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  1. Improving Ireland with Sligo Rovers

    Improving Ireland with Sligo Rovers

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    Welcome to my second Football Manager story on FM Base. After guiding Berwick Rangers from the fourth tier in Scotland to two Champions League finals on FM18, this year I will be taking charge of Sligo Rovers in Ireland.

    Click image for larger version

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    I’m not expecting Champions League finals this time round but I do have a few targets for the save:

    1. Win the League with Sligo
    2. Get Sligo into the Champions League Group Stage
    3. Improve the reputation of the Airtricity Premier League (currently 57th) and the European coefficient ranking of Ireland (currently 39th) as much as possible
    4. Lead the Irish national team into a World Cup

    It may take a while to achieve some of those…

    But for now all I have to do is make Sligo the best team in Ireland and then get them into the Champions League Group stage whilst boosting the reputation and coefficients of Irish football and hoping that the national team considerably improves.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  2. Loved your Berwick adventure last year and looking forward to this! Something tells me this will be tougher! Good luck!

  3. Excellent mate been waiting for your story this year

  4. Good luck with Sligo, should be a good read

  5. Quote Originally Posted by TheNotSoSpecialOne View Post
    Loved your Berwick adventure last year and looking forward to this! Something tells me this will be tougher! Good luck!
    Quote Originally Posted by leckuno View Post
    Excellent mate been waiting for your story this year
    Quote Originally Posted by ninjaskill View Post
    Good luck with Sligo, should be a good read
    Cheers everyone, hopefully we're able to have some success in the save!

  6. Pre Season

    With the Irish season running from February to November I will be starting the save in January 2018. In real life Sligo finished 7th and to be honest I’d take that this year.

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    My first problem was that we had no budget, no staff and no left wingers. With £391 wage budget and no assistant manager or scouts, there was quite a lot of work to do.

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    But after hours of searching I managed to get some staff and some decent recruits on loan. I won’t go through them all, but 4 are from Premier League clubs and one is from the SPL.

    According to my assistant manager, the 5 loan players are amongst the best at the club.

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    I’ve also decided on a tactic. 5-3-2 served me well in the lower leagues in Scotland on FM18 so we’ll see how it goes this time round.

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    And without playing a game I already have a favourite player. Raffaele Cretaro is a 36-year-old target man… who is 5’5”

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    Before I made the loans we were predicted to finish 7th but now we’re predicted to finish this season in 5th. The teams that finish in 2nd-4th earn a place in the Europa League.

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    Our first game is against newly promoted Waterford who, for some reason, are predicted to finish in fourth.

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    I really have no idea what’s in store this year. All part of the fun I suppose…

  7. Steady Start

    Our first ever game in charge of Sligo Rovers was a home match versus Waterford. We went 3 up in 30 minutes, but in true Hampus Silverholt style we did out best to bottlejob the first game.

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    However we didn’t cave in and actually hung on, hopefully that’s a sign of things to come from the save!

    Former Villa man Mikey Drennan was the hero and his goals could be crucial for us this year and beyond.

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    Whereas the Waterford result was quite a lucky one, our next game was a much more convincing performance.

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    We completely dominated and had 17 shots to Limericks 4. Captain Rhys McCabe has scored two long shots in two games, which makes it very easy to like him already.

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    But nothing will beat 5’5” Rafaelle Cretaro rising like a salmon to put us in the lead against Limerick. He’s already a legend of the save.

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    This is what the table looks like after two games.

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    I have no idea why some teams have played 3 games whereas others have played 0.

    But aside from that… this manager malarkey is easy isn’t it?

  8. 9 Games In - So Far So Good!

    In our third game of the season we got a point away from home against title favourites Dundalk.

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    It capped off a great first month for us, which saw me win my first manager of the month award in my first month in charge.

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    And the good form continued in our next few league games. We’ve only lost one game after playing a quarter of our league matches!

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    2 games stick out in those fixtures. The first was a 4-2 away win at Shamrock Rovers.

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    Raffaele Cretaro scored four in that game. I don’t think I can ever overstate that Cretaro is a 5’5’ target man and he literally cannot play in another role.

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    And then there was just the casual 4-1 win over title favourites Dundalk.

