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Re: The Leyton Orient Challenge

December 22

Since the last Leyton Orient christmas special this blog has gone from 5.000 hits to almost 10.000. Thanks for the continued support. Have a nice christmas everyone.

If you look back one year to page 10 you can see that i made pretty good progress. Back then my first team average was 85 and today even my 4th team can get that easily.

Last year i was in division 3 and now i feel that i really want to get my team promoted into division 1. Today my team won 3:1 against Norwich City and Portsmouth lost 1:2 at top team Sunderland. This puts me into 2nd place 2 points and 3 goals ahead of Portsmouth. Even a draw away on saturday at Leicester City might be good enough to keep Leyton Orient in 2nd. 88-rated loan striker MANDZUKIC is out for 1 game and that may be a problem.

On monday my backups lost after a penalty shootout at Manchester United. This was to be expected and isn't a huge setback. My entire focus is on the league these days.

I aquired some new players but none of these transfers was really important except to gain value:

22-year old striker Patrick MAYER joined the team from Heidenheim. German media are reporting that he is a good prospect and will find his way into division 2 or even Bundesliga 1 in Germany soon. He is rated 76 and cost almost 1 million.

Caliou CISS joins from norwegian club Tromso. He is 21 years old and has become the starting LB. At a rating of 75 and a cost of just 330k this was a bargain.

Just before the japanese ratings 24-year old LM Akihiro IENAGA joins from Cerezo Osaka. He played a very good season and his team reached 3rd place. He is only rated 82 and should gain +2 or +3. There are still many risers available in Japan but i don't have enough squad space to really make some money.

Patou KABANGU joins from TP Mazembe. He is a 25-year old 77-rated Fwd who did well at the club championship and i paid 780k for his services. He won't ever play for my club.

The last player who i bought joined Leyton Orient before. Almost exactly one year ago i bought Verdu TOCHE. He is doing well again in Spain's 2nd division and i hope he gets a transfer into the first division this winter. He is 27 years old and rated 84.

HORA, VALDIVIA, VITOLO and ESPINOZA left my club.

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Re: The Leyton Orient Challenge

December 31

My final post of 2010.

The last two games ended with a 2:0 win against Leicester City and a 0:0 draw against Fulham. Portsmouth won its two games 3:0 and 4:0 and overtook my club based on a better goal difference. With 4 games to go Portsmouth is now ahead with +2 goals. Sunderland in 1st is almost through and Norwich in 4th already is 8 points behind my team. The race is between me and Portsmouth now and as i said weeks ago will probably be decided on January 8 when Leyton Orient travels to Portsmouth.

Since i was gone a few days i didn't buy any new players. I did sell ROMAGNOLI for 12 million because i needed to have some more cash. The winter transfer window is about to get busy and a good deal may come up. I got 90-rated DM Lorik CANA on loan and this deal will allow me to keep an 88 rating for the rest of the season.

My team is looking pretty good these days but here is the upgrade plan for next year:

GK - i would really like to improve here. GK may be the most difficult position though because the players need a long time to develop and don't usually pop out of nowhere. For now JOURDREN is doing a good job though and he should be able to reach 88 eventually. My best young talent may be Pierrick CROS who is a regular at Sochaux at age 19.

RB - I have 3 solid players here. 86-rated LORA and MARIANO are taking turns for my team these days and they should both rise. AGUIRREGARAY should reach 86+ very soon as well. I don't think i have a world-class prospect at RB yet.

CB - With HUMMELS and LOMBAERTS i have some great players here already but behind these two my squad is a bit weak. Some solid guys like PRODL and BUNGERT will probably leave eventually. BENATIA may be one for the future and i have a large number of prospects here. But I don't see any player with world class potential except for HUMMELS.

LB - 86-rated TZAVELLAS and POPOV are sharing the duties here and i think TZAVELLAS has 88+ potential. The younger guys need time but with CONTENTO, AURTENETXE and especially 19-year old Alex SANDRO i have some fantastic prospects here.

CM/DM - Yann M'VILA is a regular for my team and i couldn't ask for a better prospect. Since i am usually playing a 4-2-3-1 i need more players at this spot though and behind M'VILA its not looking that good. BIAGIANTI isn't getting 88 at Catania and ANIN should reach 88 eventually but probably not much more. I have some good prospects but none that have made a breakthrough yet.

AM/wing - In a 4-2-3-1 i need plenty players for these spots and i do have some good ones. GRIEZMANN has a lot of potential, MHKITARYAN will probably be a regular at Shakthar for the next couple of years, SCHURRLE is doing great at barely 20 and ILICIC should be good for at least 88. This is a comfortable situation to be in and i have a good number of prospects.

CF/Fwd - The Leyton Orient Challenge has been on for almost two years and i still struggle to put even one decent Fwd on the field. EL-ARABI and LAKIC are looking good but their ratings aren't good enough yet and i don't really see any of my players get 88+ in the near future yet unless SCHURRLE gets a positional change. I do have some good prospects though for the long run. MLAPA may be my best bet.

I think i would like an upgrade at GK most but i don't think i can get any of the top guys. But several positions could use upgrades.

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Re: The Leyton Orient Challenge

January 4

Leyton Orient made an important deal and thats why i am making this quick update: Highly rated OGC Nice GK David OSPINA today joined the club. OSPINA is just 22 years old but has been a regular in professional football for 4 years and is playing an outstanding season in France. He has been linked with a move to bigger clubs recently and may yet move during this winter transfer period. I think that this guy is a safe bet to reach 90+ eventually. For me this is the best GK solution i could come up with. Right now OSPINA is only rated 87 and that means no ratings improvement over JOURDREN, but i couldn't really afford a more highly-rated keeper right now. The price for OSPINA was steep enough: I had to give up JOURDREN plus 86-rated Dynamo Kyiv LB Goran POPOV to Nantes.

In the league Leyton Orient lost the last game at Sheffield United 1:2. My club now is in 3rd place, 3 points and -5 goals behind Portsmouth. I looks like i might have to try my luck in the play-offs again.

