The Far East Express: S9 Ep 3 – Gambling for Promotion?

Well after not blogging for almost 2 months here I am releasing my third blog in a week, who’d have though hey? Not me. Anyway we are back with another episode documenting our journey through South-Korea all aboard The Far East Express! Last time out we went through the first 3 months of the season and actually performed far better than expected. We even ended the episode sitting in 4th, the final promotion playoff place, however with so much football to be played it would be tough for us to hold on to that position come the end of the season.

In this episode we will be going through the mid-season transfer window where we do everything we can to add quality to the squad with the complete lack of finances we have. We will also be going through the second third of the season covering the matches across June, July & August 2029. Plenty to get through, so let’s not waste any time!

June 2029

The transfer window doesn’t open until 25th June 2029, and as we only have 3 games this month, the final one being on the 24th June, I have the opportunity to bring you through that before we get into the transfer window section. 3 tough games await us, including games against the 2 relegated sides from last season, which means our only real opportunity for points is away from home at Asan FC. Come on then, let’s see how we got on…

Hmmm, not bad, not great. Well the month started in fantastic fashion as we managed to come away with a share of the points against the giants that are Gwangju (1-1). I was happy but considering we led all the way to the 88th minute it just felt like a bit of a kick in the teeth, but looking at the positives, that’s twice they’ve played us now and each time we have not only shared the points, but also looked like we can hold our own against that level.

Frustratingly we couldn’t get the 3 points I expected away at Asan FC. It was an incredibly stubborn defensive performance by them, and they didn’t even have a shot on target! However it proved successful for them as they managed to stop us from scoring and took a share of the points (0-0). We finished the month with a 0-1 loss to Ansan, never got going to be honest and were well beaten.

I forgot to take a screenshot of the table at the end of the month sorry, but I can tell you we dropped out of the promotion playoffs to 5th. There’s two ways of looking at the situation at the moment, we were unbeaten in 7 games before that Ansan result, however have also failed to win in 5 games going back to the end of May. The team are performing much better than expected but I feel if we make the right signings in the window we have a real chance at making the promotion playoffs.

Transfer Window

Into the transfer window we go then! It runs from 25th June to 23rd July, so a pretty standard mid-season window.

Transfer Outgoings

Only 2 players left the club during this transfer window, however they were both for decent transfer fees.

It was a shame to lose Kwak Geon-Woo, only 17 years of age but bags of potential and when Incheon came in for him his mind was made up. Negotiated a 50% future transfer fee for him though so hopefully he becomes a South-Korean legend and the proceeds from that could be our ticket out of financial ruin in the long term. Lou Shaolei was a player with good quality, but unfortunately he just didn’t suit my tactic, so I let him go for a pretty decent fee.

Transfer Incomings

As you will have read in the previous episodes we have less than zero money to play with, but for any of you who have read my Unemployed, Unskilled & Inexperienced series you will know that doesn’t concern me one bit. So let’s see what we could do in the window:

Now normally you will read the list of signings and they will actually mean something to you, however I would image 99.99% of you can barely read the names above let alone know who on earth they are and whether they’re any decent. Put it this way, I was DELIGHTED with this window, hopefully you can see why from the player profiles below:

Lee Jong-In (RW) is not only quality, but at 20 years of age has bags of potential! Pace to burn & a real ball-carrier he will definitely play a part in the second half of this season and the future of Gangwon. Yoon Jong-Gyu (RB/LB) was a real coup of a signing for us, a South-Korean international and adds great quality to the defensive area as well as overall leadership.

I’ll talk about my two Indonesian signings together. Yusak Elopere (CM) was another incredible signing we managed to get over the line, with plenty of international caps and great quality in his passing he is really an elite central midfielder at this level. We then followed that up with the signing of his international teammate Suegeng Huda (RW), another fantastic signing on a free with real experience despite his young age. Not to mention his quality & potential.

The other signing was just a backup GK, but it was important as our previous backup was only 1 star rated, so when Jang Seung-Joo became available we moved quickly to get it agreed. Overall though I have to say I think it was a fantastic window where we were able to add real quality to the team and make signings that will progress Gangwon a lot in the future.

As you can see we were certainly the most active team in the division, well in actual fact we were the most active team in South-Korea! Definitely made the right signings though without spending a single pound.

July 2029

Back to the football now and July was a busy month! 7 matches in total including2 cup games. Could we get back to winning ways in the league?

Well not immediately as we started with a 0-1 loss against runaway leaders Gyeongnam, which is to be expected. However what wasn’t expected was for us to then beat them in the cup only 3 days later! A fantastic performance from the boys got us through the 4th round and into the Korean FA Cup Quarter Final…. we couldn’t could we?

We finally got a win on the board in the league for the first time in 7 games as we beat Bucheon 1995 comfortably 2-0. Anyang manage to come to our home ground and leave with a share of the points for the second time this season, very frustrating as our performance deserved a win (1-1). However fortunately a trip to Suwon FC was up next which provided us with the perfect opportunity to get straight back to winning ways, and we did just that with a very pleasing 3-1 win.

But forget Suwon FC, it was time to take on the big guns, Suwon Samsung are one of the biggest clubs in South-Korea, so to have the opportunity to face them in the quarter final of the Korean FA Cup was a really exciting game to be a part of. The boys put up a great fight, even taking the lead before the game finished 1-1, penalties followed and unfortunately the lottery went in Suwon’s favour to end our fairytale run. Still so proud of the boys and particularly their performance on the day.

We end the month with a draw against Seoul E-Land, who are a team in real fine form at the moment, they appear to be building significant momentum which means bad news for us as they are currently in and around us going for that final promotion playoff place.

August 2029

We finish this episode with the month of August 2029. 4 games to play and some really tough fixtures, if we don’t turn up it could really spell the end of our promotion playoff place hopes. Come on boys, let’s keep the dream alive!

Oooo so close to the perfect month! Some absolutely incredible results here. We start the month with a 2-0 win away from home again Daejeon, which is an absolutely crucial result as the final promotion place will go to either us, them or Seoul E-Land. However look at the next result… 3-0 WIN AWAY AT GWANGJU?!? Mental. An incredible dominating performance against the heavy pre-season favourites gave us the most unlikely 3 points and made it 6 games unbeaten.

Again I was frustrated to drop points against a side like Asan FC, which has happened too many times this season. In the end we needed an 89th minute equaliser so I suppose it’s. a point gained in the end. Then as if the Gwangju result wasn’t enough, we finished the month finally getting points against Ansan, and not just ‘some’ points, 3 points to be exact! A cracker of a game as we went 0-1 down, then 1-2 down, before going in at half-time 3-2 up, and that’s how it remained for the rest of the match.

Now annoyingly I have forgotten to take a screenshot of the table completely through all 3 months in this episode, but I can promise you they return for the season finale. I can also tell you that at the end of August I am in 4th place, however Seoul-Eland & Daejeon are close behind so it will really be a case of whoever blinks first in the final third of the season in the race for the promotion playoff place.

What’s Next?

The next episode will be the finale of Season 9 as we go through the months of September, October & November 2029. We look to try to make a late charge to finish in the final promotion playoff place, which if we can do it would really complete the most unlikely of accomplishments this season. Regardless I am delighted to have managed the team to a much better season this time around and to have laid the foundations for a much brighter future at Gangwon.

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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