Spartak Varna - A Bulgarian Story

TractorBoy7

Member
Jun 20, 2014
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Spartak 1918 Varna

[HR][/HR]
Hello and welcome to my Bulgarian story starting in the Group "B" league in Bulgaria!

About me and my style:

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I love to use youth and buy regens on the cheap
- I love the thought of building clubs from the ground up into big giants of football
- Building new stadiums and increasing the fan base of a club is one of my favourite aims

What to expect from the save and story:

- In the early days expect me to kinda rush through it until I get into the top league, and then I will start entering more detail as it gets more interesting!
- Expect me try to build home grown talent in a bid to increase the stature of the Bulgarian national team
- Interesting insight on Bulgarian football

[HR][/HR]
Why Spartak Varna?

Well, first off, I was looking for a club in the lower league of Bulgaria which was situated in a big city. This is because my long term plan for the club heavily weighs on how big the potential fan base will be because fans = money! Varna is the 3rd biggest city in Bulgaria with a population of just over 310,000 in the 2011 consensus. This means I'm hoping to eventual get crowds of 25,000 atleast within maybe 6/7 seasons.

The ground already has a pretty massive capacity by the Group "B" standards of 8000. This means for a long time we won't have to expand or build a new stadium for our hopefully expanding fan base.

Here is the overview of the club.

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Another reason I chose them is that they already have a relatively quality youth setup going on. With adequate coaching and average youth recruitment. This means I can actively get going on my quest with home grown players. Also because of our location it should be pretty easy to get some good players from our region as the only competition for players in the Varna area is Group "A" side (and fierce rivals) Cherno more.

Here is a quick look at the facilities in place.

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Overall the club finances are okay and we should be fine for a few years if we are forced to stay in group "B", however if we do get promoted the financial bonuses of TV money and also the boost in attendance should see our finances soar!

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Thanks for reading this introductory post and I hope to have a successful story on here!

Feedback is very welcome :)
 

TractorBoy7

Member
Jun 20, 2014
344
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Spartak Varna

[HR][/HR]Pre-season 2014-2015 season
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So, it's a funny story here actually, as I started the save with the mid season update to find that Spartak only had 5 real players :p I'm not sure why that was (anyone care to inform me then please do). Anyway so I restarted it on the default database and found that they had 12 players which was better i suppose!

Anyway, because of this severe lack of players (and talent) obviously I was going to be active in the transfer market.

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Now most of these (all of them bar 2 frees and a loan) are amateur contracts. Now I'm not sure why amateur contracts are such a big thing in Bulgaria but you can get some pretty amazing talent for literally free! Like some players on my team on amateur contracts could easily walk into an English League 1 or 2 team earning £1k a week, it's insane!

Anyway, as the amateur contracts don't really guarantee in the longevity of the players, I won't go through them all, as they could easily all be gone in 8 months time.

However, these are the two signings I managed to get down on permanent contracts.

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Pretty decent value for money at only £100 p/w! Also great ability for this league and potential to go on and be even better. However our facilities and the quality of football in the league may hinder that progress.

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I think you will agree that this is a great find! What a absolute beast for this level and he will champion our midfield! Again, great value too, found him playing in the amateur leagues! Pretty amazing. He's a leading group "B" player with good group "A" potential.

Here's what the squad looked like after the transfer window closed.

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Our friendlies went okay, too.

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We started with a fair draw against Group "B" opponents going on to win against amateur side Svetkavitsa.
We then lost to a 3rd Division Czech team which was pretty awful, at home too!
A great draw against Romanian first division side Otelul.
Another win, this time against non-league Romanians AFC Astra.
An amazing win away to Group "A" side Neftochimic left me feeling positive!
An unsurprising loss to Russian giants Kuban left me also feeling possible because of the boost in attendance.
Lastly, an unsatisfying win against amateur Chernomorets.

All in all, a pretty up and down pre-season but there were some good results in there and I was very pleased with the amount of clean sheets we got.

