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The Headhunter - World Tour


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One of the great joys as a supporter of a non-elite football club is taking on one of the big boys and giving them a bloody nose. In most cases, you won't be able to keep up with them over the whole season, but that doesn't mean that on any given Saturday (or any other day) you can't go out and smash them in a one-off game. One man has decided to take this to an extreme, by touring the world to knock the big boys down a peg or two.

Meet Howard Headhunter:



Howard was just an ordinary (but very small) man, but reading @oneteaminglasgow's thread on noted football forum "Pie & Bovril" inspired him to set out on his own quest. Howard's dream is not to win trophies or to have any sort of managerial success whatsoever, but is instead to become a form of footballing troll by travelling round every single playable league in Football Manager 22 and beating every club who has ever won a league title.

It doesn't matter if you were champions of Ireland in 1924 or Spain in 2020, Howard Headhunter is coming for you, and he is going to beat you. Howard loves an underdog, so he is going to achieve all of this without managing any club which has ever won a league title themselves. Howard is a big fan of international football too, and is going to also beat every single team who has won a World Cup or continental championship.

After committing to his quest, Howard realised the scale of the task which faced him. By his research, there were 540 different club sides who he would have to beat, as well as 66 international teams. This was going to take a long, long time, and he might never get there, but my goodness Howard was still going to give it a go. So he packed everything up, left behind his wife and kids, and set out on his adventure. Where would it take him?

Edited by craigkillie
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Howard's Rules

  • Howard will start unemployed, and with no previous playing experience or coaching badges.
  • The aim is to secure a competitive victory over every single team who has ever won a league title and every country who have ever won a major international trophy.
  • The list of club champions is obtained directly from the competition history on Football Manager. The only exception is that I have also included any playable clubs in the game who won titles in now defunct countries (Czechoslovakia, East Germany, USSR, Yugoslavia).
  • The list of club champions is limited to clubs who still exist (obviously), and who started the game in a playable league. If a team drops out of the playable leagues during the game, we will keep checking up on them, but if we beat every other team and they still haven't returned then we will consider the challenge complete.
  • The list of international champions includes the winners of the World Cup plus the six continental championships. The Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia both won the European Championships, so that means we have to beat every single country which was part of those at the time.
  • To avoid a "painting the Forth Bridge" scenario, the list of teams to beat will only include clubs who won league titles in real life - titles won in FM after the game starts will not count.
  • Matches in every single competition will count, including continental competitions (so, for example, you could beat a Peruvian team in the Copa Libertadores whilst managing in Argentina).
  • A victory on penalties in a knockout cup match would count as a win, but a bonus point group stage shootout (eg in the Scottish League Cup) would not.
  • If a cup tie is played over two legs, it is sufficient to record a win in just one of the legs, even if you are eventually knocked out.
Edited by craigkillie
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Complete List of Champions




