Fortuna Sittard


Chapter 25
Heerenveen, Heerenveen & Heerenveen Again
28th February 2026

The transfer window closes with no more deals for us. Ajax are looking to cement their place at the top of the table after spending over £20 million on new players this January.

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Europe's transfers saw a couple of £100 million plus deals done!

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Rodrygo's move from Real Madrid to PSG makes him the most expensive player in history!

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The Europa League Knockout Playoff draw throws up an all Dutch affair between us and Heerenveen. We could have had a much tougher fixture and have to see this as a winnable tie for us to progress!

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Although we have a pretty shocking record against them, only winning once in 6 games and even that required extra time!

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After a 12 day break since we beat Vitesse, we will now play Heerenveen three times in a week!

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The first of the three meetings resulted in us taking firm control of our Europa League tie and a 4 goal deficit will be very hard for our opponents to turn around. We were excellent here from start to finish!

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The scoreline wasn't as fancy, but we made it back to back wins as we beat them in the league as well. Alen Halilovic with a brace, before he was forced to retire from the game with injury.

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Unfortunately, one of my star players will now miss 4 weeks of action!

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In the second leg of the Europa League, with a 4-0 lead, I did take the opportunity to rest no less than 9 first choice players from my starting lineup and so it was no surprise that we lost the game. Luckily, it wasn't by a big enough margin to cost us a place in the next round.

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We get into the real business end of the competition now and we'll have to be at our very best to even stand a chance of getting past Bayer Leverkusen in the next round.

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But before that, we would have much easier opposition in domestic competition in the form of Sparta Rotterdam and N.E.C. Two games that resulted in pretty easy victories!

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We now find ourselves part of a top 5 that have really pulled away from the rest of the division. Only FC Utrecht look like a threat to our aspirations of a top 4 finish for the 3rd season in a row. Meanwhile, at the bottom PEC Zwolle are facing a potential relegation after qualifying for Europe just 2 seasons ago - they are in freefall!

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Chapter 26
Youth Intakes Getting Slightly Better
5th April 2026

We would go into our league game against Go Ahead Eagles on a 5 match winning streak in the Eredivisie, so confidence was certainly at a high. And we should feel confident of getting a result against them too, after winning 5 of the 6 meetings I've managed against them, putting 4 or more goals past them on 3 occasions.

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But this time, the form book was completely reversed and a shocking performance for us results in an embarrassing defeat.

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It was hardly the best prep for our Europa League encounter with Bayer Leverkusen! However, we responded in spectacular fashion and actually pulled off one of our results of the season, taking firm control of this tie. We will still have to be on our A game out in Germany, but this is an excellent result that I didn't foresee coming!

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Between the 1st and 2nd leg, we had an Eredivisie game against FC Twente, who are having a shocker of a season and find themselves firmly in amongst the relegation battle down in 15th place. After finishing 4th, 5th, 6th and 6th in the last 4 seasons, it's a real surprise to see them where they are and it would be a pretty significant relegation if they were to drop down a division.

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And we made the realism of relegation that little bit stronger by inflicting Twente's 15th league defeat of the season on them!

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In our 2nd leg tie against Bayer Leverkusen, the plan was to keep things tight in the first half and try to get to the break without conceeding - if we could do that I felt confident we would win the tie. Not only did we keep a first half clean sheet, but we actually took a 1-0 lead into half time after Steffen Tigges tapped in from close range on 41 minutes, to pretty much put the tie out of our German opponent's reach. Sure enough, they could only come out and get an equalizer in the second half and we are through to the quarter finals of the competition for the second season in a row.

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We'll take on Monaco in the next round and now we are down to the final 8, surely Chelsea have to be seen as massive favourites to lift the trophy from here.

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Before we play another Europa League game though, we have three of the toughest matches to play in our league season. PSV and Ajax are obviously two of the three biggest sides in the country, whilst FC Utrecht are fighting side by side with us to capture 4th place this year. Without doubt, we couldn't really play three tougher games in a row.

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We kicked off that tough run with a decent point at PSV. They definitely wanted some revenge for that freak 9-2 drubbing we gave them earlier in the season, but we denied them of it.

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We were then rocked by a major injury to one of my key players. Remy Vita has been brilliant at left back so far this year, maintaining a 7.38 average rating in the Eredivisie across 13 appearances, but he won't play again this season :-(

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Then in a massive game in the race for 4th, we get the better of FC Utrecht which could prove to be a vital win come the end of the season!

