Welcome to my post, where I will introduce my main blogging save for Football Manager 2021! I have to be honest and admit that I do not enjoy to read these type of posts myself. Especially if they are too long, and keep writing about which trophies the club won in their history and such. I do, however, understand that it’s the perfect way to get into writing the series. Therefore, I try to keep things short and focus on what my aims for the series are. Let me talk you through the club for a little bit though, as FC Twente’s recent history is rather intriguing, and one of the reasons why I chose to manage this club!
Why FC Twente?
In contrast to a lot of other Football Manager players, I’m not a club supporter. I’m not even a huge football fan, never have been, but I adore Football Manager! However, I did play football at a young age and understand the game very well. I struggle every year to find the right club to manage, which offers me a possibility to have an immersive savegame.
As a general rule, I look for clubs which already have a great youth setup or are known for producing top-notch players. Developing players, especially if they are homegrown, is my favourite part of Football Manager. It increases the longevity of my savegames tremendously! To me, it always feels like the savegame is over when I fulfil the set objective of winning the continental competition, for example. While every year, new players are coming through the youth academies, which gives me a lot more to do. It always draws me back into the game to try and develop the next crop of potential superstars. It clearly shows below.
- FM20: FC Sochaux-Montbéliard
- FM19: Brescia
- FM18: Vitória de Guimaraes
- FM17: Malmö FF
- FM16: FK Vojvodina
- FM15: RC Lens
- FM14: Sporting Lisbon
The list goes on and on. I needed something different for this year, a slightly bigger challenge. I’ve chosen clubs based on their great academies in the past. I want to (re)built one this time. FC Twente fits the bill in multiple ways, here’s why:
- FC Twente is my local team
- Champions in 2010, but almost went bankrupt in the years after
- The Doyen Sports scandal
- Were relegated in 2018, but went back up immediately and are now rebuilding
- Eredivisie has no restrictions in regards to Non-EU players, lovely for scouting newgens
- Need a rebuild in regards to squad and infrastructure
- Troublesome finances
- End of list
I did not intend to show ‘FC Twente‘ with this list and only noticed after “Troublesome finances”.
One of the reasons I picked FC Twente for FM21 is because they are the most local professional football club to where I live. The distance from my house to their stadium and training ground is 25 kilometres. It would take me 30 minutes to get there by car. As I said earlier, I’m not a club supporter of any kind. Most of my family and friends do support FC Twente though, so I stay close to my origins by managing them.
What is most interesting about FC Twente, is their recent history. I’m not going to bore you with the complete story since 1965 when they were founded by fusing two former football clubs from Enschede. I am sure if you want to know more about the club you’ll find your information on the internet. What intrigues me is their history from the last ten to fifteen years. The story is weird and dismissive, and they are still fighting to overcome what has happened to them. A lot of Dutch football fans despise them because of it.
Let me start around 1998, which is a big year for me personally. I was seven years old, experienced the first death in our family, was diagnosed with diabetes and grew an interest in football. It was also the year that FC Twente moved from the old Diekman Stadium to the now called Grolsch Veste. The old Diekman Stadium was always moderately filled and not commercially attractive. My dad and I went to the building site a couple of times, as he worked for a company that helped to build it. These were my first encounters with FC Twente and are vivid memories from my youth.
Another magical thing happened in 2001. Fred Rutten’s team went to the final of the Dutch Cup. The cup final is traditionally taking place in the Kuip in Rotterdam, Feyenoord’s stadium. Twente won that final against PSV on penalties, but it’s more known as the ‘mass migration’ due to more than 30.000 Twente fans being present!
After that cup win, league results were a bit disappointing as the following years they ended around 11th place all the time. They reached another cup final in 2004 but lost it due to Utrecht scoring a controversial goal. Due to a claim from the tax authorities, FC Twente almost went bankrupt. They had to pay €3.1M! And this is where the real story begins…
The club hired Joop Munsterman as the new chairman in 2003. FC Twente was in financial trouble, so they started cutting expenditures. Staff and players got contracts with lower wages, and some of them left. Sander Boschker, who’s a legendary goalkeeper to a lot of Tukkers, moved to Ajax. In 2006, the first cracks became visible. Technical director Plageman, who worked for free, left because he couldn’t agree with the ambitious plans of Munsterman and commercial director Jan van Halst.
Sports performances where bettering by finishing fourth in the league, and a year later FC Twente won the play-offs to enter the qualifying rounds of the Champions League. Everything seemed to go very well from an outside view. They expanded the ten-year-old stadium before the 2008/09 season so it could fit 24K people instead of 13K. The capacity was later expanded to 30K in 2011. They became second in the league and lost another cup final that year. The season after, Steve McLaren made them Dutch champions for the first time in their history!
The following years, FC Twente won two Dutch super cups, reached the quarter-finals of the Europa League, and won another Dutch cup. They established themselves as a top club in Holland, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Everything went downhill very fast. The club celebrated their 50th birthday during the 2014/15 season. That same year FC Twente received a three-point deduction twice for financial mismanagement. At the end of the season, Joop Munsterman announced his resigning and left the club trying to make plans on how to survive!
