he netted last season with 22, also notched 10 assists and half a dozen MoTM awards to his name in an inspiring campaign for the former Millwall and Swansea striker. As mentioned Liam Kelly had a stalwart loan spell at centre back, 6 goals and involved in 18 clean sheets earned him the strongest AR of the season with a 7.55 average. Stewart Jackson was a slow burner in the beginning but contributed 12 assists from the right. On loan Javier Eizemendi slotted into the Tomeu Alonso role seamlessly as the deep lying playmaker and delivered pinpoint passing precision just shy of 90%. Both centre backs sacrificed many bookings while the only red of the season was a stupid Reginal Thomas challenge in that 0-0 with Olympique earlier in the season.



Brenno deservedly won the GPD player of the year award along with the golden shoe (or some strange Gibraltarian equivalent).


Twas a great season for Stewart Jackson too, the 21 year old grabbed young player of the season.


What a transformation, Lynx had five players each in team of the season yet only ended up with one this season in Robbie Kennedy (who wasn't even that good against us). Godfrey, McCulloch, Kelly, Jackson & Brennan all feature for Boca.


And of course the big cheese also earned an award as manager of the season. 77% win ratio, these things don't go unnoticed!

Courtney Duffus, what a guy!





Unspectacular but a win is nothing to complain about. The two Stews combined as Peacock shunted in Jackson's right field cross in a game we more or less dominated. Liam Kelly had a header denied on the line and Brennan's dangerous meandering runs through the defense let him with little to no power behind his shots. Next up, Lynx.




This is really happening. Wasteful Lynx whitewashed by our counter attacking plays in the second half after dominating the first. Young teenage right back Martin Porter cleared a certain goal off the line to deny Lynx any glory. Took mere seconds to send the home crowd into ecstasy with a slick move involving Peacock's cross, a flicked header by Brennan to an unmarked Jackson at the back stick. Went 5-3-2 to solidify our advantage, placing Peacock as an aux striker and boy did he finish like one to double the lead. Lynx's missed an absolute sitter before the second goal but did jangle a few nerves with Ibrahim Boateng squeezing one in past Godfrey. It mattered not as we hold a twelve point fortress with four games left, needing a single point to get it over the line. No bottles welcome.



The blood, the sweat, the frustration of managing in Gibraltar, all led up to this moment. Brutal to watch. Glorious to see it end with our mitts on the shield. CHAMPS OF THE ROCK!



Out of office.



More shooting practice with a rotated side against Europa Point. Eizmendi got the ball rolling with a lovely curler, Silvio Shehi finally got amongst the goals with a deflected free kick, Fitzy scored a worldie and Brennan punished a sloppy backpass. Three games, fifteen goals scored against EP. They'll be glad to see the back of me.




Imagine being a Joseph's fan reading this. To be honest they were good as gone and we just danced on their grave. Silvio Shehi must have been spending time on free kicks on the training ground to manage two goals in two games, both from frees. Fitzy tapped in a Brennan cross while Vitali's penalty wrapped the season up nicely.




Depth in numbers, considering last season everything practically hinged on our strikers. Seven different goalscorers. Fitzy and Brennan are just different gravy compared to twelve months ago, especially Brenno who tore up the division. Silvio Shehi proving he has what it takes to slot into the first team midfield.




Best points tally the club have achieved in over a decade. The tactical switch went so seamlessly perfect, scored goals for fun, defensively reinforced and seldom had many hiccups on the way. Lynx's poor start cost them dearly otherwise they'd have given it a right go for four titles in a row. Europa and Cannons completely tanked in the second half of the season. St Joseph's bit the bullet with Gibraltar United barely surviving.


When did this league become an overflowing treasure chest all of a sudden?


Shehi finished on a high, grabbing player of the month.


Oh yeah and I secured a fourth MotM award. Basically a cereal box prize these days.

Nice promotion with Limerick, think they're very close to being liquidated in real life.

Lost a lot of respect for you @tongey , not only for managing Larne but also the fact that your Olympic team defeated my beloved Killyleagh in the final.

@bigmattb28 - Brennan has been a swiss army knife in front of goal, can score bangers with his head and feet. Don't jinx it like @Dan might.

@bcsaulJ - We?






I'd like to know if Brennan tested positive for anything pregame, single-handedly crushing the spirits of the 335 travelling Europa Point fans in front of their very eyes. Four goals and one beautiful assist to Akin Cevahir while Leclerc capped the scoring at six. Some outstanding goals in it all, I'd even go as far as to saying Europa Point's was the best of the bunch.


Suffered a big blow ahead of the next game, McCulloch has been excellent at centre back this season.



Just. JUST ABOUT escaped with an important point at home to Cannons. The "defending" in the build up to Gefferson's opener was absolutely pathetic to the point where they'd have almost circumnavigated the box without a single challenge. Gefferson may have added to the woes with a second, rounding the keeper but amazingly dragged it wide. From that following goal kick, all the way up the other end Akin Cevahir mugged Bérmudez off to get to Brennan's cross first and smoke Cannons' narrow advantage. Will take this result all day long.



The case of quality over quantity, biding our time to move one step closer to the objective. With both teams feeling for range, the forgotten man Federico Vitali came onto the field at the perfect moment to throw the first punch and snatch the crucial winner. CJL legend no matter the outcome.



Rarely do I come away disappointed with a 2-0 win, for the fact that it only finished 2-0. Gibraltar United were gaping for a double digit scoreline and instead performed exhausting foreplay for the duration. Stewart Jackson's early free kick was pornographic, mind. Fitzy closed the deal to a quite underwhelming day in front of goal.




Partially disgruntled, partially devastated (for the lads), partially relieved we can focus elsewhere. Shuffled the deck with the B-listers and still dominated. Was a bittersweet day for half-Cambodian CB prospect Ros Sovannara who grabbed his milestone first Boca goal, yet choked his penalty in the shootout. Phoenix had two shots on target, conveniently both netted by Caro and had to rely on Fitzy to take things to extra time. Bottled the shootout when we were just a single pen away from the semis. Gobsmacked to be perfectly honest.


Oh, and now we've no natural right back for the end of season run in. gg.



A month of mixed emotions, mostly positive on the league front. This time last season we were crying out for more than one goalscorer, now we've options galore. Vitali may have grabbed the most important of the season.



Surely...SURELY we can't lose it from here? Can we? One final duel with Lynx to come but with the tougher games are out of the way, we're clear favourites for the season blowout.




Clean sweep of awards for March.