2028/2029 Season

Hello! Welcome back to Sakaryaspor, as I mentioned in the previous post, this is going to be the last season with this save. I have throughly enjoyed it but I just have the feeling that I am ready for something new. So let’s see how our final season goes…

Transfers In:


First through the door is Omer Vatansever on loan from Trabzonspor, I feel like this is an upgrade in central defence. Bartug Elmaz joins on a free, offering cover in the midfield area. Rodrigo Rodriguez who can play RB or CB comes in for a £1.1million outlay. Alejandro Zuluaga is our biggest signing to date, costing us £11.25million from Man City, an upgrade on Barcola, I am hopeful he can help us stop conceding so many goals. Next is Ozer Mert, somewhat of a coup for us, £3.8million from Bayern Munich, definitely going to be a big fish in a small pond here with us. Calegari signs for free after a successful loan spell last season. Michael Cuisance signs on a free while Hazar sets us back £2.2million.

Transfers Out:

The biggest names leaving us this season were Kayky who moved to Cruzeiro for £2.5million. Anthony Rouault signed for Genoa for £4.6million and Malcolm Barcola went to St Etienne for £2.1million.

Tactics:

For this season we have switched to a 4-4-2 Diamond. I did this because I feel like having someone in the DM area will offer a bit more cover to the defence, we can use the Mezzala to attack the half spaces out wide. Having two strikers will also allow us to be more creative in the final third rather than relying on one man.

The first image is what I consider to be our strongest eleven. The second image is what I consider to be our rotational options while the third image shows our utility players who will cover for injuries/suspensions. The biggest change is we are now utilising Moises Argueta in the AM role, previously he had been used as a CM (DLP). I felt like we could get more out of him, so allowing him more creative freedom further up the pitch seemed to be the most logical thing to do, especially with our new players coming in to play in the CM and DM areas.

Fixtures & Results:

Our season got off to a good start, we were given a relatively easy group in the Europa Conference League.

Also, Bernal was recognised as Europe’s Golden Boy! A huge achievement for the young Colombian. He is officially classed as a wonderkid in FM now.

January Transfer Window:

In January we said goodbye to Mueanta after Zagreb offered us £6million. His departure freed up a foreign player space in the squad and our DoF Emre recommended we sign Manuel Argueta (no relation to Moises). After a scouting expedition I was really impressed with his attributes and the fact that he would only cost us £2million. So we snapped him up. Also, Carlos Bernal left us to join Man Utd for £13.25million however they did loan him back to us until the end of the season.

My hopes for a run in the Europa Conference League were scuppered by Atalanta in the Second Knockout Round. I can’t really complain, they were just better than us.

We finished third, which thanks to the league climbing up the coefficients table, now means Champions League qualification. Overall a good season, its a shame we couldn’t finish with a trophy but we are now an established Super Lig team who regularly qualifies for European competitions.

Just a quick mention for our Under 19s who have had their most successful season in the Elite Group.

The decision to switch Moises Argueta to AM was vindicated as he provided us with 16 goals and 14 assists! Last season he only managed 2 goals and 10 assists.

Our team was starting to be recognised globally with some of our most important players picking up awards:

Then vs Now:

As we say goodbye to Sakaryaspor the progression is clear to see. In the last 8 seasons the club has gone from the third tier of Turkish football to playing in the Super Lig (and even winning it). Consistently qualifying for Europe has allowed us the finances to constantly improve the facilities. Huge progress in a relatively short space of time, after 8 seasons I am ready for something new. I have absolutely loved this save and loved writing about it even more.

Thank you so much to anyone who has taken the time to read anything I have written, it is much appreciated. I already have in mind what the next save of this FM22 cycle will be, I am looking forward to getting started and writing about it.

Thanks for reading!

2027/2028 Season

Hello and welcome back to Sakaryaspor! Last season was incredible, we won the league and the cup. With our first venture into the Champions League how would we fair this season?

Transfers In:

Carlos Bernal joins us for £1.5million, a small outlay for such a quality player. Gökdeniz joins us from Caykur Rizespor, we spent £6million on him which with hindsight might have been a mistake. Suphanat Mueanta comes on a free, he just gives us a bit more quality going forward. Ferhat Cogalan signs to be a fringe player while Julian Aude is here to add quality at LB. Finally a player I am a huge fan of IRL, Calegari. He can play RB, RWB or in midfield. He is a great player, he joins us on loan from Man Utd in game.