Team Nation Continent
Argentinos Juniors Argentina South America
Arsenal de Sarandi Argentina South America
Banfield Argentina South America
Boca Juniors Argentina South America
Chacarita Juniors Argentina South America
Estudiantes de la Plata Argentina South America
Ferro Carril Oeste Argentina South America
Gimnasia Argentina South America
Huracan Argentina South America
Independiente Argentina South America
Lanus Argentina South America
Newell’s Old Boys Argentina South America
Quilmes Argentina South America
Racing Club Argentina South America
River Plate Argentina South America
Rosario Central Argentina South America
San Lorenzo Argentina South America
Velez Sarsfield Argentina South America
Adelaide United Australia Asia
Brisbane Roar Australia Asia
Central Coast Mariners Australia Asia
Melbourne City Australia Asia
Melbourne Victory Australia Asia
Newcastle Jets Australia Asia
Sydney FC Australia Asia
Admira Wacker Modling Austria Europe
Austria Vienna Austria Europe
Blau-Weiss Linz Austria Europe
Florisdorfer AC Austria Europe
Grazer AK Austria Europe
LASK Linz Austria Europe
Rapid Vienna (& Germany) Austria Europe
Red Bull Salzburg Austria Europe
Sturm Graz Austria Europe
Wacker Innsbruck Austria Europe
WSG Tirol Austria Europe
BATE Borisov Belarus Europe
Belshina Bobruisk Belarus Europe
Dinamo Brest Belarus Europe
Dinamo Minsk Belarus Europe
Dnepr Mogilev Belarus Europe
Gomel Belarus Europe
Shakhter Soligorsk Belarus Europe
Slavia Mozyr Belarus Europe
Anderlecht Belgium Europe
Antwerp Belgium Europe
Cercle Brugge Belgium Europe
Club Brugge Belgium Europe
Genk Belgium Europe
Gent Belgium Europe
Mechelen Belgium Europe
RFC Liege Belgium Europe
Standard Liege Belgium Europe
Union Saint-Gilloise Belgium Europe
Atletico Mineiro Brazil South America
Atletico Paranaense Brazil South America
Bahia Brazil South America
Botafogo Brazil South America
Corinthians Brazil South America
Coritiba Brazil South America
Cruzeiro Brazil South America
Flamengo Brazil South America
Fluminense Brazil South America
Gremio Brazil South America
Guarani Brazil South America
Internacional Brazil South America
Palmeiras Brazil South America
Santos Brazil South America
Sao Paulo Brazil South America
Sport Recife Brazil South America
Vasco da Gama Brazil South America
Beroe Stara Zagora Bulgaria Europe
Botev Plovdiv Bulgaria Europe
Cherno More Varna Bulgaria Europe
CSKA Sofia Bulgaria Europe
Etar Veliko Tarnovo Bulgaria Europe
Levski Sofia Bulgaria Europe
Litex Lovech Bulgaria Europe
Lokomotiv Plovdiv Bulgaria Europe
Lokomotiv Sofia Bulgaria Europe
Ludogorets Bulgaria Europe
Slavia Sofia Bulgaria Europe
Spartak Varna Bulgaria Europe
Forge FC Canada North America
Audax Italiano Chile South America
Cobreloa Chile South America
Cobresal Chile South America
Colo Colo Chile South America
Deportes Magallanes Chile South America
Deportes Temuco Chile South America
Everton Chile South America
Huachipato Chile South America
O’Higgins Chile South America
Palestino Chile South America
Santiago Morning Chile South America
Santiago Wanderers Chile South America
Union Espanola Chile South America
Union San Felipe Chile South America
Universidad Catolica Chile South America
Universidad de Chile Chile South America
Beijing Guo’an China Asia
Changchun Yatai China Asia
Guangzhou FC China Asia
Shandong Taishan China Asia
Shanghai Port China Asia
Shanghai Shenhua China Asia
Shenzhen FC China Asia
America de Cali Colombia South America
Atletico Nacional Colombia South America
Boyaca Chico Colombia South America
Deportes Tolima Colombia South America
Deportes Quindio Colombia South America
Deportivo Cali Colombia South America
Deportivo Pasto Colombia South America
