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jameo_94 Comments






Not too shabby since this is the first time that I've managed a "good" team on football manager since FM15 (I think?) and the first time I've ever tackled La Liga. I found two things out on this save.

1) Real have no depth whatsoever and considering the fixture density I picked up a lot of injuries and struggled to put out a consistently competitive starting XI, even with the signing of Hazard. Benzema is sh*t!

2) Football Manager can be a real b*tch! We lost both the Club World Cup and Champions League finals due to ridiculous FM own goals, as well as scoring two of them in the CL in our defeat to Fenerbache. I suppose you win some and you lose some but I was incredibly close to smashing my laptop and may have been tipped over the edge if this game had a different result! I'm definitely owed a slice of good fortune.


I know it's worth no points but Vinicius Junior won Young Player of the Year after replacing Hazard at stages in the season as the Belgian only managed 9 goals and 5 assists in his 20 starts.


So in terms of points:

La Liga - 5th - 20 Pts
Club World Championship - Runners-Up - 5 Pts
Spanish Cup - Quarter Finalists - 5 Pts (Despite not losing, my fault for not checking if the away goals rule was in play)
Champions League - Runners-up - 15 Pts
Rivals - 10 Pts (5 Pts for Athletico, 5 Pts for Barcelona)

Total = 55 Points - Could've been 75 if it wasn't for some ridiculous own goals in key games and even more if it wasn't for my naivety in the Spanish Cup, but considering this was a Stop that was massively out of my comfort zone I'm happy with the 55 points that I did get. Could the next Stop please be in the Armenian 4th Division or equivalent so it's more my level please?
Gutted for you mate, hopefully they'll be able to sort something out to resurrect the save as you've smashed this so far. Looking forward to your new adventure in the meantime!
Amazing second leg against Aberdeen there mate and what a set of performances in the league - well in! Clearly the two key games in the Europa League will be the ties against Krasnodar as if you can get the better of them then hopefully you should be able to progress any further, but even making it this far is an excellent achievement.
Great performance in the league there, nothing better than taking the title on the final day, particularly as it looked like you might've thrown it away over the final few games! Will be interesting to see how you can adapt to the SPL and what your expectations for the new season will be. Congratulations!
Thanks @AdamRK, hopefully they can help us both this season and hopefully as we transition into the Second Tier next season! (Fingers crossed)

I know right @tongey and @bigmattb28, its definitely going to come down to the wire and will probably depend on the result of the penultimate game of the season as we travel to Kehlen F.C.!

Avenir Beggen - Luxembourg First Division North (T3) - Season 2019/20


March 2020 - Will our new signings go on to haunt their former employers?

Luxembourg First Division North - CS Oberkorn (h) - (17/26)


We annihilated Oberkorn in the opening stages, forcing multiple good saves from their keeper - our recently released Helio Lopes. We also hit the bar with Meyer's header, but he was judged to have been fouled giving Richartz the chance to score from the spot. Lopes stayed big and beat the penalty away to safety. Agrela saw a free-kick tipped onto the bar, and Peters was denied from close range in a first half that saw us manage 10 shots on target. At one point I felt that this was going to be one of those games that ended 0-0 despite us peppering their goal with shots all game, but a quickfire double sealed the 3 points for us. First Wagner fired across Lopes and into the side netting from a narrow angle inside the box, before he turned provider for debutante Riberio who smashed home his corner on the half volley. Domination on another scale.

Luxembourg First Division North - Union Sportive Esch (a) - (18/26)


Peters and Meyer both came within an inch of giving us the lead in the first half with long-range curling efforts that kissed the post on their way wide, but generally it was a tense one which is to be expected given how tight it is at the top. An even tighter second half followed despite tactical and personnel changes, leaving both sides with a point.

Luxembourg First Division North - FC Minerva Lentgen (h) - (19/26)


Minerva Lentgen went into this one off the back of 4 consecutive victories, and considering they pushed us with only 10 men earlier in the season I was prepared for a tight encounter. However they had no answer for Alex Wagner and Loick Ella Ndomann in the first half as the two players combined with RB Ella Ndomann finding time and space to fire in a pinpoint cross which Wagner glanced into the corner. Wagner then doubled our advantage with a powerful free-kick that their keeper could only parry onto the inside of the post. He had a chance to grab his hat-trick when 1 on 1 but saw his effort well saved. Ella Ndomann wasn't done though, exploiting the space out wide and giving their LB a torrid time again, he managed to pick out Louis Bleser with a square ball who was left with a simple finish to get his first for the club. Minerva Lentgen also lost a man in the first half as Ben Ruppert was dismissed for a horrid two-footed lunge. Bizarrely they improved after the break when down to 10 men and Fontes had to make an excellent point-blank save to keep the score at 3-0, but our numerical advantage paid off, as Marcio Leal fired home the second ball at a free-kick with 15 minutes to play to seal the win.

A tiny bit of information following our huge victory - the board have finally funded my National C License course, so I should have the qualification in July at some point.

Luxembourg First Division North - Union Bersdorf-Condorf 01 (a) - (20/26)


The relegation candidates came out and shocked us from the start as they poured forward in attack, only let down by poor finishing and an excellent double save by Fontes. We grew into the game as the half progressed and took the lead as Ferraz's pinpoint cross from the left found an unmarked Agrela six yards out, who chested the ball down before smashing home. Leesch pulled off an insane set of saves to prevent us from building on our lead, including a string of one on one save to deny a frustrated Ribeiro. Bersdorf-Condorf barely threatened in the second half, instead focusing on defence, but equalised with the best goal I've seen scored in this country as Jan Vuksanovic (a man I turned down at the start of the season when he was unattached) powered home a bending,swerving drive from 30 yards out of nothing. Overall they both deserve a point and their place in the league given the fight they've shown in the two games against us.

Luxembourg First Division North - Jeunesse Schieren (h) - (21/26)


Schieren came and set up shop once again with 11 men behind the ball looking to frustrate us like they did in our 0-0 draw earlier in the season. However this time it only worked for the first 25 minutes as Peters' low drive into the very corner from the edge of the box broke the deadlock with our first major chance. Ribeiro then doubled our lead as he latched onto a bad backpass and fired through the keeper's legs. We really had them on the ropes and AMR Sven Kos got our third after a well worked team move. They regrouped well at the break and became defensively stable once more, but offered little going forward. They did pull one back late on after our LB Ferraz was robbed in possession but we got the result against a very poor Schieren side who deserve to go down.

Overall March performance



P5 W3 D2 L0 GF10 GA2 PTS11

Another highly successful month sees us top now by a point, largely down to our strong defensive performances. Our new boys have gelled in well with our existing players and there is a good amount of rotation going on in most positions in the starting XI which is creating competition. The best new performers have probably been AMC Peters and DC Leal. With only five games to play, things are hotting up at both the top and bottom of the table, with a potentially unbridgeable gap of 5-6 points between the top two and the chasing pack. This means that barring a complete meltdown in our final few fixtures we should at least get a playoff game and maybe automatic promotion and the title. At the bottom Alisontia Steinsel have all but had relegation confirmed as they lie 10 points adrift with a maximum of 15 available. The other two relegation places look to be decided between Echternach, Boevange, Bersdorf-Condorf and Schieren with only 5 points separating them. Schieren are on an 8 game losing streak in 13th so look favourites to go drop to the 4th Tier, whilst I hope Bersdorf-Condorf survive as they've played the best football out of the sides down there and earned a respectable draw against us.

April sees us play three league games, two of which are versus sides that we will be seeking revenge against. Firstly we play Alliance Aischdall (a) who held us to a boring draw last time, so we must improve there and show them what we're made of. The same could be said for the following game against Sporting Mertzig (h) as currently they are the only side to defeat us in the league, yet as they sit in mid-table this has to be seen as another must-win game and a chance to redeem ourselves. We finish the month against relegation-threatened US Boevange (a) which may prove harder than it looks considering they may still be fighting desperately for survival at this stage.

Thanks @tongey! Definitely going to be a close run thing, and we've only lost once so far this season! Hopefully should be able to get a top two finish with the second placed side going into a playoff game, but with Kehlen matching us step for step I don't know if we'll have enough to finish as champions!

Avenir Beggen - Luxembourg First Division North (T3) - Season 2019/20


January/February 2020 - Title run-in preparations

Transfer Window Summary



Just the single player out as Tavares couldn't handle being criticised for a poor training level, so when First Division South promotion contenders CS Sanem came knocking he jumped at the opportunity to leave. A shame as he's a decent player, but I won't lose too much sleep over it as clearly he has the wrong mentality to play here. Let a few squad players go, but only excess players that were never going to make the cut and a few second choice goalkeepers.



Seven faces in, most of whom were sourced by our Head of Youth Development, but should provide depth with a few first-team players to strengthen our promotion chances.

Dany Ferraz - DL/DRC/MC - Kehlen F.C. (Free)


An excellent steal, managing to coax the utility player from title rivals Kehlen. Whilst his favoured position is LB, he could easily slot in as a first/second choice in any of the four positions he can play in, adding great depth as well as quality.

Ben Peters - AMC/STC - Minerva Lentgen (Free)


Signed way back in October after he was recommended, Ben has all of the technical attributes to make him our starting AMC, but with Bossi owning the role at the moment and having the additional bonus of set-play delivery, Peters may be stuck in a rotation system with him.

Louis Bleser - MC - Union 05 (Free)


His passing and vision attributes make him an ideal Deep-Lying Playmaker alongside Felix Meyer in the centre of the park. But with Benhamza in excellent form this will introduce some competition for places with the players in the best form getting the nod. Sejdovic is likely to see a reduction in playing time now, but he's only 17.

Samuel Ribeiro - STC - CS Oberkorn (Free)


He was excellent when he played against us earlier in the season, and the combined pace and clinical nature of Ribeiro made him an obvious choice to challenge for the #1 strikers spot, with Mendes currently coasting a bit without any competition. He will probably be our #1 choice, but form will dictate whether he stays in the side or not.

Andy Perl - STC - FC Syra Mensdorf (Free)


Signed from a high-flying First Division South side, Perl has good all-round striking stats, leaving him equally adept with the ball at his feet and in the air. Signed way back in September before Ribeiro was an option, Andy gives us the option of playing two upfront, as well as providing his experience to support the younger strikers in the squad.

Marcio Leal - DC - Jeunesse Schieren (Free)


Poached from strugglers Schieren, Marcio has incredible physical and technical defensive stats despite only being 21 years old! The first name on the teamsheet even at this stage, Marcio could definitely develop into a quality Tier 1 player and his signing signals the club's intentions of getting back to the big time.

Sven Kos - AMR - FC Yellow Boys Weiler-La-Tour (Free)


Whilst Agrela has largely performed well on the right wing so far this season, there was a sequence of games where his level had dropped and with no-one else at the club capable of playing on the right wing, there was less pressure on his place in the side. Kos is probably just about better than Agrela statistically (even at 17), but both players will rotate and play when they are in-form.

Seven new faces through the door again sees our side upgrade to one that could potentially challenge the next Tier of sides. The quality in depth is definitely here now, and with the exception of keeper Fontes, there is no-one who is guaranteed a place in the side now. It'll be interesting to see how the squad develops and gels with these new characters in the dressing room, and the mid-season friendlies should tell us what level this squad is now operating at.

Competitive player stats to date


Hardly got anyone leading the way in terms of goals scored with Agrela and Mendes only on 5 goals a piece. Bossi possibly the best player so far with the most assists and 4 goals, but there's not much in it and you could argue the case for both CM's in Benhamza and Meyer as well. Consistently strong performances across the starting XI see us leading the way in the league in pass completion, with 6 of the top 7 players coming from our side. Hopefully the new competition will inspire even better performances.

