Building Brazil – Part 6: Jogador de grande nome

What did he say about a big gnome? Rob Tait is here with the end of season 2 of his Portugese adventure with Uniao Madeira. His all Brazilian squad have been a mix of Brazil and Norwich so far, but how will season two end? Catch up with part 5 here.

Welcome back to the final third of the season, 12 games to see how high we can go after this crazy first season in the top flight. At the end of the last update we had just won three in a row against top five opposition and I was high as a CM kite. The first game of the update and Leca come to the Barreiros, a close games but we take the three points.

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Our winning run has not gone unnoticed and want away Brazilian international Antonio Carlos is interested in joining little old Uniao. I still haven’t spent that money the board gave me at the beginning of the season and this guy is a “jogador de grande nome” (big name player) so I just have to do it, also I wronged him on my Roma save and promised I would make it up to him.

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Antonio’s arrival immediately unsettles the whole team including centre back partner Peu and just like that our little resurgence is over.

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Or is it? We have developed some bounce back ability, this Nene might be a bit of a find. Every unknown Brazilian I sign is a bit of a shot in the dark but he seems to be doing it at the moment.

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We then beat Varzim away in another game where I can’t believe they scored two goals.

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Before dispatching Academica, competition for his starting place brings the best out of Marquinhos who bags a hat-trick.

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That’s 7 wins from the last eight games and everyone is starting to believe we belong in the top flight. Which is why away to Vit. Setubal we lose 0-1 after conceding a 77th minute penalty, that was one of the two shots they had on target the whole game!!!!

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After that game hosting Sporting Lisbon was always going to be tough and it was, they are still a way ahead of us.

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Confidence is gone, we are about as resilient as cheese cracker so when derby day rolls around the following week we do nothing but wallow in our own self pity against Maritimo.

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The Easter break can’t come soon enough for us. A couple of weeks off to think about resurrection and all that. It works though as we win the next three games, scoring 13 and conceding only 2.

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Those three wins leave us in 8th. Our final game is at home to Benfica, we have 53 points and a long shot at 6th if we win but we could drop to 9th if we lose.

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The season is finished off in style with a 2-0 win against Benfica, Laelson nets his 20th of the season and Nene adds another. Results go against us though and it is 8th place after all with Porto crowned champions.

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We have been infuriating and also a little unlucky this year but in the end 8th is pretty good going I think. I’m not really sure where to go from here though. I need a little bit more quality for those close games but I also need to make some money as our finances are consistently precarious. I will worry about all this another day. For now here are some season stats to round off the year.

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Helcinho still getting it done, he has been good.
Da Silva and Leonidas are both good left wingers, it is a shame they can’t both play, maybe Leonidas can play wingback.
Laelson got better as the year went on and 20 goals is a good return, hopefully he will kick on.
Nene was a good signing towards the end and some of those 7 goals were vital.
Marquinhos was a bit hot and cold, he might have reached his peak.
Peu and and Antonio Carlos will hopefully gel next year, Antonio needs a full season before judgment as he has made a slow-ish start.
Centre mid and the full backs are my areas of concern.

The annual awards see a Radek Bejbl get the European Footballer award, no team or individual awards for Madeira United. DMC Sergio Duarte retires and I won’t be going after his regen he peaked in Division 2 and Jefferson isn’t too bad. Dunga might even retire soon as well.

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I’m going to do some serious cost analysis and marketing in the close season we need to expand the Uniao Madeira brand in order to afford and attract the better Brazilian players. Until next week…

You can follow Rob on Twitter @Taitanator

 

Starting from Scratch – Part 2

Matthew Cooper is back with the second part of his Altrincham save. Starting with no players is a difficult task but Matthew made a reasonable start, which you can catch up with in part 1 here.

Hi and thanks for tuning in again. We left the previous update with the unmistakable scent of optimism in the air, as our hastily assembled band of footballing misfits got their first win of the season at only the second time of asking. Can we carry on in this vein? We’re about to find out. Matthew Bound was crocked in the last game, and he’s not expected back for a month. It’s a blow as he had played a blinder in the first 3 games, but it could be worse and I have 2 loanees to cover the gap for now.

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The loan players are unfortunately unavailable for the second leg of the league cup though, so Bradley gets another game at right back. Other than that it’s an unchanged side, and as long as we don’t get any further injuries I couldn’t care less about the scoreline, as long as we don’t go through to the second round!

We go in at half time 2-1 down, my wingback Innes heading in from a corner to level things up before they get another goal at the end of the half. Disaster then strikes as
Palmer brings their striker down as the last man and the ref directs him off the pitch. So not an injury but he’ll be unavailable for a game in the near future all the same, the great big tit.

It ends 2-1, not much happening after Palmer is sent off. I note with irritation that the attendance is a shade under 10,000, making the stadium expansion as completely pointless as it first appeared. Still, at least that cup’s over with for another season. Just the windscreen shield left in the “waste of time” competition bracket now.

