Generation Guimaraes – #S1.2 – What Could’ve Been…

Welcome back to Generation Guimaraes all and in this one, my first season in charge will be completed. It was a very promising start as well as my side were lying in second place come the end of 2021 (details in the last episode) however, sides around us had games in hand so it was all about trying to continue the good form that was shown.

A good few bits to get through this episode, starting with the January transfer window and youth intake. After that there will be a focus on the league and Taca de Portugal before reviewing some different areas to sign off the season.

The Save Aims & Rules

With how I want this save to work, I need to be mindful of the squad season on season. As there is a lot of emphasis on the youth setup as these players will shape the first team in seasons to come. Here are the aims and rules to give some context of what I’m trying to pull off here.

  • Squad average age must be a maximum of 23 every season.
  • Disrupt the Top 3 and become a top team in Portugal (Porto, Benfica, Sporting Lisbon).
  • Win the club’s first league title.
  • Win the club’s first European title.
  • Win a domestic treble (League, Cup, Supercup or League Cup) or a European treble (League, Cup, European Cup)

A lot to aim for but the squad average age must be achieved by the end of the summer transfer window each season – IF THIS IS FAILED, I MUST RESIGN FROM MY ROLE!

Winter Transfer Window 2021/22

I didn’t really have an aim going into this window as the squad were playing really well and there was no positions of issue in the short term. In general, I like to do my business in the summer window due to there being more time for one and it allows me to bed in new players in pre-season…unless I’m panic buying on deadline day of course.

However, there was one notable signing which was on pre-contract. Those of you who followed ‘The Tangerine Dream’ series will remember the name Jeando Fuchs an all action midfielder who broke my heart and left for China…but now we will be reunited come the 2022/23 season!

Before we take a look at the outgoings, there was one player in defender Pedro Henrique who returned from a loan spell in Brazil but looks quite the part as he comes back into the first team to compete for a place in the back four, great physical attributes on this guy.

Moving on to the outgoings, there wasn’t too much movement in terms of the first team but there was littles bits and pieces going on in the development squads.

Jorge Fernandes left the club for £500k to Fortuna Dusseldorf in Germany as the back up centre back’s chances of playing further decreased with Pedro Henrique’s return. Sergio Diaz joins Liga II side Rio Ave on loan for the rest of the season after initial struggles to adapt to Portuguese football, hopefully this will aid in playing a part in the team next season.

For the rest of the loans/transfers there is nothing major going on in terms of prospects but safe to say Varzim SC & Academico de Viseu are a fan of our players, signing a few each!

Director of Football Signings

My Director of Football Jaime Teixeira was very busy in the summer and he was at it again in January, he even proceeded to spend some the transfer budget in the process this time!

Seven new faces but the performance in this window is a lot better than the summer. All seem to look good future prospects but my only question mark is over Karim Idha as the young defensive midfielder doesn’t look to be to future standard. Teixeira ventured into England for a couple of signings in Josh Hinds & Matt Ward but will they make it in Portugal?

Youth Intake 2021/22

There was a projection of an excellent youth intake when the report came out earlier in the season so I had very high hopes for the players coming in. Firstly, let’s look at those considered ‘Elite Talents’.

Well, the future looks very bright with this group. Some very good talents there but the stand outs at this point are goalkeeper Antonio Meneses & Gilson Almeida who is a playmaker type midfielder.

Into the ‘top talents’ as well and again its a very good group who all have the potential of being very good first team players, of course time will only tell if they reach the heights expected.

A fantastic intake and hopefully I can work some magic with all of these players’ development and we will get the opportunity to see them in the first team in the next few seasons.

Primeira Liga – JAN – MAR 2022

It was an average period of results over these three months but inconsistency more than set in as we kept picking up needless draws with either conceding late on or scrambling to avoid a loss.

The draws with Boavista (1-1) & Vizela (2-2) are frustrating as they are two teams that we dominated earlier in the season, putting five goals past both of them. On the flip side I’m happy to hold Benfica (1-1) & Sporting Lison (1-1) to share the points but at the same time, in the unlikely potential of a top three finish, we are losing ground.

Porto seemingly got payback for our past results against them, beating us 3-0 with ease in what I view as a bit of a reality check. Much work ahead that’s for sure! Anyway, league table update…

Vitoria SC currently occupy fourth place with a small cushion to fifth but the good news is that we are guaranteed European football next season. The top three when it’s all said and done get Champions League places which is absolute dreamland for us but I’d be more than happy with a place in the Europa League so game on.

Primeira Liga – APR – MAY 2022

We come into the last couple of months where there was only four league matches to be played, for any hope of a third placed finish, my side had to pick up as many points as possible. Which they did to an extent taking ten points from a possible twelve.

But again, a silly draw costs us three points as an own goal in the 2-2 draw with Portimonense SC saves our blushes. This of course set us back as Porto and Benfica won and despite the late 1-0 victory over Gil Vicente, our league rivals matched the result.

The boys more or less played with no pressure in the last two games and it definitely showed with two more dominate performance. Our fate was sealed but what European competition will we find ourselves in?

