Vitória SC - Youth to Gold

misterioBean

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Hello everyone!
After my computer ruined both my last saves I took a time off the game to think what I wanted to do regarding the saves. After a lot of deliberation, I decided to start my favourite challenge in FM - a youth to gold save. The rules are very simple, I can't buy players older than 19 years old. There's an optional rule you can apply which consists of not using any players over 30 years old but I decided not to do it.

As for the team we are starting with I decided to use the team I support: Vitória SC (named Vitória de Guimarães in FM) from Portugal. Although one of the reasons I chose them was because I support them; in March 2022 a new president was elected. One of his promises was to improve the youth facilities and use the club's youth system. A bit after he took over he announced the facilities would be upgraded and this season all efforts were put into integrating youth players into the first team, having an average age of only 24 years with 15 players under 23. Also, this season marks the club 100th year of existence! Having all of this in mind, I decided to continue the project using the youth challenge.

However, before I start sharing my journey, I need to say I'm not using the game default database. I'm using the last available update from Pr0 pack but I did do some changes to it: first of all, I changed the election date to March 2022, otherwise the club would go through new elections on the first season. The club's facilities were slightly upgraded, so did the importance of youth. I also did some transfers the pack doesn't include, for instance Zé Carlo's loan move becoming permanent (Vitória's president confirmed the buy clause will be activated no matter what) and Falaye Sacko move to Montpellier in the end of his loan deal. Finally, I changed some of the CA/PA of some players in the portuguese league because other than Porto, Benfica and Sporting I think the portuguese league players stats don't reflect their real life ability (for better and worse). This included some players from Vitória, some were upgraded and some were downgraded to better reflect how they have been performing this season. For instance, Ruben Lameiras has been awful this season so some of his technical stats and some mental ones were downgraded.

So, now that's out of the way, our journey as Vitória SC manager can begin!

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First Steps - Staff

As always, the first thing I did was going into my staff team and fire everyone I didn't thought was good enough to be part of this team. Also I decided to keep the current manager Moreno as my assistant manager (He is a team supporter who was the B team manager and doesn't have the manager badge needed to be the official manager) and his assistant manager João Aroso as a Fitness Coach because that's his main preferred role. Also Douglas is a former Vitória's goalkeeper and has been at the club since 2010 so I decided to keep him as our Goalkeeper Coach since he is not that bad. The Head of Youth Department also left.

In our medical team we have a decent Head Physio and 2 decent Physios who will stay at the club. As for the Head Sports Scientist and the Sports Scientist I fired them both because they were not good enough.

Our Scouting team was composed of a DoF, a Technical Director, a Chief Scout and 3 Scouts. I fired the DoF and one of the Scouts and kept the rest.

Every free position was filled in a week, leaving us with a much better staffing team. The Under-23 and Under-19 staff teams were also filled in with the best options we could afford.

The Squad

The fact that I watch every Vitória's games makes knowing the team a lot easier. We can't really invest into bringing reinforcements except if there are some young players who are better than some of our main team players so this is the team we will be going for the upcoming season:

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Goalkeepers: Bruno Varela (27) will be our main option with Celton Biai (21) being a worthy backup who will most likely be getting game time in the cup games in order to get some experience and develop faster.

Left FB: We have 3 options on this position but this is probably the position we lack quality the most, with Afonso Freitas (22) being our best option. Ryoya Ogawa is a loaned player from Tokyo FC who has a 1M€ buy clause but with him being 24 years old he won't be an option for next seasons. Hélder Sá (19) will be loaned out to get more play time and develop.

Center-back - This is a position I think we have a lot of quality. André Amaro (19) and Ibrahima Bamba (20) are the first options and still have a lot of potencial. Villanueva is our 3rd option but he is already 29. We still have Mamadou Tounkara (20) and Jorge Fernandes (25) but this last will be either sold or loaned out to give Tounkara more playing time.

Right FB: Yet another position with a young prospect in Miguel Maga (19) as our first option. Bruno Gaspar (29) will be his backup for this season. Mutombo is also an option but he still needs more development before joining the first team. Maybe he will be loaned out.

