The Pentagon VII: Can you hear the Brisbane Roar?
After completing the domestic super league double, Brisbane Roar are off into Asian competition this season. I am excited. How do we stack up against the better sides from Asia? I think we’re a little bit off the pace, to be brutally honest, but I’m willing to give it a shot. I painted my time at Brisbane as all “sunshine, lollipops and rainbows”. That’s not entirely the case. Let’s look at the finances shall we.
Yeah, that debt runs up pretty high. I’m hoping we go deep in Asian competition as the prize money in the A League is the same regardless of how well you do. I discovered this the hard way. Club atmosphere and managerial support have improved since last season so we’re ok on that front but I’ve still not been able to talk the board into sending me on a goddamn coaching course. Oh, and my best two players are about to be head-hunted by the European elite. Left back/libero Angel Cortes wants to leave because he’s too good for the A League. I mean, he is too good for the A League. I agree with him. That’s why I wanted him. Omarion Scott is on the Man Utd radar so it’s only a matter of time.
The first bid is for Angel Cortes from Tottenham. It’s not big. They offer around £550k and I drive that up to £1.3M but with 50% of the next transfer. I figure he’ll go for something stupid next sale and Brisbane Roar will make that money. It’ll be easily north of £15M.
Meanwhile Man Utd make a lazy offer of £300k, with no sell on fee, rising to £900k. It’s a pathetic offer and I have to reject it. I tell Omarion they only offered £300k and he’s all “YOU FUCKIN WOT M8?” He’s as mad as me about it and we agree on a suitable fee of £3.3M, which I still think is low but hey, at least we get some cash. Rennes come in for Cortes and we agree on £2M up front, plus 50% of the next transfer. They’re also willing to lend us Cortes for a season to ensure he continues to improve. The Scott saga is ended by the stupidity of my board who accept £2.6M on my behalf. I COULD HAVE GOTTEN MORE YOU FUCKS!
As with Cortes, I’m offered Scott back on loan though and I protest how cheaply he’s been let go. The board renegotiate for £3M. Well, that’s slightly better. The absolute dipshits take everything up front though, so we lose a player worth £50M+ for £3M and no add ons. As with Cortes, I wanted 50% of the sell on. Because he won’t get in the team at Utd and they’ll sell him for millions more than they paid for him. It will be frustrating watching Cortes and Scott develop into world class players…for someone else. Anyway, due to loan backs, “all change” has effectively become ‘no change’.
Most of my staff left at the end of the season, so I’ve taken that as an opportunity to bring in new people and it looks like a big improvement.
There’s good news on the cash flow front as the departures of Scott and Cortes give us an actual transfer kitty. Now I have money, it’s time to try and understand buying players from A League teams. You can’t. You can trade players with A League teams. So, if I want Phil Younghusband from Central Coast Mariners I can try and swap him for two of my fringe players and Central Coast will say no, fuck yourself, because they don’t want my fringe players. I respect it. We have spent some money though; £250k on Stephen Shearer, an Aussie centre back who was at Cadiz in Spain. He’s two footed and good at everything, especially tackling, but despite a solid jumping reach he has heading 5. Probably need to work on that. He’s a direct replacement for Connor Chapman, who’s now 32 and is showing it.
We get a few admin emails coming through and one of them is about the “A League Signings of the Season” and Omarion Scott, the league’s top scorer and player of the year, isn’t on the shortlist. What’s that about? Adrian Akande wins the award with 5 goals and 5 assists. Huh? Also broken is the A League preview, which mentions new manager Dwight Yorke, who’s managed in the A League for 5 years, and has us to finish fifth in the preview.
The Westfield FFA Cup, a competition we’re expected to win, comes around in pre-season and we draw Macarthur, again, and lose at home to them, again. Two years and we’re the only A League team to draw another A League team in either season and it’s been Macarthur, twice, and we’ve lost both times. There are teams out here winning 9-0 and we’ve only scored one goal in two seasons in this fucker.
The Champions League draw has been very kind to us. Henan Longmen are farmers from China, Muangthong Utd are Thai and Shan Utd are from Myanmar. The only remotely tricky game is Henan, and we should piss the group. In pre-season Scott Mather, from our last youth intake, comes on strong. In one friendly he scores 7 goals. Admittedly against “Brothers FC”, which isn’t that much of a challenge.
How do I get around this? Every time I request a coaching course I get told this. You can’t do a coaching course because you’ll leave. Well, duh. I talk it through with the board and promise to ensure no coaches are over worked and areas understaffed. It’s pretty easy. I was doing all the goalkeeper training for some reason.
The most ruthless transfer I’ve done so far is off-loading Connor Chapman to a Saudi Arabian club. Player of the season in my first year, the rock in my defence for two seasons but at 32 he’s on the decline and now is the time to cash in. £275k is the price for this betrayal but the timing is right. He had a 7.36 rating last year and scored 8 goals. I get a lovely surprise from my former charges at Terengganu; they’ve only won another league title! Johor drew 10 games and Terengganu reclaimed their title. Lads, I’m proud of you!
