1th October 2026

6f47160d90f3cc85d1357aaab6525d90.png

Welcome to the Black Sea Storm!

I cannot begin to introduce my new managerial venture without paying homage to the utterly incredible club that I’ve just left: Genclerbirligi. 1052 days in charge – with a record of 60-25-18 from my one hundred and three games, scoring 196 times and conceding a mere 60. A promotion and then an unlikely European challenge in our first season in the top flight. The introduction of a host of academy talent: Cem Bilgin, Ufuk Ozdemir, Omercan Tekin, Dunyacan Copur, Sirat Keceli, Enescan Ozu and Resit Yildirim all made their debut under my lead. Then there is the recruitment of youngsters from Africa – Julius Adeshina, Ibrahima Soumare and Abou Cisse will surely go on to do great things in Ankara or bring the club significant amounts of money. Money that will still probably be a fraction of what free agents Ismaila Coulibaly, Tim Iroegbunam and Mamadou Karamoko will make, judging by the record fee ever received for a Gencler player: €16m for Tai Sodje. There was a really good squad developing there and, tactically, things were really strong. The backroom team, many of whom have followed, including my assistant Mehmet Aurelio had also been cobbled together for pennies. All in all, it was a huge collection of well thought out, financially viable signings.

But that can only take you so far…

Trabzonspor are a giant of a football club.

679dd80ae61f4dc3cdf78d3483ebb34c.png

Sitting on the Black Sea coastal town of Trabzon, a Silk Road gateway to Persia and the Caucasus, this place feels like a perfect stop of my journey of a really influential historical city. I’ve not visited Constantinople (Istanbul) on this Turkish adventure but have been to Ankara, the capital city to do battle with a city rival, yet the battles here will come against Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and a host of European opponents as we welcome them into a forty thousand seater stadium, which, unlike Gencler where an average of five thousand people came, fans are packed in to watch the team. The club is awash with foreign talent – too much in my opinion (but more on why that is later) but, looking at the history of the town as a route to Persia – modern day Iran and the Middle East and the Caucasus – Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Russia, it makes sense to add a bit of a recruitment focus to their, too.

There doesn’t appear to be a huge amount of history but I was able to gather the below information:

Four clubs existed in Trabzon: İdmanocağı ( founded in 1921), İdmangücü (1913), Necmiati (1923) and Trabzon Lisesi. The four teams played in the regional amateur league of Trabzon, a regional tournament. In 1923 two of these clubs, İdmanocağı and İdmangücü, were divided by a bitter rivalry, comparable to that between Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray. The opposition reached its peak after 1930. İdmanocağı won five Trabzon titles in a row from 1929 to 1933, but İdmangücü went one better, winning seven titles in a row from 1934 to 1940. The league was then dominated for six years from Lise, before the comeback of İdmangücü, winner of the title in 1947-1948. Other clubs such as Doğan Gençlik, Akçaabat Sebatspor, Sürmene Gençlik, Zafer Gençlik, Yolspor and Yalıspor were established in Trabzon at the time.

At the beginning of the 1962-63 season, Turkish Football Federation (TFF) president Orhan Şeref Apak asked the various cities to merge their football clubs into one club, in order to have one team per city and to form the Milli Lig, today Super Lig . However, the opposition between İdmanocağı and İdmangücü was so strong that the city of Trabzon was unable to form a single team, thus remaining cut out of the top flight championship. 

It was İdmanocağı, Martıspor and Yıldızspor who merged on 21 June 1966. The resulting team signed up for the 2. Lig , at the time the national second division, and started playing in yellow and red kit. In 1966-1967 the team took eighth place in the league and second place in the Başbakanlık Kupası. A month later İdmangücü, Karadenizgücü, Martıspor and Yolspor merged to form Trabzonspor, choosing red and white as their club colours.