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And we round off our little tough run by beating the league leaders! What a performance, what a result!

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It's the first time I have got the better of the biggest club in the country in my career!

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The defeat hasn't hurt the Ajax title bid too much as they still maintain a 6 point lead at the top with just 5 games to go. However, the victory for us was massive in terms of our bid to finish inside the top 4 again, as we pull 8 points clear of FC Utrecht. Unfortunately, the chances of us catching Feyenoord for 3rd are slim to none.

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It's that time of year again where the youth intake is announced and although I don't necessarily agree completely with my Head of Youth Development that this is an excellent intake, I am seeing some improvement in the quality year on year.

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Central defender, Jamal Chraibi, looks like a promising youngster and is probably the best of the bunch.

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And if Franz Michiels can improve his techical attributes then he too could one day feature in our first team.

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It seems I'll hopefully be around to nurture these young talents as well after signing a new 4 year contract with the club.

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Chapter 27
Bringing The Season To A Close
17th May 2026

The best wonderkids in world football are announced and I wonder how long Shaqueel van Persie will remain a Feyenoord player after featuring so highly on the list. Is he likely to follow in his father's footsteps and play for one or two of the biggest clubs in English football?

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Monaco were our opponents for the quarter final of the Europa League and they were coming into the game on a 5 match winning streak so confidence would be high for the side that sit 3rd in Ligue 1. They knocked out Atalanta in the last round, winning both legs, who beat us in the league phase, so we were under no illusions this will be a very tough fixture.

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Now we did lose out in France, but we managed to keep the score highly respectable and we are very much in this tie still!

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I rotated the starting lineup heavily for our league game against Willem II, with the 2nd leg in mind, and with a weakened side, we could only manage a draw.

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With a rested first team, it only took us 7 minutes to level the tie against Monaco, when Jobe Bellingham got up to head home his 4th goal of the season. The took the lead again into the half time break, but the final 45 minutes of this tie was all us and two second half strikes sees us go one better than last season and go through to the semi final of the Europa League!

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It's now Aston Villa for us in the semis, after they put Freiburg out in the quarter finals. Villa are managed by Sean Dyche nowadays and are only having a pretty average season in the Premier League, sitting 9th. However, they won the UEFA Europa Conference League last season and will need maximum effort and concentration if we are to make our first ever European competition final. The other semi will see Chelsea face off against Rangers.

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We still have four league games to play and FC Emmen beat us in a surprise result earlier in the season, so we were keen to get some revenge for that! We did, just about, with the highlight of the game being a sensational strike from Luka Vrbancic to pull us level on 31 minutes.

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Can we just take some time to appreciate that Luka Vrbancic goal! Possibly the best strike I have seen in my entire time at the club!

If we are going to get through our Europa League semi final with Aston Villa, it is absolutely essential that we take a lead from the 1st leg at home, as we know how tough it will be to get any sort of result at Villa Park. Here's the lineups for the two sides!

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Despite fighting back from 2-0 down, we unfortunately lose the game and it's full advantage Aston Villa! We will need something very, very special in England to turn this around!

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Naturally, I rested all of my best players with all 11 of the starting lineup swapped, for the clash with AZ in the league. We still managed to pick up a draw though.

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And on to the biggest fixture of our entire season! Can we overturn the 3-2 deficit against Aston Villa to make it to the Europa League Final? We would be huge outsiders to pull it off, with very few people really believing we could.

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Within 9 minutes, Aston Villa were up 3-0 and the whole tie was over. They went on to absolutely batter us in the end and it was a bitterly disappointing way for our Europa League campaign to come to an end. However, once again we can be proud of ourselves for making it this far against all the odds!

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I suppose we at least responded in the right way, smashing 6 past Venlo in the Eredivisie.

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Our final game of the season ends with a **** performance and a **** result though.

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But it didn't really matter in the grand scheme of things as we once again finish 'the best of the rest' and secure a 4th place finish and qualification for the Europa League again next season. Again, I have to say the season has been a success but after three 4th placed finishes, we really need to try to close the gap to the big three next year.

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And with the season coming to a close, the board once again announce our budgets for next season and again they are minimal.

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A great achievement getting to the semi final of the Europa League and can only help boost the reputation of the club and bring in better players
A great achievement getting to the semi final of the Europa League and can only help boost the reputation of the club and bring in better players

Again, I totally didn't expect it! But yes, it continues to grow our reputation which in turn should help us attract better players to the club.