Transfers Out:

The main outgoings were Jacob Ramsey who failed to make an impression in his season here, and Felix Nmecha who was in the final year of his contract so we decided to get some money in for him.

Results:

Well, our season got off to a great start winning the Super Cup! While our first ever venture into the Champions League began with a very difficult group. I had no real expectations of us, if we get out of the group, great if not then I’m not going to be too disappointed.

Our league form suffered this season, we couldn’t seem to get any consistency going. Our leaky defence made a reappearance and we were conceding goals left, right and centre. I think it might be time to look for a new keeper.

In the January window we said goodbye to our wonderkid Neil Griffin as Barcelona bid £19.5million for him, the money was too good to refuse for us. Sad as it was to see him go, we can reinvest that money into the club to help us progress.

I have to admit, the save became at bit monotonous this season, I started to lose interest in it. I think it is becoming a bit repetitive, so I feel like next season will be the last one at Sakaryaspor. Galatasaray came back fighting and took the title away from us. We finished 5th and are in the Europa Conference League next season. A competition I feel we have a good chance at winning. I am going to assess the squad and make some improvements, I will most likely tweak the tactic. Let’s see if we can go out on a high.

When I started this save the Super Lig was 14th in the coefficients table, seven seasons in and it is up to 6th. There are some real quality players in this league now and it has become very competitive. In terms of finances, reputation and squad quality, Galatasaray are still above the rest but other teams such as Caykur Rizespor and BB Erzurumspor.

A bit of a hit and miss season then, I am hopeful we can turn it around next season.

Thanks for reading!

2025/2026 Season

Welcome back to Sakaryaspor! Last season went rather well. Going into this season my main focus was on maintaining our challenge for European places in the league. While our performance in the Europa League will likely depend on who is in our group. Let’s see how we get on…

Transfers In:

With us having extra fixtures due to our Europa League adventure, I wanted to ensure we had enough depth in the squad to cope with the extra demands. First through the door we have Burak Ince on loan from our senior affiliate Galatasaray. He is there to add some competition in midfield. I doubt he will be a starter, more an impact sub. Next we have Cemali, also on loan from Galatasaray, we are paying all his wages but I felt he was worth the outlay. The main reason why I signed him is because of his versatility, he is equally adept playing at CB or LB which could prove vital if we get injuries. Gonzalo Alvarez is a newgen CB who was available on a free. He is a huge improvement for our defence.

HAMZA IS BACK! Hamza joined us on loan a few seasons ago and was a key player during our promotion season. I had been trying to sign him ever since but no luck. Finally Galatasaray agreed to let him go for £3 million. I am so happy he is back, Hamza is who I see as being the natural heir to Irfan in the Mezzala role. Nihat Gunes is a youngster we picked up for £1.7million from RB Salzburg, I think we can develop him into a good player. Finally, we have Jacob Ramsey who was available on a free. I am a fan of him IRL and I thought it was too good of an opportunity to miss. Adding some Premier League experience could be useful.

Transfers Out:

The majority of our transfers out was youngsters going out on loan. The most notable was Dustin Tayeb who went off to Milan after they met his release clause.

All our transfers were done and dusted and we were ready for the season ahead… or so I thought…

The board took it upon themselves to sell our best player. I understand why they thought that £9.75million was a good offer but Mbi had a release clause of £11million, I do feel we could have gotten that much. At least we have a percentage of any profit on the next sale.

So with our best player off to Germany we needed a replacement, and quickly.

Enter Anthony Rouault, he was on the transfer list at Udinese so we picked him up for £800k which is a good deal for us.

Using some of the money we had gained on the Mbi sale, I decided to invest just over a million in a few youngsters I had been keeping an eye on.

Muhammet Atkas is the only one going straight into the first team. The rest will be in the Under 19s and we will see how they develop over the season.

Tactics:

These two formations are what I think will be most useful to us this season. Since we did so well last season I think teams will no longer push higher up against us. Our success last season with strikerless counted on teams pushing higher up and us being able to exploit the space behind. I think we need to be on the front foot this season and take the game to the opposition more often.

The Europa League draw: Erm, can I redo the draw please?

Our season didn’t get off to the best start and our debut in Europe resulted in us being played off the park by Zagreb. When another heavy defeat to Celtic followed I feared the worst. I had visions of us finishing bottom of the group with zero points. Amazingly we turned it around and after a very credible 0-0 draw with Lazio we won our return games against Zagreb and Celtic. Which resulted in us finishing second and going through to the First Knockout Round!

