Spartans FC were in Scottish fifth tier 19 years ago. Spartans FC are Champions League winners now. We finally managed to win in the most prestigious club competition. I finally fulfilled this dream within Football Manager 2015 with this club which I manage nearly twenty seasons.
The transfer window was quite busy. We brought four new players to the club but promising young defender Greig Calder stayed with Inverness CT on loan. We bought ofensive midfielder Kenny Conway from Motherwell as a backup player and young (17y) midfielder Shaun Howells from Stoke. We also bought new goalkeeper from Huddersfield, Sam Hammond is 22 years old and he could be our new number one.
There were a lot of players which left our club on a free transfer, on loan but there were a very expensive transfers as well. Joe Dillon moved to Sheffield United for 7,5M£, Ross Waddell to Manchester City for 19,5M£ and Aidan Kehoe to Schalke 04 for 7,5M£. But the most exciting transfer was Darko Popovic’s move to Real Madrid. Serbian midfielder was valued aroun 20M and there were a lots of negotiation. After three weeks we agreed 25M£ + 23M£ in other installments + 30% from next transfer. It’s new record transfer fee received for Spartans FC in club history.
Scottish League Cup + Scottish FA Cup
Domestic domination continued in both cups. In League Cup we beat Dundee, Inverness, Celtic and Partick Thistle in the Final. In the FA Cup we not met Celtic so the way to the Final was a little easier. We bet East Fife, Partick Thistle, Stenhousemuir, Ross County and Motherwell in the Final. It was our tenth win in the FA Cup in a row.
Scottish Premier League
After a “small” drama in last season it was a clear-cut matter for our team again this year. We were at the top from the first round and we won the league twenty-two points ahead of Celtic and 44 points ahead of Motherwell and Ross County.
It was another season without a league loss, we lost points only in five matches. We scored 98 goals and conceded 25. Central defender Manuel Holzinger was one of the best players in the league with 7,33 average rating. Midfielder David Dalziel had 11 assists and goalkeeper Andreas Leys had 12 clean sheets. And we are now 297 matches without losing in Premier League.
The biggest challenge for our club this season after last year’s Europa League win. I really wanted to make some big results in the Champions League. Our previous best result was the Semi Final. We had very tought group again. We were in Group Stage with Zenit, Basel and Benfica. We had very bad start when we lost to Zenit and made three draws with Basel and Benfica. But then…
We beat Zenit and Basel and we were through to the knockout stage. We beat 3-1 Porto FC in both matches in the 1st Knockout round and there were big challenge with Atlético which beat us in every previous matches.
We were pretty excellent and won both games (1-0 & 2-0). We were through to the Semi Final where we had Manchester City as a opponent. Real Madrid and Barcelona were in the second Semi Final. We won 2-0 at home and 3-1 away in Manchester.
And there it is. Final match at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff against Real Madrid. The historic moment for our club. We were 2-0 up at the half time thanks to a goals by Graham Paterson and Armando Gagliardi. Sam Hammond scored own goal after a couple minutes in the second half but Zulu gave us a two goal lead again in 66th minute.
We had 21 shots in overall and 8 shots on target. Real had 25 in overall and 10 on target. But we did it! We won the Champions League! Nineteen years after we played the first match in Scottish fifth tier.
I’m nearly thirty years old in real life but I celebrated as a little kid during Christmas…
What next? I will play another one season. I want to complete twenty years as a manager of Spartans FC and it would be great if we will be able to win 11th league title in a row.