Paris FC - Coming Out From PSG's Shadow

FM_TNSSO

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Paris FC - Coming Out From PSG's Shadow

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After 5 full seasons playing in English non league football with Farsley Celtic and seemingly going nowhere fast, I felt like I needed a new challenge to get stuck into. The 50-60 games per season (including cups and playoffs) in the English leagues have become rather tedious.

So I'm taking over a new game with Paris FC, the little known brothers of giants PSG. My aim here is to get the smaller Paris side out from PSG's shadow and build a legacy of our own.

Let's take a look at a few differences between the two clubs...

Valuation: PSG (£1.8 billion), Paris FC (£4.33 million)
Season Ticket Holders: PSG (35,700), Paris FC (700)
Stadium Capacity: PSG (47,929), Paris FC (18,933)
Facilities: PSG (Excellent Training, Superb Youth, Excellent Youth Recruitment), Paris FC (Good Training, Good Youth, Adequate Youth Recruitment)

Fair to say we have a bit of catching up to do.

I have some personal little targets I'd like to achieve during the save along the way...

Win Ligue 1
Complete a domestic double
Complete a league double over PSG
Beat PSG in a cup final
Win a Champions League before PSG (assuming they don't win it within the first couple of seasons)
Win more Champions Leagues than PSG throughout the save
Beat PSG's record transfer fee
Have a bigger stadium than PSG
Have a higher club value than PSG (might be impossible)

The club's progress was looking steady, until a disappointing campaign last season in which we narrowly avoided relegation from Ligue 2.

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And there's plenty of room in the trophy cabinet!

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Chapter 1: First Day On The Job

First thing I had to do on day 1 was sit down with the board and discuss their vision for the club. At the moment, we're not expected to challenge, but within 3 seasons they want promotion to the top tier. Focusing on developing our youngsters is something I am more than happy to do and hopefully that means the board will be willing to invest in our facilities over the coming years.

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Next up I was introduced to my new team. After a meeting with my Assistant Manager, he has given me his views on the squad. There's plenty of potential here, with some decent current ability out there as well. The squad are mostly French and we have a lot of players in the early 20s that could have their best years ahead of them.

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Marvin Gakpa is my most valuable player at over £500k and is certainly one of the best as well. A pacey, versatile attacking player who can cover through the middle or on either wing. He'll be important to us!

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Florent Hanin is an impressive full back for the second tier and will offer an attacking threat from the left side, with good crossing ability whilst also being competent defensively.

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I've got both full back positions covered to be fair as Gaetan Belaud looks just as good down the right side too! We should definitely be looking for our full backs/wing backs to be pushing on as they both have plenty of good attacking attributes.

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Cyril Mandouki will likely be the first name on the team sheet in central midfield, looking perfect for a box to box role with that work rate and determination.

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As far as improvements go, I don't feel the need to go mad in the first window and I couldn't if I wanted to anyway with only £275k available to me and the wage budget maxed out.

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Although the club's bank balance is healthy enough.

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So that's the board and the squad out of the way. Now on to the staff...well, I'll be adding plenty of my own by the looks of it!

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Best get to work then!
 
Good to see you joining me in a ligue 2 save. There are plenty of players available on a free transfer to improve the squads and they are more likely to join on lower wages if brought in on trial first too
 
Good to see you joining me in a ligue 2 save. There are plenty of players available on a free transfer to improve the squads and they are more likely to join on lower wages if brought in on trial first too

This is a challenge I've fancied for a couple of years now so pleased to be finally getting round to giving it a go :)
 
Chapter 2: Some Promising Youngsters On The Books

Taking a look at our development centre, it looks like we have a few youngsters who could have big futures ahead of them at the club.

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Defensive midfielder, Ousmane Camara looks like a future star and I'll be looking to introduce him to some first team football this year, despite only being 17 years old.

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We've got a 17 year old left back who is absolutely solid with his defensive attributes. If we can work on the attacking side of his game, he could be a first team regular at some point.

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Our full back positions could be sorted for years to come if 15 year old Rolrick Mpaka develops well enough down the right side too!

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My first time on the sidelines was in a 3-3 draw in a friendly game against Charleroi from Belgium's top tier. A decent result, where Jonathan Pitroipa excelled in his inside forward role, scoring a hat trick. Impressive!

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But we did come away from that game with two injuries to two players that will be guaranteed starters for me, which will disrupt their pre season.

