January 5, 2023

The Pentagon VI: Arn vs. Robbie Fowler 

The Pentagon VI: Arn vs. Robbie Fowler 


This is Robbie Bernard Fowler. He’s a Liverpool legend, having scored 183 goals for the club. He also played for moneybags Leeds Utd and Man City. Towards the end of Fowler’s career, he moved to Australia. Perhaps fancying some leisure time in the sun for a couple of quid so he could buy more cheap housing around Merseyside. He played for North Queensland Fury and Perth Glory before moving into management and in 2019 he spent a season coaching…Brisbane Roar. My boys! Robbie won 11 matches with a 45% win ratio. Brisbane Roar finished P4 under his stewardship. Can I do better than Robbie Fowler?  


Let’s quickly recap the story so far. I started out at Terengganu in Malaysia. Three years there, two league titles and four domestic cups could be considered quite the success. They’re doing ok without me and are currently P2 at around the halfway point of their season. Then I moved to Brisbane, who were struggling in the A League. We finished P9 but aspire at doing better this season. I’ve been busy in the transfer market.  


Santino Primante. This was my striker solution last season. He got injured twice, was shit in 4/5 starts and scored two in the last game he played before getting injured again. He has no interest in staying and is back off to Argentina. Goodbye.  


Tom Aldred. He’s retired. I only played him once and his lack of pace was startling. He’s already started on his coaching badges but he was a bit of a dick to me so he won’t be coaching at Brisbane. 


Ben Folami, Max Balard & Rylee Uttley. They’ve all been released as their contracts expired. Folami was an attacking option, but he was shit. Balard complained about lack of game time at centre back but wasn’t as good as the other young players, so he’s left. Uttley was a bad left back.  

In come these lads. Emin Durakovic played regularly in central midfield for Melbourne City. He’s a cracking little playmaker. I have no idea why he wanted to sign for us. Andrew Stanton is a target man and gives us something different up top. Omarion Scott is the best pick up here. He’s Jamaican and seems to be a natural goal scorer. Finally, we add in Angel Cortes, an 18-year-old centre back, who is the long-term solution to Connor Chapman. He wants to be a libero, bless his cotton socks. He has the makings of an actual ball playing central defender.  

More good news on the youth front with this incoming golden generation! Terengganu’s intakes were all garbage, so I never bothered mentioning them but look at this! Speaking of Terengganu, I checked in on them and they’re 3 points behind Johor with one game left. They’ve done well considering. They won the Piala FA Malaysia. Fair play lads. I checked in again to see if they’d won the league and they had not. Johor are hard to beat. Although, it would help if the new boss hadn’t changed formations completely and played 4-2-3-1. There are no AMCs at Terengganu, and they didn’t buy one. Just played a child from the youth team in there and transfer listed Azih. Outstanding. How did they finish second? It undermines my achievements there.  

With a new season, here’s the new line up. Cortes, Scott, and Burke are all new recruits. Everyone else is as they were. I’m considering switching keepers before the season starts but otherwise these are The Lads. After all this attacking improvement over the summer we play out first game and lose 2-0. We had a superior xG and missed three one on ones. Ah, yes, there’s the Brisbane Roar I know. Kangaroo Points Rovers had a better cup campaign than us. Anyway, we signed 8 players in this window. It’ll take time for that to settle down. Omarion Scott has scored 20 goals in 7 pre-season games so I’m hopeful he can make our goal record improve.  

You know when you just get a feeling about a player? I had that with Omarion Scott. He’s got something silly like 7 goals in 9 International games. He’s already a difference maker for us. Last year we’d have struggled in this one. His finishing was elite here. Western United are a decent team but we smashed them. Not because of the defence or midfield, that’s hardly changed, but because we have a guy to stick the ball in the net. He’s worth every penny.  

Here’s his attributes. He only has finishing 9 but I find finishing isn’t that important in FM for some reason. George Attram had finishing 10 and he scored 56 goals in a season. Composure 12, technique, off the ball, pace, agility etc. He’s got just about everything. He is small and won’t score many headers, but he’s got that “it” factor.  

Microsoft had a bit of an issue, and I couldn’t get into this word file for a day. During that time, we progressed to match day 16 in game. Perth have had an extraordinary turn around this season. They seem to have located a crop of incredible youth players. They’ve gone from being the worst team to the best. As you can see, we’ve kept pace with them. We’re clearly better than last season and as with Perth many of our best players are talented youngsters. Another point I’d like to make about the league this year is the obvious gap between the top teams and the bottom teams. Macarthur are only four points above Sydney, but those bottom five teams are nowhere near the top seven. It’s a pretty clear good/bad divide in the league now. It should make getting into the playoffs easier as it’s six of seven teams to qualify.  

