Franjo: A Journeyman Story (New Episode Every Week Day)

Oh, and one other thing - the main reason I want out of Maritimo is because - as I discovered to my horror about 18 months into the job - Maritimo's stadium has only 7,000 seats! Turns out being based in Madeira (population 289,000 and the better part of 1,000km away from Lisbon) isn't great for attendances. Or youth intakes. Sigh.

Also you know how, when regens start appearing in a big way in a long-term save, there's always a couple of the elite regens that you end up really, really coveting? Well, one of them, who I've been following since I started this 2050 save, is an Argentine striker named Claudio Pumpido. Told you I had a soft spot for Argies.

Anyway, yeah. Pumpido is at Benfica, scoring a goal a game. Including against me every time we play. Joy.
Haha sounds awesome! Maritimo definitely sounds like a job with a ceiling though. I’d like to try a similar thing when Franjo eventually finishes. 30 years in the future seems like a good amount of time top, are there any recognisable faces in the top managerial jobs? And to be honest I’d forgotten Monaco were doing quite so ridiculously in the league! Unbeaten still... ****. In defence of my memory though I played through this bit about 4 months ago! Nearly caught up though which is quite exciting.
Yeah 35 years seemed like a good bit of time - I'd actually played the game from 2015 through to around the 2030 mark, won everything there was to win, and then holidayed from that point.

I'm a little disappointed by how few massive changes there have been to the big players in each league. Certainly in Germany and Spain, anyway - Bayern walk away with the Bundesliga and Barcelona have won all but about 3 La Liga titles since I started holidaying, though it's worth pointing out that Bayern and Barcelona were my main two big teams before I went on holiday, so I set both up with perfect facilities and colossal bank balances. No real surprise that the subsequent managers were able to continue the success I'd built.

There's a few weird and wacky managerial appointments, though very few of the major names have ended up being big managers. The best managers are often bizarrely low-key players, like Ross McCormack who inherited my Barcelona side and went down in history as one of the greatest managers of all time as a result.

What was quite cool was seeing the eventual careers my ex-players went on to have after my retirement. My Colombian striker at Barcelona, Felipe Figueroa, had an absolutely obscene career. Kept playing at the top level until he was 37 and scored over 350 La Liga goals - then again he was scoring 80 total goals each season when I was managing, so that's actually a step down from his performances under me! He got something daft like 140 goals in 180 caps for Colombia too. Weirdly Colombia came up with a whole bunch of regens that I signed throughout my pre-holiday managerial career, and Colombia went on with their golden generation to become one of the very best teams on the planet.

Very cool to see all my Barcelona favourites go down in history as Barcelona (and all-time) legends, too. Few if any of them left the club after I did. They went on to have amazing careers.

Strangely, though, Holland are the #1 team in 2057. Literally all of the best regens on the game at that point - you know the sort, the ones whose stats are so ridiculous it's scarcely believable that their Current Ability is sub-200 - are Dutch. The Holland team is absolutely bananas in the future.

As for the club side... best teams in the big leagues are:

England: Liverpool, Leicester, Palace, Tottenham, Man United, West Brom. The rest of the current big 6 are still knocking around, though Arsenal did, delightfully, get relegated at one point.

France: Lille, Marseille, PSG. In that order. Lille have suddenly had a major surge in the past few years and they've made the last 5 or 6 Champions League finals, winning at least 3 as far as I recall. One of the big success stories of this save. I want to take over Lyon and take them back to the top, but the job is never available when I'm looking to move. 2nd ranked league in the world behind only Germany.

Germany: Bayern (snore). There literally is no other competition, though Dortmund come closest. Germany is also the top league in the world at this point.

Portugal: Sporting, Benfica, Maritimo (now I'm there), Moreirense. Porto have dropped off the pace. Portugal is now ahead of England and Spain in the league rankings, which is strange. Happened before I got there.

Spain: Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico. Shame. From what I recall, Malaga and Celta are in the next bracket. Barcelona are drifting back behind Real again. I think Celta are the only team other than Barca to win the league in the past decade or so, though.

Italy: Complete clusterfuck at the top. Sampdoria are the current favourites for the title, which is delightful. Milan are generally highly ranked though I just turned down the job with them down in 14th (tough decision). I think Fiorentina (one of my pre-holiday clubs) and Juve are near the top too, but I think this league changes hands quite regularly. Italy is now a distant 6th in the league rankings.

Gosh, that ended up longer than expected.
Haha ****** ****, I think “Ross McCormack - Barcelona Manager” is my favourite part of that. Ligue 1 and Liga Nos sound like they’ve got pretty interesting but it’s not surprising the premier league’s bombed if most of the “big 6” have fallen away. Keep me updated about Maritimo or the next club too! Are you still thinking about writing a story?