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Our 2nd friendly saw us come up against our big rivals, PSG! And would you look at that result!! We won't get ahead of ourselves though as it was only a friendly and they weren't at full strength.

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A few more friendlies completed pre season, with a reputable draw against Monaco in there.

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After sacking the Assistant Manager that was here when I arrived, welcome my new right hand man. With a name like Debonnaire, he is sure to bring some class to the club.

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The transfer window didn't open until 15th August, but when it did, I moved quickly to break the club's transfer record. Roderick Miranda was transfer listed by Wolves and I needed to bolster my options at centre back, and he definitely makes us stronger! We paid £140k up front with another £60k to follow after 50 league appearances.

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Chapter 3: A Mixed Start

Moustapha Name gets the captain's armband.

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We're predicted a 12th placed finish this year, but our 20-1 title odds suggest the league is a tight one to call and most clubs stand some chance.

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This is how we'll line up for the first few competitive games of the season. A formation I created myself, with each player having their own individual instructions depending on strengths and weaknesses. Opposition instructions I do myself for each game, depending on our opponents, trying to focus on nullifying their key attacking threats.

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We kicked off the season in the most unspectacular fashion with a boring 0-0. We were the better side, but I was still justifying to the fans after the game that they can expect more exciting stuff than this!

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Our second game offered up a little more excitement as we chalked up our first win under my guidance.

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We're ten games into the season now and definitely haven't had it all our own way so far. Plenty of tight games settled by the odd goal, but having just recorded back to back wins for the first time, hopefully we can kick on from here and string a bit of a run together.

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We've proven tough to beat so far, only loisng two of our opening ten and that leaves us sitting just outside the playoff spots for now.

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At the moment, one of our key issues is our strikers are just not scoring, with only 3 goals between them so far.

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I shifted a couple of players on to reduce the wage bill a little. Warren caddy has joined Carpi. He just didn't fit in anywhere with my plans and we bagged £47k for him. 34 year old Lalaina Nomenjanahary was picking up over £2k per week and again had no place in my team so he joined Chamois for just under £8k.

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That did put a little bit of cash in the transfer kitty, so I signed up 16 year old Matteo Prando from SO Cholet for £29k. He looks like a decent prospect for the future.

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Chapter 4: Mid Season, Mid Table

Our next 9 league fixtures saw our form continue to show a complete lack of consistency. Good results were immediately followed by bad ones as we struggle to string a solid run together.

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That 2-1 win over Caen was your classic 'smash n grab' executed to perfection! 2 shots, 2 goals, 3 points!

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The game against Grenoble saw Gaetan Laura become the first player to score a hat trick under my management.

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And our most recent game against Toulouse was a great win that brought their unbeaten away run to an end.

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So at the mid way point of the season, we sit just inside the top half of the table. There's no doubt we won't be winning any titles this year, but the playoffs is still within reach if we can have a better 2nd half of the campaign.

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In amongst the league games, we have recorded two 4-0 victories over lower league opposition in the cup. In the next round, we come up against another side from the division below so we'll be hoping to overcome them easily enough as well.

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I highlighted our full back positions as our strongest at the start of the season and Florent Hanin has proven to be one of our best players so far, mustering up 7 assists from his berth at left back.

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On another note, the board agreed to invest in the youth recruitment at the club...something I'll be looking for us to continue improving throughout my time here.

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Chapter 5: Looking Nailed On For A Top Half Finish

Our progress in the tenth round of the Coupe de France was a lot easier than the scoreline suggests. Our lower league opposition failed to register a single shot at our goal.

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But that didn't stop their manager giving it the biggen!


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I had the final say in our 'beef' though and put this to bed...for now! Can't say I'm not hoping I come against this pr*ck again in the future though.

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4 valuable points then picked up in the league against two sides sitting below us, before we ventured back into the cup again.

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And in the cup, we would take on a side from Ligue 1 for the first time. RC Lens are only worth £65 million more than we are.

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Their most valuable player is Seko Fofana and at £7.75 million, he is worth more than my entire first team squad!

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We could only hope that our upcoming opponents would be low on confidence as they come into the match with 3 defeats in their last 4 league games and sit 19th in the table!

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But the quality between the two sides proved to be too much on the day as we fall to a 2-0 defeat. Although the match stats show that we gave them a fair game and on another day it could have been a different result maybe.

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Back in the league we only lost 1 of our next 5 and might just be stringing together a decent run of form after all.

