S.C. Olhanense - Pride Of The Algarve Reborn!


Dec 19, 2022
Reaction score

Well with the announcement of FM23 saves being able to move over to FM24 when it’s released I’ve decided to pick back up a challenge I set out in January…. Bringing back the glory days to Olhanense, and making them the pride of the Algarve!

For those of you who may recognise bits of this, I did actually get 6 seasons in to my challenge before not only was the game file was corrupt but my old laptop genuinely died, super disappointing after getting into the champions league and starting to build a team with some wonderkids!

(You can find the old link here: https://fm-base.co.uk/threads/s-c-olhanense-the-pride-of-the-algarve.180607/)

The goals are the same as before…

  • Work our way up to the eventually win the Liga Portugal title.
  • Build a core of Portuguese players and ideally stick to an all-Portuguese staff
  • Become the highest rated club in Portugal
  • Win the Champions League (of course!?)
However, to add to the previous task, this challenge is even more prominent now as Olhanense have now been relegated from the Portuguese 4th​ Division so wont even be in FM24. The Italian owners have robbed the club of all the money and only now with club legend Manuel Cajuda as the president can they begin to rebuild.

So let’s wind back the clock to the start of the 22/23 season and hope we can change the fortunes of a team which used to be a regular in the top division in Portugal!

I said this last time but hopefully you want to come on this journey with me and maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two of Portuguese football?
Before we begin, I'd like to share a bit about my personal connection with Olhanense.

I've been a supporter of the club for over a decade. My ties to Olhanense are strengthened by having family members living in Olhao, which happens to be a favoured holiday spot for us. In fact, we've already visited twice this year! Unfortunately, our trips have always coincided with the offseason, so we've never had the opportunity to witness a live match at the stadium.

Here's a few images from our latest trip a few weeks ago:


Historically, S.C Olhanense has fluctuated between the second division and the top leagues. Notable players like Jan Oblak and the recently signed Goncalo Ramos by PSG have donned the Olhanense jersey at various points. However, things took a downturn over five years ago when they were relegated to the lowest professional division in Portugal. Even more disappointingly, at the conclusion of the 22/23 season, they suffered another relegation, which means they are no longer competing in the national leagues.

On a brighter note, the club has just welcomed a new chairman, Manuel Cajuda, a revered figure in the local community and at the club! Olhanense has also made investments in a state-of-the-art 4G pitch that is currently being installed, and their youth development program is gaining prominence in the local area. While the stadium may appear worn down, there's a palpable sense of potential just waiting to be unleashed.

Now, let's kick off this exciting journey!
Season 1 - Let's Get Acquainted

welcome to olhanense.png

It feels like a long-awaited moment, but I'm finally back and ready to kick off this new save. We've upgraded to a new laptop that no longer sounds like a jet engine, and we've got a whopping 10 times more storage than ever before. Here's hoping for a smooth ride ahead...

Welcome to the Squad!

So, let's take a peek at the squad as we assume control on the 4th of July...

starting squad.png

After spending time with the team in previous versions and closely following them in real life last season, I already have a clear idea of who I want to keep and who I'm willing to part ways with. As I've delved deeper into FM23, I've realized that I prefer playing with players I genuinely like rather than obsessing over star ratings. My plan is to employ a 3-4-3 formation, making the most of our attacking full-backs and aiming to maintain possession as much as possible.

Don't get too attached to these players, though, as I anticipate making at least 10+ squad changes. And of course, I'll be exploiting the loan market to save some serious cash at this level.

Season Objectives


Our expectations align with what you'd hope for at this level. The club has provided a reasonable budget, which should be enough to secure a spot in the top five of the league. If we can find a reliable goal scorer, promotion should be within reach!

As for the Taca De Portugal Placard, it's a tough nut to crack with the top teams already in the mix. Nevertheless, strong league results should keep the board satisfied. Also, it's worth noting that starting with a two-year contract adds a nice bit of security from the get-go!

Club Overview


It's always intriguing to check out the club info screen and envision how far we can go in this journey. I've kept my custom kits (courtesy of a fantastic local Mexican restaurant in Olhao), but as tradition goes, these will get a fresh makeover each year to keep things exciting.

Furthermore, it would be fantastic to bring the club icons back to the fold. With all of them still active in the game, there's a good chance we can make it happen!

Now, I'll be making my way through 2022 to the January window and returning with an update on how things have been progressing!
Season 1 – A Mid-Season Update 🔴⚫

We find ourselves at the midpoint of this relatively brief season in Portugal. With significant changes to our squad, a decent system taking shape and performing well, it's time for a progress check with the team...



