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  • 2 Post By PFish

Holy Toledo

  1. Holy Toledo

    A season and a half into my first lower league career I thought I would document what's going on. I have made some significant errors which may prove to be amusing to the board.

    My Spanish alter ego, Francisco Velazquez, has taken the reigns at Toledo in the Spanish Second Division B2. Toledo has been bouncing in and out of the second division for the last decade. I want to see how far I can take them. Or, failing that, how far I can take Velazquez. (I'm using fictional players)

    In my first transfer window I accomplished absolutely nothing. The team began in dire financial straits with the payroll more than 10% over budget. As a result the board would not allow me to acquire any new players. I tried to sell some of the overpaid players but I couldn't get anyone to even take them for free. So, basically, there was nothing to be done except figure out what I had in the players I inherited.

    The team is very quirky. The staff was full of cretins and imbeciles. We had no general coach, but we did have two goalkeeping coaches. Those two coaches must have fought over who got to train the team's one and only professional goalkeeper. We did have another goalie on an amateur contract, who quickly used his leverage to demand a trade. That was a shame, because it was nice having a backup that I didn't need to pay.

    We did have a few good players though. And in the January transfer window I learned that the board would approve of minor increases to the payroll, and I found a couple players on loan to help plug the gaps. The board had asked me to finish in the top half of the league. We bettered that and finished fourth. That put Toledo into the 16-team promotion playoff tournament. Went out in the first round, on penalties.

    It was Toledo's best finish in over a decade.

  2. At the end of the year a news report told me that Toledo had had a profit margin of -110%. Income was $1.5 million, and expenditures were $3.2 million. That's not good, is it?

    In the summer transfer season I was in the exact same position as I had been previously. Unable to do anything. Until, with a week left in the transfer window, I found a loophole of sorts - when I offered mutual termination to players, the money used to pay them off didn't come out of my transfer/wage budget. I don't know where it came from, but it seemed to at least delay my problem, so I terminated some dead wood which put me under budget for the first time and let me bring in a few more players on free transfers and loans.

    I was also able to bring in a lot of competent staff. Well, not "a lot." The board nixed my hire of a fitness coach because there was too much staff. But who needs a fitness coach? My assistant manager and head scout, at least, are no longer criminally stupid.

    I made a few mistakes here. First, maybe because of the turnover in staff, no friendlies were arranged, so when the first game arrived my players were unfit and unfamiliar with each other, and I had also lost any potential income too. Secondly, I hadn't ever paid attention to the rule limiting each team to 16 players over the age of 23. I have one backup goalkeeper that is 19, and other than him my entire team is over the age of 23. Which means that my team, at least until January, is exactly 17 players. I suppose I have some youth players I could promote, but they are are terrible.

  3. On November 1, 2014, Toledo were in first place, in the middle of a 12-game unbeaten run. Somehow. This team is held together with spit, gum and bailing wire. Sometimes I cannot even name 5 substitutes at the beginning of a match. Players are frequently out of position. Several starters are aged 33-38 and they cannot really play 90 minutes.

    That's when I got this message below. I didn't really realize what this was going to mean. For now, all it meant was that my team, which was about 2% over budget, was now 20% over budget, and that I could not longer expect any flexibility in January. Which is a shame, because Toledo just doesn't have the depth to stay in first all year without some marvelous health and good luck.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Holy Toledo-screen-shot-2014-09-21-5.30.34-pm.png  

  4. Nice to see another spanish lower league save mate. Ive got 1 (or half of 1 now) going wth cultural leonesa & am finding the finance side of things really challenging as well. Anyway good luck with it, i will follow with interest.

  5. That brings us to today and the avalanche of bad news that inspired me to share my story.

    Sitting in second place with a 17 man roster for league competitions, and almost no ability to acquire new players, we were hit with the first disaster. By far our best player this year has been Fidel, a young striker on loan from Getafe. Yes, he tore his hamstring. Out for 3-4 months. Will he ever play another game in Toledo green? Fidel had scored 16 goals in 20 appearances. He leaves the team with exactly one natural striker.

    But the real doozy was when I decided to take a look at next year's contracts. The following things were revealed to me:

    - Of the 18 players on my senior squad, 16 have contracts that expire in June.
    - Due to the new wage restrictions, my board will not allow me to offer more than $60,000 /yr to any one player.
    - Not even my backup players will accept a wage as low as $60,000 /yr.

    So I am in a fascinating situation where I know that on July 1st I will have essentially no team. At the same exact time, my team is positioned to at least challenge for promotion. I cannot wait to see how this will play out.
    Disclaimer89 and Mapas like this.