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Despite winning 3 of our last 4 games though, we sit as low as 10th in the table although only 5 points off the playoff spots now! With the gap between us and Le Havre in 11th, it looks like we are extremely likely to finish no lower than our current position, barring a complete meltdown.

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Liverpool icon Sami Hyypia joined my backroom staff as a first team coach and I'm hoping his experience will be valuable for my players.

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Worth giving my U19s keeper a shout out as well. He has kept an incredible 18 clean sheets for my youth side in 24 games! Looks promising to become my number 1 between the sticks at some point!

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Speaking of youngsters, Ousmane Camara is having some impact on the first team this year despite being only 17 years old. He has conjured up 7 senior appearances this season now and has a couple of league goals to his name already from central midfield.

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Chapter 6: First Youth Intake

Our next three games saw us take a maximum 9 points from them, with a good 8 goals scored as well! I was starting to wonder whether we might have an outsider's chance of making the playoffs.

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And with Chamois Niortais up next who lay 15th in the table, we had a perfect opportunity to continue that winning streak. But a lacklustre performance from my lads saw us suffer our first defeat in 5 games.

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Gaeten Laura scored our only goal in that game and he may be our top scorer this year with 13 in all competitions, but looking at his form, he is majorly underperforming. He seems to score single goals or assists here and there, but in between his performances are mostly shocking!

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We had a massive game next against SM Caen who are also challenging for the playoffs, but have both my first choice centre backs suspended for the match!


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Which meant that 17 year old Jason Grbic had to be called up from the U19s squad.

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And the youngster played his part in the back line keeping our 9th league clean sheet of the season, as we pick up a massive 3 points and complete the double of Caen in the process.

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Our next two matches were going to pit us against the top two teams in the division who look to be in a 2 horse race for the title now. Time to see what we're really made of!

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Now we may not have won either of the matches, but we certainly proved we've got the minerals to mix it with the best in the division.

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With six games of the campaign remaining, we are within touching distance of a playoff spot. It's going to be a competitive finish to the season with so many teams in the running to make the top 5!

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You could say that our fate is in our own hands as four of our last six games are against the sides in 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th!

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My first youth intake at the club could have been better, but certainly wasn't devoid of hope! There are a couple of players here that could have a future in the first team.

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Of particular interest is 15 year old central midfielder, Laurent Nicolas, who looks like he has some potential to go a long way!

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Chapter 7: Fighting For A Playoff Spot

Our assault on the top 5 starts in the worst possible way, suffering defeat to Grenoble...a disappointing result as they were one of the sides we had to play who currently reside in the bottom half of the table!

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However, a win over 4th placed Troyes put us right back in the mix again!

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Next up was 19th placed Chambly-Thelle...surely an easy 3 points right...think again - they did this to us earlier in the season!

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But we got some revenge for that humiliating defeat, chalking up another massive 3 points!

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Those last two games against Toulouse and Valenciennes are absolutely huge, but the advantage is with our playoff rivals as a draw against us will do both of them....we need to win!

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First up though, we had a match against AC Ajaccio to get out of the way and that wasn't going to be easy with them sitting just behind us in 8th! But we managed to despatch of them easily enough and they can no longer make the playoffs so that elminates one of our competition for the top 5.

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So it was time for the two games that would define our whole season, starting with Toulouse away! And by the tightest of margins, we managed to beat them!!

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With just a single game remaining, we move into the playoff spots for the first time all season! A win over Valenciennes will guarantee us a playoff spot, where as anything less could result in us dropping out of the top 5!

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Before we get on to our game though, just look at this for a situation. Amiens and Auxerre sit on the same points in 1st and 2nd, with the same number of wins, draws and losses. And they play each other on the final day of the season!!

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Back to our own action though and although we dominated the game against Valenciennes, we could only manage a 1-1 draw!

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But it didn't matter as clung on to 5th place and after it looking unlikely for most of the season, we actually make the playoffs!! Auxerre won the game against Amiens to clinch the title!

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And we'll now have to play Valenciennes again in the playoffs. If we can replicate our dominance from that league game, we should fancy ourselves to go through!

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Chapter 8: The Playoffs

Just as in our last game, we were entirely dominant here, but this time we don't have to settle for a draw. Another game of few goals, but Jonathan Pitroipa got the one that counted!

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SM Caen were up next in the Playoff Semi Final, a team we beat twice in the regular season!

