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Where There’s A Will, There’s a Norway – Let’s Get This Start-ed

May 10, 2018
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After 5 seasons of travelling around Europe on my journeyman save, there was something missing from that little adventure and that was the building of a legacy at one club. The opportunity to build something over a long period of time, bring through youngsters and see them into their prime, build a winning side that will go on to win multiple trophies and dominate football in their country.

So that’s what this save is going to be. I haven’t turned my back on my journeyman save completely and am convinced I’ll come back to it at some point later in the year, but this is where I’m going to be for the foreseeable.

The challenge I have taken on is inspired by the current stories by Hampus Silverholt and Leckuno on this site in Holland as they look to build a team of Dutch players with Sparta Rotterdam and Groningen. I have chosen Norway for my own journey. It’s no secret that with the likes of Erling Haaland (Dortmund), Martin Odegaard (Real Madrid) and Sander Berge (Sheffield United) coming through, Norwegian football is producing some of it’s brightest ever talent and the future looks promising for the national side. Naturally, I won’t be starting the game as Norway manager, but if the opportunity comes up in the future of this save, I’ll be trying to bag the job for sure.

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As for domestically, I will be managing IK Start, a club that have only ever won the Norwegian Premier Division (Eliteserien) twice in their history (1978 and 1980). They’ve never lifted the Norwegian Cup and obviously have no European competition triumphs to speak of.

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Stadium: Sparebanken Sor Arena
Capacity: 14,563
Training Facilities: Good
Youth Facilities: Good

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As for me, I started with the coaching badge and experience that was recommended for this club (Continental A License and Regional Pro Footballer).

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The aim here is to build a title winning squad of all Norwegian players and then go on to conquer Europe from there, so I'm setting myself a rule of signing no foreign players throughout the save. I don’t think we are going to achieve anything overnight and it’s going to take a while to build that squad and improve those facilities to the point where we can bring through some promising youngsters. Obviously, the hardest part of this save is going to be holding onto our best players from the bigger clubs/leagues in Europe. Still, I’m well up for this one so let’s get Start-ed!
 
May 10, 2018
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The Staff

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A few roles to fill. Everyone already here is Norwegian so nobody needed to be sacked.

The Squad

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A good base of Norwegian players already which is good. A few of my players seem to be wanted by other clubs from the off, but unfortunately, none of them are my foreign lads!

Jesper Daland is without a doubt one of the best players at the club. Which might be slightly worrying as he’s a centre back with tackling rated 10 out of 20!

daland.jpg


Christian Bolanos is not Norwegian so won’t be here for the long term….well he might only have one season left in him anyway as he’s 36! He’s the most technically gifted player at the club but some of his mental and physical stats leave a lot to be desired!

bolanos.jpg


As far as the youth goes, I wonder how many players we’ve got knocking on the door of the first team…

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Oh OK then! We do have a couple of promising younsters at the club though, one in particular is goalkeeper Henrik Dahl, who already looks a decent keeper at just 16 years old.

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The club’s vision is to focus on signing younger players which suits me. They’re not mucking about either as they expect us to go from avoiding relegation to challenging for the title in just 5 years!!!

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At least this year’s expectation is realistic, with us predicted to finish in the bottom 4, after only being promoted last season!

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May 10, 2018
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Loads of money to spend this Summer!

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I shouldn’t moan as I don’t even know where that £40k has come from with us nearly £400k in the red!

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In desperate need of a right back and with little money available, I signed a player with a name so long, I can’t even be bothered to type it out. A decent little signing on a free though and that determined attitude is something I’ll look to build my team on, with a severe lack of technical ability and general footballing quality available to me at the moment.

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A load of new staff were brought in. Everyone’s Norwegian….except for me!

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That lad who isn’t very good at tackling is one of the favourites to be the best young player in the league this season.

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Pre season went OK.

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Predicted to finish 13th this season. Rosenborg the favourites but only one of their players make the media dream 11.

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My tactical setup going into the start of the season and the lineup for matchday 1.

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For my first game in charge it could’ve been worse.

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My second game in charge was worse….although it was Molde.

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Our first win of the season and of my career came against Sarpsporg in a tightly contested game.

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So after 3 games, we sit bang in the middle of the table with a win, loss and draw to our name!