Football Leaks leaked documents about the deal between FC Twente and Doyen Sports to the media in November 2015. The leaked documents contained information that told everyone that the co-operation between the two was a whole lot different than envisaged. The Dutch FA withdrew FC Twente’s pro license conditionally and gave them a 45K fine. In March 2016, FC Twente withdrew their Financial Statements over the 2014/15 season as their agreement of the Dusan Tadic transfer wasn’t right. Twente received another three-point reduction for this.
The Dutch FA withdrew their pro license again after the 2015/16 season because of mismanagement in the past, after other serious shortcomings came to light. At the same time, they received a new pro license because of ‘positive efforts’ over the previous half-year. This license gave them the possibility to enter the second tier. FC Twente decided to appeal the decision, and the Dutch FA decided that the club could stay in the Eredivisie. They received a fine of €181K for their violations that came to light between December 2015 and May 2016. Yet FC Twente relegated in 2018 because they finished 18th in the league.
They went straight back up by winning the second tier in the 2018/19 season and finished 14th in the Eredivisie last year.
Doyen Sports Scandal
The deal with Doyen Sports is a cause and effect of FC Twente’s financial malaise. Back in 2003, when Joop Munsterman became chairman, he closed the deal with Doyen. FC Twente had become financially unstable after the €3.1M claim from the authorities. Doyen paid FC Twente €5M and gained third-party ownership over seven of Twente’s players: Castaignos, Promes, Ould Chikh, Mokhtar, Eghan, Ebicilio and Tadic.
At the time, Munsterman sold the agreement with Doyen to the public as a ‘top deal’, but in fact, they never got any better from it. Third-party ownership was not that big of a deal. It happened a lot, especially in South-America, where it originated. It’s now entirely forbidden.
In theory, Doyen would take a huge risk here; what if the players would never leave? They would never see their money back, right? Wrong!
Doyen and Twente agreed that Doyen would receive a higher sum for every player than how much they invested. This supposedly ‘minimum fee’ would rise every year as well. In the first year, it would be 10% higher than what Doyen paid, in the second it would be 20% and so forth. This way, there were no risks for Doyen.
Doyen also had a say in where the players would move to, which was, by that time, the only rule for third-party ownership. These deals were allowed if the third party had no say in the club’s transfer business. In the screenshot from the leaked documents below, you can read that Doyen obliged Twente to accept ‘good’ offers. If they rejected, they had to pay a percentage of the rejected transfer offer to Doyen. FC Twente would never be able to suffer these sums, which Doyen knew.
Doyen wasn’t responsible for the club’s financial state though. FC Twente took out a lot of loans, especially for expanding the stadium. These were the main reason for their financial trouble. However, the Doyen Sports scandal didn’t help them but brought them further down. FC Twente was living too big of a life which caused all the problems. They had to cut down tremendously, which resulted in their massive fall.
Challenge of Rebuilding the Squad
The biggest challenge right now lies in rebuilding the squad. FC Twente has almost no money for transfers and is therefore bringing in a lot of players on loan. It will be the biggest challenge in my savegame too. Loaning players is excellent as a short-term solution, but eventually, you need to have your players on a contract. Players on loan will leave after a season or two which forces you to keep rebuilding every year instead of refining. The club will also make no money from outgoing transfers, which is the biggest income for Dutch clubs as there are no big TV deals or sponsorships here in Holland.
I always give myself some targets to meet for my savegames. It helps me to have something on the horizon, something to accomplish. I get bored very quickly if I do not do this. To increase the longevity of my savegames, I tend to set objectives that will take some time to complete. This time, I feel like I need some short-term goals too. I felt that last year, my targets only focused on the long-term. I had moments that these felt too far out of reach, so having some short-term goals will hopefully help me to enjoy what I do in the first few seasons too!
Short-term (first five seasons):
- Do not relegate
- Become financially secure
- Have three youth graduates (newgens) in the first team
- Have no more than four loanees in the first team
- Play in a cup final
- Sell a player with at least €10M profit
Mid-term (five to ten seasons):
- Be a sub-top team in the league
- Win the Dutch cup
- Have six youth graduates (newgens) in the first team
- Have no loanees in the first team
- Sell a player with at least €30M profit
Long-term (ten seasons+):
- Be one of the top clubs in the league
- Play European football every season
- Have at least nine youth graduates (newgens) in the first team
- Produce a European Golden Boy winner
- Produce a Ballon D’Or winner
- Become the main supplier to the Dutch national team
- Sell a player with at least €50M profit
- Produce at least 50 elite players (players active in top 5 leagues)
- Sell a youth graduate for more than €100M
There you have it; my reasons for managing FC Twente in Football Manager 2021 and my objectives for this savegame! Like last year, I will focus heavily on player development. As always, I want to thank you for reading! Make sure you follow me on Twitter, and if you need anything, my DM’s are open.
Hope to see you next time!