Oh hey, it worked! Switching around the coaching assignments leave me free to go on a course. Continental B baby!
The young Roar team responds well and smash poor Shan Utd in the Champions League. I’ve discovered a few young talents in the youth team. Scott Mather is a young striker with a real eye for goal. Jeye Shaw is a winger whose delivery is excellent.
Speaking of youth; the intake is in and here’s the star; Zoltan Bognar! Flair 17! He’s going to dribble around every one of these Aussie frauds! Speaking of Aussie frauds, Dennis Adrenaline has taken up Australian citizenship, which means I have an open foreign player slot. Thanks, Dennis!
The Champions League has proved to be easy this season. The group we were drawn into was lacking in quality but you can only beat what’s put in front of you. We put 10 past Shan Utd and qualified with a 6-0 win away to Henan, who were probably the second best team in the group. We are cooking.
So, we’re out of the groups and into knock out football and who do we draw? Fucking Macarthur. The team that’s knocked us out of the last two FFA Westfield cups. Newcastle Jets also creep into the knock outs, so it makes Australia look like a powerhouse. Our old rivals FC Seoul are present again. They’re liable to be the biggest challenge from East Asia. South Korea have three teams in the draw, which should tell you how good their league is. I know Australia also has three but all those Korean teams are better than all the Aussie teams. I’m still debating whether I must go to Korea to win this damn thing. We’re better positioned than Terengganu, that’s for certain, but I’m still not convinced we have the quality to overcome the top Korean and Middle Eastern sides.
In domestic football, we’ve been cruising. We’re not blowing everyone away but we’re beating most teams. It helps that we’ve got such a strong youthful base. Dominated the young player of the month award here, with Omarion Scott scoring 7 times in 3 games. Dynamics are fine too, everyone is basically happy. Apart from Jack Iredale. He wants to leave. He’s on £2,300 a week, he can if he wants to. Board loves us. Fans have us on B-, again. There’s a new contract on the way. We’re doing our next course. It’s all good. The new contract is £2k a week, which is up from my previous £1,200. I’m making coin!
Will I still be at Brisbane in 2030? It depends how the Asian Champions League goes! It’s all going so well, then this shit happens.
Five of my starting XI are off to the U23 Asian Cup. Fuck off. It’s made worse by Benjamin Konuwah signing a new contract, which makes him ineligible to play (he was on a youth contract, which means he didn’t need to be registered but now he’s not a youth anymore). So, I’ve got no central defenders. The result is a 4-2 loss to Western United. Fuck you, Australia. Fuck you, Asian U23 Cup! Western United? That’s like losing to Norwich.
This sudden run of bad form, caused by players being at the Asian U23 Cup, couldn’t be happening at a worse time as we’re about to be sold. Josh Jennings has seen enough glory and wants someone else to get a share. (Note: this fell through and just disappeared). Thankfully, after a loss to Macarthur, my players return. Australia bottled it and lost on pens to South Korea in the quarterfinals. In a competition that still features Syria. Failures! You should have stayed with me.
The good news is, we’re still top of the pile. The silly losses weren’t compounded by other teams going on a tear. It’s the kind of division where teams take points off each other. Perth and Wellington have both suffered the same dumb defeats we have. The division, as always, is open. The January transfer window is an interesting one as I’ve got numerous players approaching the end of their contract. This is the last chance to get rid of them before then. Jack Iredale is off to Adelaide. He’s one of our highest earners and has barely played. Bye Jack! He’ll be replaced by Rocky Taylor of Central Coast, a promising young left back, who’s joining us in the summer. We’ve also signed striker Jaden Gasking, to replace Omarion Scott, in the summer. He’s currently playing in Finland. He’ll be my first designated player.
Also joining us in the summer will be Gofaone Gareonne! He is Australian, has incredible jumping reach and he’s 6’4”. He’ll score from corners, I guarantee it. He’s a grafter. I want to pair him with Stephen Shearer or Stachowiak at centre back. Having four good central defenders is good news. Have I mentioned how stupid the A League rules are? You literally cannot buy players from other A League sides. So, if I want to sell a player to another team, I have to trade for one of their players or just loan him out until his contract expires and I get nothing. Loan fees are also against the rules. Fuck is this?
Just as I’m thinking January sales are a bust Roma release Christian Volpato on a free. He’s Australian! He fucking rules! I jump on him and sign him up. It’s a big, big contract but he’s an elite player. Great physicals, loads of flair, good tekkers. Left sided central midfielder, who should work well with Dennis Adrenaline.
Back into Champions League action and what the fuck is this shit? All over Macarthur for the entire game. Absolutely battered them. Clear cut chances galore. Multiple one on ones. We were brilliant. 1-1. Macarthur had one attacking highlight, which was a long range shot that went straight through our keeper in stoppage time. There’s a reason people hate this game. This is easily the best we’ve ever played btw. We must have had 20 attacking highlights. If we’d have won 5-0, I’d have been all “well, we deserved that”.
