NATION

PASSWORD

The Almanac of Astograthian Domestic Sports

A battle ground for the sportsmen and women of nations worldwide. [In character]
User avatar
Astograth
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1498
Founded: Feb 04, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

The Almanac of Astograthian Domestic Sports

Postby Astograth » Sun Aug 23, 2020 3:00 pm

Image
Welcome to
The Almanac of Astograthian Domestic Sports

For the international publication and indexing of all past and future domestic sports results in the Grand Duchy of Astograth. Mainly association football. Please do not post in this thread unless otherwise indicated.

User avatar
Astograth
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1498
Founded: Feb 04, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Astograth » Sun Aug 23, 2020 3:01 pm

Image

THE ASTOGRATHIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Formed in the year 634, dissolved from 662 to 673 and reactivated from 674 onwards, the Astograthian Football League is organised by the Futbol Astograthiko Federazioa (FAF) and consists of the top three tiers of professional association football in Astograth. The current format is as follows:

First Division: 20 teams play double round-robin. Qualification to the IFCF Champions' League and Challengers' Cup are assigned based on placement from the top downwards. The champions qualify for the Rushmore Copa de Campeones. The bottom 3 teams are relegated to the Second Division.

Second Division: 24 teams play double round-robin. The top two teams are promoted to the First Division and the top three teams in the final table qualify for the IFCF Liga B Champions' Trophy. Clubs that finish from 3rd to 6th enter the promotion play-offs, which are played as a two-legged home and away series between the 3rd and 6th-placed teams, and the 4th and 5th-placed teams. The winners of each semifinal meet in the promotion play-off final at Grand Duke's Stadium in Rumiatzi, the winner of which is promoted to the First Division. The bottom 4 teams are relegated to the Second Division B.

Second Division B: 48 teams geographically split into 2 groups, East and West, each of 24 clubs playing double round-robin. The winners of each group are promoted to the Second Division and play each other in the Second Division B Championship Final at Grand Duke's Stadium in Rumiatzi; the winners of that match are the official champions of the Second Division B. The 2nd and 3rd-placed clubs of each group enter the promotion play-offs, played as a two-legged home and away series between the 2nd team of the West Group and the 3rd team of the East Group, and viceversa. The winners of each play-off earn promotion to the Second Division. The bottom 4 teams in each group are relegated to the regional league systems, outside of the Astograthian Football League.

The tiebreakers for every tier are, in order: head-to-head points, head-to-head goal difference, goal difference, wins, and goals scored. Play-off ties go to extra time and penalty kicks if necessary. Away goals are not used as a tiebreaker.

Astograthian teams additionally compete in the Royal Cup, organised by the FAF under the patronage of the Grand Duke of Astograth. The tournament is currently held as a series of single-legged knockout ties, with extra time and a penalty shootout if the scores remain level. The first round proper is held between the 48 teams of the Second Division B and 22 non-league teams qualified from the preliminary rounds, followed by a second round that reduces the teams to 20; both draws are random. The Round of 64 introduces the 44 teams of the First and Second Divisions, with the top-flight teams seeded such that they cannot play each other. From this point on, if teams that are more than two tiers apart are drawn together, the lower-tier team must play at home. The Round of 32 is again drawn randomly, with First Division clubs seeded such that they cannot play each other unless unavoidable. From the Round of 16 onwards, all rounds are unseeded and re-drawn at each step. The final is always played at Grand Duke's Stadium in Rumiatzi, with the reigning monarch presenting the cup to the champions.

THE WALL OF FAME
As commemorated at the Museum of Astograthian Football, Grand Duke's Stadium, Rumiatzi

Year  League champions       Royal Cup winners      Player of the Season                      League Top Scorer
634 Royal Rumiatzi Royal Rumiatzi Silban Galindo (Royal Rumiatzi) Eriz Borunda (Urbizania Wanderers, 15)
635 Royal Rumiatzi Iturributa United Estebe Bularte (Iturributa United) Munio Baranzano (Iturributa United, 14)
636 Ituraitz FC Iturributa United Dei Ormache (Ituraitz FC) Dei Ormache (Ituraitz FC, 16)
637 Royal Rumiatzi Ituraitz FC Slava Semënov (Royal Rumiatzi) Soter Sarlange (Ituraitz FC, 23)
638 Iturributa United Sporting Iturributa Soter Sarlange (Ituraitz FC) Soter Sarlange (Ituraitz FC, 18)
639 Iturributa United Ituraitz Victory Petter Bielsen (Iturributa United) Soter Sarlange (Ituraitz FC, 21)
640 Sporting Iturributa Ituraitz FC Zernin Aira (Sporting Iturributa) Salum Merec (Iturributa United, 24)
641 Ituraitz FC Ituraitz FC Milian Erburu (Ituraitz FC) Ikatz Ansotegi (The Army Club, 28)
642 Ituraitz FC Sporting Iturributa Lester Sutton (Ituraitz FC) Kolya Tchailharovic (Royal Rumiatzi, 23)
643 Royal Rumiatzi Urbizania Wanderers Wilson Prieto (Royal Rumiatzi) Itzaina Erreka (Iturributa United, 25)
644 Echegoyan FC Royal Rumiatzi Iosif Tsarapkin (Echegoyan FC) Ellis Elmsvikur (Iturributa United, 23)
645 Sporting Iturributa Echegoyan FC Artur Rochemback (Sporting Iturributa) Ikatz Ansotegi (Ituraitz FC, 21)
646 Iturributa United Ituraitz FC Otz Lasuen (Iturributa United) Ellis Elmsvikur (Iturributa United, 25)
647 Ituraitz FC Royal Arexa Lester Sutton (Ituraitz FC) Harold Nehafsaim (Royal Rumiatzi, 22)
648 Royal Rumiatzi Astograth University Ellis Elmsvikur (Royal Rumiatzi) Soter Sarlange (Ituraitz FC, 21)
649 Astograth University Ituraitz FC Lekubegi Guerrikaechebarria (Asg. Uni.) E. Elmsvikur & X. Olasagastia (RRU & ACO, 19)
650 Echegoyan FC Astograth University Iban Bachiondo (Echegoyan FC) Kauldi Isasmendi (Echegoyan FC, 21)
651 Urbizania Wanderers Oyardo FC Laborious Hawk (Urbizania Wanderers) Loren Dornaletze (Ituraitz Victory, 22)
652 Ituraitz FC Urbizania Wanderers Tomas Aer (Ituraitz FC) Tomas Aer (Ituraitz FC, 26)
653 Echegoyan FC Urbizania Wanderers Jane Vander Rox (Echegoyan FC) Ellis Elmsvikur (Royal Rumiatzi, 24)
654 Ituraitz FC Royal Rumiatzi Ikatz Alberro (Ituraitz FC) Alphonse Richelieu (Ituraitz FC, 24)
655 Ituraitz FC Oyardo FC Ikatz Alberro (Ituraitz FC) Ellis Elmsvikur (Royal Rumiatzi, 27)
656 Royal Rumiatzi Royal Rumiatzi Lekubegi Guerrikaechebarria (Asg. Uni.) Indartsu Errendasoro (AC Olarria, 23)
657 Urbizania Wanderers Royal Rumiatzi Laborious Hawk (Urbizania Wanderers) Bayarte Pagagartundua (Gortz United, 25)
658 Urbizania Wanderers Urbizania Wanderers Laborious Hawk (Urbizania Wanderers) Vadim Illich-Svitych (Ituraitz FC, 21)
659 Royal Rumiatzi Urbizania Wanderers Aintôrthea Durosa (Royal Rumiatzi) Sam Ashtree (Royal Rumiatzi, 28)
660 Astograth University Astograth University Gentle Breeze (Astograth University) Sein Gorratachegi (South Factory, 24)
661 Royal Rumiatzi Urbizania Wanderers Julius Carrera (Oyardo FC) Julius Carrera (Oyardo FC, 29)

