Fortuna Sittard

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Fortuna Sittard

It's taken me a good couple of days to identify the club I want to take over for my new FM24 career. I must have spent hours looking through clubs across Europe, reading up about different teams online, and I must have been lacking some serious motivation as nobody was taking my fancy. That was until I found Fortuna Sittard in Holland and there was a few things that appealed to me about this club and have inspired me into taking over as their new manager. First and foremost, I do like a good club badge and Fortuna's caught my eye for sure...might not be everyone's cup of tea but I like it!

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Also on the common aesthetics side of things, I liked their kits too. The home and third kit keep it simple but look sleek, whilst the second kit is a bit funkier and cool.

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Then other thing I liked about Fortuna Sittard was the fact they have never won the top division or the cup in Holland, so there is definitely history to be made by winning these competitions for the first time. They've lifted the second tier title on three occasions but that is as good as it has ever really got for Fortuna.

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Other things that appealed to me about this club included some youth development success in the 90s, a whole host of financial issues, a lottery donation, a new owner and being saved by COVID (it's certainly been an interesting ride for the Fortuna Sittard fans)...

* Although not known for bringing through the most talented youth recently, their system has previously developed players including Mark Van Bommel, Kevin Hofland and Fernando Ricksen.
* The club has had it's fair share of financial turmoil between the years of 2002-2016. The team was facing bankruptcy back in 2003, when two of the club's fans won the Dutch lottery and donated their entire winnings to the club! In addition to that, the club sold off their new stadium to clear their remaining debts.
* Financial difficulties resurfaced again though and in 2009, the KNVB announced it would withdraw the club's license to play for the 2010-11 season, although this decision was eventually revoked. Despite ongoing financial difficulties, the club did gradually start to recover financially and with that came some sporting success as they came very close to promotion back to the top tier several times over the next few seasons, making the playoffs twice.
* In 2016, financial problems arose again though, which prompted the takeover of the club by Turkish investor, Isitan Gun, who had previously been the COO at Galatasaray. Things started to look up for the club again and in the 2017/18 season, they were promoted back to the Eredivisie for the first time in 16 years, finishing 2nd behind Jong Ajax (who obviously can't be promoted).
* The club then had it's share of good luck as they finished 16th in the league in 2019/20 and effectively should have been at least in the relegation playoff and possibly go down - however the COVID 19 pandemic meant the season was declared void and they remained in the top tier.
* Since then, it's been 3 bottom half finishes for Fortuna, narrowly beating off the threat of relegation each year.

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Enter Chris Ball...and I hope to now take this club to heights it has never seen before and develop them into one of the top clubs in the country competing with the likes of Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord season upon season and hopefully going on to make some sort of mark in Europe as well...eventually!
 
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Chapter 1
First Day On The Job
10th July 2023

On my first day in the job, the first thing I needed to do was check out the money situation after all the previous issues at the club over the past 20 years. I'm pleased to say that under our new ownership, we seem to be in a pretty stable place right now, although the budgets are pretty small.

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Next, I checked out the facilities available to me. Everything's pretty average in terms of training and youth facilities at the club, although we do have an excellent academy coaching programme and the youth recruitment, although it could be better, is not terrible.

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The stadium might not be the biggest, but it looks nice and tightly enclosed which means our fans could make this an intimidating place for teams to come to.

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So let's get on to meet the squad now. Good numbers across multiple positions is always good to see and there seems to be a decent mix of youth and experience as well. Couple of things I did note though - we don't have a strong contingent of Dutch players in the side and this is something I'll look to rectify over my time here as I think it is important to have a solid core of players of the club's nationality. Second, I find it odd that all four players that are on loan at the club are not that good...usually you would get loan players to improve your first team and make an impact but I can't see any of these four making my regular starting 11.

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With what I have available, this is the tactic I have created. It's my trusty old 4-1-2-3 which will focus on getting play out to the wide players to make an impact. However, going forward, they will be supported by two more attacking minded centre mids, who have the cover of a ball winner in behind them. Two attacking full backs will support the play without overcommitting themselves going forward and leaving us too exposed like wing backs might. We will play a counter attacking, high pressing game on a positive mentality to start.