Some more transfer news:

Ozer HURMACI left Leyton Orient for 10 million. I had paid 13 million just about 10 weeks back but that was before HURMACI broke his foot. I have no shortage of players at his position and decided that i needed the money.

MENZ and BERTANI left for a combined 2.5 million.

20-year old swedish CF Rasmus JONSSON joined for 5.5 million. The player is rated 84 and one of the best talents in Sweden. He scored 6 goals and 8 assists this past season.

Alan PULIDO joined from UANL Tigres. He is a mexican youth international and is getting minutes for his team. The player is rated 76 and cost 650k.

Edit: I wanted to post this link. Its an SI article about "my" striker JOBSON:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/tim_vickery/12/30/Jobson/index.html

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Re: The Leyton Orient Challenge

January 5

Leyton Orient won against Wolverhampton 2:0 but since Portsmouth won 2:1 as well my team only got closer to 2nd place by 1 goal. Saturday both teams will meet and its going to be the game of the year. On the last day Leyton Orient will meet bottom-feeders Southend United at home while Portsmouth has to travel to 86-rated Stoke City.

Here is what can happen:

In case of a loss Leyton Orient will go into the playoffs as the highest seed.

In case of a win Leyton Orient will be even on points and it will come down to the last game and perhaps goal difference.

In case of a draw Portsmouth will stay ahead and i will need Stoke City to win next week.

In the unlikely event that Leyton Orient wins 4:2 away both teams would be even on points and both have 72:39 goals. I assume in this case my team would squeeze ahead based on a better result in head-to-head competition before the final day.

Wish me luck. :)

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Re: The Leyton Orient Challenge

January 9

Leyton Orient lost its form at the worst time and came back from Portsmouth beaten 0:1. Now my team has to win the playoffs or i have to face division 2 for a 3rd time. I hate the thought.

IENAGA got +3 to 85, Tim REAM got +5 to 80 and a call to the US national team and MATSUI and TAKEI got +5 to 80 and +6 to 81 and were then traded away.

I sold Alfredo TALAVERA for 9 million and AIRAM for 1 million. PABLO and BITTROFF (the guy i bought in the failed exchange deal for 20 year old Liverpool CB AYALA) were traded away as well.

Contrary to public belief there are still a number of fairly good players available. It takes some searching though. New arrivals are

Joel KIMUAKI from TP Mazembe. This club won the african CL and beat Internacional and Pachuca in the FIFA club championship. The players all have a low rating and i thought they must get a nice ratings increase if SM ever takes a look. KIMUAKI is a RB, just 20 years old and rated 78. I had to pay 1.8 million.

Jordan COOK is a 20-year old striker who joined from Sunderland for 650k.

Bashkim KADRII is a 19-year old winger from ODENSE BK. He cost me 1.1 millon.

Gonzalez SALVA is a CM who joined from Sevilla Atletico for 700k.

Stefan RISTOVSKI is an 18-year old RM who i signed from Parma for 285k.

Magomed OZDOEV is an 18-year old CM and joined from Lok Moskva for 1.7 million.

Nicolas COLAZO is a 20-year old CM from Boca who i paid 1.2 million for.

Andujar COKE joins from Rayo Vallecano. The 85-rated RB is 23 years old and cost me appproximately 6 million. I am pretty sure that he will be playing in the first division of Spain next season and until then i can send him away on loan.

Another 23-year old player joins from Libertad. Pablo VELAZQUEZ was with Leyton Orient before but he has now secured a 2-million move to San Lorenzo and that is a good reason to buy him. The player is rated 84.

I may actually be getting too many youth players. They usually don't get increases in value quickly and the ones that do aren't the ones i want to sell. I have to keep a balance and sign some quick risers who are good moneymakers occasionally. The rate that my club is burning wages at is frightening sometimes.

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Re: The Leyton Orient Challenge

January 12

Today the regular season ended with a 2:0 win of my reserves against Southend United. Congratulations to Sunderland for winning the league and to Portsmouth for promotion. My team reached 71 points this season. Again Leyton Orient finds itself in the playoffs. Last time my team was the last seed (meaning two away games) and this time i get two home games for being the first seed. Actually last time Leyton Orient didn't even reach the second game. This time it looks doable:

The first game will be against Brighton and Hove Albion. They have 89-rated GK David James, 3 86s and a bunch of 85-rated players. The 2nd game will be against the winner of Norwich City and Crystal Palace who mostly have players rated between 85-86.

I am not sure yet when the playoffs are scheduled.

SOILEDIS was sold. New to my club are

17-year old CB Puerto ISRAEL from Sevilla B.

21-year old CB Hiram MIER from Monterrey.

19-year old Fwd Antonio PEDROZA from Jaguares des Chiapas.

21-year old Fwd Othoniel ARCE from San Luis.

I paid 2 million for ISRAEL and 1.5 million for the other 3.

32-year old LB Wilfred BOUMA joins from PSV. He is rated 87 and was available from an unmanaged side for 6.5 million. You know the drill, he will play for 10 weeks (very useful as my LB position was weakened with the sale of Popov) and then be sold again.

I have several more deals coming up. I am pretty sure that this season my club will set all kinds of new transfer records but i will wait until the season is over before i post the data.

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Re: The Leyton Orient Challenge

January 13

Just a quick update, the playoffs will start on january 20. I assume that the 2nd game might be on january 23. The new season apparently starts january 24th.

My club got 4.2 million prize money at the end of the season. With this my total income excluding transfers was 27 million. On the other hand my expenses (mainly wages) were 87.5 million. This means a loss of just over 60 million.

I was able to cover this loss on the transfer market but i will wait a few days for the final statistics as i am still very active.

Today i sold WONDOLOWSKI, PINTO, TOLEDO and GUERREIRO for a combined 17 million.

New to my club are

17 year old Aris CM Georgios KATIDIS

19 year old Blackburn Rovers LM Josh MORRIS

21 year old Jaguares de Chiapas winger Jorge Hernandez. He is rated 80 and cost 2.4 million.