Mid-Season Friendlies


Although the main purpose of these friendlies was to keep the squad fit and familiarise new players with our style of playing, we have pulled off some incredible results, particularly against higher-tier opposition. We managed to draw with 4th placed Tier 2 side Grevenmacher and Belgian Pro outfit RFCB Sprimont, both of whom we were predicted to lose comfortably to. Even more impressively we managed to shock German side Mehring, and only lost by a single goal to 3rd placed Top Tier side Differdange in an incredibly tight game. The most unbelievable of all of our results however was the 5-1 spanking that we handed to Top Tier side Titus Petange that saw Ben Peters establish himself as a first team player.

Luxembourg First Division North - DC Echternach (a) - (16/26)


After a drab and even first half, substitute Andy Perl had the best chance to give us the lead, but was denied by a good save from their keeper Moris, as was Agrela as his bending free-kick got tipped past the post as it was heading for the bottom corner. The old guard saw us through however, as Benhamza's rocket from 25 yards after a cross was badly cleared and then Meyer's driven shot through a crowd at a corner saw us take all three points. This was after a bad-tempered second half saw Echternach reduced to 10 men after Wagner picked up two yellow cards in the second half. On the whole Echternach didn't play too badly, and based on this performance should survive this season.

Overall February performance



P1 W1 D0 L0 GF2 GA0 PTS3

Although only one competitive fixture has been played, we have moved top on goals scored based on Kehlen only managing to win by a goal. Swift and Bastendorf also failed to win, increasing the gap between the top three and the rest of the league. The interesting thing for me will be to see how our new signings perform and how that will impact our squad dynamics. I think for now in certain positions the old guard need to be trusted to continue performing.

March sees a substantial chunk of the remaining league season take place with 5 games. We face home matches against CS Oberkorn (h) and FC Minerva Lentgen (h), both mid-table sides who gave us a tough game when we met them earlier in the season, but also clubs from whom we have stolen players in the January window so these should be interesting fixtures. Between those games we face arguably the biggest tie of the month against US Esch (a), who could leapfrog us into pole position with victory, so just a point here may be enough to hold them at bay, but may give advantage to Kehlen. We round the month off with matches against two sides in the relegation battle - Union Bersdorf-Condorf 01 (a) and Jeunesse Schieren (h) - so they will both be fighting for their futures and will not give us an easy game, with Schieren in particular proving tricky to break down last time we met.

Avenir Beggen - Luxembourg First Division North (T3) - Season 2019/20


December 2019 - Battle of Bastendorf

Luxembourg First Division North - FC Alisontia Steinsel (a) - (14/26)


Due to the injury to Stranen picked up last game and Sejdovic's suspension we rotated for this one, and that included a return from injury for Carlos Tavares. He repaid my faith in him by lashing home from the left side of the area inside of 10 minutes, netting his first for the club. Benhamza's guided header into the top corner and Tavares' second after a goalmouth scramble were both products of the excellent set-pieces taken by Bossi that were a constant threat throughout the game. We rested players in the second half and lowered our intensity, but I was still disappointed that Fontes was forced into making two excellent saves to maintain the 3 goal margin.

Luxembourg First Division North - FC 47 Bastendorf (h) - (15/26)


Last time we played the in-form Bastendorf, it ended as a tepid goalless draw, but with them as the top scorers in the league, maybe it would play out differently? We took the initiative however in the first half, firstly with Meyer seeing his header tipped onto the base of the post from Wagner's inswinging free-kick. And then when Mendes was brought down from behind when clean in on goal in the box, Richartz sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot to give us a 1-0 lead. The second half started in a crazy manner, with Bastendorf equalising, but it being disallowed for a Maradonna-esque "hand of god" finish. Both sides then had dangerous free-kicks, with Bossi seeing his tipped past the post for us, but DC Dylan Thill managed to make his count, equalising for Bastendorf from 25 yards. Our opponents were far stronger in the second half, and when Benhamza was wrongly judged to have brought his man down in the box, the referee awarded Schmitz the chance to make up for his previous handball from the spot. But Fontes was our hero, guessing the correct way and palming the tame penalty away to safety. I'll definitely take the point given the form Bastendorf are in!

Overall December performance



P2 W1 D1 L0 GF4 GA1 PTS4

Two identical results to Kehlen in December sees us very much as we were at the start of the month, behind by 1 goal difference. 5 of the top 6 also picked up 4 points this month, so no-one has made up any ground on us, but equally we haven't pulled away with most sides breathing down our necks. Alisontia Steinsel and now Boevange look destined for the Fourth Tier of Luxembourgian football after both sides have lost at least 5 on the spin, with Boevange 7 points from safety having only picked up 8 points from 15 games so far. Bersdorf-Condorf will be wishing that the winter break could come at any other point in the season after winning back to back games to boost their survival chances, whilst Echternach and Schieren will both be looking over their shoulders.

My next update will summarise everything through to the end of February 2020, including the January transfer window, friendly games to keep up squad fitness, and the first league game back after the break against relegation-threatened Echternach (a).

Ridiculous performances in the Europa league there, like you I thought you'd do well to even finish in third! Well done mate, keep it up.
Thanks @AdamRK, one day I might manage in a league with a team that someone's actually heard of! Might take until 2070....

Cheers @Dan and @bigmattb28, November was an interesting month, so it will be intriguing to see what the rest of the season brings!

Avenir Beggen - Luxembourg First Division North (T3) - Season 2019/20


November 2019 - Clash with Kehlen

Luxembourg First Division North - FC Alliance Aischdall Hobscheid-Eischen (h) - (10/26)


We started this tough fixture in the worst way possible, allowing a corner to bounce in the area without a challenge, straight to Corin Grosber who half-volleyed into the top corner. We were awful in the first half and only managed a single shot. The lads got the hairdryer treatment at the break, and it did pay off. Nabil Benhamza, the best player on the pitch, pinged a long diagonal ball to Goncalves, who got to the byline and squared to the near post for Mendes to arrive on cue and finish from 3 yards out at the start of the second half. Their captain got sent off late on, but this really was a poor game from both sides with few chances and a point the fair result.

Luxembourg First Division North - Sporting Mertzig (a) - (11/26)


If the last game lacked quality, I don't have words to describe the first half of this one. Agrela wasted our best chance at the start of the second half, heading at the keeper from less than 6 yards, although he did make an excellent save he shouldn't have had a chance. We managed 67% possession and this was our only shot on target. We threatened from set plays throughout, but couldn't produce good enough service or finishing to challenge their keeper. Dylan Prudhomme's late (and undeserved) winner inflicted our first loss of the season in the league, as slack marking allowed him too much time to shoot from the edge of the box. The manner of the defeat was disgusting, and we had no right to expect to win either of our games this month as two poor performances now see us without a win in 3.

Luxembourg First Division North - US Boevange (h) - (12/26)


Desperately needing to bounce back, changes were made as we hosted lowly Boevange, who currently sat in the bottom 3. Frank Bossi put us into the lead for the first time in 4 games as he followed up on the rebound from Goncalves' saved shot. Benhamza's form was probably the only positive thing to take from our previous two games and he continued it here, crashing in a low, angled shot off the post after he was teed up on the edge of the box by Agrela. We hit the post twice through Mendes as we dominated and finally seemed able to remember how to play football again. But it was Agrela who finished things off, going from provider to scorer as he tapped home substitute Wagner's wicked cross at the far post after losing his man. Just the display we needed before facing our main rivals.

Luxembourg First Division North - F.C. Kehlen (h) - (13/26)


With only goal difference separating the two sides at kick-off (and only 1 goal difference at that), anyone would've predicted a tight and tense game with neither side willing to give up any ground to their rivals. They came into this one in much better form than us however. 1 shot in total in the first half summarised everything we'd predicted. The first shot on target in the whole game came in the 62nd minute as we switched from control possession to an adapted form of wing play as Mendes out-muscled two of their defenders before unleashing a ferocious strike that keeper Haagen deflected behind for a corner. Then, Bossi won a free-kick 30 yards from goal and took it himself, forcing Haagen into an excellent save to tip the swerving ball onto the post at full stretch. No other chances at all in the game as we prevented Kehlen from even having a single shot on target and on another day we would've taken all 3 points, but got to be happy with a draw against the number one side in the league.

Overall November performance



P4 W1 D2 L1 GF4 GA2 PTS5

November was a definite blip in our near-fautless season so far as not only did we drop points against weaker sides, but our offensive performance in 3 of the 4 games was also below par and saw us create very few chances and score even fewer goals. All of this was also with us averaging well over 60% possession, so we need to become better at using the ball more intelligently and creating more chances. Hopefully in December we will be able to rebound, as if this is our drop in form for the season, it wasn't too costly. We remain behind F.C. Kehlen courtesy of 1 goal difference, but the draw between the two sides has seen the chasing pack in 3rd-6th all catch up to within 5 points.

Halfway through the league season and I have very few complaints about where we are and would've loved to have been in this position if you'd asked me at the start of the year. December sees us play two early fixtures before the winter break sees competitive action cease until late February, with another transfer window in the mix as well. Before the break we play basement side Alisontia Steinsel (a) which will surely be 3 more points and a good boost to our goal difference considering the problems they are having this season. We then play FC 47 Bastendorf (h) who started their campaign incredibly poorly, but the side predicted to finish 2nd have racked up 5 wins on the spin to drag themselves right back into the promotion hunt so this should be another tight, competitive game.

Avenir Beggen - Luxembourg First Division North (T3) - Season 2019/20


October 2019 - Can the iron curtain stay strong?

Luxembourg First Division North - CS Oberkorn (a) - (5/26)


We managed to score more goals in the first half in this game than we'd managed in our previous 5 put together. Agrela started things off after he swept home the persistent Carlos Tavares' cut back with his weaker left foot. Marc Fiorani grabbed his first for the club to double our advantage, heading home Bossi's wide free-kick back across the keeper into the top-left corner. Our job was made easier when Tidiane Mabille picked up his second booking for a foul off the ball at the start of the second half. Even with 11 men on the pitch they wouldn't have stopped Meyer's first for the club though, as he bent the ball into the top corner from the edge of the D after the ball broke to him. Oberkorn let things go from bad to worse, as Mike Magalhaes received his marching orders for a dangerous two-footed lunge to leave them with 9 men, but Samuel Ribeiro was allowed to stroll through our defence unchallenged to score his 11th (surely can't be right?) of the season and stop us from keeping a clean sheet for the first time this league campaign.

Luxembourg First Division North - Union Sportive Esch (h) - (6/26)


1st met 2nd for two of the three unbeaten sides in the league, and the cagey encounter that followed showed that neither side was prepared to give up their record. Ribeiro Alves had a glorious chance at the start of the second half, getting denied by Fontes when one-on-one to keep our clean sheet intact. A completely even game was once again settled by our ability to finish games off in the final ten minutes, as left-back Max Richartz headed Bossi's corner into the turf and past the man on the line to give us a crucial 1-0 win and halt US Esch's unbeaten run (as well as scoring the first goal they have let in all season).

Luxembourg First Division North - FC Minerva Lentgen (a) - (7/26)


Michiel de Graaf took an early bath for two clumsy bookable offences inside the first 30 minutes, and we utilised our numerical advantage straight away, with Emir Sejdovic arriving late into the box to sweep home Carlos Tavares' low cut-back. However the 10 men struck back quickly, with Nimon Muslji spotting Fontes off his line after a goal kick was poorly cleared and he lobbed the ball over him from 25 yards. Some goals you can do nothing about! Agrela restored our lead after the break as he cut in from the right wing and bent the ball into the far corner with his left foot from just inside the box. Minerva Lentgen somehow became much stronger as a team after going down a man, and equalised from the spot after Gregor Stranen was accused of bundling his man over from a free-kick. Loick Ella Ndomann then saw his marching orders for us after a second bookable offence to level the sides at 10 apiece, but that seemed to make us play better and was capped off with Agrela's second which was a carbon copy of his first and gave us a hard-fought victory.