Another solid showing in the Eredivisie as we finish 4th for the third season in a row. Europa League football will once again be ours next season and again give us a platform to increase our stature across the continent.

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Meeting Ajax in just the third round of the cup this season saw our run come to a premature end, but losing to the best side in the country is forgiveable.

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Our biggest achievement this season is probably going one better than last year in the Europa League, reaching the semi final. Being knocked out by Aston Villa isn't anything to be ashamed of and the English clubs are always strong across the European competitions.

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After another good year in the Europa League, it has seen our European club ranking up to 66th, which moves us above AZ in 68th! Our reputation continues to strengthen!

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Overall Squad Stats

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The New Arrivals

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The Best 11

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Our core fanbase has increased slightly this season, whilst our social media following is closing in on the 1 million mark!

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The board firmly feel we have established ourselves as a top club in the country now as the plan for the next 5 years now includes European qualification as a minimum requirement.

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The Commercials

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Work on the new stadium will begin this Summer and in 3 years time we will upgrade from a 12,500 seater stadium to over 18,000 which should help the growth of the football club.

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And we are getting our facilities closer to the top clubs in the country too as the board announce more investment into the training centre.

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Chapter 28
One Player Departure Leaves Me Absolutely Gutted
7th August 2026

I've had three of our older players retire this Summer. Leroy Fer barely played last year, but the other two provided essential cover at both right and left back and will need replacing.

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Incoming: I'm extremely happy with my new left back! Gijs Smal comes in from AZ and it's great to add another Dutch player to the ranks. I had to fork out £3.7 million to bring him here (with £1.1 million up front and the rest over the next 3 years), but he should prove well worth the investment and should sort our left back position for at least the next 3-4 seasons.

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Outgoing: Then it was a case of one striker out, one striker in. Kaj Sierhuis leaves the club on a free transfer as his contract comes to an end. He was our top scorer in my first season, but last year he only managed 1 Eredivisie goal in 21 appearances and even from the bench, that isn't good enough. He moves to PEC Zwolle.

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Incoming: The player that comes in to replace Sierhuis is Luis Amarilla who signs from Mazatlan for just £110k. He can provide good competition to Tigges up top and comes with a good scoring record in the Mexican league where he banged in 50 in 90 games.

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Incoming: Amarilla is joined on his first day at the club by Italnian central midfielder, Filippo Ranocchia. The 25 year old strengthens us and becomes a direct replacement for Leroy Fer and I was happy to pay Sampdoria their asking fee of £1.5 million to sign him (£1 million up front and £500k over 2 years).

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Ougtoing: Ranocchia was also a necessary signing in centre mid because of the departure of Deroy Duarte as well. Duarte's first team opportunities have become less and less as each season has gone on and he leaves at the end of his contract to join ADO Den Haag.

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The draw for the Europa League third qualifying phase pits us against a side that have a lot more European experience than we do.

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Outgoing: My next sale was one I desperately didn't want to make. I only signed Luka Vrbancic last Summer for £5.5 million and the 21 year old impressed in his first season with us, scoring 4 goals and getting 8 assists in 25 league games. However, he had a £10.25 million minimum fee release clause in his contract and Anderlecht have activated and stolen him away from us. I'm gutted and I tried to offer the youngster a new deal to stay with us, but we couldn't get anywhere near the £37.5k per week wage that Anderlecht have offered him.

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Incoming Loan: It was important to invest the Vrbancic money wisely and I feel I have brought in a pivotal loan signing for the season. Pablo Torre comes in from Barcelona and we will cover 60% of his wages and over the course of the season, the loan will cost us a fee of £1.6 million, but he could be a game changer for us!

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Incoming: I also needed a second right back after the retirement of Omar Elabdellaoui and I feel I picked up a bit of a bargain by bringing in 24 year old Mexican, Daniel Blanco from Club America. He cost us just £1.8 million (all paid up front) and is already worth double that upon joining the club.

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The squad is starting to take shape nicely for the season ahead.

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And clearly the bookies feel like we are continuing to improve as they have us pegged for a 5th placed finish this season (the highest they have ever predicted us) and our odds of winning the title are also the lowest they've been at 100/1.

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Pre season saw us play 5 games and score 3 goals in every single one against a mix of foreign opposition and domestic clubs from the division below.

