F.C Europa - Create a Club Challenge


Apr 17, 2014
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Hello! This will be my main save for FM19! I appreciate all feedback and shares!

Hello and welcome to my blog! With the FM19 beta rapidly approaching and a lot of new features announced I thought it was time to finally think of an idea for my main save on the game.

After considering a number of themes and teams it was the Ryder Cup that gave me the inspiration for my save. With Team Europe (For those unfamiliar with golf’s Ryder Cup) consisting of golfers from all over the continent, I thought about taking this idea to its extreme and applying it to football instead. Here’s what I came up with.

The Rules
I will be playing as a custom team (more on this later) in the French Championnat National (third tier) and I will be imposing significant limitations on what players I can sign for my team and have in my squad. I will be sticking to the following five rules.

1. European Players
In my first team and reserve squad, I will only be allowed one player from each European nation at a time. I am classing European nations as those that play in the UEFA region. This rule applies to any non-academy players regardless of their age.

2. Non-European Players
Only one player from outside Europe in my first team squad and one in my reserves. So no spamming South American regens! (that was hard to write)

3. Youth Academy
No rules or restrictions on my youth squad so I can have whatever nationalities I want there. I can only play a youth player in the first team that breaks the first two rules if there is an injury or suspension crisis.

4. Academy Graduates
From all players that graduate naturally from the academy, I will be allowed to keep two graduates in my first team and two in my reserve squad until the season where they turn 23. At this point, they will be affected by rules 1 and 2 so I will have some tough choices to make as my academy graduates mature.

5. Academy Wonderkids
The final rule adds a little more spice to how I handle my academy. If a wonderkid appears in my academy and I want to promote him before he graduates naturally then he is subjected to rules 1 or 2 immediately. This creates a dilemma; do I promote him to benefit his development but potentially force out a first-team player in the process or do I keep him in the academy until he graduates naturally and potentially stalls his development.

The Team
With these rules in mind lets take a look at the team I will be playing. As I mentioned earlier I’ll be playing as a custom team in the French third tier due to there being no restrictions on how many non-domestic players I can put in my squad which is something I need to be able to do for this challenge.

FC Europa_400px

Considering the nature of the challenge I’ve decided to give my team the imaginative name of F.C. Europa! With the badge designed by FMLogos, it draws inspiration from the Team Europe logo from the Ryder Cup and I recommend checking out the twitter handle in hyperlink or the thread on FM-Base, there are some great logo’s on there.

I will design kits for F.C Europa when FM19 is actually released but I will take inspiration from the Ryder cup uniforms and use the colours from the club crest! Similarly I will decide which team to replace my custom team with in the league at this time as well.

Tracking Progress
Along side simply trying to develop F.C Europa to be the best that they can I will be looking to complete four tiers of side objectives as my game progresses. These are;

Tier 1
Have a player from every UEFA nation in my squad.

Tier 2
Have a player from every UEFA nation make an appearence for F.C Europa.

Tier 3
Have a player from every UEFA nation score a goal in a competitive match

Tier 4
A player from each nation gets a man of the match award.

To track the progress in all four of these categories I will be using maps from the website mapchart.net. This is a great free tool! Just as an example see the map below, I’ll be aiming to have the whole map coloured in before too long, although sadly I expect Tier 4 to be practically impossible!9a75388f-3ddc-4743-922d-4b54f723a787.png

Additionally I’ll be keeping a table of top scorers and appearance makers for each nationality so it will be interesting to see which one comes out on top as the team progresses.

That’s all from me for now! I’ll be posting my progress on Twitter as well as on the website FM-Base so be sure to check both of these out!

Thanks for taking the time to read, the next update for this save will be when FM19 is released!
Hello! The first part of my journey where I have to overcome the my strict rules to assemble the first ever F.C Europa squad!


Hello and welcome to my blog!
This is the first part of my FM19 save and I will cover creating my squad as well as the kits and club details I will be using for F.C Europe for (hopefully) many seasons to go. If you haven't read the idea behind this save you can find the first part here and, in addition to this, I am also taking part in Newgen FM's Achievement Hunter challenge!
[h=2]The Manager[/h]Using a webcam to upload my wonderful face into the game I set my coaching and playing experience to the accurate levels this is what the game came up with.

I didn't touch my manager attributes as I want to see how the game upgrades my manager as I progress so I will try and keep an eye on how this changes over the years!
[/h][h=2]The Club[/h]After browsing through the third tier of French football I eventually settled on replacing USL Dunkerque in the league. They have a bang average budget to create a squad, were expected to finish in mid-table and have minimal existing facilities to work with.

We will be based out of the town of Charleville-Mezieres which sits close to the border of France and Belgium, where the headquarters of the EU is located.
All three kits are based on the Team Europe uniforms from the 2018 Ryder Cup although sadly we will be forced into playing in the usual football shorts as opposed to golf trousers! (that might be too much of a challenge)

So that I've got a totally blank slate I have also got rid of the Club History and all of the club's background staff the only thing I will allow myself to keep are any USL Dunkerque players that fit in with the rules I have set myself.
[caption id="attachment_783" align="aligncenter" width="1267"]
The only way is up![/caption][h=2]The Squad[/h]With strict rules to work around, I can't overstate how difficult it was to finalise the squad. It. Was. Tough. £2.27 million squad value gave me some room to manoeuvre but filling out the last few squad slots took quite some deliberating.
My initial priorities revolved around making sure I had players from all the British nations in the squad because when Brexit kicks init will become much more difficult to sign and fit these players into my squad so hopefully I could tick these countries off the list for all three tiers of my challenge.
Next, I concentrated on some of the minor European nations as they do have a couple of players who can do a job at this level. This might be the best chance I have for players from these nations to score or maybe even snag a man of the match award.
Here's what I came up with.