I may have become a bit enthusiastic with our transfer activities, bringing in a total of 15 new additions to the squad, with 7 of them arriving on loan without any wages involved.

Our club's financial health is in good condition, but to add genuine quality into the team, the loan market seemed like the most suitable option. Additionally, given our current level, I found it much more practical to bring in loan players, understanding that if we achieve promotion, we'll be aiming for higher-calibre players next season.

Furthermore, there was a considerable amount of underperforming players in the squad, prompting me to part ways with them. I also decided to relocate half of the team to the U19 squad, with the hope that they can secure transfers elsewhere and alleviate our wage bill.

Here's a brief summary of our signings: Goalkeepers: Leo | Defenders: Nobre, Meira, Varela, Sousa, Martins, Balde, Sousa | Midfielders: Mota, Val, Paulinho, Pereira | Strikers: Silva, Davo, Rubio

As backup for Meira I was able to bring back Leo to the club, someone who is homegrown and seems to have some great attributes. I can imagine him being here for a long time!

The defensive line has undergone a significant transformation, which is crucial for our 3-defender formation. This depth, combined with our existing youth players, strengthens our defensive options.

Finding a striker was a challenging endeavour, leading to the inclusion of three similar players in the squad. Consequently, our goal-scoring responsibilities are distributed across the forward line rather than relying on a single dedicated scorer.


As you can see, we haven't played an extensive number of matches so far, given the small size of the league, and the championship stage doesn't commence until May, so there's still a considerable distance to cover.

We've encountered some challenges and faced a fair share of unexpected outcomes, but we've also celebrated some remarkable wins. Most notably, our 2-1 triumph against top-tier Portimonense in the cup was a standout moment. I hope to maintain our momentum and secure our championship spots early, although the competition at the top remains fierce, with us holding only a one-point advantage!

The Squad

In terms of our squad dynamics, I've attempted to establish Paulinho and Mota as our primary wingers, and they've proven to be highly effective so far. Davo's role as the lead striker has worked well, but with the addition of Raul Rubio, playing time has been divided, and I find myself pondering the best approach for their deployment. This situation might lead to a potential switch to a two-striker formation.

Our midfield pairing of Val and Pereira has been a particular highlight, as they effectively control the game. Their youth also grants them the endurance to keep up with the pace of play, and the roles of Segundo volante and deep-lying playmaker have been a seamless fit.

Looking ahead, I'm considering adding another winger and possibly another midfielder in January, especially since Dantas will be departing, leaving a notable gap in our midfield depth. I'll be keeping an eye out for potential additions as the season progresses.

Given the relatively short duration of this season, we anticipate providing an end-of-season update in the near future!
Season 1 – End-of-Season Review (THE BIG ONE)

Election Update:
1 - elections.png

In a significant development, Carlos Alves emerged victorious in the recent club elections, securing his position as the new owner of the team. This change at the helm marks the beginning of what may become an annual tradition of leadership transitions.

January Transfer Window Highlights:
2 - trans in.png

Moving into January, our transfer dealings were relatively calm. We made changes by bringing in Ibe and Tavares to replace Victor and Dantas. The acquisition of Jordon Ibe, who was available on a free transfer and agreed to a weekly wage of just £300, was the first step beyond the Portuguese market.

Season Results:

3- results.png

Our journey through the league fixtures was characterized by its ups and downs, yet we managed to secure a spot in the top two of our division, advancing to the promotion phase. Although we displayed some goal-scoring prowess, our defense proved to be a weak point, particularly due to several injuries that led to inconsistent lineups.

At one point, we faced the challenge of dealing with eight injuries, prompting me to switch to a 4-2-4 formation to salvage a point. As the year drew to a close and fitness issues persisted, I decided to fully commit to this tactical shift.

4 - end result.png

The strategic change paid off handsomely as we sailed through the promotion stage, losing only one game (when we heavily rotated players) and ultimately reaching the Championship final. Crucially, this had also secured our promotion, turning the final into a showcase match for the top two teams of the season, which we clinched by the narrowest of margins. It was undeniably a highly successful inaugural season, capped off with a well-deserved piece of silverware.

5 - champs.png

Squad Assessment:
6 - ending team.png

Examining our squad at the season's end, it's clear that while the team we assembled performed well, we started to see some vulnerabilities emerge, particularly in terms of depth. Unfortunately, our youth players couldn't make a significant impact at this level, necessitating the acquisition of more experienced players as we head into the Liga 3 season. Regrettably, none of our loan players are interested in returning, although I'm hopeful about reacquiring the talented Brais Val in the future.