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Our first competitive game of the season was in Israel as we beat Maccabi Tel Aviv in the first leg of our Europa League qualifier. Great to see Luis Amarilla scoring on his debut! We're in control of the tie now with the home leg to come.

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Chapter 29
August Is A Good Month For Us

1st September 2026

Our opening game of the Eredivisie season came at home to Go Ahead Eagles and saw left back Gijs Smal make his debut for the club. And what a debut it was as the new man bagged 2 assists and scored a goal as well, earning him the man of the match award! I felt really good about his signing this Summer and he has immediately proved he could be a big, big player for us over the next few years.

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After beating Maccabi Tel Aviv 4-2 in the first leg of our Europa League qualifier, we simply needed a draw to progress in the competition! But we weren't taking it easy in the home leg and absolutely battered them, smashing in 8 goals in the process, with 4 different players getting braces! An incredible performance and I'm sure nobody wanted to draw us in the final qualifier to get through to the league stage.

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It would be Swiss side, FC Lugano, that were now standing between us and a third straight season in the league phase of the Europa League.

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We've been in sensational goalscoring form in the early stages of the season, but it was our defensive performance that stood out against VVV Venlo as we stopped them having a single shot against us!

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The goals were flowing again back in the Europa League, but for both sides, not just us! Home advantage had been on our side in the first leg, but we definitely hadn't taken full advantage of it and only take a 2 goal lead to Switzerland when I'd have liked a much bigger buffer.

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Before that, we had the small matter of FC Groningen to take care of in the Eredivisie, and take care of them we did to keep up our 100% winning start to the season.

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Outgoing: Time for another outgoing transfer as Suphanat Mueanta leaves the club to join Wolfsburg. He's only been with us for 1 season, but when someone comes along and offers you £8 million for a player you paid less than a million for just a year ago, it's really hard to say no!

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It will be Europa League football for us again this season as we get through our qualifier with Lugano. We only managed a draw out at their place, but it was enough. There were definitely some nervey moments there when they were 1-0 up though!

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The fixtures for the league phase are revealed and we have a good mix of sides to play again. However, with none of the sides we'll face having a coefficient ranking above 31 and three being outside the top 100, we have to fancy our chances of getting through to the knockout stages again.

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In the domestic league, we faced an FC Utrecht side that will look to go one better than last year and break into the top 4, and twice they led against us in a tough game. We showed great character to come from behind twice and ****** a point though.

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August has been an unbeaten month for us and we sit 3rd in the league at this early stage of the season.

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In fact, August is generally always a good month for us! We have only ever lost 1 game in the month of August over the last 4 years!

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Chapter 30
Scoring For Fun!
4th October 2026

Transfer deadline day saw me invest in an 18 year old centre back for the future. Mauricio Diaz joins us from Nacional for £2 million and hopefully the young Uruguayan will maximise his potential at the club and become an important player in the future.

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That was the final deal for us in a window that saw Feyenoord spending over £100 million!!!

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Althought they did raise £98 million of that with the sale of Santiago Gimenez to Bayern Munich!

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Here's some of the other big deals of the window across Europe (over £30 million).

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I threw my new 18 year old in at the deep end and straight into the starting lineup against Excelsior. He gave a good account if himself scoring a 7.2 match rating on our way to a 3-1 win.

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Not for the first time this season, we had more than 20 shots at goal in our next game. Heracles are likely to struggle this year and based on the evidence of this result, it could be a long hard season for them.

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Our first Europa League 'league phase' game of the season would possibly be our toughest fixture as we faced Sevilla out in Spain. However, something feels different about our side this year and there is a fearless nature amongst the squad and we proved just that as we come back to Holland with all 3 points!

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Having to play through qualifiers as well for the Europa League makes the schedule of games in the first couple of months of the season quite rough on the players fitness. With that in mind, I was almost forced into 8 changes to my starting lineup against Vitesse due to tireness in the side. But again, things feel different this season like I have more cover and better cover across my entire squad and that was proven as we overcame our opponents with ease!

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My new 18 year old defender....YES 4 assists in that game!!

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Back in Europe we were again in incredible goalscoring form hammering 8 past HJK! The fact that we have scored 5 or more goals in 5 seperate games already this season is absolute madness!

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So two games into the Europa League league phase and we top the table and at this point are looking very good to go on and qualify for the knockouts again.