Luxembourg First Division North - Union Bersdorf-Condorf 01 (h) - (8/26)


When Mendes put us 1-0 up inside 15 minutes against a side that hadn't won in their past 14, it only looked like the result could go one way. Before half-time he had added a second on the volley, and Bossi had also netted his third of the season from just inside the box, both assisted by Meyer. Our dominance was clear to see in the first half and made a nice change given our performance last time out. Mendes then completed his hat-trick with a left-footed volley from close range after a corner was only half cleared. However Bersdorf-Condorf got back into the game as they scored with their only two chances, firstly with Ben Bossi strolling in after being completely left alone following a routine long ball, and then with Vuksanovic's header. Disappointing to concede to 11 men for the first time this league season!

Tavares' injury will take him out until the new year, with Wagner and youngster Goncalves now left to fight for the AML spot.

Luxembourg First Division North - Jeunesse Schieren (a) - (9/26)


Disappointing that we couldn't break down a bottom half side. No real chances of note either to be honest, very disappointing way to end the month. Schieren came with a game-plan to park 11 men behind the ball and take the point, and it worked for them.

Overall October performance



P5 W4 D1 L0 GF11 GA5 PTS13

Our unbeaten start continues, to my joy and amazement given how tight it was supposed to be at the start of the season. The snatched victory over US Esch was particularly important given that both sides were unbeaten and in excellent form at the time. We do however sit second at the end of October, behind Kehlen on goal difference, although we do have a game in hand to potentially move into first. US Esch and Swift Hesperange (who got over their poor start) seem to be the other promotion contenders, with a 4 point gap between them and the rest of the league. Alisontia Steinsel seem doomed for the 4th Tier even at this early stage after conceding 34 in their first 10 games, with Bersdorf-Condorf and Boevange needing to turn around their form if they are to avoid joining them. We started to score before the final ten minutes this month, although we did concede our first league goals of the season. Bizarrely only 2 were against 11 men, 2 were against 10 and one was when we were facing 9 men!

November will take us to halfway through the 26-game league season as we will play four fixtures. The first is against promotion rivals Alliance Aischdall (h), who have only really dropped points against lesser sides and performed well against the better clubs in the league such as ourselves. Winnable fixtures against Sporting Merzig (a) and US Boevange (h) follow, before the biggest game of my managerial career to date - pre-season favourites F.C. Kehlen (h). This should be an excellent game of football with both sides scoring freely and keeping it tight at the back, it'll be a true battle, one that could decide who gets the title advantage given that neither of us have dropped many points to date. The advantage we have this month, is that 3 of our 4 fixtures (including the two against our title rivals) will be played at the Stade rue Henri Dunant in front of the Pixies faithful.

Difficult to meet expectations when your best players are out injured for the majority of the season! Unlucky mate, the excellent work you did in Uruguay will surely still make you a strong candidate for most managerial positions.
Shame about the ACL, but will be interesting to see what options you now have following your huge success with East Bengal
Us and half of the league @Dan! But I'm glad that they see us challenging in the melee at least. Board expectations are in check so there will be no repercussions if we don't make it this season.

Hopefully @bigmattb28, I guess the first few months will tell us how realistic we should be though.

Cheers @tongey! Who knows, I may even end up managing a club someone has actually heard of one of these days. (don't hold your breath though )

Avenir Beggen - Luxembourg First Division North (T3) - Season 2019/20


September 2019 - First Competitive Action

Luxembourg First Division North - FC Swift Hesperange (a) - (1/26)


As the stats suggest, we were the better side throughout the game, but in truth only looked like scoring through Mauro Agrela's dangerous set-plays in the first half. We created chances but looked like we wouldn't put any of them away, until Felix Meyer's deep cross from the left was headed back across goal by Agrela, where substitute Frank Bossi volleyed home on his debut to give us the best possible start.

Luxembourg First Division North - FC Alisontia Steinsel (h) - (2/26)


We dominated the first half, but could only get one of our first ten shots on target. Alex Wagner gave us the lead on his first start of the season, robbing their right-back before placing into the corner. With 10 minutes to play, Mendes played in Agrela with an incisive through-ball, and the right-winger finished into the top corner from 6 yards to keep up our 100% start. Mendes added gloss to the scoreline from the spot after Agrela was pushed and Bossi completed the scoring, chesting down Wagner's angled ball before rifling past the keeper to give us a comprehensive victory.

Luxembourg First Division North - FC 47 Bastendorf (a) - (3/26)


We went into this one as big underdogs, despite Bastendorf only picking up a single point from their first two games. Boetelho had the best chance of the first half, but volleyed over for Bastendorf in a low-quality encounter. He had another similar chance in the second half, with a similar result, and Mendes ended up somehow wasting our best chance when one-on-one by making the ball end up behind where he shot from? I think this one would've been goalless after 900 minutes let alone 90!

After the game, the draw for the Luxembourg Cup 2nd Round was made.

And we ended up against Second Tier side US Sandweiler away from home. Should be a good opportunity to test where our squad really is at against higher league opposition. It also saw the Oberkorn game rescheduled for the start of October.

Luxembourg First Division North - DC Echternach (h) - (4/26)


We rotated our starting XI for this one with the Cup tie just around the corner, despite Echternach having a strong start to the season so far. They showed us why in the first half, with Max Landim twice going close to breaking the deadlock. Despite us having more of the game, Echternach continued to produce the best chances, but the FM gods shone upon us when Cyril Wagner's pressured clearance from his own byline hit teammate Ben Held and deflected tantalisingly past the keeper to give us an undeserved victory.

Luxembourg Cup - US Sandweiler (a) - (R2)


We go into this game as big underdogs yet again, although US Sandweiler have only managed 4 points from their 5 games in the Second Tier, so may be low on confidence which we can use to our advantage. They completely outplayed us from the kickoff, with Emanuel Fontes making a few good saves to keep us in the game. With their strikers, Ibrahima Sangare in particular, unable to find the target with any authority, it took centre-back Aldin Dervisevic to break the deadlock, as he somehow found himself in the box after a counter-attack. We were much better after Sandweiler had scored, and almost equalised with Alex Wagner's dipping free-kick, but he saw the effort saved. That was our first shot of the game and was in the 80th minute! Clearly we don't have the class to match higher league opposition yet, but with no expectation in the Cup this season I'm not too disappointed.

Overall September performance



P5 W3 D1 L1 GF6 GA1 PTS10

An excellent start to the league campaign sees us second on goal difference, having not yet conceded and Fontes having only faced 6 shots on target in our 4 games. The cup performance whilst disappointing, was expected and in the press conference after it was mentioned that we were expected to lose by 3 or 4 so should be proud. A possible concern is scoring goals moving forward into the rest of the season as we have scored 6 in 4 games, but 4 came against one side, and we have only scored one goal before the 80th minute!

October sees another 5 fixtures, all in the league, as we start the month with the rescheduled game against CS Oberkorn (a), quickly followed by US Esch (h), who lie 4th and 3rd respectively in the table currently. This should be another excellent test to see how we stack up against the sides we will be competing with for promotion. Then comes a trip to FC Minerva Lentgen (a) and Union Bersdorf-Condorf 01 (h), who both currently sit in the bottom half of the table so may be slightly easier fixtures to negotiate. We finish the month against overachieving Jeunesse Schieren (a). A reasonably challenging month sees us face 3 of the current top 7, so will be interesting to see whether our defensive strength will still prevail.


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Definitely was an item at the top of my agenda @HawkAussie, I like to have a squad around the 20-23 mark ideally, enough to cover for injury but not too many so players get fed up with a lack of first team football.

Thanks @AdamRK! Should be fun, hope you keep up the good work in Sweden!

Avenir Beggen - Luxembourg First Division North (T3) - Season 2019/20


July/August 2019 - Pre-Season Preparations

Transfer Window Summary


None. Always a nice thing to see at an amateur club, particularly when sides from the Second Tier tried poaching some of our best players, but they decided to stay put!


Just the 21 players in, although 8 of them were before my tenure started, so I have signed 13 players, some for now and some for the future to boost my playing squad up to a healthier 25.
Below I will post the stats of the signings that will make the first XI for those that are interested.

Emir Sejdovic - MC - Unattached (Free)


At only 17 he will play as a part of a rotation system, but I am planning on training him to become a box-to-box midfielder given his high work rate. Also released from the Tier 1 champions last year, so developed at the best club in Luxembourgian football.

Loick Ella Ndomann - DR - Schifflange (Free)


Signed from another Third Tier side, but in the Southern group, easily slots in as our number one right-back. The Frenchman is more for defence than supporting attacking play.

Frank Bossi - STC/AMC - Norden (Free)


Poached from lower league Norden, at only 17 Frank is definitely one for the future, but I will look to develop him as an AMC, and he may start the season there as a flair player.

Max Richartz - DL - ASL Porto (Free)


Possibly my most impressive signing, Max is solid at the back as well as being more than competent coming forward, but this is something we will look to develop more in him. The best left-back in the squad by a long margin, and signed on deadline day from Tier 3 South side ASL Porto.

Felix Meyer - DMC/MC - Alisontia Steinsel (Free)


Another excellent deadline day signing, Felix is a natural supportive Ball-Winning Midfielder, with good passing and tackling stats he is going to be vital to our success and the way we play.

Nihad Tutic - DC - Unattached (Free)


Solid CB, will compete with Marc Fiorani for the second CB spot. Good marking and physical stats particularly pace will prevent us from being countered too often. Played in the Second Tier last season so was an obvious and easy early signing.

Gregor Stranen - DC/DR - Unattached (Free)


Excellent pace, good heading and marking all help to make another good covering CB to prevent counter-attacks, which always seem to be my undoing on FM. Straight into the first team. Also partnered Tutic last season in the Second Tier (where they finished 3rd) before both were let go.

Emanuel Fontes - GK - Junglinster (Free)


One of two strong Portuguese-speaking goalkeepers signed in the window, Emanuel will get the nod to start the season but Admilson will provide strong competition. Both signed from sides tipped to do well in the Third Tier they are both strong options in this league.

Stefan Mendes - STC - Unattached (Free)


Strong heading, pace and finishing stats make an all-round forward that can adapt between our wing-play and control possession formations with ease. I personally love a Poacher up top, so he fits the bill for what I look for in a striker perfectly. Also played at Wiltz with Tutic and Stranen last season before being released.

Nine new faces into the starting XI means that it may take a few games for the players to click, but when they do, we will have enough quality to match any of the sides in the league as we have upgraded in almost all positions. We also have the depth now to cope with any injuries, with the exception of AMR/AMC. This is how the squad looks now.

With transfer business concluded, our expectations and league predictions were both released.

A top half (7th+) finish expected for the newly promoted giants seems ambitious, especially with the limited squad that I received, but now in truth I think I'd be disappointed not to challenge for promotion with the squad I have created - you're welcome board!


One of the most bizarre sets of odds I've seen on FM, with no less than 8 out of 14 sides given a good chance of promotion at around 2-1 or less. We are in the mix and predicted to finish 4th, but the bookies obviously think that there is nothing to choose between the top sides with the exception of Kehlen. Looks like it should be a nice and close title fight which my boys are more than up for.

Pre-Season Friendlies


In truth we had a difficult pre-season, with a narrow loss to Top Tier side Mondorf and respectable draws against Second Tier sides Wiltz and Atert Bissen, although we could and maybe should have won both of those which gives us confidence going into the season. Even the loss to Lille Reserves was a game we dominated, and we shocked Belgian Third Tier side Zottegem who were predicted to thrash us!

The two disappointing things from pre-season were the results against the two German sides in Wegberg-Beeck and particularly Bubingen as we failed to score and Bubingen were supposedly a weaker side than us. The other is the fact that despite producing some good pre-season performances, we only managed to win one game, hopefully something that we can rectify early in the league campaign.