22 year old midfielder Manuel VINIEGRA of UANL Tigres. The players is rated 80 as well and cost me 1.5 million.

KATIDIS and MORRIS were newly added to the database. KATIDIS cost me 1 million and MORRIS 3 million.

As you can see i bought 6 mexican players in the past few days. The mexican league has started again and there usually isn't much competition for the players despite the league being pretty good. But I don't yet know if any of my players could be special or if they will all end up being sold. I hope that Mexico is rated with Brazil and Argentina again.

Some other interesting news:

I bought Bayern keeper KRAFT a few months back after having him on my watchlist for a couple of months. Nobody else wanted him and i eventually felt pity and took him in. Now it seems that Bayern will make him their starting GK this weekend. Lucky me.

Linus HALLENIUS moved to Genoa.

Youssef EL-ARABI is on the radar of Tottenham and Wolfsburg. He may move within the next few days.

So far the transfer window was pretty uneventful for my team though. I will update here next week unless something major happens.

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Re: The Leyton Orient Challenge

January 20

Today Leyton Orient played Brighton and Hove Albion at home and won easily 5:0. M'Vila scored 3. The next opponent is Norwich City who look a little stronger than Brighton and Hove. The game will take place on saturday january 22.

I have done a bunch of transfers again but nothing major. COELHO, ARATI, DOSSEVI, BASTRINI, CASTRO, DIAKHATE and PEREZ left the club for a combined ~17 million. DOSSEVI brough in 8 million from another manager and the rest were sold to neutral clubs. I sold a lot of players lately and have a lot of cash these days which i am really not accustomed to. But since i am at the squad cap limit i always have to sell some players before i can buy again and since almost all of my players are pretty good they bring in good money. I think that the days of me being perpetually broke might be over.

New to Leyton Orient are these players:

19-year old DM Ramon ARCAS joined from Santander. I paid 3 million.

18-year old Joao REIS was added to the database with real club set to "none". This should change though as he is regarded as one of the brightest talents in Portugal and is in talks with Benfica and Inter Milan. I got the player for 500k because there was no competition.

Cristian MAGANA joined from Colo Colo. He was on loan to Union San Felipe and since that club isn't well known he was available. Right now he is the starting RB for Chile at the U20 tournament in Peru. I paid 500k.

Andreas TATOS is a 21-year old LM from Atromitos in Greece. He is playing a good season and could move to a bigger club in the summer. I paid approximately 1.5 million for the 80-rated player.

Atletico Paranaense has a new starting GK: 75-rated and 22-year old Joao CARLOS joined my team for almost 700k. I am not sure if he can keep the job but at that price its a good gamble.

19-year old Ryan MASON joined from Tottenham. He has come back from an injury and is a regular for the reserves team. I got him for 1.1 million from an unmanaged team.

As you can see i didn't spend much. I tried to bid on a number of newly-added young players but i am almost always getting outbid since the competition is fierce lately. Keeping a bit of money in the bank won't hurt me though.

Some more tidbits:

Viktor VASIN joined CSKA from Nalchik. The 22-year old has become a full russian international last year as well.

Othoniel ARCE whom i bought last week was named best rookie in the mexican league last season. My player AMIONE was one of the top-3 finishers as well.

Akihiro IENAGA joined Mallorca. This was a surprise to me as i thought he would only be a money-maker for my club. I am looking forward to see what he can do in Spain.

I tried to make some trade offers again but its difficult. A lot of it has to do with chairman intervention because the chairman doesn't allow me to put in the bids that i need to make an attractive offer.

And even when people put a player on the transfer list and i bid the required amount they usually retract the player. I guess i have earned a bit of a reputation for finding talent and it doesn't make this easier.

Well, on saturday is the final game of the season. If i win at home my team will finally be in division 1 of the English League. My team is almost ready for it too. One more ratings change for the major leagues of europe and my team will be able to compete for the international spots.

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Re: The Leyton Orient Challenge

January 21

And here are my (likely) final transfer statistics for the season and my financial data. I set a transfer record for my club that i very likely won't be able to break in the future:

In season 11 of GC 1 (i joined towards the end of season 7) Leyton Orient bought a total of 140 players!

Today no. 140 joined from Sampdoria Genoa: Zsolt LACZKO joined my club for 4.7 million just after he was transferred from Debreceni to Sampdoria in the real world. He was a little expensive but good LBs are rare.

On the other hand i sold 83 players for a total of 322 million cash. 37 players were traded away. The total value of the 120 players that left my club likely is greater than 400 million. For the players transferred in i paid almost 264 million.

The difference of ~60 million was used to cover my wage bills.

At the end of last season my total asset value was nearly 470 million. At the end of this season it is at approximately 594 million. In GC 1 this is probably the 3rd highest value behind Spartak Moskva and FC Porto. Its a gain of only 125 million and a bit less than expected. In the past few seasons my net gain was higher. Why?

In the past few seasons my main aim was to gain asset value. I rarely bought expensive players and only bought youngsters when i got them cheaply. This season i changed my approach: Since i am near the squad cap my aim was to gain quality players and i added more young players than in the past instead of quick risers. This time i paid over 3 million for a good number of young players with a rating of about 75 and an SM value of less than a million. And then i paid a premium of 24 million for LOMBAERTS who only has a SM value of about 11 million. A gain of 120 million isn't great but i think the quality that i gained is greater than 120 million.

These players were perhaps my best finds of season 11:

Josip ILICIC has become a star player at Palermo. I paid over 6 million but the investment has turned out to be a bargain. ILICIC should be a regular for my side in the next few seasons.

Buying LOMBAERTS for 24 million was a steal.

Some highly talented youngsters joined like Parma's ZE EDUARDO, PEKHART from FK Jablonec, 19-year old Pierrick CROS who is the starting GK for Sochaux, Bremen's CF Lennart THY, Ajax Amsterdam winger OZBILIZ and a *LOT* more. I very likely have the most talented U21 team in GC 1 by now.