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With all the goals we've been scoring of late, we also proved that we can do it the hard way with a solid defensive display as well, with a 1-0 win over PEC Zwolle back in the league.

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Alongside Ajax, we remain unbeaten in the Eredivisie after 8 games and sit just a couple of points behind them at the moment. The best start we've had in my four seasons here and hopefully we can keep this up!

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Diaz looks like he could be a **** of a player with assists like that

Chapter 31
First Defeat Of The Season
22nd November 2026

When I started my career at Fortuna Sittard, Willem II were in the second tier of Dutch football, but despite that, they have a good record against us and we hadn't beaten them in our 3 previous meetings. However, we quickly put a stop to that little run as we bang in another 5 goals. I'm literally running out of superlatives for my team at the moment...we are playing some amazing stuff!

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Heerenveen would present a tougher challenge and we were definitely put through our paces by them, but in the end we just proved a little too strong for them and this is a good win away from home.

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And that was a record breaking win for us on two counts!

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PSV at home were next for us and let's just remind ourselves of last season's crazy result in this fixture!

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The score may not have been utter madness this year, but it was again a comfortable victory for us! That's now 7 games in a row that PSV have failed to beat us and we're pretty much proving to be their bogey team!

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We turn our attentions back to the Europa League and Austrian side, LASK, were up next for us as we looked to make it 3 wins from 3 in the league phase. LASK gave a good go of it and played some nice stuff to be fair to them, but a late Alen Halilovic top bins banger from outside the box and then a nice strike from 15 yards out from Jobe Bellingham ensures we keep up our 100% record in the competition.

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After 10 straight wins in all competitions, FC Emmen finally stop our streak by holding us to a draw. It was gutting at the end though as we scored such a well worked goal in the 90th minute with 6 first time passes before putting the ball in the back of the net, only for VAR to rule it off for the narrowest of offsides.

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We were straight back to winning ways though against Sparta Rotterdam with an utterly dominant performance. The result never looked in doubt from the off!

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Then we made it 4 wins from 4 games in the Europa League with a good victory over Braga who are probably the best team we've played so far in this year's competition.

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There was a brace for Steffen Tigges in that game and he has started this season in great form, already scoring 12 times in 19 appearances in all competitions. Considering I only paid £1.2 million to bring him here, he's got better and better each season and is now worth around £10 million! I do wonder if any clubs will come calling for him if he keeps scoring the way he is. There is minor interest from Club Brugge at the moment, but I'm not worried about them - it's if any of the big German clubs look to bring him back to his home nation that I might start getting a bit nervey.

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Tigges was rested for the game against AZ, but his replacement Luis Amarilla came in and scored a brace of his own, as we twice pegged back AZ to earn a point at thier gaff.

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Tijani Noslin is a player I could have sold in the Summer, but decided to offer him a new deal as he has played an important rotation role for me over the last 3 seasons. This year he is doing really well and has 8 goals in 11 games in all comps, so he will actually be sorely missed over the next 6 weeks that he could potentially be out of action.

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We haven't lost a single game in any competition so far this season, but if any team was going to bring that run to an end, it was Ajax, who themselves hadn't lost in 19 league games going back into last season. And they did just that....*******!

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It's incredible really to think that we have only lost that one game all season and we're still only 3rd as both Feyenoord and Ajax have won 13 of their 15 games! It shows just how tough it is going to be for me to topple the best 2 teams in the country! On the plus side, we do at least have a 10 point gap back to AZ in 4th!

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Great season so far. It’s so hard against the big teams as they always make a fortune selling players in the summer windows and reinvesting it
Great season so far. It’s so hard against the big teams as they always make a fortune selling players in the summer windows and reinvesting it

Tell me about it mate. I'm selling players for around £5-12 million and they are making £50 million + sales! On top of that, they have champions league money too! If we can get ourselves into Europe's elite competition then it will definitely help bridge the gap.

Chapter 32
Player Interest Is High As The January Window Opens
14th January 2027

After suffering our first loss of the season at the hands of Ajax, it was all about how we would bounce back from that. Playing out in Israel against much lesser opposition gave us the perfect platform to do that and despite some surprisingly going behind on 53 minutes, we turned the game around in the final half hour to get the win.

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Being the only side in the league phase of the competition with a 100% record means we are perfectly poised to skip the knockout playoff this year and go straight through to the last 16.