Our league form was still faltering though. Heavy defeats against Galatasaray and the revitalised Trabzonspor reminded me of just how big the gap is between us and the top teams.

January Transfer Window

The January window saw two players joining us. Australian youngster Neil Griffin who had signed a deal with us at 16 was finally allowed to join us as he turned 18. Lars Leinonen also joins on a free as his HJK contract expired.

Sadly leaving us was another key player as Tezcan drew in offers from Porto and Arsenal, opting to join the latter he was loaned back to us for the remainder of the season.

We made it to the Quarter Final of the cup this year, then lost to a team we really should beat. That is probably a good summary of our league performance this season, we lost to teams that we should be comfortably beating. We faired better in the Europa League, dispatching of Ajax 6-3 on aggregate we progressed through to the Second Knockout Round where Tottenham put an end to our European dream. I can’t complain at that, we gave it everything, they were just better than us. When I saw the group I never thought we would get out of it so to get as far as we did was amazing.

Neil Griffin proved to be invaluable in the final stages of the season, his goals ensured we picked up vital points. Our end of season for meant we climbed the table and bagged ourselves a 4th place finish. One place lower than last season, we will be in the Europa Conference League next season. I am pleased we have managed to get into the European places again. It means we can keep attracting good players and the finances will keep improving. Our success has meant that our facilities have been able to steadily improve and we have gone from having below average training and youth facilities to now having great facilities.

Neil Griffin hit the ground running and chipped in with 7 goals and 4 assists in 16 appearances.

A Quick Look at the Data Hub…

We play a short passing game which ensures we keep the ball moving. Therefore we are very accurate with our passing. This is very beneficial to a team like us as many of our players are not brilliant at dribbling.

Our attacking efficiency is pleasing as we are less likely to waste opportunities. In the training schedule I placed a lot of emphasis on chance creation and conversion this season. I feel like it has paid off here.

Our defence is something we need to work on as we do concede a lot of goals. I think we need to look into some tactical and training tweaks for next season. We are still pressing quite high so we win the ball back before it reaches our penalty area which is what I like us to do.

Looking Ahead…

While this season was undoubtedly a good season, I can see room for improvement. I think we are starting to build a really good team. Going into next season I would like us to at least ensure European football for a third season, I really want to focus on closing the gap in the league between us at the ‘top’ teams.

Thank you for reading!

2024/2025 Season

Just a quick update this season due to real life commitments.

So with our transfer business done, we are ready. Can we build on last seasons 8th place finish? Or will we suffer from Second Season Syndrome?

This was the formation we started the season with and as you can see, we got off to a decent start. I was relatively happy but I was concerned at the lack of clean sheets. I was disappointed with losses to BB Erzurumspor and Adana Demirspor as they are teams we really should be beating.

The FM Gods decided to bless us with an injury crisis in defence which can only have added to our issues.

As you can see… we got further than the fifth round of the cup! Don’t worry though, normal service was resumed in the sixth, we lost on away goals.

The January transfer window saw three additions, Abukar Mohamed is the most notable and he comes in to be a first team regular as our midfield needed improving.

I decided to take a risk and change the formation, we went strikerless. We were doing okay with the other formation but I wasn’t entirely happy with it. Watching us play, we could have been 4-0 up and I still wouldn’t put it beyond us to implode and concede 5.

I wanted a formation where we could be defensively sound and play to our strengths which is short passing, keeping possession and catching teams on the break.

Oh then and this happened:

Fantastic.

We had a brilliant end to the season, this formation works a treat. It’s like we are finally playing the football I have been wanting us to play from the start.

We keep the ball so well, it’s so pleasing to watch. Irfan was our star man this season, chipping in with 14 goals and 13 assists. I love seeing players like Irfan, Kaan, Serkan thriving in the top tier. They have been with us from the start when we were in the third division and have developed with us as a club.

The main issue I see is the defence, so we don’t face too many shots per game but we do concede a lot of them. I think we may have to look into strengthening the defence over the future seasons.

So… where did we finish? We were 8th last season. Our media prediction for this season was 16th.

THIRD!!!!

We recorded the clubs best ever finish! European football is coming to Sakarya! I am so proud of this team.