My worst buys were HURMACI who broke his leg and left my team with a loss of ~4 million and the failed transfer for AYALA from Zaragoza (with me buying BITTROFF for 3 million). Did i mention that i hate chairman intervention?

In the future my ability to add new talent is limited by the squad cap. For every player i buy i have to sell one and finding players in my squad that i don't mind losing is quite difficult. Almost every player i currently have is a likely riser. This means that i expect to buy and less fewer players in the future and i will especially add fewer players just to gain value. Basically my aim will be to add players to my youth squad and to find players that have a trade value for other managers. My gains in value will likely drop again. I assume that next season i will see a gain of about 100 million. Its still a long time to go before i can become the next billionaire of SM.

Another effect is that be focusing on my youth team i can hopefully avoid some player concerns. I have only 77 that are 22 and older and i will probably reduce this number a bit more. My team's average age is 21 and i hope it will stay there for a while.

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Re: The Leyton Orient Challenge

January 22

This is the worst day since i took over as the manager of Leyton Orient.

In the final game of the season my team lost 0:2 at home to an 85-rated and somewhat fatigued Norwich City. Congrats to Norwich for their successfull promotion bid. For my team this means the 3rd season in division 2.

I dunno what to say really. I didn't see this coming. This season my team was one of the favorites to win division 2 and then came that horrible streak between october 16 and november 6 when my team didn't get a win in seven games and only 3 draws. I never felt that i totally recovered from that. I got to the 2nd spot for a short time but at the end of the season my team had a tougher schedule than the opposition and i couldn't stay there.

Ah well, what can i do. I will make another attempt and maybe with some luck finally break out of division 2. I never thought this would take more than a year.

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Re: The Leyton Orient Challenge

Febuary 2

I've been gone for a few days and just got back last night. I missed the start of the season and my team already got kicked out of the English Shield in the first round. In the league Leyton Orient started off with a draw and today got a win. With 4 points my team is in 6th now.

Not being there at the start of the season means that i missed out on loan deals. I will try to get a couple good loan players in the next couple of days. Without loan players i can get an average of 87 but not 88. 88 is probably needed for one of the two top slots.

My team right now has a few star players like M'VILA, HUMMELS and LOMBAERTS but not a single 88 and only 4 87s. I have lots and lots of 86s and 85s but i really need some trade deals or ratings help. The problem is that without a ratings increase to 87 players aren't that useful in trade deals. 87 is the magic number because 86s are usually available in the market for money.

The brazilian ratings should help me a bit though with players like MARIANO and CARLINHOS (both regulars for champion Fluminense) and CESAR (starting GK for Corinthians) about to get rated. The russian and danish ratings are coming up too but apart from some gain in value i don't expect a lot. Hopefully Ukraine will get scheduled soon as well.

Since i was gone i didn't really work the transfer market. Two exceptions though, just before i left i put in a bid for 17-year old Iago BECEIRO of Deportivo which got accepted and yesterday i put in an offer for 17-year old Hertha player Nico SCHULZ that was completed as well. BECEIRO was my last deal of last season and SCHULZ is my first signing for the new season. Both players were very expensive but i don't think that money will be a big problem any more. I am always near the squad cap and will need to sell a lot of players this season. Most of my players will fetch a good price.

There weren't a lot of player news either. I am still not sure where AGUIRREGARAY will play. Some reports said that he has an agreement with Parma but i am not sure if it was finalized. EL-ARABI didn't get a move either yet.

As of today my assets are at about 600 million.

If anyone has 87+ players for loan send me a message please.

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Re: The Leyton Orient Challenge

Febuary 6

Leyton Orient won at Southampton and now has 7 points after 3 games.

These days my main problems are not money but how to improve my squad and how to reduce player numbers. I have tried to set up some trade deals and made pretty good offers (1 86 and 2 85s, all young risers for a good 88 for example) but no luck yet. I will probably need more 87+ players for my trade deals. I have already loaned out 15 players who are mostly 85. I don't need all of these players but i can't get much for them yet.

Sometimes i get accused of hoarding players but this is really not my aim. Sure, i am hoarding U21 players but the older guys are supposed to either play for my team or be traded away.

The remaining slots i had on my team were filled with young talents. My U21 squad is now more than 2/3 of my entire team. Here are my the new additions:

18-year old Barbosa DIOGO joined from Vasco. He is the youngest player on the Vasco squad but played a couple of games at the end of last season. And since you can never really have enough LBs (tough position to fill means good trade options) i bought him for 3 million at a rating of just 75.

19-year old Lucas ZEN is a CB playing for Botafogo. He played two games at the end of last season and has played for the brazilian U20 team before. At a rating of 75 he cost me 1.9 million.

17-year old Deportivo talent Juan MERA is very likely my best transfer these days. Spanish papers call him a great talent of "Barcelona quality". He just turned 17 in November and won't be able to help anytime soon but i don't mind spending 3.2 million for a talent like this.

TROMBETTA left my club for 2.2 million. He was just a moneymaker.

If you ever wondered, my team has players from 52 different countries now. It includes players from diverse locations like Ecuador, Armenia, Liechtenstein, Georgia or Mali.

Good news was that KONOPLYANKA was voted the "best ukrainian player" by some newspaper for last season. MKHITARYAN seems fit again after injury problems and played CM in a 4-4-2 this week with Shaktar demolishing Rosenborg in a friendly. I think both of these guys will hit 90+ eventually.

With a team as big as mine there are sometimes bad news too. My players had some serious injuries lately: VASIN tore his cruciate ligament and so did SZALAI. I had high hopes for both but this will set them back for a long time.

More bad news comes from the ratings department. While i got good and deserved increases for CARLINHOS and CESAR (both +3 to 86) my RB MARIANO stayed at 86. He clearly was the best RB in Brazil last season and should have gotten 88 or at the very minimum 87. I really need this guy and sent in a ticket to SM. Hopefully they will fix his rating in the next few days. Maybe they just forgot him but i can't wait another 6 months.