My first competitive match of the save will take place in September as the league season gets underway.
We will start our promotion challenge against recently relegated and similarly ranked FC Swift Hesperange (a), before a potentially easier tie against FC Alisontia Steinsel (h). Our third league game of the month should be our most challenging as we take on the side predicted to finish second - FC 47 Bastendorf (a), but will finish against two sides predicted to struggle against relegation - DC Echternach (h) and CS Oberkorn (a) so will hopefully get more points on the board. We conclude the busy first month against currently unknown opposition in the Second Round of the Luxembourg Cup after receiving a bye through the First Round, but as we have no expectations in the competition it will be a good opportunity to challenge ourselves (and hopefully earn some money from a good run) without any pressure.

I thought it was a pretty natural move @r96Skinner, was just a bit concerned because I've seen it done so many times before I didn't want to be accused of copying!

Thanks @HawkAussie, I'm looking forward to finding out where I'm going to end up!

Do it @bigmattb28! I definitely think it has made me more motivated already, knowing I have something to fall back on if I'm not enjoying my current save or finding it too repetitive without giving up. Always got to be a journeyman for me though.

Cheers @Dan

So after loading my game, I decided to "Holiday" for a year, so that there weren't any jobs available purely for the reason that a club had only just been loaded into the custom database. This means that when I return, all jobs are either newly promoted sides or available due to sacking previous managers. I was amazed to find 324 jobs in June 2019 upon my return!

I thought the easiest way to decide where to start my journey would be to holiday for a day and apply for all jobs available through that feature and then take the job at the first club that offered me an opportunity.
17 clubs wanted me in charge despite having no badges or experience of any form, but the first to reply were Luxembourgian Third Tier side Avenir Beggen.



With the prospect of no salary or fixed contract, who could refuse!

Avenir Beggen - Luxembourg First Division North (T3) - Season 2019/20


June 2019 - Assessing the situation



Luxembourg is where my journey starts, and it's safe to say that I won't be travelling to many smaller places. With an area of under 1000 sq miles, and a population of only 600,000, Luxembourg is home to a large proportion of Portuguese nationals, as well as some from neighbouring France and Germany and the local Luxembourgers. Generally seen as a peaceful and democratic nation, Luxembourg were one of the EU founder nations, have sat on the UN Security Council and are one of the three Benelux nations, along with Belgium and The Netherlands.

Beggen, where my new club are based, is a district of the capital - Luxembourg City, which is a UNESCO heritage site and houses 100,000 people. The Beggen district itself is one of 24 comprising the city, and its 3,500 strong population holds host to the Russian embassy, as well as being the lodgings for US forces during WWII. One of the most famous things about the district is actually its football team and the stadium they play in, the 4,830 seater Stade rue Henri Dunant.
The pitch is one of the largest in the country, and is far superior in quality to most top-flight sides let alone those at our level, so for most players this will be a once in a lifetime experience.

League Rules and Conditions

The Luxembourg First Division is the Third Tier of Luxembourgian football, and is split into two sections, North and South, with us playing in the North section. The rules are identical for both sections. A reasonably standard league format sees each time play each other home and away once each until 26 league games have been played with 3pts for a win, 1pt for a draw and 0 for a loss. After the games have been played, the bottom 3 teams are relegated and the top side is promoted to the Second Tier. The second place side goes into a Playoff group with the Second place side from the South section, and two potentially relegated sides from the Second Tier. One match is then played against one of the other sides only, with the winners ending up in the Second Tier and losers in the Third Tier.

In terms of regulations, no more than 4 Non-EU players are allowed to be registered and 3 substitutes out of 5 are allowed to be used each game.

Avenir Beggen

Founded in 1915, Avenir Beggen, known as Wichtelcher (translating to Pixies) by their fans, are a fallen giant in the Third Tier of the Luxembourg pyramid as they are one of the most successful clubs in the history of Luxembourgian football.

This helps to explain why they have such an impressive stadium, as 15 years ago they were winning silverware and challenging for the National Division title as well competing in Europe. In fact as recently as 2009 they were still competing in the top flight, but their catastrophic fall from grace saw them languishing in the Fourth Tier of the Luxembourg football pyramid for the recent 2018/19 campaign. However with a successful promotion last time out, it is my job now to continue the rise of a club that has too much history to be in this lowly division for too long.

The Current Squad


Doesn't make for good reading does it? And this is after I have promoted any 16 and 17 year olds with a 2 star rating or above from the U19 squad! With no strikers, only one CM and no goalkeeper above one star, it is clear that we are going to need to be busy in the transfer window in order to be prepared for the upcoming season. On top of that we only currently have 14 players so couldn't even fill out the bench! I have until the end of July to make any necessary transfers, but fortunately with all players on amateur contracts, I can sign players with no risk factors if they aren't up to standard as they can be released with no consequence.

The one area of strength we appear to have however is our wingers (stats in spoilers below), although two of our three star men play in the same position, so one of them may need to shift into the middle and learn how to play as a AMC or striker (probably Carlos Tavares since he is comfortable playing as an Inside Forward already).




Next update I will conclude the pre-season, summarise any business I have done, run through formation/tactics, expectations and friendly results.
Thanks for reading!
Welcome to my new career! Just a quick point, this doesn't mean that I'm abandoning my Ultimate Journeyman Challenge at all, just that I want a change of scenery for a little while and a different challenge!

The main problem I have is with the lack of support in the database, even with Claassen's excellent updates for the African/Oceanian leagues etc. So I'm moving to the continent of structure - Europe, although with Claassen's current European Megapack (in spolier below) in play, so I will have access to all 55 European Nations and have loaded all of the divisions possible from the Northern Irish 7th Tier and Israeli 5th Tier to the EPL and La Liga.


Career Goals
  • Take a team from the bottom division in a country to the top division
  • Have an unbeaten season
  • Manage my boyhood club - Cheltenham Town FC
  • Win the Champions League
  • Win the Europa League
  • Become Favoured Personnel at a club
  • Become a club Icon
  • Become a club Legend
  • Win every trophy possible in a nation
  • Manage in at least 10 different countries
  • Break into the European Hall of Fame
  • Become the best European manager in history (knocking old whisky nose off top spot)
My Journey

https://i.imgur.com/s58CVbr.png?1 https://i.imgur.com/tfjrKAr.png?1 Avenir Beggen (Luxembourg Tier 3) : 29/6/19 -

Trophy Cabinet


Personal Awards


Total Game Completion

https://i.imgur.com/s58CVbr.png?1 Luxembourg (0/4)

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Guelleh Batal de la Garde Republicaine FC - Djibouti Premier League - Season 2019/20


August 2020 - How far can we go?

Kagame Interclub Cup - Armee Patriotique Rwandaise FC (Rwanda) (n) - (3/3)


We almost got off to the perfect start, with A Guedi and Adan both having headed chances inside five minutes but heading over and heading straight at the keeper respectively. Surprisingly we controlled the first half an hour and deservedly took the lead through fresh academy product Xabiibo Moussa, who swept home Dominique Mohamed's low cross at the near post. A seven-minute spell in the second half saw APR FC register their only three shots on target in the game, and they all went in! Firstly Yves Mugabe equalised, collected a long ball and blasting past Guedi at the near post who should've done better. A football manager goal came next, as a defensive mix-up presented Mugabe with the ball 6 yards from goal without having to even win a tackle or intercept, and he converted. Finally Eric Manzi's looping header made it 3-1, APR turned up for 7 minutes as we then started dominating again but it was enough for the win.

Fortunately for us, we lost by two goals, which was required to sneak into the Quarter Finals as the second of the two best placed sides.

We are now drawn against Kenyan champions SofaPaka in the Quarter Finals, who won all of their group games and come from a Tier 8 nation, so we are seen as major outsiders to progress. However we have done as as well as any Djiboutian side in the save so far, so we will see what happens with the pressure off us.

Kagame Interclub Cup - SofaPaka (Kenya) (n) - (QF)


Despite being dominated for the first 20 minutes (yet without being threatened too much), JC Hirir won us a penalty on the counter-attack, which Ilyass stepped up for and dispatched with our first shot of the game. Joseph Onyiso clipped the post after out-muscling M Hirir as SofaPaka threw the kitchen sink at us. He was more clinical next time though, smashing past Guedi after he was played in out wide behind our back four. Dominique Mohamed and Onyiso both had excellent chances to win it, but were denied by superb saves, with Mohamed being denied from point blank with the keeper flicking the ball over the bar. However when Adan was forced off with injury in the 90th minute, we were forced to see out added time with 10 men, and we couldn't quite make it, with Lawrence Shaban firing into the top corner from a narrow angle just a minute from time. Devastated to lose in this manner and even more gutted to end my time at Guelleh Batal by conceding an injury time goal to get knocked out by a far superior side, but we pushed them right to their limit.

Overall August performance



P2 W0 D0 L2 GF2 GA5 PTS0

The "best game" in the shot above was the final for those that are interested, with the trophy going to Sudan for the 4th consecutive season. A disappointing way to finish my reign here with consecutive defeats for the first time, but we were playing against sides so far out of our league it was like San Marino vs. Denmark (or equivalent semi-decent international side), so I'm happy to have been in with a chance of getting a result out of both games. It just shows how strong our side has grown, and I'd like for them to dominate in Djibouti from now on.

With this all wrapped up, my 442 day stint in charge was complete, and I am now ready to move onto my next challenge.

Thanks @bigmattb28! Due to work commitments, the weekend is when I get most of my stuff done and I'm not around during the week so I get it man. I'll make sure to keep posting the stats then! I'll let you find out below as I've made my mind up, be interesting to see if it was the right decision.

Guelleh Batal de la Garde Republicaine FC - Djibouti Premier League - Season 2019/20


June/July 2020 - A first taste of continental football

Just a quick update in terms of my database, with Tier 19 completed, I have loaded the Tier 18 nations of Eritrea, Somalia and Comoros as playable, although some of these aren't accessible yet as they are mid-season. I will be removing Mayotte and Djibouti once I am done at Guelleh Batal as I have won the top tiers here, but will keep South Sudan as a possible interim destination as I haven't won the league there yet.

My decision in terms of my future here is that I will take the side through this season's Kagame Interclub Cup campaign (July/August) as it is an excellent opportunity to experience African continental football and see how we compare against the champions of some of my future destinations. I will be resigning at the end of August following this though if there are any available jobs in a new country for me.

Kagame Interclub Cup

The CECAFA Club Cup is a tournament organised by the Council of East and Central African Football Associations, and is contested by teams from Central and East Africa. The countries who send their league champions to participate are : Burundi; Djibouti; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Kenya; Rwanda; Somalia; South Sudan; Sudan; Tanzania; Uganda and Zanzibar. The cup is called the Kagame Interclub Cup, as it is sponsored by Rwandan president Paul Kagame (not at all biased). Running since 1967, early editions were won by Kenyan teams, but recently sides from Sudan and Tanzania have dominated. The 2020 version is being held in Tanzania.

No Djiboutian side has ever won the competition or even made the final, with no side on the save currently making it past the Quarter Finals. The 12 sides are drawn into 3 groups of four teams, with the top two from each group, as well as the two remaining highest points scorers qualifying for the Quarter Finals, where the competition becomes single-leg knockout.


We are drawn against Armee Patriotique Rwandaise from Rwanda (Tier 12), Azam FC from Tanzania (Tier 10) and Mafunzo from Zanzibar (Tier 17). This is a very tough group as Azam were champions as recently as 2015, and APR won in 2004, and were runners-up in 2014 and 2013 so have recent-ish pedigree in the competition. My personal aim would be to beat Mafunzo and hopefully qualify as one of the highest-ranked 3rd placed sides, and then take anything else as a bonus.

