Season Six Part 2. “Balls deep in the Balkans.”

War in Europe may seem a distant memory to us, as we check Instagram and mindlessly press “like” on Facebook. Living a relatively peaceful existence, watching Netflix on our smartphone, while the trains are delayed again. But a cursory glance across history tells us our continent is no stranger to conflict, oppression, and mass bloodshed. We must respect the hard-earned peace, and freedom, we enjoy today, as we enter a new era of politics globally.

War is never far away, when politics fails, War prevails (FMEadster, 2019).

It is, after all, a mere 20 years since NATO warplanes bombed Yugoslavia (without UN Security Council agreement), for 78 days, in one of the largest bombing campaigns in history, on European soil. 28 years ago the Yugoslavian civil war started within Europe’s borders.  In 1995, during this bloody civil war, the genocide of thousands of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica took place. It was clear to me even then, at 13 years old, that people had forgotten the lessons from the two World Wars that ravaged Europe within living memory. None of these mistakes of the past should be lost from the social consciousness that is passed onto future generations.

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Season 6 Part 1 Building, or failing to build, a balanced squad

Petr Blazek made it 3-0 on 57 minutes. Chepiga looked around the stadium, fans weren’t singing his players names, they were calling to their Russian hero, Chepiga, to acknowledge their adoration with a wave. Fresh in their minds, a title win from last season that ended the Moscovite dominance of recent times. Further cemented by a crushing 4-0 defeat of CSKA Moscow in the SuperKubok Rossii, just a couple of weeks previously. At that moment Chepiga, standing in the Anzhi Arena, 3-0 up against Dinamo Moscow, allowed himself to relax. Taking in his surroundings, and the veneration of the fans, he waved back, kissing the badge of his beloved Anzhi.

40 minutes later Chepiga stood in the changing room questioning the cojones of every single player. He paced back and forth, staring each of them straight in the eye, he did not like what he saw.

“Too many millennial snowflakes in this fucking dressing room, where is the passion lads? Where are your balls!”

There were two weeks left in the transfer window, changes would have to be made. The signs were actually there in the proceeding 1-0 defeat to Arsenal Tuna, but Ruslan had chosen to ignore them. That night Chepiga assessed every player and cursed himself, and his scouts, as he realised the midfield had become completely out of balance.

Continue reading “Season 6 Part 1 Building, or failing to build, a balanced squad”

Season 5 Finale #Cliffhanger_FM


Last time out we left things with just three games left in the season. A win in our next game would see us crowned Prem’yer Liga champions. Six days later we take on CSKA Moscow in the final of the Kubok Rossii. Read on to find out how we did.

Continue reading “Season 5 Finale #Cliffhanger_FM”

End of Season 5 – ‘Men at Arms’.

The last time we heard from General Chepiga, Georgia had fallen, and Russia had regained control over Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia. Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan had both since agreed to rejoin the Federation, but retain some degree of autonomy from the Kremlin, extending Russia’s influence back into Central Asia.

What Chepiga and Russia needed now, was access to ports, the Navy could no longer function holed up in the Black Sea, and in the small port of Kaliningrad. The Northern Fleet in the Arctic can only operate in summer, as bases are frozen for the rest of the year unless Climate Change gets its act together and sorts this out; Ruslan can but hope. In the meantime, it was time to expand into the Baltic states.

Europe was divided, the #Itexit and #Grexit movements were gathering pace. The US and Britain were no longer allies after a twitter exchange between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Jeremy Corbyn, regarding Palestine, turned sour. Corbyn had already cancelled the Trident programme and ordered American bases in the UK be closed. Without the US/UK axis, NATO was significantly weakened. If Europe was to be invaded, now was the time.

The invasion of the Baltics did not take long, within 14 days The Red Army had annexed Estonia and Latvia, Lithuania defied the Russians for a further five days before succumbing during a massive offensive that later became known as, ‘the Baltic Terror’.

The Western allies sent forces to their NATO allies but not in the numbers required to adequately halt the Russian advance. Europe was becoming more insular, the desire to defend someone else’s borders had waned significantly.

By the third week, the US finally sent the USS America to the area, as it entered the Baltic Sea, the Kremlin declared any further incursion into Russian waters would be met with a pre-emptive nuclear attack on Stockholm (a clever move given Sweden was not part of NATO).  Belarus was also ordered to surrender, or a similar fate would be bestowed upon Minsk.

Ruslan was content that this phase of the mission was progressing well, life was good. That was until he received some shocking news coming out of Makhachkala.

Continue reading “End of Season 5 – ‘Men at Arms’.”

Scouting on Football Manager 19 – “Be prepared”

Most of you reading this will already have a system in place for how you scout players in Football Manager and uncover all those delicious wonderkids from far-flung places.

I thought I would write a small article on how some of my most recent transfer window went in Russia and discuss some of my approaches to scouting that I haven’t seen too much written about before.

First of all, most of you will have filters set up by position that focus on certain desirable attributes. I do this too but that is not what I wanted to talk about here. Instead, I wanted to talk about what I feel is a much-underused function Football Manager players have at their disposal. Continue reading “Scouting on Football Manager 19 – “Be prepared””

Season Four Pt 2 – Hard ‘Labour’

Ruslan’s hands were raw, not through hard labour, as his father suffered all those years ago, his hands were raw from writing. Sometimes the pencil is mightier than the sword he thought, a wry smile etched across his weathered face.

200,000 postal votes had been submitted by dead British citizens in constituencies identified by the Kremlin as key to the British election; May 2022. Ruslan was sure he’d filled in over half of these at his desk overlooking the Anzhi training ground. While some one-star potential youth graduates filled in the rest.

He sat up late into the night to watch the results coming in, Labour gain, after Labour gain. They’d done it, Corbyn was Prime Minister. Border polls in Scotland and Northern Ireland were now inevitable, adding to the instability and division across the European Union since the United Kingdom left last year. The European project was over, the continent divided, an ever stronger Russia loomed in the East; Europe could now be conquered.

Chepiga at a Corbyn rally sometime in 2017

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Season Four Pt 1 – Pursuing the European Adventure ©

Early July 2021, it has been almost 13 years since Russia last invaded Georgia and took military control of the Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions. The time had come to finish the job, the reintegration of Georgia was the next phase of operation Yellow Hammer.
Continue reading “Season Four Pt 1 – Pursuing the European Adventure ©”