673 Urbizania Wanderers Not held Eder Urrustoy (Urbizania Wanderers) Not awarded
674 Iturributa United Old City Central Iban Olabarriaga (Iturributa United) Yasone Urdanibia (Oyardo FC, 19)
675 Sporting Iturributa Army United Machin Orzanko (Sporting Iturributa) Mendebal Unda (Echegoyan FC, 19)
676 Ituraitz FC Royal Rumiatzi Apal Gebara (Ituraitz FC) Yasone Urdanibia (Royal Rumiatzi, 23)
677 Ituraitz FC Ituraitz FC Galoer Unzain (Ituraitz FC) Mendebal Unda (Royal Rumiatzi, 19)
678 Urbizania Wanderers Royal Rumiatzi Luar Dardan (Urbizania Wanderers) Yasone Urdanibia (Royal Rumiatzi, 19)
679 Royal Rumiatzi Sporting Ibarguren Azeari Duarte (Royal Rumiatzi) Y. Urdanibia & L. Orkola (RRU & URW, 21)
680 Urbizania Wanderers Royal Rumiatzi Jê Çìró (Urbizania Wanderers) Aire Epherra (Urbizania Wanderers, 23)
681 Sporting Iturributa Iturributa United Beltza Urkizo (Iturributa United) G. Echegoimberry & Y. Urdanibia (ACO & RRU, 21)
682 Sporting Iturributa Sporting Iturributa Jê Çìró (Urbizania Wanderers) Yasone Urdanibia (Royal Rumiatzi, 27)
683 Sporting Iturributa Urbizania Wanderers Isidra Corvey (Ituraitz FC) Yasone Urdanibia (Royal Rumiatzi, 28)
684 Urbizania Wanderers Gesterlake FC Alexis Durmisi (Urbizania Wanderers) Martin Blessed (Royal Rumiatzi, 27)
685 Urbizania Wanderers Iturributa United Alexis Durmisi (Urbizania Wanderers) Martin Blessed (Royal Rumiatzi, 28)

Season 634 (not published)

Season 635 (not published)

Season 636
Review

Season 637
Review

Season 638
Review

Season 639
Review

Season 640
Preview
Review Part 1
Review Part 2
Review Part 3

Season 641
Preview
Review

Season 642
Preview
Review

Season 643
Preview
Review Part 1
Review Part 2
Review Part 3

Season 644
Preview
Review

Season 645
Preview
Review

Season 646
Preview
Review

Season 647
Preview
Review

Season 648
Preview
Review

Season 649
Preview
Review

Season 650
Preview
Review

Season 651
Preview
Review

Season 652
Preview
Review

Season 653
Review

Season 654
Preview
Review

Season 655
Preview
Review

Season 656
Preview
Review

Season 657
Preview
Review

Season 658
Preview
Review

Season 659
Preview
Review

Season 660
Preview Part 1
Preview Part 2
Review

Season 661
Review

Season 673
Review

Seasons 674-677
Review

Seasons 678-681
Review

Season 682
Preview
Review

Season 683
Preview Part 1
Preview Part 2
Review

Season 684
Preview Part 1
Preview Part 2
Preview Part 3
Review

Season 685
Preview Part 1
Preview Part 2
Preview Part 3
Review
Last edited by Astograth on Sun Mar 21, 2021 1:45 pm, edited 5 times in total.

User avatar
Iturributa
Spokesperson
 
Posts: 106
Founded: Jul 01, 2011
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Iturributa » Sun Aug 23, 2020 3:03 pm

Image

THE ITURRIBUTAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Extant between the years 647 and 661, the Football League consisted of the top two tiers of professional association football in the independent Free Republic of Iturributa, the Premier Division and the Premier Division B. Teams from both tiers also competed in the President's Cup, held fully as a series of knockout, two-legged ties. The competitions were dominated by Iturributa United and Sporting Iturributa, with exceptions in the President's Cup and in the final edition of the Premier Division, abandoned part-way through the season and awarded to Garitzeta Racing Club based on the incomplete standings.

Iturributan clubs competed internationally in the UICA Champions' Cup, Globe Cup and Series B Champions' Cup, as well as the Cygnus Cup for cup winners and the Rushmore Copa de Campeones. The league achieved significant international success, winning one Cygnus Cup (20, Sporting Iturributa) and two Copas de Campeones (16 & 18, Iturributa United), as well as two runners-up places in the UICA Champions' Cup (52, Iturributa United & 54, Garitzeta Racing Club). Iturributa was ranked within the top 15 UICA associations for 9 seasons, climbing as high as 8th. Iturributa United and Sporting Iturributa invested heavily in acquiring and showcasing international talent.

Its existence and results are not officially recognised by the Futbol Astograthiko Federazioa, due to Iturributa being considered a rogue state by Astograth.

THE WALK OF CHAMPIONS
As it would stand within Old City Stadium, Iturributa

Year  League champions        President's Cup winners   Player of the Season                        League Top Scorer
647 Iturributa United Iturributa Racing Club Ellis Elmsvikur (Iturributa United) Litzar Biteri (Iturributa Racing, 34)
648 Sporting Iturributa Sporting Iturributa Sotil Burruchaga (Sporting Iturributa) Emenon Boneta (Freedom FC, 32)
649 Sporting Iturributa Sporting Iturributa Sotil Burruchaga (Sporting Iturributa) Elwyn Richard (Iturributa United, 38)
650 Iturributa United Iturributa Racing Club Elwyn Richard (Iturributa United) Elwyn Richard (Iturributa United, 29)
651 Sporting Iturributa Sporting Iturributa Mantzio Janssens (Sporting Iturributa) Elwyn Richard (Iturributa United, 24)
652 Iturributa United Garitzeta Racing Club Elwyn Richard (Iturributa United) Elwyn Richard (Iturributa United, 35)
653 Sporting Iturributa Iturributa United Zernin Aira (Sporting Iturributa) Urtatz Gaubeka (Freedom FC, 28)
654 Iturributa United Sporting Iturributa Elwyn Richard (Iturributa United) Elwyn Richard (Iturributa United, 27)
655 Sporting Iturributa Freedom FC Yeremi Belaustigetigoitia (Sporting Itb.) Elwyn Richard (Iturributa United, 31)
656 Sporting Iturributa Iturributa Racing Club Will Fich (Sporting Iturributa) Elwyn Richard (Iturributa United, 23)
657 Iturributa United Sporting Iturributa Aleksandr Kulikov (Iturributa United) Nauzeau Roga (Iturributa United, 28)
658 Iturributa United Independent Garitzeta Severi Næss (Iturributa United) Nauzeau Roga (Iturributa United, 24)
659 Iturributa United Iturributa United Aleksandr Kulikov (Iturributa United) Urtatz Gaubeka (Freedom FC, 25)
660 Sporting Iturributa Iturributa United Torsten Wolff (Sporting Iturributa) Torsten Wolff (Sporting Iturributa, 34)
661 Garitzeta Racing Club Abandoned Ilari Usun (Garitzeta Racing Club) Pristina Shine (Iturributa United, 13)