They won seven Süper Lig titles and were the first non Istanbul-based club to win the league. They also have won nine Federation Cup (Turkish Cup) titles. The club won their first championship title in 1975–76, and won three championship titles in a row in the 1978–79, 1979–80 and 1980–81. They would add one more title in 1983-84 before embarking on a 38 year championship drought. This drought eventually came to an end after they secured the championship in 2021-22.

The club colours are claret and sky blue, reflected in the shirt colours that see various striped iterations of the colours. Trabzonspor play at the Şenol Güneş Sports Complex which replaced the Hüseyin Avni Aker Stadium as their home ground during the 2016–17 season.  

Second is 2022-23 and third in the three years since, it falls to me to try and return them to glory.

To help achieve that, I have great Youth and Training facilities, above average Youth Recruitment, good Academy Coaching and a first team that, on paper (and on the financial statements), is better and worth a lot more than the players I’ve just left. Obviously, there is pressure here that wasn’t here at Gencler: the board want me to qualify for the Europa League this year and win the league next year whilst developing youth. The supporters want a high tempo pressing game as I was unable to remove that from their demands, even though I did manage to get the board to back down on their demand for that.

As I have said – my end goal is Serie A. Right now, there is nothing on the job market and I’d have not got this gig if it wasn’t for Trabzon manager – Abdullah Avci – taking over the national team as ex-boss Stefan Kuntz moved on to Watford. So there is two ways to get to Serie A: make a jump or try and move Gencler forward far enough to it’s a sideways step. I don’t think that the last, realistically, was going to happen. This could go awfully wrong and, to be fair, there is more pressure on me than ever before, but it could also go really well!

Here is the first team squad that I’ve inherited. I have used NewGAN manager to give everyone faces so, if you know any of these real life players, they may not accurately match how they are depicted in game!

f3c07492d40a573bb238aea4805e0895.png

36f803d86e4f88cc83d20a66759ec8f1.png  0bc957d7a9bf7c714b7b7635b31d568c.png

I cannot say that I am sold on either on these two as long term projects at this club, really. However, it does give me an opportunity to really think about the development plan for goalkeepers, as that is something that I have never been great at. Ronnow gets the nod for now and ex-Villa lad Sarkic is an able backup and was actually looked at lsat summer before his loan-cum-transfer to Trabzon.

a11d46d1eca2f4b44e7b8b35e6edcf9d.png

a04cac89be810e19011d96102d90203a.png  53b51e69a4d3d7d33f0be833672a10e6.png  f09002ef58fc0a94c95840fc363d40d3.png

889b950d1f79295c8292fb594beb4dfd.png  0047f8847570669cd7c8d34ecb458fb7.png  677524f68cff03446a2b6cc42de260c1.png

b064d4810baaf98972527d929b153f7f.png  63a5c2831a56a49b9a489a9786e798fd.png  c8d097709f986be778ef8fe8e1c37177.png

Another really mixed bag here. I like Gonzalo Gonzalez and like the way the club mugged off Southampton, getting him for 25% of the cost that the English side did a year before. I think that he could become a decent ball player, with someone like Henrique on the opposite side. In terms of full backs, they are both strong – Dorukhan and Eren – but neither really fit the mould of an inverted player. This would have been my next bridge to cross at Gencler and it’s one that I will look to do again – albeit with more money and a bigger reputation.

c0b4c6c8892df749f7a26379424812f5.png

06f7e45b0b845316a76192ab230f7ddf.png  813f267fee267fe3627affedafd05147.png  5219c92bc11b92fe18d93f9aca914310.png

363886a33fbe3e48950d83145524350b.png  71000b54580ce30e2d2089ea1d2a26b3.png  10d6e2c2fb23ac8b145de7525eb3e0bc.png

27754e7a8907bb4b97664b93d3077031.png

Very, very different to the midfield I used to have. Lots of age and experience starting with Uribe, who, despite losing his physical presence, could be a great player between the lines to mop up anything lose. Ahead of him, I see that, probably Bardhi and Ahmet are the strongest pairing, if I were to use the same 4-1-4-1 shape. I particularly like Ahmet because he’s an academy graduate and the club does appear to lack much in the way of that right now. However, as with Gencler and pretty much every club I’ve ever managed on FM, my plan will be to change that. Bakasetas and Mostovoy look decent on the wings and the level of quality from the backup players – Koba and Ounas – massively gulfs the quality of the backups I just had.