In terms of scheduling, we face Azam FC first in their home country, before taking on Mafunzo in the crucial winnable game that could see us qualify with a good result alone. We will finish in August against APR FC, before possibly taking on knock-out games, but these will be in my next update.


Kagame Interclub Cup - Azam FC (Tanzania) (n) - (1/3)


Azam were the better side to start, with Thomas Okum threatening for them upfront from kickoff, and he hit the bar from range after 25 minutes. We had a chance of our own, but Said was denied by a good save. Okum did get the opener, latching onto a pinpoint through ball behind our defence, although Guedi will be disappointed that he couldn't have done better with the poor lofted shot. We came right back into the game in the second period as Azam FC became more defensive, and had equal amounts of possession and shots as our favoured opponents. But with fitness lagging due to playing no fixtures in over two months, Okum struck again, this time on the counter as he clinically finished this time, leaving Guedi with no chance. Ilyass did pull one back with ten minutes to play, finishing from a tight angle after good work from Houssein, but Azam probably deserved the win given our poor fitness, but it was much closer than I anticipated!

Kagame Interclub Cup - Mafunzo (Zanzibar) (n) - (2/3)


The first 75 minutes brought about only one shot on target, which was a tame effort from them. We were probably just about the better side, but no-one really threatened either keeper, with Ilyass missing the target on two occasions. However Ilyass proved to be our hero yet again, collecting the ball on halfway, skipping past two defenders and clinically finished past the keeper from 18 yards off the post with 15 minutes to play. Dominique Mohamed had a chance to double our lead, but saw his effort saved, and Guedi had to save late to give us the three points!

Just to demonstrate how tired our players were after playing two games in a week after not playing at all for two months, here's a snapshot of their fitness levels towards the end of the last game!


Overall July performance



P2 W1 D0 L1 GF2 GA2 PTS3

Not a bad start to continental competition, with the first two results going how I had expected, and I reckon we could've at least drawn with Azam if our players were fully fit, but c'est la vie. I'm going to take a risk in our final game against APR (n) by playing a second XI to give our first team some time to recover for the knockout stages. The only risk would be that the second XI might not get us to the knockout stages, but we will qualify as one of the best of the rest if we lose by two goals or better, so I'd hope that we could manage that and give ourselves a chance in the Quarter Finals.

An excellent start, will be interesting to see how much of a challenge Newburgh will be. I really do sympathise with the whole people poaching your best players who are on amateur contracts thing, I guess the only positive is that you can do the same back to fill the gaps your players have left!
Guelleh Batal de la Garde Republicaine FC - Djibouti Premier League - Season 2019/20


May 2020 - Tier Up Time?

Djibouti Premier League - Arhiba (h) - (17/18)


As if anyone else would dare open the scoring but Daoud Ilyass! His swivel and shot on the turn from the edge of the box was his 23rd of the season and provided us with a strong early platform. Moussa Hirir's header from an Awad free-kick, and Maxime Adan's deflected volley from a corner gave us the 3-0 victory we needed, but in truth we could and should have had even more. Arhiba spent the majority of the game with 9 players camped in their box, and are clearly hoping that Kartileh fail to catch them up instead of adding more points of their own.

Hopital Balbala were then in action against CDE-Colas at home before the final round of fixtures, and if they failed to win, we would be crowned champions. In a way I hope they do win, as we'd rather win the title on the pitch, rather than because someone else lost.

Another thing before the final league game took place was the board offering me a new contract, which I accepted on the proviso of more money being invested in youth development, as I'd like Guellah Batal de la Garde Republicaine FC to dominate long after my tenure as I've grown to love the club over my season here.


Fortunately with the club's coffers containing £16k they agreed.

Djibouti Premier League - Bahache Universite de Djibouti (a) - (18/18)


Some disappointing news to start the match as JC Hirir was taken off injured inside 5 minutes. In a game we needed at least a point from we made no mistakes early on, as Ilyass' ninja kick at the front post saw us take an early lead. This was doubled soon after as Said swept home amongst the melee after a corner had failed to be cleared effectively. With the game under control and Hopital Balbala only drawing, when we won a penalty in the 30th minute I gave responsibility to retiring goalkeeper Hassan Guedi, who scored with an effort straight down the middle. Henok Mohamed gave Bahache fans a parting gift to leave the division with as he scored off the bench, but it was the victory we needed to see us crowned champions!!!

Champione, Champione Ole Ole Ole
Tier Up!!!

I will do some of the End of Season Review/ Round-up/Records/Squad Stuff at the end of this post, as we have the Cup to worry about just 3 days after winning the league. Hopefully the players haven't enjoyed themselves too much!

Both JC Hirir and Moussa Hirir would miss the Semi Final through injury and suspension respectively, with the injured JC set to miss the rest of the season.

Djibouti Cup -Association Sportive du Port (h) - (SF)


Ilyass could've already had a hat-trick by the time he rounded the keeper to give us the lead in the 16th minute, but Daoud in the AS Port had already pulled off two incredible saves to deny him, including one where he needed to flick a blasted effort over the bar at full stretch with his fingertips. Dominique Mohamed was then denied by a goalline clearance by striker Biruk Awad as his header from a corner almost dropped into the far corner. Adan had the ball in the net but it was disallowed for offside, before A Guedi was left with a tap-in to double our lead after Mohamed's driven shot was parried. We controlled the game throughout, but Biruk Awad pulled one back late, smashing home at the near post to give AS Port some hope. We really should've scored more (we had 33 shots to their 7), with Ilyass hitting the bar, and multiple Ilyass and Adan shots were saved brilliantly, but we stayed in control to go through to the final where we will meet AS Tadjourah, who needed extra time to net a 119th minute winner against Hopital Balbala.

Djibouti Cup -Association Sportive Tadjourah (n/h) - (F)


This game was supposed to be at a neutral venue, but as we play all of our ties at the National Stadium and they don't it was essentially a home game. AS Tadjourah are the only side we haven't beaten yet this season, and with the ex-Guelleh Batal manager at the helm, this game was a matter of personal pride above all else. We controlled the opening half hour, with Ilyass twice denied by their keeper, Swedi Kader. The game appeared to turn when we lost influential captain and defensive icon Moussa Warsama to injury after 36 minutes, as only two minutes later Patrick Charmake had headed home a free-kick to give AS Tadjourah the lead. We hung on at 1-0 to strike back before the break though, with replacement Binyam Ismael sending away Guedi down the left, who sent in a delightful grounded cross that Ilyass finished from less than 5 yards out. George Bogoreh Salime, on at the break, had our two best chances in the second half, first narrowly missing the target after a free-kick scramble, then forcing an excellent fingertip save out of Kader. We had a lot of shots, but wayward ones, with Ilyass mainly the culprit, whereas the shots they did have were generally accurate and required Guedi to be alert. It was fitting however that the last say did go to Ilyass, as he controlled Adan's through-ball on his chest, before taking a touch and powering the ball past a helpless Kader. That was his 27th of the season in 18 starts.
WE WON THE DOUBLE!!!https://i.imgur.com/aKnb07b.png


N.B. For the eagle eyed amongst you, my result against AS Port in the Cup Semi Final reads differently on my results sheet than the screenshot above and my commentary. This is as after I finished the game, and as I was loading the final, the game crashed and sent me back to a time before the Semi Final had been played, so I re-did it and it was a 2-2 draw a.e.t. with us winning on penalties 7-6, and we faced AS Tadjourah in both circumstances.

Overall May performance



P4 W4 D0 L0 GF10 GA4 PTS6

The season wrapped up in style with wins in both the League and the Cup, massive consolation for the previous 12 months of my career with Al-Salaam where we lost in both finals last season and had a generally torrid time of things. I said at the start of the season that I didn't think that we would have a Leilano or a Kidane, a player who would massively top the scoring charts (given that the top scorer for each of the past two seasons was our right-back), but Daoud Ilyass outdid them all - averaging 3 goals every 2 games! Even more good news as Kartileh picked up two end of season wins to leapfrog Arhiba and avoid relegation, which is a fair result given the way both sides have played. We ended up winning the title by 5 points in the end, as Hopital Balbala drew on the final day.

Onwards and upwards now, and following the end of season statistics and information which will complete this post, I now need to decide whether to stay on at Guelleh Batal de la Garde Republicaine FC for another season, for the Kagame Interclub Championship Continental competition we have just qualified for with our league victory, or whether to move to pastures new immediately given that I now have three new nations to conquer after completing Tier 19!

End of Season Review/Statistics





Player Records

No prizes for guessing who picked up the fans player of the year by a landslide....

Or for guessing who destroyed numerous league and club records....



He didn't win all of the awards though

Sqaud Statistics

That fixed first XI was truly just a class above the rest of the league, with quality oozing throughout it with no real obvious chinks in the armour, even our replacements performed well.


Thanks for reading!

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Guelleh Batal de la Garde Republicaine FC - Djibouti Premier League - Season 2019/20


April 2020 - Can The Guard defend against the onslaught?

I really should've put this in the previous update, but I completed my Continental C coaching qualification.

The board also allowed me to train for my Continental B Licence, with the new owner stumping up the £960 fee as well! This should be complete in about October 2020. Thank the heavens for new owners!


Djibouti Premier League - Arta/SIHD (h) - (12/18)


JC Hirir headed against the bar after just 3 minutes when he should've scored, but that was about the extent of the action in a dire first half for both sides. My lads got a rocket up them at half-time and responded well, with Abdallah Guedi netting for the first time since the opening day in the league with his weaker right foot from a corner. We had other chances but failed to get past the keeper. In injury time Arta/SIHD got their first clear sight of goal, but Ashenafi Ali's last ditch sliding tackle prevented them from getting the shot away and maintained our clean sheet.

Djibouti Premier League - Association Sportive Tadjourah (a) - (13/18)


The lads really wanted revenge for the defeat we suffered last time against AS Tadjourah in unfair circumstances, along with wanting to prove their old manager (now at AS Tadjourah) wrong for slating them in the press. It was first vs third, and second played fourth at the same time as this game as Djibouti Telecom hosted Hopital Balbala, so the game meant a lot to all of the sides involved as we all tried to get an advantage over our rivals. A cagey first half hour saw chances for both sides, but nothing on target. Ilyass was the first name on the scoresheet unsurprisingly, but it was AS Tadjourah centre-back Khadiijo Ilyass who headed home from a free-kick as our striker Daoud is still injured and only fit enough for the bench. We did peg them back immediately though, as Ibrahim Said had the ball played to him on the angle of the box, and unleashed a crisp strike across the keeper into the side netting. The goal rush wasn't over though, as a minute later they cause us more problems from free-kicks, as Moussa Warsama was controversially alleged to have pushed his man in the box, and Ahmed Warsama slammed the penalty down the middle to make it 2-1 to AS Tadjourah. We went on overload and risked Daoud Ilyass with 20 minutes to play, but AS Tadjourah defended well and the chances didn't present themselves. A shame the game was won on the back of a controversial penalty, but as Djibouti Telecom snatched two late goals to beat Hopital Balbala 3-2, they didn't gain an advantage and the title race was thrown wide open.

After the AS Tadjourah game finished, all four of the above clubs were separated by just a point with 4 games to play, although we had the advantage of a game in hand.

Djibouti Premier League - Kartileh Football Club (h) - (14/18)


Daoud Ilyass marked his return from injury with his 20th of the season in a must-win game against relegation-threatened Kartileh, running onto Ashenafi Ali's diagonal through-ball. We knew that victory here would see us top of the table on goal difference with a game in hand on all of our title opposition. Kartileh knew that they needed to get something to avoid relegation, and Zephanie Mazag almost equalised with a long range drive, but it was Ibrahim Said who got the game's second goal, as he smashed through a crowd after Adan teed him up just inside the box. Ilyass then teed up Adan for our third which was almost a carbon copy of our second. Kartileh improved after the break, and ex-Guardsman Paul Ali pulled one back with a shot from a narrow angle. We then scored twice to make it 5-1, with both goals probably being the nicest goals that have been scored in my managerial career to date. Both were devastating counter-attacks, with Said, Hirir, Adan and Ilyass at the heart of the fluid, one-touch moves, with the latter two taking it in turns to set the other up to finish them off. Ali could've had a hat-trick on another day if it wasn't for the fine saves of Guedi in our goal, but he did get his second in injury time to replicate the score when we faced Kartileh earlier in the season.

