It’s time for a new season over in Belgium as Philip leads Beveren into European competition. There’s also a handy hint to pass on…
Welcome back to my Belgian story. Last week we finished our first season with my hometown club Beveren. After an excellent season we finished 3rd.
Apart from a back-up goalkeeper I am glad the core of the team is still available. Can we repeat our performance of last year?
What concerns me though is my financial position. Season tickets sales and gate receipts will again be too low to pay for the player wages, bonuses and the other costs. Counting on the UEFA Cup to generate some additional income is too risky, I am forced to transfer list my 2 most valuable players.
Before we start the action we go regen hunting! Remember my anchor points?
Have a look in the players database and look for their ability. Now see how they are sorted in my shortlist: Wegerle is first with 150, Krncevic has 140. I am sure you will notice the pattern: 150, 140, 135, 130, 125, 120, 115 and Wurie is the last one with 110. How does this happen? If you sort the players database on ability BEFORE a new save, free transfer players are shown in the search and your short list on descending ability DURING your save.
Next let’s have a look at the Belgian free transfers. As said they are sorted on ability. The first one on the list, Sammy Appels, is a regen. Let’s put him on our short list.
You notice he ends up between Wegerle and Krncevic. That means he has an ability between 140 and 150. Believe it or not, but Belgium only has 19 players with an ability over 140 (out of which 6 are above 150). So we are looking here for a SW/D C with an ability between 140 & 150. This is probably one of the easiest regens to find, as there is only 1 player that matches the position: Georges Grun.
Grun is an icon in Belgian football. His most memorable moment in the national shirt was his goal in 1985 against Holland that qualified Belgium for the 86 WC in Mexico.
Very happy he becomes available already in season 2. He is a must-have for my future Belgian regen squad. He is versatile and very important, he can play the anchor position.
After doing my home work I have put 7 regens on my short list. Our cash position will not allow for a high budget, but I decide to start bidding immediately.
I manage to sign the Grun regen. He comes in with a BC release clause though. I will have to manage him carefully, I have to avoid at all cost losing him.
The Big Three usually don’t sign regens immediately, so this one comes a bit as a surprise.
I am still trying to get regens in when the UEFA draws the First Round. First opponent: Hapoel Beer Sheva from Israel. Never heard of the team before, but I imagine the draw could have been worse.
Apart from Vergeylen I manage to sign all my regen prospects. Let me introduce you the regen class of 98.
Sammy Appels (regen of Georges Grun). By far the best of the class. With an influence that will increase to 20 he is also a potential captain.
Pascal Nasden (regen of Dominique Lemoine). Didn’t expect him that early but very glad to have him join the team. Perhaps he won’t make the final Belgian squad, but he will add value over the years to come. He has excellent set pieces/passing skills which will make him an excellent corner taker.
Tony Bruels (regen of Club Brugge goalie Dany Verlinden). With better goalkeepers still to come, my plan here is to use him as a back-up to Velkeneers.
Gianni Coene (regen of Didier Segers), Felix Michel Vandenbergh (regen of Didier Quain) & Lilian Talbaoui (regen of Guy Vandersmissen) I will introduce when needed. I have attracted them to provide depth on the left wing back and central defender position.
Let’s get the season started! We travel to Israel, looking for a good result and an excellent position to advance to the 2nd Round of the UEFA cup and the attached 250K. Bruels, Appels & Nasden take their spot on the bench. I am starting with the same 11 that did so great last season.
Now that’s a good start! Gérard gets an early red but it has no impact and we get a fantastic result. We weren’t as dominant as the score leads to believe though.
On domestic level we start against Standard. We host them at our Freethiel stadium, but it’s a tricky match to begin the season with. Thanks to a dominant first half, we have our first 3 points of the season.
Third match, third red of the season. Roch Gérard, do not make this a habit! We get the win but eventually this will cost us points.
9/9! We are off to a great start!
Next we defend our 4-0 win in the UEFA Cup. We make it to the next round, but we need a solid performance from our goalie Velkeneers to prevent a loss and we lose Van Den Eede for a month. With Besiktas Istanbul we draw a tough next opponent.
We travel to Limburg and try to continue our perfect record in the league. With Rubinelson suspended and Van Den Eede injured, it would have been a perfect opportunity to introduce our regen Nasden into the squad. Sadly he is injured himself so Torken & Flies have their first starts. Our perfect record continues and for the very first time in this save we are in 1st position!
One of our key players early this season is Roland Velkeneers. At age 33 he becomes our first player to get a call-up for the Belgian squad!
Can we make it 5 in a row? Yes we can!
Time for the international break early September. My Czech internationals Smid & Jansta are my first players to earn a cap. Well done lads!
A crazy thought crosses my mind. With our good start, would Appels (Grun) be willing to lose his big-club release clause? He is and I make him a generous offer he cannot refuse!
Can we make it 6 in a row? Yes we can!
With confidence sky-high we take a flight to Istanbul. We return home with a good result and a realistic opportunity to advance to the Third Round.
Our last one for today’s blog. With the injury of Smid I promote Soenens to captain. But who will play on the left wing back? I have other options available but I need to develop my regens. I decide to start Gianni Coene (regen of Didier Segers). Not how I imagined it, but he gets the honour of the first regen to start a game.
Can we make it 7 in a row? Yes we can! What a start! And Coene has a good first performance.
That’s it for today. This must be one of my best starts ever in cm9798. How long can we keep this up? And can we qualify for the UEFA Cup Third Round?
Tot volgende week!