I feel that I picked a good balance of experience and high potential youth to develop or even sell in the near future with quite a few five-star potential players in there. Note that all of the French players in the squad were existing players for USL Dunkerque and as such count towards my U23 rule!

The youth academy is pretty thin on the ground consisting of only 15 players with a couple of potential future stars in there with Kurbashyan, Hein and Parkhouse the pick of these players.
[h=2]Tactics[/h]After all the deliberating over squad players, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the new tactics screen. After browsing the wealth of options I decided to take advantage of our youth and attacking pace to create a wing play 4-4-2 tactic.

I will try to sit deep without the ball to invite my opposition onto me before launching fast counter attacks down either wing with overlaps and a high tempo of passing. The highly promising Joveljic and Dadasov will lead the line for me.
One thing that concerns me is that I have definitely neglected fullbacks and midfielders while assembling my squad as I am seriously lacking players in these areas on the bench. I can't really add to my squad yet either as I am seriously overspent on wages and will need to offload about £20k of wages for us to be back under our budget again.
[h=2]Notable Players[/h]

Looks like he's going to be the main star up front for me......as long as I can keep hold of him. Only 18 but already one of my best players.

Scottish legend Kenny Millar provides a lot of experience up front I'm aiming for him to be an impact player coming off the bench. I also set him to be our first ever club captain as his leadership was pretty much indispensable to a very young squad.

Another very young promising striker who is more of a target man despite only just being over 6 feet tall.

Another young attacking threat. I'm beginning to think I may have neglected my defence a little........

Easily my best fullback as well as providing some experience.

Another experienced international in my back line, I only wish his leadership was higher he may make a great captain as he is likely to be a part of this team for a while!

Stolen straight from Bayern Munich's Academy Johansson could become some player in the middle of the park for us!
[h=2]Challenge Progress[/h]This means going into our first games of the season the map for tier one looks like this.

Not a bad start, plenty of the smaller nations ticked off already just need as many of them as possible to score, get a clean sheet or man of the match for me as possible! I also got the whole British Isles into my squad while managing to not touch some of the major nations to give me some easy nations to buy from when I eventually get the chance.
Thank you for reading this first part of my FM19 save. I appreciate any feedback or suggestions for my save and I hope you're all enjoying the FM19 beta as much as I have so far!
I'll try and post half season updates on a regular basis when the full FM19 game is launched.
Hello! Part 2 of my journey where I cover the first half of our opening season! Any feedback is appreciated.

Link to original article: https://stratmangaming.wordpress.com/2018/10/23/f-c-europa-part-2-2018-19-early-progress/

Hello and welcome to the next part of my save! In this part, we will cover the teams first preseason as well as the first half of our league campaign in the French National (third tier).
Catch up on the previous parts here.

Final Tinkering

Before we embarked on preseason I decided to implement a second tactic as our existing wing play 4-4-2 is more of a counter-attacking option (the tactic creator menu is fantastic). This time I went for a 4-2-3-1 vertical tiki-taka philosophy to (hopefully) dominate possession against the weaker teams I would be up against. This would also play much more to the strengths of our wide attacking men such as Marin who is currently a little out of place in a 4-4-2.


As well as being made captain Kenny Miller requested the number 9 shirt and I didn't dare refuse him while Benedettini requested the number 69 shirt.......a request I was never going to turn down. Fully embracing his unorthodox side I also made him my designated free kick taker as he is actually pretty respectable at free kicks. This doesn't say a lot for the rest of my free-kick takers but the thought of my Sammarinese goalie scoring for us is too enticing to miss out on.
I also finally fleshed out my coaching team for the season, I wasn't limiting myself with nationalities here but it would be nice if I could have a coach from each nation at some point in the future. The only coach of note here would be Edgar Davids who is in charge of U19 coaching.


Pre Season

Our friendlies were a mixed bag of games against lower league opposition from neighbouring countries as well as a tough test against Ligue 2 opponents Nancy Lorraine.


After a bit of a patchy start where we struggled to beat an amateur Belgian side and then lost to a German amateur side, we finally began to settle into the season with a stunning win against Nancy. Our counter attacking 4-4-2 was really starting to click and could become an effective tool against better sides this season.


The only downside of this match was an injury to Joveljic causing him to miss the opening few games of the season. This would put the responsibility to lead the line on veteran striker Kenny Miller for the near future which was reflected in the odds for top goal scorer this season.


Incidentally, our top scorer in pre-season was Saku Ylatupa with three goals and our first ever goal was scored by Kenny Miller.
With preseason out of the way, I was ready for our first competitive match so we can finally get the challenge underway for real!

French National


With pre-season odds predicting a 6th place finish for us I was confident of being able to have a positive first season despite massive language barriers in amongst the squad. Our hopes were dented a little before the first game as Marin picked up a torn thigh muscle in training which would see him out until the beginning of November. Hopefully, this wouldn't affect his development too much so early in his career as he was incredibly promising at only 17 years old.
Our season opener was against QRM so this would be a huge test of our credentials this season. I decided to keep with the 4-2-3-1 formation that worked well during our last two friendlies.
Despite starting positively and pinning QRM back into their own half for the opening 20 minutes we never really created any significant chances and soon we paid the price. In a devastating ten minute spell towards the end of the first half, we conceded three goals and never looked like recovering.
We played a little better in the second half but the game was beyond us and we eventually lost 3-0 so our fans would have to wait to witness our first ever goal and points. Fortunately, these both came in the very next match as we secured a point with a pulsating 3-3 draw against FC Chambly, we just couldn't hang on for the final 20 minutes to get the win.