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Next up is a trip to Gillingham. Big man Ade Akinbiyi leads the line for them, and has grabbed 2 goals in the last 3 appearances so we’ll have to keep him quiet if we’re to get anything from this game.

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What did I just bloody say? We are coasting our way to a creditable draw when the lads switch off in the last minute and let their danger man pounce on a rebound from a header. I’m furious with them but also a bit pleased that we were at least competing with Gillingham throughout the game, though they were the better side. The loss leaves us 19th, but with 3 league games played so far the table is a bit meaningless at this stage. We need to get some more points on the board soon though, as losing soon becomes a habit with a newly-assembled team like this.

Our opportunity comes quickly, as a midweek fixture at home to Cambridge is next on the cards. Ostensibly in a show of unity, though in truth due to a lack of options, I name an unchanged team to go out against a side that made it into the play-offs last season. We get off to the best possible start, young McGarrigle sliding it past the keeper with barely 2 minutes on the clock. The scoreline stays at 1-0 up to half time, but familiar lower-league forward Tom Youngs equalises soon after the restart. The game shifts in their favour after this and there’s a familiar sinking feeling as they take the lead with 20 minutes to go. To the lads’ credit though they don’t give up and Palmer makes up for his sending off in the cup by prodding home at the death to nick a point, get in you beauty! A bumper crowd of 883 spectators turn up to witness the spectacle, thank god for those 5,000 extra seats, eh board? You bunch of arses.

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We receive a big boost 2 days later, as midfielder Jermaine Wright finally comes to his senses and stops asking for wages on par with Alan Shearer, lowering his demands from £50k per week to a slightly more manageable £700. I’m hoping a couple of others follow suit, and I can bring in some quality players to strengthen the team. In case you’re wondering, Mr Shearer made a £13.75m move to Man Utd (who else?) last season and currently has 6 goals in 5 games. The traditional Man Utd dominance of the first few seasons looks likely to continue for a while yet.

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The next game is a trip to Exeter, where we grind out a 0-0 draw. Not much of any note happened during the game, though we were comfortably the better side which pleases me. If only we can get hold of a dangerous forward we can put teams like this to the sword.

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The end of the month rolls round and I get my usual board review. They’re less than satisfied apparently, though I don’t know what they expected when they spent a potential promotion warchest on 5,000 unused seats. Besides which the results have been pretty good, considering the circumstances. Ungrateful swines.

Things get even better on the personnel front during the week as lower-league legend and ex-Man Utd trainee Andrew Duncan reduces his wages demands like Jermaine, accepting £300 per week to join my motley crew. The big club release clause virtually guarantees he won’t still be here come the end of the season, but hopefully he’ll bring in a decent fee and allow us to buy some proven quality.

Our next game sees us host Colchester, who are yet to win a game this season. Things are pretty cagey in the first half, which remains goalless. Predictably we fall behind on 63 minutes, but midfield maestro Zerrouki comes to the fore 2 minutes later with an equaliser that writes him into my good books – an entry which is hastily scribbled out again another 2 minutes later as he heads into his own net from a corner. Things look to be petering out towards a disappointing defeat, and the misery is compounded when striker McGarrigle picks up a knock. I take him off as a precaution, only for his replacement Williamson to pop up with the last kick of the game to rescue a precious point.

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An away game against long ball specialists Lincoln seems like a daunting prospect, as they are 6th in the table and are yet to lose yet this season. But this team are full of surprises so I’m not ready to write them off just yet. Things initially look bright as their left back is shown red for a professional foul, but Lincoln are still superior even with 10 men, rather embarrassingly. They edge in front 5 minutes before half time and I can’t see a way back for us. But we are a different prospect in the second half, Allardyce levels things up soon after the restart and we push for a winner. Captain fantastic (well, he’s the captain at least) Wilkins limps off in the 80th minute, but we play it out for yet another draw. After the game it’s confirmed that he’ll miss the next two weeks, so we’ll need to shuffle things around in the short term.

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Besides, a development then occurs which makes Wilkins’ injury even less problematic. Who’s that putting pen to paper?

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It’s only current Milan manager and certified crazy man Gattuso! He’s 19 and untested in the game so far, but I’ve seen him develop into a solid player in previous saves and besides, it’s bloody Gattuso! I couldn’t turn this opportunity down. Ross Tokely, who may be a familiar name to those who habitually manage in the lower leagues, also joins the payroll to give me some more firepower up front.

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Cardiff are next up to visit our vast sea of empty seats (sorry I keep banging on about it, but it’s wound me right up!) and I’m praying that we find a way to break this run of 4 straight draws.

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Nope. It’s now 5 from 5 as we dominate the game but fail to make it count. We’re not losing at least but we have to start putting more points on the board to pull away from the solitary relegation place. Gattuso and Tokely both get a run-out in the last 25 minutes and have decent debuts, once they’re up to speed I think they will make a real difference.

