Accept the pain, but do not accept that you deserved it.

Panathinaikos AO – 2027/28 Season Review

4 days after returning from Vienna, and I’m still beside myself with anger and frustration. All directed at myself.

What if we’d been more aggressive from the outset? What if we had allowed the front 3 to be more instinctive and dynamic, earlier? What if we’d pressed higher, from the first whistle? What if we had made different substitutions? What if…? Would any of it have made a difference? If we had won…would she have come back?

I made the mistake of voicing that last thought to Jesse. He is now beyond frustrated with me. I can’t blame him, really. I realize I’m not being rational about things. I’m being too emotional, he says.

Perhaps he’s right. About Selene, and the squad. It wasn’t any one thing in Vienna. We needed to be more ruthless. Yes, Jesse is on to something here, on both counts.

I summon Zlatan. No more Mr. Nice Guys at Panathinaikos. Double the pre-training kickboxing sessions. Triple them. Whatever it takes. We need an edge, a chip on our shoulders. This club has come too far. We’ve overcome too many things, to take this loss as anything but an insult. We need to respond with a righteous fury. We’re not going to go away. We certainly will not give up without a fight. We must accept the fact that we were our own worst enemies in Vienna, and work to make that right.

And I, for one, am done waiting for her to return.

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I’m gutted. Still. Angry. This squad was built for the title this year. And while it should be relatively straightforward to keep the players I want to keep (which is virtually everyone), I know this was a massive missed opportunity. Mainly because, on paper, we will never have a more straightforward opponent in a Champions League final.

So, where does that leave us? Everyone I want to keep is on a long-term contract. So unless a truly ridiculous offer comes in, no one is leaving. I’ve got 3 future transfers arranged (arriving in January and July 2030), but that will probably do it for our transfers in. I don’t see quality to improve the XI, especially when I’m not looking to break the bank on a transfer fee or wages.

Goals for 2028/29: Win the SuperLeague. Win the Champions League. Start managing on the international level, if an eligible nation opens up and looks like a “fit.”

European Review

Ok, let’s take a quick look around Europe before we go further…

The Champions League was rather thoroughly documented in the open thread. So, as you may already know, Raul Valbuena’s Sevilla FM’d us in the final, 1-nil.

In the Europa League, Albert Celades’ Valencia triumphed over Jorge Sampaoli’s Real Sociedad, 2-nil.

In the Europa Conference League, Niko Kovac’s Genk claimed the title, beating Philip Cocu’s Wolfsburg on penalties.

In the active leagues, Paulo Fonseca’s Liverpool won the first Premier League title in 38 years.  Diego Simeone’s Barcelona won their 5th straight La Liga title.  Maurizio Sarri’s Juventus and (Arsenal legend) Unai Emery’s PSG did their usual thing.  Murad Musaev’s Schalke claimed the Bundesliga title, knocking Thomas Tuchel’s Bayern off of their perch. Gert Heerkes’ Gent claimed the Belgian title, after urCristiano left Club Brugge for Lazio. Nenad Brnovic’s Partizan claimed their first title since 2016/17.  Stefan Billborn left Malmo for BK Häcken, who successfully defended their Allsvenskan title in 2027.

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Save/Challenge Overview


If you’ve stumbled upon this post and are finding yourself a bit confused… Don’t worry.  The basic concept behind the Nearly Men save is explained here.  Just need to catch up? Each installment in Nicolaj Bur’s story can be accessed through the Nearly Men Archive.

And if you just can’t get enough…join us for The Ballad of Toothless Bob, a series conceived and co-authored by Seattle Red and Oriole that explores the world of Nicolaj Bur, away from the pitch. What is Project Arcturus? What lies beyond the twisted redstone door, deep in the bowels of the Santiago Bernabéu?


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