This is Sparta

Overview

I’ve never played a lone beta save in the past. This is due to opting to run my main save from day one. However, I have opted to become a part of the Black Crow Corporation in FM22. Where I will be managing Black Crow Mazatlán FC who play in the Liga MX.

Given this was likely going to be a one-season affair, I opted for a team which was a title contender. I wanted a European based team just for the familiarity and young talented attacker. This culminated in two realistic options; Bayern Leverkusen and Sparta Prague.


History

Sparta is the most successful club in the Czech Republic and one of the most successful in central Europe.

Winning a record 36 domestic league titles, the Czech Cup 27 times, also a record, and the Czech Supercup twice. Sparta was long the main source for the Czech Republic national football team. But as football across eastern and central Europe has struggled to compete with the creeping growth of the Premier League, the Bundesliga and La Liga, that rich heritage dating to 1893 has steadily ceased to be relevant, even to the natives of Prague.

At present domestic success has proved sparse. The last of their league titles coming in 2014 with a duopoly of Viktoria Plzen and city rivals Slavia dominating.

The rising star of the team is 19-year-old attacker Adam Hlozek. A graduate of Sparta’s academy and their youngest ever senior player.


Objective

The intention is to try and win the league. Anything else would be seen as a failure both for the Board and I. Media expectation is that we place second to Slavia with Plzen pushing us both all the way.

A secondary objective of the save, is to keep Hlozek for the full season. He’s attracting interest from Arsenal, Tottenham and Southampton from day one. Keeping him will involve me promising him the world.

Having looked at the squad we had to work with it was noted we were particularly strong with wide attackers. But we were limited by sparse options available at central midfield and full-back. I didn’t have any interest in making alterations to coaches and scouts or setting up a vast scouting network.

The only signings we made at the start of the season were to address the needs outlined above. We brought in Taylor Booth from Bayern Munich II for £145k and Bartol Franjic from Dinamo Zagreb for £3.4m


Season Review

Sparta were set to play across three competitions in 20221/22. Being Fortuna Liga, MOL Cup and Champions League. However, this turned into four early in the season having been eliminated from the Champions League taking a Group Stage spot in the Europa League

Fortuna Liga

Sparta Prague returned the domestic title back to the Stadion Letna. Thanks to a tally of 77 points, only tasting defeats once at the hands of 1.FC Slovacko. Slavia who racked up an impressive 71 points pushed us all the way to the end. The surprise package of the season was Jablonec, who finished third with 54 points, some way behind the leading pair.

We ended up at the top of the Championship Group with 88 points, after a two draws and three wins.

MOL Cup

Sparta Prague completed the domestic double, with a 3-2 victory over Slavia Prague. In what was a fiery inter-city derby with saw thirty-eight fouls registered and two penalties. Sparta overcame Uhersky Brod, Sigma Olomouc and Banik Ostrava in earlier rounds.

Champions Leauge

Sparta Prague entered in the second qualifying round, drawn against Galatasaray SK who were comfortably put away 3-1 on aggregate. This set up an encounter with Celtic. Regrettably, we were unable to come away with a result in either leg ultimately going down 7-3 on aggregate.

Europa League

Sparta Prague entered he Group Stages,drawn alongside Marseille, Celtic & Dinamo Zagreb. Unluckily, despite picking up six points we finished third in Group B and were eliminated.


Player Overview

I tried my best to look after the future of the club despite being aware it was only a one-season affair, with contracts handed to almost everyone worth renewing but I didn’t pay much attention to the B Team or the U19’s .

Key Performers

Goals: Adam Hlozek (42 goals), Matej Pulkrab (20 goals) and David Moberg-Karlsson (9 goals)

Assists: Oliver Batista-Meier (21 assists), Borek Dockal (15 assists) and David Pavelka (11 assists)

Average Rating: Adam Hlozek (7.51 avg), Casper Hojer (7.33 avg) and Matej Pulkrab (7.30 avg)

Adam Hlozek exceeded all expectations that I had entering into this save. Batista-Meier and Dockal were just as fun to use. The former operating as an Inverted Winger and the latter as a Enganche. I am not usually drawn to using players as old as Dockal who is thirty-three. But I used him as an Enganche, a role I’ve never used before and it turned into a pleasant surprise.


Conclusion

Sparta Prague returned to their rightful place on the throne of Czech football. Ending a seven-year domestic title drought, mainly thanks to the goal scoring prowess of Adam Hlozek and his supporting cast.

Having enjoyed what was intended to be a one-year stint and have decided to play at least a second season. This time I will replace staff and develop scouting network .

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to come and join me over on Football Manager Slack at #cc-fm for more of an in-depth record of my saves or on Twitter where you can find me @cc__fm

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