The board are loving the improvements. The fans have me on a B-, for reasons. It’s always nice when you’re in the “title race hots up” email too.  

It’s super close. While this is in our hands, there’s only four points covering the top five. It’s a white-hot title race. There’s also a defined gap between the top and the bottom but Melbourne City and Newcastle Jets are just dropping off a bit. I grabbed the screenshot above before the weekend had finished and by the time it was over, we’d qualified for the playoffs. Our next game is a 2-2 draw with Perth and we follow that with a brilliant 2-0 win at Wellington.  

We’re getting a lot of lovely green lines between the players develop. Everything is working. I must admit, I signed Cortes as a ball playing central defender and successor to Chapman, but he’s been so good at left back he might be the best left back in the league. Also kindly note the team I planned to be the starting XI actually was the starting XI. There’s a first for everything. 

Following a convincing 3-1 win against Newcastle Jets, and Macarthur losing, we’re down to three title contenders. Our last game of the season is Perth (H). Title match? If last season is anything to go by it’ll be over by then with zero drama. Next round sees Wellington win, and we beat Melbourne Victory the same day. Both 2-1.  


Some of the more keen eyed among you may have noticed I’m managing under my shoot name this year. This is my 200th game as a manager and I can win the A-League title in it against lowly Adelaide. How about that? Don’t fuck me now, FM, don’t you dare fuck me. We win 3-1 and for some reason we don’t get the trophy lift thing? Well, that sucks. I like the trophy lift thing, it makes a good screen grab. You’ll have to make do with this table with a big C next to our name.  


I did say last season that what I liked about the A League was how close everyone was in terms of quality. It felt like it wouldn’t take a massive amount of effort to get into the title mix. And here we are! Next up is the post season where the real champion is crowned. However, I’d just like to remind Robbie Fowler, that I’ve absolutely done him here. Brisbane’s first top place finish since 2014. That’s 12 years in game. The cool thing about the “Finals Series” is we barely play any games and if we win, it counts as another league title!  

Defending champions, the Newcastle Jets, don’t get into the playoffs. To be fair, they were shit whenever we played them.  

Here’s the tree. We will play either Perth or Melbourne City in the semi-finals, with either Wellington, Macarthur or Melbourne Victory awaiting in the final. Both Melbourne sides come a cropper and we get Perth in our semi-final with Macarthur vs Wellington across the way. Perth have been a thorn in our side all fucking season. We’ve played three times, drawn two, lost one.  

The semi is a tense affair. We win 2-1 in the first leg, but the second leg is a cagey business. We miss a penalty and have a goal chalked off for offside before it finishes 0-0. Awaiting us in the Grand Final is Wellington Phoenix. They play a pretty conventional 4-4-2. They’ve made a controversial decision to transfer list several of their first teamers as they “have no role for them to play”. This could be a last hurrah for many of their starting XI. We have a bit of a blow; Angel Cortes has been called up by Spain for the U20 Youth Invitational tournament. Cortes has developed into our best player and is one of the league’s finest defenders. He wants to leave, obviously, but his transfer value is £550k-£1.6M. If he was still playing in Spain, that would be £5M-£16M at least.  

The final is an absolute all-timer epic. We go behind in the first minute when a cut back allows Jonathan Green a tap in. Connor Chapman levels it with a sensational header from an Omarion Scott free kick. We create a great goal for 2-1 with Clint Burke finishing a tidy move. Minutes later Runar Hauge levels. It’s 2-2 and Wellington are playing us off the park. They get tired though and Dennis Adrenaline pops up with a winner on 89’. I absolutely freeze and don’t change anything and I’m almost punished as Hauge has the ball in the net on 90’+4. I’m too stunned to do anything and it takes me a moment to realise it was offside.  

That’s not a bad return for season two. That counts as two league wins, by the way, so I’m rapidly closing in on Australian football manager legends like Tony Popovic, Graham Arnold and Ange Postecoglou. At the end of the day, I proved myself to be superior to Robbie Fowler in every regard (bar owning affordable housing in Merseyside). The other cliffhanger I left us with last year was “will Brisbane let me do a coaching course?” and the answer to that is “no”. So, here’s me, stuck on Continental C.  

NEXT: Brisbane roar into continental competition! Can we win the Asian Champions League? Can we retain Angel Cortes? Will the Brisbane Roar supporters ever give me an A rating*? 


*Seriously, I won the league and the grand final and I’m on a B-. B-? What the fuck is that?   



Asian Champions League: Quarter Finals   

African Champions League: N/A    

UEFA Champions League: N/A   

North American Champions League: N/A   

Copa Libertadores: N/A   

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