Looking at the table, Galatasaray are just streets ahead of everyone else, I am confident we can catch Fenerbahce within a couple of years though. Besiktas have fallen apart is recent seasons.

I know it’s the teams success but this was nice…

What a season!

Transfer Special: 2024

With our 8th place finish in our first season in the Super Lig I found we were attracting better quality players. Also, I feel this particular transfer window could be crucial as if we recruit well we could really push on and be challenging for the European places within a few seasons. Sadly we will have to say goodbye to some players who have stayed with us while climbing up the leagues but just aren’t good enough at this level.

So… let’s start with the most notable transfers out:

Mücahit leaves us for £300k, he struggled with the step up and I felt that we were making too good of a profit here to turn it down.

Basit Umar also leaves for £300k, we signed him for free and his goals were crucial to us in our promotion season but with only 6 goals this season he struggled.

Now, remember Mete? Our key man from last season who was attracting the likes of Arsenal and PSG? Could we keep him?

In a word… No. Arsenal met his release clause… But all is not lost because we have him back on loan until the end of the season.

Paul Osew left us for a return to England, again we received a very good bid for a player that cost us nothing so it just made sense to cash in.

Now for the transfers in… Let’s just start with what I consider to be our biggest signings to date.

We picked up Felix Nmecha and Bright Arrey-Mbi for free! Both of these are a huge step up for us in terms of quality. Mbi can play either CB or LB while Felix Nmecha can play in various positions in the attacking third.

Other signings you may have heard of include Jonathan Panzo (LB/CB/DM) and Titouan Thomas (DM/CM) who were also available as free agents.

Tezcan is a newgen who I hope we can develop into a star player. I will write about his development in later posts.

Mateusz Lis comes in to provide some competition to Barcola in goal.

Here are some youngsters we signed, they have been loaned out to get some first team experience. I think we are building a good squad of players with some really good young players. The plan is to loan them our for one or two seasons and then assess who is ready to step into the first team.

One final signing…

Abdel Belarbi joins us from Feyenoord. While not the most technical, we only paid £20k for him so I am confident we will be able to make a decent profit on him in a few seasons.

It has been a very busy window and obviously team cohesion will take a while to gel. I felt it was necessary to get some of the players who we clearly not going to play at this level off the books. By bringing in these new faces I think we have a nice platform to build on. I would like us to be reaching European football within 2 or 3 season if I am honest.

We have a new Director of Football… Turkish legend Emre joins our backroom staff. Again, a clear sign we are improving as we are also attracting better quality staff to come and work for us. Let’s hope Emre can help find us some wonderkids!

Lastly, going into the season this is how we line up. I originally had us playing a 4-3-3 DM but found Nmecha was more effective starting a bit further back.

Transfers done… Pre season done… Let’s kick off the season!

2023/2024 Season

After a very unexpected promotion last season, we were most definitely tipped for relegation this season. Could we survive our first season in the top flight?

Transfers In:

Firstly, we picked up Ahmet Sivri, a young attacking midfielder/striker from Eyüpspor (a Yorkshire lass like myself appreciates the name). Benhur Keser comes in to possibly be a first team regular, he is a very versatile player who I think can add a bit of quality. Enes (who set us back £175k) is who I see as being the replacement to Hamza as he wouldn’t renew his loan deal.

Paul Osew comes in on a free from Wimbledon, not the best technically but I think his pace will give us a better outlet on the left wing. Jean-Pierre Longonda (CM) and Mohammed Tahiri (ST) were both being released by their respective clubs so I decided to take a chance on them both.

Christopher Mamengi is probably our biggest signing to date, I am a fan of him IRL so when I saw he was available on a free I didn’t hesitate to sign him. I think he and Kaan will be able to form a good partnership in central defence.

Malcolm Barcola is hopefully the keeper we have been looking for, he is undoubtedly a step up from literally all of our previous keepers. Youngster Mete is in on a free, I really like the look of him, bags of potential and possibly a healthy profit for us later on.

Our final signing of the summer… Yacine Bammou, at 31 he brings some experience to a young squad and gives us a bit more fire power in attack.

There were no real notable transfers out other than some youngsters going out on loan for first team experience.

We had strengthened the squad as best we could, time to kick off our first season in the Super Lig.

We had an okay start to life in the top flight, sticking with our 5-3-2 formation from last season we were largely inconsistent. Mete was a shining light for us. Defensively we struggled, I never felt completely confident when watching us. It was more ‘when’ we self implode rather than ‘if’.