Project: Revolution (Franjo: A Journeyman Story - Ep198)
Best thing about your Euro group - Denmark, England, France, Georgia. D, E, F, G. Nice.
As for your question... yeah, still planning to do a journeyman story for FM19 (got it pre-ordered). I don't know if I'll do it novella-style like yours though, I suspect that may end up being impractical to fit around work, life, kids etc. We'll see what I can come up with. The main issue I foresee is getting images saved and embedded, because my work firewall is pretty stringent and won't allow most image-hosting or blog sites (I have to read yours on my phone) and the internet at work is also stupendously slow.

As for my save... bit frustrating actually.

Champions League: got a tough group with, if I recall correctly, PSG and Tottenham (plus someone eastern-European). Came 3rd, which is probably the expected result. Dropped into the Europa League.

Europa League: got past Celtic and Crystal Palace (good side in 2058, remember). Drew Lazio in the... quarters, I think. Lost 4-3 away (my defence, impenetrable at home, was anything but in Europe). No biggie, I thought. Got the away goals to win at home. Went 2-0 up shortly after half-time. Figured we were cruising. 2-1 after 75. ****. Keep it tight, hit them on the break. 87 mins... 88 mins... 89 minsARGGHH **** they equalised. We went out on aggregate. Balls.

Domestic cups: lost early in the Taca da Liga. Other cup - got to the final. Against Sporting. I lost this final against Benfica last season so I was really keen to win, especially since we were behind Sporting at the time in the league and they had a game in hand too... ****. Lost it. Always the bridesmaid.

League: with about 5 games to go, we were a point behind Sporting having played a game more. I had written off our chances, to be honest, since we had Sporting (a) last game of the season as well, and that isn't a fixture my Maritimo side traditionally did too well in. But Sporting had a collapse of epic proportions and we ended up winning the league with a game to spare. I holidayed the last week of the season, including the Sporting match (lost 2-1 in my absence) so we won the league by 1 point in the end. I resigned the very next day, cos I definitely felt like the ceiling at Maritimo had been well and truly reached.

Was only unemployed for about 2 weeks. In that time I'd been offered the West Ham (bleugh) and Vitoria de Guimaraes jobs (no ta to both). I then had three big applications in - Sampdoria (predicted 1st in Serie A and finished about 12th), Bordeaux (predicted 6th, finished 8th - perhaps a harsh sacking) and Koln (predicted 3rd, finished 10th). Of the 3, Koln were the richest and had arguably the best squad, with Bordeaux comfortably the least well-off and with the oldest, weakest squad. But Koln turned me down and Bordeaux offered the job, so I looked at their facilities. 4.5* reputation, top training and youth facilities and extensive youth recruitment. Only secure finances (transfer budget of £5m and not much wriggle room in the wage budget) and a squad of average age in the high 20s. But a 42,000 seater stadium, beautiful bit of France and lots of potential.

I took the Bordeaux job. Season expectations are to get Europa League, which seems achievable since it only requires me to hit my predicted finish of 7th (France are 3rd in the League rankings - England back up to 1st after three of the Champions League semi-finalists (United, Leicester, Spurs) and the eventual winners (Leicester) were English). Turned my transfer budget from £5m to around £40m with a few sales and I've started making inroads in the squad. The only philosophy I'm being judged on is buying younger players to reduce the squad's average age, which is grand. Got a couple of absolute worldies in the squad too, so assuming I can keep them happy (they want out due to no European footie) I'm in good shape. Got a really good keeper too, which is always such a bonus when you join a new club.

Feeling very positive about the new gig - just wish I could afford to bring a couple of my Maritimo players with me!
Sounds alright then! Sounds like a good chance to make the squad your own if they’re a bit on the old side. On a budget, but still! And yeah I totally agree, it’s brilliant when you move to a club with a good keeper. Great base to build on

The Race For The Europa League (Franjo: A Journeyman Story - Ep199)
Sylvain Laurent. Can't pass, dribble, shoot or trap a ball, but **** is he flamboyant when he trips over constantly.

"I ******* love this team." Great to see you write that. Do you think you've enjoyed your time at Auxerre more than Angrense? Obviously Angrense was your big formative success story, but Auxerre was when you hit the big time.

End-of-season slumps are so hard to combat in FM. If you're going for the title, your team get the yips. If you're in mid-table or chasing Europe, they slack off with 5 games to go. In fact, the only circumstances where I don't regularly see a huge slump in the last 5 games are (1) where I've already won the title by a country mile because my team is comically superior, or (2) where I'm fighting to stave off relegation and my team put in a monster performance to save their arses.

