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  • FM Patrick

"Renown, Power" - Vaya Con Dios, FM23

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

27th April, 2023




Since Monday, I've spent most of the week in bed with a bad case of tonsilitis. That's given me ample time to finish the 2025/26 La Liga Smartbank season, and what better way to pass time whilst I recover than to write a blog post about it?

In truth, I had intended to write a mid-season post about some tactical tweaking I've done, but circumstances prevail. Instead, I'll be reviewing the entire season in this instalment. And my, what a season it's been. Compared to their peers, Compostela are still a pretty small club. Our average attendance this year was only 3,275 - second only to Villareal's B team. If José Lara and my recent microbial assault have taught me anything, it's that something small can be remarkably fierce.


2025/26 Season Review

Well, where do I start? When I rounded off the last post, I outlined the intention to get to LaLiga by 2027. Well, that promotion has come a year earlier than predicted, and Compostela will be returning to the top flight for the first time in 28 years. We finished fourth in the regular season, which is a remarkable achievement in itself. That led us to the playoffs, where the Compos boys shone when the lights were brightest. Tipped at 26/1 to get promoted this season, we continue our heritage of overachievement. I can't help but feel that some lucky punters have made a fair bit of money off this Compostela team.

The semi-final pitted us against fifth place Girona, who we have a pretty good record against. We'd done the double over them in the regular season, and emerged from the first round of the playoffs as 4-1 aggregate winners. Surprisingly, Las Palmas had beaten third placed Almeria 4-3 over their two legs. I think that played in our favour a bit, as a final against Almeria - a La Liga team the previous season - would've been a much tougher affair. Either way, Las Palmas failed to score past new stopper Šaban Kolić in either leg and Compostela came out as 4-0 victors. Five games in two weeks left them battered, and bruised, but they did it.

We also made a respectable showing in the Copa Del Rey, beating La Liga club Eibar 6-1 in the third round before going out in a respectable 1-0 loss to Real Sociedad.

I mentioned in the last post that we had underachieved our xG by 10.8 in 2024/25. Well, this time we overachieved it by 3.58 - mostly down to the heroic performances of one Peru Ruiz.



It feels like with every season there's a new star of the show in Galicia. First we had the aerial exploits of Etienne Eto'o. The following season saw the rise of diminutive shadow-striker José Lara with his 26 goal haul. This time, it was Peru Ruiz's time to shine.

According to a quick google search, the name 'Peru' means 'a rock', and 'Ruiz' means 'renown or power'. Well, Peru has definitely been a rock for us this season, and he's undoubtedly earned himself a fair bit of renown too. He notched up an impressive 37 goals in all competitions this season, with 36 scored in the La Liga Smartbank, topping the charts with a 9 goal lead. His goalscoring exploits have earned him the affectionate nickname of 'Perooney' from myself, in honour of Merseyside's second best player Wazza (just kidding, it's in honour of former Aberdeen forward Adam Rooney).

He almost singlehandedly solved our xG conundrum from the previous season - our next highest tally was Kamel Badaoui with 8. While all the accolades go to Peru, switching the system up was what seemed to unlock his goal-scoring ability. More on that shortly.

Peru Ruiz - Compostela's Number 9

Before moving on, I have to give a special mention to winger Tòfol Montiel who was also instrumental this season. His 19 league assists earned him first place in the league, and beats the previous record of 12 by Mario Rodriguez in our first season at the club. Unwanted in Mallorca, ousted from Italy, he's finally flourishing in Santiago de Compostela.


3-4-3 or 4-3-3?

We started the season off pretty well, going unbeaten in August and sitting in second place by the end of the month. However, a drop off in September led to us losing 3 of 4 games. It was clear that the 4-2-3-1 wasn't working. To shore up defensively, I experimented with a 3-4-3, dropping the shadow striker role and adding an extra defender. This allowed me to start Erick Silva, a 19 year old Defender bought from ADT, alongside club stalwart Damián Canedo and Loïc Mbe Soh. It also meant I had to switch Peru Ruiz into a role where he was spearheading the line rather than acting as a playmaker. This is a switch I probably should've made earlier, as he had only registered 3 assists in his previous 2 seasons at the club. Doing so seems to have really unlocked his ability to lead the line. He's not the fastest, but he's strong and good enough in the air to act as a target man. That, coupled with his aggression and finishing ability led me to choosing the Pressing Forward role for him. The results speak for themselves.

While the 3-4-3 saw an upturn in form, we were conceding too much possession in the central areas. Almost every team in Spain plays with a 3-man midfield, and most of them use a 4-2-3-1. After reassessing the players, I decided to maintain the instructional basics of the previous formation but move to a 4-3-3. Here, I could keep Peru Ruiz in his best position while maintaining the counter-attacking style that had seen us improve our goal tally. It also meant we'd have a bit more control in central areas and wouldn't be stretched so wide, opening up opportunities for the opposition to pass through the centre of the park unchallenged. Carles Llario was retrained to play on the left-wing, and José Lara (as a Mezzala) would rotate with Kamel Badaoui (as a CM on Attack) in the attack minded central midfield slot. This tactic led us to a 10 game unbeaten run at the end of the season (14 if you include the playoffs), and a new version of Borja-Ball was born.

