Welcome back! Another season down and I have to admit I am bloody enjoying this! Last season we were so close to an unexpected promotion but unfortunately we lost in the promotion playoff, so it’s a 4th season in 3.Liga for me, the expectations are still low, the board and media expect us to be ending at the wrong end of the table, I know however we can make another push for promotion, financially it has to happen!
Obviously there is also the challenge to continue with as well but my plan for this season is to concentrate on promotion, players will come in IF they improve the side, I plan on bringing a few players in to tick off some nations but they need to be good enough.
So here we go!!!
For the first time in the save we were in the German Cup! We did amazingly to get through the first round, beating 2.Bundesliga side Braunschweig 3-1 in a stunning display. In round 2 we faced one of the biggest teams in Germany at home, Bayer Leverkusen, a money-spinning tie and we were so close to a shock! We levelled the tie at 2-2 in the 91st minute but Leverkusen picked us off an won the game in the 5th minute of injury time! Gutting!
This came though with some really good news. £490k of TV revenue, £100k in gate receipts and £460k of prize money, some much needed money to stem the losses.
Now to the big one, I had high hopes we could do something amazing and my word did we start well!
We opened the season with my best run of results so far, July and August went by and we were unbeaten, 7 wins and 1 draw, we were scoring for fun and being pretty tight at the back.
Then the number of games calmed down and our form became patchy. September, October and November went by, 10 games, only 4 wins and 3 defeats. Form wasn’t great but overall I felt we were playing well enough. The gap at the top that we created in that opening unbeaten run had now gone and we were in a 3-way battle for promotion.
December then came and the form picked up, 3 games, 3 wins and no goals conceded, really really pleasing and as we went into the New Year we sat top of the table!
Winter break over and we came back and went mad! 2 games in January, 10 goals including a sensational 7-2 win over Osnabruck. Then came the expected, the pressure began to get to us and our form became inconsistent. A defeat, a win, a draw, a win, it carried on throughout February and March but we were still well in the promotion hunt.
The final 2 months came about, 7 games to go, we needed to pick up our form and even though we went unbeaten in those 7 games we were really struggling. 4 straight draws really put us in the mire but we were lucky that Magdeburg and Jena were also dropping points.
In the final 2 games we knew we had to win both of them and started well with a 2-1 win over 5th placed Viktoria Koln. Into the final game, we sat 2nd but knew anything other than a win would drop us down to 3rd. We were level on points with Jena who had an easy final match.
We played amazing and even though Jena won their game we eased to victory with a 2-0 win! PROMOTION SEALED!
What made it even better though was the fact Magdeburg lost meaning we ended the season as 3.Liga champions!!!! Not bad for a team predicted to get relegated! 2.Bundesliga here we come!!!! Just look how tight it was though.
All 3 teams ended on 76 points, it was our goal difference that did it! 3 goals less and we would’ve ended 3rd! Madness.
So promotion sealed but could I managed to tick off any nations in the challenge? Of course I did!
Nations Ticked Off
Nation 33 – Somalia
I signed Mahad Abdul Kadar last season, he played enough games and scored but didn’t get that 7.5+ rating. It didn’t take him long this time around to do it as he scored twice and got an 8.7 in a 3-0 win over Holsten Kiel B in late-August.
Nation 34 – Martinique
A Summer signing, Attacking Midfielder Stephane Abaul came in, not rated highly but I actually felt he was pretty decent and so it was to be! It took him 2 games to grab his first goal and get an 8.3 rating in a 4-1 win over Lubeck, he played 35 games over the season.
Nation 35 – Serbia
A Summer loan signing, Milos Cocic scored in the 3-1 cup win over Braunschweig and then got a 7.9 in a 1-0 win over Dynamo Dresden in the next game. Then disaster struck, he had played 9 games and then got recalled from his loan spell as apparently I wasn’t playing him in the right role, I couldn’t let him go with only 1 game left to tick the nation off so I signed him before the deadline for £18k!
Nation 36 – Kosovo
Another Summer signing, forward Mehmet Ibrahimi came in and made an instant impact, he scored his first goal in a 3-2 win over Osnabruck in mid-August and then grabbed an 8.2 in a 1-0 win over Oberhausen in early-December. Overall he played 21 games.
