Altrincham F.C. - Mission: Champions League

Oct 4, 2017
The 2034/35 season began with some sad departures.

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As mentioned previously, Predrag Djuric has left to join Celtic after 7 years at the club.

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And goalkeeper Federico Panariello has gone to Everton for £15m.

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He was first choice for 4 seasons but since the arrival of Ferrarini has been backup, so I wasn’t going to get in the way of regular first-team football for him.

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The most significant transfer out was Mohamed Houbaine, who has joined Man United for £65m.

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He’s won it all with us and it even though it may not be wise to sell him to a direct competitor, his replacement is a world-class player...

Transfers In

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We have completed my favourite transfer of the save so far by bringing back Miguel Rubiano to the club.

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He joined Real Madrid for £55m after we were relegated and returns to Champions League holders Altrincham for £88m. At 26, we bring him back to the club in his prime and he links up with 3 teammates who were in the Championship with him - Felix Baker, Eder Claveria and Thiago Ryan.

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Another big money signing was Nicolas Searle who joins from Chelsea for £59m.

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I didn’t actually need to make the signing and it’s silly money to pay for a player who is backup, but he looks like he’ll be a seriously good player and already has 2 England caps at 20 years of age.

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We’ve also signed 2 teenagers who should become world-class.

The first, Maurice Sinzig, was signed for £11m and loaned back to Grasshoppers. He’s yet another talented Swiss player to be at the club but I’d rather him get the game time than waste away on our bench.

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And Vaclav Plachy will join at the end of the season. He already has 6 caps for the Czech Republic despite being 17.

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In the 2034 World Cup, Brazil beat England 1-0 in the final. Captain Felix Baker and striker Michael Adjetey started in that game whereas Thiago Ryan and Idlemar were unused substitutes for Brazil.

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It’s been another strong summer for us transfer wise and we’re predicted to win the Premier League for the first time.

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We’re Champions League and Premier League holders and have an even stronger squad this time around. This season should be fun…
Oct 4, 2017
The season started nicely with us coming from 2 down to beat Spurs in the Community Shield.

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It was good preperation as our first 3 Premier League matches of the season were against top 6 sides and we also had the Super Cup to contend with against Roma.

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And even though we've spent big on transfers, we still only have the 7th highest wage spend in the league.

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Our first match of the Premier League season was very disappointing as we lost to Arsenal. 12 shots on target and no goals was concerning.

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But we beat Roma next up to secure the Super Cup at the first attempt.

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And then beat Chelsea and Spurs at home in the league so restore some normality.

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I suppose 6 points from those first 3 games is not too bad. It leaves us 6th in the table but it’s still very early days.

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Our Champions League defence begins with group stage games against Napoli, Porto and AEK Athens.

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We’ve played all 3 previously and won every single game, lets hope that the trend continues this campaign.

Finally, Altrincham produced Julian Cupid has been named in the England squad for the first time.

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He’s our second choice right back, but it’s amazing to see a player that came through our youth intake in the England squad. Hopefully he’s handed a cap!
Oct 4, 2017
Our 4th game of the season was away against Wolves, who had just been promoted from the Championship.

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Another loss! I seriously do not get how we can make so many chances but lose games, it is becoming a major issue.

What made it worse is that the goal was scored from an indirect free kick by former Altrincham left-back Nicola Menella. It truly is the banter days again!

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An international break allowed us to train on ‘chance conversion’ but it was the same old story at home to Leicester.

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I seriously, seriously do not know what to do. Why can’t my players score their chances?

We’ve had 57 shots on target in 5 matches! Yet just the 8 goals.

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We decided to get it out of our system against AEK Athens.

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More wins followed, but just as I thought we had turned the corner we dropped more points at home.

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It’s winding me up how we can’t take our chances. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve seen the headline “Altrincham fail take make chances pay”

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Man City are running away with the league and I’m already worried that we’re out of the title race.

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Do you know what makes it worse? The top goalscorer in the Premier League is Noah Lowens… who we sold to Arsenal.

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We better start winning games soon or else the board will start getting restless...
Oct 4, 2017
We have finally found some form, despite our performances being unconvincing.

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A lot of our wins seem to entail us limiting opponents to hardly any shots yet still being unable to convert most of our chances like we did against Napoli.

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It feels like we have to create about 20 chances to ensure that we score one goal. We’ve had the most shots on target in the league yet Spurs have scored 10 more times than us.