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The team is very much built around our midfield playmaker, Oguzhan Ozyakup. The Turkish international is going to be our main creator through the middle and I'll be looking for him to drop into the holes and find the space for those pinpoint passes to unlock the opposition's defence as often as he can.

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Our best wide threat is Inigo Cordoba. The left winger has played his football in Holland for 3 years now, joining us from Go Ahead Eagles and he should be good enough to cause most right backs in this division a problem.

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The oldest player in the squad is still one of the best and despite being 34 years old, Greek centre back Dimitris Siovas, is too good to be left out of the team right now. However, he is lacking some pace and that is my only concern.

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There's no denying that one of the most important roles in the entire team is that of the goalkeeper, so I was delighted to see that (according to my assistant manager) Ivor Pandur was rated as the best player in the squad. Having a great goalie can definitely win you points throughout a season and I'll be hoping the Croation can cement his place in our team for years to come as he is still only 23.

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It's up front where we might be lacking some quality. Of the strikers available to me, Kaj Sierhuis is probably the best of them, but doesn's stand out as amazing. Plus his record of not scoring a single goal in 41 games for his previous club Reims doesn't bode well!

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With what I am working with though, the bookies don't think we're in for a bad season and have actually tipped us to just about squeeze into the top half of the table this year. Absolutely no surprises with the betting for the top 3.

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And the board and fans are expectant of top half too, so the pressure will be on me to perform in my first season in charge.

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Chapter 2
Pre Season & Building A New Backroom Team
11th August 2023

I already established that I am not blessed with the greatest options up front and one of my limited striker options I do have got injured during pre season for the first 2-3 months of the season. Not ideal!

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In fact, our pre season was disrupted by a whole host of injuries!

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Pre season wasn't great to be honest and didn't inspire me with much confidence. Although arguably, we did get better as the friendlies went on so maybe the lads are becoming more familiar with the tactical style I want to play with each match...or at least I hope so!

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Our final friendly was easily our strongest performance of the lot as we were entirely dominant against Belgian side, Charleroi. Although it is nothing to get too excited about as they in the 3rd tier of Belgian football.

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One player that did impress through the pre season campaign was Tijani Noslin who scored one and got 4 assists in 4 games. I didn't have him down as a first team starter, but I may need to reconsider. However, he can't start the first couple of games of the season at least as he is injured for up to 3 weeks.

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My first captain under my management will be 33 year old right back Ivo Pinto who seems like the most logical choice. I've stuck with experience and our oldest player is made vice captain as well.

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We will have an opportunity to get off to a positive start as we have a winnable fixture on day 1 at home to Go Ahead Eagles. And it would be nice to pick up 3 points in our season opener, as we won't hold out much hope of getting anything from PSV on matchday 2!

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Finally, as we sign off for this update, there have been no player transfers yet, but I have made a fair few changes in my backroom team and nearly filled all the roles at the club.

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Possibly my most important signing is that of my new right hand man, Martin Jorgensen, who joins the club as my Assistant Manager.

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Chapter 3
First Four Games & A Couple Of Deadline Day Arrivals
3rd September 2023

I really felt like we had a good opportunity to get an opening day Eredevisie win and actually kind of felt like we needed to as well. So I am delighted that we were able to give Go Ahead a thumping to kick off our season. We battered their goal for the first half but just couldn't put the ball in the back of the net, although it only looked like a matter of time. And then in 15 frantic minutes of the second half, we scored 4 times to stun our opponents!

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Talk about a reaction from Go Ahead though...they went on to win 7-0 in their very next game!

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Whilst we followed up our opening day victory with a totally unexpected win against PSV! What a fantastic result to beat one of the big 3 in our first encounter with one of them. It was well deserved as well, with the stats showing that we created more and better quality chances than our opponents.

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We missed a few good chances to take the lead earlier against PSV and when the winner did eventually come, it was a goalkeeping error that led to Kaj Sierhuis debut goal!


