LLaMa Save Suggestions

From clubs in financial trouble to fallen giants, every club has a story to tell and here the Yellow Llama unearths his favourites

Turkey

"LLaMa's don't do challenges, but sometimes they need a push in the right direction"


-Ancient LLaMa proverb

Dearest Llamas,


Today I find myself in Turkey. It's not been the easiest of journeys. I originally landed in a place I'd never heard of called "Georgia".

Not one of the 53 known countries of the world, but I thought I'd give it a go. I asked a local about their lower league football and he said I would need an Editor File. My response was swift, precise and brutal.

To cut a long story short, I needed to be tranquilised to calm me down and I woke up the other side of the border fence with my hooves tied together.

I later obtained a map from a fortune teller I met on the road - I also asked what my future held, and she said to "Ignore those that constantly tell you that you are being overrun in midfield - they haven't any idea what they are on about". I thanked her and then promptly killed her. As nice as she was, tipping is tipping at the end of the day.



Uzungöl Valley, Trabzon

Anyway, there are lots of reasons you should follow the Yellow Llama to Turkey. Just make sure you fly direct.

First of all, it is an emerging league. Over the last couple of decades, the standard of football has increased considerably. At the same time, despite being considered the 10th best league in Europe at the start of the game, there has only been fleeting continental glory, with Galatasary winning a sole UEFA Cup at the turn of the centrury.

The top of the Domestic game is ruled by three Istanbul based super clubs in Galatasary, Fenerbache & Besiktas - those three clubs between them have won the league on 54 occasions in the 62 year history of the Super Lig.

Whilst being given the hotseat at one of those giants is a decent aim for the JourneyLlama's amongst us who are doing a Turkish save, there is often more fun to be found in upsetting the applecart.

Only six clubs have ever won the Super Lig, and a sustained challenge to the big three would likely come from six times winners, Trabzonspor. Trabzon is a lovely city situated on the black sea, about 670 miles away from Istanbul, and is by far the furthest east that the SuperLig title has ever been taken. For any JourneyLlama's who want to end up at a big club and still have a decent challenge on their hands, Trabzon is the place to be.

As well as goings on in the SuperLig, Football Manager 2021 models the leagues down to the third tier which is called the 2. Lig. It is currently split into two groups, which allows for 39 playable teams - so lots of opportunities for glory (or otherwise)!

A great thing about the 2. Lig is that clubs at that level are not allowed to sign non-Turkish players. This means that by the time you're in a position to start moving up the leagues, you will have a decent(ish) squad full of home-grown talent. This also means that the transfer market is quite competitive, and you might see offers coming in early for any quality youth products from other Turkish clubs due to the more limited player pool at low levels.

All in all, Turkey offers the potential for a long term experience due to the depth of it's leagues, a trio of giants at the top end who are far and away bigger than everyone else in the country, and little historical continental success. All of this means that there is a clear aim for any Llama - start low, upset the applecart & make your mark on Europe!

Oh, and if I haven't twisted your arm yet, there is also a city called "Batman". They don't have a team in the playable leagues, unfortunately, and when I visited, I soon realised that it wasn't as good as it sounded. But still. Batman.

Anyway here are some suggestions.

Istanbul, Turkey


Turkish Cup Winners 1997

Young Llama Suggestion:

Club: Kocaelispor

City: Kocaeli

Media Prediction: 2nd in the Beyaz (White) Group

Why Them?: Twice Turkiye Kupasi winners (1997 & 2002), Kocaelispor have been on a bit of a rollercoaster in recent years. Relegated from the SuperLig in 2008/09, they then suffered a second relegation the following season and found themselves in the third tier.

And then they got relegated again. And again. Yep, a mere 13 years since their last Cup win, Kocaelispor found themselves in the FIFTH tier. Following promotion last season they're now back in the 2. Lig and predicted to come second in their group.

The board have an ambitious 5 year plan to get them back in contention for the Super Lig, and their 32,204 capacity stadium and decent starting squad will give you a great platform to begin your journey!

Good luck, Young Llama.

Things to do when you're inevitably sacked

Visit the paper museum and marvel at the fact that what is on display, although paper, is still substantially more resistant to pressure and better in the air than your defence was in your last game.


If the writings on the wall it's best to get some paper


Dr. Necmettin Şeyhoğlu Stadium, Karabük

Old Llama Suggestion:

Club: Kardemir Karabükspor

City: Karabük

Media Prediction: 20th in the Kirmizi (Red) Group

Why Them?: Might seem a strange one, this - Kardemir have spend 7 our of the last 10 seasons in the Super Lig. However, with a trajectory mirroring that of Kocaelispor, they are tumbling down the leagues faster than a Yellow Llama down Mount Ararat propelled by rockets (long story). They were relegated in 2018, relegated again in 2019, and were saved from a third straight demotion last season because of a global pandemic. Silver linings and all that.

That is about the only silver lining though. Whilst Kocaelispor suffered a similar fate and have recovered, they at least have a couple of cups in the trophy cabinet and are on their way up. Kardemir Karabükspor are certainly not. I mean, it's unlikely you'll buy your way out of trouble. A huge FOURTEEN MILLION POUND DEBT will see to that.