It’s a solid fourth placed finish in our first season however, I do feel if the form from the first half of the season carried on, it could have been a different conversation. Lots of positives to take though, as my side were the third highest scorers in the league and two team records were broken as 21 wins in a season is a new club record as well as the 70 points amassed.

It will be Europa League football next season which I’m delighted about as this is a great competition for the current squad (depending who stays in the summer). Vitoria Guimaraes have been seen in the Europa League a good few times over recent years so I hope to manage a good campaign in the competition.

Now whilst we’re on the subject of leagues, some very good and promising news popped up about the U19s squad as they secured their division league title, beating the big three to the title as well, top work lads!

Taca de Portugal Rounds 6 – Final 2021/22

In the last episode, my side had already beaten three sides in O Elvas, SC Farense & Porto securing a sixth round tie with fourth tier side SP Espinho. As the title suggests, this was en route to the cup final but before I take you through that, lets see how we got there first.

That match with SP Espinho was actually a quarter final but it was business as usual with a very comfortable 3-0 win. Fellow Primeira Liga side FC Arouca were the semi-final opponents which was spread over two legs. Two very solid performances brought two 3-0 victories, winning 6-0 on aggregate.

The Final

A monster of a tie in the final with Sporting Lisbon who have topped the league for the majority of the season. One thing about this team though and we’ve seen it over the season, Vitoria SC don’t just lie down for the big teams in Portugal (bar the 3-0 loss to Porto) and I was looking for more of the same today.

However, after a lot of first half attacking pressure from Sporting Lisbon, our opponents took the lead in the 43rd minute through Pedro Porro. This was after some quick build up play and Porro found himself free at the back post.

The second half Vitoria Guimaraes made chance after chance but nothing was hitting the net and just when I thought it was all over, a massive bit of luck keeps my side in the game in the 95th minute! A Rafa Soares cross was diverted into his own net by Zouhair Zeddal.

This took the game to extra time which was a drab and tired looking period so it was off to penalties with it all on the line…

It was a 5-3 loss on penalties after struggling striker Bruno Duarte saw his effort saved and Sporting Lisbon converted all of their penalties. A massive shame but at the same time at points of the match it didn’t look like penalties would be the case. Our let down was in forward areas, as you’ll see from the match ratings my front four didn’t have their best games ever.

End of Season Review 2021/22

One great piece of news is a long term club vision being achieved, as the board now consider use as ‘the best of rest’ in Portugal.

Player Performances

There was three stand out players for me this season, in left back Rafa Soares, midfield playmaker Andre Almeida & of course winger Marcus Edwards. I’ll start with Soares and his crazy 21 assist haul for the season from left back, a constant reliable performer but his creativity wasn’t his only stat that impressed.

Andre Almeida is a sought after young player and you can see why with his goal scoring and assist contribution. Every team needs a bit of a risk taker and Almeida is certainly our man for that.

Lastly, Marcus Edwards had a very good season featuring on both the right and left wing. Finishing the season as the team’s top scorer as well, it’s safe to say he’s well accustomed to Portuguese football.

The Finances

Finances have been a struggle over the season as essentially I have to sell to be able to have a transfer budget or a decent wage budget. A fourth placed finish and European football next season will make you think the budgets will improve but it was quite the opposite…

A very low transfer budget and with the wage budget only covering what is already paid to current players on a weekly basis, it’s safe to say I have to be smart this summer. To me, the transfer budget isn’t too much of a shock as the club bank balance is on the decline.

The club lose money on a monthly basis due to loan repayments, running costs and wages. The gate receipts aren’t bringing in the money required to be profitable. However, with wins in the Europa League earning around £500k a match this should help improve this area and put more fans in the stands.

Commercially the club are performing well however, which is a positive sign but a lot of these earnings go towards paying of loan debt so it may be a year or two before this is seen within the club finances.

What’s Next?

Up next will be the beginning of season two but next season the blog format will be different as I will up it to three episodes instead of two that was seen in season one. The reason being is this…

All squads need clearing and rebuilding, the above is the unwanted list from U23s, U19s & B team. The DoF can take care of getting rid of these players. None will ever touch my first team so they may as well find a new club.

I will deal with the first team and there will be a number of players leaving and hopefully coming in. Due to this there will be an episode focusing on the summer window, squad, tactics and pre-season, the other two will cover the matches and some other bits. I have a vision here and I want a quick attacking philosophy but I need the right players in the first team and players developing in the youth squads, plenty of work ahead!

While you’re here, DP-FM’s guest blogger @emperor_fm is sticking around for FM22 and will be taking on the challenge of returning Deportivo La Coruna to the big time in Spain. With the current state of Spanish football, could this be Deportivo’s best opportunity yet?

Check out the intro post here – https://dpfmblog.com/2021/11/08/el-regreso-del-deportivo-introduction/

Latest episode – https://dpfmblog.com/2021/11/22/el-regreso-del-deportivo-s1-e2-according-to-plan/

I hope you all enjoyed season one, I couldn’t quite get my hands on a trophy but it was a good performance overall. Take care all and I’ll be back soon.

DP-FM’s Scott

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