A lot of time has passed since I released the last blog post. I was playing a lot of FM during the last two month and I managed to play over 6 seasons. Thanks to that I'm now in the 10th season as AZ Alkmaar manager.
Actually, there weren't any ground-breaking changes in my save. We kept on winning titles, selling players for big money and tried to sign all the hot newgens. The club finances were increased further by buying young bargains & sold them for a lot of money. Mainly thanks to the players sales, I managed to have almost 1000M on the transfer budget and over 200M/a available on wages after 9 years.
Thanks to all that won trophies in my 9 years as manager of AZ Alkmaar I've moved to the top-four of the continental and worldwide hall of fame. Only the following manger have enjoyed more success in the world of football: Sir Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola and José Mourinho:
Well, I kept on winning the league for nine straight now. Each one without real competition from Ajax or PSV. I have to say that I am a bit disappointed by the AI management at the two big Dutch clubs. Despite having amazing players, they did never perform really well and could never challenge me properly.
Neither did they do good in the continental competitions, so it was basically just us, who collected the majority of the points for the European club coefficient.
Three years ago, I did switch to a new tactic, who's based on long shots and running at defence and it has working wonderful so far. In fact, after many years not being able to get any decent results in the UEFA champions league and only making in it to the first Knockout Stage, we finally managed to reach the later stages of the competition.
But we did not only make it to the later stages, we did win the biggest competition in Europe for three years straight now. Beating PSG, Liverpool and Bayern in the respective finals 🆒 🏆
Thanks to these amazing results from AZ Alkmaar, the Netherlands managed to leave Portugal behind on the 7th place on the European club coefficient by a fair amount of points and are currently challenging France for the 5th place:
Here a quick overview over the won titles in the last six years:
Personally, I think scouting and finding hot players is one of the parts I enjoyed most in FM19. It has gotten so easy to find the classy players around the world and sign them for a low amount, develop them a bit and sell them for a much higher fee. Especially in the Netherlands it's so easy, as you can just sign all the players you want, as there's no restrictions regarding the registration rules.
So that's why we made huge profits in literally every year:
(Amounts are in millions)
When I was writing my last blog post, the AFAS Stadion has just been expanded up to 26k seats. In the first few years after that, we've added another 4000 seats to reach its maximum expansion size of 30'000. The following graphs show that we were watched by a maximum of 30k people for the last 5 years. With the maximum expansion size reached, they only way to have more seats was to get a new stadium, a potential Nestor Subiat Arena 😍
But despite having over 500M€ on the bank, there was never an option to request a new stadium by the board. Spreadsheet aficionado and current FC Groningen manger, FMAdventure suggested that the "New Stadium" option was only available 20y after the last one was built. With the current one being built in the year 2006 I had to wait until the year 2026.
That's what I did - At the end of the 8th season as manager of AZ Alkmaar I finally had the possibility to request a new stadium from the board. But it got rejected. I did try it so many times over the last few years, but it got declined every time with something like "not enough demands for more seat". Which is strange, as we've never had an average attendance over 90% in the 9 years I've been managing in the Netherlands, despite almost doubling the size of the stadium from 17k to 30k in just 5 seasons
I tried to argue with different reasons over the last few years, but every single request was denied so far. But then suddenly I was notices about the following expansion 😳
What a joke! Looks like I'll never have a new stadium at Alkmaar. Could this actually be a reason to move on?
Developing players that joined the club by the youth intake and make them regular starters for the first is surely one of the things that I miss in this save. The only player that managed to go from the U19, to the first team was Henk Smelt:
He actually did turn out world class, scored a UCL final winner in the first season after he got promoted to the first season and is now one of my favourite players 😍 But he almost got stuck in the reserves team too, like many other promising talents that joined the club at the early age. He didn't make too many games for the Jong AZ team, who was dominating the 2nd division in the Netherlands.
But how comes such a talented guy doesn't get enough game time in the reserves?
I was enjoying signing talented youngsters around the world so much, that I signed most of the players that had decent potential and weren't too expensive. The result of this was, that I was stockpiling talents in the reserves. Over 50 players could be found in that squad, obviously some players couldn't really develop in that situation as there was an immense lack of game time for most of the players in there.
The AI manager, managing the reserves did obviously play just the best players and wasn't really interested in developing players actively. As a result of this, I decided to take over the reserves to prevent any more academy products not developing correctly. Firstly, I tried to sell all players, who wouldn't have enough quality to play in the first team in the future or being sold to other teams for a nice profit. Players with enough potential, but who wouldn't have an enough game time in one of the three teams (senior team, reserves or the youth team) would gain game time at other clubs to come back ready for a first team role or for a transfer at another club.
I would do this assessment every start of the season and trying to minimize the squad of the reserves to 30 players at most. A bit time consuming and would transform the game more in a Loan Manager 2019.
After I cleaned up the squads, I was managing the line-up for both teams (I even managed the individual training for every single player at the club). I was really enjoying it, but then the Director of Football, who was in charge to sign all the staff, decided to sign a new manager for the reserves in November :facewithrolling_eyes:
This concluded my time as manager of the reserves. I kept on cleaning on the procedure on cleaning up the squad at the beginning of season and taking care of the training.
In general, I feel, like I've achieved almost everything at the club. Only a new stadium and some better youth intakes are missing. But I doubt a new stadium will be built in Alkmaar and I've upgraded every aspect who could influence the intake and I've mostly gotten average intakes so far.
As I don't feel I can reach much more around, I am really thinking about moving on and trying to build up another club to the tops of Europe ...