We kept up our 100% start to the season and made it back to back 1-0 victories as we beat FC Utrecht in our next game. Ivor Pandur, between the sticks, deserves a mention here as our keeper saved a penalty on his way to a man of the match performance.

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I waited all the way around to transfer deadline day to make my first signing for the club, but now I have I feel it is an exciting one who improves us. The player coming in is Boavista's central midfielder, Miguel Reisinho, who joins on loan for the remainder of the season and if he performs well, we have an option to buy him for £875k.

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And I added one permanent signing too. 33 year old winger, Andre Hahn, has been handed a contract to the end of the year as he was a free agent and can provide some decent cover for us down both flanks. He's played most of his football in Germany's top tier and brings a wealth of experience with him.

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Unsurprisingly, Ajax were the biggest spenders of the window, forking out nearly £100 million on new players, although it is worth noting that they raised £136 million in transfer fees, so were still very profitable through the window.

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Here's the biggest deals around Europe this window.

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With the transfer window closing shut, it was back to the football action and we drop points for the first time in an absolute thriller against Heerenveen. It was a game that saw both sides lead at different times throughout, penalty kicks, last minute goals and a red card. If you're looking for a game that had it all, here it is!

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An unbeaten start has us sitting in 3rd, but with only 4 games of the season gone we won't get ahead of ourselves. But it's good to be on double figure points already and very nice indeed to have already recorded a win over PSV...I thought it could be a couple of seasons before we beat any of the big 3!

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Chapter 4
Ten Games In
22nd October 2023

Almere City have been smashed by a couple of teams already this year (including that 7-0 hammering they got from Go Ahead), so I fully expected a win against them! And we did just that, although it wasn't as comfortable as I might have been expecting.

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Heracles were up next and we did a very professional job on them with a 1-0 win. I absolutely love a solid 1-0 win!

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Excelsior were the team tipped to finish bottom of the league this year, but they haven't had a bad start and are sitting mid table above expectations in these early stages.

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And they gave us a game for sure! If we thought this was going to be easy (and part of me did) then we were very wrong. In fact, Excelsior looked like they were going to win the game when they went 3-2 up in the 82nd minute, only for Alen Halilovic to hit an absolute banger from outside the box just 60 seconds later to level it up.

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And here is that later equalizer...


We wasted no time getting right back to winning ways though, beating PEC Zwolle at home. With 21 shots on goal and over 60% possession, it's fair to say we dominated and the scoreline didn't flatter us at all.

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And another one racked up, beating Vitesse 2-0 on their home turf. The first half was a dreadful watch with both sides only mustering up a single shot each. However, the second half saw us assert and deliver more pressure and they couldn't handle it when we turned it on.

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Incredibly, that is our 7th clean sheet of the season already as we remain unbeaten through our opening 9 league fixtures.

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A large part of the reason for that is our keeper, Ivor Pandur, who on a 7.38 average rating, has had an excellent start to the campaign. Without a doubt one of the best keepers in the league right now!

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And another clean sheet soon followed against RKC Waalwijk!

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As I look at the league table after 10 games, I just can't help singing to myself...."Say we are top of the league, Say we are top of the league!!!" Not where I expected to be!

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Although I'm still fresh into my managerial career, with us flying high in the league, I thought I'd ask the board to invest a bit into the youth recruitment and with a little convincing after initially rejecting my request, they agree.

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Chapter 5
First Encounter With Ajax
6th December 2023

There is absolutely no doubt our next game is our toughest of the season so far...Feyenoord away. When we compare take a look at their squad, it's worth noting that my highest valued player is worth £5.8 million. No less than 13 of Feyenoord's squad are worth more than that! There is clearly a massive gulf in class here.

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And it showed on the pitch as we were under the kosh for pretty much the entire game and probably lucky to get away with just losing 1-0. First defeat of the season.

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From playing our toughest fixture of the year so far, we went to playing our easiest as we took on lower league opposition in the first round of the cup. An easy win as expected!

