March 14, 2023

Pentagon XII: Howay the Lads? 

Pentagon XII:  Howay the Lads? 


Hi! Last time out I’d just finished the season with Porto, our first since leaving Paderborn in the relative comfort of overachieving in Germany. I literally finished the season, posted the write-up and then flew out to the USA for nearly three weeks. So, I’m loading the game for the first time in a while. Last season Porto did ok in Europe, making the QF of the Champion’s League before being somewhat unlucky in losing to Man Utd. We also won the league, by some distance, finishing on 88 points. Braga, in second, had 79 points. We also bagged the UEFA Super Cup and the Allianz Cup, beating Benfica 6-2 in the latter.  


Going into the new season I’m faced with a choice. Stay or go. Porto is a great springboard club to get into a really big club. So, I’ll be looking around for job vacancies. Also, if I do stay, the squad is aging and needs some work. We’re in 2032, so there’s a Euros this summer. Plus, Copa America. Which will create a managerial merry-go-round. We play the waiting game. Meanwhile, transfers;  



Anderson Arroyo (Olympiacos, £2.3M). He wanted to leave and I wanted him to leave. Wins all round. Fee on the low side but the best offer we had.  

Nelson Drago (Troyes, £3M). I didn’t trust him at all. I’ll take the cash.  

Joao Mario (Braga, free, EOC). This did NOT go over well with the supporters. He has 314 league starts for Porto.  

Arnau Comas (Napoli, £5.25M). At 32, he’s starting to deteriorate. Is on the last year of his contract and on 83k per week. Napoli take that financial burden off my hands.  



Paul Hecker (Man Utd, £6.5M). I was short of quality full backs last season. This guy can play either side and if he lives up to his potential is worth a small fortune.  

Antonio Mauri (Paderborn, £8M). My right back from Paderborn joins us. He’s exceptional and has improved since I left Paderborn. Both full backs replaced.  

Melkamu Frauendorf (Eintracht Braunschweig, £1.6M). The more eagle-eyed among you may notice this guy was with me at Paderborn and I sold him. And by “sold”, I mean I released him on a free because his wages were enormous. I desperately needed cover on the right wing and this is it.  


The Euros come and go (France won, urgh) and loads of managers leave the national jobs including England boss Sean Dyche. Italy, Spain and Germany are also up for grabs. The hope is that someone quits a good job and leaves an opening I can go for. Meanwhile, with Porto, pre-season has been a disaster. I took them on a USA tour, because I thought it would be good for a laugh, and they just keep losing.  


Anyway, Klopp quits Man City to take the Germany job and I immediately apply for that. I’m four star reputation and Man City is obviously a step up at five stars.  

The Porto board are less than impressed with my public interest in joining City. I won the league for you, now I’m leaving. This is how it works in Portugal. You should be used to it by now.  

The Man City fans however, lean in hard on their abuse. I am a serial winner, you fucks. Why am I not being considered? So, yeah, that didn’t happen. I did also apply to Monterrey and Corinthians but neither of them could afford to pay my release from Porto. Obviously, I didn’t quit Porto because I thought the Man City job was possible so now, we’re stuck here.  

To distract myself we go and win the Supertaca, besting Benfica 3-1AET in a game where both teams had a player sent off. Kelvin Yeboah once again the hero, coming off the bench to score twice.  


Man City go in for Julian Nagelsmann, who is in charge at Newcastle. I patiently wait for him to move and the Newcastle job becomes available. Only, there’s no button to apply for it. It’s just not there. I thought maybe they’d offered it to Luis Enrique, as he was already odds on for the job, but unlike Nagelsmann there’s nothing on his profile to indicate there’s a move happening.  


Good news closer to home as Carlos Espinoza is a pisshead.  

I like him more already. More footballers should drink irresponsibly. It makes them look cool and interesting.  


Back to Newcastle. It’s still not available to apply for and Luis Enrique is now officially going there from Roma. What the fuck? Newcastle isn’t that much above where we’re at. I was looking forward to throwing their money around for a laugh. Anyway, Enrique signs for them, leaving the Roma job available. So, I apply for it and the board are not pleased. I’m called in for a chat and tell them straight it’s a good opportunity and they’re all “yeah, I guess it is, we’re a bit shit”. Nobody believes in this club. That’s why I have to leave. Next is Santos and I get an interview, but they opt to hire some nobody instead because he’s Brazilian. That leaves Roma. The lure of Italy is strong. The fans actually want me at this one. I’ve found my level. There are concerns. Roma aren’t particularly good. I literally beat them, last season, with Porto. They have finished top three in Italy for five years and won a title, and the Europa League. They are fairly rich and spent £115M the season they won the league.  


This whole process has been monotonous. Simply going through the motions through an entire off-season in the hope of getting a better job. Half-assing the Porto part of the save because it had already done everything it needed to in one year. I spent three entire sessions hitting the space bar and hoping for something new. As fun as the Pentagon is, as a whole, there are times when it has dragged. It’s left me missing the one-club saves I’ve done recently (Dundee Utd and Aston Villa were both awesome saves). I’m mentally planning next year already. I want a non-league team like Notts Co and a chance to restore them to their former glory. I could possibly do that in this save as Sheffield Wednesday are about to get relegated into non-league.  