Nation 37 – Austria
This one is my favourite one yet. In the 2022 intake I got a pretty decent looking Austrian forward, Thomas Marx sat in the reserves for the past 2 seasons but this time I decided to promote him and he was amazing. He scored on his debut in the 3-1 cup win over Braunschwieg and then grabbed a 7.9 in a 2-1 win over Jena. He played 14 games over the season, scoring 6.
Nation 38 – DR Congo
A Winter loan signing, I needed to add some attacking players to my side and brought Ridge Munsy in on loan. A decent looking player and he had a debut to remember, scoring twice and grabbing a 9.8 in the 7-2 win over Osnabruck. He played 15 times, scoring 4 and grabbing 4 assists.
Nation 39 – Estonia
Another Winter signing, Brent Lepistu came in on a free, a massive upgrade in what I had in midfield and like Munsy, made his debut in the 7.2 win over Osnabruck where he scored and got an 8.0 rating. Over the second half of the season he started 15 games and was a key part of my title winning side.
Nation 40 – Sao Tome and Principe
And finally, one I grabbed in the penultimate game. Right back Leonildo Soares came in during the Winter window, a decent looking full back from an obscure nation. He grabbed an 8.4 rating in his second start, a 2-0 win over Holsten Kiel B in early-February and then, after being put on penalty duties to grab that goal, scored from the spot in the 2-1 win over Viktoria Koln, the winning goal and a massive goal at that!
So a success results wise and a major success challenge wise, especially as it took a bit of a back seat this season!
And that means I have now ticked 40 nations off. I wanted 10 season so overall the challenge so far has been a success!
A quick update though on the nations and I’ve noticed this season there were 2 missing off my list which I have now added, they are Mayotte and Saint Barthelemy. No idea why there were missing!
Firstly is Left Back Deji Beyreuther, another amazing season for him as he claimed the Player of the Season and, for the 3rd season in a row, got the most assists. 27 starts, 10 assists, 7 POTMs and an average rating of 7.6. Stunning!
Young Player of the Season went to Croatian Midfielder Amer Hodza, I could’ve got rid of him as he had ticked off what was needed but felt he was too good of a player to let go. He was an integral part in our winning the title, playing 35 times and scoring 9 goals.
Top Scorer went to Nakhi Wells, he scored 10 in 34, not good really is it?! It’s been the one issue over the past few seasons, goalscoring, who cares though, we won the league!!!
And here is the whole squad. As you can see there are a couple of other nations in there that I didn’t tick off. Once again North Mariana Islands striker Borja didn’t get that 7.5 rating, Zanzibar Left Back Azzan didn’t play enough or score or get a 7.5 rating, yeah he was awful!
I also brought in a Striker from Mayotte, who was a lot worse than I thought he would be. Finally I brought in a full back from Reunion, he only played twice and somehow managed to score a goal! He only got a 7.2 though, is he good enough to get a 7.5+? I’m not sure!
We’re off to the 2.Bundesliga and boy is it going to be tough! The one good thing though is that even ending bottom will give us just short of £7m prize money! Every cloud!
Financially again it doesn’t look great but our bank balance is the at it’s highest level it’s been at the end of a season. A £772k profit this season, most of that came from the Bayer Leverkusen cup game and a bit of money pumped in by the chairman.
Hopefully promotion will now start bringing in more money for us, higher sponsorships, more TV revenue and hopefully higher attendances.
The board clearly think that is going to happen as they have increased our wage budget by £17k per week and given us £122k to spend on transfers.
Now the hard work begins, we have to stay up next season so I seriously need to strengthen the side, we do have the usual issue of a shed load of players out of contract which, up until now, I haven’t been able to offer them new deals due to the wage budget being too low. Now it has increased I can offer new deals but my worry is players will want stupidly big wage rises! Bloody inflation!
My plan is to keep my core players here and then try and move on the deadwood, those which have ticked off their nation that I no longer need. This should then free up some wages and maybe make me some money.
Then I need to bring some better players in, the good news is the squad restrictions in this level are virtually non-existent so I can bring in whoever I want. Let’s hope there are some hidden gems in those obscure nations, time to go hunting again!
Thanks for reading.