The Far East Express: S9 Ep 1 – ‘Oh Gangwon Then’

Ahh hello old friend! It’s been a while since I’ve done any blogging and 5 seasons since I got off The Far East Express when we were stopped in Indonesia and I had just led the minnows that are Tiga Naga to a promotion campaign that left all of the other passengers on board in shock! This time I jump back on to take the reins from FM Advanced Playmaker (FM-AP) and we are currently stationed in Singapore at the mighty Albirex Niigata FC, who FM-AP managed last season. Not only did he manage them, he went and won the title whilst at it!

And for those of you who are unfamiliar or need reminding of the rules, this means we can move on to our next country & club! (rules below).

So the search for our next destination on The Far East Express began, and it wasn’t long before it was confirmed…

Club Background

That’s right, Cha Boom’s next destination is his homeland of South-Korea with the mighty Gangwon FC! Now for those of you familiar with South-Korean football, you will know that in real life Gangwon are in the top division and are a fairly settled club at that level. However in the game we take over a new season in January 2029 and the club are in a very bad way…

This was the table at the end of last season. Rock bottom of the 2nd division (K-League 2) on 31 points, fortunately there is no where else for the teams in this division to go but up due to lack of a database to hold additional South Korean leagues. However it would be an extremely tough challenge to do anything with this squad based on that showing last season! 65 coals conceded and only 36 scored? Cha Boom has got his work cut out no doubt.

To make things worse, when you follow the money you can start to see why the club is in this predicament in the first place…

Dear oh dear! Are we looking at Gangwon or Barcelona? As you can see the last 6 years have been about trying to keep the club going, and despite us arriving in positive money, the outgoings every month on the repayments of millions in bank loans will have us back in the red in no time.

So it’s certainly going to be a challenge with absolutely no money, but come on, we managed to get a bunch of amateurs at Tiga Naga and take them to a promotion, so we can certainly awaken this sleeping giant and get them back on the right path in South-Korean football!

Transfer Window

The transfer window was always going to be hard to manage. We needed to sell players to try and keep the club running but we barely had a squad to begin with, as you can see from where we finished last season! We did manage to move on 6 players however for decent enough transfer fees.

At this point I barely had 13 first team quality players and was very concerned about how we would fair in the league. I got to work in the transfer window and was relentless in getting bodies through the door, I must have had over 50 trialists in pre-season but would constantly be restricted by the wage budget or other clubs offering better deals. We did manage to get 8 players in before the end of the window however, and some really good signings at that.

The 2 players that I was really delighted to sign were striker Park Sang-Jun and particuarly goalkeeper Son Ho-Jun. I tried everything I could to get a keeper on a free transfer but the only ones available were 1.5 star, so I made the decision to sanction a £3.7k fee for a 3.5 star keeper who could be crucial in moving us up the table. Check out the signings below:

Honestly I was really surprised at the quality we were able to find, however looking at the other squads in the league I wasn’t holding much hope for the season ahead. To me this is a season of recovery, we have to be better than rock bottom and that’s all I’ll be aiming for.

What’s Next?

This episode was just to give you a preview of of the season ahead and bring everyone up to speed with where we are on the overall journey of The Far East Express. The next episode will follow the months of March, April & May 2029 as we look to steady the ship at Gangwon and bring some standards & pride back to to the Kodiaks!

Make sure you check out the other content creators on the links below;

OffTheBarFM – Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/offthebarfm – Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWTLmf7GIQMgraZxoanKQXg

SadPanda333 – Blog site: https://www.sadpanda333.co.uk/

FMAdvancedPlaymaker – Blog site: https://fmadvancedplaymaker.co.uk/

Until next time, take care all and see you soon!

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