Here we are, season 2 of The Tangerine Dream and I for one cannot wait to get stuck into another season with my beloved Dundee United. In case you missed it, check out the last episode where season 1 was completed – third place, Betfred Cup Champions and into the Europa League qualifiers, you love to see it!
In this one, you will get to see some very interesting squad info, pre-season results, a busy transfer window, our Europa League qualifiers and the start of the competitive season – plenty to see but being a new season, it is time for new objectives within the save rules…
A reminder for the rules of the save, which are key to progression which is why there will be three self set objectives to achieve each season. This will help my progression and the club’s progression in becoming that go to team in Scotland. The season two objectives are;
- Promote two youngsters to the first team, making 10 appearances each
- Qualify for the Europa Conference League (4th/5th place league finish)
- Reach the Final of either domestic cup
I know it looks like a step backwards compared to last season but I fully expect this to be more difficult. Now that we’ve settled into the project, the aim of becoming that team Scotland is a bit by bit process and I have to manage it realistically.
If all three objectives are passed, the next coaching licence can be obtained. In addition, if a trophy is won this acts as a bonus token for a coaching course also on top of the objectives. (If a trophy forms part of the objectives in a season, then this does not act as a bonus). I will continue to set objectives after all coaching badges are complete and any failed targets will be added on to the following season to put the pressure on!
This is the squad that has returned for pre-season, a lot of recognisable names from last season but there is some who may be moved on or loaned out depending on transfers (we will get to that soon). As seen in season 1, Marc McNulty & Juanma Hernandez’ loans were extended another year to give us some great options up front. At this point, I’m not looking to change tactics so the season will be started with the 4-4-2 and 3-4-3 formations.
As you may have seen on the squad list, Lewis Neilson is now on thereafter his promotion from the Reserves. This is the first step towards the objective of two youngsters featuring five times in the first team. I haven’t decided on the second player to promote yet, this may happen over the season.
Now you may be wondering what the episode title refers to and its all about long term contract renewals for three of my best players. A lot of interest started to generate in Lawrence Shankland, Benji Siegrist & Jeando Fuchs however, I got in early enough for all three to extend their stay at Tannadice Park before their heads were turned, buzzing with this!
New Club Partnership – St. Pat’s Athletic
I continue to build the club’s network by bringing on Irish Premiership side St. Pat’s Athletic which will be used for youth development purposes. Very happy with this one as my plan is to have links within Ireland, Wales and England plus it gives us first refusal on any good youngsters that they produce. A bit of history about this club too with quite a few trophies over the year and judged to be one of Ireland’s most successful sides.
Seven games over pre-season with a mix of standard, including a small tour of Holland while we were at it.
Very mixed bag, I expected better in all honesty. On reflection, we should be beating all three of the Dutch teams and I would’ve liked a result against Anderlecht as this was a good match to get ready for the Europa League. I’m unsure about the long term effectiveness of the 4-4-2 tactic but I have to judge the right time for the squad to evolve into something more attacking.
Summer Transfer Window
Plenty of incomings and outgoings this summer and I’ll start with the latter as parts of the squad was cleared with a fair few youngsters taking loan deals to get some first team football experience.
First teamers Ian Harkes, Dillon Powers & Mark Connolly were all moved on as they do not form part of my plans, our affiliate clubs certainly made use of the loan agreement. Chris Mochrie & Louis Appere were loaned out from the first team as I don’t see their game time being too high this season.
Its good to see some youngsters being loaned out to Scottish Premiership sides too, this shows me that it may not be long until they integrate with the first team which is a big part of what I want to do here. Right, lets see who I brought in!
Quite a bit business as you can see! I did have a £1.1 million budget but the wage budget didn’t match what we were given to spend so it was all about smart business.
Benjamin Razak is a 16 year old striker with bags of potential, signed on a free from Inverness with no compensation, Razak will develop within the reserves. Dean Campbell signed for £200k from rivals Aberdeen, a deep lying playmaker who will come straight into the starting XI. Hakeeb Adelakun was signed on a free following his release from Bristol City – a pacey winger who is able to play either side. Scottish centre back Shaun Want signed for £80k from Hamilton, this was effectively to replace Mark Connolly and will be competing for a starting place.
Parent club Benfica were used to secure young centre back Adrian Bajrami on a season long loan deal. Looks a very good player for his age, continuing the improvement in this area. Veteran goalkeeper Keiren Westwood joined for free following his release, he will be a back up option alongside Deniz Mehmet. A third centre back was signed in Declan Gallagher, a very cheap £170k from Motherwell. Gallagher had been transfer listed following his refusal of a new deal, the price kept dropping so I swooped in for a cracking signing.