Season 647
Preview
Review

Season 648
Preview
Review

Season 649
Preview
Review

Season 650
Preview
Review

Season 651
Preview
Review

Season 652
Preview
Review

Season 653
Review

Season 654
Preview
Review

Season 655
Preview
Review

Season 656
Preview
Review

Season 657
Preview
Review

Season 658
Preview
Review

Season 659
Review

Season 660
Preview
Review

Season 661
Review
Last edited by Iturributa on Sat Aug 29, 2020 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The Free Republic of Iturributa
Co-hosts of Baptism of Fire 48
Operating in exile after annexation by Astograth

User avatar
Astograth
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1498
Founded: Feb 04, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Astograth » Wed Aug 26, 2020 5:37 pm

Image
The Astograthian Football League
Season 684 Preview – Part 1

Transfers
- Ikatz Alberro (Manager) left Athletic Club Olarria
- Machin Logegaray (Manager) left Iturributa United
- Piarres Erke (Manager) signed for Athletic Club Olarria from Gortz United
- Justin Vauxhall (BRE - Manager) signed for Iturributa United as a free agent
- Baladi Berhongaray (Manager) left Gesterlake FC
- Anaut Eskape (Manager) signed for Gesterlake FC as a free agent
- Eneko Madariaga (Manager) signed for Gortz United as a free agent

- Erphinstatdt Tstinstaphensteitd (AUD - CM) signed for Ituraitz FC from Tenth Star Hasiera (AUD) for Đ790 k
- Zeydel Abidin Birkan (TMR - LB) signed for Iturributa United from Hisar FK (TMR) for Đ1.05 M
- Lukas Bright (BRE - CF) signed for Iturributa United from Chafford (BRE) for Đ1.32 M
- Connor Macdonald (KSK - DM) signed for Iturributa United from Marianopolis (DCA) as a free agent
- Konrad Matheny (NPH - GK) signed for Royal Rumiatzi from Cranequin Wanderers (NPH) for Đ2.63 M
- Minerva Compton (KOR - LB) signed for Sporting Iturributa from Aminey CS (KOR) for Đ1.58 M
- Alexis Durmisi (VLD - LM) signed for Urbizania Wanderers from Servette FC (VLD) for Đ1.84 M
- Yoshimi Hirahito (TAE - DM) signed for Urbizania Wanderers from Cornellians (SCT) for Đ4.21 M

- Laurin Aizpun (AM) signed for Basque University (HIN) from Antiguoko FC as a free agent
- Goren Olazabar (LB) signed for Inter Raití (TEQ) from Athletic Club Olarria as a free agent
- Marko Martel (LB) signed for Lajuno (EUR) from Athletic Club Olarria for Đ2.1 M
- Oxarra Peira (RB) signed for Lajuno (EUR) from Athletic Club Olarria as a free agent
- Soter Urdiroz (CB) signed for Meadbrook Ranger (SPM) from Bizkarra Castle as a free agent
- Urgutz Alzagaray (CB) signed for Unuiĝinta (TEQ) from Blue Mountain Range as a free agent
- Echepare Rospide (GK) signed for KT Itzalovalle (AUD) from Garitzeta Racing Club as a free agent
- Echeberri Urbe (CM) signed for Real Dawson (KND) from Gesterlake FC as a free agent
- Beti Rota (RM) signed for Honeybadgers (EUR) from Ituraitz FC as a free agent
- Hodei Echebarria (LM) signed for Lajuno (EUR) from Ituraitz FC as a free agent
- Yokin Arana (CF) signed for Bayern-Algaer (TAE) from Iturributa United for Đ2.63 M
- Silban Kihiyaborda (CF) signed for Coppersmith (BRE) from Iturributa United as a free agent
- Abarrotz Bado (GK) signed for Kelvindale Town (GLZ) from Iturributa United as a free agent
- Abarrotz Zumalakarregi (AM) signed for KT Koroatuz (AUD) from Sporting Iturributa as a free agent
- Domiku Bergara (DM) signed for AC Izotz Zubia (AUD) from Urbizania Wanderers for Đ530 k
- Ixaka Echeberz (RB) signed for AC Izotz Zubia (AUD) from Urbizania Wanderers for Đ890 k
- Inatz Bariazarra (DM) signed for Dawson Diamonds (KND) from Urbizania Wanderers as a free agent
- Zarles Biktorika (CF) signed for Sanctuary FC (NOV) from Urizaharra FC as a free agent