Our first point!

This result galvanised the team and we started to go on an impressive run in the league. We started by picking up our first win with a 2-0 against Marignane and this set the tone for the next few months as we tended to keep games very tight and winning by a single goal. The only major blip in this time was a serious injury to Walker who strained his Achilles tendon and would be out until January. This left us seriously short in midfield and resulted in me having to call up a youth team player for the first time.


Not the best but he'll have to do!

With the injuries starting to pile up I decided to tweak my formation slightly to a 4-1-4-1 employing a vertical tiki-taka philosophy to try and control games more. Without Walker's physicality in the centre of the park, we would have to control the ball more rather than relying on powerful running from box to box.


Despite the midfield being weakened somewhat we only dropped 4 points between the 24th of August and 6th of November, keeping 10 clean sheets in 13 games. The new formation was working especially at shutting the opposition down, a total contrast to the opening two games of the season.

Diego Simeone's wet dream

One memorable match during this run was the 1-0 win against Rodez. With the game heading for a 0-0, we won a free kick in the 91st minute about 30 yards out from goal. Benedettini, our Sammarinese GK stepped up and curled it into the net to win the three points. Scenes!!!



This great run of form tailed perfectly into our next match, a top of the table clash against Bourg en Bresse 01.


Our upturn in form saw us sneak into the top spot in the league despite drawing our previous game and having an inferior goal difference. Before the season Bourge were 1/5 favourites to get promotion this season so its fair to say it wasn't a shock to see them having a great start. It was likely that they would continue to be strong as the season wore on.
I gambled on sticking with my 4-1-4-1 in the hope that we could deny them the ball and frustrate them. Despite a slow start where Bourg had a few half chances we slowly worked our way into the game controlling more and more possession.
We took the lead on 16 minutes as our striker Joveljic broke down the middle and slotted a great 1 on 1 chance into the bottom corner! Frustration in the Bourg camp grew and grew as we controlled possession and they finished the game with 7 yellow cards and red. Crucially, however, they couldn't breach our defence and went down to a 1-0 defeat. Probably the biggest match in our short history so far and we came out on top to give us a four-point lead in the league. To reinforce how disciplined a performance this was our young RB Eleftheriou picked up his first man of the match award!


Financial Worries

After this game, a number of events unfolded in the squad. First of all backup striker Dadasov damaged his cruciate ligaments in training to see him out for as long as 12 months, a huge blow as he is only 19 and has huge potential. In addition to this Frick, Mata, Idrizi and Candas all complained that they wanted more first-team football. With the squad performing so well this simply wasn't going to happen so I happily promised to them that they would be sold ASAP.


Racking up over £1 million debt from July-Nov was.....concerning

This was crucial to help the team survive as we were haemorrhaging money, listing approximately £300k p/month. These player sales would go some way to reduce our debt along with the wage bill where we currently had a budget of £31k p/w but we were currently spending a huge £74k p/w. Promotion in this first season would be vital or we would need to seriously retool my squad or we would be guaranteed to go bankrupt. To throw a further spanner in the works I had 4 contracts expiring at the end of my current season and then every other player would be expiring at the end of the 2019/20 season. This could be game over by the end of next season if things went badly as the rules of this save won't really allow for a total team rebuild in one season.
Pushing these worries to one side for now, we continued on in the league where I was delighted to finally start introducing Marin back into the first team after a lengthy absence. It would be tempting to rush him back as he is one of our better players but I really didn't want a recurrence of his torn thigh muscle.
The last few games before the winter break saw us pick up two more wins and clean sheets to leave us in an extremely comfortable position at the top of the league as Bourg's form had dropped off dramatically after losing to us a few weeks ago.


French Cup

Our first game in the French cup saw us up against AS Algrange, a lower league team from France. Using this opportunity to play a few fringe players we ran out easy 4-0 winners to see us qualify for the 6th round.
Looking at the competition screen the French Cup is fairly insane as it has eleven proper rounds before getting to the Quarter Finals and even includes all teams from French overseason territories such as Mayotte and New Caledonia. It's fair to say this is a very large competition!
Our run came to an end against Lyon in the 7th round as we lost 2-0 in extra time. We would miss the extra income form the cup but it was good for freeing up the fixture list somewhat.
With the winter break and the January transfer window looming I think this is a good time to end this part. I'll be back with the second half of the season and the progress of both my own challenge and Newgen's achievement hunter challenge next week!

