The Managing Mercenary


Nov 11, 2014
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So I finally caved and decided to treat myself to FM23 and thought I may as well kick it off with the start of a new FMbase story..... The Managing Mercenary!

I think that we can all agree that the majority of individuals are motivated by money and this has become an increasing influence in football over the years as we see players lured away for more lucrative offers... much like a recent players more to Saudi Arabia or was it South Africa?

So I shall be starting as an unemployed manager with no experience or qualifications that's solely motivated by becoming the highest paid manager in the footballing world and this man goes by the name of Wesley Snipes! Admittedly I'd just watched a movie he was in and is just such a cool name, I also chose an obscure nationality (Samoan) just to see if that makes any difference in potential suiters.

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My laptop is a bit of a potato so had to be selective with Leagues loaded. I do have a lot of Nations loaded but could only really justify the top league in those with the exception England - so I will likely be starting here I imagine and then hopefully dotting about after some experience.

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After 102 days of spam applying every available job under the sun I finally received my first job offer and low and behold it was in England.

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and just like buses two more swiftly followed in the Vanarama National North

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After receiving knock-backs from both Farnborough and Banbury my expectations from Buxton weren't exactly high

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However, they actually offered be the job!

My football management career was finally underway with Buxton, a tiny town in Derbyshire that I did indeed have to google.

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So I start on a respectable £625p/w... someway off the £375kp/w dished out to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City

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So I take over a side that has won only 2 out of their opening 11 games in the National League South. With it being so early in the season I still have plenty of time to turn around the club's form and finish mid-table. We are only 5 points off the playoffs so does seem a bit of a strange decion to have sacked the previous manager, especially when Buxton were newly promoted themselves last season!

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Either way my first day at the job is to oversee a game against Spennymoor. With little time to come accustomed to the squad I threw out a 4-3-3 formation and essentially prayed for the best.

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Unfortunately it didn't really go to plan as we were thrashed 4-0!

The stats tell a different story but ultimately the result is the only thing anyone remembers and that was our heaviest defeat of the season, so a great start at winning over the board and fans alike.

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Things could only get better and they did, as we bounced back with consecutive victories.

I then decided to play out the first 3 months and try make some headway, as we climbed the table, finishing 12th at the end of 2022. It's been a strong start to my tenure and managing career and we now look much more likely to have a playoff push than a relegation battle.

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I've slowly started to win over the board and fans who are both very pleased with my performance as manager. This is quite important as I only have 6 months left on my contract and maintaining my position for next season is going to likely my only real option as I look to progress my career

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The club have also agreed to fund my National C coaching license which is another important step.

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In other news England won the world cup, beating Argentina in the final..... If only!

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The New Year seemed to kick us up a notch as we recorded just the 1 loss up until the 14th March. This form saw us elevated into the playoff places and an unlikely shot at promotion. However, we then went on to lose 4 games out of 5 and see ourselves slowly fade out of contention.

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With just 5 games left to play in the season we somehow needed to find an additional 5 points over our rivals.

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Despite going on the worst losing streak of my career to date the board decided that I'd still done enough to warrant a 12 month contract extension. My inbox agent was exactly busy with job offers so having negotiated a massive £50 p/w raise, I accepted - They also threw in funding my next coaching license which was a bonus.

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Following my contract extension we seemed to get back to our usual selves and closed the season out in relatively decent form, but still missing out on the playoffs by 4 points. It's still been a decent season considering starting partway through the campaign

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The board have basically offered the same wage budget as last season but with contracts coming to an end I can finally get rid of a lot of deadwood from the club and raid the free transfer market.

I'm expecting us to have a much stronger squad by the beginning of next season and should really be making the playoffs at a minimum. Hopefully that will elevate my managerial profile.

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As promised it has been a very active transfer window as I effectively shipped out majority of the squad and brought in a whole new one from expiring contracts and loan deals. You can't see them all here as they are effectively split between the season's but a total of 14 new faces have joined over the summer and 14 out, so very like for like.

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The bookies have clearly been impressed with my transfer activity, making us favourites for the title this season.

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The board aren't piling the pressure on though and just want to see us make the playoffs, so barring some massive disaster shouldn't find myself out of work by the end of the season.

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I've also started studying for my 3rd coaching license and have been bumped up to a 1* reputation.

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Based on our opening day performance you can see why we are favourites for the title, as we completely dismantled Southport. Admittedly we did actually beat them twice last season (3-0 on one occasion), but this was a much more comprehensive performance.

A long way to go in the season, but a very good opportunity to earn the first accolade of my managerial career.

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Our impressive start to the season continued for the next couple of months, remaining undefeated and dropping just 6 points in the process. This meant that we sat top of the table by 2 points with 10 games down in the season.​

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The board were clearly impressed, offering me a 1 year contract extension with another £50p/w rise.