So here's hoping your surely experienced, existing squad can at least pull you to safety. Just so you know, the oldest player you have is 23. You never know though, your "limited youth recruitment" and "Below Average Youth Facilities" might unearth a gem. Unless a meteorite hits us and kills us all first. Which is eminently more likely. Oh and they have a three point deduction in the first season.

Good Luck, Old Llama!

Things to do when you're inevitably sacked: Get a proper job. Luckily for you, Karabük is a bit of an industrial centre with dolomite and limestone being mined. I have little doubt that daily physical labour in 30 degree heat will still be a much more pleasurable experience than watching your striker miss chance after chance.

An ex-football manager, earlier


Genç Osman Stadium, Bayburt

Random Llama Suggestion which has taken into account lots of specific factors:

Club: Bayburt Özel İdare Spor

City: Bayburt

Media Prediction: 17th in the Kirmizi (Red) Group

Why Them?: Having considered a wide variety of teams (that play in yellow) across innumerable (one) factors, I have settled on Bayburt as my random suggestion. They are a proper clean slate and if you want to build a side up from scratch, they're perfect. There are no staff at the club at all (except you), they have never won anything, and last seasons 13th place finish was their highest ever league position. Expectations are simply to avoid relegation in the first season, which should be achievable. Beyond that, the five year plan is to basically remain in the third tier. So if (when) you're rubbish, you might well keep your job, and if you manage to finish in the top half, they will probably build a statue of you (they won't, they can't afford it).

You start with a varied squad with a decent blend of youth and experience, you're not in debt and, most importantly, they play in yellow.

Good Luck, Random Llama.

Things to do when you're inevitably sacked: Loads, depending on how badly you've done. Bayburt was an important stop on the silk road, which means escape to pastures new is within easy reach if you just need to get out.

Alternatively, there is an underground city 30 odd miles away where you could probably hide for a prolonged period of time. Finally, if you've REALLY upset the locals, Bayburt Fortress sits atop a hill and with some minor adjustments you could probably arm it quite well and just try to hold the mob off for as long as possible.

The sleepy town of Bayburt (before you arrived)


The Yellow Llama's Legendary Twisted Suggestion


Background: Ah, my legendary twisted suggestion. Hard enough to be legendary, but made even harder with a Yellow Llama twist. Which sounds more disgusting than it is. It just means that I've added a twist to the idea to make it harder.

Anyway, my Turkish Legendary Twisted Suggestion - Take the Super Lig title to Ankara for the first time ever. That's right, Llamas, a team from the Turkish capital has NEVER won the Super Lig. Now, this is a hard enough ask with one of the two existing Ankara Super Lig teams. But starting in the Super Lig would not be a very Llama thing to do, would it? And I suppose you could start low and then move to one of the bigger Ankara clubs. Nothing legendary about that though.

Etimesgut Belediye Kemal Atatürk Stadı, Ankara

Club: Hacettepe Spor

City: Ankara

Media Prediction: 18th in the Beyaz (White) Group

Why Them?: Of the four Ankara based clubs in the third tier, Hacettepe stand out for an interesting reason. It's not just that they are predicted to come second bottom and thus be relegated, nor is it the measley five figure sum that they have in the bank. I mean those two factors make it challenging enough. The main reason that Hacettepe have been chosen is because their starting squad is basically made up of loan signings from Gençlerbirliği. 18 of them. Hacettepe are effectively a B-Team in all but name.

Granted, their long term partnership with one of Ankara's biggest clubs might look like a good thing on paper, but even short term planning is going to be a nightmare because the chances of getting a player back on loan a second time is kind of up in the air. You might be able to, but maybe not. Not only that, it's not like Gençlerbirliği are kicking out world beaters year after year. Anything decent they have will end up at a big Istanbul club sooner rather than later, so their best youth players are likely to be in and around the first team.

On the flip side, your youth players can use their training facilities and you do have the best youth facilties in the division. However, as part of your agreement with Gençlerbirliği, they get first dibs on anything decent you produce, so as soon as you accept an offer from anyone else, you automatically accept one from them. So, as you play, you are literally in a position where you are likely to be repeatedly strengthening a direct rival just to financially survive.

And if that means they win the league before you do, that's it. Game over. Might sound harsh as it wouldn't be your fault, but that's just how it is. Look, my idea, so my rules. Good luck with that.

The only positive I could think of is that they do have a massive 37,000 capacity stadium, and being based in a massive capital city, there is real potential for growth. It will just be a fair old slog getting there, and the unlikely possibility that another Ankara club could pip you to the title make this potentially the most annoying challenge ever.


Good Luck, Legendary, Twisted Llama!


Things to do when you're inevitably sacked: There ARE three other Ankara clubs in the bottom league that you could consider, and absolutely loads to do in the city. To be honest though, I would just get on a train to Istanbul and accept defeat. God loves a tryer, so they say, but I hear on the grapevine that he's not a massive fan of Llamas. So you're probably best to just give up now.

One way ticket to Istanbul please


Still fancy Turkey but aren't convinced by any of the above suggestions?

Ask the yellow Llama to pick you a random Turkish side