Then December happened, it can only be described as dreadful. We could not buy a win, or a clean sheet. We completed our annual fifth round exit of the cup so with only our survival in the league to focus on I decided to use the January transfer window to make some changes.

January Transfer Window:

2 additions, Noam Bonnet a DM/CM we signed on a free and Yusuf comes in on loan from our senior affiliate Galatasaray.

The New Tactic:

I thought for a while about what was going wrong with the 5-3-2 formation, in truth I think the biggest problem was that because the promotion was so unexpected I was almost anticipating us to lose. It dawned on me, we are predicted to finish bottom of the league, the board want us to fight bravely against relegation so we have nothing to lose. Teams coming up against us would not expect us to play attacking football and force them back into their own half. Teams will be expecting to dominate us. So let’s just go attacking and see what happens.

We saw an instant impact! The speed that we could transition caused all kinds of chaos for our opponents. New signing Noam Bonnet was really the catalyst, he just fitted in perfectly in that Half Back role, providing extra cover in defence when needed. His passing ability is what was the biggest influence in us being able to turn defence into attack so quickly during games.

Yacine Bammou and Mete were our stand out players, without their goal we really would have struggled.

Our form continued right until the end of the season. As you can see, we were a different team in the second half of the season. Things just clicked for us.

Where did we finish? Our media prediction was bottom of the league.

8th! Completely secure in the league and 8 points off the European places. Who would’ve thought?! Even I didn’t think this was possible at the start of the season.

Our Under 19s also did well this season, gaining promotion to the top level. Maybe the HOYD was right about that golden generation.

Mete was undoubtedly our star player this season, as I write this he is attracting interest from the likes of Arsenal and PSG. Hopefully he is here next season and we can build on what can only be considered an overachievement this season.

Our youth intake this season was also very good. I think we can be positive about our youth prospects. With the right development we might see some of them feature in the first team sooner rather than later.

While this tactic was amazing for half a season, I am not sure it is sustainable going forward. Hopefully our status as a Super Lig team for the second season may enable us to sign some better players. We also need to move some players on who have stayed with us since last season but just aren’t good enough for this level. Likely another busy transfer window ahead.

An unexpected season where we overachieved again. Can’t complain at that! Life at Sakaryaspor is going well so far.

2022/2023 Season: Part Two

After an unbelievable start to life in the second tier of Turkish football surely our good form had to end, right?

Nope! Our good form continued! I’ll be honest, even I’m not sure how this is happening. We played some friendlies during December to keep the fitness and morale up while the World Cup (which Croatia won) was going on.

January Transfer Window:

We will start with the transfers out…

Ozan Sol who was a key player for us last season but struggled to get in the side this year left us, he wanted first team football which I just couldn’t guarantee him. Our top goalscorer Mustafa Tahir came to me and said that he was going to leave on a free at the end of the season so I decided to sell him now, he was part of a player exchange. Then youngsters Azat and Eray who were never going to make it at the club also left us.

Now for the transfers in…

Yilmaz comes in as a back up striker, Muhammed Tetik is a goalkeeper who has a lot of potential, he joins us as part of the swap deal for Mustafa Tahir. Ferhat Oktay is a 16 year old newgen who we picked up for free, hopefully we can develop him and sell him on in the future. Dogukan also joins on loan as a back up central defence. Rahmi Kaya is a young central defender who I can see being with us for a long time, I think he could be what we have been looking for in defence. Mücahit Akçay is our replacement for Mustafa Tahir. He is well versed at this level and at 24 could still develop further.

Rahmi Kaya
Mucahit Akcay

Going into the second half of the season, this is how we lined up:

Hamza had really found some good form and took the place of Zelalem in the starting eleven. Fatih at RWB is a youngster on loan from Fenerbahce who had a bad time with injuries at the start of the season so only came into the team in January.

Our golden generation came through, I was pleasantly surprised to see our HOYD may have been right, there are some good youngsters here. Time will tell but maybe we can develop some of these players.

The data shows that our attack was in fine form throughout the season, the lack of dribbles pleases me as it shows we are sticking to our passing philosophy.

Please excuse my bad editing but this (image below) is a very common goal that we scored.. the Wing Backs stretch the pitch offering us an outlet to potentially get a cross in. Also, I found it confuses the opponents Full Backs as they don’t know whether to stay wide and mark the Wing Backs or sit narrower and stop the central players. The Mezzala (in this case Irfan) is our where our main creative spark comes from.