Independiente Medellin Colombia South America
Independiente Santa Fe Colombia South America
Junior Colombia South America
Millionarios Colombia South America
Once Caldas Colombia South America
Union Magdalena Colombia South America
Dinamo Zagreb Croatia Europe
Hajduk Split Croatia Europe
HNK Rijeka Croatia Europe
Banik Ostrava Czech Republic Europe
Bohemians 1905 (Czechoslovakia) Czech Republic Europe
MFK Vitkovice (Czechoslovakia) Czech Republic Europe
Slavia Prague Czech Republic Europe
Slovan Liberec Czech Republic Europe
Sparta Prague Czech Republic Europe
Spartak Hradec Kralove (Czechoslovakia) Czech Republic Europe
Viktoria Plzen Czech Republic Europe
Viktoria Zizkov (Czechoslovakia) Czech Republic Europe
Zbrojovka Brno (Czechoslovakia) Czech Republic Europe
Aalborg Denmark Europe
Akademisk Boldklub Denmark Europe
AGF Aarhus Denmark Europe
B.93 Denmark Europe
Brondby Denmark Europe
Esbjerg Denmark Europe
FC Copenhagen Denmark Europe
Frem Denmark Europe
Hvidovre Denmark Europe
Lyngby Denmark Europe
Midtjylland Denmark Europe
Odense Denmark Europe
Silkeborg Denmark Europe
Vejle Denmark Europe
Arsenal England Europe
Aston Villa England Europe
Blackburn England Europe
Burnley England Europe
Chelsea England Europe
Derby England Europe
Everton England Europe
Huddersfield England Europe
Ipswich England Europe
Leeds Utd England Europe
Leicester England Europe
Liverpool England Europe
Man City England Europe
Man Utd England Europe
Newcastle England Europe
Nottingham Forest England Europe
Portsmouth England Europe
Preston England Europe
Sheffield Wednesday England Europe
Sheffield Utd England Europe
Sunderland England Europe
Tottenham England Europe
West Brom England Europe
Wolves England Europe
FC Haka Finland Europe
FC Inter Finland Europe
HJK Helsinki Finland Europe
IFK Helsingfors Finland Europe
IFK Mariehamn Finland Europe
Ilves Finland Europe
KuPS Finland Europe
KPV Finland Europe
KTP Finland Europe
SJK Finland Europe
Tampere United Finland Europe
TPS Finland Europe
VPS Finland Europe
Auxerre France Europe
Bordeaux France Europe
Lens France Europe
Lille France Europe
Lyon France Europe
Marseille France Europe
Monaco France Europe
Montpellier France Europe
Nantes France Europe
Nice France Europe
PSG France Europe
Reims France Europe
Saint-Etienne France Europe
Sete 34 France Europe
Sochaux France Europe
Strasbourg France Europe
1860 Munich Germany Europe
Bayern Munich Germany Europe
Borussia Dortmund Germany Europe
Borussia Monchengladbach Germany Europe
Dynamo Dresden (East Germany) Germany Europe
Eintracht Braunschweig Germany Europe
Eintracht Frankfurt Germany Europe
Erzgebirge Aue (East Germany) Germany Europe
Fortuna Dusseldorf Germany Europe
FSV Zwickau (East Germany) Germany Europe
Greuter Furth Germany Europe
Hallescher FC (East Germany) Germany Europe
Hamburg Germany Europe
Hannover Germany Europe
Hansa Rostock (East Germany) Germany Europe
Hertha Berlin Germany Europe
Holstein Kiel Germany Europe
Kaiserslautern Germany Europe
Karlsruher Germany Europe
Koln Germany Europe
Magdeburg (East Germany) Germany Europe
Nurnberg Germany Europe
Schalke Germany Europe
Stuttgart Germany Europe
Viktoria 1899 Berlin Germany Europe
Werder Bremen Germany Europe
Wolfsburg Germany Europe
AEK Greece Europe
Aris Salonika Greece Europe
Larisa Greece Europe
Olympiakos Greece Europe
Panathinaikos Greece Europe
PAOK Greece Europe
ADO Den Haag Holland Europe
Ajax Holland Europe
AZ Alkmaar Holland Europe
FC Eindhoven Holland Europe
FC Twente Holland Europe
Feyenoord Holland Europe
Go Ahead Eagles Holland Europe
Heracles Almelo Holland Europe
NAC Breda Holland Europe
PSV Holland Europe
Sparta Rotterdam Holland Europe
Willem II Holland Europe
Eastern Hong Kong Asia