What? What? What club ambitions did I change? They went with Nuno Espirito Santo. Three fucking days I’ve been waiting for a new job and here’s me stuck at Porto. Like some sort of limbo between life and death. On the bright side, we’ve not lost in 21 games in the league and rut Boavista 6-1 to cheer me up a bit.  

In order to cheer myself up, I sign Lionel Messi. He wasn’t doing anything so he’s the U19s manager for Porto now. Hopefully this doesn’t come back to bite me when Messi gets all his coaching badges, leaves and beats me repeatedly with, I dunno, Boca Juniors or something in five years time. In order to get something out of Miller Ribeiro, a hugely talented AMC I’ve never used, I actually throw together a secondary formation to play away against tough teams that features an AMC. We win 1-0 at Braga with it and Ribeiro is MOTM.  

I’m not saying I’m a tactical genius or anything, because this is a basic counter attacking pre-set with a few tweaks but this 6-4 approach does work too. Furlan, my second string right back, playing central midfield rather shows my lack of DM’s.  

I’m just minding my own business, getting back into the Porto save when this happens. It happens in the middle of two transfer sagas as well. Kelvin Yeboah is off to Saudi Arabia. He’s in his final year of contract and wants that pay day. He’s been brilliant for us but we have a few options up front. Bye, Kelvin. Thanks for the memories. We trouser £6.75M from that deal, which helps to finance the January arrival of Dylan Mellado, the Paderborn winger/midfield ace. He’s better than any midfielder I have. In any position. He’s also better in all the AM positions than anyone I have, bar Catalfamo. If we stay at Porto, this guy is a difference maker. My little ‘away tactic’ experiment rolls into Munich as we play Bayern in the Champions League and we get thumped 3-0. Hmm.  

Porto’s testing start to the season has included Braga (A) and 1 point from three games in the Champions League. We turn that around somewhat, in a must-win game, by sticking seven goals past NEC. We’re either awesome or shit this season. Nothing in between.  

This one is made all the sweeter by my former keeper, and permanent dickhead, Cunty Ventura conceding all seven. Including this one where he dived the wrong way. Did I snigger a bit? Yeah. Guilty. Could we have won this about 20-0? I think so. We were 6-0 up in 21 minutes and just stopped attacking. Spare the blushes and all that. We then go on to win 3-1 at Benfica, effectively wrapping up the league title in November. We’ve already won away to Sporting and Braga. 24 unbeaten in the league now.  


Before the job jiggling has even finished from the summer (the Real Sociedad job remains vacant), Newcastle sack Luis Enrique. YOU SHOULD HAVE HIRED ME. Meanwhile my main reason for wanting to leave Porto is our inability to compete in Europe and then this happens. 





I’m still confused as to why Newcastle never let me interview last time and it horribly backfired for them.  

Considering nothing happened with the Real Sociedad until now, they suddenly offer me the job and look what drops into my inbox. 

Getting emails from Amanda Staveley makes me feel dirty.  


On leaving FC Porto, we’re top of the league, still in all the cups and on course for a Champions League play-off spot for a place in the R16. That’s good, I think. My biggest gripe with Porto is they were never equipped to cope with the bigger European sides, and I felt massively outgunned when we played Bayern this season. Based on my Aston Villa experience; moving to England is a positive. Newcastle are not in the best of shape but there is cash to bring in some of my faves and getting into Champions League in the Premier League basically means you’re good enough to win it. So, it’s tchau Porto and why aye man to Newcastle!  

The most alarming thing about the Newcastle switch is their league position; P15. Luis Enrique really fucked this up. Ten points away from European qualification but we’ve only played 20 games. Plenty of football to come. We start away at Spurs, which is a potential banana skin right away but we edge a 2-1 win. This is huge for the players as they’re immediately won over by the tactic. Next is Wolves and we win 4-1. We beat Fulham 2-0 right before I took over so this is the first time this year we’ve won three games in a row in the league. It’s December.  

January transfer window is here. Let’s spend some Saudi money. (I wonder if those lads realise it’s illegal to drink in Saudi Arabia?) 



Maxence Lacroix (Roma, £13.25M). Into the last 6 months of his contract. I wanted to sell before someone took him on a free. He was our best centre back but hey, he’s leaving either way. We might as well get paid.  

Sotiris Alexandropoulos (Valencia, £6M). Contract running down, he’s not played at all. Newcastle signed him for £45M.  

Pablo Ortells (Wolfsburg, £21.5M). Turned down a £21M move to Watford earlier in the window.  



Omarion Scott (Toulouse, £9.25M). Remember Omarion? Played for us at Brisbane. Has had a rollercoaster career since but is a natural pressing forward and should complement whoever I’m playing as AF.  

Jack Minall (Paderborn, £19.5M). Hey, remember Jack? He was our starting centre back at Paderborn. I will continue to raid Paderborn for players because they have no idea of their value.  

