Welcome everyone to my new Football Manager 2018 save, this time I have chosen the mighty Bursaspor FC who play in the Turkish Super Lig. I have never managed in Turkey on Football Manager before but I have always had a number of good Regens from the European Nation.
The reason that this save is called ‘Building Bursaspor’ is because they have only ever won the Turkish Super Lig once back in the 2009 – 2010 season so my main aim is to build Bursaspor up to become one of if not the dominant side not only in Turkey but in Europe too.
So let’s get into it shall we, the journey with Bursaspor begins now!
The first thing I like to do when I load up a save is check what loans we have coming in and going out of the club and boy do we have some interesting ones here. The only loan deal going out of the club that I am interested in is the target man Tomas Necid. He will be spending the season at Slavia Prague over in the Czech Republic; Necid is actually rated as our best striker so I am keen to have him back for next season.
The two players that are of more use to me this season are Nigerian Mikel Agu, on loan from FC Porto, and Ghanaian Emmanuel Badu, on loan from Udinese. These guys are two of the best-rated midfielders at the club, which is worrying considering they are only on loan for a season, but I am certainly not complaining about having them at the club for the time being.
The next thing I like to do is check out the youth prospects at the club and even though we only have two decent prospects I definitely see them being involved in the first team straight away and hopefully having a long successful career for club and country. The first youngster is versatile defender Ertuğrul Ersoy who I believe has a great future ahead of him, with some good attributes of 14 marking and heading at just 21 he certainly has a bright future at the club.
The next potential superstar is Kubilay Kanatsızkuş, god that’s a mouthful! But besides his complicated name Kanatsizkus already has nine u21 caps for Turkey and attributes such as 16 heading – he has the potential to become a very decent target man in the future.
Unfortunately at the minute Bursaspor have extremely limited finances which means that I had to rely on free transfers for the first season but this is something that I hope to change with potential European qualification in the future.
The first signing brought in was former Manchester United prodigy Anderson who is rated as a star player in the Turkish Super Lig, and even though he is now 30 years old I believe that he definitely still has a lot to offer our side.
Sticking with the theme of the older midfielders 37-year-old Roberto Trashorras was next in, yes you heard me right – 37 years old. Trashorras will be a rotation player for us and will help tutor some of the younger players but with attributes such as 18 passing and 17 first touch I just couldn’t resist bringing him in.
The final transfer I made was former Norwich and Tottenham defender Sébastien Bassong. In a similar fashion to Trashorras, Bassong will be used as a rotational option as I plan to play our centre back prospect Ersoy ahead of him, this signing was mainly for depth and to just generally strengthen our thin squad.
Our board objective for the Turkish Cup was to reach the Quarter Finals which I was okay with as historically Bursaspor don’t particularly do too well in this competition, in fact the last time they won it was in the 1985/1986 season.
So we started off with a routine 2-0 victory over Çengelköy followed by a huge 5-2 victory over Karacabey Birlikspor in which Moussa Sow scored an unbelievable hat-trick. The goals kept flowing for us in the following round as we overcame Rizespor 7-3 on aggregate, this time it was Romanian winger Gicu Grozav who netted a hat-trick.
Antalyaspor were our opponents in the 6th round but they were brushed aside easily 4-0 on aggregate, two rare clean sheets for my Bursaspor side but we will get into that later on.
The Quarter Final was where our cup run ended unfortunately as we met our match in Turkish giants Beşiktaş who eventually went on to lift the trophy for the first time in 8 years, all in all I was content with our performance as we matched our board expectations but I would certainly like to improve on this in the future.
Turkish Super League
So this was a competition in which our performance certainly surprised me, our board expectation was to finish in the top half which I thought was realistic considering there are a number of good sides in the league including Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray and Beşiktaş as previously mentioned.
In the end we ended up finishing on a total of 75 points which was actually the points tally that Bursaspor finished on the last time they were crowned Champions, in fact we ended on an identical recorded as that historic side – the only thing that was marginally different was the goal difference.
So here we go, if you haven’t already guessed it by now we actually won the Turkish Super League which was a total surprise to me but you can see why when you look at how well played during the season!
Some of my highlights of this season were our 1-0 home win against fellow title challengers Galatasaray in which Emmanuel Badu scored the only goal of the game. My favourite game of the season was our 4-1 win over Beşiktaş in which we gained revenge for being knocked out of the Cup, this game was crucial to our unbelievable title win this season.
I would say that our best player overall this season was Senegalese striker Moussa Sow who scored 17 goals in his first year at the club and ended the season as the leagues third top scorer behind Burak Yilmaz and Vincent Janssen. Sow ended up winning Turkish Super League Striker of the year after his amazing season and dedicated his award to me, nice one Moussa mate!
My next player just has to be our Turkish goalkeeper Harun Tekin who has been at the club since 2010. Tekin kept a massive 18 cleans sheets this season which was the joint highest in the league, he was level with experienced shot-stopper Fernando Muslera and we all know how good he is so Tekin deserves real credit for his achievement this season.
In terms of the team of the season, 4 of my players were named in the squad. These four were Moussa Sow, who had a great season as we mentioned, our Argentinian midfielder Pablo Batalla, who arrived at the club in 2015 (he had a fantastic season playing as our deep-lying playmaker in a three-man midfield) and finally our central defensive partnership of Titi and William Troost-Ekong. Both centre-backs were new to the club but performed extremely well together in their first season in Turkish football – this is a partnership that I hope we can keep up next season as we try to retain our title.
With all of these great performers it’s no surprise that I was handed the manager of the season award in my season in Turkish football, not too shabby eh? But in all seriousness, the reason we have won the league this season is down to the amount of Bursaspor players that have performed above expectations as we clinched the title by a total of 6 points.
Obviously my main aim next season is to retain our Turkish Super League title however I know that this will be extremely hard as I expect all the teams that finished below us to bring in some big signings. Also the added pressure of European football will mean that I have to rotate my players more next season.
Speaking of European football I’m not expecting us to do much next season in all honesty as we are basically there to make up the numbers, but I am hoping that we can progress as far as possible to help with our financial situation. Lastly we have the Turkish Cup in which I would like to win next season but again with other top teams in this competition this will be hard for us unless we improve our team massively over the summer.
So I hope that you all enjoyed my first blog in this Building Bursaspor series and I hope that you tune in for the next part to see if we can retain our title or possibly achieve some European success, anyway that’s all for now see you next time and thank you for taking the time out of your day to read my blog.
This post was written by @Casual_FM_. Do leave some comments below if you have any thoughts about this new save with Turkish club Bursaspor. Have you managed in Turkey on FM before? Be sure to follow Casual_FM_ through his Twitter linked above.
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