46ad40d0119c138443294cc0a723bae4.png

fefec386bb51f2dd59114348f98c23c1.png  46f2bd9c44017838751c8a88144279f4.png  dfcf6d5bd39682099f8de1d6f8b52120.png

e0d270815af21b995e9d74318394b067.png

A lot happier with this area, to be fair. I am reunited with Melih Demir, whose even better than when I last managed him and have Enis as able backup. I think Pjaca could do a decent job in the Mez(a) role, too, if needed.

My overriding thoughts of the squad are that it does not match how I feel an efficient build should be done in Turkey. By that, I mean that, given the exploration of quality and cost of foreign vs Turkish players, the majority of the squad players should be Turks, whilst the key (or marquee, even) players, on higher wages would be from further afield. If I look at this squad, I can split it into a couple of categories. There is also quite a clear difference in those subgroups, too, as seen here.

22b3fa5ee7d5a1bec2e760deb92f522b.png

My immediate job will be to ensure that the below fixtures are navigated with some level of success. The countdown stands at eleven days before my European debut as a manager and I’m excited. However, the longer term is to rebuild this aging squad with young, Turkish, talent mixed in with those well-recruited signings from Africa, the Middle East and, maybe, South America. The difference is now the added pressure but also the added resources and reputation.

b5539a7f92b32adc04ab0b2f8297ff21.png

October 2026

d6a02840aeb6289865d175fd8622a4fd.png

Whilst I was somewhat disappointed with the overall quality and distribution of quality in the first team, I must say that I have been absolutely blown away by the quality of the young players, far exceeding what I had previously had at Gencler. Obviously, I was only a short time into the real youth program at a club once renowned for its ability to develop you but I’ve moved to a club that now isn’t (despite being the joint highest producers of national team players) so I must say that this is a welcome surprise.

Whilst Melih was not produced at the club – instead coming through at Bursaspor via a spell at Gencler where I made a nice €2.8m profit on him following his free transfer – but every other player here has come out of the academy and could have the potential to reach the very top. Realistically, one or two of these actually will but that doesn’t stop me from trying! Batuhan Kaya – 15 in the above screenshot but just turned 16 for his profile screenshot – is confidently playing three years above his chronological age with his only huge weakness being a lack of Determination and Oguz Kilic recorded an assist on his full debut, coming on last month against Slovan Bratislava. I have resorted to using the in game notebook to track attribute development in key area and a squad view to see key information as I will assess and reassess every three months, giving them as many first team minutes as possible in this congested schedule. At their own level, they are in a strong position in the U19 Elite League and I’ve also managed to get to a few of their matches, too, with one in particular of interest to me – a win over the old kids that I was working hard to develop:

f8d7862ae7c10b448b406906c0a077eb.png

Gaziantep 1-3 Trabzonspor

8d34d939bfa8017aac826d1596f5da4f.png

A supremely pleasing start to my time on the Black Sea as we hammer Gaziantep thanks to a hattrick from Melih Demir. I wanted to get off to a strong start – not only to show the squad that I mean business, but also to take advantage of a side that have really struggled when going behind this season, not picking up a single point. With the scoring opened early on thanks to a really well worked move, I was able to sit back and control the game a bit more. Just like at Gencler, I have no obsession with keeping the ball, instead controlling the game by using pragmatism to shut off opportunities for the opponents to get back into the game. Six shots, at an average of a little under 0.06xG shows that we didn’t really let them get near us, despite giving them more of the ball than they are probably used to and certainly less than we are used to (we averaged 63% before this match). They scored from a free kick in injury time to somewhat take the shine off a complete performance, ruining the clean sheet for Ronnow.