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Poor Almere City have been on the end of some hidings this season in the league and their latest is a 9-0 thrashing of Feyenoord.

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Whilst we'd be looking inflict a thrashing of our own against bottom side N.E.C.

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Hardly a thrashing but a win nonetheless...and another clean sheet!

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And that would lead us onto the big one. Ajax have always been at the forefront of Dutch football and have lifted the Eredivisie title 7 of the last 12 seasons. However, their 3rd placed finish last year was the first time they have been outside of the top 2 since 2009...they'll be looking to put that right this season for sure!

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We gave them a half decent game to be fair, but their quality shone through in the end with a couple of really well taken goals.

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It was back to back defeats for the first time this season as we lose at home to Volendam in our next game, despite being the better side! Terrible result this one!

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It was so important that we didn't make it three losses in a row and get stuck in a rut, so I'm pleased to have got the three points against Sparta Rotterdam. Even if we did our best to throw it away after going 2-0 up and allowing them to level things up at 2-2. Eventually, Tijani Noslin snuck in behind the Rotterdam defence, closed in on the goalkeeper from Ozyakup's through ball, and then chipped over the goalkeeper from close range for the winner.

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A couple of defeats has seen us drop off top spot, but I didn't expect us to stay there anyway. Still sitting 3rd and massively punching above our weight will do though and if we can finish anywhere near where we are now this season, it would be an amazing achievement.

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Chapter 6
Either Side Of The Winter Break
20th January 2024

AZ are not having the greatest of seasons so far and sit 8th at present, losing more games than they have won, but they'll be looking to even that up against us.

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But they failed to and it's a great result for us. It was Sadik Fofana who gave us the lead through sheer determination as the ball was being headed around the AZ box, before eventually he rose higher than everyone else, determined to get on the end of it and powered a header into the back of the net. The job was completed as Tijani Noslin scored in the final 10 minutes just as he did in our last game against Sparta Rotterdam.

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FC Twente were our next opponents and they have a striker bang in form! Ricky van Wolfswinkel is the second top scorer in the division with 9 goals from 11 games and we will need to try to keep him contained if we are to take anything from this one.

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So I was delighted to see him on the bench!

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But the ****** came off the bench to score twice past us and win the game for Twente!

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We only had one more league game to play this side of Christmas before the Winter break and that would be against PSV - a clash between 3rd and 4th in the division.

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And we'll hold our advantage in the league over them after holding them to a draw...or there is an argument to say they held us to a draw as we created better chances and even had what we thought was a winner in the 86th minute, only for Mouhamed Belkheir's effort to be ruled out for offside.

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We did have a cup game to fit in before the Winter break against Cambuur. Despite them being in the division below, we would go into the game as only very narrow favourites.

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It wasn't quite as close as the bookies anticipated though!

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The Winter break came and passed and we are now 14 days into January. The transfer window has been open for 2 weeks but there have been no incomings our outgoings just yet, although I'd love to add some quality to the squad this month if the right opportunity presents itself. Although with the budgets as they are, it will be tough.

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Our first game back after the break was against Go Ahead Eagles, the same team we had kicked off the season against back in August and that resulted in a 4-0 opening day victory for us. And we banged 4 past them again to kick off 2024 with a win!

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19 games into the league campaign now and at this stage I never expected to be right in amongst it with the 'big 3' but that's exactly where we find ourselves. If we can somehow finish in the top 5 positions in the league and qualify for Europe, that would be an excellent achievement for my first season in charge.

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Chapter 7
Coming Up Empty In The January Window
18th February 2024

Our third round tie of the Dutch Cup has handed us one of the most difficult fixtures possible as we are set to go away to Feyenoord. They beat us 1-0 in the league earlier in the season, although we were probably a bit lucky to get off with such a narrow defeat after they dominated us.

