With Football Manager 2019 into its sixth month, I needed something to help me find the love for FM again, something to help me on them cold Norwegian nights when I am alone and in need of the famous FM fix. Grasshopper-Club Zürich or Grasshopper for short, a Swiss club with a history not many can match around the world, 27 league titles, 19 cup victories and a UEFA Semi final appearance in the 77/78 season is a run that lives in the memory of many Swiss fans.
This club has had a tough couple of seasons, maybe a tough couple of decades explains it better, with no top flight title since 02/03, the fans are in desperate need to see the mighty GC (a club nickname) lift some silverware again and soon!
Will this happen, signs are not looking good going into the 18/19 season, GC have spent the last two seasons battling to save their top flight status, with local rivals FC Zürich spending the 16/17 season in the Swiss second tier, as a local rival it gave GC a lot of laughs in the local bars but at the minute, FC Zürich appear to have the upper hand, with their 4th place finish in the 17/18 season. GC Finishing 8th then 9th is something that has had many fans worried and with good reason, this was a few seasons for the club as a whole to forget and one without regret!
Coming into the club, my manager alias is Alex Horgos, a Serbian manager who played professional within Serbia but never managed to break into the national team. After a couple of years helping within the Partizan youth set up, coaching and managing down there, GC will be his first step into management, a tough first job but GC needed to take a new direction and the methods and dreams of Alex were enough to convince them to take a risk, take that punt that a rookie can turn the form of this club around.
My initial thoughts going into this challenge, how will Alex deal with this squad, this squad looks like one that has been pieced together with no plan, no desire for a long-term plan. I am all for bringing players from around the world but I see no experienced spine from within Switzerland, I do see some good young Swiss talent and maybe we must look at building with these players at the heart of it but at what age can we depend on someone to drag a club up the league. I guess a time for the famous Alan Hanson quote ‘You can’t win anything with kids‘. I think as I sit down and assess the 1 MILLION loan signings this club has as well as the youth of the squad in some areas, it is clear we need to improve a few areas, the lack of options at full back are a clear issue but I think it will take a lot of time to alter this squad into a team I think we can use going forward.
The financial situation within the club is something that I also want to focus upon going into this save, a part of the world of FM which I enjoy. GC are not in a good place and this is not helped with some idiotic loan signings from the previous management team, with loan signings like Tarashaj costing the club 10.5k every week and some more close to that at 8.75k, 6.75k and 5k, I must take some time to decide if these are really the future of the club, can they return permanent, do I want them to return or can their loans be terminated to help get the wage spending down and help that overall balance which currently is looking worrying.