- Otsando Erramundeguy (CB) signed for Antiguoko FC from Bakartirla Buccaneers for Đ120 k
- Mazuste Igerabide (CF) signed for Antiguoko FC from Astograth University for Đ450 k
- Gogo Soraire (CF) signed for Antiguoko FC from Basabe Old Boys for Đ180 k
- Kaiet Okariz (DM) signed for Antiguoko FC from Ituraitz FC for Đ420 k
- Sendoa Gangoitia (DM) signed for Antiguoko FC from Ituraitz FC as a free agent
- Lizar Tafaya (RM) signed for Antiguoko FC from Basabe Old Boys for Đ260 k
- Udalaitz Chotro (CM) signed for Army United from Gortz United for Đ20 k
- Maore Garaikoechea (GK) signed for Athletic Club Olarria from Antiguoko FC for Đ140 k
- Agosti Irachet (LB) signed for Athletic Club Olarria from Miners FC for Đ320 k
- Aberri Buruchaga (RB) signed for Athletic Club Olarria from Iturributa United for Đ320 k
- Aurre Lete (CB) signed for Athletic Club Olarria from Royal Association for Đ140 k
- Dabi Biuret (LM) signed for Athletic Club Olarria from Sporting Iturributa for Đ230 k
- Xanti Izpura (LM) signed for Athletic Club Olarria from Echegoyan FC for Đ170 k
- Polentzi Haitsagerre (CM) signed for Athletic Club Rumiatzi from Urbitzo FC for Đ150 k
- Yeremi Latzabe (CM) signed for Athletic Club Rumiatzi from Gesterlake FC for Đ60 k
- Elatzar Kasuriaga (CB) signed for Basabe Old Boys from Sporting Arkamo for Đ240 k
- Hanni Angiano (CF) signed for Basabe Old Boys from Ituraitz FC for Đ300 k
- Laurgain Garakoch (AM) signed for Basabe Old Boys from Royal Ibarbe for Đ90 k
- Alesander Iriso (LM) signed for Basabe Old Boys from Royal Rumiatzi for Đ190 k
- Kiliz Peyran (RM) signed for Basabe Old Boys from Royal Rumiatzi for Đ180 k
- Bide Izarriaga (RM) signed for Basabe Old Boys from Oyardo FC for Đ230 k
- Arano Ilaria (GK) signed for Blue Mountain Range from Royal Association for Đ210 k
- Nuxila Dezabaleta (RB) signed for Blue Mountain Range from Urbizania Wanderers as a free agent
- Yake Gurina (CB) signed for Blue Mountain Range from Antiguoko FC for Đ150 k
- Todor Biota (DM) signed for Blue Mountain Range from Antiguoko FC for Đ310 k
- Tipi Eguaras (CF) signed for East Railway from Urbizania Wanderers for Đ290 k
- Dabi Elizondo-Egozkarra (DM) signed for East Railway from Urbizania Wanderers for Đ130 k
- Albi Gorostar (GK) signed for Echegoyan FC from Bakartirla Buccaneers as a free agent
- Petrigai Orneta (CF) signed for Echegoyan FC from Gesterlake FC for Đ150 k
- Dabi Teyagorry (DM) signed for Echegoyan FC from Astograth University for Đ180 k
- Gau Urunaga (AM) signed for Echegoyan FC from Royal Association for Đ220 k
- Ereinkor Ybarrola (LM) signed for Echegoyan FC from Bakartirla Buccaneers for Đ250 k
- Oinaz Kamon (LM) signed for Echegoyan FC from Ituraitz FC for Đ250 k
- Bardol Arabaolaza (RM) signed for Echegoyan FC from Miners FC for Đ290 k
- Herensuge Ondarra (GK) signed for Erribe United from Echegoyan FC for Đ70 k
- Elorri Karrika (CF) signed for Erribe United from Miners FC for Đ50 k
- Ion Mugeya (LM) signed for Erribe United from Gesterlake FC as a free agent
- Gaxan Irusta (CM) signed for Garitzeta Racing Club from Miners FC for Đ10 k
- Otsoa Sanyorenti (GK) signed for Gesterlake FC from Blue Mountain Range for Đ110 k
- Luken Almirantearena (CB) signed for Gesterlake FC from Ituraitz Victory for Đ40 k
- Balesio Zubiarrain (DM) signed for Gesterlake FC from East Railway for Đ110 k
- Laurin Aricheta (LM) signed for Gesterlake FC from Gortz United for Đ80 k
- Marz Kachola (RB) signed for Gortz United from Royal Rumiatzi for Đ100 k
- Esmail Wilhelm (ESH - CM) signed for Gortz United from Bakartirla Buccaneers for Đ150 k
- Leheren Goyhenespe (CM) signed for Gortz United from Athletic Club Rumiatzi for Đ170 k
- Gasteiz Yrisarri (LM) signed for Gortz United from Athletic Club Olarria for Đ270 k
- Maurin Zabale (LM) signed for Gortz United from Echegoyan FC as a free agent
- Zohiartze Gorrachetegi (RM) signed for Gortz United from Iturributa United for Đ190 k
- Iztal Bidigaray (LM) signed for Ichapeldun Mariners from Gortz United for Đ70 k
- Cheru Lizarza (RB) signed for Ituraitz FC from Sporting Iturributa as a free agent
- Zohiartze Orokieta (CB) signed for Ituraitz FC from Sporting Iturributa for Đ430 k
- Olentzaro Karazatorre (CF) signed for Ituraitz FC from Antiguoko FC for Đ1.42 M
- Odon Echauren (RB) signed for Ituraitz Victory from Gortz United as a free agent
- Chordon Ytuarte (LM) signed for Ituraitz Victory from Athletic Club Olarria for Đ120 k
- Loramendi Kuruchelar (RM) signed for Ituraitz Victory from Iturributa United for Đ170 k
- Sesuldo Besga (GK) signed for Iturributa Racing Club from Athletic Club Olarria for Đ60 k
- Balendin Betonazko (CF) signed for Iturributa United from Athletic Club Rumiatzi for Đ430 k
- Dominix Birto (CM) signed for Iturributa United from Urbizania Wanderers for Đ630 k
- Yaizki Gamino (CM) signed for Iturributa United from Oyardo FC for Đ490 k
- Lukasz Adalmek (ESH - RM) signed for Iturributa United from Astograth University for Đ350 k
- Poz Mendiguchia (DM) signed for Lermendia FC from Miners FC for Đ20 k
- Pierres Kenitagoya (LB) signed for Miners FC from Gesterlake FC for Đ160 k
- Bide Galkeran (CB) signed for Miners FC from Ituraitz FC for Đ50 k
- Totakoxe Akutain (CF) signed for Miners FC from Iturributa United for Đ140 k
- Lauaxeta Amas (DM) signed for Miners FC from Antiguoko FC for Đ110 k
- Xabier Appathie (DM) signed for Miners FC from Blue Mountain Range for Đ120 k
- Mendebal Yugo (CM) signed for Miners FC from Gortz United for Đ50 k
- Haitz Uriz (RM) signed for Miners FC from Ituraitz Victory as a free agent
- Aztore Goyos (RM) signed for Miners FC from Basabe Old Boys for Đ60 k
- Itziar Mugelar (CF) signed for Old City Central from East Railway for Đ70 k
- Gunutz Orubio (AM) signed for Old City Central from Basabe Old Boys as a free agent
- Eusko Aldabe (CB) signed for Oyardo FC from Miners FC as a free agent
- Erruki Irasegi (CB) signed for Oyardo FC from Athletic Club Olarria for Đ30 k
- Baladi Treko (CM) signed for Oyardo FC from Royal Rumiatzi for Đ240 k
- Dunixi Izambizaga (DM) signed for Oyardo FC from Echegoyan FC as a free agent
- Edur Bayarri (RM) signed for Oyardo FC from Antiguoko FC for Đ150 k
- Teyo Otormin (CB) signed for Royal Ibarbe from Astograth University as a free agent
- Ongile Yraola (CF) signed for Royal Ibarbe from Iturributa United for Đ360 k
- Emenon Ulibarri (AM) signed for Royal Ibarbe from Echegoyan FC for Đ450 k
- Unax Alchourron (AM) signed for Royal Ibarbe from Astograth University for Đ250 k
- Ageio Osinde (RB) signed for Royal Rumiatzi from Ituraitz Victory for Đ430 k
- Anchoka Oyhantkabal (LM) signed for Royal Rumiatzi from Basabe Old Boys for Đ680 k
- Mogel Darrikarrere (RM) signed for Royal Rumiatzi from Urbitzo FC for Đ420 k
- Tzeme Urukelgi (GK) signed for South Factory from Miners FC for Đ30 k
- Marchel Herrasti (CB) signed for South Factory from Oyardo FC for Đ20 k
- Haitz Erriest (LB) signed for Sporting Arkamo from Urbitzo FC for Đ290 k
- Gorosti Biskert (CB) signed for Sporting Arkamo from Bakartirla Buccaneers for Đ90 k
- Loiola Echepare (CB) signed for Sporting Arkamo from Blue Mountain Range for Đ190 k
- Arixo Salayaran (CB) signed for Sporting Iturributa from Royal Ibarbe for Đ310 k
- Xurdin Eskurdia (DM) signed for Sporting Iturributa from East Railway for Đ410 k
- Hartz Isuregi (LB) signed for Urbitzo FC from Iturributa United for Đ210 k
- Ichaso Medinabeitia (CB) signed for Urbitzo FC from Basabe Old Boys for Đ180 k
- Alain Anderika (DM) signed for Urbitzo FC from Sporting Iturributa for Đ90 k
- Urdin Ugaldea (AM) signed for Urbitzo FC from Royal Ibarbe for Đ130 k
- Gasteiz Legaza (RM) signed for Urbitzo FC from Gortz United for Đ270 k
- Aire Kobelas (RB) signed for Urbizania Wanderers from Ituraitz FC for Đ630 k
- Bazkoare Echegoyenberry (RB) signed for Urbizania Wanderers from Athletic Club Olarria for Đ340 k
- Teyo Menbieye (CF) signed for Urbizania Wanderers from Ituraitz FC for Đ580 k
- Baiardo Barnachea (CM) signed for Urizaharra FC from Oyardo FC for Đ20 k
- Gartzea Letamendia (CM) signed for Ximun Orieta FC from Oyardo FC for Đ10 k