In anticipation of potential interest from other clubs in March, I proactively offered contracts to as many players as possible, with an eye toward generating income if any are sold during the summer transfer window. While this might complicate matters regarding contracts, my concerns have been eased after reviewing our budgets for the upcoming year.

Looking Ahead:

With the season concluding in mid-June, we have a tight turnaround before the transfer window opens. As mentioned earlier, the board has generously allocated an extra £25,000 per week in wages, potentially leading to significant changes as we adapt to the higher level.
7 - window opens.png

With our loan players departing, our squad size has dwindled, and I have identified the key players I intend to retain for the next season. Maia and Pereira are no-brainers, demonstrating their ability to perform at the next level, if not higher. Sousa, despite not being the fastest on the pitch, possesses the quality needed and will remain a vital part of the team.

The situation with Jordon Ibe is somewhat peculiar. His performance since joining hasn't been fantastic, and considering the availability of a similarly priced and levelled homegrown players, I may contemplate moving him on. I'll explore the free agent market before making a final decision.

Financial Outlook:
8 - the financess.png

Now it's time to focus on a busy summer, as those pennies won't spend themselves. The club finds itself in a reasonable financial position, and I'm optimistic about building upon the strong foundation we've established this season.

Stay tuned for updates as we unveil our revamped team at the end of the summer, and don't forget about the ongoing overhaul of our backroom staff!
Season 2 - A Promising Start!

Following a highly successful inaugural year at the helm, we've capitalized on our promotion and positioned ourselves quite favourably for our debut season in Liga 3. The board is understandably thrilled with our accomplishments over the past 12 months, but they do hold lofty expectations as we embark on our journey in the new league.
1. board visiiion.png

Our primary aim for this season is to secure a playoff spot, with the cup competition expected to have a minimal impact once again. Fortunately, the board has generously allocated transfer funds for the upcoming season, which enhances our prospects considerably.

Spend.. Spend.. Spend..

We've been quite excessive, spending a total of £115,000 to acquire 21 new players. Admittedly, we may have gone a bit overboard in building our squad…
2. spending.png

To offset this, we parted ways with 12 players, most of whom were loaned out since there were no takers for permanent transfers. Nonetheless, this has alleviated the wage bill burden, and they will all depart when their contracts expire.
3. TRANS OUT.png

While I initially intended to retain Major, Mota, and Varela, the quality of players we managed to attract convinced me to upgrade even our backup options, not to mention the starting XI. Additionally, Villanueva and Ivan were promptly loaned back to their former clubs as part of the deals that brought them in.
4. TRANS IN 1.png

5. TRANS IN 2.png

As evident from our spending spree, we invested heavily in homegrown talent, which should help integrate the players into the squad more quickly—a valuable asset at this level. Portugal offers a wealth of promising prospects, and I hope to secure more of them in the coming years, with the aim of making them homegrown at our club as well.

In terms of youth prospects, I've added Ivan, Pires, Villanueva, and Rodrigues to the under-19 squad, all of whom boast 4.5-to-5-star potential, making it a worthwhile venture to bring them in at such a young age. Additionally, I've secured the services of 18-year-olds Sousa, Traore, and Simic, who will not only play pivotal roles in the team but also have the potential to be considered homegrown players if we secure permanent transfers or extended loans.

Meet the New Look Squad

6. new squaaad.png

Our team is returning to the 3-4-3 formation that served us well for most of the previous season. Maia and Pereira will continue in their roles, but beyond that, our first 11 has undergone significant changes.

Cardoso, Namora, and Vasco will compete for the primary striker position, with rotation expected to provide each of them with a fair opportunity. With the recent additions, I believe we now have reliable backup options in every position.

I've also brought in Goncalves, who currently excels as an attacking midfielder, but I plan to retrain him as a defensive midfielder. Hopefully, he'll integrate smoothly alongside Pereira as he continues to develop. He seems like an ideal fit for that role, but we'll have to see how his training progresses.

This promises to be an exciting year ahead, as we are now projected to be one of the top 5 teams in the league. With the squad we've assembled, I'm confident we can make a strong push toward achieving our goal of reaching the playoffs this season.

Club Updates

In other news, we've completed the first phase of overhauling our staff by assembling an entirely Portuguese backroom team, with the exception of myself. This shift toward homegrown talent will hopefully continue as we aim to expand and enhance our backroom team throughout the year.
7. coach changes.png

As mentioned in my previous post, it's always rewarding to witness the progress of the club as a whole. So, here's a glimpse of the latest Club Info screen, showcasing our sleek new kits for the upcoming season.