Trabzonspor 0-1 Dnipro-1

2943a018fc9460a48a8898890ac17b3e.png

As I took in the sights and sounds of European football, I did so playing a tactical shape that I’d never played before and may never play again. The thoughts behind the back three was to create that extra man against their two strikers and attacking midfielder. However, I both underestimated the quality of the Ukrainians and left myself short going forward as we toiled through ninety minutes. Their goal came from the exact thing I had tried to stop, an overload made on my own extra man with their forward and marauding centre mid meaning that the through ball attracted my defender to press, leaving Marc Gual, their striker, free to finish on the angle. Certainly a lot to think about…

Trabzonspor 6-0 Konyaspor

1c196a60f279bfe783c6f75891c4f329.png

Alex Barreto vs Slaven Bilic.

Two managers who have worked wonders with limited budgets, changing the fortunes of underachieving squads ended in the most resounding win of my career, in a game where I really – more so after the European adventure and third game in a week – expected us to struggle. A wondergoal from centre back Gonzalez saw him win Player of the Week and his brace was matched by Ahmet Tamrak and fellow centre back Pedro Henrique as our plan to make the most of corners due to their lack of height really worked out. If we can get rid of our ridiculous mistakes – like, honestly, what is Ronnow doing here?! – I think we can really be a force to reckon with. I do have some reservations about the playing squad and, following Kerem Kalafat moaning about his lack of first team football on literally the day I joined as well as Enis Bardhi’s demands for a new deal I simply won’t budge on this early in my time here, I have already created some divides within the squad.

9a0caa355acbd458a35dcaff46665625.png

I’m actually opposed by four players within the first team – three of them experienced players with international, too. Whilst this is a really solid month, I know that there are things I will have to resolve, and resole quickly.

17a374438548d3e2912a42c096f82390.png

If the league season ended right now, I’d be happy. New Gencler boss Erol Bulot has overseen two wins from two as well as a 5-0 thumping in the cup. The shape he used for that game is a little different to what I’ve used and his Gegenpressing will also take some getting used to but I really hope that he can do well with the squad I’ve assembled for him.

In terms of what comes next – there really is no letup:

a1154ae9dfbcfd9dd2a1720c7db0c390.png

November 2026

ff6e5b5516cd6e7111309fcd635ac762.png

Just looking at the lineups tells you that, whilst this foray into Europe is fun, we’re nowhere near the level of some of the clubs here. Man Utd have a vast expanse of riches and an interesting forward line that was spearheaded by Bruno Fernandes, in, presumably, a False Nine role. It was quite nice to see that legend Ruud was in charge. As a Villa fan (and, probably, most fans), it’s not unusual to see the below message at some point during the game:

7865f883b6fcbb41c75f9a4e660ff052.png

And equally less unlikely to see that Bruno Fernandes has scored against you. It was three goals in quick succession, with the other two coming via the boot of Christian Eriksson, that absolutely destroyed us before the half time whistle. I opted to not change things, with, at that point, the game remaining 3-0 was as bad as it finishing 8-0 but, thanks to a rousing half time talk, we came out fighting, pegging them back to 3-2 and really stopping them from playing. They scored, late on, thanks to Eriksson, again, but we just didn’t have enough in the tank to build another fightback. However, looking at the non-pen xG, we’d have won and, looking at the general state of play – Eriksson’s goals were low xG shots from the edge of the area that Sarkic (as, for some reason, number one Ronnow isn’t registered) should have saved and they didn’t batter us, certainly not for long periods of time in the second half.

Another bit of European sadness but, unlike last time out, there is an awful lot to take from it.

One thing that I won’t be taking much further though, is Enis Bardhi.