Hong Kong FC Hong Kong Asia
Hong Kong Rangers Hong Kong Asia
Kitchee Hong Kong Asia
Tai Po Hong Kong Asia
Debrecen Hungary Europe
Fehervar Hungary Europe
Ferencvaros Hungary Europe
Gyor Hungary Europe
Honved Hungary Europe
MTK Budapest Hungary Europe
Ujpest FC Hungary Europe
Vasas Hungary Europe
Zalaegerszegi TE Hungary Europe
Breidablik Iceland Europe
FH Hafnafjordur Iceland Europe
Fram Iceland Europe
IA Akranes Iceland Europe
IBV Vestmannaeyjar Iceland Europe
KA Akureyeri Iceland Europe
Keflavik Iceland Europe
KR Reykjavik Iceland Europe
Stjarnan Iceland Europe
Valur Iceland Europe
Vikingur Iceland Europe
Aizawl FC India Asia
Churchill Brothers India Asia
Chennai City India Asia
Kerala India Asia
Punjab FC India Asia
Arema Indonesia Asia
Bali United Indonesia Asia
Bhayangkara Solo Indonesia Asia
Persib Bandung Indonesia Asia
Persija Jakarta Indonesia Asia
Persipura Jayapura Indonesia Asia
Sriwijaya Indonesia Asia
Athlone Town Ireland Europe
Bohemians Ireland Europe
Cork City Ireland Europe
Derry City (& Northern Ireland) Ireland Europe
Drogheda Utd Ireland Europe
Dundalk Ireland Europe
Shamrock Rovers Ireland Europe
Shelbourne Ireland Europe
Sligo Rovers Ireland Europe
St Pat’s Athletic Ireland Europe
Waterford Ireland Europe
Beitar Jerusalem Israel Europe
Bnei Yehuda Israel Europe
Hapoel Be’er Sheva Israel Europe
Hapoel Haifa Israel Europe
Hapoel Kfar-Saba Israel Europe
Hapoel Kiryat-Shmona Israel Europe
Hapoel Petach-Tikva Israel Europe
Hapoel Ramat-Gan Israel Europe
Hapoel Tel-Aviv Israel Europe
Maccabi Haifa Israel Europe
Maccabi Netanya Israel Europe
Maccabi Tel-Aviv Israel Europe
AC Milan Italy Europe
Bologna Italy Europe
Cagliari Italy Europe
Fiorentina Italy Europe
Genoa Italy Europe
Hellas Verona Italy Europe
Inter Italy Europe
Juventus Italy Europe
Lazio Italy Europe
Napoli Italy Europe
Pro Vercelli Italy Europe
Roma Italy Europe
Sampdoria Italy Europe
Torino Italy Europe
FK Liepaja Latvia Europe
Riga FC Latvia Europe
Spartaks Jurmala Latvia Europe
Johor DT Malaysia Asia
Kedah Malaysia Asia
Kelantan Malaysia Asia
Kuala Lumpur City Malaysia Asia
Melaka United Malaysia Asia
Negeri Sembilan Malaysia Asia
Penang Malaysia Asia
Perak Malaysia Asia
Sabah Malaysia Asia
Selangor Malaysia Asia
Sri Pahang Malaysia Asia
Atlante Mexico North America
Atlas Mexico North America
CF America Mexico North America
Chivas Mexico North America
Cruz Azul Mexico North America
Leon Mexico North America
Monterrey Mexico North America
Morelia Mexico North America
Necaxa Mexico North America
Pachuca Mexico North America
Puebla Mexico North America
Pumas Mexico North America
Santos Laguna Mexico North America
Tigres Mexico North America
Tijuana Mexico North America
Toluca Mexico North America
Ards Northern Ireland Europe
Cliftonville Northern Ireland Europe
Coleraine Northern Ireland Europe
Crusaders Northern Ireland Europe
Distillery Northern Ireland Europe
Glenavon Northern Ireland Europe
Glentoran Northern Ireland Europe
Linfield Northern Ireland Europe
Portadown Northern Ireland Europe
Bodo/Glimt Norway Europe
Brann Norway Europe
Fram Larvik Norway Europe
Fredrikstad Norway Europe
Lillestrom Norway Europe
Lyn Oslo Norway Europe
Molde Norway Europe
Moss Norway Europe
Rosenborg Norway Europe
Skeid Norway Europe
Stabaek Norway Europe
Start Norway Europe
Stromsgodset Norway Europe
Valerenga Norway Europe
Viking Norway Europe
Alianza Lima Peru South America
Cristal Peru South America
Deportivo Binacional Peru South America
Deportivo Municipal Peru South America
Juan Aurich Peru South America
Melgar Peru South America
Sport Boys Peru South America
Universidad San Martin Peru South America
Universitario de Deportes Peru South America
Cracovia Poland Europe
Gornik Zabrze Poland Europe