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May 10, 2018
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I didn’t want to sell Eirik Wichne, despite the fact he wasn’t a first 11 player (at the moment). However, when I rejected a bid, he sulked, caused a bit of unrest in the team and left me no choice but to ship him out on transfer deadline day. He joins Stromsgodset for £8,500.

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One thing I was short of was players who could play an effective role in the central midfield positions. He’s not amazing but Mads Gundersen bolsters the numbers and gives me more options. Plus, he only cost me £1,500.

gundersen.jpg


As the transfer window closed shut, the biggest deal in Norway was just £325k!

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Aalesund hadn’t won any of their opening 3 games and are one of only 3 teams that were predicted to finish below us this season, so this has to go down as a really poor result!

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We dominated Mjondalen in our next game.

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But still only managed a draw! Points dropped…not good enough!

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10 players currently plying their trade in the top division in Norway have come through our club.

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Valerenga are a decent team and inflicted a 2-0 defeat on us in our next game. We weren’t outplayed though and a case can be made for us being unlucky here.

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We bounced back with our biggest win of the season so far though.

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A performance that was inspired by my first ever signing at the club, playing at right back!

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We followed that up with a solid 1-0, making it back to back wins for the first time under my management!

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Before those two wins, we had dropped down as far as 12th in the table, but the 6 points has boosted us back up to 6th.

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Our next game is against top of the league Rosenborg….I don’t want to play Rosenborg!

Simen Alexander Santos Lyngbo has definitely been a welcome addition to the side and has made a decent enough start for the club.

lyngbo form.jpg
 
May 10, 2018
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I admit it, going into the game with Rosenborg (unbeaten with 7 wins from 8 games and the top scorers in the league), I was scared!

However, the lads did me proud as they fought hard to earn a draw against the title favourites!

rosenborg.jpg


It was at this point that I wondered when our first cup game would be. However, it turns out that there will be no cup competition in Norway this season.

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A back and forth match with Bodo followed, with the result just about going in their favour. A decent performance from my lads again though against a top side.

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A really bad result against Sandefjord which saw them leapfrog us in the league! We lost Jesper Daland to injury and never looked stable at the back afterwards!

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Which is really concerning as my number 1 centre back is now going to miss up to 4 weeks!

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Based on overall attributes, Daland is definitely the best player in my team!

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Then to make things even worse, I lose one of my other best players for potentially 2 months!

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However, there’s nothing like a win over your fiercest local rivals to build everyone’s confidence that we can cope without them. An absolute worldie from Mads Gundersen bagged us all 3 points late on.

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And we made it back to back wins again as we thrash Stromsgodset!

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The man who came into the side down for the injured Christian Bolanos, was Kasper Skaanes, and he grabbed two assists in that 4-1 win! Maybe I’ve already got a natural progressor for 36 year old Bolanos and won’t need to look to the transfer market to replace the ageing winger!

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Inconsistency shines through again as we follow up two good wins with a shocking performance against 13th placed Brann.

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Although I’m not quite sure how we lost that game 3-0, based on the match stats!

brann stats.jpg


We played much better against the league leaders in the next game, but were still left with nothing at full time. A good effort though!

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Still 8th in the league at the half way point! The biggest surprise this season is probably how poor Molde have been…I’d expect them to be a lot closer to the top but they find themselves 13 points off the lead!

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At this stage of the season, it’s clear to see that we are great at controlling possession in most of our games.

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But we are struggling to convert that possession into clear cut chances on the pitch, with only 7 created in 15 games!

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Which in turn means we are not as far up the table on goals scored as I’d like. I definitely need to look at improving the attacking side of our play and improving the squad in these areas.

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May 10, 2018
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A lacklustre performance against Kristiansund results in a heavy defeat, before recovering to beat underachieving Molde – the first time we’ve beaten any of the ‘big sides’ in the division.

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Sarpsborg was the first side I got a win over as manager, and we completed the league double over them, winning by the same scoreline as last time.

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Another transfer window closes and it’s Bodo who fill the headlines, selling one of their best players before then reinvesting that money on reinforcements.

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Our own transfer business this season has mostly been dominated by brining a load of youngsters to the club. None of them look like they’ll set the world alight, but they do bolster my U19 and B Team squads.

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The best we played all season as we beat Aalesund to make it 3 wins in a row for the first time under my guidance.

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Martin Ramsland is getting a little run in the team as my front man and he’s taking advantage of the opportunity with 3 goals in his last 3 games.