Thanks for reading.
Last edited:
Part 3 of my save. Original link: https://stratmangaming.wordpress.com/2018/10/29/f-c-europa-part-3-2018-19-trimming-the-budget/

[FONT=&quot]Catch up on the previous parts here.[/FONT]
[h=2]Winter Break[/h][FONT=&quot]My most pressing issue in the winter break was finding a way to reduce the wage bill and with it, our ever-mounting debt. We now had a bank balance of -£2.5million and were losing around £300k every month so action was needed. I offered most of my reserves out for transfer in an effort to pick up some funds and half hoped that some of my more valuable players also received some offers.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Initially, we sold Frick to Modena for a modest fee and threw in a sell on clause in case he realised his potential. Despite being a fringe player selling him would clear over £4k p/w off the wage bill and he had managed to complete all 4 tiers (in the squad, play, score and get man of the match) of my challenge from just substitute appearances so I wasn’t too upset about losing him so early. Then the big offers started rolling in.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Despite having an early season badly affected by injury both Everton and Atalanta made significant bids for Antonio Marin. Eventually, I managed to talk Everton into stumping up over £2million for the impressive youngster with a 35% sell on fee clause thrown in! If he could negotiate a contract then we’d be back in the black and have one of the larger contracts off of our books. Accepting this Everton offer then opened up many more significant bids, this time from Monaco, Watford and Lyon. Hopefully, we could really cash in on this prodigious talent![/FONT]
Your time here was far too short![FONT=&quot]In the end, it was Everton who won the bidding war for Marin and stabilised our funds, fortunately, we had played well without him in the squad for long periods but I would have to keep an eye on how he progressed in the future.[/FONT]
[h=2]French National[/h][FONT=&quot]Back in the league, we secured two consecutive draws to maintain our lead at the top of the table. With a bit of luck, we could get back to winning ways soon but the squad were still in the process of getting back up to match fitness after a break. It was also fair to say that the number of transfer bids made on my players was having some sort of an effect even if the first team was still unaffected.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]In the end, we lost three players in the transfer window, almost dragging us out of debt and removing almost £10k p/w from the wage budget in the process. Hopefully, this should ensure the club survives whilst still maintaining our promotion push.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Plugging the gap left by Johansson in CM I resorted to calling up my second under 23 player from the youth team while Walker was still injured, its fair to say the squad was down to its bare bones in the middle of the park. Despite having a makeshift midfield, the team really got going again through February as we hammered both Rodez and Sannois to maintain our unbeaten run in the league with Joveljic starting to find some goalscoring form.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]With only 9 games remaining we had a 6 point lead at the top of the table and, even more crucially, 11 points separating us from the playoffs. As long as our defensive consistency continued for the last stretch of the season I firmly believed that we could hang on to second place at worst. With the clubs, finances still hanging on a knife edge I dread to think how difficult my task will become if we fail to get promoted, especially with the number of new contracts I’ll have to renegotiate at the end of next season.[/FONT]
[h=2]Youth Intake[/h][FONT=&quot]With this being my first youth intake and the club only having poor facilities I didn’t hold much hope of producing any players of note in this first season. I was pleasantly surprised to have two decent players this year who would both be able to play on the left of my formations.[/FONT]


[FONT=&quot]Not a bad option for the future. Quite pacey and technically good, possibly will become a good player for me over time even though my coaches can’t quite figure out how good he will become. Currently a good player in the 4th tier of French football.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]The other player of note from this intake but I have mixed feelings towards him. Has good mental and physical stats that may give him the tools to succeed especially as he is coming through in a position where we are very thin on the ground. I am a little concerned about his unambitious personality, however, so I will have to try and mentor this out of him.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]As our defensive juggernaut rolled on we were finally able to welcome Liam Walker back into our line up after a whole 6 months out. After nursing him back towards full fitness he repaid my faith on his first start back with a fantastic long-range goal against Tours in a top of the table clash.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]Despite losing both Kiko and Ylatupa to injury in the first half our two early goals overcame a strong Tours side away from home, with a massive performance from Liam Walker on his first start since September. This was his first goal for the club since joining us from our namesakes in Gibraltar, Europa FC.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Our 73 away fans witnessed us take a massive step towards promotion from French National. We essentially had to just avoid a total collapse over the final stretch and we would be promoted, only 7 more points were needed from 7 games and we would be guaranteed a top 2 finish![/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]After we plodded along nicely for a few games we threw our first chance of guaranteeing a top 2 place away with an uncharacteristic collapse against Villefranche. Leading 2-0 going into the last ten minutes we conceded a sloppy penalty and then switched off completely in the 89th minute to gift our opponents a point and with it, prolong our wait for promotion.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]For the second time this season another top of the table clash with Bourg had fallen at a pivotal point of the campaign. This time, however, they were sitting 3rd in the league and if we could win this would seal our place in the top two with games to spare. I hoped that the disappointment from the previous game would spur us on and get us over the line. A trophy would be fantastic but simply finishing in the top two would be good enough for me.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Again we went 2-0 early this time thanks to two goals from the impressive Mata who was only filling in due to a knock to our usual right winger Ylatupa. All we had to do was hold onto this lead and we would be up into Ligue 2 and would probably have the title within touching distance too! Sadly, once again, after halftime, we totally lost concentration once again. This time Sissoko scored a brace after the hour mark to peg us back and deny us the victory. Our usually unflappable defence was looking shaky.[/FONT]
It’s De Ja Vu all over again![FONT=&quot]