Lech Poznan Poland Europe
Legia Warsaw Poland Europe
LKS Lodz Poland Europe
Piast Gliwice Poland Europe
Slask Wroclaw Poland Europe
Stal Mielec Poland Europe
Warta Poznan Poland Europe
Widzew Lodz Poland Europe
Wisla Krakow Poland Europe
Zaglebie Lubin Poland Europe
Belenenses Portugal Europe
Benfica Portugal Europe
Boavista Portugal Europe
Porto Portugal Europe
Sporting Portugal Europe
Arges Pitesti Romania Europe
Astra Giurgiu Romania Europe
CAO Oradea (& Hungary) Romania Europe
CFR Cluj Romania Europe
CSM Resita Romania Europe
Dinamo Bucharest Romania Europe
FCSB Romania Europe
Farul Costanta Romania Europe
Otelul Galati Romania Europe
Petrolul Ploiesti Romania Europe
Rapid Bucharest Romania Europe
Ripensia Timisoara Romania Europe
Steaua Bucharest Romania Europe
Universitatea Craiova Romania Europe
UTA Arad Romania Europe
Alania Vladikavkaz Russia Europe
CSKA Moscow Russia Europe
Lokomotiv Moscow Russia Europe
Rubin Kazan Russia Europe
Spartak Moscow Russia Europe
Torpedo Moscow (Soviet Union) Russia Europe
Zenit St Petersburg Russia Europe
Aberdeen Scotland Europe
Celtic Scotland Europe
Dumbarton Scotland Europe
Dundee Scotland Europe
Dundee Utd Scotland Europe
Hearts Scotland Europe
Hibs Scotland Europe
Kilmarnock Scotland Europe
Motherwell Scotland Europe
Rangers Scotland Europe
OFK Belgrade (Yugoslavia) Serbia Europe
Partizan Belgrade Serbia Europe
Red Star Belgrade Serbia Europe
Vojvodina Novi Sad (Yugoslavia) Serbia Europe
DPMM Singapore Asia
Geylang International Singapore Asia
Lion City Sailors Singapore Asia
Niigata Unicorn Singapore Asia
Tampines Singapore Asia
AS Trencin Slovakia Europe
FC Petrzalka Slovakia Europe
MSK Zilina Slovakia Europe
Ruzomberok Slovakia Europe
Slovan Bratislava Slovakia Europe
Spartak Trnava Slovakia Europe
Celje Slovenia Europe
Domzale Slovenia Europe
Gorica Slovenia Europe
Koper Slovenia Europe
Maribor Slovenia Europe
NS Mura Slovenia Europe
Olimpija Ljubljana Slovenia Europe
Amazulu South Africa Africa
Jomo Cosmos South Africa Africa
Kaizer Chiefs South Africa Africa
Mamelodi Sundowns South Africa Africa
Orlando Pirates South Africa Africa
SuperSport United South Africa Africa
Wits South Africa Africa
Busan IPARK South Korea Asia
FC Seoul South Korea Asia
Jeju United South Korea Asia
Jeonbuk Motors South Korea Asia
Pohang Steelers South Korea Asia
Seongnam FC South Korea Asia
Suwon Bluewings South Korea Asia
Ulsan Hyundai South Korea Asia
Athletic Bilbao Spain Europe
Atletico Madrid Spain Europe
Barcelona Spain Europe
Deportivo La Coruna Spain Europe
Real Betis Spain Europe
Real Madrid Spain Europe
Real Sociedad Spain Europe
Sevilla Spain Europe
Valencia Spain Europe
AIK Sweden Europe
Atvidabergs Sweden Europe
Djurgardens Sweden Europe
Elfsborg Sweden Europe
GAIS Sweden Europe
Halmstads Sweden Europe
Hammarby Sweden Europe
Helsingborg Sweden Europe
IFK Eskilstuna Sweden Europe
IFK Gothenburg Sweden Europe
IFK Norrkoping Sweden Europe
Kalmar Sweden Europe
Malmo Sweden Europe
Orgryte Sweden Europe
Osters Sweden Europe
Aarau Switzerland Europe
Basel Switzerland Europe
FC Zurich Switzerland Europe
Grasshoppers Switzerland Europe
Lausanne-Sport Switzerland Europe
Lugano Switzerland Europe
Luzern Switzerland Europe
Neuchatel Xamax Switzerland Europe
Servette Switzerland Europe
Sion Switzerland Europe
St Gallen Switzerland Europe
Winterthur Switzerland Europe
Young Boys Switzerland Europe
Basaksehir Turkey Europe
Besiktas Turkey Europe
Bursaspor Turkey Europe
Fenerbahce Turkey Europe
Galatasaray Turkey Europe
Trabzonspor Turkey Europe
Dynamo Kyiv Ukraine Europe
Shakhtar Donetsk Ukraine Europe
Zorya Luhansk (Soviet Union) Ukraine Europe
Central Espanol Uruguay South America
Danubio Uruguay South America