[HR][/HR]
Now we were also tipped for 5000-1 odds of gaining promotion this year, so don't be afraid to put a fiver on us :p

But seriously, after all my transfers I think our quality is higher than that and we could be a challenger for a top 5 place if injuries and stuff go our way. It looks really easy to get relegated in this league though as there's only 16 teams, yet FOUR relegation spots. Should be a fun season!

[HR][/HR]

Next will be the first month of the season, August!

 

Eoin McG

Soy el Maestro
Nov 16, 2009
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Definitely following. Just started a similar venture in Belarus, although I've gone straight for the mighty BATE
 

AndySams10

Member
Feb 15, 2009
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Really good start and nice to see a story in another country. Good luck, will be following for sure. :)
 

TractorBoy7

Member
Jun 20, 2014
344
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Good start, should be interesting to follow!
Cheers for following! I've recently starting reading your Malmo story :)

Looks promising, I like your objectives!
Thanks! Hope you'll be following :)

Definitely following. Just started a similar venture in Belarus, although I've gone straight for the mighty BATE
Belarus did float through my mind when choosing a country! Feel free to keep me updated on that save

Really good start and nice to see a story in another country. Good luck, will be following for sure. :)
Thanks for following!
 

cps100

Member
Aug 30, 2013
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Fantastic start to your story mate, good to have you back on here! Loved your last story so I'm sure this one will be good - will be following! :D
 

TractorBoy7

Member
Jun 20, 2014
344
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0
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Spartak Varna

[HR][/HR]August 2014
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So here we go, the start of the season!

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And a pretty pleasant start too.
Losing the first game of the season of a new save is always, always demoralizing. However, we stuck at it.
At this point, when we are tipped for relegation I'll take any point we can get so I welcomed the 1-1 draw against Pirin.
But to my surprise we really kicked on after this, earning a tough win back to back.
And then the amazing happened. We put in an astonishing effort against Botev and were rewarded with a 4-0 win away! Was amazing football to watch too.


So, where do we sit in the league?

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Our little run at the end of the month puts us up into second, 12 places above our predicted finish and I'm feeling positive for the future! Weirdly after one game Pirin (Blagoevrad) sacked their manager...

[HR][/HR]September 2014
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Can we continue our run from the end of August?

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Well, almost. We draw against a beatable team at home to start the month. Coming from two nil down to get a point which I suppose is better than a normal 2-2 draw.
A great, solid 2-0 win away pushed us up the table.
I rested key players for the cup as I don't feel a cup run is beneficial to us. Amazingly our backups hold Group "A" side Slavia to only 1 goal!
Resting players proved beneficial in midweek as we come back to win 3-0 at home with a dominant performance.


Another relatively good month considering our predicted finsish. Where are we now?

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Quite frankly, this is amazing. My signings have all been performing wonderfully and we have a great core of players which has put us into dreamland early in the season!
Can we stay there?

 

TractorBoy7

Member
Jun 20, 2014
344
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0
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Spartak Varna

[HR][/HR]October 2014
[HR][/HR]Can we build upon our early season success?

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Pretty small sample size here because of the international break.
A good draw away from home was nice, kept a clean sheet too.
Then back to back wins at home felt pretty good, again with clean sheets. My defense really seems to be the driving force for this success.

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Pretty tragic news however, as our top scorer (6 goals in 9 games) goes down injured for quite a while. Will this mean the end to our form?


Here's how the league looks after those 3 games.

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Early signs for promotion push is looking pretty good! Already 6 points clear of 3rd gives us a comfortable platform.

[HR][/HR]November & December 2014
[HR][/HR] I've merged these two months together as there's only one month in December because of the winter break.

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Yet again, my team performs.
A great away win against a strong Burgas and a good win at home gave us a good platform going into arguably the toughest league fixture we'll face all year -- Montana away. Montana are favourites for promotion so it felt just as good as win by going there a snagging a point.
A late winner against Pirin topped off yet another great month for us.


