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So this year's FM hasn't been my fondest if I'm honest but I've decided to give it another whirl. This time trying to go around the world, and although I've tried doing this before, I've been thoroughly enjoying this one, and I've already completed my first 2 seasons (in rather rapid succession) in the last 2 days!

My goal is to see how many pieces of silverware I can pick up from around the world, becoming an FM Globetrotter! To start it off with I asked for suggestions in a stream I was doing, as to who I should be and someone said China. It's somewhere I've never attempted in Football Manager, and somewhere I've seen very few people wonder off to, so I accepted the challenge, chose a random team and came out with Shanghai Dongya.
In the lowest playable tier (second), they are predicted first, but have not really got much of a history to talk about. They've began declining over the past 2 seasons in their First League position but I felt I had a good chance of achieving second.

This year was a restructuring of the Chinese league system, with 1 team going down and 2 going up from the First League so that the Super League would have 16, not 15 teams next season. The league is not decided on goal difference, after points, and neither is the Super League. Instead, just like in the Champions League, it is sorted on head to head. Here's how the first season panned out...

View attachment 369326

It was one of the closest league tables I believe I've ever seen!! 3 teams at the top on the same amount of points, with us recording our highest ever league position finishing top on head to head. It'd all came down to the final game and we were 0-0 at half time and so slipping to third, so I chucked them out in the second half on attacking and the risk paid off away from home, as we won 2-0. I was pretty happy I guess you could say, or as happy as you could be at 1.30am in the morning with your parents sleeping, awaiting another day of work in just 5 hours!

I knew, however, that with that being the first promotion to the Super League the team has ever accomplished, that this next season was going to be a tough one, very tough! We had a decent side which I strengthened with a couple of acquisitions, but my signings from last term seemed to still be better than that, unbelievably. We were shaky at the start, as you'd expect from a newly promoted team, but soon found some form in the middle of the season and were sitting, above all expectations (predicted 12th) in 7th spot! We then faced every team in the top half of the league in 7 consecutive outings. It did mean that we would only have to face 1 more top half team this season at the end, but it was going to be a tough run to get through unscaved. We managed it though, somehow, and with some pride still left in us, losing just twice in possibly the toughest run I could've formulated in my worst nightmares! We'd done it, got out of the tough part of the season and were sitting high and mighty in 6th, and, looking back, in very good contention for 4th, which (dependant on FA Cup winners) could be Asian Champions League stuff!

We powered through the rest of the season, dropping the odd point and it came to the final 5 games, with only 4 points separating us from 4th spot. We fought hard but we just couldn't do it in the end as our team slipped out of a winning habit and began dropping points like a jet with an engine puncture. In the end we finished a still very valiant 6th, a result I'd of snagged your arm off for if you'd offered it to me at the start of the season, but I was still feeling a little annoyed that we couldn't finish the season off well. Perhaps a change of tactics is inbound for the new season? What I am hoping to do is pick up a few players. Our keeper and defence had cost us a few games, my defensive midfielder was playing until his legs fell off, the central midfielders likewise. The attacking midfielder, Ma Long, who I had signed in my first season, had managed to grab an award or two through the season due to his fine form, and our strikers...well, about them. I've never seen such bad finishing/composure on Football Manager. No matter how high the stats (I signed Meyong with 16 finishing and 13 composure), no matter if they were in the right position and role, they could not finish for the life of them. One had picked up 10 goals, fair enough, but we had scored the 3rd least in the league and finished on 0 goal difference. Although I say that I'd like to improve my defence, we still had an awesome defensive record for the league, and perhaps I'm being a bit harsh on the lads. But the front 2 are what I most want to improve so that's what I'll be looking for on the market. Oh yeah, the league table:

View attachment 369328

As you can see we finished behind Beijing, and it was only on goal difference, we'd both won a game 2-1 against one another so that wasn't too bad, but there's still a lot more to come from this team.

Next season I'm hoping to dodge the big boys (Guangzhou) in the Cup unlike this year, and hopefully push on further in the Cup, that being a goal of mine before my time here is up. I don't think we could push for the league just yet, with the forely mentioned Guangzhou proving to be a dominant force so far, but I feel we can possibly push for a top 4 position, so the Cup would really give us something to shout about if we could also get a good run going there!

So that's about it for this season, I'll post monthly updates when the season starts and I hope this thread excels, as does my career!




Around the World Status:

2012-Present: China
(Shanghai Dongya)
  • 1x Chinese First Division Title
 
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Pre-season came and went, as ever, a little too hastily for my liking. The club's finances are ridiculous, the only thing keeping us afloat is sponsorship, and when the team share around £2m for a normal bonus in the league, yet we only get £90k for finishing 6th, what hope do we have?

