It has been settled. In a move that has rendered my previous post completely pointless, I have settled on my club for the launch of FM16 in the morning.
The question, my lord, is who the FK are Obilić and why have I chosen them? Well, Fudbalski klub Obilić Beograd used to be good. I mean, really good. In a land where only Red Star and Partizan ruled following the break up of Yugoslavia, Fudbalski klub Obilić Beograd used to compete. Properly compete. Every year since the Serbian League started either Red Star or Partizan have won it. Apart from once, 1997-1998. Yes, Obilić pipped them to the title and were in the Champions League. What, wait! You have never heard of them? That is hardly surprising, they currently reside in the Serbian fifth tier. Portsmouth, you thought you had it hard? Parma, still moaning? These boys actually won the league and now they are right down in the amateur leagues. It was this quote from Wikipedia that sealed the deal for me. “Since the season 2001–02, when it finished in fourth place, Obilić has declined steeply: a club which once competed in European club competitions has been relegated to the lowest tier of the Serbian football league system.”
So, a little about Obilić or to give them their full Serbian name Фудбалски клуб Обилић Београд. They were named after a medieval knight, Miloš Obilić. What is not to love about that? Plenty not to love about the next bit, the club was taken over in 1996 by career criminal and paramilitary leader Željko Ražnatović, otherwise known as “Arkan” – funnily enough, this coincided with Obilić becoming a top club, something not entirely unrelated to the fact that Ražnatović used to routinely threaten the opposition, so they were scared enough to lose. There is a whole load more on Ražnatović out there that I don’t really want to go into. Let’s just say he wasn’t just interested in the football. When threatened with not being allowed into Europe due to his “bad name” Ražnatović handed the presidency over to his wife. UEFA, in their standard wisdom, accepted this and everything continued as was.
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Obilić ended up playing beaten finalists Bayern in the second qualifying rounds. They were stuffed 4-0 in Munich but managed a very creditable 1-1 draw at home. They then lost 3-0 on aggregate to Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Cup, having dropped into that competition.
2001-02 was the last time Obilić were considered to be a force, finishing 4th. From that position they fell, with alarming speed, to sit in the 7th tier today. It’s ok though lads, I am on the way now.
The plan is thus. This is the long-term save, hopefully the only one I will do in FM16. No restarts, no getting bored. Hopefully no getting sacked too, a record I am still proud of. I will start at Obilić and go from there. I want to get the club back into the top flight of Serbia, ideally in seven to eight seasons, and then get them challenging Red Star and Partizan once again. And this time we are going to do it clean, without threats. Once we are in Europe I will consider moving on, where I do not know (though I have a sneaky feeling that South America will be calling at some point again).
As with all of my saves there will be a huge emphasis on the right recruitment and youth development. I want to see a young, hungry side that is a mix of local talent and the best value players available to me – players that I am happy to nurture and move on for a great profit. Let’s be honest, a stadium that holds 4,600 isn’t going to generate me much revenue and Sky Sports are unaware of the potential of the Serbian League so TV money is at a minimum. Yes, this is going to be a long road.
I will start with the top national license, as per real life and with the experience of a semi-pro player, as per real life. From there, we will see how it all goes.
I’ll be dusting off #TheArgentineStrikerless, updating “Searching the Stats © v2.0” as I go and probably making the journey somewhat story based. If there is anything in particular anyone wants me to focus on, shout now or forever hold your peace.
I love taking a fallen giant back to the top; this could be my toughest one yet!
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