Are we still top?

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Yes we are, but the gap between 3rd is still only 6 points. As I said earlier, though, Montana are strong. Sozopol are over achievers as are we, as they were predicted 12th at the start of the year. It's possible that they might drop off in the second half of the season.

[HR][/HR]Winter break 2014-2015 season
[HR][/HR]
No signings in the window as I felt the squad was capable. Good news as top scorer Filipov came back from injury half way through these friendlies and should be ready for the second half of the season.

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Ludogorets and Cherno more were expected losses, yet I'm very disappointed that we lost by such a margin to our fierce rivals in Cherno more. Makes me worried that if we go up we may not last.
Kaliakra are an amateur Bulgarian side and really gave us a run for our money which concerned me also, however we didn't have a natural right back which I guess can soothe my anger a little bit.
A 3-1 loss away to a Serbian premier side was expected to and we managed to get a bit of money for appearing in that.
Two wins against non-league sides gave us some momentum heading into the second half of the season


[HR][/HR]Youth intake
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My favourite time of year :D

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And we've actually got some talent to work with too! Our youth facilities are adequate which is pretty good for this level of football so they may actually develop too! They only have decent Group "A" potential, but that could still be pretty useful to have on their low wages if they can reach their potential. I could always sell them off for profit anyway.

I think there's some very positive signs here. Considering I'm already producing quality that could be decent for the top league, imagine how good the players will be once I upgrade the reputation of the club and all my facilities. We could easily become self-sustainable. Very good times indeed!​
 
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TractorBoy7

Member
Jun 20, 2014
344
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Spartak Varna

[HR][/HR]March 2015
[HR][/HR]
So, the second half of the season kicks off!

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and we've come back on relatively the same form we finished the first half of the season on. With a lovely 3-0 win to start off the month. Winning all 3 home games and taking points from both away games is a great take!
Back up striker Ognyan Stefanov really stepped up his play


What's the league looking like?

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Pretty fantastic I must say. 12 points clear in the promotion places and also Montana are still in the Bulgarian Cup which gives us the advantage in the league.

[HR][/HR]April 2015
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Did we push on?

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Our amazing 19 game unbeaten streak comes to inevitable end. The circumstances were not ideal as Chernomorets has two shots on targets and two goals, where as we managed only to get 1 goal with 21 shots, but i suppose thats football! Atleast it was away to a fairly okay side!
We don't manage to bounce back straight away despite playing a poor team at home. We got back to winning ways though shortly after, winning back to back games.
Finishing the month with a fair draw against a farily strong Dobrudzha side.


So after our worst month since opening month, what's occurring?

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Sitting pretty at the top still. Montana have dropped off a little due to their run in the cup which seems to have an impact on their players. Rakovski's sudden rise to contention is due to 5 loanees all from Group "A", and I have no idea how they got them as when I explored the loan market no big clubs wanted to loan them out to me because "they wanted them to play with higher quality players", ****** cheek.

[HR][/HR]May 2015
[HR][/HR]
So did we win promotion/championship?

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What a **** month! Rakovski was a fair game as they are strong so I was happy with a point. We should have beaten Burgas, Lokomotiv and fatigued Montana, yet we couldn't for some reason :/
At least we won our last game of the season.
We definitely bottled this though.


Did we mess up our hopes of getting promoted?

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Wahey!!! Championes, championes, ole ole ole!! What a great, great season from the lads as we battle incredible odds to win the league! I hope you all put a fiver on us at the beginning of the season with those 5000-1 odds :p

We really, quite frankly, ran away with it in the end. I get rewarded with a contract extension for a year.

