"La génération d’aujourd’hui" - Orange Is The New Black #FM19


I’ve moved into the Autumn of this FM19 save, so my posts therefore naturally gravitate towards reflecting and assessing the progress we have made as a club. Today specifically focuses on ‘La Jeunesse’ who I introduced you to on this blog two seasons ago (read here). During this post, at the climax of Season 4, I decided to place greater emphasis on giving game time to the Academy players who were nearing adulthood.

So, I want to spend some time with these Newgens today…to recap on their growth and also introduce a couple of new guys who are ‘knocking on the Lorient First Team door’. I’ll also have a little update on Africa too, as I haven’t done that for a number of seasons. But first, how is my sixth season going (2023/24)?

Season 2023/24

Just as the season was starting, we waved goodbye to Markel Alemán who was sold to Bayern for €50m. It was obviously great to turn in a tidy €44.4m profit on a player who was only here for a year, but it left me weaker in depth. Sakho and Mepham would therefore be my central pair for 2023/24 as I couldn’t sign a replacement of real quality with the Alemán millions.

Ligue 1

The departure of Joshua Zirkzee (back to that club again…Bayern) has not been massively felt due to the form of Gustavo Ramírez - who has scored 19 goals in 26 starts (all comps). His goals along with Mo Diallo and Alessandro Murgia’s see Lorient competing for the European places once again:

Generally we’ve been good, although a difficult November and December had seen us slip as low as 6th. Retaining European football is once again the target as we move home after this season, waving goodbye to Stade du Moustoir and opening the new 25k FC Lorient Stadium for 2024/25.

Europa League

We’re smashing the 2024 Europa League campaign! The 7-1 win Vs Standard equalled my record win in this save (the other was a 7-1 in the French Cup against amateur opposition). Last year we exited at the 1st Knockout Round Vs FC Basel…so I am fully aware that I need to take Feyenoord seriously this time round!

On my to-do list is to sign a top Centre Back, as Chris Mepham will be leaving in the Summer to Benfica. It’s proving very difficult so far to find somebody of real quality, but my top target is RB Leipzig’s Luc Tournier…who has a wonderful €11.75m release clause. Just look at him:

Luc Tournier - future French Worldie.

It’s too early to say if we can convince him to swap Bundesliga for Ligue Un…but maybe qualifying for the Champions League will be enough to tempt him back to France (after previously playing for Monaco and Sochaux). We’ll see.

La génération d’aujourd’hui (19-20 years)

Two seasons ago I introduced four Academy players and discussed their pathway into the team, they were: Alex Rolland, Roland Le Moigne, Matteo Julien & Adam Rousseau. I do not feel there is a need to re-introduce them, so if you want to see their background and what they looked like at 17/18 years-of-age, read the post here.

Alex Rolland (born 09/03/2004 - Lambersart, Lille)

The subject of Alex Rolland was a lengthy discussion on the GrassNGear podcast with Dan Gear & Thomas Pigot. In that discussion, I spoke in detail why I wanted to develop him as a Right Back:

Over the course of 18 months, Alex has flourished as newly developed Full Back. He started re-training in the Summer of 2022 and had become Awkward in the role by October of that year. But the game-time over 2023/24 has seen him become an Accomplished Right Back a year later. He’s also bettered his personality from Balanced to Fairly Professional.

  • 19 years old

  • 62 appearances for FC Lorient (3 goals and 4 assists)

  • 7.14 average rating

  • ‘Wonderkid’ Media Description

Roland Le Moigne (born 05/12/2003 - Brest, Brittany)

Of the four youngsters I introduced, Roland Le Moigne was the one I was the most unsure about; and for that reason he’s played the least. Assembling just 10 appearances over the last two years, Roland has made gains in some areas and has changed his personality from Ambitious to Fairly Professional.

Roland Le Moigne’s gains since joining the First Team at 18 years old.

However, Roland has had major overall improvements in all three attribute areas and I think he is now ready to step into my central midfield more regularly.