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Good to bounce back immediately in the league as well, as we hammered NAC at their place.

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Feyenoord were up next for us and it would take us to the half way point of the season. If we win, we would jump them in the table to 2nd place, but if we lose it would see the top two start to pull away from us again.

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It would seem that we are not quite the level of the two biggest clubs in the country just yet as we are beaten. Although I can't help wondering if the game might have gone differently if Alen Halilovic had put away his 16th minute penalty and given us the lead.

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When you've just lost a game, the ideal fixture to follow it up with is against the team that is bottom of the league and that's the situation we find ourselves in against VVV-Venlo. We took full advantage and record an easy win, with Luis Amarilla scoring his first hat trick for the club.

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One more win in the Europa League would be enough for us to secure a top 8 finish in the league phase and guarantee our passage through to the last 16. Despite going 1-0 down away at Lens, we ended up getting that win fairly comfortably and it's fair to say we have breezed through the competition so far this year, with 6 wins from 6 and scoring 25 goals in the process!

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In the Eredivisie, we chalked up another win as well against Go Ahead. The first half saw us hammer their goal without managing to score, but the second half was much more clinical for us and we kicked off the scoring with a great goal from Pablo Torre as he curled an effort into the top corner from just outside the box.

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Our last game of 2026 was in the second round of the cup against Heracles. We put 6 past them in the league already this season and we put another 5 past them here as we cruise into the next round.

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One of the tournament favourites are out of the competition at this early stage as PSV Eindhoven were knocked out on pens by their local rivals from the league below.

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With us doing so well this season, I fully expect interest in our players during this January transfer window to be high and on the day of the window opening, I already have to fend off bids. The only one of the three that could end up leaving this window is Cas Odenthal as he has reacted badly to me rejecting that West Brom bid and handed in a transfer request off the back of it and it could now just be a case of me maximising the sale and getting as much as I can for the centre back.

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Ten days into January and for now, I have managed to hold the squad together and our first game back after the Winter break is against FC Groningen and Luis Amarilla took no more than 16 seconds to open his account for the calendar year of 2027. Gijs Smal doubled our lead with a fantastic free kick that powered into the top left corner. From that moment, it never really looked like we would lose the game and it's great to kick off the new year with a win.

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So 20 games into the Eredivisie season now and at least we are giving Ajax and Feyenoord something to think about, as nobody else in the league can live with them! It's still crazy though that we have won 15 of our 20 games this season and we are still 6 points off the lead!!

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There may be a lot of interest in my players during this window, but the top European clubs are also highly interested in my services as Arsenal come calling...being the team I support, this was a tough one to turn down I won't lie!

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The players rewarded my loyalty to them with an easy win against Excelsior in the cup and we progress to the quarter final.

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Ajax have crashed out of the competition and that will make Feyenoord the favourites to lift the trophy this year. But does that make us 2nd favourites now maybe?

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Chapter 33
Further Strengthening At Centre Back
19th February 2027

With the potential upcoming departure of Cas Odenthal, I have already turned my attention to buying another centre back. I'm really pleased to bring Xavier Mbuyamba to the club and add another Dutch player to the squad. The 25 year old has spent some of his younger years at the likes of Barcelona and Chelsea so will have learned from some of the best coaches in the world and trained alongside some of the best players in the world. He played most of his first team football for FC Volendam during a 4 season period before moving to Montpellier last Summer in a deal worth £2.2 million. He hasn't managed to break into their first team squad and the French club decided to take the profit when I offered them £3.4 million to bring him back to Holland and revamp his career.

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With passage through to the next round of the Europa League already guanteed, I rotated the squad heavily against Rapid Wien and made 5 subs at half time too. We still managed to get the win and make it 7 from 7 in the league phase of the competition.

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Back in the Eredivisie we had a preview of our cup encounter with FC Utrecht and the psychological edge will be with us after winning here. Not the most entertaining game, but a solid result and a clean sheet for new defencer, Xavier Mbuyamba on his debut for the club.

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In our final league phase game of the Europa League, I rested every player I possibly could for the match against Atalanta, so it came as no real surprise to me that we were well beaten, but we can swallow this one.

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Despite that defeat, we still finish top of the tree in the league phase of the competition.

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Back at full strenth and with most of the starting 11 well rested, we were able to cruise past Excelsior in the Eredivisie.