Speaking of winning 5-0. Didn’t play anywhere near as good as the first game. Just scored on every highlight. Didn’t deserve to win by that much at all. But, deserved to win by more than that in the first game so I guess it evens out? At least we didn’t draw 0-0 or some shit. Elsewhere BG Pathum Utd of Thailand dump FC Seoul out on away goals. That wasn’t supposed to happen. Newcastle Jets are in the next round too. Meaning the only great Eastern Asia team left are Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. They are the absolute tits. I don’t want to play them. Maybe BG Pathum Utd will do us another favour? (I actually typed that before the draw and Pathum draw Jeonbuk). Our opponent in the quarters? It’s only bloody Newcastle Jets. We only play Australian teams mate. No bloody foreigners.
The quarters are not good. We are awful for the first half. Newcastle are unlucky to only lead 1-0. We peg them back with a better second half but the team just doesn’t play well. Another home draw. Hopefully we can do what we did in the last round.
We absolutely pulled this one out of our ass. You can’t see it but Cortes got sent off. I subbed Gislason off on a 6.1 and we literally had NO ONE on the entire left side of the pitch. IT WORKED. Scott bailed us out in stoppage time. Shout out to Jason Garton for the long ball that lead to the goal. We were very, very lucky here. Is our name on the cup?
Even madder than our crazy last gasp win is BG Pathum actually knocked Jeonbuk out! We play a Thai team in the semis, and favourites Al-Hilal also went out. It’s also astonishing that we only won one game in March and yet are in the semi-final of the Continental competition and are on the verge of the winning the league. I’ve not really bothered mentioning the league because we’ve run away with the title. At the point where we qualified for the semi-finals, we were 8 points clear with three games left. Do the maths on that one.
Meanwhile, in the coaching-sphere! Finally, we’ve got that Continental B. It took some badgering, but we’re there and please note the increase to *** on reputation. That puts my reputation above every club in the A League. They’re all **½ rep teams.
What a start to the semi-finals! Clint Burke’s assured finishing takes us to a 2-0 away win in Thailand. We were, just about, the better team. The Asian Champion’s League final looms!
We whomped that sucker. Their 1.91 xG is entirely misleading as on their goal, their striker hit the ball at the keeper twice and it kept rebounding to him so he had three shots in the same sequence for the bulk of that xG. If he could shoot he wouldn’t have gained that xG! WE’RE IN THE FINAL, BABY! Our opponents will be Al-Shabab, which is exactly who I would want to get. They’re the least impressive of the gulf states teams. They beat Al-Ain, who are way better, so I do need to respect them but we have a shot here!
Let’s just skip away from Champion’s League to show you how the league finished. We needed to beat Macarthur, again, to do it but we did so. Omarion Scott with the vital winner. We made a meal of it, including a draw with Adelaide the week before this. The play-offs await and we have another shot at double titles. The league title being secured means we have already qualified for the Champions League group stages next season.
You may notice I’ve had to screenshot the match highlights version of the score because I was bouncing off the walls after this game and forgot to screenshot it in game. The Gislason goal was also an own goal. His cross was turned in at the near post. Al-Shabab are good but they’re not better than us. We’re basically on a par with better forwards. Both defences are bad, which helped us here but could hinder us in the away game. Fingers crossed, we’re nearly there!
The fixture was won in the first leg. We actually played better in the second leg and they scored two late goals as we crumbled a bit under the pressure. We did enough in Australia though and we are CHAMPIONS OF ASIA. The Pentagon challenge is ONE FIFTH DONE!
On reflection our run in the Champions League was fortunate. We didn’t play a top Chinese or Korean team and Al-Shabab were nowhere near the strongest middle Eastern team. But hey, I think we’d have been there or thereabouts even without good fortune. We earned the luck of the draw. Some admin before we leave then.
The board love me.
The supporters rate my performance as a C+. Bastards. I hate every last one of them.
Everyone is happy, bar Akbari who wants to leave. He’s actually set for release in the summer so I don’t know what his problem is.
I’m particularly proud of our finances. We sold players and still won the Champions League. We also have a tremendous young squad, best years ahead of it. I’m almost disappointed that I have to leave but that’s Asia done.
The season isn’t quite over. Having lost 1-0 to Perth, we had to win by two clear goals to make the A League Final. He won 5-1 but on 75’ we were down 2-0 on aggregate. Amazing comeback. Smashed Perth in the last ten minutes.
Then the final, a replay of last year but not the dramatic 3-2 of last year. No, it’s an absolute humping for Wellington. Even Andrew Stanton scored!
Fuck me, what a season that was. When everything goes right on Football Manager it is wish fulfilment at its finest.
Asian Champions League: Champions (Brisbane Roar, 2028)
African Champions League: N/A
UEFA Champions League: N/A
North American Champions League: N/A
Copa Libertadores: N/A
NEXT: we need a new club. Where will it be? We have four entire continents to choose from! With one fifth of the Pentagon complete, the challenge is starting to feel entirely doable. Fired up!