- Yaizki Gerrekagoytia (LB), who was last at Antiguoko FC, retired from football aged 35
- Balesio Gangoitia (CF), who was last at Antiguoko FC, retired from football aged 34
- Totakoxe Irizaga (DM), who was last at Army United, retired from football aged 34
- Imanol Bidaorria (GK), who was last at Astograth University, retired from football aged 37
- Yake Bibankos (AM), who was last at Astograth University, retired from football aged 37
- Bladi Mendiondo (CM), who was last at Athletic Club Rumiatzi, retired from football aged 33
- Formerio Kelada (GK), who was last at Athletic Club Yungoitio, retired from football aged 36
- Egoi Sasieta (LB), who was last at Athletic Club Yungoitio, retired from football aged 34
- Yurdan Kigarra (CF), who was last at Athletic Club Yungoitio, retired from football aged 36
- Asier Iribekampos (CB), who was last at Bakartirla Buccaneers, retired from football aged 37
- Todor Beloki (DM), who was last at Bakartirla Buccaneers, retired from football aged 36
- Itziar Zalarrayan (CB), who was last at Basabe Old Boys, retired from football aged 33
- Urti Galindres (CB), who was last at Blue Mountain Range, retired from football aged 34
- Chachu Eskutari (RB), who was last at Blue Mountain Range, retired from football aged 37
- Goiz Gamio (DM), who was last at Blue Mountain Range, retired from football aged 35
- Asentzio Raskin (CF), who was last at Echegoyan FC, retired from football aged 33
- Atze Sunzunegi (RM), who was last at Echegoyan FC, retired from football aged 33
- Mikelar Ansorea (CB), who was last at Erribe United, retired from football aged 33
- Gartzi Moronio (AM), who was last at Erribe United, retired from football aged 34
- Adame Echauz (LM), who was last at Garitzeta FC, retired from football aged 37
- Xofre Saldubehere (RB), who was last at Garitzeta FC, retired from football aged 34
- Emenon Alkaya (DM), who was last at Garitzeta Racing Club, retired from football aged 33
- Garikoitz Ibaldi (LM), who was last at Garitzeta Racing Club, retired from football aged 33
- Garaona Krantzaga (RM), who was last at Garitzeta Racing Club, retired from football aged 35
- Manu Balza (GK), who was last at Gesterlake FC, retired from football aged 33
- Eztebe Goyechea (CB), who was last at Gesterlake FC, retired from football aged 37
- Michel Sangitu (DM), who was last at Gesterlake FC, retired from football aged 34
- Bernat Martierena (CM), who was last at Gortz United, retired from football aged 36
- Igor Dufurrena (DM), who was last at Ichapeldun Mariners, retired from football aged 36
- Urtzi Laphitzondo (CF), who was last at Ichapeldun Mariners, retired from football aged 37
- Arrosko Lategi (RB), who was last at Ichapeldun Mariners, retired from football aged 38
- Markel Larraz (LB), who was last at Ituraitz Victory, retired from football aged 37
- Azubeli Anzoategi (CB), who was last at Ituraitz Victory, retired from football aged 37
- Galoer Unzain (LM), who was last at Ituraitz Victory, retired from football aged 34
- Ekialde Chakartegi (LB), who was last at Iturributa United, retired from football aged 33
- Gaur Imar (CB), who was last at Iturributa United, retired from football aged 33
- Arnaitz Gararaikoechea (CM), who was last at Iturributa United, retired from football aged 37
- Tipi Eskamez (LB), who was last at Izarloka FC, retired from football aged 35
- Gartzen Ogando (CB), who was last at Izarloka FC, retired from football aged 33
- Selatse Marron (GK), who was last at Mauritza FC, retired from football aged 35
- Aner Boutayre (LB), who was last at Mauritza FC, retired from football aged 36
- Ihintza Mendizabal (CM), who was last at Mauritza FC, retired from football aged 37
- Mirande Echeberri (LB), who was last at Mauritza FC, retired from football aged 37
- Ugaitz Abin (CB), who was last at Mauritza FC, retired from football aged 33
- Yelchu Aizkorde (RM), who was last at Mauritza FC, retired from football aged 34
- Gerazan Urrako (RM), who was last at Miners FC, retired from football aged 34
- Gilen Beola (LB), who was last at Miners FC, retired from football aged 34
- Perucho Urka (DM), who was last at Miners FC, retired from football aged 34
- Aztore Zamarbide (CB), who was last at Oyardo FC, retired from football aged 35
- Ekhi Lekea (GK), who was last at Oyardo FC, retired from football aged 36
- Karmel Suazo (CB), who was last at Oyardo FC, retired from football aged 34
- Echepare Estomba (CB), who was last at Oyardo FC, retired from football aged 36
- Orain Kelarrayan (RB), who was last at Royal Arexa, retired from football aged 36
- Edur Meniaka (RB), who was last at Royal Arexa, retired from football aged 37
- Min Oyenola (LM), who was last at Royal Association, retired from football aged 36
- Xuban Gochikoa (CM), who was last at Royal Association, retired from football aged 33
- Distiratsu Laurnagaray (CF), who was last at Royal Association, retired from football aged 37
- Ospin Narbona (CF), who was last at Royal Ibarbe, retired from football aged 34
- Carsten Thunder (NPH - GK), who was last at Royal Rumiatzi, retired from football aged 36
- Balasi Salbarrey (AM), who was last at South Factory, retired from football aged 36
- Polentzi Amondarain (LB), who was last at Sporting Arkamo, retired from football aged 33
- Luzaide Gandia (CB), who was last at Sporting Arkamo, retired from football aged 33
- Erramu Bizkarra (LB), who was last at Sporting Iturributa, retired from football aged 33
- Eleazar Murua (GK), who was last at Sporting Iturributa, retired from football aged 35
- Mazuste Ubinia (RM), who was last at Sporting Iturributa, retired from football aged 33
- Xarles Echebarrena (CB), who was last at Urbitzo FC, retired from football aged 34
- Argoitz Sakierain (AM), who was last at Urbitzo FC, retired from football aged 34
- Jê Çìró (FFD - LM), who was last at Urbizania Wanderers, retired from football aged 36
- Gentza Uhide (RB), who was last at Urizaharra FC, retired from football aged 34
- Gaskon Urionagena (CF), who was last at Urizaharra FC, retired from football aged 36
- Arabante Zazeta (CB), who was last at Ximun Orieta FC, retired from football aged 33
- Bixincho Retenaga (CF), who was last at Ximun Orieta FC, retired from football aged 37

