Welcome to the season three finale! It’s a whole bunch of craziness in this one with different things happening in different areas, on and off the pitch. You may remember in the last instalment, a dodgy December lost us a bit of ground in the title race and from there on our form had to be as consistent as possible.
What to expect today? Well, there’s the league, domestic cups and that tough tie with Manchester City in the Champions League first knockout round. A turbulent January transfer window is to be had and the youth intake lands after a stellar projection. There will also be some club news as the president finally puts the finances to good use and of course the end of season review, including my top three player reviews from the squad.
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!
As per the introduction, there is plenty to get through so let’s get going!
Winter Transfer Window 2023/24
In terms of the first team, there was a few big players who have left the club or will be leaving at the end of the season, in a window that has made myself realise there will be a lot of work to do in the summer. However, one transfer saga finally came to an end…
Marcus Edwards finally leaves to Southampton for £30m! He played sporadically in the first half of the season (mainly in domestic cups) due to his poor training performances and his arrogance when criticised for it. Safe to say, I’m happy we’re all moving on from this scandal.
There was two more players from the starting XI who have decided on pastures new, starting with centre back Abdul Mumin who has joined West Ham for £12m. Often our rock at the back but with 1.5 years left on his contract the lad wanted out and unlike the next player I’ll talk about, I didn’t want him to go for free.
That other player is energetic midfielder Jeando Fuchs, who is off to Espanyol at the end of the season on a pre-contract agreement. Fuchs wasn’t happy after a summer move back to Scotland didn’t happen and refused to renew his contract…Espanyol is a step down team wise with their lack of European football.
The remaining outs are listed players from the youth squads moving on, amongst the usual development loans.
There was only three incomings, one was a DoF signing and the other two for first the team in areas of need.
Jose Quintas was signed for free from fourth tier side, Sintrense. Bags of potential this young winger and is already out on loan for competitive experience – this was Luis Campos’ only signing in the window.
In terms of the first team, young striker Agustin Alvarez was signed from Penarol for £3.6m, to bolster the misfiring front line. Signed for a good £5-6 million below his market value as well so hopefully it turns out to be a bargain. After Abdul Mumin’s exit, Anselmo Garcia McNulty (unbelievable name!) signed from Wolfsburg for £3.9m. A like for like replacement, and only 20 years of age, he looks like he’ll be some player!
The Youth Intake 2023/24
If you remember last time out, for a third season in a row an excellent intake was projected so I was filled with excitement…until this arrived.
Average is very generous but this season only four players were signed from this intake. Not sure how the Head of Youth Development got it so wrong as he is usually very reliable…I will let him off on this occasion!
Primeira Liga 2023/24
January – February 2024
Now this is more like it! A perfect January in the league as the team storm through the month with six victories. A great answer to that turbulent December performance. Five clean sheets out of six is very good going and that 2-0 victory over Sporting was very key in our bid to catch up to them and Porto.
In February, there was a couple of draws including the return fixture with Sporting (1-1) however, due to a few injuries and fixture congestions with the domestic cups, it started to take its toll on the squad a little. January is a fall out of this as well but all in all I’m very happy with this busy part of the season.
March – May 2024
These months will be broken down a bit more just to give you some context on the top three race.
The first three games of march were all wins, central midfielder Alfa Semedo found his scoring boots as well! The 1-0 win over Braga was as lucky as the own goal suggests in a poor performance, the best teams still win when they play badly right? Things were getting tense going into the final games however.
Five games to go and my side probably have the easiest run in but it’s never that simple. We need to be perfect and hope Porto skip a beat before that final fixture.
Safe to say the lads were nervy after an entertaining 4-3 victory over Tondela, with the other win coming against Estoril (2-1). That disappointing 1-1 draw with 15th placed Moreirense drew the curtain though as the late title bid was over.
Porto tie up the title as they flew through their three games leading to this point. It was frustrating to see to be honest.
Still, second place needed to be secured so there was still something to play for in that sense.
The nerves were still there from the lads despite the win over Nacional da Mardeira (1-0), following a stunning free kick from new forward Agustin Alvarez. Although, Porto couldn’t spare us in the final game, beating us 2-1. It was going to be close with Sporting but what did it mean for Vitori?
Final League Table
Second place was secured thanks to the Portuguese league using head to head results opposed to goal difference to determine positions of teams on the same points…how’s your luck.
