I've just spent 30 minutes typing up an update only for my PC to crash and lose everything, so I'll just be doing a quick update of the season here, as I've lost the will to live!!
Season 2024/25 - Ligue 1
A decent finish, two places higher than last seasons 12 shows that we are making some progress. We could have finished much higher, but also much lower, as we went through a horrible 14 game slump after January, which seems to have become a bit of an FM trademark for me. We recovered, however, as we played 3 of the bottom 4 in our last 4 games and were able to record some wins and push ourselves back up the table.
New signings Randall Kenton and particularly Masato Ouchi were absolutely key to everything we done this season and Ouchi's goals were almost surely responsible for keeping us up.
Young prospect Christian Tonye is showing signs of becoming absolutely fantastic, having scored 12 goals across all competitions this season, even if 5 came from the penalty spot. I've already been turning down derisory offers from the likes of Inter and AC Milan, and the young lad has become unsettled, but until teams start offering serious money, he's not going anywhere. William Thomas is another young player that deserves plaudits for his performances this season. It's players like this that make the fact that our club reputation is still absolutely shambolic for a club in this division all the more bearable.
Thanks to prize money, we're still in a fairly decent place financially and i'm hoping any new sponsorships will prove to be lucrative. As mentioned, our reputation still holds us back in almost all areas, but particularly financially. Our board have upped the wage budget by another 20k this season, which is relative pennies, as we still have the lowest annual salary in the league by almost £3m P/A.
We don't have the reputation to attract players that would improve our sides, with them instead joining Ligue 2 and in some cases National sides, and the ones we can interest, we simply don't have the money to pay them decent wages. To put it in to perspective, both Angers and Caen, teams that have been relegated after being promoted last season, are paying at least 3 players each more than I pay my highest earner. Nancy, in the relegation playoffs, have players on more than double my highest earner, whilst Marseille, PSG and Monaco have single players earning more per week than my entire weekly wage bill.
Some people may say that it's just being prudent, and that I'm achieving well relative to my spending, but when you see some fantastic players on bosman deals or find a transfer listed youngster who you want to sign, and you can't because either a) You can't pay their wages or B) They wont even negotiate because of your poor club rep, it becomes quite disheartening. We'll get there, I'm sure, but it's a pain in the arse!
There'll be a big focus on restructuring this summer. I know for a fact that I need more defensive depth, as we loaned in 2 CB's this season and I need better wingbacks. Ramrio Zuleta will be my record signing at £4m, and with a bit of training will fix one of those problems, but we still need to bring more players in.
I'm also going to focus on the backroom this summer, something which I've not really done on this save. I need better coaches, physios and scouts if we're going to move ahead now that we're established in the top tier.
St Etienne & Bordeaux Watch
I'd love to have something a bit more interesting here, but unfortunately both Bordeaux and St Etienne won their respective leagues and will each move up a division. Bordeaux back to Ligue 1, whilst ASSE move back to Ligue 2. It'll be interesting, particularly in the case of ASSE, to see how they get on and if they'll have the means to compete at a higher level once again.