Defensor Sporting Uruguay South America
Montevideo Wanderers Uruguay South America
Nacional Uruguay South America
Penarol Uruguay South America
Progreso Uruguay South America
Rampla Juniors Uruguay South America
Atlanta Utd USA North America
Chicago Fire USA North America
Colorado Rapids USA North America
Columbus Crew USA North America
DC Utd USA North America
Houston Dynamo USA North America
LA Galaxy USA North America
Portland Timbers USA North America
Real Salt Lake USA North America
San Jose Earthquakes USA North America
Seattle Sounders USA North America
Sporting Kansas City USA North America
Toronto FC USA North America
Bangor City Wales Europe
Barry Town United Wales Europe
Connah’s Quay Nomads Wales Europe
Llanelli Town Wales Europe
TNS Wales Europe
Algeria International Africa
Cameroon International Africa
Congo International Africa
DR Congo International Africa
Egypt International Africa
Ethiopia International Africa
Ghana International Africa
Ivory Coast International Africa
Morocco International Africa
Nigeria International Africa
South Africa International Africa
Sudan International Africa
Tunisia International Africa
Zambia International Africa
Australia (& Oceania) International Asia
Iran International Asia
Iraq International Asia
Japan International Asia
Kuwait International Asia
Kyrgyzstan (Soviet Union) International Asia
Qatar International Asia
Saudi Arabia International Asia
South Korea International Asia
Tajikistan (Soviet Union) International Asia
Turkmenistan (Soviet Union) International Asia
Uzbekistan (Soviet Union) International Asia
Armenia (Soviet Union) International Europe
Azerbaijan (Soviet Union) International Europe
Belarus (Soviet Union) International Europe
Czech Republic (Czechoslovakia) International Europe
Denmark International Europe
England International Europe
Estonia (Soviet Union) International Europe
France International Europe
Georgia (Soviet Union) International Europe
Germany International Europe
Greece International Europe
Holland International Europe
Israel (Asia) International Europe
Italy International Europe
Kazakhstan (Soviet Union) International Europe
Latvia (Soviet Union) International Europe
Lithuania (Soviet Union) International Europe
Moldova (Soviet Union) International Europe
Portugal International Europe
Russia (Soviet Union) International Europe
Slovakia (Czechoslovakia) International Europe
Spain International Europe
Ukraine (Soviet Union) International Europe
Canada International North America
Costa Rica International North America
Guatemala International North America
Haiti International North America
Honduras International North America
Mexico International North America
USA International North America
New Zealand International Oceania
Tahiti International Oceania
Argentina International South America
Bolivia International South America
Brazil International South America
Chile International South America
Colombia International South America
Paraguay International South America
Peru International South America
Uruguay International South America
Edited by craigkillie
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I should share a few disclaimers before we get started. I have just bought FM22 after spending the last 8 years or so intermittently playing FM14, and this is literally the first game I've played on it. Even just at a brief look at it suggests there a lot of new features compared to what I'm used to, so it might be a bit of a steep learning curve for me. I'm also not promising to be playing regularly or rapidly, so it might take a long time to get done. Fortunately, as I've shown with my FM14 experience, I don't mind playing the same game for a while.

