Welcome back to ‘Turkish Delight’, I’m releasing this post slightly later than I intended to thanks to a busy week at work. I really wanted to dive straight into this save following the full release on Monday night but unfortunately it had to wait. During BETA I got in a couple of seasons managing Chorley, a far cry from Gençlerbirliği which demonstrates the variety of challenges within this great game! My Chorley save enabled me to avoid the temptation to start this one early however I did take a quick look at Gençlerbirliği and upon full release a couple of things have changed! One of these is for the better and one for the worse but I’ll cover them off later on in the post. Having introduced the series last time out, this time I’m going to be taking a look at the facilities, finances and players of Gençlerbirliği. If you missed the first post or just want to refresh your memory please click here to read the introductory post.
Before we delve into Gençlerbirliği in more detail, here is a quick reminder of the 10 challenges that I want to achieve throughout this save:
- Win the Turkish Süper Lig
- Win the Turkish Cup
- Win a European Trophy
- Become the first Turkish side to win the Champions League
- Become the best team in Turkey on paper (Media Prediction 1st)
- Increase the Süper Lig coefficient so it becomes a top 5 European league
- Produce 5 homegrown Turkish Internationals (newgens only)
- Turn down an approach from one of the big 3 (Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş)
- Have a player I sign or produce become Gençlerbirliği’s record goal scorer (Current record is 72 goals by Andre Kona N’Gole)
Build our own stadium so we don’t have to share with those b*stards across the city
Now you might be wondering why number 10 is crossed out and thats because it turns out Gençlerbirliği already have future plans regarding their stadium. I mentioned a couple of things had changed since the BETA and the good change was regarding the stadium. On BETA the details for the stadium were incorrect, a lack of information online meant that I struggled to find out the correct situation myself but with a bit of help from the FM community it transpired that their ground is currently being redeveloped so they are playing elsewhere. @BurackUnver who very kindly did some research on this told me the following…
‘The official capacity is 55k. The project is ready. Only thing is the money. The past year Turkish lira has been downgrading against $ very badly. ( It’s still going on like that ) So the government officials that will build the stadium trying to find the money right now. They are planning to open the stadium at 2023 but if they couldn’t find the money that could be a bit of a problem.’
The stadium move is built in to the game following the full release which means that I need another challenge adding as I like to work with a nice round number of 10 so the final one will be…
10. To beat those b*stards across the city by 5 goals or more
Essentially I want to humiliate our rivals from the other half of the city who are more commonly known as Ankaragücü.
Now onto the content of this post.
The club culture is to develop players using the club’s youth system which works perfectly inline with my aim of producing 5 homegrown Turkish internationals and with no preferences regarding style of play it gives me the freedom to mould the clubs playing style as I see fit.
The expectations over the next 5 years are not what I was expecting but I think this really emphasises the challenge I’m facing, historically a top division side, I’m given 3 seasons to get back there (I was expecting 1) and with the season preview showing us as expected to finish 8th its not just the board who don’t think we are good enough to mount a promotion push at the first time of asking. Incidentally those b*stards across the city are predicted to finish 4th and make the playoffs, so it doesn’t look like we’ll be smashing them by 5 goals anytime soon!
The clubs facilities are impressive, great training and great youth facilities, this had me excited to check out the first team prospects in the youth team. *Spoiler Alert – There aren’t any* What lets the club down is that the academy coaching is only adequate and the youth recruitment basic. We have the right tools but the wrong people using them! Getting these improved will be my priority when it comes to requesting things from the board. We have one affiliate club in Hacettepe Spor who are in the 4th tier of Turkish football that isn’t playable on FM. I want to build up a strong network of affiliate clubs to develop my youth (once we start producing them) but I will wait until we manage to get back into the Süper Lig before setting this up. I mentioned the stadium redevelopment earlier on, you can see below that its a different capacity to the one @BurackUnver found with his research but it matches in that its still at the planning permission stage so we’ll just have to see how this plays out during the save.
I’ve already covered the good change from BETA to full release, now its time for the bad one…
On BETA there was just shy of £5m in the bank, a transfer budget of just over £2m and the projections were of a positive trajectory.
So what’s changed?
There is now only £1.7m in the bank, the transfer budget is only £170k and the projections show our bank balance being £5m in the red in 3 seasons time. The wage budget has stayed the same at £52,490 which is maxed out, as has the debt which is 1 loan that is payable until the end of May 2024. With no signings having taken place since the release of BETA I can only think its due to the update to the stadium. There are clearly some financial problems at the club and it most certainly won’t be the club paying for the new stadium. Getting promoted back to the Süper Lig as quickly as possible has to be our aim as that will help out the finances no end!
Now lets assess how I’m feeling having waited for the full release. Am I annoyed that I didn’t start on BETA? A little.
Did I restart the save after seeing the change in hope that it generated a different financial situation every time? No comment. But what I will tell you is that it doesn’t 😉
Having looked at the supporting mechanisms in place I’m now going to move onto the playing squad.
Out of our 3 goalkeepers Ramazan Köse is the clear stand out, a very good goalkeeper for this level but having just turned 33 I’ll have to keep a lookout for a younger replacement in the next couple of years.
Our centre backs pick themselves with Kula and Kızıldağ clearly better than Mert. With only 3 centre backs available it doesn’t look like I’ll be using a formation that allows me to dabble with wide centre backs anytime soon.
We have 2 options on either side in the full back position but whilst none of them are that bad, none are that good either!
In the centre of the park I’ve grouped the DMs, CMs and AMs together. We have some real quality in Gül, Grechyshkin and Tshibola, plus some great potential in Aktaş. However after that there is a real drop off in quality. I have a number of options in terms of the shape I can play, I could go with a double pivot with either a CM or AM in front, a DM with 2 CMs or even 2 CMs and an AM.
Out wide we have a good selection to choose from, Brazilian Sandro Lima and the familiar name of Kazenga LuaLua (so good that they named him twice) are the stand outs.
Finally up top Blessing Eleke on loan from Belgian side Beerschot VA picks himself but similarly to other areas in the team, the competition just isn’t good enough.
My initial assessment is that we have a strong core to the side but if we got injuries to key men we would really struggle. We will definitely be playing with a back 4, AML, AMR and lone striker but the shape of the midfield is far from certain and will most likely be dictated by pre season performances. My primary aim in the transfer market will be to plug the gaps where we need back up. With the financial constraints in place this will be difficult to do, I can’t see any signings being made for the first 11 just yet.
Now I dropped a spoiler earlier in the post regarding the youth prospects or should I say lack of them. I’m not going to go into much detail on this but here is a view of the best of a bad bunch, I don’t believe that any of them will make it at this club. If one did it would most likely be a Ukrainian on loan from Dnipro but I doubt I’ll even be making that loan deal permanent.
Despite the board giving me 3 years to get promoted I will be aiming to get promoted at the first time of asking, whether that is by the playoffs or automatic promotion I don’t really care! So lets hope my main players stay fit as otherwise I think my first season could have a disappointing end.
That is all I’m going to cover for now, thanks for taking the time to read this post, I’ll be back soon with a review of my first season in charge of Gençlerbirliği. Before I go, there are a few other content creators who are visiting Turkey this year, if this interests you then please take a look at the links at the bottom of this post.
The Last Throw.