Celaya FC – ten years of club development

Everything has to end and I decided to end the main FM20 save at the end of the 2028/2029 season. The choice to play in Mexico was perfect and I enjoyed my time here despite it was not as long save as in the previous years. If you are interested, come with me: Celaya FC – ten years of club development.

The overall club development

When the save started, Celaya was not too common club around North America thanks to the recent successes. I’m sure 99% of the football fans know this club just because of the fact Emilio Butragueno played here.

And the save was dedicated to him mainly including the searching filter and view made in terms of the strongest attributes I thought Butragueno was best in.

There were a lot of players on loan in the squad at the beginnning. Media prediction for the first season was 5th place and average age of the squad was almost 25,9 with one of the key players was Franz Torres with 38 years.

A lot of changed during ten years. From the squad personality through the average age or the composition of the squad to club facilities.

One of my favourite kits I’ve ever made.

Finances

It’s great I have the save file from each season so I can go back to check all these things I decided to write about.

And I have one from the beginning as well so we can see the finances from July 2019. We had €366,019 in our bank balance and we were about €4k per month over our wage budget. Transfer budget didn’t exist.

If we move five years to June 2024, our financial situation was very different. We had €10,6M in the bank, transfer budget over €6,5 and wage budget was rising to one milion per month. We were able to have better coaches and we were able to keep some players with better wages.

But it’s still was nothing in comparison with the end of the 10th season with the balance of €86,6M, transfer budge over €100M and wage budget over €3M per month (spending only around 50% of it).

I’m sure the club is in a great position financially now.


Facilities

Training & Youth facilities are usually one of the main things what we all want to improve within our saves (if you don’t play with the club which already has the best facilities of course).

We started with the adequate training facilities and below average youth facilities. Aims of the club were to work within wage budget or sign Colombian players for example.

The club philosophy within the club vision changed one thing during the first 5 seasons. ‘Do not sign players over the age of 30’ replaced the ‘Sign Colombian Players’. And we moved to good training and average facilities.

I expected the club board will want to improve the youth facilities to have the best possible own players but the board ignored my requests for some time as they wanted to sign young players ready for the 1st team.

It lasted for some time and they rejected me four times during two years. But in the end, some threats helped me and we now have both training and youth facilities at the excellent level with undergoing works for another upgrade. It will be done in October 2029.


Average attendance and ticket holders

There are several rules how to increase the stadium capacity or to get the new stadium in FM. One of them is the number of sold out matches during the season. It’s clear from the table below we had a no chance to reach this.

But I think it was not needed within this save. The Estadio Miguel Alemán Valdés stadium was enough for us with the 23 300 capacity.

We had 1k season ticked holders and 6779 average attendance in the first season when we were in the 2nd tier. It raised both masivelly for the 2nd season after the promotion to the top tier but the progress in next 9 years was slower.

In the end, we had slightly over 20k average attendance in the 10th season and over 6,3k season ticket holders.

I would say it was quite natural progress. The number of sellouts ended at 6 in the last season. In overal, all the matches with the full house were in the league or the Champions League play-off.

The only surprising thing was only one sellout in the first season in the top tier.

Maybe if I would buy more famous players, the numbers of both would be higher but I didn’t want to make it just because of this. I didn’t think the new or expanded stadium was needed.

SeasonSellouts
2019/20202
2020/20211
2021/20222
2022/20234
2023/20244
2024/20255
2025/20263
2026/20274
2027/20284
2028/20296

Age and team composition

As I mentioned earlier, the average age of the squad was almost twenty six at the end of the first season. All the data in the graph below are from the end of each season, usually from the end of May or start of July.

We were able to make it down to 22,4 at the end of the second season and the lowest average age of the squad was at the end of the 4th season when we hit 20,4.

The last two seasons were very similar with 21 and 20,98 as we kept the main core of the squad and just replaced the sold players with the new ones in the same age. The same with youngsters – when 17/18 years old left for some loan, we promoted others from the youth team.

As I mentioned in the first post about this save, the clubs in the 2nd tier were too reliable on loan players. We had 8 players on loan at the beginning of the save. The record was 22 loan players from 34 in the 1st team by Club Atlético Zacatepec 🤯

It took me three seasons to get rid of all loaned players in terms I have good enough own players.