Defensive Midfielder: Zé Carlos (20) is loaned in player from Varzim but will be joining us in the end of the season for 800k. He is currently injured so for now Tomás Handel (21) will pick up his spot for now. Matheus Indio (22) will stay at the club as a 3rd option for depth.

Midfield: As for the other 2 midfield roles, André André (32) and Tiago Silva (29) will be our main guys. Their backups are not the best in Dani (22) and Janvier (24) but I believe Dani still has a lot of growing in him. We have a very exciting prospect for Tiago's role but he still needs to develop slightly to be an option.

Wingers: Our wings are not the strongest but are definitely not the weakest either. Jota Silva (22) is our best option and will be playing most games. André Silva (25) is a striker but will most likely be picking up the right wing. Nelson da Luz (24) will be his backup and Ruben Lameiras (28) will be the 3rd option. Mikey Johnston (23) is another loaned in player from Celtic and will be Jota's backup for the season.

Strikers: As for our strikers, we have 3 decent ones. Anderson (24) is our first choice striker and Safira (27) will be his backup. If needed André Silva can play there as well.

Top prospects: Gonçalo Nogueira (18 - MC); Manú Silva (21 - DM); Jonathan Mutombo (19 - DR); Bahamboula (21 - Winger).

The Tactic

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The tactic is a very simple 4-3-3 with only a few instructions to keep it simple and fluid.

I'm not sure if there will be any transfers coming in but I'll be back in September at the end of the transfer window!
 

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September 1st - The End of the Transfer Window

So as expected there were no transfers coming in our way due to the lack of money we have at our disposal. There was one permanent deal out however: Nicolas Janvier was sold to Salertinana for 575k. The initial offers we were getting were around 250k and I pushed as much as I could. He was a decent backup for Tiago Silva but being 24 I didn't see much future in him. Not being able to get anyone with the money we have, I decided to call Gonçalo Nogueira from the Under-23s. He is not quite ready to get consistent time yet but he is gettimg some minutes in the league.

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Schedule and League Table

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We started our campaign with the ECL playoffs. The first leg was a very good game of our team but the second leg was awful. I changed 2 players from the starting 11 and unfortunately that cost us the playoff.

In the league however we have been killing it. The first game was a very tough one against Sporting but we completely hammered them playing away from home. The next 2 games were very back and forth, specially the Gil Vicente match. I always struggle against them and we actually started out by suffering a 7 minute goal, equalizing before the half-time and eventually scoring a second one in the 2nd half. Only 10m later they scored the equalizer and we had to rely on a 87th minute penalty to bring home all the 3 points.

In general we have been playing very well and getting the results we need but being such a young team we are bound to have mistakes made but we need some defensive consistency.

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We are currently top of the league and our striker Anderson is the top scorer with 6 goals scored in 4 games. Hopefully he continues scoring us goals.

I'll get back in January with more updates!
 
January Update

January is finally over and we are offically mid way through the first season. I must say this has been going terrific. Since the beginning of the season we only lost 2 games and they both took place in January. This was most likely due to the fact that we had to change the team constantly during this month and also we have been hit by some injuries. The one that has been hurting the most was Anderson who got injured in October for 6-9 months and has not played since. Dani Silva also got injured in the last match against Porto (who we faced 3 times in 2 weeks) for 2 months.

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We enjoyed a pretty good run so far and despite the 2 recent losses we remain 1st in the league table 7 points ahead of Porto.

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Transfer wise we didn't bring in anyone worth of mentioning, just a Goalkeeper with some potential for the U23's but he will never be good enough to actually play. Brought him for free to hopefully make some money. The only transfer out was Matheus Indio loaned to Avaí for the remaining of the season.

I'll be back at the end of the season with the last season update and hopefully with good players coming out of our academy.
 
End of Season Update

The season has finally come to an end. With the way we went into February I was expecting to have a equally good 2nd half of the season but was aware it would be very difficult to keep the 1st place since we had both Porto, Benfica and Sporting close to us. In fact, Sporting fell short during the season and were never in the title run. Porto and Benfica stayed close to us the whole season.