20 years old

  • 10 appearances for FC Lorient

  • 6.76 average rating

  • ‘Defensive Midfield’ Media Description

Matteo Julien (born 16/07/2004 - Quéven, Brittany)

After two years of dipping in-and-out of the match day squad, Matteo Julien is now the first choice Left Back at FC Lorient. I’ve used him 35 times as a Wing Back on Support Duty and he’s been solid with an average rating of 7.21. His craft has been recognised by France U21s and is our highest Internationally capped Academy player.

I’m slowly seeing the benefits of a good Mentoring group too; Matteo has picked up the ‘Runs With Ball Down Left’ trait and has made gains in his Determination…both from club legend Vincent Le Goff. It’s the same three-man group that Alex Rolland has been in during this two-year period, we’re creating Le Goff clones here!

19 years old

  • 35 appearances for FC Lorient

  • 7.21 average rating

  • ‘Full Back’ Media Description

Adam Rousseau (born 08/06/2004 - Ploemeur, Brittany)

Despite not seeing huge gains in training, Adam Rousseau saves his best stuff when actually on the football pitch. He’s played 48 times already for Les Merlus and has an encouraging 7 goals and 9 assists for Team Goss. Again, we’ve seen a change in personality from his Mentoring Group, but his individual focus of Passing isn’t really yielding much.

Adam Rousseau will need to remain patient whilst at Lorient, as he has real competition alongside Julien Ponceau and Arsène Sidibé (who we’ll see in a sec) for the starting right attacker role.

19 years old

  • 48 appearances for FC Lorient

  • 7.12 average rating

  • ‘Winger’ Media Description

La génération d’aujourd’hui (18 years)

Readers should know all about Julien Ponceau by now, the first Goss Graduate into the First Team, you now know more about the four guys above too. But let me introduce you to the sixth and seventh Academy players to join the First Team squad: Arsène Sidibé & Vincent Maury.

Arsène Sidibé - another youngster spoken about on Episode 31 of GrassNGear.

Vincent Maury - physically advanced for 18 years old.

I added both these guys to the team for season 2023/24, and set individual training to roles within my 433 tactic (Winger and Full Back respectively). Annoyingly, Arsène Sidibé has seen a 2 point drop in Determination which will need to be corrected via Mentoring. But in terms of attributes both have made slight increases.

I have no plans to re-position them, as I see a pathway into the First Team via their natural positions…but I have placed Sidibé on a focus on Strength (Strength & Jumping Reach) and Maury on Passing (First Touch/Passing/Technique). Hopefully I can give the game time over the next couple of years, and I’ll make a vow not to recruit to any of the right sided positions to help facilitate this.

Achilles’ Africa

With all the focus on Academy youth development, I did not want readers left thinking I had abandoned my FM19 recruitment project (read my original plans here). Africa remains a focus for Achilles Goss and I’ve increased the tally to 13 players recruited from the continent.

Georges Sombola - an International at 19 years of age.

Isidore Kossounou - a €150k signing from the ASEC academy.

New recruits are Gabonese youth Goalkeeper Georges Sombola & Ivorian ASEC graduate Isidore Kossounou. I am particularly excited about the latter, with Isidore scoring a crucial away goal on his debut against FC København in the Europa League qualifiers. He has the right kind of raw ability that Goss has polished before (see Fonsinho & Mo Diallo on the Goss CV).

Achilles’ Africa so far: Algeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal & South Africa.

Achilles’ Africa so far: Algeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal & South Africa.


I never like to put a fixed date on ending things, or make any grand promises on how long I will play this save. Readers only have to witness the vagueness in my introductory post as testimony:

“My aim is to be as consistent with blogging as last year, so that’s two posts a season. As with last year, I expect to play at the same speed too. So please don’t expect a 20 year save, it’s more likely to be somewhere between 5 and 8 seasons”.

Moving into the new stadium is a big reason I stuck around with FC Lorient, it’s something I’ve wanted in Football Manager for many years now. So, my desire is to see out the inaugural season in our new home before calling it a day with this fine club.