The DLF is key here as he drops back into the half space between the midfield and attack, dragging the defenders with him. Creating space in behind for the Poacher to latch onto the pass. The Central Midfielder on Attack often makes late runs into the box while the Central Midfielder on Defends holds his position and is ready to nullify any counter attack.

The high press from last season is still effective, this is a big reason why we are so sound defensively, we simply stop teams before they even have chance to create a serious threat.

So the final third of the season looked like this:

You may have noticed I haven’t posted the league table, well… that’s because this happened:

We guaranteed our promotion with two games to go, on the final day we went into the game knowing either a draw or a win would give us the title. We did it! What a season!

We were relegation favourites, predicted to finish 18th and we only went and won the league! I can’t believe it.

Looking ahead to life in the Super Lig is scary. We will be going up against big teams like Galatasaray, Fenerbahce, Besiktas, Trabzonspor… the list goes on.

I never expected back to back promotions so I have no real expectations for next season, let’s just try not to get relegated.

2022/2023 Season: Part One

Remember Ali Ozgun? Our top goalscorer from last season?

Yeah… we sold him…My thought process was that he’s 32 and he was about to enter the final year of his contract so lets just cash in now.

Transfers in:

King Kaan joins us permanently! He is the absolute rock of our defence, I had to try and sign him, it set us back £375k but he is absolutely worth it.

We spent £2k on bringing Goalkeeper Batuhan Sen in from Galatasaray. Then we dipped into the free agent market and picked up a LB/LWB called Julien Serrano who had been released by Monaco, Iranian international defender Iman Salimi came in to add some much need experience. We also picked up striker Basit Umar on a free. With a small amount of money left in the budget and needing more depth in defence we signed Özgür Çek, also a LB/LWB from Manisa for £30k.

Iman Salimi

Needing a bit more creativity in midfield we brought in youngster Hamza Akman on loan from Galatasaray and we found a player that some Arsenal fans may recognise:

Gedion Zelalem

Gedion Zelalem, once on the books of the Premier League club had just been released by New York FC so we swooped in and picked him up for free. Finally, young forward Samuel Noireau-Dauriat signs on loan from PSG.

Samuel Noireau-Dauriat

Transfers Out:

Other than Ali the biggest game leaving us was Onur Toprak, I just couldn’t turn down £140k, and as you will see we changed formation so as a winger he wasn’t going to get first team football.

Going into the season this is how we lined up:

We have gone for a 5-3-2 formation to provide a bit more defensive stability, Kaan and Ümit both starters from last season are joined by Salimi in central defence. Mustafa and Serrano offer an outlet to counter attack while playing as wing backs. Serkan is there to provide some cover in central midfield while Irfan and Zelalem have the creative licence to go forward. Mustafa Tahir who spent most of last season complaining about a lack of first team football gets his chance and begins as a DLF, while our young loanee Noireau-Dauriat plays as the poacher.

Our media prediction for the season is 18th, we are tipped for relegation. I am quietly confident we can avoid the drop, I think we could potentially reach mid-table but honestly I would just be happy to stay up this season.

Well what a start! As we reached the break for the 2022 World Cup we had only lost 2 games! Mustafa Tahir took his chance in the first team, scoring 13 goals in 18 games. The system really worked to nullify our opponents attacking threats and then the shorter passing allowed us to keep possession.

As we reach the halfway point of the season, the inbox item that we all dream of popped up… time will tell if this actually is a golden generation but I am hopeful.

Overall… I couldn’t have wished for a better start to the season!

2021/2022 Season

So we have our 4-2-3-1 tactic in place, we are ready to go…

What a start we have:

Ali Özgün very quickly became our star man. Playing as a poacher he remains in and around the box so he is always on hand to score a goal… or three. We went on a brilliant run from August-November, unbeaten conceding only 8 goals. We even turned over Altinordu in the cup 4-2.

Our first loss of the season was a defeat to Çorum FK who like us are favourites for promotion.

Our good form continued, Ali was banging in the goals, Irfan was a creative force in the midfield and King Kaan was an absolute rock in defence.

As you can see, we exited the cup in the fifth round to Sivasspor who are in the Super Lig.

The January transfer window came and went with no real involvement from us other than to send out a few youngsters on loan. I would have liked to have added a bit more depth in defence but lack of funds meant that we had to make do with what we had.

