A Season With The Spartans – Part 1 – The Background

Welcome all to a new type of series from DP-FM, which will be known as ‘A Season’ followed by the relevant project name. This has been created as it provides a good snappy break in between long term saves or during a long term save which ultimately keeps the motivation across all fronts.

Also a massive shout out to Jamie/TarrantinoUX who designed the database used for this save and also a Cyprus database on DP-FM’s request. Stellar work from the man and be sure to check out all his databases – you won’t be disappointed!

You may see some of these projects from myself or some by our co-creator and blogger Louis (The Unemployed save extraordinaire). The great thing about doing a lone season is it gives the chance to experience a league or country that you may be intrigued by, an experiment to see what you can actually do with one club in a season or the save may have some deeper meaning – this one definitely falls into the last category for me…

Why This Save?

When I was a youth footballer (nothing special, standard Sunday mornings), the club I played for Caldecote Youth FC in Bedfordshire had a link with the country of Malta. That link was my team’s assistant manager. He was a Maltese native and had lived in England for some years but he still had football links in his homeland. The man arranged for our U16s team to go on a week’s tour of sunny Malta.

We actually done this at U17s level too but at U16s we had a close knit team and it was an amazing experience. We played against the Maltese national U17s on a training pitch outside the national stadium, I remember the 5-0 loss but what did you expect? The second game was against the youth team of the team I will represent in this save – Hamrun Spartans. I’ll never forget playing at the Victor Tedesco Stadium, using the facilities that the senior team used. The game kicked off at midday…it was 30 degrees at that point! A 2-1 win for us boys though and we played a further game on that tour which was also a 2-1 win but I can’t remember who it was against!

Victor Tedesco Stadium

I’ve gone through boxes of my old football stuff from my youth but I couldn’t find any pictures or our personalised DVD’s of footage that we had received post tour but I’m sure Hamrun will still have the pennant that was given to them before kick off. Hamrun were great hosts, the players even chilled with us after the game and as a club they’ve always meant something to me because it was one of the best experiences of my life in football. So in this edition of ‘A season’ I will lead Hamrun Spartans!

The Arrival

We’ve arrived on the Mediterranean island and put pen to paper for a years contract on a very decent £1k a week. Not bad for my first job eh? In terms of coaching qualifications/experience I’ve used the suggested for both as having the highest on everything will take away from the challenge and excitement in my view.

Around mid-bag for the coaching attributes but there’s little to be desired for the mental attributes. One main thing when starting with a new club is their vision and what is expected in my first and only season.

The main thing here is signing under 23s for the first team which may be easier said than done which I will explain why a bit later but in general I appreciate their long term visions. For the league, the President is expecting a title challenge which will require a big improvement on last season’s 9th place finish and they also want a cup final…pressure much!

Clearly a club who have high standards and are keen to add to what they’ve already accomplished. This great club has tasted success on more than one occasion in their history.

7 Premier League titles, 6 FA trophies and 5 Super Cups over the years, you can see why the standards are high. As you will see from the bottom right graph, there was a tough period including a double relegation but some great resilience with double promotion to get back to the Premier League.

Yes that is the football game legend Seydou Doumbia down as the key player, I guess there is no better time to cover the squad so on!

The Squad & Staff

In terms of the squad, it is very good in places especially in attacking areas with a plethora of talent. The main issues in my opinion is the goalkeepers and central midfield which will need improving without a doubt. In general the squad depth is poor though and will need improving with some quality in the required areas – it could be a busy summer window!

Its quite clear who our best player is, the famed Seydou Doumbia who’s most notably remembered for his time at CSKA Moscow. Doumbia’s career has turned into a journeyman vibe but I’m pleased to have such a player in the ranks. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if clubs in Europe come knocking in January.

One key thing for us all when going into a new club is the staffing situation and the backroom setup is key to the team’s development over the season.

No current recruitment and medical teams which was a concern so these areas will be targeted straight away otherwise we might have some issues if a player gets injured. Coaching wise, a Head of Youth Development is required but the standard of the coaching team is only average compared to other teams within the league.

Finances

Finances don’t look too good for as a starting point, currently £11k in the red. However, at this point it is not clear what the club’s weekly and monthly turnover is so this may change and I hope it changes in a positive direction.

£77k as a transfer budget however, a budget adjustment will need to be made as there is just over £300 a week available in the wage budget and if I need to get squad depth in then the wage budget is key for that. I’m happy to do the work the free agent market but having sufficient wage budget available is key to getting the depth that the squad needs. As you will see, it’s not hard to see what takes up most of the wage budget!

Doumbia by far the highest earner which isn’t much of a surprise, followed be defender Claude Dielna but that’s still over three grand difference. The rest of the squad range between £600-£1k a week which isn’t bad with a mix of full and part time contracts. I’ll be looking at the bigger earners to make the difference in matches as they need to be justifying their pay packets!

The Tactic – 4-4-2

I’d made about 3 tactics before setting on 4-4-2, there’s been a 3-4-3, 3-1-4-2 and a 5-2-3 but ultimately I decided to not make things too complexed as the team only train on a part time basis.

It is designed to be a quick attacking 4-4-2 with moving the ball through phases of the pitch is a quick fashion. Shoot on sight is being used as the strikers and wingers have the required attributes to have a go from inside and outside the box. One interesting part is the right hand side where I will be using an inverted wing back and winger so I will be intrigued to see how these two roles link up.

What’s Next?

Up next it will be all about pre-season, the summer transfer window and getting the league season underway. We’ll have a look more at other teams in the league and pointing out who will be a challenge to us as I’ll be looking to do a one season madness and hopefully get a piece of silverware.

Whilst you are exploring the DP-FM site, go take a look at Louis’ (Co-blogger/creator of DP-FM) challenge where he is embarking on his series ‘Unemployed, Unskilled & Inexperienced’ which is currently on season 10. This entails Louis starting from the bottom of his management career with no coaching badges and low attributes to add to the fun!

To go from the start – https://dpfmblog.com/2020/12/21/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-season-1-episode-1/

Or to go from the current season – https://dpfmblog.com/2021/05/24/unemployed-unskilled-inexperienced-s10-ep-1-a-decade-in/

The start of a new short term project, I’m looking forward to it and I hope you guys are too. Take care and we’ll be back soon!

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