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And they were pretty dominant again, but twice we took the lead against the run of play in 90 minutes, although twice we were pegged back. The game went to extra time and we only managed 1 shot in the added 30 minutes, but it proved to be the most pivotal shot of the whole game as Feyenoord had a corner, we headed it away and broke straight up the other end of the pitch with a classic counter attack, before Alen Halilovic scored at the keeper's near post with a low effort into the bottom corner from close range! Get in! A massive scalp in the cup for us this year and we're into the next round.

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It's AZ for us in the next round. Getting down to the business end and PSV and Ajax both remain in the competition and will be the favourites to lift the trophy.

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We might have beaten Feyenoord against the run of play in the cup, but back in the league we were on the reverse end as we outplayed FC Utrecht only to be beaten!

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And with that defeat for us, normal service is resumed at the top of the Eredivisie with the 'big 3' leading the way.

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On transfer deadline day, I was looking to get some business done, but virtually all of the targets I had weren't interested in a move to the club despite the great season we are having. Around trying to get some business done, we did have a game to play against Heerenveen. On paper, it's probably a decent draw, but the fact we led twice makes it a slightly disappointing result on a day of slightly disappointing transfer business.

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Despite trying hard to get some business done, it just didn't happen and there are no incoming deals for us this window. Ajax were pretty busy again though as they look to cement their place at the top of the Eredivisie.

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Here's the biggest deals across Europe this January.

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I'm left immediately wondering if we are going to struggle for the rest of the season after not strengthening in the window, as we can only manage a draw with Almere City, throwing away a 2-0 lead in the process.

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That's three league games without a win now and I could only hope that the quarter final of the Dutch Cup would be a welcome break away from the Eredivisie. Our opponents would be AZ who are on their best run of the season, having not lost in 9...the last team to beat them...us!

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We dominated the 90 minute period but at 1-1, we would be forced into extra time. We overcame Feyenoord in the additional period, so hopefully we could repeat the feat here.

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But not this time. Despite scoring within 3 minutes of the restart, it was AZ that made their chances count and we are out of the competition. It's gutting as when you look at the stats here, we definitely didn't warrant being on the end of a 5-2 scoreline!!

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Our goalkeeper that was so solid through the first half of the season has hit a bad run of form and his last two match ratings of 6.0 and 5.8 are nowhere near good enough.

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I went to Pandur to critisize his recent form and he didn't take it well. The conversation got heated, turned into an argument and he walks out of my office officially on the transfer list! Well that escalated quickly!

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I dropped Pandur for the Heracles game and brought in Luuk Koopmans for his first appearance of the season. He did concede a couple and only recorded a match rating of 6.4, but thankfully we were strong at the other end of the pitch and managed to put the ball away 3 times for our first league win in 4 games.

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It leaves us 4th in the table with 11 games of the season to go. Ajax are clearly going to be incredibly tough to peg back in any season throughout my Fortuna career, that much is already clear.

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Chapter 8
Trying Hard To Keep Up With The Big 3
8th April 2024

I asked the board to invest in our future and improve the youth facilities and I'm pleased to say they agreed. Probably helps that I didn't spend any money on transfers this season.

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Back on the pitch, Excelsior were our next opponents and we recorded a nice 3-0 victory over them. A solid performance all round.

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We couldn't back that up though and were really poor against Zwolle who mugged us right off!

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Vitesse have been one of those teams in amongst the conversation for 'best of the rest' in Holland for some time, finishing between 4th and 7th for 11 consecutive seasons between 2011 and 2022. However, last year they were off the pace a little finishing 10th, and this year they find themselves down in mid table rather than the top half again.

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We needed a reaction against them after the poor showing against Zwolle, and we kind of got one. We were the better side even if we didn't get the result we wanted. However, I have to be happy with a draw as we were staring defeating in the face until Kaj Sierhuis scored his 2nd of the game in the 86th minute.

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I felt confident if we played as well as we did against Vitesse, against bottom side Waalwijk, then we would get the result. And we did just that, never really looking like we'd lose this one.

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The best 50 wonderkids in world football are announced and it's no surprise that we have nobody named in this list right now, but I am hoping to change that in future seasons.

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Yankuba Minteh is named 2nd on the list and we will be taking on the 19 year old's Feyenoord team in our next game.