Djibouti Premier League - Association Sportive Ali Sabieh Djibouti Telecom (a) - (15/18)


Djibouti Telecom were 4 points behind us having played a game more in 4th going into this one, so their title hopes were slim at best, but if they were to stand any chance they had to win all of their remaining fixtures. If that wasn't a daunting enough prospect for us, first-teamers Ashenafi Ali and Moussa Warsama were out through suspension, so the defensive rock at the heart of our midfield was gone. We struck the first blow, as Warsama's replacement, Binyam Ismael, launched a ball through the heart of their defence, which Ilyass let drop over his shoulder before lashing over the advancing keeper. Our goal was against the run of play, but at the break each side had only managed a single shot on target. Hassan Guedi kept us in the game in the second half, with some good saves, but the pick of the bunch was an incredible double save right at the start of the second half. We did threaten with Ilyass on the break, as he almost lobbed their keeper with a header, but we couldn't hold on as Darar Aboubaker slotted past Guedi with 10 minutes to go, BUT HE WAS OFFSIDE!! We held on for a crucial victory, even though Djibouti Telecom will feel robbed!

Djibouti Premier League - Association Sportive du Port (a) - (16/18)


Current holders AS Port have just mathematically confirmed safety from relegation, but their recent form is more like you'd have expected from a side predicted to challenge, so we'd have to be at our best to beat them. Adan got us off to an excellent start as he converted Abdallah Guedi's dangerous low cross. We dominated the first period but couldn't find another goal that our performance deserved. It took until the hour mark, when their keeper Daoud came and flapped at an Ali cross, Adan was presented with the most simple of opportunities to grab his second by rolling the ball into an empty net. Nothing else of note occurred and we managed to negotiate another potentially difficult fixture with no injuries.

Overall April performance



P5 W4 D0 L1 GF10 GA4 PTS12

My target for April was 10 points and we picked up 12, so a very successful month that has left us in control of our own destiny. Credit where it is due, I don't think we'd be in a position this strong if it wasn't for Hassan Guedi, so kudos to him for turning his form round after I slated him, and Maxime Adan has been inspired of late as well. The victory over Djibouti Telecom was crucial, and also took them out of the title race, whilst AS Tadjourah fell off the pace after beating us. This means that with two fixtures to go it is between us and Hopital Balbala for the title, and we know that 4 points from our final two games will guarantee us the title no matter what Hopital Balbala do, although 3 points should be enough. At the other end of the table Bahache have gone down without a single victory, which is surprising given their top half ambitions at the start of the season. The other relegation place will go to either Arhiba or Kartileh, and I hope it is Arhiba, as Kartileh played much nicer football against us and actually made a match out of it, whereas Arhiba just sat back, defended, and didn't even have a shot.

May will see the end of domestic football in Djibouti for another year, with the final two league games of the season and then the Semi Final, and potentially the Final of the Djibouti Cup. Now our first league game sees us face Arhiba (h), just days after we played 3 games in 6 days so we may have to rotate although we want to win to help Kartileh out at the bottom. Then the final game of the season is against winless Bahache Universite de Djibouti (a), and could be a must-win game to clinch the title depending on what has happened up to this point. Finally we face AS Port (h) just days after our final league game in the cup Semi Final, and could face AS Tadjourah or Hopital Balbala in the final with victory.

Guelleh Batal de la Garde Republicaine FC - Djibouti Premier League - Season 2019/20


March 2020 - The Guard vs The Hopital

Mid-Season Squad Update

Just wanted to share some squad information for those interested. Starting with keeper Hassan Guedi's stats, since I always seem to complain about teams scoring with their first shot on target.


Well he has manged to save 12 shots in 7 games, but conceded 10, meaning he has let in almost half of the shots he has faced. Backup keeper Daher has conceded two without making a save! I think we're lucky that our defence does such a good job and that we control the ball based on this evidence! And yet somehow Guedi ends up being the national side's first choice GK, and the second highest rated in the league based on performance!

Squad Overview


The main things to point out here are 1) Thank god we haven't had many injuries so far this season, so our line-up hasn't had to be rotated too much. 2) Moussa Warsama is an absolute beast in the centre of midfield, averaging 6 tackles a game. 3) JC Hirir is in the form of his life, averaging the most kilometres per game travelled in the league, as well as being the third top goalscorer and third most assists! (Daoud Ilyass does not need mentioning here, his stats speak for themselves).

Djibouti Premier League - Hopital Balbala (h) - (10/18)


Hopital Balbala won one of their games in hand before this was played, so this was indeed a game that could've seen them potentially go top with victory, whilst we knew that if we won then the gap at the top would be large enough to allow us to slip up once or twice. Both sides came into it off the back of 4 straight league wins, so it really was a crucial 6-pointer and should be a good game of football! Daoud Ilyass looked impotent in the opening 15 minutes, spurning two clear cut chances, before an incisive through-ball by Adan left him with an opportunity he couldn't miss after 17 minutes. Adan was key in the next bit of action as well, with his goalline clearance denying Balbala's Ahmad Djama from a corner. This game was the best we'd played in terms of the fluidity of our football going forward, but Hopital Balbala stretched us at the back, with Adamu Souber narrowly missing the target after his strength held off multiple of our defenders, I thought it was in! However with 15 minutes to play Issa Osman did equalise with a screamer from 30 yards as a free-kick was squared to him. No complaints with Guedi following that one, although he was yet to make a save. Hopital Balabala then bombarded us in the final 10 minutes, with Guedi making a good save and their strikers narrowly missing. In injury time, Osman was sent through on goal again, but Guedi blocked his shot with his chest when one on one, but Osman followed up the rebound to give Balbala the win their final 20 minutes of play deserved, although the game on the whole was even with us edging it. The title race was certainly back on and I let my players know how disappointed I was in no uncertain terms post-game.

Djibouti Premier League - Association Sportive CDE-Colas (a) - (11/18)


We waited a while for this one, and in that time every other side played at least a couple of games, so when this one kicked off we were second in the table, 3 points behind Hopital Balbala who had won two more games, although this meant that they'd played one more than us. Because of that, this game became a must-win to put the pressure back on Hopital Balbala, although against a CDE-Colas side who put 5 past us last time in a 5-5 draw, that would be easier said than done. Our opponents were in good form themselves, but we took an early advantage when Ilyass swept home Ashenafi Ali's low corner in just the second minute. We really should've put the game beyond CDE-Colas in the first half, with Ilyass and Said seeing excellent shots saved, and Adan striking the bar from distance, but Adan did get his goal to double our advantage just before the break with a low effort into the corner. CDE-Colas must've had the most inspirational of team talks at the break, as following a slick passing move, Saladin Mohamed halved the deficit with a half-volley from the edge of the box after just 14 seconds. Both keepers made good second half saves, with Alexandre Moussa in the CDE-Colas wracking up 6 or 7 excellent ones that normally would've gone in. I thought it was going to end 2-1 after the heroics of the keepers, and with Abdallah Guedi hitting the bar and JC Hirir the post, but substitute Dominique Mohamed's wickedly deflected long-range shot deceived Moussa and gave us a 3-1 lead. Top goalscorers Ilyass andd Boniface Omar traded blows late on, with Ilyass flicking home a near-post header and Omar blasting through Guedi who should've done better, but we maintained our two goal cushion to win a game that entertained throughout against in my opinion, the best side we have played all season.

A couple of bits of other business before the month was over, with Delphin Warsama becoming the new chairman of the club, and fortunately not replacing me (well we are top of the league).

And the other being slightly less pleasant, I've managed to jinx myself by talking about having an injury free season! At least it wasn't an important player......

Overall March performance



P2 W1 D0 L1 GF5 GA4 PTS3

I think I was a little too complacent going into the start of March after Djibouti Telecom faltered in February and I thought the title was as good as ours. Although we only lost once, it has definitely brought excitement back into the title race. Hopital Balbala fortunately lost to AS Tadjourah whilst we were playing CDE-Colas, so we are just back at the summit once more although only on goal difference but with a game in hand so we could stretch our advantage to 3 points. The CDE-Colas game could be the pivotal one in our season if we do go on to win the title, as although we probably should've scored 8 or 9 due to the woodwork and Moussa in the Balbala goal, we equally could've conceded 4 or 5 if it wasn't for the heroics of Hassan Guedi, who finally showed why he is Djibouti's number one.

April sees the most league games I will have played in a month since April 2017 with ASC Abeilles! The bumper month (I know it's nothing compared to some other people's careers!) sees us take on 5 fixtures of the 7 remaining this season in the league, and leads us right to the very climax of the season. At the start of the month we will play both Arta/SIHD (h) and AS Tadjourah (a) without Daoud Ilyass. Both sides are doing exceptionally well as newly promoted sides this season, and the AS Tadjourah game will be especially difficult as they currently lie third and beat us earlier in the season, although we were without our international players for that one. We then fortunately have a break for Ilyass to recover before finishing the month with 3 fixtures in 6 days against Kartileh FC (h), Djibouti Telecom (a) and AS Port (a). Djibouti Telecom and AS Port were our two biggest rivals pre-season and are the two dominant forces in this league over the past 15 years with no-one else winning a title, so these fixtures will be a massive test of our character regardless of where they sit in the table currently. Possibly the most demanding month of my career so far as a manager, and I need 10 points from it as a minimum.

You've got that right @Suffolk Seasider! This place has got a much nicer feel to it and I'm enjoying my time here, probably because of all the goals to be fair. The only reason we won't win trophies is Djibouti Telecom, they only dropped 7 points all season two years ago, and there's not much you can do against that!
Thanks @bigmattb28, hopefully we can!

Guelleh Batal de la Garde Republicaine FC - Djibouti Premier League - Season 2019/20


February 2020 - Telecom round one

Djibouti Cup -Gendarmerie (a) - (QF)


It was no surprise that Ilyass got us off the mark after just 10 minutes, after playing a nice one-two with JC Hirir. 16 year-old centre-back Agot Abdourahman doubled our lead from a corner with his first professional goal, before Prince Osman pulled one back for our lower league opposition following a long punt downfield (Shot one on target for them). Abdallah Guedi added a third before the break and Ilyass grabbed his second 15 minutes from time with a ridiculously powerful penalty into the top corner after he was punched by the keeper to give us a convincing victory over a side who showed why they were relegated from the top flight last season.

In the Semi-Final we will play AS Port (h). The fixture will be in May just after the league season finishes, and even better news as Djibouti Telecom were knocked out at the quarter final stage!

Djibouti Premier League - Association Sportive Ali Sabieh Djibouti Telecom (h) - (7/18)


With 6 draws and only one win each in the previous 8 encounters between the sides, we knew that this was likely to be a tight game, and one that would give the victors control of the title race. It was a defensive error that gave the game its first goal, with JC Hirir robbing the Djibouti Telecom left-back on the edge of his own box, and squaring the ball to Ilyass who emphatically buried it on the half-volley from 10 yards. His second was pure class though, following some slick passing in midfield Adan played a reverse ball into Ilyass, who arrowed the ball into the bottom corner across the keeper with his weaker right foot. Djibouti Telecom didn't manage an effort on target in the first half, and we made them pay further at the start of the second, with Ibrahim Said feeding winger Hirir to slot home our third from 6 yards on the angle. Djibouti Telecom managed their only shot on target after 80 minutes, so we held out for a convincing victory which I was very surprised about and it sends us top!