0f55d82af2f375bbd6e8196a5c6a469e.png

The North Macedonian has done nothing but moan at attempt to turn the dressing room against me. Whilst I do not want to be one of those managers who comes in and throws the entire squad under the bus, ripping it apart and starting again, I do want to assert some kind of dominance and have players at the club who don’t moan about things and do speak to me sensibly if they have an issue. Ever since he first went to his teammates to complain about a new deal, he’s trained terribly and barely showed up in any matches. €6m plus around €750k saved in wages will be reinvested elsewhere.

69318b7b958fc0d4b03be37d7e5e1540.png

Trabzonspor 1-2 Fenerbahce

499da32aa5764ae69cc5a50024c515f2.png

This was a lot of fun. It felt different to other games I’ve played and, actually, I felt that derby thing come into it. Also – the referee absolutely lost the plot and I felt that it was quite a realistic thing to see in a fiery fixture like this.

We went ahead early thanks to Andrey Mostovoy, who finished really well. However, it was Mostovoy’s positional play in the build up that really pleased me. He purposely stayed wide enough to cause an issue for the full back, leaving him undecided of whether to help out in the centre where the overload was or to pull wide to the winger. He opted for the first and a swift switch of play in no more than about six touches, allowed the Russian in to put us ahead. Before half time, I was reminded of the dangers of a trigger press – with centre back Gonzalez pressing Lincoln, as I’d requested, but, in doing so, leaving a gaping hole at the back, which Daniel Podence nearly scored from. As I said, the referee had lost the plot and both teams were down to ten men before half time as eleven yellow cards were shown in total. I opted to continue with wider men, leaving just one central midfielder, in order to continue the double up on the particularly dangerous Podence – which, after watching him in the Premier League, is also odd to me. They levelled as Pedo Henrique poked into his own net and Joao Pedro netted from a corner deep into injury time as we just couldn’t hold them off any more.

Three defeats in four games and the realisation that I’ve never managed a group of players that, on the whole, I dislike as much as these lot. There is much work to be done in the dressing room, and much of it will be completely vindicated based on the reactions I got from my team during team talks and throughout the game.

Standard Liege 1-1 Trabzonspor

3a31e7d4a74e66c33c6c3b8f5855effb.png

Our European dream is fast turning into a European nightmare.

I wish that I could solely lambast Uefa for this atrocity they have created but, at the end of the day, we have to go out and beat these teams if we want to progress. The draw leaves us eighteenth in the group and we have Sion (29th), Qarabag (33rd) and Napoli (7th) left to face. In reality, it’s stupid to not have any kind of rivalry within the group and I can’t say that I’d care if we didn’t get much further than this.

Altınordu 0-2 Trabzonspor

88bc0c135ae8e7e8ef0eddcdddf1c8af.png

Melih Demir has scored eight of the fifteen goals we’ve scored under my tenure. It’s hard to say we’re not a one-man team, but, right now, we seem to have one man pulling for us. Ahmet Tamrak, the other young Turk in the squad, is doing really well but there are some deep rooted issues that I’m not particularly enjoying finding out. A decent win over Altinordu but, to be fair, we allowed them to take a lot of shots and we were really safe in possession, in a way that, from the outside, may look a little complacent – just knocking it backwards and forwards around the backline, which is absolutely not what I want them to do. I know it’s early days in the tactical understanding but it just doesn’t feel right. Three points though.

11e8042a6a107bf4b180404569bb2802.png

Seven games to come in December as we need to find it in our legs to get to January before I, hopefully, rip the rotten core of this team apart and move on. Whether I have less man management ability than my predecessor or whether the step up from Gencler (yeah, don’t look at the league table right now!) means that I’m not getting what I need from the players or whether it’s down to the fact that I’ve not bought them in to the club and nurtured them yet, I don’t know.

50c133dd5668c808bfd25b6976c7154c.png

In addition to this, I have another important player who’ll be leaving, despite spending seven years in this country prior to announcing his homesickness.