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My U19s side have won their championship! Promising signs for the future players coming through the club.

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We’re really finding our feet now and I really feel like I’m getting to know my players and their best positions. It’s showing on the pitch as we make it 4 wins in a row with victory over Mjondalen, who look like they’ll do well to stay up!

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Apparently, my start at Start has been impressive.

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10 games to go and guess what….we’re 8th!

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May 10, 2018
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One thing that is slightly worrying as we move into November is that the club seems to be absolutely haemorrhaging money, with us now being over £1.2 million in the red!

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We share the points with Stabaek, but their late penalty was as soft as you like and we were robbed of the 3 points!

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Certainly nothing to be getting excited about with this year’s upcoming youth intake.

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We went into the Valerenga game with three of my first choice back four out with suspension or injury, so I didn’t hold out much hope we would get a result!

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So I’m pleased with the point!

A tightly contested game with Haugesund next, in which we just about came out on top.

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Back to back 2-1 wins as we gain a bit of revenge over Sandefjord who beat us earlier in the season and we’re now unbeaten in 8 games!

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But Rosenborg bring us back down to earth and remind us we’re not quite up there with the big boys just yet!

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8th again. To be fair, it looks like we’re destined to finish there with 5 games left, having been in that position all season pretty much. We’re definitely not going to finish lower and 6th is the highest we could reach.

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6th or 8th – it doesn’t really matter as neither will give us a crack at European football and the prize money is the same.

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It’s good that the board are pleased that we are 1 year ahead of schedule on becoming an established team in the top tier. However, it worries me that with their level of ambition, they’ll now be expecting us to be title challengers next year!

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May 10, 2018
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We were dominated by Bodo, but managed to nick a point that we didn’t deserve. We’ll take it!

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Next up we completed a league double over our fierce local rivals! We weren’t at our best by any stretch of the imagination, but we did enough to get the job done.

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We finished off the season with a couple of disappointing defeats against sides who finished below us, before a final day win over the champions. A nice way to round things off for the season I guess.

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It’s an 8th placed finish for us then, which is impressive I guess, considering we were aiming to avoid relegation this season. The board are apparently delighted, but still only give me a B- for the season’s achievement! Of all the Norwegian clubs, Molde probably had the most disappointing season and will have no European football next year.

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The fact that only one player from my best 11 managed an average rating about 7.00 shows that there is plenty of room for improvement next year. Lyngbo had a sold first season at the club at right back, and the whole of the back 4 weren’t too bad in all fairness. The midfield triangle must improve!

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Fan’s Player of the Season = Henrik Robstad
Young Player of the Season = Simen Alexander Santos Lyngbo
Signing of the Season = Simen Alexander Santos Lyngbo
Top Goalscorer = Steffen Lie Skalevik (14)
Most Assists = Kasper Skaanes (12)

Now that is strange. When I joined, the club’s vision was to be contending for the title in 5 years. Despite me overachieving in my first season in charge, they have actually relaxed their expectations!

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Plans Before Next Season; The Norwegian league finishes at the end of December and doesn’t kick off again until June, so we have a good 5 months break now. During that time, I’ll be looking to improve the squad, with reinforcements needed at centre back as I feel we haven’t had adequate cover for my first choice CBs this season. I also want to move on a couple of my non Norwegian players (mainly the ageing players like Christian Bolanos (36) and Mohamed El Makrini (33) who has been poor all season). They will both need replacing. My first choice striker, Steffen Lie Skalevik was only here on loan, so a new front man will need to be sourced too! Plenty of work to do!

The biggest problem I’m going to have with improving my squad is the transfer budget has been set at £0. Which is slightly annoying as the sponsors have just paid out and the bank balance has gone from being in the red to being £300k in the green!

finances.jpg


There was a silver lining though. The board had taken a strange decision to more than double the wage budget at the club, so once I did a little bit of re-jigging, it managed to free up £750,000 for transfers and I still have a spare £16k for wages as well.

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May 10, 2018
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The Norwegian club rankings still have lower league sides above us!

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With the future in mind, I’m pleased that the board and I are on the same page with regards to youth development at the club!

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A fair few players left the club!

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So onto the new signings!

Ruben Kristiansen is first through the door. He may be 32 years old but is better than the two left backs I had at the club last year and will challenge for a first team place from day one. Joins on a free.