That would be 7 seasons in Football Manager 2019 and enough to give me closure of this fine save. The countdown is on…let’s enjoy the ride we have left.

As always, thanks for reading, sharing and caring.

FM Grasshopper/Achilles Goss

"The Lorient Express" - Orange Is The New Black #FM19

The Lorient Express. Goss in First Class, of course.

The Lorient Express. Goss in First Class, of course.

Season 5 was really enjoyable, notably due to the 10,840 km of travel for Achilles Goss’ inaugural Europa League campaign.  Trips to Stockholm, Liverpool, Copenhagen, Manchester, Tel-Aviv & Istanbul caped off a profitable season, which came as a nice sideshow from the usual domestic challenge.

Bank loans, costs and profits are what I’ll document in today’s post.  It’s financial summary time at Lorient, but first let’s recap on 2022/23’s results…

🧡 #AllezLesMerlus 🖤

Season 2022/23

Ligue 1

Due to the 2022 World Cup sandwiched mid-season, I expected this season to feel different and it didn’t disappoint.  We’d become known for our draws over the previous four seasons, yet in the 2023, we only drew twice.  Perhaps this was due to us moving to a more Positive mentality in a flat 433, where we were pretty ruthless in the last 3 months (almost half our goals coming in March, April and May).  Despite the eight losses, we accumulated a record points haul.  83 league goals scored and 73 points earned.  That total would have been enough for Champions League football last year.  But this is 2022/23, it doesn’t behave.  6th place is our league finish.

We therefore enter the 2023/24 Europa League via qualifiers again, it’s not perfect but this has been a year where we experienced our first taste of Europe.  So, to combine that and qualify again (ensuring that there is no drop back beneath the glass ceiling) is rewarding. All aboard The Lorient Express once again…

Europa League

I wrote about our Group Stage last time out and how we had surprised everyone by topping a group containing Manchester United. So you can understand my optimism when FC Basel came out of hat for our 1st Knockout Round. Cue FM to bring me back down to reality however:

We were the better team.  But a Julian von Moss majestic solo run and a cheap penalty was enough to see us crash out as 2-1 losers.  Remember: there is only one leg for Europa League Knockouts in 2022/23. There wouldn’t be a 2nd leg Lorient retaliation 😭

Finances 2021-2023

During my last piece on financial analysis of Seasons 1-3, I concluded that I needed to re-think my Director of Football approach in FM19.  I saw my wage bill rise 50% in the three years, and despite this partially being expected due to a promotion, something had to be done.

The three-year summary also determined that FC Lorient had reached a glass ceiling of sorts (noun: an unacknowledged barrier to advancement in a profession), whereby Lorient’s organic revenue had largely plateaued.

I introduced an Operating Index (Revenue divided by Costs) KPI (Key Performance Indicator) to provide a snapshot metric of each season.  The target for a self-sustaining club like FC Lorient should be 100%, meaning we are “wiping our faces” in a budgetary sense.  In the first three years of Ligue 1 football (2019-2022) we were doing this with the help of Player Sales to keep us afloat:

Season 1-5 in FM19.

Revenue 2018-2023

Our fifth season (2022/23) brought European football to Stade du Moustoir and I always knew it would bring some much-needed money into the bank balance.  With Europe came a 136% increase in TV Revenue and an extra seven home games (of which five were maximum capacity sell-outs).

Headline Revenue.

Additionally we also made big sales in January 2023, both to Benfica: Assane Dioussé at €20m and Chris Mepham at €7.25m (which included an 18-month loan-back with zero wage costs).  It’s deceptively enhanced our revenue for one year only (with a rather gluttonous 203% Operating Index*), seeing as I can’t make sales like this all the time, but it needed to be done in light of the €37.5m Bank Loan taken out to finance the new stadium:

*Note - it may sound bizarre, but I would not often advise an Operating Index score of 203% for a football club.  You would pay more tax back, and that excess could rather be put back into the playing squad or other club infrastructure (staff, facilities etc).