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Still, we’ve qualified for the Champions League knockout rounds with 2 games to spare, so I probably shouldn’t be complaining as much as I am.

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We also beat Liverpool 5-0 at Anfield, which just made no sense. We didn’t even play that well yet scored 5!

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A slump in form for Man City means that we’re in a title race but we’re not going to run away with the league like we’ve done for the past 2 seasons.

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A positive this season has been the form of Nicholas Searle, who has also just scored his first goals for England.

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He’s one of 6 England regulars who play for Altrincham, which also included Kimborough Bennett who is in his 6th season at the club and still going strong.

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So the slump in form is over… I’m interested to see if we start to take our chances in December!
Oct 4, 2017
Because of our struggle to convert chances this season I made some tweaks to our tactic, which initially appeared to be making the difference.

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We beat Porto 4-1 with our second string side and the victory included a goal from academy prospect Ryan Watson.

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It meant that we won all of our Champions League group stage matches as we seek to retain the trophy.

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But despite that success, these ridiculously annoying results keep on occurring. First was a 0-0 at home to Brighton (38 shots 17 on target and no goals) as well as a similar result against Man United.

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I’ve given up hoping that we take our chances now. I am truly at a loss as to how I can influence it.


We’ve been drawn against Juventus in the Champions League First Knockout Round.

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It’ll be the first time we’ve played them in the save and they're not the team they once were, having not won Serie A in 3 seasons.

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We also smashed Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup and are into the semi-finals in the only major domestic trophy we have yet to win.

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We’re also top of the Premier League for the first time this season.

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Our squad is so good that being top of the Premier League is no longer impressive. We need to kick on and become truly dominant but that is not going to happen until we learn to convert the mass of chances that we’re making!
Oct 4, 2017
t’s gone unnoticed because of our poor finishing but we actually went 15 matches without conceding, which was a new record

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That run soon ended with defeat to Chelsea in the Premier League, which was disappointing given that they’re the least strong of the top 7 teams in the division

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In more uplifting news, for the first time ever we are into the Carabao Cup final where we will play Norwich. They’re 14th in the league but have a few dangerous players.

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So results have been fine but our finishing, as it has been all season, is still a joke. Games against Arsenal and Norwich were again examples of this.

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As I’ve said before, I’m at a loss as to what to do. Our conversion rate is the second-lowest in the league and we have had literally more than 100 shots than any other Premier League team!

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More importantly, dropped points are costing us. Spurs are in the driving seat to win the league as they’re only one point behind us with 2 games in hand.

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Not to scapegoat, but £111m man Ian Johnson is the only player to average under 7.00 in the squad. He has 5 goals and 3 assists in 25 matches, which is not good enough for a player that starts for the Premier League and Champions League holders.

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Talking of Champions League, next up for us is Juventus.

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The way things are going for us, I would not be surprised if they beat us 1-0 on aggregate despite only having one shot...
Oct 4, 2017
In the first leg of our Champions League 1st Knockout Round clash against Juventus, there was just one key highlight... It was an Altrincham corner, which resulted in a goal.

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We followed that result with our first ever Carabao Cup triumph, courtesy of Thiago Ryan’s last-minute goal.

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It means we’ve won every single major trophy possible for Altrincham (apart from the Club World Cup) and Thiago Ryan has scored in the Carabao, FA Cup and Champions League final for us.

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Captain Felix Baker lifted another trophy for the club, taking his tally to 11.

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And yet the save is starting to become less enjoyable for me because, despite changing everything possible tactically, we just don’t take chances. Everton at home proved that yet again.

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We have drawn 0-0 at home 4 times this season. Christ knows how many shots we’ve had in those matches.

The second leg against Juventus in the Champions League was at home and it was expected that we would win comfortably. We did.

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It was 3-0, with the final two goals again coming from corners.

For as much as I harp on about not being able to score, our defensive record is immaculate. Breaking a club record of 9 clean sheets in a row proved that.

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And despite all my moaning this season, we’ve won the Carabao Cup for the first time and are into the FA Cup semi-final and Champions League quarter-final.

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We will play fellow English side Spurs in the quarter final of the Champions League.

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It’s one of the toughest opponents we could have, especially as they’re right in the title race with us.

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But it looks like we’re hitting form at the right time. We beat Man United 3-0 at Old Trafford and Thiago Ryan has started scoring goals again (5 in his last 3 games).