The Schedule

Before sharing the league table, let's take a look at our schedule.

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So up until February we only had 2 losses, both in January. Since then, we lost 3 more times and only one of the losses was expected against Benfica, the other 2 were frustrating but for different reasons: the first game against Casa Pia was a very lame game with very few opportunities for both teams. They put themselves ahead first at the 26th minute and shortly after we equalized. However, they scored once again through a fast counter-attack. The other loss against Rio Ave was a traditional FM game in which we had way more chances, they scored twice in the first half and we couldn't come back from that.

After the loss against Benfica, they got to 1st place pushing us down to 2nd only 1 point behind them. We did have some good games, the 4-0 away win against our eternal rivals Braga was probably the best game we played the whole season. However, they dropped points in games they should have won and we were able to get the 1st spot back from them, going to the last 5 games seating as the possible champions, the first time in the club's existence.

However, with 2 wins, 2 draws and a loss in the last 5 games, were we able to keep it together and be crowned champions for the first time ever?

The League Table

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The short answer is no. We ended the season in 2nd place 1 point behind Porto after we drew the last game of the season against Estoril. Heartbreaking it went like that but I'm still impressed we finished in 2nd ahead of Benfica and Sporting. Not everything was bad though.

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After the disapointing at the league, we had won the cup against Benfica in extra time. For the second time, Vitória SC are the Portuguese Cup Champions.

Goals and Assists

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After Anderson got injured for 9 months and using André Silva as a winger, I had to believe in Safira to step up and score us goals and he absolutelly delivered, scoring 23 goals in 36 games. Despite playing as a winger, André Silva also scored us 16 goals. Anderson already had 14 goals until October, I can only imagine he would have at least 30 by the end of the season.

Assist wise it came down to our creative midfielder Tiago Silva with 21 assists on top of the 10 goals he scored and surprisingly Jota Silva who got 27 goal contributions.

The Initial Preparations

With the season over it's time to start planning the next season.

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The board gave us about 4M€ to start the season with along with around 100k in wage budget. Considering we qualified for the UCL I was expecting a little more than that but in Portugal finances are not very strong so I was not surprised.

In July, some loaned out players will come back to the club and we will lose some players as well. Mikey Johnstone and Ryoya Ogawa will go back to their clubs. Zé Carlos will join us on a permanent move since that deal was aleady established. As for our own players, Rúben Lameiras will leave to West Brom for 525k. He was unhappy and I didn't plan to use him at all, being already 29, I decided to let him leave.

We have 2 new signings joining us along with them. Tottenham's Yago Santiago and Andrés Salazar will both sign on a free. Altough they are 20 years old now, when we got the deal done they were both still 19 so it still counts for the Youth to Gold Challenge.

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They don't look amazing but they have a lot of potencial so I'm hoping they develop well.

As for the rest of the team, this are my plans:
- Falaye Sacko will leave on a permanent deal for 2M€ to Montpellier;
- Hélder Sá will fight for Afonso Freita's spot along with Salazar;
- Toni Borevkovic, Easah Suliman, Bruno Gaspar and Jorge Fernandes will be sold;
- Herculano Nabian, Matheus Indio and Manu Silva will probably for extra depth;
- Matous Trmal will be coming back from his loan and I still haven't decided if I'll keep him as a 3rd option for the GK position or if I will sell him.

Everyone else will stay but if any good offers come our way I'll consider selling them.

I'm a little afraid of losing both André Amaro and Ibrahima Bamba. They are both wanted by big teams and they both have Release Clause's. Amaro had a 50M€ but he pushed it down to 26M when signing a new contract which I was not happy about but I had to give it to him or it would affect our team performance's and Bamba's release clause is set at 30M. If both of them go for them it would be 56M extra money we would get but it would also mean we would be left with only Villanueva (30), Jorge Fernandes (26), Borevkovic (25) and Tounkara (21). If this happens, I can't sell Jorge or Borevkovic but we'll see.

I know this was a long update so thanks for anyone who read this far. I'll be back in September.
 
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