Welcome all to Season 3 of The Far East Express! If you’re new to this challenge then I highly recommend you go and read through Season 1 here and watch Season 2 here. Basically this is a collaborative save between a whole bunch of Football Manager content creators (DP-FM, FirstEmperorLee, OffTheBarFM, SadPanda333 and FMAdvancedPlaymaker (FM-AP).
This episode will give you a bit of a background to what the state of things were when the save was handed over to me and our hopes for the upcoming season. Just to remind you, Scott (co-founder of DP-FM) took charge of Season 1 and First Emperor Lee took the reins for Season 2.
So what better place to start than to look at how things ended last season with Lee at the helm…
Last Season Round Up
If you haven’t seen Lee’s episodes for this series on Youtube then you might need a bit of background. Basically he was doing very well and even occupied 3rd place in the league heading into the final 9 games of the season. However, as Scott and Lee have previously said, we are now the only semi-professional side in Indonesian league football which means we can’t offer any professional contracts.
Basically all of our semi-decent players are just picked off by other teams from our division or the division above as they’re all able to offer professional full-time contracts and we can only provide appearance based non-contract arrangements at this time. The owner is not that logical by the sound of things as he continuously declines to make us a professional club due to the financial situation yet has commissioned a new stadium to be built despite us only have 50 fans who turn up every week!
Anyway, long story short, Lee lost all of his good players to bigger clubs at the midway point and unsurprisingly the league form fell off a cliff.
Losing 6 out of our final 9 games nearly sent us down which would have meant the end of the road for our journey at Tiga Naga. However an inspired comeback on the final day meant we live to fight another season in this league! You can see how close it all was in the final league standings below:
Season Predictions & Transfers – No Hope Here…
So you can hopefully see the issue I am going to face here. The squad and team that were handed over to me lost 6 out of the final 9 games (there is only 22 games in a season by the way), so basically I am pretty much guaranteed to be the league’s whipping boys. The season preview makes for damning viewing:
350-1… ouch. It’s fair to say that the squad I’ve inherited is clearly not good enough for this level and it’s no wonder Lee struggled so much towards the end of the season. Just to make things even easier for me the same thing that happened to Lee at the midway point of last season happened to me at the start of the upcoming season. Every single one of my remotely good players didn’t fancy staying to get thrashed every week, so despite my never ending improved contract offers, the following players left for professional deals:
I’ll try my best not to mince my words here, we’re stuffed! Take a look at the player profiles below, keep in mind these were some of our best players and even with them we were comfortably predicted to be the worst team in the league at 350-1 odds. So can you imagine the predictions without them? 350-1 went to 450-1… there’s no hope here guys come on!
Particularly as Fautnine & Romadhon left to join predicted relegation rivals in our group Persip Pekalongan. It would be like West Brom’s best players leaving to join Fulham at the start of the season. What a way to kick us while we’re down! Anyway, take a look at the outgoing players profiles below:
Ok so the situation doesn’t look good. You might be thinking ‘well ok surely you can bring in a few players to try and be competitive?’ and again you would be completely mistaken. As Lee eluded to in his videos, there are only a handful of players who are willing to join us due to the semi-professional non-contract issue and the fact we can only sign Indonesian players, and when I say a handful I mean 5. That’s not a typo… there are FIVE players who are willing to join us… so I signed 3 of them for ‘bums on seats’.
Actually that’s not strictly true as Lee completed the deals for Kurnia (ST) & Effendi (CB) before handing over. So there was only one player even remotely worthwhile signing, Gede Gunawan (LM). Take a look at all 3 players profiles below, it’s fair to say they are unlikely to help us much in the short-term:
Club Infrastructure & General Overview
You may be thinking I am sounding quite negative about everything, but to be honest that’s because look at the situation we’re in! There’s pretty much no hope for me at this point given all I have been through above so I just have to crack on and keep playing as best as I know how and see what happens. I have tried my best to pick out some positives for you, commencing with the staff…
We don’t have the worst backroom team in the division which is good news in the grand scheme of things!