I could, quite easily, rip apart this team and stick the young, thriving U19 squad in their place, but that’d not go down too well with a board who are already only ‘Satisfied’ at my performance and expect a league title in under eighteen months. I didn’t take this gig for it to be easy, though.

December 2026

Trabzonspor 2-0 Hatayspor

3de41153e9dc00feeb957f20b5d9a78c.png

A straightforward victory for us as we allowed possession hungry Hatayspor a huge amount of midfield possession, with only Melih Demir ahead of the ball in these long periods of play. I ask him to press certain situations – in this case, just the right back as that had been identified as a key area of build up for the opposition. His pressing statistics are pretty poor – 3.40 per/90 completed out of just under fifteen attempted but his hard, specifically targeted yards tend to push a lot of recycling and possession for opponents and not much in the way of shooting opportunities. Back to back clean sheets with four goals scored feels like a little victory as I look to convince this team that I am capable of succeeding here.

I opted for a particularly young line up in an attempt to better judge the attitudes of my players – knowing that, sometimes, complacency can be a real factor when coming off the bench. Andrey Mostovoy passed the test, coming off the bench with vigour and enthusiasm and netted the second, whereas Koba – the South African winger – was lethargic, complacent and his thirty minute cameo probably took him half an hour closer to his exit from the club.

He will probably join the list of three players who have already secured moves away:

fb4e2972505573a87941b7199ab08eea.png

Three squad players but, across the six month period between now and the summer, where I feel that I can really judge my squad building, they’ll be saving me nearly €2m in wages alone. That, combined with the €7.5m I’ve received in transfer fees can be invested, wisely, elsewhere.

Sion 0-0 Trabzonspor

2ee7a45f77f5dc9da83faaf85c0d373b.png

My winless streak in Europe now stretches to four games, although we had more than enough to beat the Swiss side.

Sion registered two shots with a value of 0.36xG but this includes a shot, that they should have done better with, valued at 0.35xG but completed a phenomenal 1067 passes, over three times the 333 that we managed to complete. Pleasingly, we are still able to continue with our style – seeing some 28.2% of our passes going forward, slightly more than the percentage that our opponents completed. 17 key passes (5% of total passes) compared to their 0.2% shows just how much we want to get the ball, drive forward and create a chance, as opposed to keeping the ball for prolonged periods of time. I’d love to see the average time we have the ball for in each possession and the number of progressive yards our possessions make – as, for example, here, we get the ball and drive it forward within two of three passes with the last one being key into a dangerous area.

With the registration rules and our lack of homegrown talent meaning that often spaces are needing to be left on benches, combined with the already hectic schedule – I’m finding that these games are taking a bit of a backset and I’m left to field teams which contain a huge number of non-match fit players, given what appears to be a terrible attempt at a pre-season from the previous manager.

03a63c4489c2953671dbb54f3705244c.png

This is another reason why I’m favouring the young players as the rules stipulate that no foreigners can play at youth level and the squad can have two over 19 players but no over 23 year olds – ruling out this entire bunch, unless it’s a friendly. However, the youth schedule is packed and we have no free days available. Not ideal but I know that every team in this league has been dealt this set of cards and I managed it reasonably well at Gencler – I guess a mid-season break will allow me to refocus my attention on this. It might also see some of these lot fit enough to play well enough to worm their way back into my longer term plans…

Kasimpasa 1-3 Trabzonspor

bb0bd61b6d56a725b70717a7d6718217.png

A solid victory in the end, with goals from Uribe – netting his first for the club from the spot – Ahmet Tamrak and Enis Destan, whose goal was his first for the club he’s spent five years at. Granted, some of this was out on loan, but, as a semi-competent striker, I’d have hoped for more. I think that I need to continue the formulation of game plans against teams that don’t want possession. Our core style isn’t set up to keep the ball and it showed – with 150 sideways passes in the central third as we knocked the ball between us, unable to break through their defensive lines. A headed goal from a corner has left me scratching my head about whether I’m setting up right so I’ll dig into that over the coming games…