In hindsight I really should have stalled the negotiations until the end of the season as I'll likely be taking my first foray into the job market come the end of the season even if we do get promoted. Hopefully we can win the league, win some silverware and make me a much more attractive proposition to some higher paid jobs.

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I decided to keep slogging away at the season and make some progress in the save.

We got knocked out of the FA Cup in the qualifying rounds, but I'm not that bothered as prize money isn't something I'm bothered about in this save. However, have continued to look good in the league losing just twice and find ourselves 1 point behind South Shields as we hit the halfway point in the season. The FA trophy is another bit of silverware we could potentially win this season.

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Our key man so far has been Cadamarteri, on loan from Sheffield Wednesday. He's scored 23 goals in 25 appearances for us so far this season and looking like a very good acquisition for us. He is going to be key in our push for promotion this season.

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I'm going to try play through the majority of the season and see if I can get this mercenary save properly underway!​
You still got a chance to be champion there.. but South Shields is a good team most of the times. good luck
You still got a chance to be champion there.. but South Shields is a good team most of the times. good luck

They have been surprisingly good for a newly promoted side!
The games continued to come thick and fast as we continued in are largely winning ways. We did have a couple of slip ups in the league against FC United and Kidderminster, but other than that pretty solid performances.

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Gateshead then ended our FA Trophy cup run. Playing away against a side in the division above was always going to be tough but we performed pretty well on the whole. That leaves us to soley focus on chasing down that league title

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To which we did pretty well. Winning 6 out of next 7 fixtures, including a victory over a strong Flyde side.

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That victory actually secured us a playoff place and left us just 4 points behind a South Shields side that pretty much refuse to drop points!

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The title chase came to a rather abrupt hault as we hit our wort spell of form all season, which included a 3-0 thrashing away to South Shields. That was actually the result that secured them the title, which was another kick in the teeth to have to watch pitchside.

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We did manage to hang on to 2nd place to give us home advantage in the playoffs.

An advantage we managed to make the most of in the Semi Final, beating Flyde 2-0 at home.

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Unfortunately we were then outplayed against a Kidderminster side that have hit some really good form at the back end of the season (quite the opposite to us). That means that we have missed out on promotion by the narrowest of margins!

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All-in-all it's been a rather unsuccessful season for me considering we were favourites to win the league. I had been very confident that I'd have something to add to my CV at the end of this season, but instead it largely remains blank.

Fortunately the coaching badges have been ticking over so have at least gained some reputation via that.

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It's now time to get job hunting and see if I can manoeuvre myself a pay raise despite missing out on that promotion...​
Following the disappointment of our playoff defeat I started applying to any club with a vacant managerial position under 3* reputation and eventually Chesterfield offered me an interview. It wouldn't be the most glamorous upgrade but beggars cant be choosers and they are a side predicted to be pushing for promotion in the Vanarama National League.

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They actually came in with an offer.... but £100p/w less than my current salary!

Not really the offer I was expecting. I could potentially negotiate the offer to one that is higher than my salary but decided to delay my decision a week to see if I get anywhere else.

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I then received a couple of very unexpected e-mails... job interview offers with both Bristol City and Cardiff!

I didn't even apply for the jobs, assuming they were beyond my current reach but obviously attended the interviews without much hesitation.

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I didn't even seem to get an e-mail to tell my I was unsuccessful for the two jobs, but did see in the news that they both decided to go with different managers. Not exactly surprising considering my lack of experience.

I did however manage to wangle myself another interview, this time with League One side, Bradford City.

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This time I was successful - receiving an offer that effectively doubles my current salary and the opportunity to manage in a much more reputable league with more financial resources.

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I did manage to negotiate an extra £200p/w from the original offer - It still leaves me with a long way to go in my quest to become the highest paid manager.

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As for Bradford City themselves, they are a lower-mid table side. So i'm not really expecting too much this season, but possibly going after the EFL Trophy may be my best hope of some kind of success this year.

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The squad is pretty thin and definitely has a few areas needing improvement - fortunately I have a decent wage budget still available to utilise, but will mostly be reliant on free transfers and loan deals.

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All I really had to work with was a wage budget, so it has been a summer of looking for loan acquisitions and free agents to strengthen the squad. We did manage to acquire some fairly decent players.

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The best of which was Sammy Braybrooke, a loan signing from Leicester City. As a Leicester fan, he's a young prospect that I'm excited to see develop.

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So my 94th game as a manager was my first with new club Bradford City. Despite many believing this was too big a step up in my career, we did manage to win our opening game away to Morecambe to at least get me off to a winning start.

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Although that quickly changed as we were knocked out of the EFL Cup in the 1st round. We actually played pretty well against Hull, a Championship side but ultimately they proved to have the cutting edge.