8. club info.png

Now, let's dive into Season 2!

Vamos lá Olhanense!
Season 2 - Surprising Triumph Continues...

The wave of success appears unrelenting as we reach the halfway mark of the season! Firstly, we've secured a new contract, providing us with a reassuring sense of stability and a testament to the hard work we've put in during our second year at the helm.

1. new contract.png

Performance Highlights


Our journey has kicked off with a blazing start, remaining undefeated in the league up to this point! It's clear that Pereira has built on his previous season's performance and is making a substantial impact in this division.

While our loss to Porto in the cup did catch us off guard, it hasn't seemed to affect our league form as we charge forward towards Christmas. (I must note the unusual league schedule, with infrequent games in December and no actual break in the season.)

It's also noteworthy that the trio of Andrezinho, Traore, and Vasco upfront appears to be a dream team. Traore, in particular, seems out of place at this level of football, but I'll maximize his contributions as he evolves into a key player for us.

Additionally, Simic has proven to be a potent weapon during corner kicks, and fortunately, he's been able to avoid injuries, bolstering our sturdy defense, which has significantly contributed to our good form.

3. table.png

Transfer Activity

4. xmas out.png

In January, we've made a couple of strategic moves to maintain our position in the title race. Unfortunately, Cuca didn't live up to expectations, and with only a one-year contract, it made sense to cash in on him. Pires and Nobre also failed to make a significant impact on the team, prompting their departures. This has injected a healthy £31,000 back into our budget!

5. xmas in.png

With these departures, we've reorganized our budget and added some top-quality talent to the squad. Mendes has joined as a backup for Sousa at left-wing back, with an eye on taking over next season. Camarero and Aizpurua are exciting youth prospects, a valuable addition given our expanding youth team. Nwosu, another young player, could become our new starting player with considerable potential. And when it comes to wonderkids, Joao Paulo stands out. Despite his young age and a £26,000 price tag, I believe he'll be worth every penny as a holding midfielder.


Squad Overview

Here's a snapshot of how our squad is shaping up:


Other Matters (Nothing to Lose Sleep Over…)


Our financial situation is a bit concerning, but I'm diligently adhering to all the guidelines I've been given. We'll have to wait and see how it all pans out; I believe I'm doing everything I can to maintain the financial equilibrium at my end!

Now, it's time to push on during the weekend and secure that promotion!
Season 2 – Continuing to build in the Algarve…

Following the moves made in January and with the team displaying more strength than initially anticipated, it was time to continue the season and aim for securing a spot in the promotion playoffs, possibly achieving back-to-back promotions!

League Results


The initial phase of the league felt lacklustre, with seemingly few games occurring until the end of March. We compensated by scheduling numerous friendly matches on weekends, ensuring our fitness levels remained high and our good form intact. Consequently, we comfortably qualified for the Promotion Playoffs...

Promotion Playoffs


We started the promotion stage on a tremendous note, not only maintaining clean sheets but also exhibiting exceptional control in each game. Thanks to the outstanding performances of Vasco and Cardoso, who remained in excellent form, and the team's proficiency in set pieces, we dominated the stage and eventually reached the Champions Playoff Final.

Interestingly, due to winning our group, we had already secured PROMOTION once again! This peculiar aspect of the Portuguese system rendered the finals somewhat redundant.


Regrettably, we couldn't capitalize on our good form and lost in the final. However, in the grand scheme of things, I'm not too disheartened, as Promotion remains the primary goal, and I'm content either way!

Evaluation of the Squad

Now, let's assess the overall state of our squad at the end of the season!

4. end of squad.png

I was delighted with the additions we made this year, particularly in the loan market. I'm eager to bring back Simic and Traore next year, as they played pivotal roles in the team. (I'm not as concerned about Sousa, as we now have Mendes in the club, who performed well in the second half of the season).

Vasco finishes the year as the top scorer, with Pereira closely behind. Traore was a prolific assist provider, and Andrezinho also excelled in that department on the opposite wing.

Additionally, Nwosu quickly became our number one goalkeeper after his arrival and has performed splendidly. At just 18, he possesses immense potential and will eventually qualify as home-grown, which is a significant positive for our club as a whole.

Our squad's core is exceptionally young, and I hope this trend continues as we transition to the new league. Joao Paulo, in particular, promises to be a stalwart in the defensive midfield and right wing-back positions, potentially leading us for the next 5+ years!

Looking Ahead

5. team going forewwards.png

As we enter the 2nd Division, I am optimistic that we already possess a solid foundation to secure our position in the league, if not compete in the mid-table. I believe I can maintain these seven players in the starting XI and build around them. Once again, our defense remains a major concern, and I intend to make significant investments to bolster our backline.