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Now we really weren't in this game in the first half and were lucky to go into the break at level scored. But after a firm kick up the jacksie at half time, the lads gave me the response I was looking for and a much better second period. A six minute flurry where we scored 3 goals saw us take complete control of the match and quickly put the final beyond the reach of Caen.

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We're just 2 games away from promotion to Ligue 1 (as the Playoff Final is played over 2 legs)! I didn't think I'd be saying that at the start of the season. To seal promotion to the top tier, we will have to beat one of their own in the form of Dijon Football who finished 18th in the higher division this year!

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Despite dominating posession and creating more chances than our Ligue 1 opponents, we fall to a 3-2 defeat in the first leg at home and have it all to do if we're going to turn it around.

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And we'll have to do it without our two main strikers and top goalscorers as they're both injured!!

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So it was no surprise that we failed to score in the 2nd leg. Things became a lot harder for us on the stroke of half time when Jason Kikonda received his 2nd yellow card and was sent off. The lads gave their all in the 2nd half but we just didn't have the finishing touch to find the back of the net and I can't help but feel some injuries to some key players have hit us at just the wrong time.

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Chapter 9: End of 2020/21 Season Review

Although we couldn't quite complete the season with a playoff win, we have still hugely overachieved this year in finishing 5th and can be proud of our achievements. It gives us a platform to work from next season.

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We managed to get through three rounds of the Coupe de France (again overachieving on expectations) but ultimately fell to Ligue 1 opposition in the end.

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Broadcast revenue and sponsorship brought in around £7.5 million this season which isn't too shabby, although I'm under no illusions that this would probably increase massively with a promotion to the top tier.

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The best eleven is demonstrated by the formation I used for the second half of the season in which we were much better. Not quite sure how Florian Martin makes the team with just 8 starts all year, and I'd probably have Cyril Mandouki in for Ousmane Camara as well.

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Talking of the tactic, here's how we were set up for that 2nd half of the season and how we'll likely start next year.

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Looking over the squad (sorted by appearances), it's clear to see that our strength came from our defensive players who made up all but one of those that recorded an average rating about 7.00 across the course of the season. We lacked firepower too often this season and failed to win too many games that we had dominated via possession. It's obvious that this needs to be my focus over the Summer when looking to bring in new players.

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Fan's Player of the Season = Florent Hanin
Young Player of the Season = Anthony Maisonnial
Signing of the Season = Roderick Miranda

My Player of the Season = Florent Hanin
My Young Player of the Season (U23) = Ousmane Camara
Most Disappointing = Jonathan Pitroipa

Top Goalscorer = Gaeten Laura (18 in all comps)
Most Assists = Florent Hanin (13 in all comps)

Not only was Florent Hanin the fan's and my player of the season, he also made the Ligue 2 best eleven as well.

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With regards to improvements to the squad, the board have handed me £1.67 million to spend. The wage budget is currently maxed out so that might need addressing before any new arrivals come in.

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I suppose we should check in on our rivals and see how they got on. Well it's fair to say PSG absolutely p***ed Ligue 1!

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They were knocked out in the Quarter Finals of the Champions League by Man Utd and only made it to the eleventh round of the Coupe de France where Monaco dumped them out.

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Chapter 10: Bolstering The Attack

34 year old keeper, Vincent Demarconnay has retired from playing. I'm not going to be giving a mention to every player that retires throughout my time here, by Vince deserves a shout out considering he has dedicated 14 years of his life to the club, making over 280 appearances.

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Quite a few players were released when their contracts came to an end as well, with the most notable being Jonathan Pitroipa and Florian Martin who made nearly 40 appearances for me between them last year.

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Left back, Ali Abdi, has also left the club to join ES Sahel on a free transfer. He was on big wages and wasn't first choice so I was happy to let him leave.

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Now onto the new arrivals, starting with 21 year old Kosovan wide man, Liridon Balaj. He comes in on loan from Young Boys for the season and is only costing us a grand a week on his wages. He's cheap and looks like a bargain addition to the squad even if it is for only 1 year.

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Next up, I signed my first English player as Jake Forster-Caskey joins on a free from Charlton. He's probably better than all the other centre mids I had at the club and as long as he takes to life in France, he could be a great signing.

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I mentioned that the focus would be on bringing attacking reinforcements to the club and Mauro Marconato is another player to bolster our goalscoring threat. With the ability to play down the right or left or even up front if required, his versatility is worthwhile. His attributes are decent too and I'm looking for big things from the 25 year old Argentinian. He signed for £140k from Lorca D in Spain, where he bagged 7 assists and 2 goals in 18 games last season.