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Outgoing Loans: Transfer deadline day comes and throughout this window, I have allowed two wide forwards to leave on loan as they were unhappy at their lack of first team starts for the club this year. Both players have gone out to Belgium as Tijani Noslin has moved to Standard Liege and Arianit Ferati has gone to Kortnijk.

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Incoming: That left me short of numbers in the wide positions and I have brought in a bit of Dutch experience as ex Aston Villa winger, Anwar El Ghazi, signs for the club from Le Havre for £1.4 million (paid all up front).

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Incoming: With just an hour of the window remaining and with cash to spare, I moved to bring another centre back to the club. 25 year old Argentinia, Gaston Avila, was struggling to get into the Ajax starting lineup but he is definitely good enough to become a key figure in my back 4 and I picked him up for just £3.1 million (all paid up front).

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With the window closed, here are the biggest transfers across Europe over the last month (over £20 million).

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Avila went straight into the starting lineup and was a rock at the back, recording a debut match rating of 8.2, as we comfortably beat FC Utrecht in the quarter final of the Dutch Cup!

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And it's the semi final draw we wanted to avoid, although having home advantage could prove massive as we face Feyenoord. Surely the winner of our game will go into the final as hot favourites to lift the cup!

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As I went to pick my squad for the Heracles game back in the league, I realised I've made a **** up with the signing of El Ghazi last month. He's already played for two sides this year and can't actually play for us this season!!

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We made hard work of it against Heracles but we did get over the line with another 3 points, which is good as anything else would have been unacceptable against a side struggling in the bottom half of the table.

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There is no doubt that with 11 games of the season remaining, it is very much a 3 horse race for the title and we are very much involved!

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Meanwhile, the draw for the last 16 of the Europa League pits us against Sparta Prague.

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Chapter 34
Juggling Multiple Competitions
19th March 2027

Alen Halilovic was on top form as he scored a hat trick to lead us to a good away win at Vitesse. They are seriously struggling this year and find themselves in a relegation battle and it would be a bit of a shock for them to go down, considering they have been the best of the rest behind the top 3-4 teams in the country for years!

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Halilovic has been one of the players of my career so far, playing an important role for me since I took over at the club, maintaining some extremely impressive average ratings in the Eredivisie as well!

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It was time for the semi final of the KNVB Beker and a massive clash with Feyenoord. Both sides go into the game knowing they will be favourites in the final, but we have a terrible record against them and haven't won in 6 games including a semi final defeat in this competition two years ago as well!

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It was a game that saw both sides have their fair share of chances, but it was us who just about edged the result by the narrowest of margins to make it to our first ever cup final under my management! Now the question is whether we can go on and finish the job to lift the Dutch Cup for the first time in the club's history!

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It's Sparta Rotterdam who now await us in the final.

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We immediately turn our attention back to the league for now and it's a solid 1-0 at home against Zwolle. We weren't at our best in the attacking department, but a good defensive display ensures victory.

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Out in Prague for the first leg of our Europa League tie, it was both my full backs that scored goals along the way to a 3-0 win to put us firmly in control for the return leg at home.

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With those 3 goals, we have now beaten our own record for the most goals scored in a Europa League season and we could have a few more games to potentially play yet! It's fair to say we are really starting to carve out a bit of a reputation for ourselves across Europe now and people that would have never heard of us 5 years ago will now recognise the name!

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As I take a look around Europe, I can't quite get over the sheer dominance of Real Madrid in La Liga this season. They have won an incredible 25 of their 27 league games this year and are running away with the title!

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The schedule has been busy of late as we juggle multiple competitions and it's taken it's toll as we lose a game we should have won against Willem II in the Eredivisie. Both Ajax and Feyenoord will be delighted to see this result!

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Both our title rivals picked up wins in their games and we have dropped off the pace of the top 2.

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Despite that disappointment, I needed my lads to keep their heads and ensure we didn't let our lead slip against Sparta Prague in the Europa League. We did a professional job and a couple of late goals ensure we increased our aggregate score by a couple and it's been a fairly comfortably tie for us to move into the quarter finals.

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Back in domestic competition, we drop more points though at home to Heerenveen and with that, we can probably kiss goodbye to any chance of winning the league this season.

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Both of my strikers have just hit a period in the season where neither of them can score for love nor money!