  6. PFish,

    What a spectacularly awful situation. I managed Cadiz for the larger portion of one season and can relate to your misery. I highly recommend that you do two things:

    1. Schedule Cup Tournaments throughout the pre-season. Book the highest ranking teams you can. If you schedule 4 of them, you might end next season in the black.

    2. Search for teenagers who were released from the big clubs.

    Best of luck!

  7. Thanks for the advice.

    A quick update after another few hours of playing. The January transfer window closed. I did have offers for some of my better players, $0 but with sell-on fee percentages ... it may have been smart to consider them. But that would have gutted my team. And I couldn't stand doing that right now. We're sitting with a share of first place. I know that I will lose 16-17 players in June, and get nothing for them, but we will bravely fight on towards promotion. (This is basically the exact plot of the movie Major League.)

    If we win promotion, I have no idea what effect it would have on our finances. My job status is "untouchable" for the moment because we are overachieving. But I have truly no idea what caliber of players I'll be able to attract next year with such draconian wage limits.

    Training intensity has been set to low levels - I no longer care how anyone will develop, and only want to keep my guys healthy for the title run. I did use the January window to add some terrible players (0.5-1 star) via loan, just to give my team a little more injury coverage. These dorks got some gametime during my 6-2 aggregate loss to Tenerife in the cup. Hopefully they won't touch the field again. At least I do have one backup striker, though.

  8. We couldn't pull it off. Toledo finished 3rd in the league, and went out in the first round of the promotion tournament, again. On the day that we clinched the playoffs I was offered an extension at a 30% pay cut. Ouch. The same amount my wage budget has been slashed.

    The club lost over $1 million again, and the press had rumors that it would go into "administration." I don't know what that means, but it doesn't sound good.

    We said goodbye to about fourteen players on June 30. On July 1 we acquired 6 players, who were signed before their contracts expired. Not a particularly impressive bunch, but the restrictions on wages weren't lifted until last year's players were actually let go, so all of those guys were brought in as "key players" earning less money than I was actually paying my backups. I was able to retain exactly two of my rotation players from last year. They will represent all of the team continuity from one year to the next.

    I have about one third of a team, and two months to add in the rest.

  9. I had added another 6-7 players when the Toledo board informed me that they were reverting to semi-professional status. Although I was on track to bring in a full, competitive and talented team under budget, now I could only sign players to non-contracts. I've never dealt with this before. I sorted the many hundreds of players in my scouting database for the lowest abilities and expected wages, and couldn't find a single player that would be willing to sign for the very low per-game non-contract that my board set as my upper limit. Then the board offered me a contract "extension" which was actually just an optional pay cut. I resigned.

    I spent the next few months on Holiday, applying to jobs in the league above mine. When I came back from holiday I had an inbox full of chairmen laughing at my job applications. OK, but I still felt that I had proved myself worthy of a better team than what Toledo had offered. Then I got an interview with Cadiz, and I got the job.

    Cadiz is also in the Spanish third league, but they are another class entirely from Toledo. Bigger stadium, bigger budget, better facilities. What's more, they were in first place. I took over during the Christmas holiday - only a week before that the club had been purchased by a new group and they clearly wanted to install their own guy, despite the team's success in this and previous years. So here I am in a first place that I didn't earn, just hoping not to screw things up for the time being.

  10. We dominated the rest of the year. Cadiz won the league by 10 points. I don't actually know at what point we clinched promotion, but we won the entire promotion tournament. The first leg of the final saw Cadiz winning 6-0 away. We also won the Spanish Federation Cup, whatever that is. Despite all this the board considered my performance in competitions to be only "satisfactory."

    The interesting thing for me was not knowing what promotion would mean for the team. Because Cadiz already had lots of good players, many of them young and with good potential, I resigned most of them for the next year. But we did not retain the two best players on the team. First was our striker, Francesco Poli, who was on loan from Udinese. The other was our Bulgarian AMC, who demanded more money than the board would allow me to spend. The two of them must have scored more than 50% of our goals.

    So I went casting for good players on expiring contracts. Found a few, too. And then I got my new budget. The board was doubling our payroll.

    All of a sudden I could buy into a class of free agents that I had absolutely no access too. We went on a shopping spree and got new 3.5+ star players at GK, DL, DC, DM and ST. The board also re-layed our pitch. That was nice of them.

    So headed into the season our team was, at least on paper, far superior to what it had been last year. Given how easily we stormed through the lower league, I felt extremely good about our chances to finish comfortably above relegation and perhaps in the upper half of the league. I was a bit nervous about losing our best players though - those two were so successful that they seemed like they might have just been magically good fits in my system and that the new higher rated players might not blend in so well.