I have kind of realised that I’m so focused on removing the (what I perceive to be) rotten core of this squad but have actually come in with somewhat of a preconceived idea about certain players in this squad, which I know is not the most sensible idea given the style that I now want to play FM in. Below are a core of players who I feel have impressed me – but, you’ll notice that I’ve omitted several of the non-Turkish players without really ever giving them a chance. Pedro Henrique, a man with an own goal, ratings of 6.0, 6.1, 6.2 and 6.4 in four of his last eight games has had the chance to make an impression but failed miserably whereas I must say that I’ve overlooked the likes of Ukrainian Kravets, probably because of the whopping €74k he takes home and a judgement on several minutes as an unfit substitute. Likewise, I’ve played another unfit player – Marco Pjaca – across a variety of attacking roles, none of which he is entirely comfortable in – expecting instant miracles from the man that Juve spent €23m on ten years back. He might actually be awful but he’s actually new in the country after moving from Torino in the summer and has a basic grasp of the language so I have to cut him some slack.

The more I actually look at this, the more I see some bad man management on my behalf. Yes, Enis Bardhi and, for the most annoying reason, Kerem Kalafat both dislike me and, yes, I’ve got a group of players who train awfully but I’ve got to get to know what these players – who have clearly been seen as good enough to play for a team that finished third last year – can do and how I can get the best of them.

cbc8938a5a4edc5cb9a8f0b26a2efa0d.png

However, the above players have already impressed me sufficiently for me to want to keep them at the club. The youngsters of Melih and Ahmet are absolutely quality and, given the absence of Bardhi, I now hope that Oguz can grow into this role as I’ve showed that, before, I will not worry about the age of the player if I think they’re good enough. Full backs are relatively sorted in Eren on the left with Dorukhan on the right and both Kerem and Carles Soria good enough with both feet to cover both. Ounas and Mostovoy are decent wingers, too.

But I do need to sort out the longer term future of the club and, using another wonderful tip from @FMStag (seriously, just follow his Twitter and blog), have set up some ongoing scouting focuses, which you can see here:

cf120266e8c172d851ac193004db67ef.png 89249d81c4f574e68106907a76629464.png ae40adee6238534629ec4f19e33b9a63.png 78c597b42355c135b42f96d4603f3859.png

The biggest issue is that I currently am allowed three scouts at the club, so these will fill slowly but they should fill with the players that I want to be signing, rather than just anyone that my scouts find. The overall criteria are quite broad and I’ve dipped into something that @BethFM posted about, from Luis Campos’ school of recruitment, to split into ages – with Pre-Development being between 15 and 17, Development between 18 and 21, Peak between 22 and 28 and experienced between 29 and 34. These age group brackets will help me source players at different ability levels with, obviously, those at pre-development being significantly lower in quality than peak players and I can cast my nets a little wider. I have to look for Turkish players – both to meet selection criteria but also because non-Turks cannot move here until they are 18 and I will miss out on a lot of formative development that way, so have ensured that I am focusing on them at all age levels. Furthermore, I have some specific target markets – where I’ve found success, Africa, where the club has close ties to, Middle East and Eastern Europe and where a lot of ‘stepping stone’ players come from, South America. Lastly, I can only see positives in searching for some quite bespoke markets – deals that expire within the year or have already expired and players who want to leave their clubs, plus, again for registration purposes, those who came through the academy here at Gencler.

My parameters are set quite low in terms of potential ability but that is both to catch more players but also to ensure, given the not so amazing attributes of my scouting team, that they don’t mis-diagnose a talent that I may want a better look at.