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Following our victory over Morecambe it was a pretty up and down start to the season in League One, until we finally managed to get some consistency going, winning 4 of our last 5 games. We were floating around the relegation zone but these recent wins have elevated us up to playoff contention - Although clearly a very long way to go.

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Our FA Cup run was also halted in the first round, losing to fellow League One side, Colchester. An early red card really killed the game for us and always had an uphill battle.

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Fortunately we did manage to progress in the only realistic trophy on offer to us this season, the EFL Trophy. It's far from a a prestigious trophy but at this stage in my career would definitely be my greatest achievement, so something I am taking seriously.

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The only issue is that we will have to play Manchester City U21s in the next round. It will likely be a very talented group of youngsters with a few senior players scattered in. I'll have to wait until we see the line-up but I don't really fancy our chances in this one.

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We kept the points ticking over in the League, with another 2 wins out of 3.

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Before we got knocked out of the EFL trophy against a City side full of young prospects. They didn't have any big names playing so was a little disappointed we didn't make it a closer game and ultimately ends our only real shot at silverware this season.

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With now solely the League to focus on, we actually started to perform worse. I think it's largely down to the volume of games and our squad has no real depth to it at all. So once I have to start rotating combat fatigue it all starts to go a bit wrong.Especially as we only recorded 1 win in 8 games throughout January....Form that has really lost us ground on the playoff hunt

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With no transfer budget available I could only really turn to the loan market for reinforcements. We were priced out of a few deals and rejected by others but did manage to find a couple of players. Nothing special and may not even make the fully fit starting XI, but they do at least give us some much needed squad depth.

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The board are still a little unsure on me, largely because I wont play direct, counter-attacking football. I have tried to develop a tactic to appease them but it really hasn't worked. I'll keep tweaking it as I do like experimenting new tactics but currently cannot seem to find the winning formula on that one.

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Fortunately the fans seem delighted with me currently.

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We do also have some rumours floating around of a potential takeover. The media has recently been shooting them down but I could really do with some financial investment... just as long as they don't bin me off in the takeover process!

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After a rather dismal January, we finally managed to rekindle some of our good from as I think I've finally cracked the counter attacking tactic conundrum. Big wins over fellow promotion hopefuls Barnsley, Peterborough and Plymouth meant that we were now in the playoff places with just 4 games left to go - it was ours to lose.

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I thought the away fixture against the likely title winners Ipswich would derail us but we actually came away with a point to leave us still in the playoffs with just 2 games to go.

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And those 2 games were against the bottom 2 sides in the league, both of which are already relegated.

Surely we were playoff bound now...

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But Forest Green had other ideas. Meaning we missed out on the playoffs by a single point.

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That point was lost after a Forest Green goal in the last play of the game!

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I really don't think we would have made it through the playoffs regardless as Sunderland eventually powered through but it would have been a nice end to the season to have an opportunity.

The board have offered little in the way of extra funds to try go that step further next season... Perhaps it's time to have a little look at the job market once again.

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Loving this as with all your stories on here mate, could a move to another country be on? I would've loved to have done a journeyman in lots of different countries on FM22 but my laptop wouldn't be able to handle it!
Loving this as with all your stories on here mate, could a move to another country be on? I would've loved to have done a journeyman in lots of different countries on FM22 but my laptop wouldn't be able to handle it!

Thanks! I know my laptop is definitely struggling, would have been interesting to get some obscure lower leagues, but have had to mainly prioritise the top divisions of European countries.

Funny you shouts mention about a move overseas...
Despite overachieving the the expectations of both the board and the fans, last season felt somewhat a bit of a failure to miss out on the playoffs by a single point. That with a combination of no new further investment to push for a promotion meant that I quickly averted my eyes towards the job market.

Following numerous straight up rejections and a few failed interviews with some championship sides, I was finally offered a deal with a club outside of England. This was the only club outside of England that even invited me to interview, perhaps because of my 1 adaptability attribute.

Regardless.... I'm moving to Turkey!

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A little negotiation got the salary up to a rather comfortable £2.9k p/w, which almost doubles what Bradford were paying me. So after 3 seasons of not actually winning any accolades, I have found myself managing in one of the top European Leagues

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Although it doesn't appear to be the easiest of challenges, as I'll be in a new country, with very little financial resources at a club that is expected to be in a relegation battle... but who doesn't love a little challenge!

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The squad seems okay. Nothing special but a fairly decent balance. There is a foreign player limit in Turkey which does always throw a little curve ball into match-day selections sometimes but just need the 3 HG players on the pitch at all times.

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The best player in the squad is Emmanuel Latte Lath. Although my first conversation with him, was about him leaving. Not exactly ideal but I'll have him for the season at least anyway unless a decent offer comes in.