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    And we’re just casually top after 9 games.

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    And Raffaele Cretaro is just casually top scorer in the league.

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    He is so superior to the rest that he is the only team leader and he is so much a team leader that there are no highly influential players at Sligo.

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    Have I mentioned that he’s a 5’5” target man?

  9. We're Rather Good At Football

    Emm.. so… I don’t really know how or why, but we’ve won our last 8 games in all competitions.

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    Because of that we’ve extended our lead at the top of the table to 6 points. Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk should easily be finishing 1st and 2nd but are both recovering from bad starts so we’ve fully took advantage.

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    Part of the reason why we’re top is because we seem to have a very solid tactic. The players are familiar with one another and we have had vey few injuries. I rotate the full backs frequently but they always seem to average over 7.

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    Central midfielders Rhys McCabe and Lee Lynch have both been awesome.

    Club captain McCabe averages 7.30 and has 3 goals and 4 assists in 14 games.

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    Lynch has 4 goals and 6 assists in 15 games and was player of the month for April.

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    18 year old centre back John Mahon has also been brilliant and will hopefully be a mainstay in my team for years to come.

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    But it’s not hard to guess who our best player has been. Let me tell you about a 5’5” target man who has the most goals and the most assists in the Airtricity Premier League.

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    Raffaele Cretaro is the main reason why I’m starting to believe that we could win the league in our first season at Sligo!

  10. Would you say one player in particular has been your favourite so far?

    Really good job so far, hopefully you can stay top of the table

  11. Smashing it mate!!

  12. Quote Originally Posted by ninjaskill View Post
    Would you say one player in particular has been your favourite so far?

    Really good job so far, hopefully you can stay top of the table
    Tough call but I'd have to say Cretaro haha. Always love players that perform above their star level on FM and it makes it better when they're the shortest target man in the world scoring bullet headers every week...

    Quote Originally Posted by TheNotSoSpecialOne View Post
    Smashing it mate!!
    Cheers mate, can't quite believe how well we're doing!

  13. Unbeaten Away Record

    In our next game we were knocked out of the EA Sports Cup on penalties, which in all honesty probably wasn’t the worst thing in the world.

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    I don’t want to undermine the EA Sports Cup but it is slightly less reputable than the Icelandic League Cup C…

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    But other than that it’s still looking good. We’ve played 5 more games in the league and haven’t lost any.

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    That means we’re still top and have extended our lead to 8 points

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    The fact we have only lost one game in the league all season is ridiculous. We’ve also only failed to score in one game and the board have recognised the success by offering me a new contract.

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    I’m going to say it…

    The league title is looking realistic.

    Nothing can go wrong from here…

  14. Squeaky Bum Time

    In our very first game after my last post we suffered a home defeat to Waterford.

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    Both of our league defeas have been 1-0 at home and the Waterford game ended a 12 game unbeaten run.

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    Then we got hit with devastating news. Our lord and saviour was injured for 3 weeks.

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    So what happened because of that injury?

    Well… nothing really. We’re still doing really well.

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    And Cretaro returned in our game against Shamrock Rovers.

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    A 3-1 win though was insignificant, the day was all about Raffaele Cretaro becoming even more of a Sligo legend.

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    Nobody has ever made more appearance for Sligo than him!

    And he could very win the league for a second time with Sligo (as he was part of the side that won in 2012).

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    Only Cork and St Pats can catch us now. We are 10 points ahead with two games left and two of those are against Cork.

    Surely we can’t cock it up from here?
    ninjaskill and leckuno like this.

  15. Two More Cretaro's

    In what could be a blessing in disguise we were drawn against Shamrock Rovers in the cup and lost to them in the first round.

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    That left us with the league and, for some reason, the Scottish Challenge Cup to contend in.

    We of course played Welsh side Gap Connah's Quay FC in the 1st round of the SCOTTISH Challenge Cup and comfortably won.

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    We’ve also had our youth intake, which was underwhelming.

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    But two players stuck out for reasons other than their ability…

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    There are two Cretaro’s in the youth intake! Needless to say both of them have been offered contracts.

    Also, remember a couple of games ago when we were 10 points ahead in the league?

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    We have a game in hand but it is well and truly squeaky bum time for the last 7 matches as Cork and St Pats are closing the gap on us.