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Starting Out

I kicked things off by picking eight of the lowest ranked leagues in the game in the hope of building my reputation and also hopefully getting a few teams ticked off at the same time. All the leagues start at different times so I kicked off the game on the earliest available date, 4th January 2021.




My previous Football Manager experiences have not involved my manager having any sort of stats, but these do not look good.




I kicked off the game by immediately applying for every single job vacancy, from the South African lower league to the German national team. Somehow I felt I had more chance of the former than the latter.



Within a week, amazingly, I had an offer of an interview and managed to convince some absolute mugs to give me a job. Where was I off to?




All the countries of the world to choose from, and we end up in Wales. Cefn Druids are a proud club, founded way back in 1872, and won the Welsh Cup 8 times in the days before Wales had a league.  They now find themselves as regular relegation battlers in the top flight - they finished bottom last season but were saved by there being no relegation due to the second tier season not taking place. Either the original FM database is wrong, or the updated names patch I downloaded is a bit overzealous, because I can't find anywhere else that includes "Ruabon" part in their name.

Wales has five teams that we have to beat - Bangor City, Barry Town United, Connah's Quay Nomads, Llanelli and The New Saints - and there are no prizes for guessing which one I'm going to enjoy the most. Unfortunately, Bangor and Llanelli are both in the second tier (and in separate divisions at that), so I'll probably have to take another job to get them, unless they get promoted or I'm lucky with cup draws.


Edited by craigkillie
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5 hours ago, craigkillie said:

Cefn Druids are a proud club

Great choice, my local club when I lived in Wales, they actually made it into the Europa League a few years back by being losing Welsh Cup finalists to New Saints who had qualified for the Champions league. Cefn, pronounced Kevin, is next to Trevor, pronounced Trevor .

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My start date of January seemed like a good idea at the time, but the Welsh season didn't start until August so I had a bit of a wait which I guess gave me a chance to assess my squad. I ultimately ended up having a decent number of ins and outs, including some players ending up in both categories. The standout player was former Premier League player and Wales international David Cotterill, but even at the age of 33 it was fair to say his career had hit the skids a bit.





The first month did not go particularly well, though I was putting that down to not quite having a grip of the game - prior to finding a better skin, I could barely work out how to make a sub or which of my players were playing well.



It would have been good to stay in the cup to have an extra shot at the champions I'm trying to beat, but the rest of the games didn't really matter in that respect. However, coming up next was a run of three games in a row against the only three former champions in the top flight.



Clearly I would be rank outsiders against the Nomads and TNS, but Barry are a bunch of midtable jobbers so I felt like I stood a chance there.

Edited by craigkillie
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Champion Match 1 - Connah's Quay Nomads (1st meeting)

Fittingly, our first ever attempt at ticking a champion off our list came away to Connah's Quay Nomads, a name which never fails to send shivers down my spine. Nomads were reigning champions, but had made a poor start to the season, squeezing past lower league Colwyn Bay on penalties in the first round of the League Cup before losing at home to Haverfordwest. However, they had won every game since then.






What a start!







It didn't last long - they scored twice in the space of 4 minutes.





2-2 at half-time, and we were good value for it. Could we?







It wasn't to be - convicted drug cheat Jamie Insall scored a double, and we weren't helped by a red card from Jose Ferreira as we were trying get back into it at 3-2.



Clubs beaten - 0/540

National teams beaten - 0/66

Results - P1 W0 D0 L1



Edited by craigkillie
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Champion Match 2 - The New Saints (1st meeting)

Next up was a home match against TNS, for so long the dominant force in Welsh football. After being knocked out of Europe they had won each of their first seven domestic fixtures before taking us on.







We'd hung in there for a while, but let our guard down just before HT.