My promotion bid is tough enough anyway because so far i haven't managed to get any loan players. My attacking department mainly consists of 86-rated players and could use some help. I really would like to avoid the playoffs this season.

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Re: The Leyton Orient Challenge

January 9

Leyton Orient only got a point from the home game against Darlington. My team is still unbeaten in the league but only has 8 points from 4 games and is in 5th. My team only scored 3 goals so far and i really wish i could upgrade at Fwd somehow.

But at least i got one loan deal. Spartak Moskva sent me ALBELDA for a while and with this player my team can barely reach 88.

I sold MICANSKI, BONDOA, ROTENBERG and JIMENEZ. I didn't really want to sell JIMENEZ because he was considered a safe bet for the colombian national team but he had surgery on both knees to correct a birth defect and i didn't want to wait for him to make his comeback. Supposedly he is fine though. I got about 10 million for these players.

New to Leyton Orient are

19-year old Marcel BUCHEL from Juve. I found him on an unmanaged team and got him cheaply for 530k.

21-year old winger Romain ALESSANDRINI. He is rated 78 and is doing great in the french 2nd division at Clermont Foot. I got him in a straight trade for SEVIERI who was only worth about 500k chairman value.

23-year old Bispo ADRIANO is rated 80 and has been a regular for Santos in the Paulista. He cost me 1.4 million.

Abdul RAZAK joined today for 3 million. He played one minute for Manchester City last weekend at barely 18 years of age.

My biggest deal was to buy Wellington GUM from an unmanaged team for 14.5 million. The 25-year old CB plays for brazilian champion Fluminense and will help my team for a few months. I plan to use him in a trade deal eventually though because i don't think that he has much more potential. Or perhaps i will sell him for a similar amount. But right now i felt that my team can use some help. Without loan my team isn't any better than last season.

After all these deals my money is pretty low again. I already spent 32 million this season for a couple of players with an SM value of just 11 million and only generated 13 million from sales. Wages are causing me to lose 1.6 million on home games and i will need to sell a couple of players soon. I managed to send 16 players away on loan which eases the wage burden a little.

I though i would be able to benefit more from the russian and brazilian ratings but my players didn't gain much. The ticket i sent for MARIANO was "passed on" but of course nothing happened. SM needs to find a way to use player input. Mistakes do happen but they should be corrected quickly. MARIANO was voted best RB in Brazil by several sports newspapers and the rating of 86 is a joke.

Some players news:

Santos Fwd ZE EDUARDO couldn't get his EU passport sorted and came back from Italy (Genoa) to Santos. He might move in the summer.

AGUIRREGARAY seems to have a similar problem. He is apparently still training with lowly Terassa because he didn't get a passport.

And guess what, Defensor Fwd Rodrigo MORA apparently had a move to Benfica lined up but then didn't get a EU passport. MORA seemingly didn't talk to his old club about this move and now was sent to their B-team for punishment.

ZE EDUARDO should be ok but the two others could be without first-team football for the next few months. I will keep them anyway.

Alberto LORA is playing a very good season and is said to be on the radar of Valencia. It will take a while but chances are good that one of my good RBs (LORA, MARIANO and AGUIRREGARAY) will reach 87+ eventually.

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Re: The Leyton Orient Challenge

Febuary 16

Leyton Orient won on saturday and lost today which adds up to 3 points and 5th place in the league.

My attacking department is weak and my team has trouble scoring. I guess i have to wait until the german ratings when my attackers LAKIC and SCHURRLE should get better ratings. France (EL-ARABI), Spain (GRIEZMANN, ZURUTUZA) and Ukraine (MKHITARYAN, KONOPLYANKA) would help too. It would be so nice if i could avoid the playoffs this time.

There isn't really much to tell these days. The transfer market is slow because not many leagues are starting a new season (just some in the Americas) and the real-world transfer market is pretty much shut down. Prices have become even more inflated than normal. There are 86-rated players being sold for way over 10 million, and these are not even special talents. Finding an affordable striker in times like these is very difficult.

Anyway, here is what i did:

I sold GRIMALDI, CESAR, OTTESEN and RAMOS for almost 20 million. OTTESEN just got a +1 to 84 in the danish ratings. He was a regular for Kopenhagen but then broke his arm and missed a while. I guess i could have kept him until the next ratings change but i need to make space on my squad for new guys.

Edu RAMOS had a knee injury last summer i think and now isn't even a regular for the 2nd team of Malaga.

I added Dinamo Bucuresti winger Marius ALEXE who is 20 and rated 83. His rating is probably a bit high and i don't think he is good enough for my team but should be good trade value. I paid 4.3 million to Osasuna who were robbed of all their good players last weekend.

The 2nd addition is Maxime JOSSE who is a 23-year old CB with a rating of 80. He has become a regular for Sochaux lately and only cost me 1.4 million from a neutral squad. He should be a huge riser if he keeps his spot.

I have a lot more money-makers on my shortlist but i have to pass on most of them. Money isn't a big issue right now and i am just trying to buy players who actually have trade value.

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Re: The Leyton Orient Challenge

Febuary 21

Monday is not a typical day for an update but i did a few fairly big deals in the transfer market. Today two new strikers joined my club and this should help fix my attacking problems in the short term and in the long term as well.

Almost 30-year old and 87-rated FC Kopenhagen Fwd Cesar SANTIN joined for a little over 10 million. He was sold to a neutral club and just became available. He will be a slight upgrade for my team. I have several strikers rated between 85-86 but most of them aren't doing terribly good and i feared that none will make the jump to 87 anytime soon. If i get help at Fwd (perhaps from a positional change for SCHURRLE) SANTIN might leave again in 10 weeks. At age 30 he is not a long-term solution anyway.

The 2nd striker who joined is rated 86 but he is quite a bit younger. Baye Djiby FALL is 25 years old and was on loan from Lok Moskva to Molde FK last season. In Norway he scored 16 goals in 28 games and was the best striker in the entire league. Now he is back in Russia and think he could make his breakthrough. I got FALL for 6 million and in GC1 this is a bargain.