[FONT=&quot]This left the promotion race looking like this. Despite throwing away 4 points in the last two matches we were still in a good place to win both promotion and the title having not lost since the opening day of the season. We had a game in hand and I was hoping that the title race didn’t come down to the final game of the season away at QRM![/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Our promotion was sealed in the next game but not in the way we wanted. Despite absolutely hammering ten man Le Mans we couldn’t find a winner and even had two goals disallowed in the final 15 minutes just to add to my frustration.[/FONT]
Classic FM…[FONT=&quot]With promotion secured my board had some good news at last. Not only was the club turning professional but they were increasing my wage budget for next season up to £71k! This would finally allow me to renegotiate new contracts for my squad without destroying the club financially! Aweomse! The only thing that could add to this good mood would be securing the title….we just had to stop throwing away leads. A frustrating habit we had developed but at least it shouldn’t cost us too much.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]We were almost FM’d in the next game as it took a 91st minute winner from Joveljic to beat USBCO and win the title! The clubs first piece of silverware in our very first season was a bit of a surprise especially considering that there are some fairly big teams in this league![/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Despite losing the final game of the season this was a highly successful one for F.C Europa as we finished top of the league with a comfortable cushion to second place.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]We only lost on the opening and final day of the season which bookended a 32 game unbeaten run, a huge achievement for the team in its first season. This run also set a league record for games without defeat and was entirely built on a very tight defence. We only conceded 19 goals all season with 6 of these coming in the opening 2 games before we switched our formation.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]At the end of season awards, our defensive players dominated the voting with Zach Muscat winning fans player of the season although I’m amazed Benedettini didn’t at least finish 2nd! His record for clean sheets (and goals) in one season will take some beating.[/FONT]

  • Position – 1st in French National
  • Average Attendance – 1,728
  • Biggest Win – 4-0 v Algrange
  • Biggest Defeat – 0-3 v QRM
  • Top Scorer – 11, Dejan Joveljic
  • Most Assists – 7, Bilel El Hamzaoui
  • Player of the Year – Zach Muscat
  • Highest Average Rating – Zach Muscat, 7.12
[h=2]Golden Scarves[/h][FONT=&quot]Wonderfully, the league awards are called the golden scarves (this is also the name of an award given out to Seattle Sounders Fans) and with us having a fairly dominant season I was confident we could win a decent haul.[/FONT]
  • Benedettini won the Goalkeeper of the season for an impressive 20 clean sheets in 33 games. (also third place in league player of the season voting….a bronze scarf I guess)
  • I won manager of the year! Woop.
[FONT=&quot]So both myself and Benedettini will be able to show off our bling during any cold winter spells![/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Our season was ended on a little bit of a sad note as Kenny Miller suddenly announced his retirement. In the spirit of the challenge I tried to hire him back as a coach when his career ended, however, he wanted nothing to do with us. Apparently, one year in the north of France was enough for him.[/FONT]
[h=2]F.C Europa Challenge[/h][FONT=&quot]For those unfamiliar with the long-term goals of this save I have 4 tiers of achievements, that I’m going for.[/FONT]
  1. Have a player from every UEFA country in my squad
  2. Have a player from every UEFA country play a game
  3. Have a player from every UEFA country score a goal
  4. Have a player from every UEFA country get man of the match.
  5. Bonus Round – Have a member of staff from every UEFA nation.
[FONT=&quot]Here’s the progress so far;[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]So in our first season, we manage to complete a few major milestones. Most notably the players from San Marino, Malta, Liechtenstein, Andorra and Cyprus completed all 4 of the major goals. It will become infinitely harder for these players to do this the further I get into the game so this gives me hope I should be able to complete my challenge.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]After just one season I’ve had almost half of the countries represented in my squad and on the pitch and with almost a 5th of all countries completed we’re off to a strong start! Outside of Europe our players from Morocco and DR Congo also completed all 4 tiers and made major contributions through the season though these don’t count towards my goal.[/FONT]
[h=2]Achievement Hunter Challenge[/h][FONT=&quot]In addition to my own goals with this save, I am also participating in Newgen FM’s achievement hunter challenge![/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]For full details on this challenge follow this link but I will also be summarising my own progress here too.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]In this first season, we managed to obtain three of the achievements;[/FONT]
  • Record Appearance Holder for the club. (Zach Muscat, Elia Benedettini. 34 Appearances)
  • Record Goals for the club. (Dejan Joveljic, 11 Goals)
  • Win League Title
[FONT=&quot]Not bad picking up three achievements in one season although I was always guaranteed to pick up the first two with this being a brand new club, the league title was a huge bonus however! Only 46 more to go![/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Thanks for reading again! I’ll be back with more updates soon![/FONT]
Part 4 of my ongoing save where we try and survive in French Ligue 2 despite the clubs mounting debt. Any Feedback and shares are appreciated!
Original Link: https://stratmangaming.wordpress.com/2018/11/04/f-c-europa-part-4-a-big-step-up/

Hello and welcome to my blog! This time out I will be covering the first half of the 2018/19 season in charge of F.C Europa after we secured promotion to Ligue 2 last season. I expect a long slog against relegation but, for financial reasons, I need to stay in this league at all costs!
Catch up on the previous parts here.
[h=2]Personal Development[/h]To kick things off for the 2019/20 season the board offered me a new contract. Unfortunately, it was still going to expire at the end of the current season, however, a pay rise up to £1k p/w was nice. I just have to hope I perform well enough to be offered another new contract at some point during this season.
Also pleasing to see was my own growth in the game as a number of my attributes had improved after just one season (and one manager of the year award).


Anyway, enough of blowing my own trumpet it's time to move on to the rest of the clubs pre-season!
[h=2]Pre Season[/h]

It's fair to say this season looked like it was going to be some slog. With a young squad that was only predicted to finish inside the top 7 last season, a higher division would be a huge ask of my existing players. The French media agreed with this assessment too as we were heavy favourites to finish bottom and had huge odds to get promoted... I can't quite see the back to back promotions happening. Still, only the bottom two teams were automatically relegated in this league so we only had to finish 18th to give ourselves a chance of staying up through the playoffs!
With a small budget to work with in terms of transfer fees but about £30k p/w excess wage budget, we would have to improve the squad exclusively through free transfers. Bring on the trial offers!
In an effort to free up some more transfer and wage budget for the upcoming season I also offered several fringe and reserve players out but many of them didn't attract any bids. I could do with offloading one of my non-European players so that I have the opportunity to sign a better player within my quota. My transfer kitty was also boosted with the news of a new sponsorship deal!


