Continuing on from the Football Manager of Rangers’ rise back into the upper echelons of Scottish football (which can be read here), where do the Gers go from where we left off…
If you want to know how we got to this point then look back at the FM Story that was done on this save (link above). Anyway, season five ended meekly. We struggled into second place and the Champions League qualifiers after some really sketchy league form in the home stretch that included a 3-0 pasting by Celtic at Ibrox. Our old rivals also managed to knock us out of the Scottish Cup in the quarter finals too despite Guyon Philips’ best efforts. Europe was our one bright point as we reached the quarter finals of the Euro Cup (again), hammering Galatasaray and sneaking past a really talented Swansea side, before losing by the odd goal in seven against Milan. We did manage a battling 2-2 draw in the San Siro and should really have won it late on but alas it was not to be.
Transfer wise, January saw us do little but it did see a few notable names leave not least my star man in midfield Jordan Hammill. With his contract running into it’s last eighteen months and the player keen to move, I had to cash. The best I could get was £2 million from Norwich and Aston Villa and Hammill chose East Anglia over Birmingham. Chris Hegarty was also sold down south as Ipswich came out of nowhere with £825,000 and Hegarty was off. I also managed to fall out with Geoffrey Mujangi Bia because he was crap and he didn’t think so. My efforts to sell proved fruitless but Saudi side Al-Ahli decided in April to loan him from me, paying £220,000 for the “privilege” as well as the majority of his large wages and having the option to buy him for close to £1 million. I guess money doesn’t buy sense.
The end of the fifth season caused me to re-evaluate everything about my squad and I had a number of tough choices to make regarding player movements. I had two big players coming in on pre-contracts – Jordy Clasie from Feyenoord and Nicolas Gaitan from Benfica – but my squad was brimming with quality and I had to cut it down quickly. So, the underperforming players were deemed dispensable. David Templeton played poorly more than he did well so he was the first to be offered out but thus there have been no takers. Robbie Crawford is a hard working guy that I’ve loved from the start but it was time for an upgrade but he’s been unable to attract a buyer too. One man who did was Andy Little, the man who fired me up the leagues. Hibernian wanted Little on loan and gave me £115,000 for him. I’m still paying his wages and there’s no purchase option on their end but it was good to get him out the door. Youngsters that failed to make the grade included big names such as Darren Ramsay, Ryan Hardie, Andy McKinnon, Tom Walsh, Derek Wilson, Davids Martin and Harris and many more. Steven Bonar went down south to Watford for nothing because Bobby Smith is better while Mark Gordon and Tom Forbes were allowed to join Aberdeen and St. Mirren respectively for nothing. Shock transfer of the summer was Manchester City signing Liam Kelly for £55,000 to sit on the bench while I raided Sheriff Tiraspol of Moldova for their 20 year old Moldovan international midfielder Nicolae Pusca. He had an utterly outrageous rating last season that suggested he was far above the Moldovan league and Sheriff sold me him for £325,000 which was less than what they paid for him. Superb business all round there. There is also another deal in the pipeline but I can’t say too much right now…
Pre-season was the usual batch of meaningless games I let my assistant deal with. We won three, drew with Clyde and lost to Mainz in a “who cares?” set of games. Champions League qualifiers are up first and we’re in the Best Placed Third Qualifying Round which is the pits. We drew Besiktas (the toughest team of the lot) and are currently 2-0 up after winning in Turkey (Andy Murdoch and Saidy Janko scored). Not the best thing to go through though – teams like Manchester United and Shakhtar Donetsk await us in the Playoffs.
I’ll see you all at the start of January. Hopefully, my laptop doesn’t give me the blue screen of death anytime between now and then.