    We’re not in the best form and got a lucky draw against Cork in our last game, which could’ve seen them leapfrog us into first.

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    And we still have to play both sides in our last few games.

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    What seemed like a formality could be turning into the ultimate bottlejob. We’ve been top since the 7th game of the season.

    Please Sligo, not like this!

  16. Operation: Don’t Bottle The League

    Operation: Don’t Bottle The League got under way with a win away against Waterford.

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    If we end up not winning the league then it’ll be because of our defending. We’ve kept 4 clean sheets in 30 games this season. 4!!!

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    In our next league game we got a point against Bohemian.

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    That point was all the more important because both Cork and St Pats lost, meaning our lead was 5 points with 5 games left.

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    And in our next game we did the business against Derry.

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    That win meant we were guaranteed the top 3 and will play in the Europa League next season. I personally cannot wait for the 1st Qualifying Round against some Andorran farmers.

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    We then beat bottom side Bray Wanderers 3-1.

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    So, we have just 3 games to go and still have to play St Pats and Cork.

    However both of those sides haven’t been doing too well…

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    Suddenly we’re 10 points clear again!

    If we draw against Cork in our next match, we will be champions of Ireland…

  17. Looks like you might face a harder task in Europe than some farmers from Andorra. Good luck against Cork
    Hampus Silverholt likes this.

  18. Haven't been on the site in a while, so imagine my delight at coming back to discover a Sligo Rovers story - the same Sligo Rovers that produced my favourite-ever regen on FM14, a lad named Damien McClements, who signed for my Stockport side in League Two and went on to fire the club right up the leagues and even scored a goal in the Champions League final. He ended up scoring over 300 goals for the club in every competition available, including one majestic season where he got 34 Premiership goals in 33 games. A legitimate hero.

    I loved my boy McClements so damn much that Sligo have earned a special place in my heart. Interested to see how far you can take them.
    Hampus Silverholt likes this.

  19. Quote Originally Posted by ninjaskill View Post
    Looks like you might face a harder task in Europe than some farmers from Andorra. Good luck against Cork
    I know... we might actually have to play professional teams in Europe now!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sammuthegreat View Post
    Haven't been on the site in a while, so imagine my delight at coming back to discover a Sligo Rovers story - the same Sligo Rovers that produced my favourite-ever regen on FM14, a lad named Damien McClements, who signed for my Stockport side in League Two and went on to fire the club right up the leagues and even scored a goal in the Champions League final. He ended up scoring over 300 goals for the club in every competition available, including one majestic season where he got 34 Premiership goals in 33 games. A legitimate hero.

    I loved my boy McClements so damn much that Sligo have earned a special place in my heart. Interested to see how far you can take them.
    I'd love it if we could produce someone that's good enough to score in a Champions League final! Hopefully they can do it with Sligo but we'll see how far I can go... not started too badly though!

  20. And Now You're Gonna Believe Us

    This is what the table looked like going into our crunch match with Cork, where all we needed was a draw. Elsewhere St Pats were at home to pre-season favourites Dundalk.

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    In the game against Cork we went behind…

    But come on, was it ever really in doubt?

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    On loan Aberdeen striker Connor McLennan and 5th best centre back at the club Patrick McClean scored the goals to seal the title for us.

    Winning the league also means Champions League football baby.

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    Not bad for the side predicted to finish 5th at the start of the season!

  21. 2018 Season Review

    Well then, that wasn’t a bad season!

    Airtricity Premier League: Winner
    FAI Cup: First Round
    League of Ireland Cup: Quarter Final
    Scottish Challenge Cup: Third Round

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    Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk started poorly and never mounted a challenge in the league whereas we remained top since the 7th game.

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    By finishing first we picked up a whopping £179,000 in prize money and broke the team record for amount of points gained.

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    Here’s the full details of our squad.

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    It really has been a team effort with goals and assists spread throughout the team. That was shown by the fact 7 Sligo players were in the team of the year!

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    In fact, Sligo completely dominated the individual awards.

    I was Manager of the Year, on loan Everton left back Matty Foulds was Young Player of the Year, Mitchell Beeney was Goalkeeper of the Year and Lee Lynch was Player of the Year!