Onwards and upswards for next year with our target being survival!
Stay tuned!​
 

TractorBoy7

Member
Jun 20, 2014
344
0
0
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Spartak Varna

[HR][/HR]2015-2016 season meet the team
[HR][/HR]
[HR][/HR]Goalkeepers
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Pretty good range of keepers here. Got our standout new signing, Benin international, 6'5" phenom Farnolle between the sticks. The might David James of all people as our back up goalie and also U21s manager and then a good keeper with some potential currently on loan at new affiliate Nesebar (Who have good training facilities and good youth facilities).

[HR][/HR]Defenders
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All that's important here is that I have a top 5 centre back pairing in Gutsev and Kavdanski. We also have a lot of depth and I'm pretty happy with all our pick ups in the summer :) Potential scattered in places too, I'm hoping we can emulate just a little pick of our defensive successes from last year, if so, we'll be plain sailing.

[HR][/HR]Midfielders
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I've decided to separate midfielders and attacking midfielders. Mainly because I use a DM-CM-CM-AML-AMR-ST formation meaning that I don't really have any LM or RM. As you can see the main focus here is through the middle of the park.

It's normally Tsvetkov as the DM with Chipev and Kozhurahov at the CM spots. However, they normally rotate around alot with Dimitrov getting a bit of play too. Lot's of versatility in my midfield when it comes to who can fill the DM role, so it's all good :)

[HR][/HR]Attacking Midfielders
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Sidney is my starting AML. Mazan comes off the bench because of his versatility to play either flank, he'll be a reliable impact player. Doucouré may be the most intriguing player I have ever worked with on FM, he's such a beast of a man and I finally get to use the wide target man role :p pretty happy with depth I have here!

[HR][/HR]Strikers
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Henrique is obviously the star man, brilliant at every aspect other than his physical skills. If he can increase his quickness and stamina, he could be lethal at this level! Zakov is a great back up to have too. Other young players with potential are the back ups.

[HR][/HR]Transfers

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Here's the transfer history for the pre-season.

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[HR][/HR]Tactics

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Here's the main tactic I will be employing this season.

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[HR][/HR]Pre-season friendlies

[HR][/HR]
Bit of a mix up here. At the end of the season I got loads of mail saying Spartak vs ... friendly arranged, so I though my assistant had done my pre-season friendlies for me. Turns out that was for the winter break and I only realised this 14 days before the first game of the season so I only had time for 4 games and they were all only two days apart

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We still managed to win all our games pretty comfotably, the Steaua result being the most impressive as they are a top Romanian team.

Feeling quietly confident for this next season!


 
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TractorBoy7

Member
Jun 20, 2014
344
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Spartak Varna

[HR][/HR]July/August 2015
[HR][/HR]
So the season kicks off, let's see how we started out in the much tougher group "A".

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Matchday 1 (Sofia) - What a unexpectedly good start! Henrique scoring on his debut felt good as I took a pretty big risk on his lack of physical stats at £1,800p/w. When we had a man sent off and they drew it back I thought we'd bottled it but a penalty managed to put us back in the drivers seat and Dmitrov topped off a fine performance with a goal to give us 3 points to start what should be a tough campaign.

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Matchday 2 (CSKA) - Our first home game (Our attendance here was quadruple of our average attendance last term). After coming from behind to take the lead two on the back of the goal of the week by Doucouré and yet another penalty in our favour, I was disappointed that they equalised so late on, but I was still pleased with the performance and the point.

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Matchday 3 (Cherno more) - Our first Varna derby! and quite frankly, it was **** :p Only two highlights the whole game -- them scoring and us hitting the bar. We really could've got a point here, but it was a drab match.

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Matchday 4 (Levski) - Yet another penalty given to us (3 in 4 games) gave us the lead until the 88th minute until, yet again, we concede late to squander 2 points. However, a draw against one of the better sides in the league is still a good result for us.

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Matchday 5 (Litex) - A pretty tightly contested match here. Zakov scoring his first goal for the club, for them to come back 4 minutes later with an equaliser. Again though, Litex are a top 3 team in the league so an away point is actually really good!