Small blessings and all that...[h=2]Staff[/h]With an increase in finances for this season our coaching staff also increased significantly. I was also pleased to welcome Kenny Miller back to the club as a coach after initially resisting my contract offers.


[h=2]Transfers[/h]Over the course of preseason, we managed to sell 4 players (De Girolamo, Davies, Edmundsson and Mata) giving us some increased options for new signings in the transfer market. 12 new players were brought into the club without spending a single penny.


There are three players, in particular, that should significantly boost the team in the coming league campaign;


A young winger stolen from Midtylland on a free transfer he is on a par with existing RW's in the squad and can become a top player in this position. Definitely one for the future



Both players boost our midfield as well as adding some experience. Finally, we have more than three players capable of playing in central midfield to give us some depth. Leborgne was also made the new club captain after Kenny Miller retired at the end of last season as he was our best leader in the first team squad.
These additions to the squad gave us the following lineup of nations for the season;

We welcomed countries such as Poland, Turkey and Germany into the club through our new signings to progress a little closer to completing tiers 1 and 2 of my challenge but there is still some way to go. In addition to these nations, our other players would be;

Non-UEFA Players

  • Bilel El Hamzaoui (Morocco)
  • Jordan Leborgne (Guadeloupe)
U-23 Academy Players
  • Loic Verriele
  • Yanis Zairi
  • Raphael Breem
  • Hugo Berthe
Our preseason schedule saw us have a similar list of fixtures to last year as we were up against a couple of lower league clubs from northern Europe with Everton thrown in at the end thanks to the transfer which saw Antonio Marin join them in January last season.


We equipped ourselves well and hammered the opposition in our first four games only conceding from penalties. Our friendly against Everton was something of a good performance despite the final score. With the first choice keeper Bennedetini injured, youngster Hein was in goal and made two significant errors to make the scoreline a lot more one-sided than Everton perhaps deserved.
Despite positive signs from pre-season, our squad was badly affected by injuries going into the league. Our midfield had lost two of its better players for the opening game and our starting goalie wasn't quite back to full fitness. Pleasing to see was Dadasov being close to fitness after nearly 10 months out on the sidelines. If we want to stay in the league we need better luck with injuries through the season.


[h=2]Ligue 2[/h]As our default 4-1-4-1 from last season was drilled into most of the squad by now I decided to keep with it for the league campaign. Just half an hour into the season I was already curing our luck. Against a potential top 10 team Sochaux we had lost both of our starting wingers through injury so I was left with no choice but to throw Isaksen and Parkhouse into the fray. Managing to put this setback behind them we managed to salvage a respectable 1-1 draw thanks to a late equaliser from Simms on his debut!


Spirits were dampened from this result as we would be without Ylatupa for 2-3 months and without Kristinsson for 5-6 weeks. Not the start we wanted as we now had an incredible 7 first team players injured (Pedrelli and Startsev also picked up minor injuries in the opening game).
Despite these issues, we picked up our first win at this level against Paris FC in the next game. Joveljic was in lethal form, picking up two counter-attacking goals in a 3-1 win against Paris FC. Our tactics worked pretty well here as we put in a much more controlled performance than in the previous outing. Very encouraging.
[h=2]Coup De La Ligue[/h]Having gained promotion to the second tier we were now eligible for entry into the top cup competition in France so this could be another valuable source of prize money for us. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be as we conceded a last-minute equaliser against Ajaccio and were then knocked out on penalties. Hey ho, at least we could now concentrate on the league!
Despite this disappointing result in the cup our league form continued to defy the preseason critics as we strung together an impressive run of form. In the opening two months of the season, we only suffered one defeat against Troyes where every shot they took seemed to hit the back of the net. Perhaps the sweetest part of this run were the two tight wins against QRM and Bourg, the two promoted sides from last season.


Our formation from last season was operating very effectively, despite the improvement in opposition as we were still able to control possession to nullify the opposition threat with Benedettini and Muscat proving to be crucial players again this season. Despite this great run our main striker Joveljic was in the midst of a 2-month goal drought so it was finally time for Dadasov so start games for the club after a nightmare start thanks to injuries.


He repaid my good faith as he scored the second goal in a shock 2-0 win against Lille who had Manchester City flop Loic Remy up top. Hopefully, performances like these could kick Joveljic into some sort of form, I don't want him to spend too long on the bench in case he becomes unhappy. Joveljic is, after all, by far and away our best striker.


Unfortunately, this didn't quite happen.

After the initial promise of a solid 2-0 win, the whole team went without a single goal in the next five league matches as we started a worrying slide down the table. Our normally reliable formation had suddenly hit a brick wall as we were dominating possession as normal but barely registering a shot on target in any of these five matches.
Fortunately, the French Cup provided us with the chance to set things right against 4th tier opposition and this was a chance that we took. Despite a below-par performance we comfortably won 2-0 which, for some reason shocked some in the media.


I'm not sure what we've done to upset so many people in the media with them predicting us to finish rock bottom in the league and to be knocked out of the cup by a team two leagues below us but I was happy to repeatedly prove them wrong. Maybe it was those three consecutive 0-0 draws?
Our winless streak was finally ended against lowly Gazelec Ajaccio as our backup strikers stepped up in the second half to win us the game with some composed finishing and build up play. This was despite a controversial penalty late on that so very nearly robbed us of the win and almost had me banging my head on the wall with frustration.