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    THOUGHTS AND PLANS FOR NEXT SEASON

    Our loan signings this season were key and it’ll be interesting to see if we can make any good signings next year with limited money and a transfer window that’s open at a different time to most of Europe.

    Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk will also come back stronger so defending our title will be very difficult but I’m more excited to see what we can do in the Champions League!

    The season ended on November 1st and will start on February 20th ish so we have around 4 months until the season starts. It’s about time I celebrated the Christmas holidays properly:

    By playing Football Manager



  22. 2019 Season Preview

    2019 started with the news that Raffaele Cretaro will retire at the end of next season.

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    Despite winning the league we are not in the healthiest financial situation so were given a tight budget to use for transfers. Once again we’ve relied heavily on loans from English clubs.

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    Cian Coleman came in from Limerick and Ronan Murray came in from Dundalk on frees. I plan to play Murray as a striker this year.

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    Our four loan signings are all youngsters but are some of the better players in the squad. I’m hoping to get a centre back on loan before the window shuts in one week.

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    As the fixtures were announced we were predicted to finish 4th but after making those transfers we’re up to third in the pre season preview. We’re 7-1 to win the league when this time last year we were 16-1

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    The board only expect a top half finish but it’ll be interesting to see how we fare this season.

    Our squad isn’t much better than last season so if one of Shamrock Rovers or Dundalk actually start the season well then it might be difficult to catch them.

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    Talking of Dundalk… our first game of the season is at home to the title favourites.

  23. Start of 2019 Season

    In our first game of our title defence a last minute winner saw us beat Dundalk 2-1.

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    Things were therefore looking rosy but we then lost our next match and our starting left back broke his foot so will be out for at least four months.

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    In that match against Cork though, Raffaele Cretaro scored a consolation and became Sligo’s record league goalscorer in the process.

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    Overall it’s been an okay-ish start to the season. We’re top but have played more games than anyone else.

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    The reason we’re anywhere near the top is because of Mikey Drennan. He’s scored 10 of our 13 league goals!

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    Typically, he has picked up an injury too and will be out for around 6 weeks.

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    I’m hoping we don’t miss him too much but we’ll need other players to step up in the coming matches.

  24. 8 Team Title Race

    Since the last post we’ve played 6 games with some very mixed results.

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    After going four games without a win I was starting to get worried. In that run we drew 0-0 at home to bottom side Longford and we’re still yet to win away in the league.

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    However Mikey Drennan’s return coincided with a much-needed demolition over Bohemian and a nice win in the cup against Drogheda, who are a division below us, which has sort of steadied the ship.

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    So we’re currently 5th in the table but the league is stupidly close.

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    Ireland really has been crazy since I started the save but I’m expecting Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk to eventually pull away and would be content with a third place finish this year.
    Last edited by Hampus Silverholt; 27/12/2018 at 02:00 PM.

  25. Champions League Opponents

    After an up and down season, the month of May saw us get back on track with 6 wins in all competitions.

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    It means that we are top of the table and, as was expected, Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk are up there too.

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    We’re also into the League of Ireland Cup semi-finals, which is nice but I’m not too bothered about the competition.

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    A reason for our upturn in form is that we’ve become less reliant on Mikey Drennan and goals are starting to come from other members of our team, which was also the case last season.

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    And more good news is that our first choice left back Adam Lewis, who broke his foot two games into the season, has returned to training.

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    Because the Irish season runs from February to November we’re currently in the middle of a 3-week summer break in June and during that time we learned who our opponents would be in the not at all complicatedly named Champions League Champions First Qualifying Phase.

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    Moldovan champions Sheriff Tiraspol will be our opponents in our first ever match in continental competition. They reached the Europa League group stage last season so look like they’ll be a tough team to get past.

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    And judging by the star ratings, their squad looks decent too.

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    The Champions League might hinder our chances domestically but I’m not too bothered as I’m excited to see how far we can go.

  26. Champions League 1st Round


    Our first of hopefully many regens was signed in the summer window in Shane Dunne.

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    He’s 16 years old from Northern Irish club Institute where he was playing in the first team after only recently coming through their youth intake. I found him in Northern Ireland’s under 21s squad and at £10,000 he is an absolute bargain.