Ah well. Any finish in the single-digits is a colossal success.
It’s interesting you ask about Angrense, because I’ve wondered that myself! For me, the big 3 clubs have unsurprisingly been Angrense, Santos and Auxerre and I’ve enjoyed all 3 spells a lot, but I think for different reasons.

I loved Angrense because I genuinely wasn’t sure where the next job after Höllviken would come from, because of the unbeaten season, because of the first proper attachments I made with players, because I had my first International player (Lacina Touré? I think?) and because I felt like I sort of properly hit my stride as a writer while I was with them.

Santos was just so ******* weird. I’ve never managed an African club before, had to get used to new registration rules, new transfer rules and it was just genuinely fun working all of that out, working around those restrictions and having to sort of start again because I couldn’t sign any players I knew. It was also the first time I’d been able to tempt some promising newgens to one of my clubs and we ended up doing really well in the league. And it’s the People’s Team, which really resonated with me as an Everton fan.

Auxerre as you say is a genuinely big team and is a step up into the big time, but more than that it’s just been such a ******* mixed bag of different challenges with 2 relegation fights, a title win and a push for europe. Plus there’s been a couple of really satisfying gambles I’ve made that’ve paid off, like actually joining them in the first place knowing they might drop out of Ligue 2 and signing Foden. AND I just love the makeup of the team in general, the fact that there are so many late 20’s graduates of our academy like Goujon, Sissako and Fomba and that there are more coming through into the first team like Andre and Celsiney with sky high potential.

i just love this game mate!

Also, would love to hear yours and anyone else reading’s thoughts on this:
HELP ME! RE: EURO 2024 (Franjo: A Journeyman Story - Meta-sode 199.5)
Innnnnnnteresting... I like the idea in principle. Definitely a good thing to build up a bit of intrigue and excitement around the big tournament. I reckon 8 weeks is too long though. That would mean it'd be, what, the start of December before you go back to Auxerre? And that's assuming you don't take any breaks or do any roundup episodes. That's way too long to be away from the main body of the story, as it were.

Any way it could alternate? I know it's a bit trickier to schedule, but if it were:

Monday - match
Wednesday - summary/buildup
Friday - match
Monday - summary/buildup
Wednesday - match
Friday - summary/buildup
Monday - match

etc etc

Either way I think you definitely need to do more than one match a week. This assumes you go all the way, of course.

As for ideas for the summaries... is your video recording still buggered? Cos a "goal of the round" tournament would be cool. Or a running "best goals" competition, or whatever. And if you're wanting to make a big deal of the tournament, I would definitely suggest doing a round-up prediction episode where you go into a bit of depth about each team participating - their qualification record, their best players, manager, how they're expected to do, world ranking, areas of weakness and so on.

Just a few ideas!
Thanks mate! Some great ideas there, especially the alternating match/ build up thing to help the pace. Unfortunately I still don’t have my PC for exporting highlights and it doesn’t work from mac, so won’t be able to do goal comps, although I’ll try and remember that for next time!
Congrats, mate. Heck of a season. Looking forward to seeing where you end up next.

Oh, and don't keep us waiting too long with your Euro coverage!
As always, I'm commenting as I read...

I always look at Ferhat and wonder how you get such good performances out of him, and why Real Madrid seem to be so keen on him. But then I remember that technical attributes really start to develop after the player hits 19-20ish, and with physicals like those at just 18 he could be an absolute beast after a couple of years of technical development.

Holy ****, Andre's scoring record this year is phenomenal! I love a rounded striker like that. Great physicals, not too short, good mentals in the right places and not just a poacher technically, he can control and pass a ball too. My preferred formation is a 4231 with a Complete Forward up top, so players like Andre are right up my alley. Part of the reason I love Aidir so much, to be honest. Definitely seems like Andre's time will come in future - ****, he could be THE future up front for France if he keeps developing, considering that after Griezmann the options are hardly top drawer.

Interesting that in this save, France's production line of keepers isn't that great, especially compared to everywhere else on the pitch. Gauthier could end up class, but he's definitely not a top keeper yet, on his attributes at least. Good season for sure, though.

Holy nutsacks that's an amazing defence. Also interesting that Digne is clearly a better player on this save than Mendy, who is in real life streets ahead. Similarly Bakayoko, who is an absolute monster in this save (and on my own saves in FM16 as it happens) despite being utterly woeful in real life for Chelsea.

And Pogba... I mean, has there ever been a more overrated player? Obviously he's a Godba on this game, but I just don't get it in real life.

I like that you kept Sissako's Auxerre squad number for the international squad.

I know I've said it before, but good GOD Mbappé is amazing.