Still, the sponsorship gave us a little money, as well as 5% of the revenue I got for selling one of my players. My dealings were slim pickings in the off-season as I was only trying to sign worthwhile players, something I seldom do. Usually for me, it's a case of 'he looks good, let's buy him' but with the wage budget of a Blue Square Bet Premier side, we can't afford to be doing that.

As a result, we only brought in a couple of players, both of which I had agreed deals for at the tail end of the previous term. I'm still chasing a 22 year-old Brazilian regen at the moment who looks like a top little striker who could help us with our goalscoring fortune, or lack thereof.

The two players we brought in are both first team players, Yang Hao was a versatile player who could play in any region of our 4 central roles in midfield (playing a narrow 4-1-2-1-2) but he was mainly a challenger to the spot of Addo, our 30 year old Ghanaian who had run his legs off last season. His mental stats were what initially brought him to my attention, but at first I just hit space and continued on. Though after a scout report came up about the guy, and revealed he was listed due to his contract disagreements, it forced my hand into making the deal happen. We signed him for £30k, and as you can see, he's already worth over three times that! He'll not only compete with Addo, but he'll slot nicely into midfield where I already play a deep lying playmaker, a position he'll feel at home in, if my scout/coach reports are anything to go by.

View attachment 369332

The striker I signed up to help with the offensive woes of yesteryear, was Liu Xiaodong, a tough name to crack, and I'm hoping he'll be the man to change our fortunes. A deep lying forward, a position I've often played on and off in my previous two seasons, he'd fit nicely into our setup and be good alongside Lu Wenjun, our top scorer of last season, playing target man. His composure and finishing are both pretty good, but with other clubs in our division managing to have players such as Yakubu and and Barrios, this signing may not be the pinnacle. But with our reputation still yet to stabilise, I'm unable to attract good players to the team, such as the league's 2nd top scorer for last season, we had a 20k deal accepted but he refused to even talk to me regarding a contract. Liu should be a good signing though and hopefully along side Lu, we'll have a good season for goals!

View attachment 369333

The only outbound player that wasn't a loanee was Jiang Ning. I signed him last year with high hopes of his 3.5 star potential coming good. He picked up a broken foot mid-season which saw him out for the rest of the campaign, but even whilst fit, he could only find his way to the outskirts of the team, making the odd start and the odd appearance off of the bench. We signed him for £170,000 last year, one of the biggest signings I've made in terms of money, but we made more than that back, selling him onto our Shanghai rivals, Shenhua, for £425,000. Staggering profit for a guy that didn't even make 10 appearances, and I'm pretty sure I wasn't missing a trick and that he actually wasn't that outstanding a player, but we'll see, transfers seldom come back to bite me in the behind...

We then move onto our results for the pre-season, only two of which exist. I'm not huge on pre-season friendlies so I just get my assistant to assign them and play them so I let what happens happen. Despite only playing two teams, I feel it done our morale and fitness just the right amount of good and with us currently working hard in training, it'd probably be best to have too few than too many friendlies. Anyway, here's how they went:

Zhongbang 0 -
Shanghai Dongya 6 - Lu Wenjun (14, 32, 50), Mao Jiakang (56, 89), Ye Weichao (69)

Shanghai Dongya 2 - Zhu Zhengrong (45+1), Ye Weichao (59)
Gangwon 1 - Yoon Joon-Pyo (4)

Two wins against a worse and a slightly better team than ourselves is a run that I'll take. My assistant seems to have a knack of doing well in these friendlies with us scoring for fun (6 in each of our last 3 against weaker opposition ties). I'm hoping that these goals can follow through with us through the season.

Rather peculiarly, our first 7 games of this campaign are against the other 7 sides who finished in the top half of the table last semester. We first have 2nd away and then 1st at home and then a trip to 3rd, away again to 4th and then 7th and 8th at home within our first month alone. I'm hoping we can pick up the odd point, I'm not really sure how we'll do this season to be quite honest, I'm not sure what to expect. The board expected mid-table once again but I feel that, if we can improve upon last season, we can do a bit better than that and our last term's points tally. It's going to be an interesting season, that much is for certain!
 
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March 2014
News

This month we agreed terms with the 22 year old striker I told you about in the last update meaning he will join the side in June. I've also confirmed a new contract with the club, keeping me on until the end of the 2015, a 3 season deal which I'm hoping to see out in style!