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I said I was desperate to provide more cover at CB and Henrik Breimyr comes in to do just that. Looks like a good acquisition for free!

breimyr.jpg


Harald Holter is a player that is perfect for my midfield triangle as he can play the box to box, ball winning or half back roles that I like to play. Again, he didn’t cost a penny.

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Another centre back added to the ranks and another player with a ridiculously long name! Looks good though and I forked out £325,000 to bring the 20 year old to the club from Lillestrom. He helped them to promotion from the lower division last season with an average rating of 7.06 in 27 games…let’s hope he can bring that form here.

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Christoffer Myhre joins the club for a small fee of £8,250. I took a little punt on him after he bagged 10 assists in 19 games for lower league club Flekkeroy last season. It remains to be seen if he can do it at this level, but worth a shot for such a cheap price tag.

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This one might not initially go down very well with the fans as Yann-Erik De Lanlay joins from our rivals, Viking. However, I’m sure he can win them over…he’s definitely got the attributes to be a good player for us. He wants to be as well as he cost me £425,000 to bring him here!

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I was still in need of a good striker and I splashed the cash on Kent Eriksen who joins us from Sandnes Ulf for a fee of £160,000. He only scored 8 goals in 30 games last year in the lower division for them, but I think that was from a wide position which is decent. I’ll be looking to play him as my front man and giving him more opportunities to hit the back of the net.

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The man that comes in as a backup to Eriksen, is Erlend Hustad. He comes in from relegated Brann for a fee of £20,000. He can do a job.

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I feel like this might be a big feature of this save….getting money from other club’s transfers along the way.

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There’s only really one player who might have a bright future in the game from the youth intake.

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15 year old winger, John Reidar Solberg, could become a good little player a few years down the line, especially with that determination!

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May 10, 2018
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This is all about bringing £100k per year into the club. I won’t be taking any youngsters on loan from PSG unless they are Norwegian of course, which is highly unlikely.

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Going into the new pre-season, we only have two players in the first team squad now that are not Norwegian.

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One of them is my German keeper and now that he is 33, likelihood is that I’ll look to replace him at the end of this season!

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I definitely feel like I have improved my squad on last year and the media tend to agree with us this year predicted a 10th placed finish.

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Some big sales into Europe this season. Well big by Norway’s standards!

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Pre season…it is what it is.

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A quick reminder of this season’s expectations from the board.

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May 10, 2018
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We kicked off the league campaign with two draws. The first one against Molde was good, the second one against Brann was bad!

molde.jpg
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My captain is out for up to 4 months!!! B0ll0cks!!

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We ran riot in my first ever cup game in charge, but it was to be expected against lower league opposition. Still, a confidence booster for the lads, and a few of my new players bag their first goals for the club!

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Another team from the lower leagues for us in the second round.

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When you draw your first two games of the season, I always think it puts so much significance on the 3rd fixture. Win and you’ve made a good start, lose and you’ve made a bad one. This year, we’ve made a good start.

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I was fully prepared for the fact we may follow up our first league win of the season, with our first defeat of the season., as we took on the side that finished 3rd in the division last year. But that wasn’t the case as we turned in our best performance of the season so far, making a statement to the rest of the league in the process!

bodo.jpg


Next up, we took on Sarpsborg. Now I had their main striker on loan with us last season (Steffen Lie Skalevik) and he finished up as our top scorer. He’ll be the main to watch out for on match day as well as he has scored an incredible 8 goals in his opening 4 league matches this season!!

skalevik.jpg


We managed to keep him quiet, but still only laboured to a 1-1 draw, despite having 21 shots to their 5!

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Pleased with that start though! Unbeaten in our opening 5 and 3rd in the league! Decent!

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May 10, 2018
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We got the job done in the 2nd round of the cup….in the end!

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We take on Oygarden from the division below in the next round, which only throws up one fixture featuring two top tier clubs….the draws are being kind to the Eliteserien clubs.

cup draw 3rd round.jpg


Back to league action and home to Jerv…

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…We were ****!

Another dominant performance in the cup though in which our opponents didn’t even register a single shot on goal. We probably should have scored more.

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Fourth Round – the draw we didn’t want!

4th round draw.jpg


Another good win in the league followed up by a disappointing draw against one of the newly promoted clubs. Our inconsistency from last year is still very much there, although the difference this season seems to be that we aren’t losing games in amongst the good wins.

