The Greatest Glory In Living Lies Not In Never Falling, But In Rising Every Time We Fall

FK Partizan / Ivory Coast – 2035/36 Season Review

Four days later, and I’m still angry. But wallowing in anger and regret would be the biggest mistake we could make right now.

A wise man once told me that it is easy to believe in something when you win all the time…the losses are what define a man’s faith.

We go again, lads.

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Sure, I’m still frustrated at the loss. But the reality is that this year demonstrated how close Partizan are to cracking the Champions League. Sevilla, Gladbach, Athletic, Milan, Schalke…while Athletic and Milan are on a bit of a wobble, these are generally “big” European sides at the moment. We have every reason for optimism.

I say that not just because of the results, but because I’ve been looking at the squad this morning, trying to see what weaknesses we have to address in the transfer market. And we don’t really have any, for the purposes of our tactical setup and our “club DNA” principles. We aren’t going to find anyone in the transfer market — at a price we’re willing to pay — who can step right into this squad.

I am eyeing some youth prospects, of course. But I’m only considering two moves that would affect the first team in the immediate future.

First, I’m weighing up promoting academy prospect Branko Platisa into the 2nd XI, and allowing Moussa Gueye to move on. When he arrived, Gueye was in competition Gentian Begaj. At the time, Begaj looked better, but Gueye seemed to have more potential — so they split time, roughly 50/50. Since then, Begaj has maintained his advantage in terms of actual, visible skill, and has eclipsed Gueye in terms of the coaches’ assessment of potential. Platisa is good enough to compete with this team, so if a decent offer comes in for Gueye (on loan or transfer), he’s probably off.

Second, Sasa Radunovic has held down a position in our 2nd XI for the last 3 years. At 21, he has some room to grow but doesn’t seem like he’ll ever be a 1st XI player. He had been agitating for a new contract, though, seeking wages way above what I’d consider paying him. He’s content for the moment. I don’t have a ready-made replacement, although I could turn to Stefan Lazarevic, another 21 year-old who is roughly equivalent in terms of ability, on 1/10th the wage, and has spent the last few seasons on loan (Milomir Drazic is another option that would serve for the 2nd XI in domestic competitions, but of the 3 he’s the least capable). If Sasa throws his toys out of the pram or a decent offer comes in, he’s probably off, with either Lazarevic or Drazic promoted…we’ve also got Zvonko Bukvic and Nikola Kaiyrakov who could fill in, in a pinch, but I don’t think either one of them is a long-term first-team squad member.

But let’s be honest. I’m quibbling over who is going to play in my 2nd XI, here — who is going to be the 6th CB in my squad.

I remain convince that we’re capable of making a run in the Champions League, and could contend for the title with a little luck. We have more than enough financial muscle to hold on to players, and no one is out of contract in the near future. So, the path forward is clear. Keep the squad together, work towards the Champions League title.

I plan on a full-blown squad review when the summer 2036 transfer window closes, so keep your eye out for the open thread.

Goals for 2036/37:  At this point, our focus has to be on competing for the Champions League title.

Squad | League Overview | Transfers

Finances | Income | Expenditure

Fixtures 1 | Fixtures 2 | Fixtures 3

European Review

In the Champions League, Thomas Tuchel’s Panathinaikos beat Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus, 3-1 (aet). That’s the second time in three years that urCristiano’s men have fallen short in the final…they need more intravenous injections of essential oils, obviously.

Champions League Overview | CL Knockout Rounds

The Europa League is rather thoroughly covered above, with ze Germans beating Nicolaj Bur’s Partizan, 1-nil.

Europa League Overview | EL Knockout Rounds

In the Europa Conference League, Remy Riou’s Roma spanked Nico Elvedi’s KV Mechelen, 6-nil.

Europa Conf. League Overview | ECL Knockout Rounds

In the active leagues, Edson Seidou’s Manchester United claimed the Premier League title. Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus won their 15th straight Serie A title, their 24th in 25 years. Antonio Conte’s Barcelona defended their La Liga title. Julian Nagelsmann’s Gladbach defended their Bundesliga title yet again (their 6th in 7 years). Cristian Zapata’s Lyon claimed the Ligue 1 title. Pontus Jansson’s Anderlecht claimed the title in Belgium on the “seeding” tiebreaker. Thomas Tuchel’s Panathinaikos won their 12th straight SuperLeague title. Finally, Mihajlo Jurasovic’s Hammarby won the 2035 Allsvenskan title, their 4th in 6 years.

[Edit: updated to include links to the league overview screens.]

(Honestly, I’m thrilled that Panathinaikos and Gladbach have maintained their dominance both domestically and in Europe. Clubs from smaller nations tend to fall off over time (especially since Greece never broke into the “top” leagues), and I wasn’t at Gladbach long enough to truly set up a dynasty — Bayern’s fall from grace has allowed them to fill the void).

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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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