We have to travel to third-placed York for our next game, and playmaker Zirrouki is knackered from our relentless fixture list. I’ve decided to shake it up a bit and give him a rest, trying the Italian nutcase in the centre of the field instead. Zirrouki makes the bench so I can throw him on if the experiment is a disaster. We lose in the most infuriating way possible, leading from the 20th minute only to let the lead, and then the game, slip in the last 10 mins. On the plus side Gattuso played a blinder so I’m sticking with him for the next game.

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We turn up at lowly 17th-placed Rotherham absolutely desperate for points to break this malaise. I keep faith with Gattuso and name an unchanged side, except for the left wing back Innes dropping for Kidd, on account of him being shockingly bad. My two wing backs are averaging less than 6.5 each, so it’s clear which area I need to improve next. Anyway, we get off to a bright start and take the lead when Rotherham’s captain Knill helpfully puts the ball in his own net after half an hour. Allardyce puts us further in front midway through the second half – the first time we’ve been more than 1 goal to the good all season! They pull one back right at the end but it’s too late, and we pick up our first win in 8 games. The palpable sense of relief is overwhelming. Amusingly we won 2-1 despite only having 1 shot on target all match, which makes it somehow even more satisfying.

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The win moves us up to a still decidedly unimpressive 18th place, but it keeps our heads above the waterline and increases the gap to Donny at the foot of the table to 7 points.

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All in all a pretty dreary update results-wise, but a long-awaited win and some much-needed reinforcements to the squad at least provide some grounds for optimism going into the next set of fixtures. Join me next time as I try to better my record of 1 win per update.

Building Brazil – Part 5: A vida é uma montanha russa

My Portugese is coming on well thanks to Rob Tait. One phrase a week is all I need. This week, Rob sets about trying to get Uniao back on track with their team full of Brazilians. Is second season syndrome still biting hard? Catch up with part 4 here.

Hi all, part one all ended a little bit negatively last week, we lost three in a row and the board couldn’t make up their mind if they were delighted or expected better. I think I was expecting too much from the lads so I’m going to calm down a bit and not let the pressure get to me. I’ve told the boys of an ancient proverb “a vida e uma montanha russa (life is a roller coaster) and we’ve just gotta ride it. With the wise words of Ronan Keating ringing in their ears we travel to Lisbon.

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Starting from Scratch – Part 1

A new guest blogger! Matthew Cooper doesn’t have Twitter but he tracked us down to tell his story. He’s taken on the always tricky challenge of being the first club to get promoted to the football league. With no players, can a club be built from scratch?

Hello, and welcome to my very first blog series for Championship Manager. For this save, I am going to be taking control of the first non-league team to be promoted to division 3 at the conclusion of the initial season and (hopefully) transforming them, over time, into a team capable of challenging for honours in the premier league. I’ve always been fascinated by these teams – given just a few weeks to cobble together an entire squad and usually (when AI-controlled, anyway) scrapping it out at the foot of the table in a desperate fight to stay up. Things won’t be that dire in this save I hope, but it will definitely take time to turn my ragtag bunch of lower division misfits into one of England’s top sides.

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Building Brazil – Part 4: Fortalecimento or not?

Uniao Madeira enjoyed serene progress under Rob Tait in season one. Promotion to the top tier in Portugal was achieved with minimal fuss, but how will they find mixing it with the big boys? Catch up with Part 3 here.

Season two begins well, the board recognise that I have spent all my money. Fortunately tourism was good this summer so they give me a little cash to strengthen (fortalecimento) the squad.

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The Golden Generation: Part 4 – The Nation Goes Potty

It’s the final part of Andrew Chapman’s Golden Generation series. The England youth have reached the knockout stages of the World Cup so it’s time to find out if Alan Hansen was right. Catch up with part 3 here, which includes the database for download.

Hello and welcome back to “The Golden Generation”. We’ve escaped what should have been an easy group with extreme difficulty but somehow still managed to finish top of the group. We were rewarded with a last 16 tie against the masters of total football, the Dutch. This could be a really short episode…

Seaman is back from a fractured cheek, so he goes straight back in for Nigel who can get back to his barrow on the market. Sol ‘Solid’ Campbell returns to the CB slot replacing Gary Neville.

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Building Brazil – Part 3: Capoeira Countdown

Off we go back to Portugal, where Rob Tait is building a Brazilian legacy. Is promotion on the cards? Catch up with part 2 here

At the end of part two I was waxing lyrical about my front four and how good they are, I know this is the Portuguese second tier but you can only beat what is put in front of you and we have been. It is the last push now, 12 games to decide the league title.

The first match and our mate Gil Vincente comes to visit. He puts up a good fight and it is close but when you have our fire power it’s never over and young Laelson pops up at the death.

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