    He did not go into the team against Sheriff though as I stuck with the players that got us into the competition in the first place. The starting XI in our home leg against Sheriff contained 7 of the regulars that got us into the Champions League last year.

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    Champions League – Champions First Qualifying Phase – Sligo Rovers v Sheriff Tiraspol

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    A 2-1 win against the team who were favourites is good going but when they went down to 10 men, when we were 2-1 up, we really should’ve extended our lead.

    In terms of the save the second leg in Moldova was a huge game, as a win would mean lots more money, which in turn would be used to improve the squad and the club.

    So what I didn’t need was for my central midfielder to get sent off after 9 minutes…

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    …And then for Sheriff to score 2 goals in 5 minutes.

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    Big thanks to David Cawley for getting us knocked out of the Champions League after picking up a red card in under 10 minutes…

    …Is what I thought at first…

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    But we only went and beat Sheriff 3-2!!!

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    They had 37 shots to our 12 but somehow we took it to extra time thanks to a Rhys McCabe wonder goal and somehow we scored twice in extra time to get through to the next round!

    Our reward for beating Sheriff, despite playing with 10 men for 111 minutes in the second leg, was a tie against Albanian champions Skenderbeu Korce in the next round.

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    I don’t want to tempt fate but that’s arguably an easier game than Sheriff!

  27. Champions League 2nd Qualifying Round

    As I said in the last post our Champions League Second Qualifying Round opponents Skenderbeu Korce from Albania were arguably an easier prospect than our first round opponents Sheriff… and I was proved to be right!


    Champions League – Champions Second Qualifying Phase –
    Sligo Rovers v Skenderbeu Korce


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    What a Champions League story this is turning in to! Former Crystal Palace man (and backup midfielder) Owen Garvan scored two free kicks and Sligo legend Raffaele Cretaro came off the bench to score a penalty in pretty much the perfect game in Albania.

    And we cruised through the second leg at home.

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    The Champions League is easy… We’re only 4 games away from the group stage!

    However we came crashing back down to earth after being drawn against PSV Eindhoven in the third qualifying round.

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    It’d take a miracle to get through but even if we lose we go into the Europa League 4th Qualifying round which would give us 2 games to get into the Europa League Group Stage.

    So things are looking fine and dandy in Europe… but the same can’t be said about the league.

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    Heavy rotation because of the Champions League means we’ve dropped down to fourth and run the risk of not even qualifying for European competition next season, which would be a disaster.

    UCD won’t stop winning and look set for the top two whereas Bohemian are hot on our heels in 5th. We’ve got a crucial couple of weeks up ahead of us!

  28. Just caught up mate....congrats on winning the league in your first season! Great achievement! I look forward to seeing how you fare against PSV...good luck!!

  29. Quote Originally Posted by TheNotSoSpecialOne View Post
    Just caught up mate....congrats on winning the league in your first season! Great achievement! I look forward to seeing how you fare against PSV...good luck!!
    Cheers mate, don't think we'll retain the title this year but am hoping the European run makes up for that!

  30. Champions League Third Qualifying Round

    Going into the match in Eindhoven, PSV were 1-3 favourites.

    Champions League - Champions Third Qualifying Phase - Sligo Rovers v PSV Eindhoven

    Improving Ireland with Sligo Rovers-psv-5-2.png

    To be honest 5-2 is the best we could’ve hoped for, PSV are miles ahead of us. Our best players are on loan from Brighton, Cardiff and Birmingham and they have genuine Champions League quality so the gulf in class is huge.

    In between the first and second legs with PSV, we played the League of Ireland cup semi final against Shamrock Rovers.

    Improving Ireland with Sligo Rovers-shamrock-1-0.png

    So we’re in the final of a competition that I don’t care about!

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    Unfortunately there was not another incredible Champions League comeback in the home leg against PSV

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    Again I’m not too displeased, as we’ve exceeded all expectations by getting this far already. And the loss was completely forgotten when I saw a couple of messages in my inbox.

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    And of course our European run is not over as defeat in the Champions League means we drop down to the Europa League Champions Fourth Qualifying Round.

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    Red Star Belgrade stand between us and the Europa League Group Stage. Unsurprisingly they are the favourites to progress.