Costs 2018-2023

Headline Costs.

The new 25k capacity stadium will open the season after next, and its construction is costing around €4m each year in Non-Football Costs (see above).  It’s also the reason why Season 4’s finances in the overview looks insane…as we took the loan out and paid the construction costs right away (documented as Ground Maintenance).

Despite a Season 5 Closing Balance of €36m and a Transfer Balance of €17m (a record high so far in this save), I still need to be apprehensive as we move forward into the new stadium.  It’s the reason why I have been reluctant to splash the cash, instead opting for one ‘major’ signing of €4.4m and one big name Freebie.  This is a nice segue into our 2023/24 transfer dealings…

Mon Mamadou

The aforementioned Freebie is Mamadou Sakho, who is always an attractive player in Football Manager terms.  His real life and fictionalised career in my save paints a picture of vast potential but with weird oddities:

  • PSG Captain at 17-years-old

  • €116m moves across England

  • A relegation with Crystal Palace

  • A huge move to Manchester United

At 33 years of age, I still think Mamadou has something to offer...with the Media still describing him as ‘elite’ (was he ever?).  So he returns to France after 10 years away, to complement our backline.

Mamadou Sakho - our new top earner.

Sakho’s return to France follows a decade in England.

The €4.4m major signing for 2023/24 is a Goalkeeper: Raúl Rivera.  It also comes after seeing our current 1st choice goalkeeper, Lars Unnerstall, win the Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year.  Admittedly it seems odd but, if the scout and coach reports are anything to go by, Rivera has vast potential.  He probably won’t be 1st choice right away, but he’ll be pushing Unnerstall over the course of the season and I expect him to eventually win this 1:1 duel:

The big loss over the summer for me is Joshua Zirkzee, who returns to FC Bayern after his two-year loan spell ends.  He scored 35 goals and assisted 20 times over two seasons at Lorient.  A failed move to bring in Edinson Cavani (now 36-years-old), who chose Marseille over us, means that we go with ‘The Three Os’: 28-year-old Enzo Crivelli and 20-year-old Wonderkids Gustavo Ramírez & Slavko Vucetic:




It’s a low-key Summer in transfer terms, but I hope it’s enough to see us start well and qualify into the Europa League Group Stage. In addition to Mamadou Sakho and Raúl Rivera, I am continuing with the introduction of another 2-3 Academy players into the 1st team squad too (read about my policy here). I hope to detail their growth next time out here on fmgrasshopper dot see oh em.

As always, thanks for reading/sharing & caring,

FM Grasshopper

"Les Merlus Européens" - Orange Is The New Black #FM19

The 2-year goodbye to the Stade du Moustoir starts now!

The 2-year goodbye to the Stade du Moustoir starts now!


Perhaps celebrating my European qualification was a bit premature.  We had finished 5th in the league, but France’s drop in co-efficient and Bordeaux’s French Cup win resulted in FC Lorient entering the 2022/23 Europa League at the 2nd Qualifying Round.  I have always said “our way is the hard way”, and I was proved right once again.

We faced six games (3 rounds) in order to get to the coveted Group Stages, did we do it?  If you’re even mildly intrigued then please read on to find out…

Season 2022/23

Over the last couple of seasons I’ve been faced with three or four players getting jaded during the spring months.  I don’t have a huge squad and financially I am still prevented from building one.  So, to combat player jadedness, I decided to apply real world logic and give the team a heavy pre-season.  

Heavy Heavy Heavy!

It’s hard to push the players physically once the season is underway.  Especially as I hoped to be playing every 3-4 days if Group Stage qualification could be achieved.  So we went full-on during the pre-season months in the hope that their fitness could be built up to last the rigours of a whole season...Europa League included.

As mentioned last time out, I plan to introduce four Lorient Academy players into the side this season (Rolland, Le Moigne, Julien & Rousseau). In addition to the Lorient Youth, I have also brought in two targets from Atlético Nacional in Colombia, which will help me meet the below restriction in my save:

Include four under-20s in the match day squads (all comps)

Markel Alemán - the next Mario Yepes?

