With the old FM16 Hellas save dying a death of natural causes (work & the new version), it’s about time to get refreshed on what I’ve been up to in the save that’s taken my attention in FM17.
We kicked off in 2016/17 in Penafiel, in the second division of Portugal. Expectations were relatively low. The plan was to build the squad up, aiming for promotion in year two with a longer term goal to bring European football to the club.
It was looking to be a tricky league with Porto, Benfica, Sporting, Braga and Vit. Guimaraes all having their B squads in the division.
With a small transfer budget, it was loans and frees for the most part. Almost all of the cans when on Denis Duarte for £44k from Vit. Guimaraes. Gedion Zelalem (Arsenal) and Lynneeker (CEC) came in as critical loans with Paulo Regula, the pick of the free signings.
It was a middling season, appearing to be very much on track for the mid table finish as the aim. We stuck steadfast to a 4-1-2-3 formation similar to the Hellas in FM16. However the form turned as the team became familiar with its requirements. Only three losses in the last three months of the season saw us pick up 35 points of a possible 54.
The positive form saw us with the chance to go up on the last day of the year. União da Madeira had one spot locked up and needed a result to beat off Porto B for the title. This meant third was an automatic promotion spot and Olhanense and Portimonense were the two competing against us for it. A win would do it and we did it in style. Lynneeker and Fabio Fortes both notched in the first 20 minutes and a third came just after the break with defensive midfielder Romeu Ribeiro.
Stars of the year were Pedro Araújo at left back providing 8 assists in 30 league starts. Fabio Fortes had a rocky start but flew home scoring 23 goals in 39 appearances, topping the league charts. Gonçalo Abreu was ever present on the left wing scoring 3 and putting on 11. On loan Lynneeker scored 10 and assisted 5, plenty coming in the run home.
In the last two editions, it feels like the promotions have all been a year or two before the team was ready. So that led to a busy offseason, looking to make signings that would give us a chance to stay up. It almost goes without saying, but the next post will cover off on how we did with that.