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A frustrating season is starting to turn into a successful one.
Oct 4, 2017
Our Champions League quarter-final was against Spurs, one of the strongest teams in England and Europe.

One of their best players is Romeu Firmino, who was once on loan with us.

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Their man man though is Eddy Kouko, whose 29 Premier League goals stopped Thiago Ryan winning the golden boot last season.

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The first leg was at home so nothing more than a win would do. It was a game typical of our season. We created chance after chance, but just one goal was scored.

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Thankfully the goal went to us and with our clean sheet record this season I was hopeful ahead of the second leg.

There was still time, however, for an obligatory 0-0 draw at home. This time it was to Southampton and gave Man City the edge in the Premier League race.

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If we win the league this season, it will be the most frustrating league win ever.

That result was forgotten about quickly, because of our emphatic performance in the second leg against Spurs.

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We really turned it on in the second half of the match to make the Champions League semi-finals for the 3rd time in 4 seasons!

And, just like we did last season, we will play Borussia Dortmund in the semi-final. They’re currently 3rd in the Bundesliga so we are huge favourites to get to the final for the second successive season.

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It’s a joke how good and how consistent our first choice defenders are. On the other hand, our second choice defenders conceded 2 against Newcastle in the FA Cup semi-final.

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You can’t win them all, but losing on penalties because your £111m winger missed his crucial spotkick is a bit disappointing to say the least.

The next few games are going to define our season. We have a huge game against Man City in the Premier League before our Champions League semi-final.

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If we win against City, then the Premier League title should be in our reach. Lose it, then we could seriously have a chance of not winning any of the trophies that we won in the treble last season...
Oct 4, 2017
In our crucial match against Man City, we decided to perform poorly… yet still managed to get a point.

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Thiago Ryan saved us, as he has done so many times this season and this save, and the result meant that the title was in our hands.

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We then played Wolves before our Champions League semi-final and recorded a routine win.

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Man City also drew their game, so things were looking good for us in terms of the league.

But our attention soon turned to Dortmund in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final. The lesson I learned last season was to never doubt Thiago Ryan and he delivered yet again for us.

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His hattrick took him to 30 goals for the season and took Altrincham to the brink of our 2nd Champions League final in 2 seasons.

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It was also our 12th consecutive win in the Champions League.

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It started to cross my mind that maybe I should stop complaining about us not taking chances and celebrate the fact that we’re becoming one of the greatest sides in history?

But then we lost to Spurs, 3 weeks after beating them 4-0 in the Champions League.

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We’re trying our best to bottle the Premier League. But if we win our 3 remaining matches, which are all against teams in the bottom half, then we will retain our title.

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And the result in the first leg against Dortmund was always going to mean that we made the final of the Champions League.

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It was our 26th Champions League match in a row without defeat, which is ridiculous.

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And once again, we will face FC Barcelona in the final.

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Now to wrap up the Premier League. Leicester, Leeds and Crystal Palace are our last 3 matches.
Oct 4, 2017
Our 36th Premier League game of the season was the most unimpressive and lucky win against Leicester, who were in a relegation battle at the time.


It was followed up with a set piece dominated win against Leeds. It was unconvincing but meant that if we won our last game, we retained the Premier League.

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In the end, we retained the Premier League title with ease thanks to 2 goals from Mexican midfielder JJ Vazquez.

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I genuinely forgot that it was our third Premier League in a row!

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It’s been incredibly frustrating at times when we’ve not taken our chances, but it didn’t matter anyway because of our defensive form. Our goalkeeper Ferrarini kept 30 clean sheets. 30!!

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I’m now the 5th most successful manager in English football history.

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And could become even more successful if we beat Barcelona in the Champions League final…

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We have a 2-week gap until that game. I’m praying that none of our key players get injured...
Oct 4, 2017
2035. Another Champions League final against Barcelona. But this time, we are defending our trophy.

It’s definitely a final being contested between the 2 best teams in Europe. They’re a brilliant side and won La Liga for the 13th time in a row, amassing 105 points in the process with a goal difference of 84

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And unlike the final last season, where they had 4 key players out injured, they have a full-strength side to choose from bar one injury.

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We, on the other hand, have a fully fit squad to choose from.

It means that the exact XI who beat Barca in the final last season will be out there trying to do the same this year.

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Here we go then.

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Can we win back-to-back Champions Leagues?

