So I was sacked by Mersin, a Turkish second division club, after getting them relegated a season after they’d dropped back down from the first division. They didn’t actually sack me until I was mid-way through re-building the squad for the following season.
Despite losing plenty of games in Turkey I really enjoyed the save, which I’m persisting with. I don’t mind losing when I know I’m progressing towards a better future for the club. I had to get rid of overpaid, underperforming, aging players and bring in a new generation, but relegation is never ideal.
My name was linked with several Turkish top division clubs but my first concrete job offer after Mersin was from NK Crikvenica in the Croatian second tier.
NK Crikvenica is a Croatian football club based in the northern Adriatic town of Crikvenica.
NK (which is what I’ll refer to them as from now) gives me a chance to ‘give youth a chance’ which is almost always rewarded on Football Manager as long as you add a sprinkling of patience.
And Croatia seems to be a hotbed of young talent. Alen Halilovic, who joined Barcelona this year for a miserly fee (initial 2.2m euros plus add-ons) from Dinamo Zagreb, is a great example, so is Real Madrid’s Luka Modric.
Not every good Croatian comes from Dinamo. Mario Mandzukic started at Masonia which I believe is now extinct. Davor Suker, a legend from when I was growing up, started at Osijek.
So my goals with this save and my new club, NK, are:
- avoid relegation
- develop young players
- play possession football
- use a ball paying centre back