If I can secure the loan deals for Simic and Traore, our squad will be in an excellent position, allowing us to push forward. However, I anticipate that this is the juncture when our homegrown squad may start to weaken slightly, and I might need to bring in more foreign players. Historically, it has been more cost-effective to recruit from abroad, and these players tend to have a higher resale value, which is crucial for a club on the rise that occasionally needs to cash in on a star player.

Financial Situation

6. wageb udget.png

We have a healthy budget for the upcoming year, although the actual funds may not be readily available when looking at the clubs overall finances. I plan to maximize this budget now, as we might encounter financial challenges in the future if the club continues to operate in this manner.

Now, it’s time to make the most of the summer transfer window, and we'll see where we can go in our third year in charge!

Vamos lá Olhanense!
Season 3 – Time to Get Down to Business...

As we embark on Season 3 following consecutive promotions, we hold high hopes of solidifying our position at this level. In the back of our minds, there's a glimmer of hope that we might achieve a remarkable third promotion in a row this year.

1. club vision.png

Starting with the Club vision, it aligns perfectly with our goals. The board expects us to become an established team while not putting too much pressure on cup performance, which suits us well. Our focus remains on aspects like set pieces, high tempo, and entertaining football, all of which we can easily adhere to.

Significant Changes in the Playing Squad

2. trans out.png

This summer, we've seen numerous departures as we aim to build upon the squad's core formed over the past few years. Additionally, some of our promising youth prospects have attracted lucrative offers that we couldn't refuse. Receiving £475K for Pires provides a substantial financial boost, allowing us to offer better wages to our new signings.

Regrettably, Pereira seemed discontent with being a regular starter, leading to a transfer request. It's disappointing to lose someone I expected to play alongside Joao Paulo this season, but we must press on.

Most of the outgoing transfers involved older players who may not be up to the next level and had contracts expiring this season, making it a sensible move to cash in now. We also arranged some loan deals toward the end of the window to ease the wage budget burden.

3. trans in.png

In terms of incoming transfers, it has been a highly positive window. Breaking through with a fully Portuguese team has resulted in significant upgrades, especially in defense. Here are the new signings by position:

CB – Ilori: A homegrown talent in Portugal who adds experience as a squad player.

CB – Blackett: Brings valuable English experience and high potential if he remains injury-free.

CB – Thomas: A younger player with championship experience, enhancing our squad depth.

CB – Brito: A homegrown talent, young, and arguably our best defender. Lovely.

RWB – Rankin Costello: Strong defensive qualities with attributes suited for a RWB role, allowing Paulo to play in the middle more is a nice bonus.

DM – Sithole: Previously played in Portugal, providing depth and content to be another squad player.

DM – Balde: A youth prospect who can be homegrown at the club if he fulfils his potential.

DM – Devine: A star player on loan, filling the void left by Pereira.

LW – Watai: A strong Japanese player with experience in Portugal, expected to deliver quality crosses like Andrezinho did last year.

ST – Morgan: A young prospect on loan from Chelsea, with previous loan experience at Southampton. Hoping for a breakout season.

And the ones you can't see... TRAORE AND SIMIC ARE BACK! Exciting news to have both AC Milan boys rejoin the team for the upcoming year. Hopefully, they can continue their impressive form from last season.

The Squad

4. SQUAD.png

Our squad is looking solid this season, with significant improvements compared to the previous year. We are no longer heavily reliant on loanees, although they do add valuable depth and quality. Every position now has ample depth, which will prove crucial as the number of games increases this year.

I'm also gradually integrating Alexandre Rodrigues into the squad. Although he may not be at this level just yet, his potential to become a star player in the future, while also being homegrown at the club, makes it important to involve him more this year.

Overall, I'm pleased with the progress we've made, and I can envision many of our squad members being part of our long-term project, even if we achieve promotion in the next couple of years.

Business as Usual

5. fiannces.png

Nothing out of the ordinary here, everything is proceeding as planned, I promise…

Club Info

6. club info.png

Now, let's take a look at the club info screen, comparing it to the past two years. We've made some notable progress, and we've also unveiled some fantastic new kits. Interestingly, there's been no news regarding the stadium, which emphasizes that Olhanense shouldn't be languishing in the depths of the Portuguese system. Our facilities, or at least their size, are indicative of the level we should be competing at.

Let's make the most of this weekend as we take on the 'Liga Portugal 2 SABSEG' and continue our journey towards success!