Sparta 3.2 – Wow (Season Review)

I left you with Sparta Rotterdam at the top of the table during the winter break with one big question; would we win the league?

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Yes, yes we would. I still can’t believe it. This is probably one of my biggest achievements in FM. We became Holland’s very own Leicester by winning the league in our first season after promotion, and I’m bloody delighted. I can’t praise the team enough, even though they tried to throw it all away in the last 5/6 games.

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Losing to both Ajax and PSV meant they quickly closed the gap we had created in the first half of the season, but the real drama came in our last five games. The win away to Heerenveen, who dropped off considerably following the winter break, was massive. Two goals in the last ten minutes saved our skin. The two losses that followed were really disappointing as we needed Ajax to mess up as well to ensure we didn’t drop behind them. Luckily they did and we enough chances to fall across the finish line. Willem Tiburg are quickly becoming my bogey team and they and Vitesse both only just finished above the relegation playoffs, so to lose to them was really bad on our part. The game against ADO Den Haag was a must-win, and we were 2-0 down after 15 minutes. De Sa got us back on level terms before Nazario De Fretes scored a scrappy winner from a corner. This left us needing to equal Ajax’s result on the final day to win the league. We did just that with top scorer Rusnak winning us the league.

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The team were the real stars of the show this year.

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Eight of these players were part of the Sparta Rotterdam squad I inherited on the first day of the job. Dogan couldn’t get into the team last year but controlled games with ease this season. Dumfries still can’t tackle but was our best defender. Kortsmit is an average keeper but saved around 79% of shots. Brogno can’t dribble but is an insane winger. This team is a real example of a group of players who were better than the sum of their parts.

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The fan’s player of the season is predictable at this stage as Brogno is one of their favourites. I can’t argue with any other award, and the stats are impressive but here are my own awards:

DEFENDER OF THE YEARhu14roxHe still refuses to improve and has most likely hit his peak, but Dumfries defied all the odds and was our most consistent defender all year. He reminds me of Jamie Carragher due to the amount of last ditch tackles and wonderful defensive headers he makes.

MIDFIELDER OF THE YEARhpj6ishDogan only started around half of our games, but made a huge impact on me whenever he was on the pitch. He was one of the catalysts in our early season form and popped up with two important goals. His passing was always crisp and he excelled at breaking through defensive lines.

FORWARD OF THE YEARbrigpfwWe bought him last season for only £120K. Now worth £2M, Gudmundsson is one of our most reliable players. He makes up for his average vision with brilliant work rate and teamwork. He acts a bit like Roberto Firmino does for Klopp’s Liverpool, winning the ball back high up the pitch and initiating counter attacks. I might start employing him further back due to other players coming into the team, but I’ll always have a place for him in the team.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR2ueeswoLike many FM players, I love finding a bargain. The Moneyball approach to transfers is somewhat romantic and Rusnak has really captured my heart this year. His goalscoring record is amazing, although 7 of those were penalties. I can’t imagine what we would’ve been like this year without this capture, one I wasn’t sure about making in the first place. I’m glad I did though as he became our talisman.

So we won the league, what’s next? Due to poor performances from Dutch teams in previous seasons, we will have to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League. I hope we can, but the minimum aim is Europa League. In the league I am looking for a top 3 finish again. I think we will find it difficult to retain the league and compete in Europe, but hey, we have surprised ourselves so far so maybe we can continue to do so.

Thanks for reading!

Sparta 3.1 – Winter Break

Before the season starts is often the best time of the year for fans of newly promoted clubs. Hope hangs in the air. “If we get off to a good start we could do well,” they say. Who knows what will happen? A top half finish or a relegation dog fight both seem entirely possible. You think about each fixture, finding reasons your team could get a result. You go to the first game, optimistic as ever, dreaming. Then the match starts. Continue reading “Sparta 3.1 – Winter Break”

Sparta 3.0 – A Reboot

If you’ve been following this save so far you’ll know that I updated you on the first season every day for pretty much a week. This is because I played the season in a day/night and spent the next day writing all about it. For anyone thinking of writing about FM; don’t do this. I was tired and annoyed while writing, and because I wanted to just go back to playing I got fed up of writing about the save. On the plus side, it gave me a week to relax and just take my time while playing through our second season in the Juliper League. If you tuned in yesterday you’ll know what I wanted from season 2, the transfers we made etc. I was going to update you on how I was doing but in the end felt like just playing for playing sake. I’m all the way at the start of season 3 now and feel much more able and more importantly, willing, to write about my time with Sparta again. As a result, this blog post will serve as a quick update on how we did in season 2, and will go into more detail on our preparations for another year at Sparta Rotterdam.

Continue reading “Sparta 3.0 – A Reboot”

Sparta 2.1 -Preseason & Transfers

We have to get promoted this year. If we don’t we won’t be able to keep many of our best players. During the summer I upset around 6/7 of them by rejecting offers from Eredivisie clubs, placating most by saying we would get promoted, so we have to.

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The media are confident we will judging by this, and so am I. I’ve made some good transfers and managed to keep my best players in an effort to avoid the playoffs this season. Continue reading “Sparta 2.1 -Preseason & Transfers”

Sparta 1.6 – League Winners or Playoff Hopefuls?

The aim for the second half of the season was to become more consistent, win games and hope that the two above us would falter enough to hand us the league title. That left us with 3 questions.

  • Would we become more consistent?

Answer: Yes.ay9yqe4

  • Would the top two drop points?

Dordrecht: Yesnsmuw1s

Maastricht: Yesnjtes01

  • Would it be enough to close the gap and have us win the league?

Continue reading “Sparta 1.6 – League Winners or Playoff Hopefuls?”