Oct 4, 2017
The first major event of the Champions League final was a penalty in the 7th minute… to Altrincham!

Up stepped JJ Vazquez, who had not missed all season from the spot.

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And he didn’t miss this time!

We utterly dominated the rest of the first half and limited Barca to just one shot on target.

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Things were going too well...

As usual, when a player is on a yellow card I tell them to ease off tackles. Ian Johnson did not take the advice one minute into the second half.

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Barca took advantage almost immediately

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We kept it tight and still created chances for the remainder of the second half and the tie got very interesting when Barca also had a man sent off.

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It gave us our chance to seize the moment…

But Martin Crane had other ideas.

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Heartbreak. After all of that, Barcelona scored with one minute to go.

And to make it worse, Crane completed his hattrick with a frankly ridiculous 35-yard bullet.

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He literally won the Champions League for them

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£111m signing Ian Johnson capped off a season where he got just 6 goals and 6 assists, missed the decisive penalty in the FA Cup semi-final, had a fit when he didn’t get a new contract and was the only outfield player to average below 7.00 by getting sent off for us in the Champions League final.

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That will be the last we see of him!

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Back-to-back Champions Leagues was not meant to be. Barcelona get their revenge for us beating them in the final last season.
Feb 23, 2020
The first major event of the Champions League final was a penalty in the 7th minute… to Altrincham!

Up stepped JJ Vazquez, who had not missed all season from the spot.

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And he didn’t miss this time!

We utterly dominated the rest of the first half and limited Barca to just one shot on target.

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Things were going too well...

As usual, when a player is on a yellow card I tell them to ease off tackles. Ian Johnson did not take the advice one minute into the second half.

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Barca took advantage almost immediately

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We kept it tight and still created chances for the remainder of the second half and the tie got very interesting when Barca also had a man sent off.

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It gave us our chance to seize the moment…

But Martin Crane had other ideas.

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Heartbreak. After all of that, Barcelona scored with one minute to go.

And to make it worse, Crane completed his hattrick with a frankly ridiculous 35-yard bullet.

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He literally won the Champions League for them

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£111m signing Ian Johnson capped off a season where he got just 6 goals and 6 assists, missed the decisive penalty in the FA Cup semi-final, had a fit when he didn’t get a new contract and was the only outfield player to average below 7.00 by getting sent off for us in the Champions League final.

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That will be the last we see of him!

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Back-to-back Champions Leagues was not meant to be. Barcelona get their revenge for us beating them in the final last season.
Unlucky man
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Oct 4, 2017
The 2034/35 season has been an interesting one to say the least.

We won the Carabao Cup for the first time and the Premier League for the 3rd season in a row but were defeated in the Champions League final and FA Cup semi-final.

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7 players were named in the Premier League Team of the Year and 5 of those (Ferrarini, Pozos, Jose, Vazquez and Thiago Ryan) were in it for the second season in a row. Those 5 truly are the spine of the team.

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Ferrarini’s clean sheet record is a joke, he kept 41 clean sheets in 55 games last season and is by far the best goalkeeper in the world.

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Centre back Hector Pozos is also ridiculous, every single attacking corner we have is aimed at him and he finished the season with 8 goals.

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JJ Vazquez scored 16 goals last season, 7 of which were penalties.

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And for all the chances we missed, Thiago Ryan had his best goalscoring season for us with 31 goals in all competitions.

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Talking of chances we missed…

I’ve referred to it all season, but we really have been abysmal with our chance conversion. We had more than 50 shots than Barcelona in the Champions League despite playing the same amount of matches as them.

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The Premier League stats are even worse. We had more shots on target than any other team...

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Yet managed just 65 goals, 9 less than Spurs.

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30 clean sheets is great but in all honesty I’d rather win 5-2 than 1-0.

Another thing to point out from our season is the lack of assist makers. For one of the best teams in Europe, it’s a bit rubbish for nobody to have over 9 assists even if we do rotate our squad.

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Here’s the full view of our squad.

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After essentially losing us the Champions League final, the aim is to get rid of Ian Johnson so we’re on the hunt for some world-class attackers this summer.
Oct 4, 2017
We’re into the 2035/36 season, our 17th in charge of Altrincham.

After winning the treble (Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League) 2 seasons ago in 2033/34, we had a slightly less successful season last time… only winning the Premier League and Carabao Cup.

