Hallo everyone and welcome back to Falkirk, home of the Champions of Scotland!!! The break after our wonderful season last year went well, with lot of movements in the tranfers and a new stadium expansion that brings Falkirk Stadium to 12.000 all seater capacity. It is in this stadium that Falkirk will play the first Champions League match of his history.
A lot of departures this year and many, alas, unexpected or unanticipated. I am referring in particular to Laurentiu Branescu, who leaves to Vigo for €800K + bonuses. The Romanian keeper that we bought from Juventus two years ago preferred to go to play in a higher reputation league and announced his intention to leave. Carl McHugh is another departure I wasn’t really planning, but he was asking too much in his contract renewal and hence I’ve accepted a fair, albeit modest, offer from Partick Thistle for €450K + bonuses. We’ve made a good profit on David Bolnet who returns to France after only one season in Scotland, but allows us to make almost a €2M profit. About profit, what about Toru Saito? The young Japanese international arrived as a free transfer and stayed at the club only six months. Enough time though to realise a potential € 18,75M profit! When such offers come in it is impossible to refuse them. It is by far the highest fee received for a player by Falkirk FC.
So, what did we do with so much money? Well, I didn’t change my approach that much, I focus on targeted tranfers for the First Team and on signing young players to be gradually integrated into the Club setup. The signing that stands out though, it is the one of Jordan Rossiter for €6M. It’s my record signing so far in this save. Liam Lindsay comes in to take the place of Saito and I’m particularly excited about youngster Nuno Carreiro – a promising Portuguese who requested a transfer at Manchester United for not playing enough, Chris Christie, Horace McLeod – an 18 years old Jamaican that looks really interesting, and Scott Scullion – possibly the most promising Scottish midfielder of his generation. Another important addition is Jack Hamilton who becomes out keeper coming in from Hearts for €900K + bonuses.
FIRST XI 2020-21
No big changes in my tactic, we keep on with our 4-1-4-1 that has been so successfull for us. The only change is the role of the Striker, it is set now as a Target Man because my main two players up front, Fletcher and Carreiro are big boys having this role as their preferred ones. It also suits us for our pressing style and the fact that our midfielder start deeper and may need someone keeping the ball while the team goes up to accompany him.
Jack Hamilton (GK) – 26, Scotland – In from Hearts for €1M
With the rushed departure of Branescu, I had to look for a new goalkeeper as none of my younsgers was ready yet to be in the First Team. Hamilton comes in after a very successful season with Hearts. At 26, he is still young for a keeper and his attributes are similiar to his Romanian predecessor. I might have spent a little more for bigger quality, but Hamilton has also the advantage of been Scottish and I have faith that with the help of a solid defence he will do well.
Connor Randall (FB) – 25, England – Already at club
A solid fullback who did his job greatly last season and who I trust to do the same this season. The caveat is that being wanted, if a decent offer comes in, I might consider replacing him.
Dawid Augustyn (DC) – 21, Poland – Already at club
One of the bright youngster of Falkirk FC, Augustyn will start this season in the First XI. With the departure of Saito he is projected into playing a big role into our title defending season. With his personality and high attributes in key areas for a defender, I am sure he will do greatly.
Danny Wilson (DC) – 29, Scotland – Already at club
The veteran of our defence, Wilson brings experience in our young defence. Our only player close to 30 years old, he is essential to the club not only for what he brings on the pitch, but also off it by tutoring many promising defenders. He is our vice-captain and though he came in from Rangers three years ago, I feel he is an integral part of our growing project at the club.
Lee Foran (FB) – 21, Ireland – Already at club
The first club-grown youngster to integrate the First XI during my tenure here, Foran has progressed a lot during the last two seasons and the performances are mirroring this growth. His backup, Lee Love is just 18 and shows even more potential. I hope I won’t have to touch this side of our defence for many years to come.
Jordan Rossiter (DM) – 23, England – In from Rangers for € 6M
His bold move from Liverpool to Rangers suprised some observers, Rossiter did it again by accepting to join the new force in Scottish football and continue his progress here at Falkirk. Having spent a club record € 6M in signing him, I have of course many hopes in Rossiter. He is the perfect mix between a really defensive midfielder, but with a good vistion and passing, the ideal for our tactical system.
Stephen Mallan (WM) – 24, Scotland – Already at club
Not much to say more than what I have already writte in previous seasons. Mallan is our creative force on the flanks, last season he was the best assist-provider of the team. May he continue show his class for many years to come.
Craig Sibbald (MC) – 25, Scotland – Already at club
I dubbed him to be our very own Totti, the kid who made his professional debut at 16 and never left since. In the meantime he has become a Scottish international and he will taste Champions League football with his formative club. What can you ask more?
George Byers (MC) – 24, Scotland – Already at club
I brought him back to Scotland from Swansea last season and he demonstrate his quality since. The perfect partner to be alligned alongside Sibbald, they form a young and skilled Scottish midfielder. He also has become an integral part of the Scottish National Team who counts more and more Bairns players.
Ryan Fraser (WM) – 27, Scotland – Already at club
His impact in the Scottish Premiership has been huge. He completes a line of four 100% Scottish and brings his flair up the left side of the pitch. It will be interesting to see how he performs in the Champions League.
Ashley Fletcher (ST) – 25, England – Already at club
A little gamble I made last season, I signed Fletcher from West Ham. He repaid me scoring 23 goals in 38 appearances. I hope the change of role of the Striker in our system, into a Target Man, will help him increase even more his impact on the game.
Two midfielders are brought up from the Youth Team to prove their value into the professional level, Darren Simpson and Daniel O’Connor. There are actually more promising players that are younger and still not ready and this season’s performances will be very important to determine whether Simpson and O’Connor will stay with the Bairns.
It will probably be the most difficult season of this save, we managed to make history by winning the title last season and we hence directely qualifyied for the groups stages of the Champions League. In previous European campaigns in the UEL we did well, but I fear we still don’t have the depth to play four competitions (counting both domestic cups), once of which can see us facing the best clubs in Europe. I will hence be happy of reaching a UCL qualification again by finishing at least second and by not disfiguring during the group matched of the UCL. The money our participation will bring can be pivotal to our growth as a club, but I have no hurry as I prefer to slower but organic growth rather than leaping too fast into the unknown.
That’s all folks!! Until next update, Com’on Bairns!!!