I think this is the core style I'll be sticking with as we move up into the top flight, as its been so successful for us this season. However, I'll be looking at developing a defensively solid 3-defender system for away games. They seem tougher in this FM cycle than ever, and some of the opponents in La Liga could brutalize us if we're too expansive.


Talent Poaching

One of the goals of this save was to establish a talent factory through affiliates in South America. I haven't been able to convince the board to set those affiliates up yet, but they have allowed me to set up an affiliation with CF Damm - a Barcelona based youth team who produced the likes of Gerard Moreno, Aleix Vidal and Keita Baldé. They've already supplied us with the likes of Emili Rosanas and Joan Frances Gual who have started to break into the first team. Nevertheless, South Americans were the aim and the La Grabia project has been in full swing.

Erick Silva has been a first team regular this season, making 34 appearances on the left-hand side of our back three. We signed him for €9.25k from ADT, and his performances have earned him his first Peru cap. Not bad for a 19 year old.

José Medrano has spent the season out on loan at Real Murcia in the Primera Federación, where he's gained Spanish nationality and won't count towards our non-EU players cap. He's definitely improved, but I think he might need another season on loan in the second division before he'll be ready to slot into the team.

Other acquisitions this season include Argentine Lorenzo Blasco (MF) and Brazilians José Paulo (DL), Fábio Renato (GK) and Fábio Henrique (MF), all of whom were free. Each of them has the ability to play at a La Liga level in the future, but as we're capped at 3 non-EU players I'll be sending some of them out on loan for playing time until they gain Spanish nationality. Thankfully, this only takes 730 days for South Americans, and I assume that might be the same for anybody from other Latin American countries.


The Next Steps

I'm proud of what this team has accomplished, especially as a lot of the first team squad have been with us since we were in the 4th and 3rd tiers. There'll be some leaving at the end of their contracts in the summer, namely Walce and Juanma Hernandez, along with some youth players who haven't made the cut. I wont be looking to actively sell anybody, but if I get sensible offers in I won't object to letting them go either. We have got depth, but most of those players are young and will either need to go on loan for playing time or aren't ready for the step into La Liga yet. I'm still committed to giving them opportunities when the time is right, and some like Kamel Badaoui are already first-team regulars.

While I'm looking to give most of the squad a chance to taste the fruits of their glory, I think we will need to strengthen in some key positions and the board have set us a healthy budget of €10.6M to do just that. I already have my eyes on some potential targets who could help us make it in the top flight. Furthermore, about half of the first team are on deals that run out next year in 2027. La Liga rules set a minimum wage of €155k p/a, double that of La Liga 2. Our budget has been increased to accommodate that, but I'll be looking carefully at who will be getting a renewal as we take the step up.


Save Goals - Updated

To round off the post, I wanted to take a quick look at the goals set in the introduction to this save. For the next instalment, I'll be drafting up Part 2 of the SD Compostela Manifesto which will outline our intentions as we progress towards further success. I've enlisted the help of MS paint as a visual aid.

1. Stabilize Club Finances - ✔️

Our playoff victory has sent us up to the promised land of the top flight, and all the riches it holds. We're projected to have a balance of €33.2M at the end of the 2026/27 season, which I'd say is pretty stable.

2. Achieve Domestic Success - Reach La Liga -✔️

Three promotions in four years sees Compostela return to the top flight for the first time since 1998. Now we just need to stay there.

3. Establish a 'Wonderkid Factory' in South America -

We've made good headway in the La Grabia project, but I think for this goal to be fulfilled we need to get some affiliates set up once we're an established La Liga team. I think I'll be keeping this one in the next manifesto.

4. Grow Club to 'Rich' Status -

Again, one which I think may take a little longer for the La Liga money to start coming in. As long as we keep things strict financially, we should build up a pretty healthy bank balance in the coming years.

5. Adhere to 'Soccernomics' Principles -

I have used data analysis in the signings of some players, most notably Ibra and Genaro. However, data-led recruitment hasn't been my main focus and for the sake of balance I've put this one down as a failure. It's something I might look into in the future, particularly if I need a specific type of player, but the strategy of focusing on cheap young talent has been pretty successful so far.


After a fairly uneventful transition season in La Liga 2, things have begun to pick up again in the save. We've got some genuinely exciting prospects at the club and I'm excited to see what kind of players they blossom in to. The likes of Erick Silva and Kamel Badaoui are the type of newgens I won't forget for a while, as long as they live up to expectations.

I think it's become a bit of a cliché in my posts to say something along the lines of 'the step up is going to be really tough'. With the right players we can definitely make a go of staying in La Liga, and we faired well against the top flight teams we played in the cup. Levante managed to stay in La Liga with just 32 points this season, so I'm setting our target at 40 to ensure survival. If we do, the relative increase in income will be enormous. The focus now is on planning and preparing for the campaign ahead, which I've got plenty of time to do while I'm recovering.

As always, thanks for reading.


Patrick - FM Bhikkhu

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