It was a tight win but with our first league goals in almost a month, I felt like we could finally start moving forward again. I tried to ignore the fact that our leading goal scorer (Joveljic) now hadn't scored in the league since the 19th of August! If history teaches us anything its that strikers on huge goal droughts always work out for the best in the end......


Despite Joveljic's ongoing struggles we actually managed to round off the first half of the season with two more strong wins against Niort and Paris FC, keeping our noses well away from trouble. Indeed, the league table going into the winter break saw us sitting up in 7th, only three points away from the playoffs. I would be staggered if we actually managed to qualify for the playoffs as we hadn't even scored a single goal against any of the top 5 teams apart from against FCSM on the opening day of the season.


Similarly, I couldn't see us flirting with relegation any time soon either even if we had another dramatic slump in form after the winter break as we were sitting an impressive 14 points above Ajaccio in 18th place.
Thanks again for reading and following this save. I shall be on holiday in the land of Zach Muscat shortly after posting this part of the story so I shall post again sometime after I get back!
Hello and welcome to part 5 of this save which will cover the second half of the 2019/20 season where we currently in sit in 7th place in the French second tier.
Catch up on previous parts here.

We start this part in the January transfer window with a familiar problem in this save so far; a need to slash the wage budget and drag the club out of debt. This transfer window there were two players in particular, attracting a lot of attention; Joveljic and Hein. This posed quite a dilemma for me, despite neither of them currently featuring in the first team squad at the moment they both had massive potential so I would only sell them if good enough bids rolled in. Unfortunately, this was complicated by the fact that Hein's contract was expiring at the end of the season so it looked as if he would be leaving on a free transfer as he had no intention of extending his contract with us.



The destabilising effect of these potential transfers must have then had some sort of effect on the immune systems of my players as, in the next week or so, four first-team players came down with flu and wouldn't be back to the first team in time for the first league game after the winter break! Ironically, one of the players out with illness was our normal starting goalie so this would give Hein his first extended run in the first team, right as he was set on leaving the club.


With a depleted squad we could only manage a draw with second-bottom Nancy which was followed by a very tight 1-0 win over bottom-placed Red Star FC. Despite being totally uninspiring in these two games we were now only 3 points away from a playoff place.

I suppose the old adage is that if you can play badly and win you'll have a good season but we had no hope of making the playoffs unless we could start to put better performances in when we got back up to full fitness.
Even with my best efforts, there was little business conducted during the transfer window. We had no money for new signings and due to a slowly increasing debt our wage budget had been reduced from £75k p/w to £62k so, in the end, the only people to leave the club was a scout who got stolen by Reims for £40k and Hein agreed a contract to move back to the Estonian League at the end of the season.

I'm trying to pretend the budget screen doesn't exist as the prize money in the league is quite small. It looked increasingly likely that some of my better players would have to be sold so if Joveljic's lean spell continued I would be actively trying to sell him at the end of this season.
With the transfer window out of the way, this lead us into back to back games against two other teams on the fringe of the playoffs; Grenoble Foot and Clermont Foot. A double footer if you like (sorry I just had to fit that one in).
After coming from behind to beat Clermont 3-1 thanks to some great counter-attacking goals we then suffered a frustrating 1-0 defeat to Grenoble to end a 9 game undefeated streak to leave us still flirting with the play offs!
[h=2]Youth Intake[/h]The second youth intake this save but I've still not been able to afford any upgrades to my facilities, coaching or recruitment so let's see what this throws up.



Well, I certainly didn't expect anything like this. Losing Hein at the end of the season suddenly didn't seem so painful as Geiger looked like he could become some player with the added bonus of being pretty good at penalties and free kicks. Oh. And at 15 years old he is already over 6ft3 tall! ****.


The second best player this intake but I don't anticipate him featuring in the first team at any stage, he simply isn't good enough to replace any other French players.
Back in the league, our form was holding steady as we were finding a way to grind out wins. This was optimised by a hard-fought win over Auxerre where we had to dig in and take our chances to frustrate the opposition.


This win was significant for two reasons. Firstly, Joveljic scored his first goal in the league since way back in August, quite a drought. Secondly, this win saw us move into the play-off positions for the first time this season. I would be staggered if we maintained this but we were almost guaranteed to stay in the league this season barring something ridiculous in the final 11 games.


Our run in would be very tough, but potentially a rewarding one if we could pick up wins. We were playing seven of the leagues top 9 teams in our remaining 11 games. If we could find a way to put a good run of games together we could find ourselves in the playoffs! I dared to dream.
Hopes were raised through the roof with back to back wins over Lens and LOSC, the second of which was an absolute robbery. This result also lifted us up to 4th in the league and guaranteed we couldn't be relegated!

The board also offered me a new contract after this game which would guarantee that I stay at the club until 2022....unless I got sacked I guess! All of this positive news lead into another monumental game, this time against Metz.

With the league table delicately poised we would be calling upon a boisterous home crowd to help us put in a performance against the current league leaders.
After only 10 minutes Dadasov collected a delicious through ball and slotted home for his 7th goal of the season to give us a massive lead! This played perfectly into our game plan as our dominance of possession would frustrate Metz while they tried to find an equaliser. We continued to control the tempo of the game well into the second half, having over 60% possession before we doubled our lead! Barclay scored his first goal for us with a flicked header from a corner! I was in dreamland!
We hung on for a massive victory which gave us a serious boost to our league form. Such was the momentum gained that with 4 games left the picture in the promotion race was this.