Djibouti Premier League - Arhiba (a) - (8/18)


Without 5 of our key players due to international callups for this one again, including 16 goals in 8 games striker Ilyass, keeper Guedi and both of our CM's. Fortunately we had to travel to 9th placed Arhiba, who played as badly as their position suggests in the first half, but we couldn't break the deadlock despite being the only side that threatened to do so. We were missing Ilyass, as JC Hirir kept crafting clear chances, but our shooting was wayward. It was a defensive mistake that gave us the goal our dominance deserved, when stand-in striker Nelson Houssein robbed the Arhiba centre-back on the edge of his own box and finished calmly past the keeper at the start of the second half. It remained 1-0 but we could've had more if our shooting was more accurate, in contrast Arhiba failed to have a shot on target. A good win with our key players out.

Djibouti Premier League - Bahache Universite de Djibouti (h) - (9/18)


We went into this one following three consecutive victories, whilst our opponents hadn't won in the league all season so it was no surprise when we took a first half lead, but it was slightly surprising to see MC Ibrahim Said popping up in the box to lash home his first of the season. We had struggled to get past Warsama in the Bahache goal, but made it two goals in quick succession when Abdallah Guedi's pinpoint ball from out wide was chested down by Maxime Adan on the run, and finished past Warsama with aplomb. Two goals and not a single one for Ilyass - madness on recent form, but he did score just after the break - Elias Ilyass that is, who pulled one back for Bahache straight from a goal kick, unchallenged, and with their first shot on target. Not wanting to be outdone, our Ilyass responded immediately, flicking on a cross to the in-form JC Hirir who turned from provider to scorer to put us 3-1 to the good. Bahache looked a different side in the second half, and following a slick team move Henok Mohamed pulled another goal back, before JC Hirir restored our two goal advantage on the hour, with a placed finish into the postage stamp after a corner routine paid off. Hirir ended up taking home the match ball with the final goal of the game, completing his second-half hat-trick with a header from the edge of the box that the keeper should've done better with. 5 goals in the game for us, and for the first time this season, Ilyass failed to score in a game that he's played in! Not a bad run though!

Overall February performance



P4 W4 D0 L0 GF13 GA3 PTS9

Don't think there's any need for complaint in February that's for sure, surprisingly our toughest game was probably against Bahache, as Djibouti Telecom just seemed to roll over and let us take the victory. Even more surprising is that they then went on to draw and lose their next two games, leaving us with an unexpected and comfortable 7 point cushion at the halfway stage of the league season (although Hopital Balbala could close it to 3 if they win their games in hand)! The only slight disappointments are Ilyass' goal streak ending (16 goals in 9 games now looks poor xD) and our goalkeeper's performance, which I will summarise at the start of my next update.

March is a quiet one before the league comes to a climax in April and May, seeing us only take on two fixtures (which will be supplemented with friendlies). These are league games against Hopital Balbala (h), who could now prove to be our closest contenders with Djibouti Telecom seemingly imploding. In fact they could even go ahead of us if they beat us and if they win their games in hand, so the importance of this one may not be known until after the event. Then to finish the month we will face CDE-Colas, who will hopefully give us a repeat of the 5-5 thriller when we faced them back in November. They are probably the best attacking team we have faced so far based on what I have seen, so both games could potentially be difficult to navigate.

I will also post some squad statistics and information for those interested as part of a mid-season update next time

Thanks @r96Skinner! This job has definitely got much more of the feel good factor about it than the Al-Salaam one did!

Guelleh Batal de la Garde Republicaine FC - Djibouti Premier League - Season 2019/20


December 2019/January 2020 - Keep banging in the goals

Djibouti Premier League - Association Sportive Tadjourah (h) - (5/18)


Excellent, the players due to go on international duty went a day early, so I'm without GK Guedi, MC's Said and Warsama, AMC Ismael, AMR Hirir and 6 goals in 4 games striker Ilyass. due to this, my XI was makeshift at best, and my bench full of 16 year-olds from my youth team. One of the 16 year olds almost got us off to a great start though, as striker Razak Ali forced the Tadjourah keeper into an excellent save after just 40 seconds. However it was Tadjourah who got the opener, with Jean Claude Kadar climbing highest from a lofted cross to head home. A true FM goal doubled their advantage just before the break, as Ally Mazag got in the way of a clearance from a corner and the ball trickled past our keeper. I changed our formation and personnel at the break, and it almost worked, with Nelson Houssein hitting the post after being promoted to our central striker. He then found the advancing goalkeeper when played through one on one again just minutes later. The stats favoured us slightly, with them scoring both of their shots on target, but we only had 3. In truth a very poor game, but we were without all of our key players! Hopefully the result won't cost us at the end of the season.

The start of January saw both the return of our players after a poor East Africa Cup campaign which saw 1 point from 3 games for the national side, and the draw for the first round of the cup. We got drawn away to lower league side Poste de Djibouti.

Djibouti Premier League - Kartileh Football Club (a) - (6/18)


Fortunately it was business as usual after the long break, with Ilyass picking up from where he left off, placing the ball into the corner of the net halfway through the first period. He grabbed his second after a poor defensive mix-up, and had the opportunity to complete a 10 minute hat-trick from the spot, but saw his drilled effort saved. From nothing Kartileh were back into the match, as when Patrick Awad was caught in possession, a squared ball allowed ex-Guelleh Batal man Akililu Guirreh to tap home and make it 2-1. Ilyass did net his first career hat-trick however, as he headed home Hirir's cross shortly after the break. We ramped up the pressure in the second half, with Guedi's teasing cross forcing John Nour into sliding the ball into his own net, and George Bogoreh Salime netting from the spot. Kartileh did get a second as Duncan Warsama tapped in from close range after we failed to deal with a corner, but we were fully in control and should maybe have won by more than the 5-2 margin in the end.

Djibouti Cup -Poste de Djibouti (a) - (R1)


Minnows Poste were our first obstacle in the cup, and we were expected to thrash them. Signs looked good when Maxime Adan was tripped in the box, but Ilyass saw his spot kick saved down the middle for the second game in a row. Safe to say he's off penalty duty. Ilyass only had to wait for a minute before Adan would give him another opportunity, and with the keeper badly positioned, he slotted home after beating the offside trap. Poste couldn't cope with the gulf in quality, as Hirir robbed a defender before squaring for Ilyass' second, but Sidi Said Wais did pull one back on the counter after 10 minutes, as he managed to win a header with none of our 6 men in the box deciding to mark the only Poste player in the box. Ilyass did grab his and our third just after 20 minutes though, making it back to back hat-tricks (or 4 in a row if you count friendlies as well). Ilyass missed a good opportunity for his fourth, before being subbed off on 35 minutes to avoid risking injury with the game settled, and it only took his replacement, Nelson Houssein 3 minutes to get off the mark himself, making it 4-1 with 5 minutes until the break. The second half was a much more tame affair, but Adan deservedly managed to get on the scoresheet, dusting himself off to convert a spotkick after he was pushed over in the box.

Our reward is a trip to recently relegated Gendarmerie in the Quarter Final in just a few days.

Overall December/January performance



P3 W2 D0 L1 GF10 GA5 PTS3

Looking at our fixture list, it looks to have been a busy two months, but only 3 competitive fixtures have been played. I'm disappointed to have been let down by the scheduling of games during internationals again, as I feel we would've beaten AS Tadjourah with a full strength side, and were unlucky to not at least get something from the game anyhow. Can't complain too much about the other two games, other than I wish our defenders would learn to mark. I said at the start of the season that I was glad that goals would be coming from everywhere, and they are, but I had no expectation that Ilyass would perform like this. Going into our next game he has scored in every competitive game this season, has at least two goals in every game in 2020 (averaging 3 per match) and currently has 4 consecutive hat-tricks (although two were in friendlies).

February contains 4 fixtures for us, as we look to continue our battle with Djibouti Telecom at the top of the league. The first two games of the month are the most crucial. with the cup Quarter-Final vs Gendarmerie (a), followed by the huge first of two league games against Djibouti Telecom (h) this season. The two sides go into this one with a combined 38 goals scored over 12 combined games, and a win for either side deals a massive blow to the other's title ambitions. We can potentially go top, or drop to 4 points off the pace. The month is rounded off with games against struggling sides Arhiba (a) and Bahache Universite de Djibouti (h), although Bahache shouldn't be struggling as much as they are and will be looking to prove a point.


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Guelleh Batal de la Garde Republicaine FC - Djibouti Premier League - Season 2019/20


November 2019 - Round 3 begins

Djibouti Premier League - Association Sportive du Port (h) - (1/18)


It took just under 3 minutes to open our account for the season, with Abdallah Guedi crossing for fellow winger Jean Claude Hirir to tap in at the far post. Hirir then turned provider for Daoud Ilyass just before the break, who netted with a first time effort from 6 yards. AS Port were not at the races in the first half, and things were made worse for them just after the break, as when Moussa Warsama made a good tackle on the edge of his own box, his pinpoint pass sent away Ilyass, who calmly finished to grab his second. AS Port only managed two shots on target all game as we thoroughly controlled and dominated them!

Djibouti Premier League - Association Sportive CDE-Colas (h) - (2/18)


Boniface Omar got CDE-Colas off to the best start, as the short corner routine found him on the edge of the box, and he fired in off the underside of the bar. We responded quickly though, as Maxime Adan's incisive through-ball found Guedi, who centred for Ilyass' third in two games. We completed the turnaround after just 23 minutes, when more good work from Guedi saw a defender's clearance rebound in off Maxime Adan and into the net. Jean Claude Hirir put the game beyond doubt before the break as he first collected a long goal kick and slotted home calmly, before tapping in a rebound after Warsama saw his effort saved onto the post. Mamer Daoud pulled one back just after the break following a well-constructed move, before Karim Lubega made us sweat, finishing from outside the box, but Hassan Guedi in goal should've done better. Daoud then equalised and Saladin Mohamed put CDE-Colas ahead for only the second time in the game, as we struggled to cope with their 3 strikers defensively, particularly from long balls. At this point we had gone from 4-1 up and cruising, to conceding 4 unanswered goals to put us in a dangerous position. But we did deservedly equalise, as substitute Nelson Houssein collected a long ball of his own and kept his cool to place his finish into the corner to make it 5-5! We then had multiple chances to win it, with Houssein fluffing his lines when 1-1 with the keeper, and Guedi twice hitting the post. Our 24 shots to CDE-Colas' 9 showed our dominance, but they were clinical and we were far too frail defensively to claim the 3 points.

Djibouti Premier League - Hopital Balbala (a) - (3/18)


Issa Osman got Hopital Balbala off to a fast start, converting an excellent drilled cross inside 15 minutes. We clearly have no issue with scoring though, as Ilyass got his fourth of the season in response shortly after we went behind, beating the keeper one on one. Guedi then put us into the lead shortly after, tapping in when Ilyass' header hit the bar, but Ilyass wasn't going to miss again, clinically rifling home Warsama's through ball off the post to give us a 2 goal cushion ten minutes after half time. We held Hopital Balbala back well, with their only shot on target being their goal in the end, and we were always the side most likely to score another.

Djibouti Premier League - Arta/SIHD (a) - (4/18)


It took just 5 minutes for Ilyass to get his 6th of the campaign, matching last season's top scorer in just over 3 games! Centre-back Moussa Hirir doubled our advantage from close range after we won the second ball from a corner. We pushed for more goals, with Warsama hitting the bar late on, but a comfortable 2-0 win in the end, nice to record the clear sheet as well!