In a trade deal 86-rated Nalchik RM LEANDRO went to Parma. In exchange i received Cologne winger CLEMENS. He is 19 years old and just rated 80 but became a regular this season. CLEMENS has a lot of speed and a powerful shot. Good wingers are tough to find and i hope i hit the jackpot here.

Some more players joined lately:

Hector CANTEROS joined from Velez Sarsfield. He is a 21-year old CM and cost me 1.3 million.

20-year old Mahamadou N'DIAYE is 20 years old and a CB. Guimaraes paid a lot of money for this guy and i am looking forward to see what he can do.

80-rated Diallo GUIDILLEYE is a regular for Troyes at barely 20 and cost me almost 2 million.

One last bid has been accepted and will be completed today: 22-year old CB Borja GOMEZ has become a regular at Rayo Vallecano. He is rated 80 and if his club gains promotion he could see first league action pretty soon.

Of course some other players had to make room: RIBEIRO and ORIOL left the club and Leandro MARTINEZ is about to. More sales have to be made soon because my squad is overcrowded and my club almost broke.

With all these transfers i almost forgot that my team had a match on saturday. West Brom Albion was dispatched 4:1 and my team moved up into 3rd. I hope that i can get a result at powerful Leeds on wednesday.

The rating schedule doesn't help me much these days. FAURLIN for +2 to 84 and ALAR + 3 to 83 but apart from some gain in value this doesn't have much impact. Ratings for the big leagues would help but they probably won't be as good as i had previously hoped. Most of my players aren't doing great these days. One notable exception is David ZURUTUZA who i bought as a moneymaker one year ago and who should gain +2 to 87. Mallorca AM Michael PEREIRA is doing fine too. He reminds me of ILICIC as they are both tall and technically well above average.

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Re: The Leyton Orient Challenge

Febuary 26

I sooo hate division 2. Its Leyton Orient's 3rd season in this division and its going just like the ones before. My team is among the best but it just can't get to the top. The last two games were a draw on wednesday at Leeds and this was followed by a 0:1 home loss to Watford. After matchday 9 my team is in 8th place now with just 15 points.

Right now my hope rests on a favorable rating for some of my players. The big leagues should be rated in the next 2-4 weeks and this should help a lot. And it will finally enable me to sell some players and hopefully free up some squad space. I have a large number of players that will get a ratings increase and who i want to sell right afterwards. I will hopefully be able to do some trade deals as well after the ratings. I would still like to upgrade at striker and perhaps in AM/wing since i expect SCHURRLE to get switched to Fwd soon.

My ability to transfer players has been limited lately. First i spent too much money on some 87-rated players after i failed to get loan deals. I thought they could help me grab some points before the big league ratings but it wasn't worth it. And then i really had problems to find players in my squad that i could sell. Here is what little i did:

HARTMANN was sold to another manager. He was rated one of the biggest german talents but he is apparently struggling to get his life in order and hasn't had any playing time lately. Maybe he will have a career some day but right now it doesn't look like it. The 2nd guy i sold was 21-year old Atlas winger Carlos GUTIERREZ who didn't play lately for reasons unknown to me.

21-year old DM Diego RODRIGUEZ of uruguaian club Defensor joined my side. He is doing well in the league and cost me 1.6 million at a rating of 80.

I did miss out on a fairly big transfer last week. I tried to sign Tromso DM Serigne KARA but was outbid. KARA is said to be a huge talent. And then i didn't have money for the raid on Sampdoria who had lost their manager and now lost all their talent. I need to get more cash reserves again soon. GC 1 has lost a few managers lately who were apparently frustrated by the difficulty of the transfer market.

Here are some more news about my players:

Ondrej CELUSTKA who has been a member of my squad for an eternity has become the first player of my team to get a ratings decrease (-1 to 84) since i started the Leyton Orient challenge. His team isn't doing well and i saw this coming but i decided to keep him anyway.

Bayern GK KRAFT did a good job in the champions league against Inter. He should get a huge increase but i doubt that he will be the Bayern GK next season.

Mats HUMMELS and Dortmund won at Bayern today. HUMMELS was very good and even scored with a header. I think he will be my first 91-rated player soon.

Henrik MKHITARYAN played CM/DM in a 4-2-3-1 at Roma last week and did good. If Shakhtar continues to do well in the CL he should be a regular for my team soon as well.

And now please bring on the Euro ratings. I want to get out of division 2 so badly. Look at this team (based on real life quality). Does this look like a division 2 side?

-------------------------OSPINA (KRAFT)-----------------------------

LORA---------------HUMMELS---------LOMBAERTS---------TZAVELLAS

-------------------MKHITARYAN------M'VILA-----------------------

EL-ARABI----------------------ILICIC----------------------GRIEZMANN

-----------------------------SCHURRLE-----------------------------

To me this looks like a side that could win a league like France or Italy or do a pretty good CL or at least EL run.

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Re: The Leyton Orient Challenge

March 5

Leyton Orient has hit a rough patch. My team had two games this week and both ended in a draw. 1:1 on wednesday and 0:0 today. My team just cannot score goals. In 11 games my team scored 12 goals. My defense just conceded six times which is great but without goals there will be no promotion. Buying a new striker hasn't helped either. SANTIN has 0 goals and 0 assists after his first three games.

Leyton Orient is in 7th place now and 2nd place is already 8 points away. I will switch my tactics around a little and hope for some wins.

The big league ratings have started and they helped a little:

HUMMELS got +1 to 91, SCHURRLE got +1 to 88 and BUNGERT +1 to 87. TZAVELLAS stayed at 86 (i think he deserved 87) and TIFFERT stayed at 86 as well despite kicker magazine having him listed as the 6th best midfielder in Germany this season. But his team isn't doing well and i have to live with it.

MATOUKOU is doing great in Belgium (his team is no. 1) and he is a regular in a 85-86-rated team but he stayed at 84. I was sure he would get +1 and wanted to sell him and now i can either hang on to him for another 10 months or sell him for cheap.