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Now this win over Kristiansund is a massive sign of improvements made on last season. Not only did they finish 4th in the league last year, but we also failed to beat them during the last campaign (drew 1-1 and lost 3-0)! And we didn’t sneak a result here….we were good value for the win!

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Even more proof of our improvement as we then beat the reigning champs with 10 men!!

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This happened. New deal, pay rise, happy days!

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One thing I have found out lately is that we’re pretty good playing with 10 men.

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But we knew we’d probably need all 11 men to overcome league leaders, Rosenborg, in the cup! And we only went and bl00dy did it, taking them all the way to a penalty shootout, in which my lads scored 5 perfect pens to see us through to the next round. Surely winning this game has got to put us up there amongst the favourites to win the competition this year now?!

rosenborg cup.jpg


Our reward for overcoming Rosenborg is to play lower league opposition again in the Quarter Final.

quarter final draw.jpg


But back in the league, we suffered defeat for the first time this season at the hands of Valerenga. We weren’t at the races for most of the game and didn’t deserve anything from it!

valerenga.jpg


But we’re still 3rd in the league which is amazing for us! We’re defying all expectations this season from our board and the media…long may it continue!

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May 10, 2018
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After losing for the first time this season in our last match, I wasn’t taking any chances against our lower league opposition in the cup, so I fielded the strongest available squad I had.

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And it paid off as we record a comfortable win to see us through to the semi final!

And it really is anyone’s cup this year. From the four teams left, it would be hard to pick a favourite to lift the trophy.

semi final draw.jpg


In the league we played two sides at either end of the table. Tromso are bottom and Rosenborg are top! The results were probably the wrong way around as to what was expected!

tromso.jpg
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That win over Rosenborg was absolutely massive for us! It was an amazing second half turnaround after going in at half time 1-0 down!

Kent Eriksen is proving to be a fantastic piece of business, bringing him in for £160k before the season started. He’d only scored 8 goals in the division below last year, so was a risk, but one that has massively paid off as he now has 12 in 17 games in all comps so far! His value has more than quadrupled to nearly a million quid as well!

eriksen.jpg


The transfer window opened and with a focus on youth, I forked out £60k to bring 15 year old Frank Stenberg to the club, from Sogndal. I hope he turns out to be worth it.

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Our inconsistency continues in the league as we record two defeats followed by two wins.

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August Vik bagging his first senior goal in our last game. I promoted the lad to the first team at the start of the season when he was 18 and he hasn’t looked out of place in any of his 14 league appearances this season!

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We had dropped down to 5th a couple of games ago, but the last two victories have got us back on track and we remain in 3rd position with 12 games of the season to go. A top 4 finish would have been a dream come true at the start of the season, but now it looks like a very realistic goal for us to aim for.

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May 10, 2018
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4th against 3rd in our next game…

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Or should I say 3rd against 4th as Bodo switch places with us in the league after narrowly beating us at their place.

As we went into our next match against Sarpsborg, every one of my defenders was suspended!!

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So scraping a draw was probably a decent result!

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Transfer deadline day was a busy one for me, mainly with negotiating outgoing transfers. I always knew the hardest part about this save was going to be holding on to my best players, so the key is always going to be ensuring we maximise every sale to get in as much cash as possible.

We had an instance of this as I lost one of my most promising players, centre back Jesper Daland, who just couldn’t resist a move to Gladbach when they came calling. I managed to cash in on the deal though, getting £1 million up front, with £1.2 million to follow over the next 3 years in 3 instalments of £400k. We will also be paid £300k when he makes 10 league appearances, as well as bag 40% of any profit they make on a future transfer.

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It was a record sale for the club.

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And it won’t effect us this season anyway as I immediately brought him back to the club on loan for the rest of the year.

daland loan.jpg


Another one of my best defenders also left the club in a deal I couldn’t turn down. I signed Simen Alexander Santos Lyngbo on a free transfer, so when I was able to get £1.8 million for him less than 2 seasons later, it was a no brainer to allow it. We get £1 million up front, £750k in instalments over 2 years, and £100k after 50 league appearance from Granada. We also get 30% of any profit made on his next transfer.

lyngbo.jpg


Next to leave was left back, Kristoffer Tonnessen, who joins Rosenborg. He wasn’t my first choice for that position and I have 3 left backs in the first team, so was happy to let him leave. We cash in £160,000 for him + 25% of his next transfer fee as well.