Gustavo Ramírez - the next Falcao?

For just over €1m the signings of Wonderkids Markel Alemán & Gustavo Ramírez represent incredible value. I honestly don’t think I could have found two better players, regardless of age, for that amount of money.

Joining the plethora of youth was Alessandro Murgia, who arrives on a Free Transfer from Lazio…having spent last season on loan at Lorient. In the final few weeks, he made the Centre Midfield Attack role his own in Goss’ side. He is everything I want in the centre of midfield: a Mental Juggernaut of a player (refer back to my Fibra Battleground post to get what I mean here).

Alessandro Murgia - My new No.10.

Bruno Jordão - A solid Deep Lying Playmaker.

The final notable arrival was deeper playmaker Bruno Jordão, who like Murgia was a Freebie from Lazio. His arrival was confirmed with half an eye on Assane Dioussé leaving for mega money. But the bids never came in for my Senegalese International playmaker.

Furthermore, there were no outgoing player sales (only the release of non-renewed contracts and end of loans). Being in a position to sell-to-buy therefore meant nothing else happened in the transfer market. Goss’ Lorient would enter 2022/23 campaign with largely the same squad plus a few extra youngsters offering cover…

Europa League

It’s logical to first talk about the Europa League, seeing as this tournament kicked for us in July. Despite a lack of match fitness, we managed to see off Swedish AIK with relative ease…although the score was a little too tight in both games, due to our rustiness in attack.

The next round proved to be the most difficult tie and it wouldn’t be FM19 if not for some Goss-drama. Why face Rovaniemen Palloseura, Saburtalo Tbilisi, FC Thun, KS Skënderbeu Korçë or Knattspyrnufélagið Valur when you can face an English Premier League team like Everton?

Just our luck. But after conceding two away goals at home, we managed to go to England and win. The Italian heartbeat of our team, Alessandro Murgia (CM-A) and Luca Valzania (B2B) with the goals to see us through and keep the Group Stage dream alive.

FC Midtjylland of Denmark were next, who had to be bystanders to the Joshua Zirkzee show. The €50m valued Bayern loanee grabbing a hat-trick as we run out 5-0 winners in the 1st leg. The 2nd leg, although fun, was a formality…Zirkzee once again scoring.

We’ve pissed all over the Group Stages, qualifying as group winners with a game to spare. I can’t quite put my finger on where it’s all going right for us. Was it the heavy training back in July? Are the youth really that good? Whatever it is, the team is settled and playing their best football.

There will be financial gains from all this too, our prize money so far this season equates to €6m, and I expect that figure to at least rise by a further €2-3m as we enter the Europa League knockout stages and play the two French domestic cups in 2023. Note - to put into context, our total prize money last season was €2m…the glass ceiling has now certainly been smashed.

I suppose I should gloat over beating Man Utd more, seeing as half of FM Twitter now manage them! Here is my Academy product, Julien Ponceau (who remains my biggest headache with only 7 months left on his current contract) scoring one of FC Lorient’s most famous goals:

Julien Ponceau Vs Manchester United - 22 September 2022.

Ligue Un

Due to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, we pause over November/December so our break isn’t quite at the half-way point. In fact, it’s preventing me for getting properly hyped about our current 3rd place position…as we need to play everybody first to properly judge where we’re at.

The most satisfying part of 2022/23 so far is that we are not reliant on one player for goals or assists. It is spread throughout the team really well, as shown below:

I plan to write more on our Youth Development in my next post, but I’ve highlighted those under 20s that have already been integral to our squad this season. It’s added another dynamic to my save and I can’t wait to see what the next months and years has in store for some of them.

As always, to find out what happens next on OITNB follow me on Twitter (@FM_Grasshopper), on FM Slack (#fmgrasshopper)…or on here for the next post.

Thanks for reading/sharing/caring.

FM Grasshopper