From bad to worse - another daft red card while trying to get back into a game.





HELLO! Cotterill showing the sort of quality I've brought him in for.





Yet again we conceded quickly after getting back into the game, and that was that.





Clubs beaten - 0/540

National teams beaten - 0/66

Results - P2 W0 D0 L2


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Champion Match 3 - Barry Town (1st meeting)

Barry Town won 7 titles out of 8 around the turn of the century and even beat Porto 3-1 in the Champions League (after losing the first leg 8-0). However, they soon went through financial trouble and spent a while in the lower leagues before bouncing back in 2017. They had two wins and four defeats from their opening six matches, so this was definitely an opportunity for success.









A goal for Cotterill, but sadly not my one, and then yet another fucking daft red card. A big second half ahead.











HWFG lads. One more and we could tick our first team off the list.







If Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool were "fucking mentality giants", then my lads are whatever the opposite of that is. Daft red cards and an inability to hold on to anything good for any length of time. A lot of work needed here.



Clubs beaten - 0/540

National teams beaten - 0/66

Results - P3 W0 D0 L3


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Thanks Ella, just what I want to read after dinner.




Surely the night couldn't get any worse?


I had the next three matches to turn things around.



At least we got one win - would that be enough to buy me some time?






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If at first you don't succeed, managing Cefn Druids is not for you. However, there are plenty more clubs out there who may well be interested in a failed Welsh top flight manager, so we decided to immediately head to the job centre and apply for anything that was up for grabs. Various Welsh second tier sides expressed an interest, and I eventually made a decision:



The club is essentially an offshoot of a 1960s leisure centre by the seaside in Port Talbot, which is an ideal role for a Magnum Leisure centre stan like me. They are three-time League Cup winners and played in Europe in the 1990s, but have since found themselves spending most of their time outside the top flight. They sat in 10th place when I took over, and from the club's point of view my main goal was to help them into the top half, but my only real interest was in defeating Llanelli Town, the only former champions in the division.

As is usually the case when I take over a club mid-season, I didn't do a lot of work in the transfer market, instead focusing on trying to get the best out of the existing players. Jones was the only senior player I brought in - a forward who could play anywhere in the frontline of my bog-standard 4-3-3.



My start could not have been any more different to the one I endured at Cefn Druids. Five wins and four draws to kick off my reign in charge.



However, those games were just the warm-up to the main event. I'd only get one shot at Llanelli this season - could I make it count?

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Champion Match 4 - Llanelli Town (1st meeting)

Llanelli were champions of Wales in 2007/08, but suffered financial meltdown a few years later and ended up reforming in the fourth tier. They returned to the top flight in 2018/19, but finished bottom and remain in the second tier. We were ahead of them in the table by the time this game took place - both of us in a comfortable mid-table spot.

My pre-match interview led to a fairly sensationalised headline from "The Welsh Football Informer"



On to the match itself.






A perfect start, a lovely curled effort from outside the box.





Jones again! My only first team signing coming up trumps in the biggest game of them all.





45 minutes away from our first scalp - just need to see the game out now. Our xG suggests we're perhaps a little bit fortunate, but this has been a bit of a trend through the unbeaten run - our defence and goalkeeper are really good. Hopefully they remain really good for another half of football.





They had 13 shots and 5 on target in the second half, but couldn't break down our brick wall. Job done!



Clubs beaten - 1/540

National teams beaten - 0/66

Results - P4 W1 D0 L3


Note that I'm keeping a spreadsheet of this which I'll share every now and then.



That's the only team in this division ticked off, so I wasn't entirely sure what to do. My run had given me an outside chance of promotion, but it's still a slim one with only the top side going up. I thought the best approach was to start applying for all availabel jobs again, but to stay in charge at Afan Lido rather than resigning, since a good run here would hopefully boost my reputation as a manager a bit.

I extended the unbeaten run for two more matches, but conceding a late equaliser in the Pontypridd game and then a defeat against leaders Swansea Uni all but killed off my promotion chances. Two wins there would have put me just a point off the top, but instead I'm seven back with six games left.




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