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I set our opposition instructions on the youngster to keep him out on his right foot (as he likes to cut in on his left) and to tackle him harder (as he has poor strength). It seemed to work as we kept him quiet, along with the rest of the Feyenoord front line, keeping an important clean sheet on our way to a 1-0 victory.

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Kaj Sierhuis scored his 13th goal of the season to give us the win and our number 1 striker is having an OK, if unspectacular season.

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When he is compared to strikers across the 'big 5' leagues, his stats show that his shots on target and conversion rate are above average which has been a contributing factor to him being our top goalscorer this year.

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It's time for our first youth intake under my management and although my assistant manager seems to think this is an excellent intake, I am inclined to wait and see as none of these players really stand out as incredible prospects to me.

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Mustafa Akmese looks like he might be able to develop into a decent player with some good mental attributes though. If he can develop the technical side of his game, then he might make it.

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It only took top goalscorer, Kaj Sierhuis, 57 seconds to score his 14th goal of the season against N.E.C. Our opponents are sitting 17th in the division and look really up against it to stay in the division and things looked real bad for them at half time with us 2-0 up! However, a complete lapse in concentration in the early stages of the 2nd half saw them turn the game on it's head and they were in front within 10 minutes of the restart! "What the **** is going on?" I shouted from the sidelines to my team as I gave them a verbal b0110cking! It seemed to kick them back into life as we levelled at 3-3 almost immediately before then getting our noses in front. Just as I thought we might finally put the game to bed though, N.E.C were back level again!! What a game of football, but a **** result for us!

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Just five games of the season remain and we have just about kept touch with the big three in the division...well with PSV we have and we do still have a slight chance of pipping them to 3rd. I say slight as our next game is against Ajax and I don't anticipate we will get much from that game. If we can hold on to a top 5 finish and qualify for Europe I'll be over the moon and that is the target now.

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Great series man. Love ones like this in big leagues that are dominated by a handful of clubs I do these kinda saves myself. Especially using teams who’ve never won anything. Keep going man
 
Great series man. Love ones like this in big leagues that are dominated by a handful of clubs I do these kinda saves myself. Especially using teams who’ve never won anything. Keep going man

Glad you're enjoying it mate...I never expected us to be this good in season 1 and to think European football could be on it's way next year in one form or another is awesome...the money will help us grow and hopefully compete with the big 3 within a few seasons.
 
Glad you're enjoying it mate...I never expected us to be this good in season 1 and to think European football could be on it's way next year in one form or another is awesome...the money will help us grow and hopefully compete with the big 3 within a few seasons.
Yeah it’s mad but good haha reminds me
Of my mechelen season I did in this years game in Belgium. they are small and basically never won anything and my first season without really buying anyone and realistic signings I won the league couldn’t believe it 😂
 
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Chapter 9
First Season Final Run In
20th May 2024

Ajax have only lost 3 games all season and came into their game with us looking to take a big step towards the Eredivisie title...they only need two wins to secure the league. But they didn't get one here, only just managing to salvage a draw against us late on, as we turn in a really good performance against the prospective champions.

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Didn't take us long to chalk up another win though as we comfortably beat Volendam in our next outing. This result was never really in doubt in all honesty!

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With that win, it is confirmed that I have led the club to it's best ever finish in the Eredivisie in my first season in charge and we still have three games to play yet.

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A back and forth battle with Sparta Rotterdam followed and we just about came out on top with just seconds of the game remaining! A great game of football with some excellent attacking play on show from both sides, but the bragging rights are ours for today!

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With just two games to go, we have moved about PSV into the Champions League qualification spots. However, with our last two games being against AZ and Twente, it won't be easy for us to stay there. Meanwhile, Ajax are now confirmed champions!

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We knew that one more point would guarantee us a top 5 finish and a place in Europe next season, and 1 point is exactly what we got against AZ, but it definitely should have been all three as we went into the 83rd minute 2-0 up! We've thrown 2 goal leads on far too many occasions this season.