A few more players got rated but none can help my team yet. I should get more help when Italy, France and Spain get done.

The transfer market was uneventful for me. FREDERIKSEN and THEREAU were sold to other managers for a combined 8.5 millon. Negotiations have started to sell KESSLER (who got +2 to 85) for about 8 million.

I didn't buy a single new player in the past week.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Re: The Leyton Orient Challenge

March 14

Leyton Orient played two more games. The first resulted in a tie and the second one finally broke my series of no wins after 5 games and my team got the 3 points that i really need. My team is in 6th now just 5 points behind 2nd place. Stoke City in 1st is another 10 points ahead and seems out of reach very early. I switched my tactics to a diamond formation and "attacking" settings.

The european ratings gave me a much needed boost. ILICIC got +2 to 88 and BENATIA +2 to 87. This will allow me to get an 88 for almost any match from now on despite Spartak recalling the only player that i still had on loan. Getting an 88 with just my own players is a huge step for me. Now i hope that EL-ARABI can get an 88 as well. A few more players got small ratings increases and i managed to lower my wage bill a little by loaning out players. Right now i have 19 players out on loan.

I watched a bit of football on TV lately and occasionally i catch one of "my" players on TV. A week ago i watched Mainz SCHURRLE demolish Hamburg. This guy looks special to me. I think he will be a regular german international very soon.

I didn't do much in the transfer market. Two moneymakers joined my team who probably won't stay a long time.

Nascimento GILSON joined from GREMIO. He is 24 years old, rated 80 and played a lot lately.

Sebastian JAIME is a 24-year old striker for Union Espanyola in Chile. He is only rated 78 but is doing great in the league and is a regular in the Libertadores as well.

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Re: The Leyton Orient Challenge

March 21

This season is going badly for Leyton Orient. Last wednesday my team lost 1:0 at Fulham and on saturday we lost 0:1 at home to Bolton. I played an attacking formation with two strikers and an 88 average, but the best team in the league just can't score goals. My team is in 8th now 4 points behind a playoff spot. Direct promotion seems impossible right now.

Don't ask me for a clue because i don't have one. My team is in the second division for the 3rd season now and has continually gotten better. Now after the european ratings my team should dominate but 17 goals in 15 games aren't all that impressive.

The transfer market isn't very interesting for me either. I lack funds and squad space to really make an impact here. I have been trying to make some sales but wages are hurting me pretty badly and i am not making a lot of progress. In earlier seasons i had more older moneymakers in my team and these days i have a huge number of young talents who need time to develop and aren't that useful to make a quick cash. I may have to change my squad composition a little. Another thing that would help would be the ukrainian ratings. I still have a lot of players that i would like to sell but i need to wait for the ratings.

The only addition i made was to exchange MATOUKOU for de Barros PABLO who was with my team before. PABLO has become a regular for Cruzeiro lately and this bodes well for a ratings increase in the future. I also sold TOCHE for 3 million (he was rumored to get a transfer last winter but didn't) and KESSLER for 7.5 million. In two days BOUMA will lose his transfer ban and he should be good for 10 million. I have plenty backups in defense now.

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Re: The Leyton Orient Challenge

March 24

Leyton Orient came back from Sheffield Wednesday with a 0:0 draw. My team can't score but i guess we salvaged a point. Leyton Orient is in 9th now with a 17:11 goal difference after 16 games and a scoring drought of 3 games. What a run for the best attack in division 2!

The transfer market was a bit more interesting.

First i traded away 86-rated LB CARLINHOS for Cesena winger GIACCHERINI. GIACCHERINI is playing a very good season and should get a transfer to a bigger club this summer. Some rumors say that he has an outside chance to make the italian national team and thats why i though he would be good trade value in the future. The player is 25 years old and rated 86 as well. Losing CARLINHOS hurts a little but while he should have 87-88 potential i don't think that he will become a star player.

Loureiro ALLAN joined from Blackburn Rovers. Blackburn have decided to sell off their formidable youth team and ALLAN is a very bright prospect from Brazil. I only paid 2 million for the 78-rated talent.

Again from Blackburn comes 80-rated and 19-year old Sao Paulo Fwd Nascentes HENRIQUE. He is one of the best prospects in Brazil and even at 4.2 million i consider him to be a bargain.

The next transfer that is about to be completed is 18-year old Santiago DITTBORN from chilenean top club CDUC. I overpaid a bit at 1.8 million because the transfer was uncontested but i am happy to have him anyway.

I am very happy with these transfers. I paid about 8 million for 3 youngsters but they bring a lot of quality to the best youth squad in GC 1 (i think i can say that now). Every one of them could be an impact player.

My trade attempts again have been futile. I have made 3 transfer offers in the past week but most teams are trying to trade up and not down. Offering 2 or even three 87s for an 89 or 90 is usually not going to work. Chairman intervention is making deals complicated as well as the chairman values in no way reflects the market values of GC 1.

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Re: The Leyton Orient Challenge

April 4

GC 1 took a break for a week and only two friendlies were scheduled. Leyton Orient defeated powerhouse teams Port Vale and FC Honka 1:0. One of the goals was scored by CB HEURTAUX and the other by RM TIFFERT. Then on saturday my team got a league win against Wycombe Wanderers with goals by CB GUM and DM BIAGIANTI. Again no striker goals in those past 3 games. My team moved up into 8th. The next two matches are against no. 3 Leicester and against no. 1 Stoke.

I made a couple of transfers but nothing spectacular. BOUMA was sold for just 8.5 million because i didn't get any good offers. Next i did a few trade-in deals:

First i exchanged AL-KAMALI for Wilmer AGUIRRE of San Luis. AL-KAMALI recently got +3 to 80 but had a very low chairman value just over 1.3 million. By swapping him for AGUIRRE i got a player who is rated 84 and already has a chairman value of 2.8 million. AGUIRRE has scored 7 goals in Mexico this season and should rise to 85 or even 86.