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I'm hoping Samuel Di Carmine is going to be that 20 goal a season striker we so desperately missed last year. He was available on a free but has become our highest paid player at the club so I hope he proves to be worth it. He joins on a free from Verona.

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Another Italian joins the club as I snap up Stefano Gori on a free from Juventus. The goalkeeper will come in as my number 1 between the sticks and at just 25 years old, he could hold down that place in our team for years to come!

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Next up is one for the future. I've paid £230k plus add ons to bring 15 year old striker Francois Moutala to the club from Stade Brestois, but he looks to have bags of potential and could be leading our front line one day so that fee should turn out to be a bargain in the long run!

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Then I was presented with a bit of a problem. Said Arab is a player I want to keep here and a player that featured heavily for me last season, so when he came to me asking for a new contract I was more than willing to sit down and discuss. However, he wants to be classed as a star player with a salary pushing £10k per week and I'm just not willing to give him that. After that, he proper threw his dummy out of the pram and insisted he goes on the transfer list.

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And he was quickly snapped up by Hannover who were willing to pay us £900k to secure his services. What does make me laugh is that he was demanding a £10k per week contract from us, but has accepted only a quarter of this at Hannover.

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This sale was a bit of a touch as well. Andy Pembele is 21 years old and played 9 times for me last year without scoring a single goal or bagging a single assist. However, Saint Etienne must see something in him that I don't as they were willing to fork out £1.2 million to buy him from us!! I'll take that all day long!!

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Said Arab needed replacing and I was on the lookout for a central midfielder with a creative edge to them. A hard worker who was also a good passer of the ball with decent vision see those key passes into the final third. I was also keen for this role to be a French player after signing a number of foreigners this Summer. The man I brought in who fits the bill perfectly is Jessy Benet. I paid £250k to get him in from Grenoble. For the second time this window, I sign a player that becomes our highest paid.

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Chapter 11: Another Step Towards A Great Youth Setup

With a little persuasion, the board agreed to invest a couple of million quid in the youth facilities. Bringing through the best youth in the country is something I'm keen for us to strive towards and this is a big step in the right direction.

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Despite us making the playoffs last year, the board are only expecting a mid table finish this season.

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I'm surprised that Gaetan Laura is amongst the favourites to finish as top goalscorer in the division, when there is no guarantee he'll even be my first choice after the arrival of Samuel Di Carmine.

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With the addition of a couple of new coaches, we now have the best coaching stats for the entire division.

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We had an unbeaten pre season which included some games against English opposition. Draws with the likes of Villa and Blackburn are good results for us.

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New signing Mauro Marconato is going to have to wait a few weeks to show our fans what he can do as he picked up an injury in our last friendly.

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With the league campaign just around the corner, the bookies like our signings we've made this Summer and have shortened our odds to win the title to just 16-1, although they do still believe there are 7 teams who are better than us this year.

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Our first game of the season will show us just where we are as we take on the title favourites.

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Chapter 12: The Worst Possible Start

Defeat on the opening day of the season. But I'm not going to come away too downhearted from this one. Nimes are the favourites to win the division, we were away from home and had a lot of players making their first competitive start for the club who naturally need some time to gel. With all that combined, we were actually the better side on the day too, so plenty to be hopeful about.

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A victory at home to Troyes got us off the mark though. A good win against a side that mixed it in the top 6 or 7 for virtually all of last season.

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It's a case of 1 step forward, 2 steps back, as we are thrashed by Le Havre!

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Oh dear, 3 defeats in our opening 4 games is not what we wanted!! Time to have a change of formation I reckon!

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F*** me, I'll be getting sacked at this rate!

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Our dreadful start sees us hovering just above the relegation places after the opening 5 games! We now have a 2 week break before our next game where I need to get things in order and turn this around quickly!

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One in, one out! Campanini copped the ump when I rejected a bid from Zurich for him, so I let him go once I bumped up their fee from £80k to £250k. I then brought in Solano as his replacement from Atletico Madrid for £100k.

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Samuele Di Carmine, the new striker I brought in to get 20 goals a season, has been absolute dog s*** so far!

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Whilst our new signings are all struggling, PSG are forking out over £250 million on new players, including the arrival of Harry Kane.