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So we officially can't finish any lower than 4th now, but with one game to go, we could still potentially pip PSV for 3rd. We play Twente, whilst PSV take on Heerenveen.

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We did our bit with a thoroughly professional performance and a convincing win over Twente. Possibly one of our best all round performances of the whole season was saved for the final day.

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We were literally seconds away from qualifying for the Champions League next year, but a 93rd minute winner for PSV ensures they hold on to 3rd place.

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But I'm not complaining! I never thought we would get anywhere near the European qualification places this season, let along finish 4th in the table and push PSV all the way for a top 3 position! It's been nothing short of a great first season in charge!

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With our 4th placed finish, we bank a cheeky £6 million in prize money, which is just minuscule compared to the sort of prize money offered in the big leagues around Europe.

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But to us, it is a significant amount of cash and with it, the board have announced the budgets for next year.

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Great first season and now got to match it next season and will be tough with that budget as well
 
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END OF SEASON 2023/24 REVIEW

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What a first season it was. A 4th placed finish in the Eredivisie was beyond my wildest imagination at the start of the season, but in the end it was only the 'big 3' that finished above us, as we qualify for the Europa League next season!

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It was a record breaking campaign for us as we finished higher than the club ever has before!

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In the cup, it was the Quarter Finals for us, so we didn't have a bad run and we did claim the scalp of Feyenoord along the way. In the end, AZ got the better of us in extra time after a draw through 90 minutes.

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Overall Squad Stats

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The New Arrivals

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Best 11

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Club Awards

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League Awards

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In terms of club support, our excellent season is obviously gaining interest as we go from 260,000 social media followers to 392,000. That's some increase in just 1 season! In terms of next season, the fan's are simply looking for us to finish mid table so there are no ridiculous expectations after our European qualification campaign this year.

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The board are keeping things realistic with their expectations over the next 5 years as well.

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Commercials

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Finances

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Chapter 10
A Record Breaking Summer
7th July 2024

Not good news for the future European qualification for Dutch clubs as Portugal overtake Holland in the coefficients table.

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Incoming: Miguel Reisinho joined us on loan last season from Boavista and became a pretty integral part of my squad over the course of the year. As part of his loan deal, I had a clause where I could buy him for £875k and I have now activated that and he becomes a permanent member of the team.

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Outgoing: Inigo Cordoba was my first choice right winger last year and scored 3 goals and bagged 8 assists for us in 30 league games. He approached me in April saying that he was looking for a new challenge with a bigger club and wanted to explore his options and I had agreed to let him go if we received a bid above £4 million for him. Both Toulouse and Granada came in for the Spaniard and he has opted to return to his home country. I did manage to get a decent fee of £5.25 million for him, but am still sorry to see him go and he will need replacing.

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That's a record transfer fee for the club!

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Incoming: My next signing was to boost the reserves/youth team as I bring in 17 year old Norwegian midfielder, Sondre Granaas for just £8k from Mjondalen.He looks like he could develop into a decent player over the next few years.

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Incoming: Then the play that could prove to be my most important signing of the Summer. Steffen Tigges is a striker I've had my eye on for most of the season and I'm pleased to get him as he was being chased down by a few clubs. He joins from Koln for £1.2 million and he could establish himself as our leading goalscoring threat this season.

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Hopefully our new striker can deliver and live up to expectations as he becomes the club's highest ever spent transfer fee.

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Outgoing: Two first team players leave the club on free transfers. I hadn't managed to tie either of them down to new deals and they both agreed deals to leave the club at the end of their contracts some time ago.

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At this point, it leaves my squad very thin on the ground! But I do have £5 million in the transfer kitty now to play with.

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Incoming: Not only do I need to add players to the squad, but I would like at least a couple of my new signings to be Dutch as well. I am therefore really pleased to announce the signing of 21 year old Dutch centre back, Ryan Flamingo. He joins for £1.5 million from Sassuolo (paying £500k up front and £1 million over the next 3 years). He was on loan at Utrecht last season but only made 7 appearances for them - he should play more than that for us this year.

