Welcome to the my latest FM21 post covering the managerial career of Michael Van Skidders who is currently managing TSV 1860 München in 3.Liga, the 3rd tier in Germany. We are now in season two with Die Löwen.
The Lion, The Pitch And The Playmaker
The smell of fresh cut grass greets me as I walk from my car. Its day one of Pre-Season training and I have decided to get the staff together a couple of hours before the players are due to return on this fine summer’s day in the heart of Munich. The club logo sits proud on the facility wall as I pass by the the ground staff who have done a tremendous job during the close season thanks to the upgrade that the board agreed to earlier on in the year.
Before meeting the staff I sit back in my office overlooking the training ground with a freshly brewed cup of tea and study the notice board that contains the details of every single player that we have on our books across the 3 squads at the club.
I scan my eyes across the names on the board and one name stands out, that of Dennis Dressel the clubs star player and my first major headache of Pre-Season due to the fact that Dressel and his agent are manufacturing a move away from the club flirting with both Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 clubs who are showing interest in signing the talented midfielder.
The whole Dressel situation is difficult, he is in the last year of his contract after I triggered a 1 year extension or we would have lost him on a free transfer. I value him at around €5m however the club will not get anywhere near my valuation of him with clubs only offering around €1m and the player himself kicking off when our Director Of Football rejects the offers. At the end of the day if a player does not want to be here then in my eyes they are better off out of here to put it politely and the media are already reporting that their is tension between myself and Dressel. I have agreed to him leaving the club and given our Director of Football the go ahead to get a deal for him.
We have already lost a midfielder with Richard Neudecker leaving the club for a fee of around 450,000.
My first meeting of the day is with the recruitment team who have highlighted a few areas in the squad that they think need addressing and the Central Midfield area is the first to be discussed but I am not worried about the midfield because I feel we have a cover in this area from within the club and maybe we can bring a loan player in to boost the numbers. Whatever happens we have to get our recruitment spot on with a small budget.
The recruitment team give me their recommendations and I file them to look at later because its time to get down to training and meeting the players who are all returning from their holidays. A positive team meeting takes place and we are finally underway with Pre Season.
With the loss of both Neudecker and Dressel plus the experience of both Erdman and Moll in the January window it was imperative that we brought the right players in to our club and only now with the season over can I reflect with pride over the players that we identified to come in to the club and make a difference. In the summer window we added 3 players to the squad with the first being that of central defender Casagrande for £18.25k from Portuguese club Portimonense. The 22 year old Brazilian offers us good cover in the centre of our defence with good physical strength and aerial presence.
Next we took the opportunity to bring in another Brazilian this time though on a season long loan deal from a club who are no strangers to developing young talent, Ajax who we struck a deal up to loan Giovanni an attacking midfielder who is adept at playing inside or out on the flanks giving us good variation. The 19 year old is technically very good with the ball at his feet which is something I am a believer in getting good technical players to play in our system.
Our final signing in the Summer Window was again another loan signing again from a Dutch club when we secured the season long loan for Central midfielder Davy van den Berg from FC Utrecht. The 21 year old again is a good technical player with good all round attributes that make him a good box to box midfielder.
Bayern Munich II goalkeeper Rob Thorben Hoffman became an 1860 player crossing the city for £81k which to me is a steal for the 22 year old shot stopper who comes in to the club to be my number 1 between the posts after signing a 3 year contract.
Hoffman was followed in to the club with another percent signing when we paid £110k for 24 year old Dominican Republic playmaker Heinze Mõrshell from Uerdingen on a 3 year contract. Mõrshell comes from our fellow 3.Liga rivals in a rich vein of form. A first for me on FM signing a Dominican Republic International and I am looking forward to working with him, Mõrshell can play behind or within the front line possessing good finishing attributes on top of being a good technical player.
Last but by no means least my final addition to the squad was that of Liverpool talented Ball Playing Defender Sepp van den Berg who at 20 years old is already looking like a future star. I think the Dutchman can be a standout player at our level with good all round attributes non less so than his technical ones which make him an exciting young talent ready made for our tactical philosophy.
All in all we invested £220k in the two transfer windows in what I believe to be valuable additions. We did bring in £1.7m in outgoing players with the potential of another £600k coming in from add ons in the Dennis Dressel contract.
If you follow me on twitter you will more than likely know that after a tricky start to the season we went on to win promotion to Bundesliga 2 by finishing the season in 2nd place just 2 points behind Champions FC Nurnburg who went on a 20 game plus unbeaten run to secure the title so congratulations to them.
We didn’t have the best of starts to the season with us having to wait until gameweek 4 for our first 3 points that come thanks to a Lex double in the 2-1 win against Uerdingen. In fact with only 4 wins coming from our first 12 games of the season the board looked to be losing faith in me so when Dutch Eredivise club Willem II Tilburg parted company with their manager they contacted me to offer an interview which I attended it looked like my reign in Germany was over. However after taking over 24 hours to make a decision which included contacting a few other managers in the gameworld to help me make the correct decision I started to think about how I was going to try and turn the Dutch clubs season around.
Its probably the longest that I have ever taken to make a decision over a club but this time it was difficult after the official job offer it took me a good 24 hours to decide.
Eventually I turned the offer down instead signing a 2 year deal to stay at 1860. I have to admit it was a close call but I have unfinished business here and think that I would have regretted my decision if it had been the other way around.
Veteran forward Sascha Mollders was our top scorer with 16 goals in the league, Mollders also announced his retirement at the end of the season, he as been a rock for us over the course of the season and will take some replacing.
Our form in the 2nd half of the season took us to just 2 points behind the Champions and 12 points ahead of 3rd place. We had notable wins against Bayern Munich II, Kaierslautern, Paderborn and RW Essen in the final weeks of the season.
Looking forward to next season we have a number of youth team players who I will look to send out on loan to get some valuable first team playing time that will hopefully take them to the next level of their development. The first team squad I have decided to look for a couple of young forwards who have the quality to give us a new dimension up top as we look to adapt to life in Bundesliga 2.
The board have cleared our debt which is fantastic for us going forward meaning that we start season 3 with a clean slate. We go in to pre season with a transfer budget of around £600k and a wage budget of £99k per week which is a significant rise of around £40k per week on wages. Whilst this is great news I am still driven on running a strict financial model. Financially the promotion to Bundesliga 2 will be potentially at least £7m to the good of the club by the end of next season which could rise depending on our finishing position.
Already I have extended the loan of defender Sepp van den Berg from Liverpool until the end of next season. The Dutch defender was a key part of our promotion with the 20 year old looking a class act. I really hope he can flourish again next season.
One thing that I have done is to give our Director Of Football Thomas Hengen the responsibility of negotiating all contract renewals which so far he is doing an excellent job in keeping our wage bill under control.
That brings me to the end of this update, so I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very safe and Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.