    Yet all of that is insignificant compared to the news that once more we will take part in the Scottish Challenge Cup. Our opponents?

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    We’ve only gone and got Berwick! If you know, then you know…

  31. Can't believe the draw you got. Surely you've got to have mixed emotions about that one. Also a nice amount of prize money that you can hopefully make good use of.

  32. Quote Originally Posted by leckuno View Post
    Can't believe the draw you got. Surely you've got to have mixed emotions about that one. Also a nice amount of prize money that you can hopefully make good use of.
    Yeah couldn't believe we got them in a competitive game... don't really know how they choose the non-Scottish teams for the Challenge Cup but we got to play Berwick so I'm not complaining! And the prize money could prove to be massive going forward as we can attract better players who are after higher wages.

  33. Europa League 4th Qualifying Round

    The games are coming thick and fast and before our first leg against Red Star we faced Wexford in the first round of the cup.

    Improving Ireland with Sligo Rovers-wexford-7-0.png

    The Irish Cup may end up being important for us, as it could be our only route into the Europa League next year!

    Talking of which, in the first leg of our 4th Qualifying Round match against Red Star we only had one shot on target.

    Improving Ireland with Sligo Rovers-red-star-2-1.png

    So we were lucky to only lose 2-1. Like PSV, they are a class above us and there isn’t much we can do. But at 2-1 we were still in it going into the second leg in Belgrade.

    Improving Ireland with Sligo Rovers-red-star-1-1.png

    So close but it was not to be. We miss out on the Europa League group stage by a couple of goals but what a European run it’s been in only our second season in charge! It’s done no harm to the coefficients or our bank balance.

    However, that European run had distracted us from more important issues like facing Berwick in the Scottish Challenge Cup.

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    We lost to them on penalties and they played a blinder by going through despite only having 3 shots.

    We’ve also had our youth intake, which once again wasn’t that great.

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    We’ve had a crazy few months, playing twice and sometimes 3 times a week and incredibly only 2 of our past 11 games have been in the league!

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    We therefore have some games in hand in the league and currently sit fourth in the table.

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    I refuse to believe the title is out of reach but I can’t believe UCD are still up there! They were only promoted last season but look certain for a place in Europe at least next year.

    Our next league match funnily enough is versus UCD in what is a must win game for us if we want to keep our title hopes alive.

  34. Do you start your saves with any experience or coaching badges mate?

  35. Improving Ireland with Sligo Rovers-manager-stats.pngClick image for larger version

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheNotSoSpecialOne View Post
    Do you start your saves with any experience or coaching badges mate?
    Yeah I started this save with a continental A licence and past playing experience as a professional at national level and then just made all the relevant attributes as high as possible (e.g. goalkeeper coaching stats as 2s and 3s and then attacking, technical, tactical etc stats as 15+)

    Not sure if it makes things easier or not but it definitely helps with the coaching quality. The way I play the game is more about developing the club I'm at rather than developing me as a manager so I prefer to do it this way.
    Last edited by Hampus Silverholt; 06/01/2019 at 11:20 PM.
    TheNotSoSpecialOne likes this.

  36. Quote Originally Posted by Hampus Silverholt View Post
    Attachment 1191939Attachment 1191939

    Yeah I started this save with a continental A licence and past playing experience as a professional at national level and then just made all the relevant attributes as high as possible (e.g. goalkeeper coaching stats as 2s and 3s and then attacking, technical, tactical etc stats as 15+)

    Not sure if it makes things easier or not but it definitely helps with the coaching quality. The way I play the game is more about developing the club I'm at rather than developing me as a manager so I prefer to do it this way.
    Yea it makes sense....I've just started my Finland save and done recommended badge and experience for that league
    Hampus Silverholt likes this.

  37. Hall of Fame Already

    It’s sort of gone under the radar that we’ve reached the final of the EA Sports/League of Ireland Cup earlier in the season with our second string side.

    Improving Ireland with Sligo Rovers-longford-2-1-final.png

    Goals from 37-year-old 5th choice striker Raffaele Cretaro and Man Utd loanee Dylan Levitt ensured we won our second piece of silverware as Sligo manager.

    It also meant I’ve entered the Hall of Fame in Ireland already… that wasn’t that difficult!