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Matchday 6 (Lokomotiv Plovdiv) - At this stage, Lokomotiv were rock bottom with 0 points from 5 games so we really should've won here and we did just that.

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Matchday 7 (Ludogorets) - Well, our first smashing, it was bound to happen eventually with the unbalance of the league. However, the score line doesn't reflect the game at all. We had 5 clear cut chances and failed to to take them and you need to bare in mind that two of their goals were penalties, so the performance was undeserving of the scorline, but when you make mistakes, you get punished.

[HR][/HR]
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Happy with our performance s far this season! We're a comfortable 6 points clear of relegation already, and we've shown we can win some games. Quite incredible that Ludogorets are yet to concede a goal!

[HR][/HR]
We have a new signing to announce!

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Pretty underwhelming sure, but he's our first transfer that we've actually spent money on to get (£3.3k). Obviously, there's some potential here (5 stars in fact) but I'm unsure whether he'll fulfil it. Was worth a punt though, and he'll for sure increase the quality of our youth team.


 

TractorBoy7

Member
Jun 20, 2014
344
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Thank you! I just read your Hungarian story, it was really good! I was disappointed it ended so abruptly, why was that?
I think I went on holiday and then came back and school had started again? I'm not sure. This save here is me basically trying to emulate that save, but hopefully this will go on for longer.
 

TractorBoy7

Member
Jun 20, 2014
344
0
0
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Spartak Varna

[HR][/HR]September/October 2015
[HR][/HR]
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Matchday 8 (Lokomotiv Sofia) - A pretty straight forward win here, not one of the best teams and we had the home team advantage. Grigorov comes in and scores his first goal as normal center back Gutsev was injured.

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Matchday 9 (Botev Plovdiv) - Botev are a good team and we were lucky to get a draw thanks to yet another . penalty :p I'm not even sure we got a single one during our first season! Happy to get a point -- equal game.

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Bulgarian Cup 1st Rnd ( Lokomotiv Gorna) - I don't really have much to say here. I fully rotated the team to rest them for the league and my reserves got dominated by this Group "B" team. David James made his debut here... make what you will of that.

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Matchday 10 (Montana) - We beat Montana for the first time in this save, drawing once and losing once last season in Group "B". Henrique scoring is always good to see, and the attendance wasn't bad, either. Could be relegation battle between us, so it was good to get 3 points from them.

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Matchday 11 (Beroe) - Ah ****. Not really sure what happened here at all. Possession was either but we looked awful when they had the ball. Disappointing to put on such a poor show to our home fans -- they weren't happy.

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Matchday 12 (Slavia Sofia) - Second poor performance at home in a row. I'm just not really sure what happened over these two games. We didn't really have any first XI hindering injuries. Atleast Henrique got a goal near the end to improve my mood and the scoreline.

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Matchday 13 (CSKA Sofia) - A pretty decent result after those two poor performances. CSKA were 2nd at this point so a point away from home against them is pretty good. That's two points drawn from them this season which is a pretty good take considering they're one of the best teams :)

[HR][/HR]
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Ludogorets going strong and unbeaten at the top still. Pretty pleased with our position here. I feel comfortable with 9 points between us and the relegation spots. Weird to see Litex doing so awful considering they were challenging for the title just last season. Looks like Lokomotiv Plovdiv are probably going to go down but that second relegation spot could go to anyone from 6th down, so you never know. I think two more wins from our remaining 7 should keep us safe, although I think we can manage more.

[HR][/HR]
So If you read my Rags to Riches, you'll know I constantly pushed the board to improve any aspect of the youth set up. I haven't yet done so on this save since money has been tight, but...

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Very pleased with this as we now have Average Youth Coaching and Average Youth Recruitment which are good levels for our standard of club. Still need to desperately improve our main squad facilities though, as they are still basic :/ Youth facilities are adequate and won't need upgrading for a while. The main facilities will be the focus for a while, as the youth set up is pretty satisfactory whilst we're not battling for Euro spots.