Although saying that there are no spaces for any further additions other than Director of Football which is frustrating. However I managed to find someone to take that role on:
This genuinely was the only person willing to join us! However at least he would bring with him knowledge of someone we could sign to help improve the squad right?
Never mind. What other potential positives can I show you? Oh yes, I had my first discussion with the owner who Scott & Lee had warned me about. Simple request, can we please go professional otherwise we will be relegated and Tiga Naga will be no more? Simple answer… No.
The most frustrating thing is that the reason wasn’t even finances, it was because he wants to stabilise at this level first… we’re literally going to be battered every game and then get relegated, that doesn’t sound like stabilisation to me! I thought ‘right what can I do to try and get some players in? We need everyone and anyone’, so I decided to ask for a Senior Affiliate…
‘We would rather the club does not rely on loan players’… SO WOULD I RUDI SO LET ME OFFER SOME PROFESSIONAL CONTRACTS!! Desperate times called for desperate measures, I went in to the boardroom prepared to risk the wrath of this mad man, and would you believe it, I got a result:
Get in! Hopefully we can have one of the big sides from the top division send us some professional players and funds to improve life here for Tiga Naga and give us a competitive squad for the season ahead… would it really be that easy?
The board scoured the nation for all of 30 minutes before deciding to call it a day on their ‘extensive search’ and conclude there were no ‘suitable clubs’ to become our Senior Affiliates. Oh it’s all sunshine and rainbows on this journey let me tell you…
Ok come on, I must be able to find some positives in our current situation for you all. Ahh I actually do have one, let’s head into the Club Vision:
At least the expectations are more realistic than last season with the aim this time round being to avoid relegation. Given our squad I would imagine it would normally say ‘attempt to avoid relegation’ however if we are relegated then we get sacked due to the 3rd League in Indonesia not being a playable league, so for that reason it says avoid relegation.
Another positive is the level of managerial support in the squad:
Strong Team Cohesion and Managerial Support will be needed with the season we’re predicted to have ahead. The boys will need to stick together and stick with me if we’re to have any hope of avoiding the drop.
I’m on a roll with the positives now! They keep coming as we actually enjoyed a small reputation boost as a club over the past 12 months:
Nothing major as we’re still a 0.5 star reputation team, but progress is progress. Oh hang on, I actually do have a BIG positive for us! Our youth intake brought in a handful of decent players who could definitely come straight into the first team:
Now I know what you’re thinking, in any other club when you get the ‘Golden Generation’ in Football Manager it’s time to rejoice! However the fact that Scott had a ‘Golden Generation’ as well is probably down to the fact our players are so bad you can’t possibly not have a good crop of players coming through.
Equally as mentioned before you can’t offer professional contracts to any of them so if they’re even remotely promising they get snatched by other clubs instantly. I guess we will just have to enjoy it while it lasts! To give you an idea of how poor our squad is, the top 3 players here (Eko Siregar, Ahmad Yulianto & Andri Febrianto) go straight into our starting XI, not just our first team squad but our starting XI.
Wish me luck here ladies & gents! I think from all of the above it is extremely likely The Far East Express will be carrying on without Tiga Naga come the end of the season, but oh well, let’s try and enjoy it along the way shall we?
Up next we will be heading into the football! Going through the first half of the Liga 2 season is going to be interesting no matter what happens. You will definitely be shocked by the tactic I settle on for the season ahead as I try something never before seen in football, there’s probably a reason it is never been seen before but I guess only the results will tell us the full story so make sure you check back in for that!
Make sure you check out the other content creators on the links below:
FirstEmperorLee – Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/emperor_fm – Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCj5uNW6M8qoBpe5sLbu6N6w
OffTheBarFM – Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/offthebarfm – Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWTLmf7GIQMgraZxoanKQXg
SadPanda333 – Blog site: https://www.sadpanda333.co.uk/
FM-AP – Blog site: https://fmadvancedplaymaker.co.uk/
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Thank you for reading and supporting us. As always please keep safe during these difficult times and we’ll see you again soon!