I'm guessing it was more or less a straight fight between Coman and Ousmane Dembele? I've always found both of their technical attributes are a bit undercooked on FM games, which I find surprising. Both great players though. Harsh for either to miss out, but understandable.
I think your point about keepers applies to the whole generation to be honest. We’ve got a lot of great 28-32 year olds and a lot of incredibly promising 18-21 year olds, but nobody in between! That’s sort of why it’s been difficult bringing through the youth. And to be honest I don’t really rate Ousmane that much in this save. He’s very quick but Coman’s absolutely miles ahead of him.

Here’s today’s:
Groups A-C (Franjo: A Journeyman Story - Euro 24 Part 2)
I'm enjoying this setup style. Really like the depth you're going into - must have been tons of work, so fair play! Some seriously good wonderkids in there. Definitely getting a feel for the competition and looking forward to your first match!

On my own save... you'll be relatively disgusted to hear that I quit Bordeaux in the March of my first season there. I still feel a bit dirty about it to be honest.

This season I've completely overhauled the squad, and I absolutely love some of the new younger guys I've brought in. There's also a couple of stunningly good youth prospects, including a young striker/winger called Denis Chekraoui who is effectively my version of Brahim Ferhat - nowhere near good enough for the first team yet on the basis of his attributes, but bags of potential, especially after a massively successful spell of tutoring with my legendary captain. I've been training him from scratch as a left winger too, because he has great stats for an inside forward.

Anyway, I chucked him in for a few sub appearances and he did fine. I then found myself 1-0 down at home to my arch rivals Toulouse in the cup. Half-time rolled around, I chucked Chekraoui in, at left inside forward (he's still only "Competent" at LW)... and 5 minutes later, he turned his man 30 yards out, drove forwards and pinged one in the top corner from outside the box. It was literally like Wayne Rooney v Arsenal all those years back. And he's still only 16, so he's now Bordeaux's record youngest goalscorer. He then set up the winner as well. We love Chekraoui. He even followed it up with a couple of goals in the next few games, as my Bordeaux squad - fairly thin but very talented - is still clinging to 4th position in the league, with no European distractions to worry about (for info, Marseille are running away with it in 1st, ahead of Lille who have won the past 8 titles in a row). Lyon comfortably 3rd, my Bordeaux side 4th, PSG hot on my heels in 5th).

All going well, and I loved my team even despite some real rough patches of inconsistency which is par for the course with a new, young side. Finances are sliding steadily downhill despite me turning a £25m profit on summer transfers, but... all seemed rosy, even if I was reliant on qualifying for the Champions League next summer to (a) keep my best players and (b) have any chance of a transfer budget for the summer.

And then PSG sacked their manager. I went for an interview. They offered me the job. They're Rich (Bordeaux are "Secure" going on "Insecure"), they have a massive 71,000-seater stadium, they have top facilities. It's another seriously ageing squad but I know from my own scouting while at Bordeaux that they have some stonking youth prospects.

Yeah, I took the job... I feel dirty. This is the first time when I've felt like I've genuinely betrayed my old squad by leaving so early, and for a rival no less. Every time I've previously left a club, it was for good (if perhaps slightly selfish) reasons - I'd taken them as far as I could, or I was moving to a much bigger club, or I'd already won the league and there was no more to achieve there. This time, though... I'm leaving a great club where I've loved being manager, and after less than one season, and for their biggest competitive rival... and pretty much for money, when you boil it down. I sicken me.

I basically need to (a) qualify for the Champions League, which will mean pipping my old Bordeaux side to 4th position (and we play Bordeaux at home soon...) and (b) sell off a load of the oldsters who are still worth £20-30m somehow, to ensure a big budget for my latest overhaul - because I NEED to buy Denis Chekraoui.

I've also had a bunch of young players earmarked for ages but I could never afford them at Bordeaux. Hopefully PSG have the resources to let me pick a couple of them up. My starting budget on joining is only £2.5m (albeit in March, so still heavily dictated by this season's expenditure which has seen a net spend this season of about -£30m), but there's plenty of wriggle room in the wage budget and there'll be even more after I shift on the overpaid oldies.

It'll be a big job to overhaul Marseille and Lille at the top in the long run. All good fun though. Just hope I've made the right decision.
Also, Victor Lindelof is described as a "World class centre back" despite having only 13 Heading and 11 (eleven!) Marking... I remember when the "World class" tag was handed out only to the very best...

Also, I hate that ****** phrase. World class? What does that mean? I get "Premiership class", cos it means you're good enough to play in the Premiership. "International class" - yep, again, get that. Good enough to play international football. But "World class"? Good enough to play for... what, for Planet Earth? Against whom? Mars?