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    Meanwhile the league is getting very interesting, despite playing every 3 or 4 days we’ve won 5 in a row including our crucial match against UCD.

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    It means we’re 7 points off the top with 2 games in hand and 6 more games left to play in total.

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    And we play Shamrock Rovers next in what could be a title decider. At the moment you’d have to say they’re favourites but if we win then it’ll be in our hands.

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    We’ve also got a cup semi final on the horizon but I’m confident we’ll get a top 3 finish that guarantees us European football next year so will prioritise the league.

  38. End of 2019 season

    In our must win, title deciding match against Shamrock Rovers we absolutely dominated them from start to finish… yet threw away a 2-0 lead!

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    We could not have done anymore and had over 30 shots compared to their 7.

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    However in our next game we comfortably beat St Pats in the Irish Cup semi final.

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    And of course we will play Shamrock Rovers in the final

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    We continued our winning streak in our next game, defeating Derry 4-1. The win was made more significant by the fact that Shamrock Rovers could only draw at home to Cork, so we were only 5 points behind them.

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    But looking the other way, Dundalk were just 3 points behind us and we played them away next!

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    And they pretty much ended our title hopes after beating us 2-0.

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    The title was confirmed for Shamrock Rovers when we drew 1-1 with Waterford in our penultimate league match but by then I was concentrating on winning the cup.

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    And it allowed us to give Raffaele Cretaro a send off in our last league match of the season against Longford.

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    He didn’t score but Dundalk losing meant that we finished the season in second.

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    All that was left of a long and crazy season was the cup final against Shamrock Rovers.

    Improving Ireland with Sligo Rovers-shamrock-final-loss.png

    But unfortunately it was not to be, an extra time winner from regen Eoin Sheridan meant our season ended on a downer.

    We played 55 games in all competitions in 2019, I think we ran out of steam towards the end of the year!

  39. That was one hell of a season with so many games. Unlucky not to finish with more than the 1 trophy, but hopefully bringing in a couple of class additions and maybe some good back up players for depth could see you smash it next year.

  40. Two seasons...two trophies. Can't complain at that mate...good work!

  41. Quote Originally Posted by dporter8999 View Post
    That was one hell of a season with so many games. Unlucky not to finish with more than the 1 trophy, but hopefully bringing in a couple of class additions and maybe some good back up players for depth could see you smash it next year.
    It suddenly gets mad in July with all the European games, we're going to have to get used to that throughout the save. Hopefully I can find the players to strengthen the squad for next year!

    Quote Originally Posted by TheNotSoSpecialOne View Post
    Two seasons...two trophies. Can't complain at that mate...good work!
    Exactly! I would've taken that along with a run to the Europa League 4th Qualifying Round within 2 years so can't complain

  42. So what stage of the Europa League do you enter next season now? Think the squad is strong enough to get you to the group stage yet?

  43. Quote Originally Posted by TheNotSoSpecialOne View Post
    So what stage of the Europa League do you enter next season now? Think the squad is strong enough to get you to the group stage yet?
    We'll go into the 1st Qualifying Round. Teams who finish 2-4 in Ireland all go in at the stage so we'll have to play 8 games in total in order to get to the group stage. As for how far we can get I'm honestly not sure, I think if the draw is kind to us we could get to the group stage but it all depends on who we bring in before next season. It's quite easy to get some quality loans from English clubs so I'm just hoping we can find the right players to go alongside them

  44. 2019 Season Review

    2019 was a crazy season where we eventually finished second in the league behind Shamrock Rovers, won a cup and went on a Champions League adventure.

    Airtricity Premier League: Runners Up
    FAI Cup: Lost in final to Shamrock Rovers
    League of Ireland Cup: Winners
    Scottish Challenge Cup: Knocked out in 2nd round by Berwick
    Champions League: Knocked out in 3rd Qualifying Round by PSV
    Europa League: Knocked out in 4th Qualifying Round by Red Star

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    Incredibly Derry City were relegated after they lost to Cabinteely in the relegation play off. And after spending all the season near the top, UCD missed out on the Europa League by 2 points… Gives them more time to concentrate on exams I suppose!