tonnessen.jpg


Incoming Transfer

Just the one! Obviously, I had to try to replace the right back and with the target being solely on Norwegian players, it didn’t leave me much to go at. Leo Cornic is young though and could still develop into a good player so I took a punt on him for £75,000 from Haugesund.

cornic.jpg


I know what you're thinking. He's gone and broke his own rule and signed a non Norwegian player. But fear not, he was born in France but has dual nationality. No rules broken here!


cornic nationality.jpg


I did try to negotiate some other deals but personal terms or transfer fees couldn’t be agreed. The one I really wanted to get over the line, but couldn’t was the signing of Olav Oby. The fee finally got agreed, but we ran out of time in the window to get the deal sorted before it shut.

oby.jpg


Two bore draws against two struggling sides in the league didn’t exactly fill me with confidence with a cup semi final around the corner.

2 bore draws.jpg


Our recent dip in form has seen us drop to 5th in the table with 8 games remaining, although winning our game in hand would see us get back into the European qualification spots.

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Our cup semi final game had everything…late drama, extra time, sending offs and a penalty shootout.

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Unfortunately, a shootout that we didn’t come out on top of. A brave effort from my lads though as we twice fought back from a goal down to take one of the best teams in the country all the way.
 
May 10, 2018
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Some good business in the window there and hopefully you can invest the money back into facilities at the club
Let's hope so come the end of the season when the sponsorship money lands. Hopefully, tieing up all these deals with monthly instalments should help with the club's cash flow over the next few years as well with a constant flow of transfer fees landing.
 
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May 10, 2018
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Two early goals quickly put the game to bed against title chasing Kristiansund. They never looked like threatening us as we turned in a much improved performance.

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We followed that up with just as impressive a win against Lillestrom. The defence is looking solid at the moment as we kept our 4th straight clean sheet in the league.

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Massive game next as we took on reigning champs, Odds, who sat just behind us in 5th at kick off.

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Neither team really took the upper hand.

The big games kept coming as well with 4th placed Valerenga up next, a side that I have failed to beat in my career so far (2 defeats and a draw).

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But that all changed as we record a huge, huge win! Although we did do our very best to throw away a 3 goal lead!

Two more wins followed including a fantastic result against title contenders, Rosenborg!

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Our great form meant we had to surely be in with a shout of challenging for the title ourselves with just a couple of games remaining!

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Unfortunately not! Although our form is excellent, so has that of Bodo and Rosenborg up until that defeat to us and we just didn’t manage to close the gap on the top two! On a positive note, we are only one win away from confirming 3rd place in the league which would still be an incredible achievement!

One player that has been sensational for us through our recent run of form and a major contributor to our success is left winger, Sander Sjokvist.

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He has 5 goals and 2 assists in his past 5 appearances, and he clearly loves playing the big sides!

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Youth intake may be a little more promising this year, but I’m still not holding my breath.

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Oh and apparently Norwegian clubs have elections to determine their chairmen.

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May 10, 2018
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Two more games left to play in the league and 4 more points chalked up.

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Which ensured we finished 3rd, with 11 points more than we managed last season! Bodo are champions, whilst last year’s champs finished behind us in 4th. Without doubt, the worst performance of the season came from Molde who finished all the way down in 9th!

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It was actually a league and cup double for Bodo.

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Our 3rd placed finish ensures we’ll be playing European football next year!

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My best eleven proves that my strength was in defence this season, with all of my back 4 registering average ratings above 7.0! Twenty goals in all comps is a great return from Kent Eriksen up front in his first season, with Sander Sjokvist chipping in with 8 as well. A worryingly low amount of goals came from the rest of the side though.

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Fan’s Player of the Season = Ruben Kristiansen
Young Player of the Season = Sander Sjokvist
Signing of the Season = P.Kolberg Slordahl
Top Goalscorer = Kent Eriksen (15)
Most Assists = Kasper Skaanes (7)

Apparently the board are a little disappointed that I haven’t stuck strictly to signing players under the age of 23. I tried to remove that when we negotiated the new vision, but they weren’t having it. Now they’ve decided they want us playing possession football and a high pressing game (both of which we do already so shouldn’t be a problem).