10 points off of the pace for first place, our main let down was the misfiring strikers this season in the league. New striker Agustin Alvarez didn’t have the complete desired effect but he’s still adapting and Oscar Estupinan was very poor compared to last season. Samuele Mulattieri had a decent goal record (14) in all competitions but we needed them more in the league.
Second place for a second season in a row, next season we have to go all out for that title.
Champions League 2023/24
It was time for that first knockout round tie with Man City but it was always going to be an uphill battle.
A pair of 2-0 losses equates to a 4-0 loss on aggregate. Would’ve been nice to score but gulf in class was very apparent, their strike force was Erling Haaland & Paulo Dybala after all! It was a great run however, the group stage performance was excellent considering the opponents.
Domestic Cups 2023/24
Taça de Portugal
Last time out, despite some fragile performances my side made it to round six, where they faced rivals Boavista.
Well, Vitoria SC will not be retaining the Taça de Portugal after crashing out on penalties 4-3 to Boavista (2-2 AET). The chances the team had, I don’t even know how we ended up in that situation but we definitely paid the price for it.
Liga de Taça
The Liga de Taça is a very quick cup in terms of games if you enter at round three, essentially it’s a maximum of four matches. Our semi-final was against league rivals Sporting.
Well, this was another penalty shootout but the boys came out on top this time winning 3-1 on penalties (1-1 FT). Another match where my team were wasteful with their chances but thankfully Sporting had a very poor shootout allowing us to keep our nerve (bar Tomas Handel) to secure a final place. The final was against the very challenging Benfica.
COME ON THE LADS!!! LIGA DE TAÇA CHAMPIONS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE CLUB’S HISTORY!!!
A closely fought game between both sides but a quick start allowed us two goals in the first 11 minutes thanks to Harvey Elliot & Samuele Mulattieri! The boys showed great resilience to withstand the late pressure and secure the cup. That means all domestic cups in Portugal have now been won in these first three seasons which is good progress for the project here.
Now during my time here, I haven’t seen completely seen eye to eye with the president but finally he is putting the club’s earnings to good use by adding undersoil heating to the stadium and agreeing to upgrade the training facilities.
Mr Lisboa even approved my second request of improving wages for physios, which is the one area of the backroom staff which is lagging behind the rest.
End of Season Review 2023/24
A second season in a row with a domestic double but I feel in the league we let ourselves down. The club will dust itself off and go again, however if I can get the business right in the transfer market and get our strikers firing again then maybe that could be the difference next season.
One team at the club did take the title though, as our U23s win Liga U23 by a single point…you love to see it!
It’s time to see who I was impressed by this season in the squad and showcase these players like they deserve!
First up is left winger Nuno Moreira. He was brought in after Herculano Nabian’s exit from the club and had some big shoes to fill. Nuno didn’t just cover the goals and assists of Herculano, he obliterated them by chipping in with a massive 28 goal contributions (12G/16A). A fantastic first season from Moreira and I can’t wait to see what else he can bring.
Again, its another new signing from this season in goalkeeper Radoslaw Majecki, who has become some presence in goal for us. Not only has he kept 20 clean sheets which is a joint club record, Majecki really came up with big saves when you’d think the opposition were about to score. Very good distribution on the lad as well, moving the ball quickly from the back showing to be an all rounder.
Lastly, is someone who has been about since the start of the project and an original squad member but he has really flourished this season – all action midfielder Alfa Semedo. Alfa has had to step up this season after the struggles with Jeando Fuchs and he solidified himself in the BWM role. Great at retaining possession and gets stuck in, it was great so see Semedo add goals to his game this season.
Of course, you’ve already seen the improvements the club are making which shows there’s money in bank – the perks of European football!
Things are very healthy with £75m in the bank and a positive profit margin this season. The best thing about this is we’ll have our biggest transfer budget yet with £22.9m to spend and a massive improvement in the wage budget at £682k! It’s going to be some summer…I hope.
I will be taking a small break from Generation Guimaraes as I’ll be starting a network save with some great content creators and friends of DP-FM – ‘An American Tale’. This save will be going from bottom to top in the USA with a football legend in charge of proceedings, it’s going be madness!
This save will return after my season for the network save so keep your eyes peeled with everything that’s going on.
Emperor FM is currently on a journey to take Deportivo back to the heights of Spain and Europe – check out the series here.
RileyFM who has recently joined the DP-FM guest blogging team, is on his own journey in Italy with Cagliari, track his progress here.
Thanks as always for reading, I hope you all enjoyed and I appreciate everyone’s support. Happy new year as well and take care out there.