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Chapter 13: Getting Back On Track

Our next 5 games had to be, needed to be better! So a 5 game unbeaten run was most welcome and hopefully it's a sign that my new players are settling in.

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The man that is almost single handedly firing us up the table is loanee, Liridon Balaj, who has scored in all of our last 4 games!

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Whilst new striker Samuel Di Carmine finally scored his first goal for the club on his 10th start!

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Last year I brought through Ousmane Camara into the first team and this year it may just be the turn of 18 year old left back, Jaouen Hadjam, who made an impressive debut in that win over Valenciennes.

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We remained unbeaten in our next 5 games as well, making it ten games without defeat! We're not winning all these games, but we are proving very difficult to beat. The lads seem to be settling in and getting to grips to life in France and are gelling better. The football is good and the defence has been solid with three clean sheets in a row.

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That run has seen us shoot right up the table and to within 5 points of the playoffs. However, that terrible start is still weighing heavy on our shoulders as we remain 9 points off the leaders.

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I'm encouraging a complete passing game here at the club and the team are now coming round to my ethos of the way football should be played, which is proven in the league's possession stats. Incredibly, we're averaging over 60%!

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And that is leading to us creating a lot of chances and we're one of the leading sides in the division on this. However, it's obvious to see where our issues are at the moment, as we are right down the league table on shots on target! We must improve our accuracy!

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Here's the new tactic I've been using which has delivered a 10 game unbeaten run. With so many good centre mids in the side, I needed a way to fit them all in and this was the most obvious of formations to use. It's all about the passing game and retaining the ball, but with plenty of creativity through the middle to pick out those through balls and create good chances for the front 3. I opted to inverted wingers rather than inside forwards as I think they are encouraged to pass the ball more than just run at the defence. Ultimately, the front three need to be able to pass the ball about and give the supporting midfielders chance to get up and be involved in the attacking moves. I didn't want to get the ball forward quickly to then find out forwards were outnumbered.

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Chapter 14: Moving Into Playoff Contention

A 0-0 draw and a 1-0 win extended our unbeaten run to 12 games, but even more impressively that means we've now gone more than 450 minutes without conceding a goal!

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I reckon this is a big contributor to our upturn in form. We probably struggled at the start of the season as I'd brought in a few players all of different nationalities and the communication must have been awful. However, with majority of these players now able to speak fluent French, it's going to be a major positive.

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We may not have been scoring many goals lately, but it only took us 21 seconds to bag the winner against Guingamp! And when we scored, even with 89 minutes to play I had no reason to doubt we'd win the game as we simply just don't concede goals!

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Our defensive achievements are seeing us set new Ligue 2 records!

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Lower league opposition in our first cup game of the season and we made very light work of them. Although we did concede a goal which is slightly disappointing.

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Back in Ligue 2, we played out a 1-1 draw with Chamois. Although they're above us in the league, it's a disappointing point as we had 18 shots at their goal, whilst they scored their one decent chance of the whole game!

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Troyes were above us in the league, so this was an important win for us, which actually saw us leapfrog them in the table!

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We've set our second Ligue 2 record in a couple of weeks!

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Back to the cup now and we actually taste defeat for the first time in a long time. But it can be forgiven considering we took on Ligue 1 opposition, and in fact it was a tight game that could have gone either way. A decent effort.

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We suffered a hangover after the cup defeat, losing our first league game in 4 months!

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Despite that though, we have moved right up the league into the top 4 and look like genuine playoff contenders following our dreadful start to the campaign.

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Chapter 15: Looks Like The Playoffs Again

The January transfer window was open and it's no doubt my strikers have let me down so far this season. So it was time to bring a new one in...22 year old, Elie Youan, was available for loan from Nantes and on paper he looks like a very good player for this level. Hopefully, he's going to be the man to come in and score the goals to keep us in that top 5 this season!

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Although my new striker didn't exactly hit the ground running, we still managed to string together and 5 game unbeaten streak with 4 straight wins in the league, which moved us to within 4 points of the league leaders.

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Another Ligue 2 record broken as Steeven Ongenda came off the bench against AS Nancy to become the club and league's youngest ever player.

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And that's when we come up against 2nd placed Valenciennes and it's fair to say I was fuming at full time....I mean, when you take the lead in the 92nd minute, you don't expect to lose a game!!

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A mixed run of results followed and it seems that you just don't know what team is gonna turn up for us each week at the moment.