It was around this time that I hired myself a new assistant. One who needs no introduction… the legend himself Hasan Sas! Hopefully having a legend around the place will inspire the players.

Looking at the team data around the halfway point of the season, the shorter passing is paying dividends as we are keeping the ball well. In the simplest of terms… if we have the ball, the other team can’t score.

Our front three of Ozan, Onur and Ali cause a lot of problems for defenders by running at them, we had a lot of penalties given this season. Largely due to the defences in ability to cope with our attacking movement.

Defensively we are very solid, we are pressing more often and winning the ball back high up the pitch. There is relatively little action in our defensive third therefore we make fewer blocks and clearances.

The final third of the season went as we had hoped, more of the same. Ali’s goal scoring was a little less emphatic but Ozan Sol and Irfan Akgun really stepped up and helped us out.

CHAMPIONS!

What a season, I didn’t expect us to win the league by such a margin, this gives me hope moving forward that we can stay up next season and then build on that.

Ali was the top goalscorer with 31 goals in the league while Irfan had the highest amount of assists with 18. We really got the best out of him in that Mezzala role, he seemed to thrive in those half spaces.

We were really solid in defence throughout and this enabled us to build from the defence and transition successfully into attack.

Thinking ahead, its likely that the tactic will have to change as I don’t think we will be able to be so attacking in Lig 1. Next season will be about not getting relegated.

I love this team, this is what I love about FM the most, you develop affinities with teams that you don’t even know. Consider me a Sakaryaspor fan from now on!

Squad and Tactics

When I first venture into the squad screen this is what I see:

A small squad yes, but I do think we have some good players. Especially for the level we are currently at. I will be looking at adding some depth to the team as one or two injuries will leave us very short.

Having looked at all the players attributes, here are the three players that I think will be key for us this season:

Ali Özgün
Irfan Akgün
Serkan

Ali will be our main goal threat, while Irfan is the most creative player we have. Serkan is naturally a central midfielder, however he can play at right back, looking at his attributes this is where I think he will be most effective for us.

New Additions:

So I asked the board for a Senior Affiliate, they came back with one suggestion and that was Galatasaray. Obviously I accepted, I hoped we would be able to get some talented young players on loan without having to make any wage contributions.

Kaan Arslan joins us from Galatasaray, he is a Centre Back and he is easily good enough to be a first team regular for us. Hopefully he will provide a solid defence for us. His technical attributes need improving but for a 21 year old he has decent mental and physicals.

Ömer Çakï is in to provide competition at left back, Eren Güler offers another option up front, while Ibrahim Aral adds depth to central midfield.

Nihat Sahin is a Goalkeeper that I brought in on a free transfer. He is slightly better than our current goalkeeper so he will begin the season as a starter.

Tactics:

Tactically I think the best course of action is to keep it as simple as possible, I want us to get promoted this season as I feel we have the players to achieve this.

After trying a few different formations in preseason (5-3-2, 4-4-2 and 4-3-2-1), I’ve settled on a fairly straight forward 4-2-3-1. I know it’s not adventurous or new but it’s the formation that suits the players we have. As we (hopefully) improve and can attract better player, the tactics will change.

This team selection is what I would like to try and stick with as much as possible.

I’ve gone for a flat back four with Central Defenders and Full Backs on support, I didn’t want the RB and LB to be going forward and leaving us exposed so with the support duty they don’t stray too far but do provide another outlet to cross into the box.

The Deep Lying Playmaker is on defend, just to sit in his position and again be another body in the middle of the park. I am pressing high up the pitch so I want players in and around this area to win the ball back for us to counter attack.

Irfan is our Mezzala, I hope he will operate in the half spaces between the midfield and the right wing. With Onur moving inside as an Inverted Winger this should create space for the Mezzala.

The Attacking Midfielder (in this case Ömer Can) is there to link the play between midfield and attack, and chip in with a few goals too.

Ozan and Ali are our main goal threats at Inside Forward and Poacher. Ozan is on attack so the intention is that he essentially acts as another striker, drifting in from the left. While Ali is a poacher as I didn’t want him running the channels, I want him in and around the penalty area and staying as high up the pitch as possible. As I mentioned previously I intend to press high and win the ball back so we need a forward who is ready to get into the opponents box quickly and efficiently.

That’s the plan, now we just need to make it happen.

Thank you for reading this, hope you enjoyed!