Results

Jiangsu 2 - Ortigoza (31), Ji Xiang (62)
Dongya 1 - Lu Wenjun (60)

Dongya 2 - Wu Lei (2, 51)
Guangzhou 4 - Barrios (49, 79, 87), Gao Lin (63)

Shandong 1 - Gilberto (10)
Dongya 2 - Zhu Zhengrong (23), Wu Lei (53)

Tianjin 2 - Gaojun (35), Jovancic (49)
Dongya 2 - Wu Lei (4), Li Tixiang (66)

Dongya 2 - Wu Lei (22), Ma Long (31)
Shenhua 2 - Moreno (12), Xu Liang (45)

Dongya 2 - Lu Wenjun (22), Wu Lei (74)
Hangzhou 1 - Angan (64)


League Table

View attachment 369348


Summary

Well the month was ok, 2 wins, 2 draws, 2 defeats is not too bad and 8 points isn't a bad tally at all, considering the run that we had, but I still feel like we deserved, or should have had, more from it. We played pretty well, squandered a few chances to win games and also conceded a few completely messed up goals. It's a neverending circle, it feels sometimes. It feels as though Guangzhou always get lucky, Barrios the beneficiary and the only way I'll win this league is via a tycoon takeover or getting their job when Lippi retires. I'm still pretty confident in my team, I mean this is the most "into a game" I've probably ever been on FM, every highlight drags my back from the chair and has me calling at the screen. I'm loving this save and I'm looking forwards to the day that we can break down the might of Guangzhou and hopefully push on. The league is very tight at the moment, as it was for so long last season, but I'm hoping, now with that run mainly out of the way, we can push ourselves forwards with the momentum of being unbeaten in 4 against 4 good teams. We still have a couple of tough games to come next month but I'm pretty confident. We'll have to wait and see how things pan out!
 
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April 2014
News

This month saw us have a half month break at the start followed by 4 games in quick succession. Towards the end of the month, we agreed a deal for one of two full backs I aim to bring in over the next 12 months, Liu Tianqi joins Santino Lopes at the club on the same day in the middle of June.


Results

Beijing 0
Dongya 0

Liaoning 0
Dongya 2 - Zhao Junzhe (9), Sui Donglu (90+1)

Dongya 1 - Bai Jiajun (13)
Shenxin 0

Dongya 2 - Addo (30), Lu Wenjun (54)
Henan 1 - Yin Hongro (74)


League Table

View attachment 369625


Summary

It was a decent month for us, though rather tainted by our only loss in exactly a month, which I take full responsibility for. I'd decided it'd be a good idea to try and swap up a perfectly good tactic for a new one, where I pulled back one of the central midfielders, and push forwards another, playing a 4-2-3-1, rather than our narrow 4-1-2-2-1 of norm. We, of course, swapped straight back, changing a couple of little bits that were annoying me to do with our passing. On the topic of passing, we've become pretty good of it and I'm rather fond of the way the side pass around the ball on the pitch, now we just need to attempt to convert a few more of our passing moves and we might be good! We've 15 points to our name, leaving us in the middle of a very tight league at the moment, at the 1/3 stage. Next month we have just 3 games, before a one game June before the season gets underway once more, I'm hoping to attempt to move up a few places since we have lower order teams. Once more in the FA Cup draw, if we progress through our 3rd Round tie, we'll face Guangzhou, the team I've never beaten who are a mighty foe, for the second year running. Admittedly, it's pretty annoying, but we'll see what we can do if we get that far, as we have for the previous two seasons!
 
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May 2014
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This month, as I mentioned last time, was once more a half month, with the second half being the start of our summer break. We had Qingdao first off who were high flying, whilst the other two teams were winnable affairs for us, but we've been a little touch-and-go in previous seasons against these lower teams in the table, so I was taking it minute by minute.


Results

Qingdao 2 - **** Shenchao OG (38), Zou Zheng (49)
Dongya 3 - Wu Lei (8), Lu Wenjun (53), Cai Huikang (85)

A'erbin 1 - Peter Utaka (9)
Dongya 0

Dongya 2 - Addo (49), Ye Weichao (74)
Wuhan 0


League Table

View attachment 369637


Summary

Well we're up to 4th, somehow. We played well against Qingdao in the first game, but our leaky defensive issues crept up on us again just before and just after half time as we gave them a whiff of a share of the points. The A'erbin game was one of the more frustrating, the kind of game we've had 2 or 3 more a season than I'd like. We have a knack of dominating sides but just not putting away our chances, and some are ridiculously easy. One player, Addo, is particularly bad. From corners, he stands at the near post and, 6 yards out, smashes it against the near post instead of past the keeper. With the conviction he hits it with, that's an extra few goals a season and a few more points I'd imagine, the difference that could matter in a season as tight as this one. Our third game was a routine result against Wuhan, a team we know from our first season in the First Division. We've now made our way up into 4th going into the mid-season break, 1 point ahead of 5th, but only 3 ahead of 10th, so an extremely tight table this year. We're close to the midway point, so when we come back from our summer break we will have the big teams once again for a few games, so we could well slip down the table, but I'm hoping as the ship steadies and our opposition difficulty dies down a little, we can push our way back up it! Depending on the FA Cup winner, 4th means the qualifiers of the Asian Champions League. I refuse to get ahead of myself, but also refuse to rule it out of the question. We can only hope, for now!
 
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