    Mikey Drennan was the top scorer in Ireland and scored 29 for us in all competitions. He also won Irish player of the year, beating Seamus Coleman amongst others!

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    And just the 3 Sligo players were in the Team of the Year, with goalkeeper Mitchell Beeney in there for the second year in a row as well as Cardiff right back Cameron Coxe

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    12 Sligo players averaged over 7.00 throughout the season.

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    We’ve been handed a very generous budget for next year, which was down to our Champions League run.

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    But there might not be much we can do with it until the English clubs release players in June next year.

    Either way, it doesn’t change my aims for next season, which will be to win the league and have a decent run in the Europa League.

    Irish Football Summary – 2019

    National Team Ranking: 51 (was 40th in 2018)
    Nation Coefficient Ranking: 35 (was 39 in 2018)
    Irish Teams in Europe: Dundalk Europa 3rd Round, St Pats Europa 1st Round, Cork Europa 1st Round.

  45. Very interesting story so far mate.... Im a league of Ireland fan myself so keen to see how well you can do as this is usually one my save challenges I do

  46. Another great season! Love to see Owen Garven doing well for you, as an Ipswich fan he used to be one of my favourite players growing up

  47. Quote Originally Posted by Gerarddrog View Post
    Very interesting story so far mate.... Im a league of Ireland fan myself so keen to see how well you can do as this is usually one my save challenges I do
    Cheers mate, don't know much about the league but always keep an eye on ex villa players who are there like Toner and Drennan etc. And what's the best you've done with a team from Ireland? In FM16 or 17 I did a similar save with Kalmar FF in Sweden and won the Europa League with them so I think that's what I'm aiming for this time round

    Quote Originally Posted by NashBigginss View Post
    Another great season! Love to see Owen Garven doing well for you, as an Ipswich fan he used to be one of my favourite players growing up
    I'll pretend I didn't let him go on a free at the end of the season... Think I remember him playing a few games for Palace when they were first promoted to the Premier League. He was always back up for me but made an impression when he scored twice in a Champions League qualifier earlier in the season

  48. 2020 Season Preview

    After his retirement at the end of last year, Sligo’s highest goalscorer and 5’5” target man Raffaele Cretaro is now the under 19 assistant manager for as long as he wants.

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    And we’ve been busy in the transfer market.

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    We’ve added quality to defence and attack with 4 free transfers from English clubs, Shane Lavery from Everton looks the best.

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    And we’ve made our customary loan signings, bringing in youngsters from Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City

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    I’ve also picked up a number of under 18s from Northern Ireland who for some reason were all really cheap. They look like they are not far away from the first team!

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    Our squad is young but is looking strong. Top scorer last season Mikey Drennan goes into the season as my 4th best striker!

    Improving Ireland with Sligo Rovers-squad-view-feb-20.png

    And because of those transfers, we’re predicted to win the league and the board want us to win it too. The pressure is on!

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    8 of the ‘Media’s Dream Eleven’ are Sligo players. Although 5 of them are all on loan from Premier League clubs!

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    Unless anything drastic happens I plan to post the next update halfway into the season in June as that’s when the season really kicks into gear with the European games.

  49. Quote Originally Posted by Hampus Silverholt View Post
    Cheers mate, don't know much about the league but always keep an eye on ex villa players who are there like Toner and Drennan etc. And what's the best you've done with a team from Ireland? In FM16 or 17 I did a similar save with Kalmar FF in Sweden and won the Europa League with them so I think that's what I'm aiming for this time round.
    My best personally in the same save was got Dundalk to the first knockout stage in europa league by finishing third in champions league group and got Shamrock Rovers to the quarter final of champions league. But got the co efficient up high enough to have two teams in the champions league qualifiers.
    Hampus Silverholt likes this.

  50. Quote Originally Posted by Gerarddrog View Post
    My best personally in the same save was got Dundalk to the first knockout stage in europa league by finishing third in champions league group and got Shamrock Rovers to the quarter final of champions league. But got the co efficient up high enough to have two teams in the champions league qualifiers.
    I'm hoping I get to the Champions League Knockout Rounds or finish third in the group so I get to the Europa League knockout rounds before I find it too easy domestically in Ireland, still a long way to go though!
    Cahoon likes this.

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