In my usual fashion, I picked the team with the nicest looking badge and kit, landing me at…

Season 1 – Lusitano FCV, Campeonato Nacional de Portugal Prio D. (3rd Tier, 96 teams)

Kits - FMSlovakia

Transfers

10 players had already been signed before my arrival, with only 3 actually good enough for the first team. I proceeded to pick up another bunch of free transfers, as well as blowing most of my transfer budget to pick up a decent young LW for £120.

Signed a phenomenal Argie DL on a non-contract who was duly poached mid-season by a bigger club back in Argentina. Offloaded a bunch of dead wood throughout the year, with a view to letting the majority of the squad’s contracts run out at the end of the season.

League

Media prediction: 46th, 1000-1

Board expectations: Avoid relegation

We started well, with a succession of 1-0 wins around high scoring draws and blowout losses seeing us hovering in and around the playoff spots without ever really challenging for top spot.

We found our feet a bit better in the second half and a 2-2 draw to Lusitania Lourosa in our last game saw us finish in 4th behind them, runaway leaders Beira-Mar and Sao Joao de Ver, though we could have jumped above Lourosa and Soa Joao into 2nd had we won. This qualified us for the playoffs.

In the playoff stage we were probably the lowest rated team in our group, but my on-loan striker (finally!) started popping off, scoring 10 goals in 6 games (having scored only 4 in his previous 21 games in the league) as we won 5 from 6 to top the group and earn “promotion” to the newly created Terceira Liga.

The board rewarded me with a new contract and turning the club professional.

League stage: P22 W11 D7 L4, 4th of 12

Playoffs: P5 W5 D1 L0, 1st of 6 and “promoted”

Cups: Taca de Portugal: out in 5th round to Nacional 1-2

Faced 3rd tier opponents all the way to the 5th round where we faced a Liga NOS side who, even though doing poorly in the league and out of form, gave us a solid towelling up.

Summary

Solid first season, culminating in getting to stay at the 3rd tier following the big restructure.

There’s some good talent in the side and some good building blocks have been laid for the next season. Club also turned professional at the end of the season.

Season 2 – Lusitano FCV, Terceira Liga (3rd Tier, 24 teams)

Transfers

Retained the on-loan ST and picked up a whole lot of players on free transfers, some of which became very good 1st teamers. Released a lot of fringe reserves and youth.

Was finding it hard to sign good quality players due to a very restricted wage budget. Towards the end of the season I sold my experienced LW after he had an atrocious attitude in training and argued with me in every conversation.

I am the law.

League

Media prediction: 16th, 25-1

Board expectations: Avoid relegation

Opened on a tear with 13 straight wins playing some impressive football until we threw away a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with local rivals Lusitania Lourosa. Managed to stay unbeaten for a total of 19 games before losing terribly to 21st placed Pero Pinheiro. This started a bad run of form where we won just one of the next 5 games dropping us from a tight first to a starting to lose pace with second. The rest of the season was up and down and we eventually finished a comfortable 3rd, in no danger from 4th and a good distance from 2nd.

League: P46 W28 D11 L7, 3rd of 24

Cups – Taca de Portugal: out in 5th round to Nacional 0-1

Entered at the 2nd round, beat a 4th div side, then a 2nd div side, then a 2nd div side, and ran into Liga NOS level Nacional again in the 5th round. The gulf in class was obvious as they battered us and were unlucky to only win 1-0

Summary

Finances are in the shitter but we seem to be one of the better teams at this level. A bit of consolidation and maybe being able to sign some better players if the finances improve and we might be looking at a promotion push in a few years. 46 league games is a massive slog and I’m looking forward to more sensible league sizes up the pyramid.

Season 3 – Lusitano FCV, Terceira Liga (3rd Tier, 24 teams)

Transfers

Lack of a wage budget meant I was again restricted to picking up fringe players on free transfers. Still uncovered a gem or two who would make a good impact through the season. Sold my rotation Croatian MC for a tidy sum also.

League

Media prediction: 14th, 25-1

Board expectations: Mid-table

Another flying start, with 14 straight wins seeing us comfortably top the table before a draw and a loss brought the field back a bit. We would continue to score lots of goals and post good results, with the odd loss to teams lurking at the bottom of the table making me question the commitment levels of some of my players. Eventually, excessive fatigue and a horrendous run of no wins in 10 games late in the season would see us caught by Real and Vitoria de Setubal by the end to just miss out on promotion. Real finished on 89 points, Vitoria with 88 and us also on 88. Incredibly close league with 5 teams in the hunt for promotion on the final day.

League: P46 W25 D13 L8 , 3rd of 24

Cups – Taca de Portugal: out in 2nd round to Tondela 0-2

Played a team of backups against 2nd division opposition and was duly punished.

Summary

A disappointing end to a strong season. I think I need to get another starting level centre-back to allow for better rotation at the back.

We definitely let some games get away because we weren’t fit enough. Hopefully promotion next season if we can manage to finish how we start.

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