We had a slim chance of going up automatically but I really couldn't see this happening, instead, I was totally focussed on finishing inside the top 5 to secure a playoff spot which would be way above anything I expected going into this season. If our form was good, however, then we had a tantalising last day fixture against FCSM which could turn into a winner takes all promotion game!
This wasn't to be the case as our place in the playoffs was confirmed with a 1-0 defeat to midtable Niort in the penultimate league game before securing a solid 0-0 with FCSM on the final day of the season.
The final league table looked like this with F.C Europa securing an impressive 3rd place finish. Once again the solid defence was the bedrock of the team's success as we had the second-best defence in the league but the 15th best attack. Regardless this far and away surpassed any preseason predictions where we were widely tipped for relegation.

[h=2]Play-Offs[/h]With Europa having finished third in the league we bypassed the first round of the playoffs and were drawn against Lens in the Final. We had a full squad to pick from with the team being free from injuries for the first time in a long time. This all changed on 20 minutes when Joveljic was taken off injured. Dadasov came off the bench and put in the performance of his career so far at the club. He bullied the Lens defence and scored the opening goal on 38 minutes to set us on our way. It was one-way traffic despite us only having a one-goal lead we were never in danger. Lens only registered a single shot on target the entire game as we eventually ran out 1-0 winners!

Despite being called a final we weren't actually promoted to Ligue 1, instead, we were put into a two-legged promotion/relegation playoff against Brest where the winner would play next season in Ligue 1.
Brest were in terrible form having only won one league game since the end of February and finished the season with only 36 points. This might be do-able even without main striker Joveljic.

It's fair to say our luck wasn't in. Despite attacking Brest from the start and, like against Lens, dominating shots and possession they scored two absolute worldies to win the first leg 2-0. Of all the games for this to happen in.........
With nothing to lose in the second leg, I went for a more attacking 4-4-2 gengenpress tactical approach and set us to an out and out attacking style. I wasn't going to go down in this game wondering!
Unfortunately, this didn't work too well in the first half as we trailed 1-0 without even managing to register a single shot, we would need something huge to get out of this hole by scoring three second-half goals. Something we hadn't managed to do in a match for over 5 months! Sadly, it proved to be too much for us. Despite a Ylatupa goal giving us hope we eventually went down 2-1 as we pushed on looking for a decisive goal. Gutted!
Not a bad effort from us this season. 3rd in the league and falling one hurdle short of promotion was way beyond anything I ever anticipated. Though I think the media were very harsh in predicting us to finish rock bottom it was still a massive overachievement from us!
The final incident of note this season was that our chairman put the club up for sale. With a bit of luck, the club might get a little more money from any new owners. At the very least I hoped the transfer embargo cleared before the transfer window opened.

[h=2]Club Review[/h]The defence once again took most of the plaudits this season with Startsev winning 51% of the player of the season vote this time. Goals were very hard to come by with RW Saku Ylatupa eventually being the clubs top scorer with only 8 goals
[/h]Most Improved Player - Saku Ylatupa. Has gone from being a fringe player who I half considered selling to a consistent key contributor this season chipping in with goals and assists during an injury-shortened season.
Most Disappointing - Kristofer Kristinsson. Had a chance to stamp his authority on the LW position as he should be showing signs of improvement as he goes into his 20s and El Hamzaoui starts to decline but he simply didn't contribute enough or develop in any significant way.
  • Position - 3rd in Domino's Ligue 2
  • Average Attendance - 3,174
  • Biggest Win - 3-1, v Paris FC
  • Biggest Defeat - 2-4, v Troyes
  • Top Scorer - 8, Saku Ylatupa
  • Most Assists - 7, Jordan Leborgne
  • Player of the Year - Andrej Startsev
  • Highest Average Rating - Andrej Startsev, 7.19
Despite our team massively overachieving this year not a single one of my players won an award the closest we came was Benedettini coming runner-up in Goalie of the season.
[h=2]F.C Europa Challenge[/h]Now for an update on the long-term progress of my save!
Tier 1; Have a player from every UEFA country in my squad.

Tier 2; Have a player from every UEFA country play a game.

Tier 3; Have a player from Every UEFA country score a goal.

Tier 4; Have a player from every UEFA nation get man of the match.

In SquadPlayed GameScored GoalMotM
Starting to really make progress on tiers 1 and 2 of the challenge now as I am over half way to completing these. I have fully completed just over a quarter of the countries in Europe which is a good start for only two seasons in the game especially as it includes nations like San Marino, Gibraltar and Liechtenstein. The main minnows I want to try targeting next are the Baltic minor nations, when I get a transfer budget that is......
[h=2]Achievement Hunter Challenge[/h]In addition to my own challenge, I'm also taking part in the Achievement Hunter Challenge. For full details on this challenge follow this link but I will also be summarising my own progress here too.
In my second season, I only managed to pick up a single achievement which I was guaranteed to pick up;
  • Club Record high League Position (3rd in French Ligue 2)
Nothing spectacular, I was guaranteed to collect this award regardless of how badly I did this year but I'll take it anyway!
Thank you for reading my progress so far! I can't believe how much progress has been made in only two seasons, hopefully, we can go one step further in the league next season!
If you fancy a Friday afternoon read check out my latest blog. Can we finally win some silverware for the first time in 5 years?https://stratmangaming.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/f-c-europa-part-12-football-******-****/