Overall November performance



P4 W3 D1 L0 GF13 GA6 PTS10

An incredibly strong start to the season, with 13 goals in 6 games, and Daoud Ilyass netting 6 of those makes me think we can probably go into any game and have a good chance outscoring the opposition. However, as our draw to CDE-Colas proved, we are still very defensively shaky at times, and will need greater strength in depth there later in the season. We could also do with trying to prevent teams from getting the first goal of the game and waking up at kickoff, not 20 minutes in. However we did only concede 1 goal in total over our other 3 league games. We sit top of the league to start December, but Djibouti Telecom have a game in hand on us and will re-take top spot with just a draw in it (and they have scored 13 in their first 3 games).

December sees the East Africa Cup for the national side, and as we have 6 players called up to the squad, all of our mid-December fixtures have been postponed. We play fast-starters AS Tadjourah (h) the day before my squad leaves, where we will look to stay unbeaten at the least. Due to the cancellation of some fixtures, I am going to include January in the next update as well, where we play one league game against minnows Kartileh FC (a), before finishing the month with the first round of the Djibouti Cup against currently unknown opposition. Every month from then on is slightly more substantial!


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Will definitely be following this, just out of interest which countries have you got loaded up in your database?

Excellent start though, can't ask for a lot more than that, 11th to 3rd! The board would be mad to get rid of you even with the slight financial mishap, who knows where you'd end up with a whole season managing the side!
Thanks @Dan.

I know @bigmattb28, would've been nice to win something but I don't feel sorry for the players that they finished with nothing, they deserve that for the way they treated me! Onwards and upwards

Guelleh Batal de la Garde Republicaine FC - Djibouti Premier League - Season 2019/20


July-October 2019 - Getting things together in Djibouti, Djibouti

Sorry it's been a while since I last updated this thread, I've been busy taking on the Susie on Tour Challenge over the past week, so head over there to see how I got on and to give it a go yourself, it was good fun!

The Squad

First things first, lets take a look at my current playing squad, and any strengths and weaknesses they have from the season just gone.




On the whole my squad varies greatly when it comes to the level of talent. The first thing to point out is the size of my squad - 17 players - is nowhere near the size it should be, and as a result leaves some gaping holes in our starting XI, no matter what formation I choose. The positives to take are the strong workrate and teamwork attributes that give me confidence that the players have the passion and drive to succeed, they are just going to need some new colleagues.

Hassan Guedi in goal, Moussa Hirir at CB and Moussa Warsama and Ibrahim Said at CM offer an incredibly strong core to the side, which when combined with the reliable options of Daoud Ilyass upfront and Agot Abdourahman partnering Hirir at CB will make up a strong XI. However, here come my issues, none of the other players at the club are of the quality that I would expect, so I will try to bring in new personnel at LB, AMC, AMR, AML and backup CM and STC roles as well. Bizarrely I am going to keep Ashenafi Ali as my first-team right back, as despite him being nowhere near good enough, he has top scored in each of the previous two seasons from right-back (6 and 7 goals respectively), and his stats show why! (Not)

My wage budget is an almighty £2,318 p/w, which is actually insane compared to what I've been working with, and considering that all players are on amateur contracts! Since we are currently only spending £42 p/w, I hope that I should be able to keep all of my existing strong players, whilst being able to entice a few more top-quality lads to fill in the gaps. The transfer window runs from Aug 20th - Nov 2nd, so I'll summarise what business I have done so far (end of October), but I'm sure nothing will happen over the final two days.

Transfers Window Summary

Three squad players out, with DM Subax Ahmed already kicking up a fuss about tutoring another player, he clearly doesn't have the right attitude and doesn't fit into our formation, so he was offloaded to FC Dikhil on a free. I did try to keep Gedion Doualeh as a squad depth option, but as he plays MR/ML, he also doesn't really fit into the way I like to play so his transfer to Gendarmerie wasn't too upsetting.

The final one was disappointing though, with good ML Francis Warsama deciding that Hopital Balbala was a more attractive option for him to ply his trade with. Not a first XI player, but an excellent option from the bench.

A total of 5 players in, boosting my squad size to 20, a much more reasonable figure.

Maxime Adan - MC/AMC - Unattached (Free)


A blast from the past here, picking up one of my old ASC Abeilles players as he was without a club, he should slot into the AMC role whilst providing support if we have injury problems at centre-midfield.

Dominique Mohamed - AMR/AMC/MC - Gendarmerie (Free)


Dominique is both an excellent utility player (ideal when we have a small squad), as well as potentially our starting AMR, but this will be decided in the first few games.

Abdallah Guedi - AML - AS Port (Free)


Probably the coup amongst all of my signings, poaching him from champions AS Port, Guedi will form an excellent partnership with my next signings and should start at AML.

Patrick Awad - DL - AS Port (Free)


Despite his poor star rating, Awad was the best available DL, and without him we'd have no left-back of any calibre. He should work well with Guedi as they were both lured away from AS Port. He took a lot of convincing and a high wage to come (he earns more than the rest of my squad put together per game).

Aimane Migameh - DR - Gendarmerie (Free)


This was one from my Head of Youth Development, as Ashenafi Ali will start, but if he can't perform to his 6 goal a season standard, then Migameh will come in immediately as he looks much better on paper.

I'm very happy with the transfer window in general, as I managed to find players for each of the positions I was lacking in, whilst managing to offload some disruptive players. My only concern now would be if we have an injury crisis, our second XI is nowhere near the same calibre as our first XI.

The league fixtures have just been released, which I will share with you in a moment, but firstly, a glance at what is expected of us this season.

Only the league and cup double expected, should be a piece of cake right? Well here's where we are expected to finish.


I'll be honest, I think we probably should be winning the league this year, but AS Port won last year, and Djibouti Telecom are the traditional powerhouses that have dominated the past 10 years, so it won't be easy.

Another bit of good news is we should get a lot of money through ticket sales this year. 66 season tickets have been sold, that 10,000 capacity stadium will be nearly full!!!

Pre-Season Friendlies


12 friendlies played, 7 won and only 1 lost (to my U20's) , with fitness all built and no injuries to speak of. About as well as I could have hoped for pre-season to have gone, especially with a creditable draw with Yemeni side Al-Saqr thrown in the mix. The most positive thing for me is the fact the goals came from all over the team. In my first two roles Kidane and Leilano have carried the side in terms of goals scored, and when they've been out of form or injured, we struggled. Hopefully I won't become as reliant on one man at The Guard.

The final bit of business in this long update, is that my next coaching course has been approved, with Guelleh Batal sending me on the Continental C Licence course which should be completed about February.

My first competitive match in almost 11 months (and a week in real time) sees us take on last season's champions AS Port (h). I know it was a while ago, but my last 3 matches as manager all finished in defeat, so I hope we can get a positive first result here and stop the rot before it becomes a problem. We then face AS CDE-Colas (h), before finishing the month with two quick-fire fixtures against title rivals Hopital Balbala (a) and newly promoted Arta/SIHD (a).

It will be a good opportunity to get to know my players, but we have two difficult fixtures against similar opposition, starting with the AS Port game first up! I'd be happy with 8 points from the month.

I remember commenting optimistically at the start of the season talking about playoffs, which you would've made if they hadn't mysteriously disappeared, so plenty of positives to take from the season. A couple of signings in key areas (possibly a standout CM looking at the stats) and you should be right back up there again next season, hopefully without the inconvenient late season injury crisis!
Good destination choice for the 1st leg - a real interesting team for me since I have managed The Revs before in FM15 and recognise a few familiar faces! Hopefully I'll stick around to do more legs of the journey this year.







A surprisingly good start on my first FM19 save of the season. A shame really because I like the game improvements but will still be using 18 until I can continue my main save challenge on 19.
An incredible start was what really mattered, as after that we were really no better than most of the other sides in the league, but we always had a cushion. A shame we had to play Atlanta in the Conference Final, but they were a class apart and beat us 4 times!

A couple of additional bits of information before my score - starting off with the fact I was chosen to manage the MLS All-Stars against Leicester City which was pretty novel!

Juan Agudelo twice got close to winning us additional awards - but was pipped to the post on both occasions.

We did place first and second in another award though, with both fullbacks having incredible seasons, Farrell in particular. (Surely this deserves an extra 5 points? )

So in terms of points:

Eastern Conference - Winners - 30 Pts
Supporters Shield - Winners - 25 Pts
MLS Playoffs - Conference Runners-Up - 10 Pts (Or should this be 5?)
US Open Cup - Round of 16 - 0 Pts
Rivals - 25 Pts (0 Pts for NYRB, 5 Pts for Chicago, 0 Pts for LA Galaxy, 20 Pts for DC United)
Manager of the Year - 5 Pts (and surely a bonus 5 for Defender of the Year to take me up to 100?)
Total = 95 Points - I'll take that and run!

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The Ultimate Journeyman Challenge - Second Leg - Africa


As soon as I said I would never work in South Sudan again, two excellent opportunities came up

Winners of 3 of the last 5 league titles Atlabara, and the South Sudan National side! Atlabara as a concept almost got me to go against what I had said before, but they shipped a lot of players on since their league title, and defensive football was their core philosophy, whilst attacking football was hated, so I declined the opportunity. Out of principle I also declined the national side, and waited to see what opportunities would arise in Djibouti.

I had to wait 5 months until June (just after the 2018/19 season had finished in Djibouti) for my opportunity, and I didn't hesitate to declare my interest in the role at Guelleh Batal.


As you can see, things went well!


Guelleh Batal de la Garde Republicaine FC - Djibouti Premier League - Season 2019/20


June 2019 - Chapter 3 begins


As I have referred to, I have had to travel through Ethiopia to Djibouti, a small nation with a population of just under a million people and just smaller than Belgium. Strongly linked to the Arab league, the country contains a large number of Somali people, although French and Arabic are both national languages.

The city of Djibouti is the largest city in Djibouti as well as the capital, and contains about half of the population of the entire country (500,000). The most popular sport in the nation is football, and the national Stade du Ville or El Hadj Hassan Gouled Aptidon Stadium can seat up to 10,000 people and plays host to 8 of the 10 teams in the Djibouti Premier League, including ourselves.


I mean it's certainly an improvement on what we were playing on previously!

League Rules and Conditions

The Djibouti Premier League fortunately has the most incredibly simple format following the bizarre laws of South Sudan and Mayotte. 10 teams play each other twice each (once home and once away), with 3 points awarded for a win, 1 for a draw, and 0 for a loss, with the side top of the table after 18 games being crowned champions. Three substitutes from seven are used and there are no player restrictions. Transfer windows run from August-October and for the month of February, and most players are on non-contracts.The bottom two sides get relegated, whilst the top side qualifies for the Kagame Interclub Cup, contested between select East-African nations, and someone qualifies for the Arab Championship, but I'm not certain on whether this is the league champion also, or the winner of the Djibouti Super Cup. The Super Cup is a one-off game contested between the league and cup champions, whilst the Djibouti Cup is a simple 16 team knockout competition.

Guelleh Batal de la Garde Republicaine FC

Otherwise known as Guelleh Batal, Garde Republicaine or simply Garde, the club was founded in 2005 in the city of Djibouti.They have the nickname "The Guard" as they are the side representing the Djibouti National Guard, with playing staff mainly made up of soldiers in service. Although the side has never won the league, they have won the Djibouti Cup three times, most recently in 2018. They finished as league runners up in 2018 as well. We play in yellow and white. Our main threats for the league title are AS Port and Djibouti Telecom. The two sides are the only ones to win the league since 2009, with Djibouti Telecom claiming each of the titles from 2012/13, to 2017/18. AS Port are the current holders, and Djibouti Telecom are the current cup holders.

Guelleh Batal were incredibly close to upsetting the apple cart last season as they finished only two points away from winning the league, so it shouldn't take too much additional work for me to work my magic and secure a first ever league title for Guelleh Batal at the first time of asking.

Competitive action runs between October and May, so I will summarise all of pre-season in my next update, complete with personnel changes (staff and players), expectations and predictions for the upcoming season, evaluations of my current players and the formation I will use based on our strengths and all of our pre-season friendlies.

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