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Jul 3, 2013
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As of this OP I've currently played through the first season of my save with Galatasaray. I will give a brief update on how the first season went and then continue the story as normal from August 2013.

Just a note that all values given will be in GBP.

As I'm retelling a whole 10 months worth of football, this post will be a lot of text and perhaps some images scattered in between. Apologies in advance for the boring introduction, I just want everyone to be up to speed. That being said, constructive criticism is always appreciated. If there's anything I can do to make my story/journey more interesting to follow, please let me know.

First Days in Charge
I took over the job on 8 July 2012 and immediately let a few of the young players go out on loans who hadn't already been sent out as default. I also let up and coming goalkeeper Eray Iscan out on loan to Tepecikspor to get some much-needed first team experience. With the Uruguayan international Fernando Muslera and reserve keeper Ufuk Ceylan, he wasn't in my first team plans. I started with no transfer budget for the window so no transfers were made.

2012 Competitive Fixture
The competitive fixture started with the Turkish Super Cup match against arch-rivals Fenerbahce.
We went down 1-2.

The first league game was played against Fenerbahce. It was looking as if we had avenged our previous defeat when we went up 3-0 through a Selcuk Inan hat-trick, but it was not to be as Aykut Kocaman rallied his troops at half time and clawed his way back into the game, sealing the dealing at the end with a header from Egemen Korkmaz following a corner from none other than Milos Krasic.

August was a dismal month for us with just the 1 draw after 3 league games. It was back to the drawing board in preparation for September and I reverted to the classic 4-4-2 with Burak Yilmaz coming back from suspension.

September was a much better month, as we won 4 from 4 to climb back into the top 8. We also won our first Champions Cup game against GNK Dinamo 1-0 away in Croatia. This would be a huge boost in what was a difficult group, matched up with FC Porto and Manchester City.

October didn't start off as well as September had, with a 1-2 loss against City in the ECC. This was followed with a loss against cross-town rivals Istanbul Buyuksehir Belediyespor (who were sitting comfortably in 6th). Only 4 points were gained in the league. 2 positives to note were a 3-3 draw against FC Porto at the Estadio da Dragao and a 3-0 demolition of historical rivals Besiktas in front of a sell-out crowd.

November showed much of the same dismal performance as October had in the league, only collecting 5 points from 4 games with a shock loss to league newcomers Akhisar. However, a draw against top of the table Bursaspor and win over 4th placed Orduspor were slight positives. There was a much better showing in the ECC, as we dispatched of Porto and Dinamo 3-1 and 4-3 at home respectively. This guaranteed our progression into the next round of the Champions League.

December brought with it some harsh weather, and my players were more adept to the conditions, destroying Sanica Boru Elazigspor 5-0 in what would be a good month in the league. Our next game was against Man City, and I rewarded the first team with a rest for already qualifying. The reserves put on a good show in the first half, but were unable to keep up after the first hour, conceding 4 goals at the end to lose 5-1 at the Etihad. We also played our first 2 games in the Turkish Cup, a weakened squad getting over 2nd league outfits Kahramanmarasspor (1-0 in extra time) and Anadolu Selcukluspor (2-0 in regular time) to go through to the group stages. 3 wins from 4 in the league allowed us to rise to 5th, only 11 points shy of Fenerbahce at the top (they were undefeated at this stage).

2013 Competitive Fixture and Transfer Window
The Turkish Cup groups were announced at the end of December and we would be pitted in the 'Group of Death' alongside Fenerbahce, Orduspor and Genclerbirligi. All 4 of us were showing promising performances in the league so this would be a great build-up towards the semis if we could knock off a few wins.

3 straight wins saw us sitting rosey on 9 points at the top of the league table (yes, finally, a win over Fenerbahce). A draw against Genclerbirligi confirmed our spot in the semi-final of the competition with 2 games in hand, and I saw this as a great opportunity to give the youngsters some experience, especially in the Fenerbahce fixture. They couldn't hold their ground, losing 3-0 after another 2-1 loss to the Kadikoy outfit in the league. However, the youngsters were not to be laughed at, thumping Hector Cuper's fittest Orduspor squad 4-2, dictating the play from the first kick.

The transfer window saw me offload Tomas Ujfalusi. I decided to cash in on him as his contract was expiring and he was eating up the wage budget. I also sent 15 year old attacking midfielder and hot prospect, Berk Yildiz, out on loan.