Teams

ImageImage
Sporting Iturributa, est. 512
Ground: Old City Stadium (72,000), Iturributa Image
Colours: Crimson with gold chevron, crimson shorts and socks
Major rivals: Iturributa United (The Iturributan Derby), Royal Rumiatzi (political), Iturributa Racing Club (local), Royal Association (local-political)
Major honours: Image 6 First Division titles, Image 3 Royal Cups, Image Cygnus Cup 20, Image 7 Iturributan Premier Division titles, Image 5 Iturributan President's Cups, Image UICA Iturributan Club of the Century
Main sponsor: IB Investments (finance)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★★★ / Youth system ★★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 30.1 M
Seasons in the First Division: 24 of 39

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Aratz Anzizar, aLBa Image Minerva Compton (KOR), aCBa Image Mogel Doyenard ©, aCBa Image Gomesano Suhurt, aRBa Image Baiona Menduburu, aDMa Image Servet Misidjan (NPH), aDMa Image Gaitzka Gurina, aLMa Image Lauaxeta Lardaro, aRMa Image Xefe Larribe, aAMa Image Ximun Blacksdove-Beukers (AUD), aCFa Image Egoitz Laurnagaray

Bench: aGKa Aurken Maruri, aGKa Udalaitz Altabegoiti, aLBa Barea Yaurregiberry, aCBa Oidor Lubiano, aCBa Erauso Zugasti, aCBa Arixo Salayaran, aRBa Oxarra Nabarrete, aDMa Xurdin Eskurdia, aDMa Erruki Yauza, aCMa Lehoiar Oztolaza, aLMa Eskuin Nekol, aRMa Matin Galarke, aAMa Edur Elizahalde, aCFa Larendi Gorriz, aCFa Xantalen Gastambide

Manager: Image Zorion Legeren, 15th season in charge
Club reputation: Refined, classy, value a slow and methodical style of play. Think very highly of themselves. The snobbish one of the two giants out of Iturributa.
Fans’ expectation: The title
Pundits’ prediction: 1st of 20
Notes: After three straight years of dominating the local scene, Sporting Iturributa are a well-oiled machine. A cut above the rest, they are the easy favourites to extend their legend by winning their fourth First Division title in a row. Whether they succeed or not, this season will be the last hurrah for manager Zorion Legeren and goalkeeper Aratz Anzizar; both will retire as the country’s best of their generation in their respective roles. On the transfer market, the club continue to act conservatively, preferring to pick up younger players for the future, such as centre-back Arixo Salarayan and midfielder Xurdin Eskurdia, rather than splash out on ready-made stars. The early retirement of starting left-back Erramu Bizkarra, brought on by nagging injuries, has been resolved by the transfer of 22-year-old Ko-orenite Minerva Compton, one to keep an eye on this season. The team’s famously strong defence may have its greatest weakness down the right season, as acclaimed right-back Cheru Lizarza shocked everyone by choosing to run down his contract with Sporting and hopping over to Ituraitz FC as a free agent, in exchange for a hefty raise. For now they’ve plugged the hole with his understudy Baiona Mendiburu, but the fans will not soon forgive or forget what they perceive as a harsh betrayal. At any rate, the club still fields a rock-solid core down the centre of the pitch, from Doyenard and Suhurt in defence to Misidjan and Gurina in midfield, to Blacksdove-Beukers and Laurnagaray leading the attack.

ImageImage
Royal Rumiatzi, est. 541
Ground: Knights' Stadium (70,000), Rumiatzi Image
Colours: White shirt, dark blue shorts and socks
Major rivals: Athletic Club Rumiatzi (The Rumiatzi Derby), Ituraitz FC (The Silver Derby), Iturributa United (political), Sporting Iturributa (political), Urbizania Wanderers (regional), Astograth University (local)
Major honours: Image 9 First Division titles, Image 8 Royal Cups, Image Cygnus Cup 25, Image Copa de Campeones 22, Image 1 Ides of March Cup, Image Aéropag Football Invitational 22
Main sponsor: Dukomm (telecomms)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★★★ / Youth system ★★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 29.1 M
Seasons in the First Division: 39 of 39

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Konrad Matheny (NPH), aLBa Image Loxjilo Exihosahar (FFD), aCBa Image Xantalen Luzarraga ©, aCBa Image Selatse Yrigoy, aCBa Image Aztore Andia, aRBa Image Lutz Daschner (STL), aLMa Image Kiliz Gartzi, aRMa Image Ugutz Iturriche, aAMa Image Azeari Duarte, aCFa Image Martin Blessed (EUR), aCFa Image Yasone Urdanibia

Bench: aGKa Egen Kortabarren, aGKa Milian Anibar, aLBa Paskal Layinde, aCBa Amuruza Leyarra, aCBa Lore Ameya, aRBa Ageio Osinde, aDMa Argider Eges, aLMa Anchoka Oyhantkabal, aCMa Gorosti Espos, aCMa Gomesano Sedero, aRMa Mogel Darrikarrere, aAMa Lon Dumon, aCFa Ezkerra Echazarreta, aCFa Mogel Galdiano, aCFa Gerazan Legazpi

Manager: Image Lele Manguele (FFD), 2nd season in charge
Club reputation: Rich, powerful, will settle for nothing but the best. Trophies are the goal, or heads will roll. Incredibly insecure over the lack of UICA/IFCF success.
Fans’ expectation: The title
Pundits’ prediction: 2nd of 20
Notes: Last season, Royal Rumiatzi slowly let the title slip from their grasp, to much mockery. Nevertheless, they enthralled fans by playing scintillating attacking football, scoring a league record 105 goals. For this, unhinged manager Lele Manguele has been allowed to remain in his post and have another shot at the coveted First Division title. Though granted a generous transfer budget to realise his vision, Manguele’s dealings were surprisingly restrained, as befits his philosophy of always doing the unexpected. He has discarded some long-serving members of the squad, such as Baladi Treko and Kiliz Peyran, and brought in players that are either too old (Mogel Darrikarrere) or too green (Anchoka Oyhantkabal) to feature in his first-team plans, with the notable exception of Nepharan goalkeeper Konrad Matheny, to replace the retiring, also Nepharan, Carsten Thunder. Despite some unease in defence and midfield, largely owing to Manguele’s bizarre formations, Rumiatzi will once again feature a truly five-star offence in Azeari Duarte, Yasone Urdanibia and Martin Blessed, and they hope to make the most of it.

