The year is 2020 and Maribor are on the rise in European football. The team from the Balkans country of Slovenia has slowly been gaining continental attention since the appointment of manager Calvin Rowaan in 2013. Since his arrival at the club, the young Canadian manager has guided the team to the Slovenian First League championship in each season in charge. Maribor have also begun to make an impact in continental competition, having made the Champions League final on one occasion in 2017 where they fell in defeat 2-0 to Manchester United.
With my 8th season in charge at Maribor I have decided to turn this save into a story. It has been great going for me and I think it would be awesome to share the journey with you all.
As my introduction said, the club has experienced significant growth during my 8 years managing the club thanks largely in part to our annual participation in the Champions League. As a small club, we rely heavily on prize money in order to turn a good profit. Success in the competition has also meant a growth in reputation, which, along with healthy annual profits, has allowed the club to attract some strong talent, unimaginable at the start of the save.
Filling the Trophy Case
Under my management the club has captured all 7 Slovenian First League titles, and with the two won under the previous manager, have now won 9 titles in a row, a remarkable streak. Although the league has lost almost all competition, it is still interesting as a way to smash records and see how long I can go without losing. But it does still remain important because I need to use the league to qualify for the ECC each year. I have now finished the last two seasons undefeated and am currently over 100 games undefeated.
So far the Champions League has been all about the prize money, first by qualifying for the group stage and second by getting some results. The first couple of seasons we were nothing but whipping boys for the rest of the teams but we have started making an impact. In 2016/17 we made a fantastic run all the way to finals before losing 2-0 to much superior Manchester United. Qualifying for the knock out stage has now become come occurrence and almost expected.
As a small club it was important to not only grow the clubs reputation but also improve our finances and facilities. Thanks to the ECC we have checked off all of those boxes. The club is now valued at an estimated 28 million pounds and has risen in the European coefficients to 23rd. And with an average balance of 20 million, the clubs finances are in excellent shape.
Thanks to great finances and an understanding board, we have undertaken a project of annual facility improvements. Take a look for yourself at our facilities page.
View attachment 417103(We are currently in the process of upgrading training facilities)
Obviously the squad looks a whole lot different now than it did the day I took over the club. The quality of the player has improved drastically and has taken on a strong foreign influence, despite maintaining a solid Slovenian core.
Here is last season's Best 11:
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Not really full of household names apart from Tomas Necid. Necid has been a fantastic signing for the club, scoring 81 goals in 102 games over 3 seasons, including a record 35 league goals in 2018/19. At 30 he is beginning to slow down a little but is still a force in Slovenian football.
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Another record setter is my young Portuguese winger, Luis Castro. I had to fend off some very good offers from top clubs in order to keep a hold of this kid whose 31 assists last season are a team record.
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Next is Jernej Kompan, the first in a new generation of Slovenian footballers. The midfielder turned striker has already grown into Slovenia's most reputable player, winning Player of the Year 3 times.
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Another pair of recognizable faces who recently joined the club:
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More of Slovenia's new generation of footballers:
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For those interested, Slovenia is currently ranked 29th in the World and have previously reached 10th in 2018. One of the goals of this save was to turn Slovenia into a power house in European and World football through the development of youth players at my club.
I hope that catches you all up a little. Sorry for the long read but it takes time to give an update on 7 seasons.