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As we continue to look to build for the future, the board have agreed to my request to increase the junior coaching budget.

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Incoming: A bit of experience is added to the squad in the form of Leroy Fer, a Dutch central midfielder that will be familiar to Swansea, QPR and Norwich fans. He comes in on a free transfer and can pass on his valuable experience to our younger players.

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Incoming: I continued to invest in the Dutch contingent in the squad with the addition of FC Twente's Daan Rots. The 22 year old winger comes in as the main replacement for Inigo Cordoba and I have paid a hefty fee of £2 million (breaking our transfer record again) to bring him to the club. We will pay £800k up front with the remaining £1.2 million over the next 3 years.

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Incoming: And then another Dutch centre back in Cas Odenthal comes to the club from Como. I paid £1.5 million to bring him in (with £750k paid up front and £750k paid over 2 years). He returns to his native country after leaving N.E.C back in 2022 to move to Italy where he had a decent season last year with Como in Serie B.

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There is still some work to do but the squad is all of a sudden looking in a much better place and I am really chuffed to see that Netherlands flag a little bit more on this screen!

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Those backgrounds look insane ngl.

Been loving to follow this one as well. Can't wait to see what you do this season.
 
Those backgrounds look insane ngl.

Been loving to follow this one as well. Can't wait to see what you do this season.

Cheers mate! Downloaded them from sortitoutsi and have to admit they do make the game look so much better!
 
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Chapter 11
Pre-Season & A Big Sale For The Club
9th August 2024

Incoming:
There was another addition to the squad with the £1.8 million signing of Italian winger, Nicholas Pierini from Venezia (we'll pay £900k up front with the rest over 2 years). Pierini got 9 goals and 7 assists last year in Serie B for Venezia and I'm hoping he can bring those same sort of numbers to the Eredivisie.

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Incoming: I only had one right back in the squad and so desperately needed another. With funds really low and the wage budget pretty much all used up, I had to find a bargain with limited options. I have turned to 32 year old Omar Elabdellaoui who I only had to pay Bodo/Glimt a fee of £51k to sign and he only commands a wage of £4k per week too. He should be able to do a job for a season.

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With the club's bank balance looking relatively healthy, I asked the board to invest in the club's facilities once more and they agreed.

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Meanwile, I clearly made a bit of a name for myself with our quality season last year and am a little in demand with both Fulham and Auxerre coming calling. Naturally both approaches were politely rejected.

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Even the German champions of last season are interested in my services.

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Then a bid came in from Sheffield United for my goalkeeper, Ivor Pandur, which was taken out of my hands. The board feel that £9.25 million (plus £1.7 million in add ons) is too good to turn down and have accepted the bid above my head! It was always likely the keeper would leave this Summer after our very public fall out towards the back end of last season when he didn't like it after I critisized his performances.

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I did say to the board that I felt we could get a little bit more money for Pandur though and to be fair to them they did go back to Sheffiled United and negotiate a slightly higher fee and our keeper leaves the club, putting £11 million in the bank and adding over £9 million to my transfer budget!

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Incoming: I only spent a fraction of the money on his replacement as Alfred Gomis comes in as our new number 1 goalkeeper and he cost me just £250k from Rennes. Could prove to be an absolute bargain for a player that has 17 caps for the Senegal national side.

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We was invited to tour England to play three of the lower league sides as part of our pre season, to help increase our profile in the country. That resulted in three comfortable wins as expected and was flanked by a couple more victories against lower league Dutch opponents and then a draw with Croatian side, Dinamo Zagreb.

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The worst thing about pre season was losing Ivo Pinto for 5 months to injury, after he was stretchered off against Zagreb! Not ideal and he will need replacing!

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We now turn our attention to the Eredivisie as it is about to kick off. The bookies certainly feel we have improved our squad on last year as they have us pegged for a 7th placed finish this year, against the 11th they thought last year. The big three are again expected to dominate the division with AZ predicted to be the best of the rest....and it's AZ that we kick off our campaign against.

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