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So the first match at my new club came around rather quickly and needless to say it was eventful...

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We managed to grind out a debut victory, but did pick up 2 red cards in the process. Needless to say it was a rather tense end to the game, but we managed to hold out for an important 3 points.

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Unfortunately I quickly got a reality check that this new job wasn't going to be plain sailing as we went on to lose our next 4 games. Recently our performances do seem to have improved a bit as perhaps it's taken a bit of time to adjust to my management style.

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This has been particularly noticed in the Managerial support. I missed taking a screenshot but that was actually saying abysmal when I first took over, so to have it at average is a bit of a relief.

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That may have been slightly helped by the fact that I landed my Continental A License.

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Our inconsistent form continued throughout November and December as we struggle to string together decent back-to-back performances in the League. It is getting a little frustrating on the touchline as I still try to come up with a solution.

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We then seem'd to completely lose our heads against lower league opposition, bombing out of the cup in the process. I think this may be the first time I've ever received 3 red cards in a game in any of the versions of FM. Something I'd much rather happened to the opposition!

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Then just a few days later, we recorded our biggest scalp of the season, beating Besiktas (albeit a struggling Besiktas side). Even so this seems to sum up our inconsistencies this season following our previous result.

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Following the winter break we wrapped up January with another 3 points, to leave us 10 points above the relegation zone. A fairly decent buffer, and hopefully one that we can maintain, and not be drawn into a relegation battle. That would still be seen as a successful season by the board and fans alike.

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34 points was enough (with a better H2H record) to just about keep the club up last season. Hopefully we can do a but better than that tally but that's the general benchmark for the season.

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Whilst this is proving to be my most difficult managerial job thus far, the board still have faith in me. I cant say I'm enjoying my time in Turkey too much at the moment but am hoping a summer clearout may give me the budget to assemble a stronger side for next season.... If i'm still here of course. Which is likely as doubt I'll be offered a ****** contract anywhere else for a while!

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We continued to battle for our League survival and ultimately my job, as I don't have the division below loaded in the game. Fortunately we gradually edged ourselves further and further away from the relegation zone as we started to get some decent results coming in.

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This included an away victory over Turkish giants, Galatasaray. Again, they are not having their best season by any means but still the difference in quality on paper is massive. So a massive 3 points for us.

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Following our 4th win on the bounce we then went and beat league leaders, Fenerbahce, away from home! Granted it was a bit of a smash and grab but we were now definitely safe from relegation and European places were starting edge ever closer.

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However, the run finally ended. Losing to Alanyaspor at home. A side who were rock bottom at the time! That effectively ended our outside chance of continental football, as we then limped our way over the season finish line.

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We finish the season in a very respectable 12th place. 18 points above the relegation zone. Not a bad season all things considered.

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Our achievement was made all the more commendable after I looked at the League's salary expenditure, to find us rock bottom, with less than half of that of the team above us!

It's a quick realisation that I'm very unlikely to be win any silverware with this club as the project is just too big. Perhaps the job market may have something new for me, who knows.

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Even some of best players don't want to stay at the club, largely because we simply cannot afford their new contract demands. The max I can offer is around £4k p/w and most seem to now want around £10k p/w which seems rather ludicrous.

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In response the board have given me about £7k p/w additional to spend next season.... Great!

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Nice work mate. Just caught up on the whole story! Great read!
With our limited financial resources it's been an off season filled with signing free agents and applying for jobs. As expected we are predicted to be scrapping at the foot of the table, fighting for our survival. Not the best environment to enhance my career prospects.

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The only club that offered me an interview were league rivals, Konyaspor. They have substantially more resources than ourselves and the liklihhood of a much greater contract for myself

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Although they didn't offer me the job.

One of the key phrases from my rejected applications (before even interviewing) was...

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So basically I need to start winning some silverware!

Whilst I don't expect to be doing that with Ankaraguku, we actually got off to a really good start to the season. Having lost just 2 games from our opening 10 we are looking like a team that could be in range of continental football qualification

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I also managed to bag my final coaching qualifications to further enhance my managerial profile. Although I must say I have no idea why I still have just 1 adaptability, considering I've managed for more than a year abroad now and not done too badly.

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So piggybacking on our impressive start to the season and my sparkling new coaching qualification, I started firing out the job applications once more. Interviews started to roll in from Greece, Scotland, Belgium, Netherlands etc. (not going to post all the SS's) but still no job offer came through. I still feel my 1 adaptability is a massive hinderance.

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Meanwhile on the pitch we continued to get results. Surely someone was going to have to take a punt on me.

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And that they did, with my 200th game in football management subsequently being my last with Ankaragucu. Resigning from my post on Chritmas Eve of all days!

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So where to next....