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A Season With The Spartans – Part 4 – Short Term Success?

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Here we go then, the final part of the season with Hamrun Spartans and what a busy one it will be as I work towards hopefully securing the league title and the FA trophy run is still very much alive as we find ourselves in the semi finals looking for an unlikely double.

In Part 3, it provided Hamrun Spartans taking top spot in the league with some games in hand meaning the league was in our own destiny coming into this part. Can we get the job done though?

Before we proceed into the fixtures of April & May and review some things at the end of the season, my favourite FM kit man @Wightyyyy created these for my Hamrun team and they are impeccable! Drop him a follow and a message because he will always bring the goods!

Honestly, I’d buy all three if I could!

April 2021

It’s straight into the football with five league games and the big FA Trophy match against Sliema Wanderers who if you remember from part 3, were the first team to beat us this season!

It’s Sliema Wanderers we start with too but this one was away in the league. The first 67 minutes did not go well as we find ourselves 2-0 down, I lose it on the touchline at the boys and after a busy 7 minutes, Seydou Doumbia, Oscar Linton & Gulli do a madness and put us 3-2 up! But in true football fashion a chance is converted in the 88th minute and Sliema equalise – 3-3 draw but what a game for the neutrals.

Poor defensively in our last match, I demanded better against Senglea Athletic and the boys done themselves justice with a crazy 7-0 victory! Dodo had us ahead 29 seconds in and it just gave us full control with braces from Franklin Sasere & Ebrima Sohna, Seydou Doumbia & Zied Soussi got the other goals. Fantastic performance.

Zejtun Corinthians were next and sometimes after a big victory complacency can creep in and very nearly did despite our 2-1 win. Ebrima Sohna & Seydou Doumbia had us two up after the hour mark but then Zejtun were allowed in some more and got a goal back making it a nervy finish but the win was held on to ultimately. This victory brought some good news though as a top three finish and European football was achieved.

It was time for the big FA Trophy Semi Final against Sliema Wanderers who are actually unbeaten against us this season in the league. In this case though, the occasion may have got to them as a dominating first half display got my side a 3-0 win and a place in the final! It was all down to Franklin Sasere who grabbed a hattrick and has shown great form in the second half of the season.

Shortly after, it was back to league action as we chase down the title and it was bottom side Gudja Utd who were the opponents but again it was a very slender win at 1-0. It was all through a Amadou Samb penalty after a push in the box but are the nerves starting to kick in? Despite the performance a couple of team records were broken.

The big day was here and if it was a win the league title will be secured but it was third placed Birkirkara standing in our way. 20 minutes in Hamrun are one up through Franklin Sasere before Seydou Doumbia doubles lead just before half time. Birkirkara get a goal back in the 70th minute and turn up the heat until a late counter attack lands at Seydou Doumbia who dispatches clinically! A 3-1 win meaning…

CAMPEONES CAMPEONES OLE OLE OLE!!!

We’ve done it, champions of Malta with two games to spare but to be fair to Sirens & Birkirkara they have pressured us all the way to this point. Top spot means entry in to the Champions League prelim. qualification rounds too!

A very good month results wise as we party into the night in Malta, it’s looked frosty now and then but the job in the league is done!

A few additional bits for the league win as the board and fans rejoice over this success, this first league win since 1991 for Hamrun Spartans.

May 2021

The final month of the competitive season and it started in a big way as it was time for the FA Trophy Final.

A game with our fierce rivals Valletta FC, which may be in my favour as the record against them this season is very good.

It was a bright start from Hamrun in the early stages as we took control in midfield and started making early chances with next to no response from Valletta, the goal was coming and it came in the 33rd minute as Seydou Doumbia finishes calmly after right wing back Michele Laraspata chips a ball over the defence. It remained this way until half time.

Into the second half and I was expecting some pressure from Valletta but it was quite the contrary as Hamrun continued to attack over and over again. Despite not converting these chances another breakthrough came in the 74th minute and it was a gift as left wing back Claude Dielna played a floating ball towards the box but the Valletta defender misjudges his jump and it lands at Seydou Doumbia’s feet who controlled then slotted home from 12 yards. The game calmed down in the closing stages meaning it was time to party once again with a 2-0 cup final win!

WE’VE DONE THE DOUBLE!!! WHAT A SEASON!!!

Another drought over for the club after the first FA Trophy win since 1992, amazing stuff for the Hamrun Spartans. What a great domestic campaign it has been with this wonderful cup performance.

After all that, two games remained in the league but I wanted to finish strongly so the best available 11’s were going to be used.

The first match was against Sirens who were in second place and had worked us hard in the table over the season. It was all looking good just after half time as impressive midfielder Ebrima Sohna put us ahead but Sirens dug deep and ended up scoring in the 95th minute?! It’s always frustrating regardless when you concede late and it was a 1-1 draw on this occasion.

The final league match was against Hibernians and it was a brilliant end to the season with a 3-0 victory. A quick-fire double from Seydou Doumbia just before half time put us in a great position before Franklin Sasere completed the rout on the 53rd minute.

Final League Table

The title was won by a very decent 12 points in the end as 2nd – 4th battled it out towards the end but to only lose one game all season is a fantastic achievement as well as the goal haul of 81 goals in 30 games. Been along time since I’ve had a league win in this fashion that’s for sure!

End of Season Review

Always good to reflect on any season and to see what has been achieved amongst other things.

4 / 8

Something I haven’t ever really focused on in FM but I make my first steps into the Maltese Hall of Fame.

Financial/Squad Update

Now despite all of the success on the pitch it may be short lived if I was to carry on due to the poor finances which has been well documented over the season.

Come the end of the season the balance is looking very shaky on -£1,154,750 and in turn this causes issues in terms of improving the youth academy and foremost it means resigning players on new contracts is problematic as the board only allow a certain amount to be offered as a lot of players do not want to take pay cuts. On the back of this, some players including some important ones have agreed pre-contract moves away from the club.

Six players agree moves away, the standouts are Claude Dielna & Blas Cittadini who were big parts of the squad this season. Pablo Sanchez, Jens Wemmer & David Yeboah were all bench players but had no interest in staying. Arthur Oyama spent his season in the reserves and didn’t make a first team appearance.

On top of this, I released some players as they were just not good enough for Premier League level which further depletes the squad. This included club captain Emerson Marcelina who made minimal appearances this season.

Both loan stars in Franklin Sasere & Michele Laraspata returned to their clubs as an agreement could not be found with Sasere’s parent club to extend the loan and whilst Laraspata’s contract at Parma is expiring, he has no interest in joining Hamrun permanently.

However, there was some silver lining as two massive players decided to stay to my shock. Left winger Dodo agreed to stay after our qualification for European football and took a 50% wage cut! Amazing gesture and commitment for the man.

This next one will send shockwaves through Hamrun as Seydou Doumbia agrees to stay for another 3 years taking a £2.6k a week wage cut (although his goal landmark bonuses may earn him the lost money!), massively helping out the club’s expenditure. Back in November when contract renewals popped up Doumbia had no intention of staying but this U-turn is fantastic after his 36 goal season.

What’s Next?

That is the end of the ‘A Season’ part of this save however, after the release of this blog a poll will be on our twitter @DP_FM_ to decide whether to carry on this save into a new phase. After off-season the squad will have 14 first team players meaning a rebuild is needed, along with the club’s youth system and finances. Would you want to see ‘The Rebuild of the Spartans’? Make sure you get a vote in as if it’s a positive result I will blog this as a secondary save!

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/

Some season guys but the real effects of bad finances definitely reflects on the squad. Hope you all enjoyed and I’ll be back soon with something new.

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