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With just 6 games remaining, we look good for a playoff spot again, although with a 6 point gap between us and Le Havre, the title may be out of reach.

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We are continuing to struggle this year up front, despite the addition of a couple of new strikers. We only have a 40% shots on target ratio for the season, which leaves us 19th in the table!!

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Luckily our defence continues to shine though and we top the table for the most clean sheets with 15.

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Cyril Mandouki has been a shining light for us in central midfield and maintains the highest average rating in the squad this season. With the arrival of the likes of Jessy Benet and Jake Forster-Caskey in the Summer, it seems like he knew his position was at risk and has upped his game!

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Chapter 16: A Poor Youth Intake & The Run In

It's that time of year again. The youth intake was pretty underwhelming though, with only one player who looks like he could play at the top level!

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Anthony Fumont, a 15 year old keeper, looks to have the potential to be decent, but whether he'll ever wear the number 1 jersey for us remains to be seen, as we already have a couple of decent young keepers coming through.

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It seems I'm catching the eye of some of the Ligue 1 clubs, with both Angers and Reims offering me interviews. Obviously I rejected both.

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The board rewarded my loyalty with a new deal!

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Our run in gets off to the worst possible start as we lose to Metz, despite creating more chances and dominating 60% of the possession.

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We quickly make amends with victory over mid table Toulouse though.

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Samuel Di Carmine's brace may have given us the win over Toulouse, but overall, his performance this year has been bitterly disappointing.

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We have four games of the regular season left and it's the worst possible time to receive a big injury...so of course I lose my goalkeeper for the rest of the campaign!

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Which means 19 year old Obed Nkambadio could be in line to make his debut before the season is out.

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Two more wins followed which meant that with just two games of the season remaining, we were very much in with a shout of winning the title! We still need results to go our way and definitely need to win both our finals matches, but we're in with an unexpected shout!

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We only managed a draw against Chamois (with them scoring an equalizer with the last kick of the game), which means the title is out of reach, but if Valenciennes lose on the final day and we win, we will secure automatic promotion!

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We got our side of the job done in emphatic fashion as we cruised to our biggest win of the season!


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But unfortunately for us, Valenciennes managed to scrape a draw which was enough for them to pip us to automatic promotion on goal difference!

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So it's the playoffs again, although this year we have to play 1 less game as we secured 3rd.

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Chapter 17: The F***ing Playoffs & End of Season Review

SM Caen overcame Metz in a close fought game, so it's them we'll play in the semi final.


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We absolutely dominated our opponents from start to finish!

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Which is why it's so hard to take this result!

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So it's another year in Ligue 2, but on the bright side, if we can just improve by one more place we'll definitely be going up!

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We didn't do much in the cup this season after meeting Ligue 1 opposition early on.

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We did make a bit more money across most areas this year.

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And the best 11 shows that in general, the whole team was a lot better this year. However, it's still in those forward areas we seem to be weaker!

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Both Stefano Gori and Roderick Miranda make the Ligue 2 Stars Team of the Competition, whilst Florent Hanin also joins them in the Ligue 2 Best 11.

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Stefano Gori has been immense for me this season between the sticks and he was named the league's goalkeeper of the season! What a signing he has proved to be!

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If I can keep most of this squad together over the Summer, with all the newbies having a year's experience in France behind them, I think we could mount a serious title challenge next season! All in all, most of the lads had good seasons, we managed to bring through some of the youngsters and give them valuable game time, and now everyone is familiar with my tactics there will be no excuses.

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Fan's Player of the Season = Florent Hanin
Young Player of the Season = Axel Bamba
Signing of the Season = Stefano Gori

My Player of the Season = Stefano Gori
My Young Player of the Season (U23) = Axel Bamba
Most Disappointing = Samuel Di Carmine

Top Goalscorer = Samuel Di Carmine (10 in all comps)
Most Assists = Florent Hanin and Mauro Marconato (8 in all comps)

As far as improvements to the squad go, the board have given me nearly a million to spend over the Summer. I honestly don't think we're far away from a title winning squad...one of two decent signings could make all the difference.

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Now this was the most disappointing news at the end of the year! A massive setback for the club!

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Checking in on our rivals again, it was another league title for PSG although they didn't win it quite so easily this year.

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They made it to the final of the Coupe de France as well, but were beaten by Monaco.

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And in the Champions League, they made it to the Quarter Finals again, before being knocked out by Roma.

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