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I was slightly disappointed that the board only gave me £500k initially to spend on new players, when I raked in deals worth over £4 million through selling players this season!! However, I did have £26,000 spare in the wage budget, so with a little tweaking, my new budgets look like this…

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Plans Before Next Season: Over the next few months, I’ll be looking to make improvements to the squad for sure. I’d love to keep Jesper Daland here on loan for another season after selling him to Gladbach, but I don’t know whether they’ll allow it or not. The main area I feel we need to improve is in midfield. I played most of last season rotating my midfielders, never feeling entirely comfortable that anyone other than my captain, Erlend Segberg, was up to the job. Clubs have been sniffing around a couple of my players as well, so again we may need to replace anyone that I can’t hang onto.

PS. I won the November manager of the month award. The first time I’ve won this in my career, so thought it was worth a quick mention.

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Oh and not only that….I won the Manager of the Year as well!!! How p1ssed must the Bodo manager be to not lift this award after leading his side to a domestic double!

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May 10, 2018
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More investment in the junior coaching which is good!

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We’ve gone up slightly in the Norwegian club rankings, but still haven’t broken into that top 10 yet.

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Transfer Window; Players Out

A large number of players were released. Nobody of any real significance though.

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There were no major departures at all really. Erlend Hustad left for a fee of £33k after just one season at the club, so we made a little profit on him after signing him for £20k, but that's about it at the moment.

Transfer Window; Transfers In

My first arrival at the club this window is experienced striker Markus Naglestad, who joins on a free transfer after playing the last couple of seasons in the USA. He looks like a decent addition for no money!

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I know all of his football has been a lower levels, but finding the back of the net is finding the back of the net and Naglestad clearly knows how to do that! His goals to games ratio is unreal!

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I wasn’t sure if I’d get him for another season, but Gladbach have agreed to loan Jesper Daland back to use for another year! So far this sale has worked out brilliantly for me….I make £2 million on the player and then he continues to play on loan for us for potentially another year and a half!

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Bjorn Maeland is only 20 years old and could still improve into a tidy player. The fact I was able to nick the youngster off a divisional rival (Odds) for free was the main reason I signed him though, especially as he did play 20 times for them last year so was of some importance to them. He bolsters the back line and give me another option at centre back!

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Another player I was able to get in for free was Rahul Sharma (from KFUM Oslo). Again, he’s young and could improve, but for now he goes into the 2nd team to try to earn himself a shot with the big boys!

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Now it was time to spend some real money and really improve my squad. First up, I spent £900,000 to bring 21 year old midfielder, Emil Breivik, to the club from Molde. They’ve massively underachieved last season, so I looked to their squad to see if there was anyone I fancied poaching who might be looking to get out of a club in turmoil. Breivik fit the bill perfectly. We paid £500k up front, with the rest to come in instalments and add ons.

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Another 21 year old in full back, Kevin Egell-Johnsen who joins from Odds, again for a fee of £900,000, which will be paid £400k up front and the rest in instalments and add ons. He’s another young player who’s good enough to go straight in and could still improve.

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Finally, I added a little bit more experience, as 28 year old Kristoffer Barmen comes in to improve my midfield, which I thought was the weakest area of the squad last year. I do love a player with a good work rate and Barmen gives me that. He’s not the fastest, but then I don’t really need him to be for the half back role I have in mind for him! We paid £180,000 to Brann to bring him here!

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Kristoffer Ajer is on the move again which bags us another £137k. Money for nothing is always welcome!

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May 10, 2018
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Another new deal for me, with another little pay rise.

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I tried to sign 19 year old Alexander Glosen from Bodo but they were pretty much refusing to sell him to me unless I paid an extortionate fee, which I couldn’t afford after what I’d already forked out. So instead, I let them sell him to Crotone and just took him on loan for the season instead.

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The youth intake wasn’t amazing, but there are two players who look like they could have a future at the club. Both of them do have Norway as dual nationality so they count towards me building a squad of only Norwegian players.

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Khaled Amer looks like a VERY good prospect!

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Whilst Zaw Kyi is decent enough already for his age too.

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Plenty of pre season friendlies played and some decent results along the way.

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A top half finish is expected by the board this season.

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Which apparently the bookies don’t fancy us for, despite our 3rd placed finish last season and generally having a better squad this season.

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Talking of my squad, here’s the current crop I’m working with. I definitely feel like we strengthened in the key areas of midfield, added more competition up front and kept our strong back line together. I fancy us to have a decent campaign again this year.

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