Then i traded away Malaga's Wilson CUERO who doesn't play for De Graafschap's 20-year old RB Ties EVERS. EVERS is a dutch U21-international and was available from an external team.

In a third swap deal i sent away TP Mazembe's KABANGOU. I wanted to wait for TP Mazembe to get rated after they did great in the African Champions League and the Club World Cup but i was tired of waiting and needed the squad space. New to Leyton Orient is new Toulouse GK Luis MEJIA who was a regular for uruguaian club Fenix at 19. MEJIA was available from an external team. MEJIA doesn't play yet for Toulouse but i am taking a gamble here.

The last transfer was a money deal. I bought South African international Daylon CLAASEN from an unmanaged side. CLAASEN is a regular for Lierse SK in Belgium at age 21 and rated 80.

None of the new players is likely to ever play for my team but three of them are below 21 and could have potential. AGUIRRE is just a money-maker.

My team is a solid 88 right now and the next step can only be to get 89. At this rating it is basically impossible to get a player for money and since i am rarely able to make trades i will need to wait for the next euro ratings. It is a bit boring but hopefully the summer transfer window will open soon. Last summer i got a few great deals like ILICIC and BENATIA and if i can find two gems like those two i will be happy.

In other news Frankfurt LB TZAVELLAS scored a goal from 70 meters against Schalke's NEUER. I am not even sure that i could strike a ball that far.

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Re: The Leyton Orient Challenge

April 7

Yesterday Leyton Orient played at Leicester City and came back defeated 1:0. Leicester City has an 85 average and again my strikers like 88-rated SCHURRLE (0 goals, 3 assists for the season) didn't manage to score. One more game on saturday and the first half of the season is finished with my team in 9th right now.

Because of the disastrous results i have made a last-ditch effort to salvage this season. After i read that Spartak Moskva dropped out of the SMFA Cup i tried to get a good striker on loan and was successfull. Today Diego MILITO (94) joined Leyton Orient and will hopefully be the goal threat that i so desperately need. And more, when my team is fully fit he will raise my team average to 89.

MILITO costs 63k wages a game but i have sent away several players out on loan myself and my wage bill still is below 2.3 million a game. This is a lot but still manageable for me.

I completed two more transfers yesterday:

JOHNSSON and a 200k money was sent to an external team in exchange for 22-year old Internazionale keeper Enrico ALFONSO who is on loan at Modena and apparently doing well. After being lucky with Bayern keeper Kraft maybe i will get lucky again. ALFONSO is rated 82 and i was very surprised that JOHNSSON had such a high trade value as he is only rated 76. Maybe there is a bug in the system.

LAZEVSKI was sold for 2.5 million cash.

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Re: The Leyton Orient Challenge

April 9

Leyton Orient finished the first half of the season with a 1:3 home loss to division leaders Stoke City. Stoke went ahead 2:0 within 2 minutes and my team never recovered. With Diego MILITO as the new target man i had an average of 89 for the first time (compared to Stoke's 86) but MILITO did not make an impact. My team scored after he was subbed out.

My hopes of direct promotion have been shattered and Leyton Orient may not even make the playoffs. I have tried all kinds of formations and settings but this season nothing works. But I will try to win a few games in the English Cup that starts on monday and hopefully my team will perform better in this competition. And hopefully my team won't get relegated.

I know that the match engine was always good for a few strange results but this season for the first time i have the feeling that it is broken. My team is so far ahead of the competition and only scored 19 goals in 18 games. Its simply rediculous. In GC 100 my pretty bad Greenock Morton is in 1st and Celtic who have a much better team are in 2nd. That result is just as strange as the one in GC 1. I have been on SM for about 3 years now and i have the nagging feeling that they made some changes to the match engine that cause these results.

There has been a little action on the transfer market and i will update shortly.

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Re: The Leyton Orient Challenge

April 13

On monday my team barely squeezed by 84-rated and NMF Wycombe Wanderers with a 1:0 home win and reached the 2nd round of the English Cup. Today my team travelled to Tranmere and managed to get a 0:0 draw. I guess i am happy - its one more point against relegation. Leyton Orient is in 13th place now. Does anyone have a better striker than MILITO (94) that i could take on loan?

Anyway, the transfer market was pretty busy and more fun. I sold ELANA for 8 million and three colombian youngsters (QUINONES, CUELLAR and ROBLES) for a combined 4.2 million. The way from Colombia to the big leagues of europe is too long for me to wait. DASHYAN who didn't make it in Ukraine was traded away. With so much squad space these new players were signed:

Brazilian DEF Gabriel MARQUES joins from Nacional Montevideo. He is 23 years old, rated 80 and a regular for the Copa Libertadores side.

Metalurh Donetsk Fwd Vitaliy IVANKO joins just before the ukrainian ratings are about to start. He is 19 years old and about to become a regular for his team. I paid 1.2 million from another club.

21-year old Garcia Matinez KIKE joins from 3rd division side Murcia. He is scoring heaps of goals and shouldn't stay in the 3rd division for long. 900k for a 77 rating.

And then i finally managed to complete a big transfer again. Today Leverkusen winger (on loan to Mainz) Marcel RISSE joined for just over 9 million from an unmanaged side. RISSE is just barely 21 years old, rated 85 and plays regularly for Mainz. I don't think that he will have a great career but the chance is there. He will be great trade value in any case.

The rating schedule is good for me too. After getting a bunch of good increases for my romanian players

ALEXE +1 to 84

ANTAL +2 to 82

NEAGU +3 to 83

RAPA + 2 to 84

now Ukraine and Mexiko will get rated. This will mean a huge increase in value for me and perhaps strenghten my team. MKHITARYAN (who was very good against Barca yesterday) should become a regular for my team soon.

One more tidbit: My team now has the 2nd worst attack in division 2. 20 goals in 20 games. Only my Cup opponents Wycombe have less with 17. My team's only saving grace is that we have the 2nd best defense as well with just 16 conceeded goals. No. 1 Stoke only allowed 15 goals in.

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