Dylan Mellado (Paderborn, £30M). Hey, remember Dylan? He’s great. Am I just creating a Greatest Hits team here? Maybe.  

Klebao (Fluminense, £15M). Utility player, can play all the midfield positions plus central defence.  

Lucas Ambrosio (Santos, £18.25M). Right winger. I already had three right wingers but I didn’t like any of them.  


In all my talk about Newcastle, I’ve neglected to mention we’re in the Europa League and we’re easily the strongest team, in my opinion. The Europa League winner gets into the Champions League. EYES EMOJI! THURSDAY NIGHTS…ARE EUROPA NIGHTS!  

Hey, that went well. We drew 0-0 with Frankfurt in the last league game and almost bottled it. Most of that goal difference is thanks to a 9-0 win against an Austrian team called Wolfsburger, which is some sort of record. Speaking of European competition, I went to check on Porto and they won their last two CL group matches. They’re in the play off against…Benfica. They’re also in the semis of the one domestic cup, the final of the other and they’re top of the league. I could have won the quadruple.  


Not that I regret the move. Newcastle are storming up the table. We go to Chelsea in the league. They’re top. We’re 2-0 down with 20 minutes left and win 4-2. Astonishingly Chelsea, who are top remember, have lost TEN GAMES this season. It’s February. This is insane.  

We’re only four points off European places. And yes, QPR are good now. Thanks for noticing.  


I’m minding my own business when I spot a notification for Champions League; Porto beat Benfica! Yes lads! OH NO, WHAT IF THEY WIN THE WHOLE THING?  


Back to us and we knock Man Utd out of the FA Cup. This is a rollercoaster. I didn’t mention it but we lost 4-0 to Man Utd in the league.  

In the Europa League, which if we win we qualify for CL as a top seed, we face Lille. Donny van de Beek doing the draw up there!  

We’re going to win the league. We had Chelsea, Man Utd and Arsenal in successive games and won all three. Omarion Scott just making Arsenal his personal bitch here.  

This is sad. Luckily Pape Diakite is back with me. He’s now been part of every single team adventure I’ve been on. He’s actually getting quite good at scouting too. The only time he wasn’t with me was between him quitting Terengganu and officially retiring so I could hire him at Brisbane. Under his profile his favourite personnel is just me. Aww.  


I finally get around to offering Alexander Isak a new one year deal. He’s scored 7 goals in 5 games. Meanwhile, his competition, Georginio Rutter, is out for the season with cruciate ligament damage.  

Newcastle are sensational. Taking over a club with massive resources makes life so much easier. There’s every chance I can get into Champion’s League next year and if you’re in CL from England, you have a shot at winning it.  


We hit a bad patch of form in March, which is not ideal. This involves scraping past Lille in the Europa League, winning zero league games and getting knocked out of the FA Cup by Leicester. It destroys our run up the table and leaves us with all our eggs in the Europa League basket. We face Hellas Verona and need a 90+1’ goal from Tariq Lamptey to send us into the semis.  


Part of the joy of Newcastle is they keep finding money from mysterious places. Oh, hey, we got a new sponsorship deal with, uh, a, uh, telecommunications company. Yay. Here’s another £37M. What telecommunications company was it? A big one! Certainly not one from Saudi Arabia, oh no.  


Semi-finals of the Europa League and we face Schalke. We’re home first and edge it 1-0. The away leg we’re SO good. We win 4-2 and Isak scores a hat-trick. To think I was considering letting him go on a free in the summer. He’s scored 26 goals in all competitions now. We play Valencia in the final, which is a game we can definitely win.  


In the league…not such good news. We’ve dropped so many points behind that it is mathematically impossible for us to achieve Champion’s League football through league placing.  

So, just so we’re absolutely clear here. I have a picture of a load of broken eggs if we lose. I hope you never see it.  

The league ends like this. Villa bottled it final day, drawing 0-0 with Fulham when a win would have given them Champion’s League football. They were top at one point! Man City almost won the title on default and fills me with optimism about next season. Man Utd being so bad they drop into the Conference League could mean some of their players want to leave. They’ve already fired Poch! Should have hired me lads. Finishing P8 is enough to achieve our league goal for the season but not being in Europe is a bit of a bummer. We must beat Valencia!  

Howay the lads! 

Thank god for Alexander Isak. No broken eggs picture. We win the Europa League and qualify for the Champion’s League. 2-0. Both from Isak. Both Pestana assists from right wing crosses. We should have won by more but it was still a little tense. Champion’s League next year!  


For the second time, a player on the losing team in the final got a winners medal. Sotiris Alexandropoulos moved to Valencia back in January. The same thing happened to me at Aston Villa in FM22 when Matty Cash signed for Real Madrid.  

How is next season going to go? Oh, I reckon it’ll be ok! £205M to spend in the summer. Let’s fucking goooooo.  


NEXT: Howaying the lads into CL glory. Is this the year we knock off the UEFA Champion’s League?  

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