[HR][/HR]
More signings again now that we have money.

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A £40k purchase and a pretty decent prospect. Brought into improve our youth squad, he'll join in the next window. Needs to drastically improve his first touch and passing to be anywhere near first team quality.

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£12.75k is a lot better deal than the Filipov deal but i suppose that's because most African clubs need any money they can get. He won't join until next seasons winter break but by then he could have developed better at his current club then he would've here anyway. Hoping because of his nationality he might not get called up to the Cameroon national team and we can convert him to Bulgaria as citizenship only takes 3 years to gain and he could easily be an asset to the Bulgarian national team.

[HR][/HR]
Our first senior affiliate has been signed on. Affiliate's are very important for us in terms of income. They usually pay more than the sponsorships do and also you can sometimes loan some good talent.

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Pretty good affiliate, Belenenses from the top Portuguese league. I don't have have Portugal as an active country so they'll only produce about 2 regens a season. We probably won't be relying on them for loans. They're paying us half of what we'll expect in prize money in the league and they're paying us more than all our sponsorships. Pretty good intake of money and also they boost our knowledge of Portugal.


[HR][/HR]

If anyone wants to give feedback on whether this new in depth updating format is better than last seasons, I'd be welcome to hear from you guys!
 

TractorBoy7

Member
Jun 20, 2014
344
0
0
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Spartak Varna

[HR][/HR]November/December 2015
[HR][/HR]
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Matchday 14 (Cherno more) - Our first victory in the Varna Derby! Once again though, a really boring match as was our last meeting. Henrique getting the goal to put us a head and then nowt happened after that to be honest.

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Matchday 15 (Levski) - Agh. Just a poor, poor performance from us here. Put Levski are alright and we were away from home so that softens the blow. Still disappointed that our defence let in 3 as our defence is the backbone of our team, really.

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Matchday 16 (Litex) - A bore draw against an under performing 'big' team. Not much to say here.

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Matchday 17 (Lokomotiv Plovdiv) - Just a pretty disappointing result, yet again. Plovdiv are bottom of the table so we really could've done with getting the 3 points here. We just didn't perform on the day.

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Matchday 18 (Lodogorets) - This here was pretty much damage control. I knew we were probably going to lose unless i changed tactic, so I made some adjustments and we only let in two goals here. Really we could've scored a few but Henrique was poor and missed all 3 clear cut chances. Ludogorets are still unbeaten.

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Matchday 19 (Lokomotiv Sofia) - Our first real, enticing match with goals from both sides. We really could've controlled this game but conceded a penalty as well as getting our key ball winning midfielder sent off really sent us into a downward spiral in the latter stages of the game. Henrique becomes the first player to score a brace in a game this season.

[HR][/HR]
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7th looks like our highest possible position now. Lokomotiv Sofia are right on our tail though with an extra £20,000 in prize money being the difference between 7th and 8th. If Litex go down it'll be a huge, huge surprise considering they finished 3rd last season. Slavia Sofia are also a big club. Should be an interesting finish to the league!​
 
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TractorBoy7

Member
Jun 20, 2014
344
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okay, so I thought the season was only 22 games long, as there's only 12 teams and I though we'd do the standard play everyone twice thing. Also the schedule finished after March 6th. Turns out once the initial 22 games finish, you then play 5 other teams twice more, depending on who's in the top or bottom half.

My bad guys, I didn't know this!
 

AndySams10

Member
Feb 15, 2009
2,320
0
36
A reasonable first season in the top flight, even with 5 games to go you'll finish in a decent place. Hopefully some quality signings in the close season to help you kick on. Good luck and keep up the good work. :)
 

TractorBoy7

Member
Jun 20, 2014
344
0
0
Sorry guys. I just tried to load it up and it's not working. My back up is like half way through season 1... I don't think I'll be continuing this story I'm afraid :(
 
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