ImageImage
Urbizania Wanderers, est. 523
Ground: Cherketzo Arena (53,200), Urbizania Image
Colours: All dark green
Major rivals: Ituraitz FC (competitive), Royal Rumiatzi (regional), South Factory (regional)
Major honours: Image UICA Champions’ Cup 43, Image 6 First Division titles, Image 7 Royal Cups
Main sponsor: Duchess Airways (airline)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★★★ / Youth system ★★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 29.5 M
Seasons in the First Division: 39 of 39

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Dieje Ibrelaná (FFD), aLBa Image Urre Remondegi, aCBa Image Eriz Mugiro, aCBa Image Zohiartze Urkia, aRBa Image Aire Kobelas, aDMa Image Ibon Irisarre ©, aDMa Image Yoshimi Hirahito (TAE), aLMa Image Alexis Durmisi (VLD), aRMa Image Churio Aragolaza, aAMa Image Gero Sorrosua, aCFa Image Aire Epherra

Bench: aGKa Iztal Zurriage, aGKa Marz Perurena, aLBa Gomesano Mekolalde, aCBa Xarles Sabatza, aCBa Arotza Durkudoy, aCBa Loiola Urpi, aRBa Bazkoare Echegoyenberry, aDMa Iracho Yeregi, aDMa Soter Laborda, aLMa Ander Ametrano, aCMa Yurdan Mandiola, aRMa Bixincho Olate, aAMa Xarles Lazkano, aCFa Imanol Bethularan, aCFa Teyo Menbieye

Manager: Image Eriz Bakaikoa, 3rd season in charge
Club reputation: Value skillful, beautiful football. Vibe of an intimate, local club despite massive success.
Fans’ expectation: The title
Pundits’ prediction: 3rd of 20
Notes: Wanderers’ fourth place last season fell short of the lofty expectations created by Eriz Bakaikoa’s first season as manager, where he guided the team to 83 points and only lost out on the title on tiebreakers. A trusting club, Wanderers have allowed Bakaikoa to carry out some significant renovations to the squad, especially following the retirement of captain Jê Çìró and their inability to retain midfielder Domiku Bergara and right-back Ixaka Echeberz against the allure of the powerful AC Izotz Zubia. Their replacements will be Aire Kobelas, formerly at right-back for Ituraitz FC, and two of the most expensive transfers since the reintegration of international transfers: Valladar left winger Alexis Durmisi and Taeshani defensive midfielder Yoshimi Hirahito. Combined, the club spent over 6M diru on them – 15% of their annual revenue – and have committed to similarly high wages, making Hirahito the best-paid player in the league. With these signings plus Irisarre, Aragolaza and Sorrosua, Wanderers have, on paper, the most fearsome midfield in the nation. Will the rest of the team be up to the task?

ImageImage
Iturributa United, est. 523
Ground: Old City Stadium (72,000), Iturributa Image
Colours: White with red sash, red shorts, white socks
Major rivals: Sporting Iturributa (The Iturributan Derby), Royal Rumiatzi (political), Iturributa Racing Club (local), Royal Association (local-political)
Major honours: Image 4 First Division titles, Image 3 Royal Cups, Image 2 Copas de Campeones, Image 3 Ides of March Cups, Image 7 Iturributan Premier Division titles, Image 3 Iturributan President's Cups, runners-up of UICA Champions’ Cups 39 & 52
Main sponsor: Badiola (vehicles)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★★ / Youth system ★★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 24.4 M
Seasons in the First Division: 24 of 39

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Marty De-Wit (AUD), aLBa Image Zeydel Abidin Birkan (TMR), aCBa Image Cherran Peluaga, aCBa Image Miriam Lechie (BRE), aRBa Image Arnalt Bergerot, aDMa Image Connor Macdonald (KSK), aCMa Image Beltza Urkizo ©, aCMa Image Gunutz Yriberry, aLMa Image Fangti Pikolaugh (CMT), aRMa Image Lukasz Adalmek (ESH), aCFa Image Lukas Bright (BRE)

Bench: aGKa Keop Karrikaberry, aGKa Gaueko Errekondo, aLBa Mayorga Orayen, aRBa Mayorga Orayen, aCBa Gorka Ibatborde, aRBa Apal Gerenio, aDMa Lapurdi Muruaga, aLMa Perrando Eyerart, aCMa Dominix Birto, aCMa Yaizki Gamino, aRMa Domiku Indurain, aAMa Gaizka Zubisarreta, aCFa Balendin Betonazko, aCFa Hitzeder Lizalde, aCFa Ubendu Usandizaga

Manager: Image Justin Vauxhall (BRE), 1st season in charge
Club reputation: Frenetic, energetic, populist. Driven to excel at whatever cost. The rowdy one of the two giants out of Iturributa.
Fans’ expectation: The title
Pundits’ prediction: 4th of 20
Notes: The end of this season will mark the 10 year anniversary of Iturributa United’s last league title, and that dry spell is a burning pain to the Scarlet Stripes – it is literally their longest-ever in their 161 years of existence. Adding salt to the wound is the fact that Sporting Iturributa is experiencing one of their most glorious times, and for three seasons already! Manager Machin Logegaray has been let go and, in his place, comes the Brenecian Justin Vauxhall, previously of Rozelle and Marque in the A-League. National team striker Yokin Arana was not expected to leave, but an offer too good to turn down came in from Taeshan; the money from that sale, plus United’s promises to Vauxhall, led to a flurry of transfers: Brenecian forward Lukas Bright, Kelssekian defensive midfielder Connor Macdonald, Timurian international Zeydel Abidin Birkan, Eshani winger Lukasz Adalmek, and a smattering of local players including Urbizania Wanderers’ Dominix Birto. The club is now the only one in the First Division to reach the foreign player limit of 5 (Adalmek and De Wit have naturalisation papers), and with two of them plus the manager being Brenecian, a certain flair – if Brenecians can be said to have flair – has taken hold on one half of Old City Stadium. Raising United from this decade-long slump is a huge challenge, but one that this squad could well accomplish.

ImageImage
Ituraitz FC, est. 577
Ground: Ituraitz Sporting Ground (63,000), Ituraitz Image
Colours: All red
Major rivals: Ituraitz Victory (The Ituraitz Derby), Royal Rumiatzi (The Silver Derby), Urbizania Wanderers (competitive), Athletic Club Olarria (regional), Ximun Orieta FC (local)
Major honours: Image UICA Champions’ Cup 47, Image UICA Globe Cup 45, Image 9 First Division titles, Image 6 Royal Cups, Image 4 Ides of March Cups, Image UICA Super Cup 44, Image Copa de Campeones 20, Image Aéropag Football Invitational 25, Image UICA Astograthian Club of the Century
Main sponsor: Chistorra Sarlange (charcuterie)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★★★ / Youth system ★★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 23.4 M
Seasons in the First Division: 39 of 39

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Bihar Raldua, aLBa Image Mirande Anibardo, aCBa Image Baleren Narke ©, aCBa Image Xuban Lechardoy, aRBa Image Cheru Lizarza, aLMa Image Isidra Corvey (BRE), aCMa Image Gilamu Bengoechea, aCMa Image Erphinstatdt Tstinstaphensteitd (AUD), aRMa Image Isidor Leibar, aCFa Image Olentzaro Karazatorre, aCFa Image Lastur Orkola

Bench: aGKa Maule Oyage, aGKa Yake Galparsoro, aLBa Asier Labiaga, aCBa Cherran Goyeche, aCBa Zohiartze Orokieta, aCBa Keop Ithurrart, aRBa Anchoka Alastre, aDMa Iparragirre Paldao, aLMa Orixe Mantinian, aCMa Yatsu Letamendi, aRMa Mederi Laskibar, aAMa Yuaneizu Aranda, aCFa Iturri Barriola, aCFa Hurko Barreneche, aCFa Image Tomofumi Ishimoda (HIN)