We were beaten in the Champions League final by Barcelona, mostly because our record signing Ian Johnson decided to get a red card early in the second half.

There was only one thing to do. Ian Johnson has now left for Arsenal for £75m.

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The board were unhappy with the sale, but when you pay £111m for a winger you expect more than 3 league assists and a sending off in the Champions League final…

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He was one of a number of summer sales and we recouped £211m in total.

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Another right winger, David Mensah, has joined Liverpool for £62m.

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I was expecting him to be world class but he didn’t really impress in his 18 months at the club.

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Another expensive transfer out was Mike Smith for £25m.

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He was a reliable backup but 25m was good money so I decided to cash in.

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Selling our 2 right-wingers may seem odd, but we have more than capable replacements...

£227m has been spent on just a couple of first team players.

Transfers Ins

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The first player in for us was Jean-Marc Chevalier from Lyon for £98m.

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He was signed as Johnson’s replacement and was a lot of money but he's a very good player and has room to improve.

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But then I decided one right-winger was not enough. So we have signed Eiichi Sakamoto for £112m from PSG. His stats are incredible and he makes Ian Johnson seem like a distant memory.

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He spent a season on loan with us when we finished 8th in the Premier League. More importantly, he got 20 assists that season so I’m hoping he becomes our chief creator again.

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So with a revamped right-hand side we’re big favourites to win the league for the 4th season in a row. Although it’ll be interesting to see how Chelsea and Liverpool do with no European football to contend with.

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And our season started with a nice 4-1 over Newcastle in the Community Shield with new signing Chevalier scoring on his debut.

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I’ve got a good feeling about this season. Hopefully our conversion rate improves and we score goals for fun.
Oct 4, 2017
The Premier League season started with 2 wins, including a 3-1 against an Arsenal side that contained former players Noah Lowens and Ian Johnson.

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I was worried about Johnson scoring against us considering I decided to sell him after he got sent off for us in the most recent Champions League final. But one of his replacements Chevalier got a goal and an assist to prove that it was the right decision for me to make.

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But then we had another of our nightmare 0-0 draws against Bournemouth, which was the kind of result we were getting too frequently last season.

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So we needed to respond in our next game against Villa.

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Instead, we recorded our first home loss in the league since we played Brighton - 862 days ago!

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I was absolutely livid after that result. We started the season with 3 wins just to then have those 2 results against Bournemouth and Villa. Infuriating!

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We scored no goals in those 2 games despite having 182 touches in the opposition area. I’m being told to add shoot on sight and higher tempo and for once I'm going to follow the advice because I'm lost for ideas now.

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We’re 6th in the table after 4 games but if we continue to get results like that, I’m going to find a new hobby.

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We have also been drawn against Roma, Lyon and Fernabache in our Champions League group as we try to get to the final for the 3rd season in succession.

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They’re three teams we’ve not faced yet in the competition and we will be expected to comfortably get through to the knockout rounds.


Jan 26, 2017
taken a fair bit of time away but what a story and how far you've come since I was last on. been enjoying catching up with all the updates though
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Oct 4, 2017
taken a fair bit of time away but what a story and how far you've come since I was last on. been enjoying catching up with all the updates though
Cheers mate good to see you back on. The plan was to stop once I won the Champions League (hence the name of the story) but didn't really fancy starting a new save so have just carried on. Just gonna see how far I can get before I get bored/buy FM21. The quality in the squad is frightening so it means it's really frustrating when we don't win matches!
Oct 4, 2017
Since the humiliating loss against Villa, we have managed to get back to winning ways, with 7 victories in our last 7.

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We were keeping clean sheets for fun last season, but have conceded in each of our last 5 matches which is interesting - not that I care too much, it’s all about winning and scoring goals for me.

A really pleasing thing to see was our youngsters scoring 7 goals in the League Cup against Championship side Barnsley.

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5 of the goals in the match were scored by players that came through the Altrincham youth intake including Bryan Morrison and Matthews Hughes, who was making his debut in the encounter.

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We’re still early in the season but that Villa result looks to be a freak incident as we once again find ourselves at the top of the table.

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Interestingly both Villa and West Ham are making a push to break into the “normal top 7” of us, Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool.

Brazillian left-back Idlemar has been our star man so far this season, with 2 goals and 4 assists already.

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It’s mainly because our tactic centres around him getting forward but it seems to be working.

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Hopefully we kick on and pull clear of the rest of our opponents in the Premier League.