Young striker Daniel Labila signed on a free following his release from PSG, some development to do first and he will be with the reserves for now. Another young player in Cameron Harper, who signed for £115k from Inverness. Harper will provide back up for Jamie Robson this season. Lastly, 18 year old goalkeeper Vincent Angelini signed for £25k from Celtic, bags of potential here and another who will start with the reserves during their development phase.
Europa League Qualifiers
Qualifiers up first, my side enter at the third round meaning to reach the group stage we must go through two rounds. In the third round, it was a matchup with Sparta Prague.
It was the home leg first, so it was key to get a positive result and an impressive display saw us take a 3-1 victory. It was Lawrence Shankland who gave us the lead early on but our opponents hit back 10 minutes later, the boys got fired up at half time and Adrian Sporle restored the lead before Lawrence Shankland held his nerve to score a very late penalty.
In the second leg, it was about managing the game to ensure we didn’t throw it away. On the night it was 1-0 loss but that meant a 3-2 win on aggregate. It wasn’t a bad performance by any means, it was an even game but Sparta Prague scored in the 86th minute for a nervy finish but ultimately the boys got the job done.
The play-off round presented Turkish side Sivasspor and the away game was first up. I just wanted us to avoid defeat here and whilst we didn’t score, it finished 0-0. It wasn’t the most enthralling game of football but at least my side have a bit of control going back to Tannadice to hopefully grab a positive result.
Tannadice Park was rocking at full capacity for the second leg with the group stage one step away and whilst it was a cagey game, Dundee United came through with the 1-0 win! Both teams were going for it but it all came from a corner as the ball was whipped in and Shaun Want got up for a big header at the back post. The second half saw us have the better chances but the victory was secured winning 1-0 on aggregate. Off to the group stage we go!
The group draw was made and I’m not too sure how I feel about it to be honest…
Athletic Bilbao are a very capable side within Europe and so are Shakhtar who have featured many times within the Champions League and Europa League. KRC Genk again are a decent side but that could be where our results come from. Regardless we’ll see what can be done and hopefully I can grab an unlikely knockout round qualification.
First thing, I embarked on was my National A licence after successfully passing last season’s objectives.
Time for the start of the Scottish season, league and Betfred Cup action as I look to defend the trophy that we captured last season.
Not the easiest of starts in the league though, Celtic were welcomed to Tannadice and they also walked away with all three points in a 2-0 loss. I’d only signed three new first teamers at this point and it showed that there was vast improvements needed.
Next was Hibernian who the boys had a very good record against next season but again struggles going forward meant another loss at 1-0. It’s like my side are running out of ideas at the key moments or we’ve developed serial stage fright!
Betfred Cup Second Round action now and it’s Hibernian again! Due to our European adventures it gives a free pass on the group stage of the competition and we made use of it with a 2-1 win. A fighting performance after going 1-0 down, Lawrence Shankland & Nicky Clark popped up with the goals to secure the progression.
Back to the league for a tie with Motherwell and the lads really turned it on with a 4-0 victory! A good day for our left sided players as Jamie Robson & Adrian Sporle got the team going before a second half double from Lawrence Shankland. A lot better from the team and the type of football I want to see!
Last game of the month was against Aberdeen in the first New Firm derby of the season. Safe to say it wasn’t a classic finishing 0-0. These games are often cagey and no-one seems to take the risk to secure the win, these are the kind of games I want us winning however.
Mixed start but it’s early days so plenty to build on as we go through the early parts of the season.
After four games we sit in 9th but it’s nothing for me to worry about at this stage. It’s a long season in Scotland and the league should start to shape up a little after 11-12 games, so hopefully the team start to pick it up a bit!
Up next I’ll be navigating through the early parts of the season to see if the team can settle down a bit with all the new players and get moving up the table. I’d rather get a good start rather than be playing catch up after the winter period but then again, I’m sure we all feel that way!
DP-FM’s Louis is back in control of The Far East Express, a joint network save shared with other awesome FM content creators. After a silver patch of picking up trophies, the task is now to rebuild fallen South Korean club Gangwon as they find themselves lying in the depths of the second tier!
Season 9 Episode 1 is right here to get you going on the current journey – https://atomic-temporary-187110868.wpcomstaging.com/2021/08/17/the-far-east-express-s9-ep-1-oh-gangwon-then/
Thanks as always for reading guys, hope you’ve enjoyed the start to season 2 and there will be more to come in the near future, take care all!