For example, my affiliate team Tlaxcala has 7 loan players now. But one or two teams still have around 10 players on loan. But it’s much better than at the beginning when 10 was almost the minimum.

We were also able to have mainly Mexican based squad instead of a lot of foreign players. There were only 4 foreign players in the last season, the rest was from Mexico.


Transfers

The transfers history of these ten years are very easy. There were only free or laon transfers in the first season.

I decided to invest €875k before the second season, our first in the top flight. It was mainly between 20k – 220k but I bought players like Erick Vargas, José Manuel Dojaquez, Sebastián Osorio and more players who were in the club for many years. Or they still are here.

The forward Dojaquez was a great example as we bought him for €70k when he was 17 years old and we sold him for €13.25M after five years to Shakhtar.

We were able to get more and more money for outgoing transfers as the save progressed. We also paid €13M in the last season what is the club record. Same as €66M we received during the last season when I sold players to FC Porto, Sevilla, Leverkusen or Shanghai.

I’m sure it would be even more next season if I would continue.


The favourite real players

The first one is Emiliano Ozuna 100%. This Argentinian winger was already a key player when the save started and he keeps his role for the whole of the time.

Emiliano was 23 years old in 2019 when we started our journey. He was able to play as the winger in ML or AML position but he moved also to WBL position when I decided to switch to 3-5-2/3-4-1-2 formation. Ozuna was also able to play as a striker so his variability was great.

Emiliano Ozuna made 445 appearances in all competitions, scored 137 goals and made 100 assists.

Emiliano Ozuna and Sebastián Osorio were the only two real players in the squad at the end of the last season.

Osorio, born in Colombia, came to our club before the 2nd season of the save. That means he spent 9 seasons with us. He played mainly as IF(A) or IF(S). When we switched to the formation with three at the back, he lost his place as he was not enough already for the AM or striker role.

He made 386 appearances, scored 116 goals and made 55 assists.

I wanted to pick third real player but I was not able to select someone. No other player stood out.


Three favourite newgens

To select three best newgens of this save was really easy for me. I will start with the goalkeeper Erick Vargas.

I signed him for €40k in the 2020/2021 season after our promotion. He played mainly for the youth team during the first three seasons but he was our number 1 since 2023/2024. He made ‘only’ 17 clean sheets in this season. In the last season it was 38 what was a new club record.

The second player is the central defender Josué Infante. He is our own newgen from the 2021/2022 season and I wrote about him several times during the save. Mainly in combination with some set pieces as he was great for free kicks and corners. He scored 16 goals from the set pieces in the 2025/2026 season what was his best.

He is still only 24 years old in 2029 so he has everything ahead of him including the potential success with the national team.

The last one. And probably the most favourite of all. Midfielder Gilberto Erick Serrano. He was part of the same youth intake as Infante and developed into great midfielder.

Serrano played mainly as CM(A) or CM(S). He improved his attributes of Marking by 6, Decisions by 7 or Agility by 6 since he appeared in the club.

He made 318 appearances, scored 44 goals and made 100 assists. The only player who made it between legends of the club. Even the Emiliano Butragueno is only within icons.

My favourite number 8.


Conclusion

Despite I was not 100% sure about the save in Mexico at the beginning, it was a great choice. Mainly because it was something different again and the typical save in Europe with already know players.

As I wrote before my FM19 save in Chile and Argentina, I needed some fresh air and some new beginning. I’m glad it continued also within the FM20 cycle.

I found some very good players who I would buy for sure if I would manage some European club as they would fit great here. Not only my own players but many other players I played against when I reached the Mexican top tier.

Thank you, Mexico, it was great. I’m sure Emilio Butragueno would be happy.

The club adventure is over for me within FM20. But is there something more to come? 👀


The Celaya FC save from the beginning.


As always, thanks for reading, @FMRensie.

Don’t forget, you can join FMSlack via THIS link. My channel is #fmrensie but there are many other interesting channels to talk about FM.

A Football Manager addict and lover for many years. You can follow me on Twitter or in Football Manager Slack – #fmrensie channel.

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