I wanted to start playing 3-5-2 with Eboue out on AFCON duties for Ivory Coast and Sabri and Hamit both on the long-term injury list (neither expected back until March). I needed a good playmaker who would fit the role and I figured, who better than Dortmund youngster Bittencourt? He had a hefty price tag, but I managed to get him for 15 million (5m upfront + 10mil over 4 years).

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Going undefeated in February was great, getting 2 wins and 2 draws from 4 games, including a draw against 2nd placed Trabzonspor, who were struggling to stay out of the relegation zone. We also played the first legs of the Turkish Cup and the European Cup. Eskisehirspor had already gotten 3 points against us in the league and I was determined not to let them knock us out of the cup and fielded a very brutal attacking squad, but lack of possession made clear cut chances hard to come by and we had to settle for a goalless draw in the first leg. A more positive performance in the ECC Round of 16 against AC Milan, with my first change of tactics since reverting to the 4-4-2/4-4-1-1 system. The 4-1-2-2-1 was too difficult for them to handle and we went to Milan with a 4-0 advantage.

10 points from 4 league games, with a 4-1 win over struggling Besiktas, saw us finally climb our way into the top 4 (also we were very lucky that none of the top teams did well in February or March, probably due to the more congested fixture). Fenerbahce's 14 point lead over us was cut down to 8. We lost 1-0 at Milan but it was enough to see us through to play LOSC Lille in the Quarter Final.

April started off where March had stopped, with a comfortable 2-1 win over Lille. I wasn't too happy giving them an away goal heading to France, but a draw would be all we needed to become the first Turkish team to make it to the semi-finals of the Champions League, and a 1-1 draw we got. Only one more hurdle to climb over before we were in the final, EPL leaders Manchester City. No worries, after losing 2-1, I knew exactly what I needed to do to stop them. the 3-5-2 proved too difficult for the reigning English champions to overcome, with a 3-2 win at home courtesy of a Selcuk Inan brace and assist. Holding onto the 1 goal lead would be a difficult task, but I set the team back, parked the bus and hoped for the best. 2-2 at The City of Manchester Stadium was an amazing result, all thanks to Leonardo Bittencourt who really only stood out for the first time since coming to Istanbul in the January window. Through to the finals, our opposition, none other than Barcelona. We also overcame a more control oriented Eskisehirspor squad 2-1 in the semi-final to tie up against none other than Fenerbahce.

Our 2-1 loss to Fenerbahce in January would be the last loss in the league, as we went 16 straight games unbeaten. Bittencourt wasn't getting on the scoresheet or assisting much, but his off the ball movement in the final third was instrumental in all of our wins. We got within 2 points of Fenerbahce with 2 weeks left, but it wasn't to be, only managing to play out 2 draws and Fenerbahce getting 2 wins. I was still satisfied. Remember, this isn't the Galatasaray squad who have Drogba and Sneijder. I was also really pleased with the younger guys and the subs who stood up to the plate and helped maintain consistency and fitness during the congested fixture.

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The Finals: Turkish Cup and Champions League
I stuck to the same team and formation I had used when I beat Fenerbahce in the group stages of the cup, and it worked! We may have lost out on the league and the super cup but we took home some silverware. The board also approached me to put pen to paper on a new 5 year deal.

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I tried to find a weakness against this seemingly unstoppable Barcelona outfit, who, outside of the league, were not even getting close to losing (dispatching of teams like United, PSG and United 4-0 at the Nou Camp). They finished the season with 32 goals in the CL, just to give you guys an idea of how strong they were at home. I was nervous heading into Wembley. Selcuk Inan had put in a brilliant display, stringing together 6 assists in the competition (equal first with Xavi) and I knew he had to be the main man. I decided to field a 4-3-1-2 to restrict Barcelona as much as possible and gave Selcuk the responsibility of holding down the midfield and dictating the play.

To be perfectly honest, I was just hoping not to get embarassed to the millions watching and winning hadn't even crossed my mind. Unfortunately the defence slipped up just once and that was enough for David Villa to gather a Xavi through ball and calmly slot it passed Muslera's gloves in the 28th. That would be the first and last clear opportunity of the game. I was really pleased with the pressure the lads put on a much stronger Barcelona outfit. Selcuk Inan was unfortunate not to top the assist sheets for the competition, but he did play 3 games less than Xavi so there's something to smile about. Dany Nounkeu picked up the man of the match award, tremendous effort for a player with no previous experience at this level, let alone in the atmosphere of a final.

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EDIT: I don't know why the images are coming up as attachments, if anybody knows how I can fix this, your help will be greatly appreciated.

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