  11. Well done on the promotion mate. Always rough when you lose your top performers, lets hope the new recruits can get the job done. Good luck in the Adelante.

  12. Glad to hear you got The Yellow Submarine promoted. El Segundo B is a brutal league mainly due to the bizarro play-off structure. Well done.

  13. Thank you gents. We are looking great in our first season in the Liga Adelante. Fuller update on the way.

  14. Promoted Again!

    With 50% new starters it took a while for the team to gel, but once it did we started reeling off wins like crazy. We had good luck all year, not too many injuries. We also got booted out of the cup in the first round so we always had a week off between games and as a result my starting 11 got to play almost every game together. Just a magic year, tons of fantastic performances, everything seemed to work. I was just barely able to rotate some youngsters in to get them experience. I had done a really great job of filling out my bench with versatile quality players, and a number of these guys just didn't get to play at all.

    Media and the board are shocked at my success. Now I'm in the same position as last year, I have no idea what promotion is going to bring in terms of the my new budget. This time I am going to lay low until I know how much I have to play with - if I want to stay up next year I might need to turn over a lot of the roster again.

  15. Wow, back to back! Who did you bring in? Any chance of some screenshots?

  16. I'm playing with all fictional players so the specifics of who I brought in probably won't be very interesting! I'll see if I can grab some good screenshots later.

    Over the summer my budget got expanded from $4,000,000 per year to $12,000,000. The transfer budget also went up to about $12,000,000. So all of a sudden I had an immense amount of money to spend. I was scared of spending my wage budget immediately lest I bankrupt the club should we get relegated again. But at the same time I felt pretty good about my chances, given how easily I steamed through the Liga Adelante and the fact that I'd be able to plug the holes in my team with what seemed like unlimited funding.

    My most expensive purchase was a 31-year old box-to-box CM. Usually I would never invest in a player so old, but he was by far the most talented player that wanted to play for my club, and in a position of need. In previous sims I've gotten in trouble by prioritizing potential too much and starting a team of teenagers. This veteran is here to help me stay up. As my team has risen the CM I started with was dropped from 4 to 2.5 stars, and as good as he'd been for my team he wasn't going to be good enough for La Liga.

    The most significant purchase (hopefully) was a Brazilian winger, 20 years old, 4.5 current and 5.0 potential. Excellent athlete. This is one of the few guys that might still be on the team in a few years even if I can build it up to the top of La Liga the way I want to.

    I also bid adieu to the RFB that had started at the position since the sim began, the club leader in appearances. But he was 33 and losing it quickly. Brought in a 19-year old with good potential for the position. Also brought in a 17-year old AMC that's almost good enough to start. And I had more than enough money to purchase legitimate veteran backups, allowing me to loan the young players that had been stagnating on the bench.

    So to start the season I only had 2 first team regulars that were featured on the side that was promoted out of the Segunda Division B: the AMC, Jaume Fernandez, and the right winger, Israel Jurado. They've both had excellent production in the last two years but they are probably just barely good enough to start in La Liga, and will probably be my next two targets for upgrades. I don't enjoy being ruthless but I think it's the only way to succeed up here.

  17. Ha ha, forgot about the fictional players thing was looking to steal some transfer ideas ;-)

  18. Very strong season in La Liga. We were floating just above relegation for most of the year, and then really turned things on in March, winning 8 of our last 12. Final position was a comfortable 11th.

    The last match was a draw against Real Madrid - we were leading for most of the match, and a win would have spoiled their unbeaten season. (In our previous league match they beat us 6-0, and they also bounced us from the cup 1-0, 1-0, so the draw was itself something of a triumph. They ended up going 30-8-0.)

    In mid-season I acquired a Serbian midfielder. He didn't speak a word of Spanish and he had to go on a leave of absence to help his adjustment, but he came on at the end and I think he's my best player. Alex, the Brazilian winger, had a good season, and the 17 year old AMC started almost every game in the second half of the year. I can feel good about my attack. The defense is a mess, but that's what the offseason is for.

    We still have one rotation player that was starting way back in Segunda Division B. Israel Jurado, the right winger. He's rated at 2.5 stars ("leading player for most Liga Adelante sides") and yet he has some sort of special connection with my system because the dude led La Liga in assists (18) and was second on the team in average match rating. With production like that I just can't not play him.

    Again I'm left waiting to see what next year's budget will be. Our income went up 300% compared to last year. And it's time to start making some demands about training and youth facilities...

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