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There's only 7 games to go and with a 7 point gap to the top 2, I think it's fair to say we might just have to settle for 3rd this year. There's not much chance of us giving up that spot to AZ who are 13 points behind us, but as far as our challenge to the top 2 goes, it almost feels like we have done everything to live with them for as long as possible this season but have now just run out of steam.

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Maybe we can't catch Feyenoord in the Eredivisie, but we might just be able to cause them some Europa League heartache, although I'm under no illusions how tough a tie this is going to be for us to get through!

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Chapter 35
A Game I Will Simply Never Forget!
15th April 2027

PSV Eindhoven away is always going to be a difficult game and on the face of it, we should probably be happy with a point. But when you look at the match stats, it's bitterly disappointing we didn't win this game based on the amount of chances for each side.

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This year's youth intake is described as a potential golden generation, but I have absolutely no idea how they come to this conclusion as in my eyes, it's a pretty poor intake!

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Raymond Zwaan is tipped as the most elite talent coming through the ranks this year, but to me he looks bang average!

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Hamdi Demir is also supposed to have a big future ahead of him, but I just don't see it!

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As far as the world's top 50 wonderkids goes, it's Barcelona's Lamine Yamal that leads the way, whilst there is a couple of youngsters from the Eredivisie appearing in the top 10. Our very own Mauricio Diaz enters the list this season at number 37!

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Back to the action now and we're not quite giving up on giving Ajax and Feyenoord something to think about as we beat FC Emmen in the Eredivisie.

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On a personal level for us, we are now guaranteed to finish 3rd and that will be a new club record.

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We would play at home in the 1st leg of the Europa League QF against Feyenoord and it was imperitive that we got a win to give us something to protect in the away leg. We did just that, but it is just a one goal lead and there is everything still to play for but we've given ourselves a chance of progressing.

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Weirdly we are on a run of fixtures that reads, Feyenoord, Sparta, Feyenoord, Sparta as league, Europa League and a cup final combine. Our next match would be a warm up for the cup final!

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With 3 games to play in the next week, the worst thing that could possibly happen is losing your number 1 goalkeeper for all 3 games! **** sake!

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Stand in keeper Michael Verrips came in and kept a clean sheet though as we ran riot at the other end against Sparta and I think it's fair to say this gives us the psychological edge before the cup final in a week's time.

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Unfortunately for us, Ajax and Feyenoord just keep winning as well so we haven't closed the gap on either of them. Just 4 games of the season remain.

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We had the opportunity to get the better of Feyenoord on another level though as we went away to them for the 2nd leg of our Europa League tie. With a 3-2 lead on our side, we increased that to 4-2 inside just 6 minutes to pile on the pressure for Feyenoord. However, we knew that would force them to come hard at us and within 20 minutes they had reduced the deficit to one again. It looked so much like we were going to knock out our rivals and progress to the semi finals, right up until the 95th minute of the match when Feyenoord finally levelled the scores with one of the last kicks of the game! Absolutely gutting for us and we had to try to compose ourselves for another half an hour of football! That last minute goal completely took the wind out of our sails and left us clearly deflated and Feyenoord took advantage scoring twice to send them through to the next round. Or so they an incredible display of determination and grit, we fight back to take the game to a penalty shootout and this time it was our turn to score a last minute equalizer! What an incredible and emotional game of football this was and no matter what happened in the shootout, it had been a spectacle across the two legs. Unfortunately, with the home fans on their side, the pressure got to us and 3 missed pens out of 3 means that Feyenoord progress to the semi final! But this is a game I'll never forget!

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What a bummer to lose like that after that game. But it's a good indicator you are finally able to really challenge the top teams of the Eredivisie. Also I really envy your youth intakes, I just got mine and it's not very good once again ahaha

Btw I've been seeing you have some players who played for Vitória SC in the past, always nice to see some of our players recognized in the game.

Looking forward to the end of the season
What a bummer to lose like that after that game. But it's a good indicator you are finally able to really challenge the top teams of the Eredivisie. Also I really envy your youth intakes, I just got mine and it's not very good once again ahaha

Btw I've been seeing you have some players who played for Vitória SC in the past, always nice to see some of our players recognized in the game.

Looking forward to the end of the season

Miguel Reisinho has been one of the most important players for me throughout the save and my captain for the last couple of seasons too! Rosier has also done a much better job for me than I expected!
What a gutting way to go out in the semi final but with your main keeper injured it was always going to be tough but hopefully got a better chance with the Dutch cup to get your first piece of silverware with the club