These coincide with the necessary positional upgrades that I need, too. Most are self explanatory but I’m conscious of the fact that it’s already December and I don’t have a solid shortlist of targets – meaning we could get left behind in January if I’m not careful…

Trabzonspor 3-0 Çaykur Rizespor

2f39993c021cde36319f0a814f98cd5e.png

I’ve written a lot of words this month – so let’s keep this short. This should have been ten. We were dominant it’s a much deserved victory, owing to my usual pre-match rituals despite facing a team with far less quality than ours.

Trabzonspor 5-1 Kirsehir

a3591b8037012cc3efe222f2981dfea1.png

very youthful squad that, once again, caused some murmurs of discontent within the first team. Whilst I am not impressed with this, particularly when you match the faces up and realise that it is youngster Oguz, who is getting the chance and actually moaning about it – I have to take it with a pinch of salt, especially when he scores a hattrick. The game started in the worst possible way as we gave the third tier side an early penalty, which they converted, almost literally through the legs of Sarkic in goal. The first half was then littered with free flowing attacking football – an absolute joyous watch of sixteen and seventeen year olds, full of confidence, knocking the ball around with intent. The second half had none of that though as their tired legs meant they gave way to more senior, yet more complacent replacements. There’s a real battle I’ve got going on within this squad…

Kayserispor 0-6 Trabzonspor

73a564126cf461bdf11018d3f0641e6c.png

…and one that we appear to be winning on the pitch.

We blew away Kayserispor thanks to a Melih hattrick, Gonzalez, Uribe and Ahmet goals and we deserved every bit of it. It felt, to watch, like the Caykur game but this time we actually found the net as many times as our play deserved. My real worry though now is this great performance, combined with this release clause that my DoF inserted into his new deal just days into my tenure, means that the likes of PSG and RB Leipzig are now watching my hitman and will likely pounce in January. Yes, we have replacements – Marko Pjaca can step up, as can Enis Destan – but that’ll be the real test of whether we are a one man team, or not.

Beşiktaş 0-2 Trabzonspor

f78e6dddc1f897b29a48c2aa83271df5.png

We end the year on a wasteful but high point, putting more pressure on Dan Petrescu and his ailing Besiktas squad – still made up geriatric wingers Ghezzal and Redmond. A game that we controlled, again, from start to finish, looking decisive as Pjaca and Melih scored the goals to seal the victory.

88d4a5936b4a3d4576661d62b9d9afed.png

With a youth team that is training incredibly well (sans Ramazan Yilmaz and his lack of self belief) and a league table that looks so promising, you’d think I was really happy here. However, there is a real sense of ‘what if?‘ considering the remarkable season that Gencler are having. I know that the ceiling here is much higher but had I really built a team that was capable of challenging for the title? I didn’t think so! Likewise, have I really managed to turn around this rotten team into a team that can challenge for a title? I don’t think so either. Granted, they weren’t on their knees when I took over – the manager had left rather than being sacked so I didn’t have the whole rebuild the morale and piece things together one at a time job that I do sometimes inherit. It just feels a little…easy..if you know what I mean! I’m having to do little in the way of real out of the box tactical thinking and, combine that with a playing squad that isn’t mine, means I’m not feeling that same sense of investment that I had in Ankara.

But that could all change as January doesn’t look too friendly..

240e5d739468fcc1785ddd33bd5e57ad.png

 

Author

  • Daniel Gear

    Dan Gear is a vibrant member of the Football Manager (FM) community, renowned for his engaging content and insightful tutorials. He illuminates complex FM concepts on "View From The Touchline" and shares engaging narratives through his unique European Journeyman save reveals. Dan's collaborative spirit shines in partnerships with fellow creators like FM Stag, unraveling new FM features. He's a co-host of the engaging "Grass N Gear" podcast, making the FM experience more enjoyable for many. With a blend of humor, expertise, and a knack for community engagement, Dan Gear's contributions significantly enrich the Football Manager community, making him a cherished figure among enthusiasts.

2 thoughts on “Age of Empires – Trabzonspor

Leave a Reply