Manager: Image Bob Partridge (EUR), 2nd season in charge
Club reputation: Successful, attractive, cosmopolitan. You either love them or hate them. The world champion 654-55 Ituraitz is widely regarded as the best Astograthian team of all time.
Fans’ expectation: The title
Pundits’ prediction: 5th of 20
Notes: Bob Partridge picked up a downtrodden, seventh-placed Ituraitz, slapped some common sense 4-4-2 into them, and marched forward to third place and the Challengers’ Cup qualification they’d spent two years chasing in vain. Gorriaka have been much invigorated and are looking forward to staking a claim for the title this season; to back that up, they’ve made some clever moves this transfer window. Their first coup was in convincing national team right-back Cheru Lizarza, a fixture on Sporting Iturributa’s powerful defence, to run down his contract and join Ituraitz on a free for double the wages he was earning with the Chevrons. Their second coup was nabbing Olentzaro Karazatorre, Antiguoko’s 23-year-old striker, whose signature has been sought out by every top team since bursting onto the scene with 15 goals at age 21. The transfer, worth nearly 1.5M diru, is major money for the Astograthian league, and the Reds hope he’ll carry on in the proud tradition of deadly Ituraitzi strikers. Their third coup was Erphinstatdt Tstinstaphensteitd, from Tenth Star Hasiera. Who’s what, asked nearly everybody, and that was the point – they needed a centre midfielder, a role which he’s more than capable of filling, and they also hope to capitalise on the commercial potential of having a player with such a ludicrous name. Shirt sales have soared at the port city, so it would seem to be bearing success on that front. Heading into another tough season, the team have particular strengths in goalkeeper Bihar Raldua, Brenecian left winger Isidra Corvey – last season’s Player of the Year for her starring role in Ituraitz’s surge – and the dynamite that is the striker pairing of Karazatorre with the more veteran Lastur Orkola. Critics have pointed out that, even with Lizarza, the defence and the right wing shape up poorly compared to the other top sides and the squad lacks depth on the bench – but even so, this could be a title-winning season.

ImageImage
Athletic Club Olarria, est. 504
Ground: North Point Stadium (61,317), Olarria Image
Colours: Claret with sky blue hoop, claret shorts and socks
Major rivals: Ituraitz FC (regional), Sporting Olarria (local)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Amuarraina Errege (seafood)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 16.1 M
Seasons in the First Division: 28 of 39

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Aurre Laurnagaray, aLBa Image Agosti Irachet, aCBa Image Altzibar Sarrible, aCBa Image Elatzar Zumaeta, aRBa Image Aberri Buruchaga, aDMa Image Artizar Bailo, aLMa Image Dabi Biuret, aRMa Image Amber Docherty (KSK), aAMa Image Ubelteso Peruchena, aCFa Image Olentzaro Anseoteori, aCFa Image Pachi Lakumetz

Bench: aGKa Image Ayuko Mitsushima (HIN), aGKa Maore Garaikoechea, aLBa Todor Berrioz, aCBa Aurre Lete, aCBa Alarabi Meabebasterrechea, aCBa Ubarna Aizpitarte, aRBa Urdin Echaudi ©, aDMa Burni Larripa, aCMa Lon Eskardo, aLMa Xanti Izpura, aRMa Altzibar Ulbina, aAMa Inautzi Loaiza, aCFa Hats Chapartegi, aCFa Elatzar Lassa, aCFa Kaiet Echassandage

Manager: Image Piarres Erke, 1st season in charge
Club reputation: Consistent, but can't break the glass ceiling of a title win. Feel they've paid their dues, yet overlooked and underrated.
Fans’ expectation: Top 6
Pundits’ prediction: 6th of 20
Notes: For a club that are aspiring to establish themselves as Challengers’ Cup regulars with the ultimate aim of that sweet, sweet first title win, last season’s 10th place was a tough blow. Manager Ikatz Alberro, previously much celebrated, departed with little fanfare, and in his stead comes Piarres Erke, worker of miracles at Gortz United. There’s no guarantee that golden touch will carry across to Olarria, but Erke has been hard at work moulding the squad into his preferred shape. One expected casualty was young left-back Marko Martel, already a national team regular and whom many suspected had outgrown the club; he leaves behind a tidy 2M diru after moving to Eura’s Lajuno. Olarria have turned around and spent a good chunk of that on no less than 6 signings: Agosti Irachet and Aberri Buruchaga are their new full-backs, Sporting veteran Dabi Biuret is the new starting left winger, and three others now provide further squad depth in various areas. This doesn’t quite look like a team that can measure up to the entrenched top 5, in experts’ opinion, but it’s a good deal stronger than the rest of the league and should certainly be strong enough to overcome last season’s difficulties. This will also be the team’s first season at the rebuilt North Point Stadium, which will provide massive long-term benefits and, short-term, some much needed stability after the tumultuous construction process.
Last edited by Astograth on Mon Dec 21, 2020 3:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Astograth
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1498
Founded: Feb 04, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Astograth » Wed Aug 26, 2020 5:40 pm

Image
The Astograthian Football League
Season 684 Preview – Part 2

ImageImage
Royal Ibarbe, est. 488/500 (disputed)
Ground: Erda Street (19,000), Ibarbe Image
Colours: Purple shirt, yellow shorts, purple socks
Major rivals: Ibarbe Sport, Ibarbe Youth (all local)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Zerrigela (finance)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★ / Training facilities ★★★★ / Youth system ★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 13.6 M
Seasons in the First Division: 16 of 39

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Edur Iun, aLBa Image Gareth Carney (NPH), aCBa Image Iraunkor Garasa, aCBa Image Hissho Munuzo (HIN), aRBa Image Galindo Beobide, aDMa Image Panfilo Napoleoni (JUE), aDMa Image Oxel Porkel, aLMa Image Eusko Otazu, aRMa Image Echahun Dacharry, aAMa Image Emenon Ulibarri, aCFa Image Ixaka Lairihoy

Bench: aGKa Bitor Eiguren, aGKa Yon Zuasti, aLBa Nikola Basto, aCBa Teyo Otormin, aCBa Eyande Garika, aCBa Gauargi Aniorbe, aRBa Yurdan Echeberz ©, aDMa Atarratze Sumundegi, aDMa Franchizko Biurrarena, aLMa Selatse Echandiz, aCMa Chindoki Yano, aRMa Gaizka Lastarria, aAMa Unax Alchourron, aCFa Hustaz Urresti, aCFa Ongile Yraola

Manager: Image Mikel Aluztiza, 3rd season in charge
Club reputation: Small club, fans are fickle and wealthy. Gradually acquiring a wider base of support.
Fans’ expectation: Top-half finish
Pundits’ prediction: 7th of 20
Notes: Royal Ibarbe are living their best life. Firmly entrenched in the top half of the table and having again finished 7th, their highest placing in the First Division, the club are looking to invest into their long-term sustainability and, possibly, breaking into the Challengers’ Cup spots. In terms of signings, they’ve captured the signatures of Teyo Otormin and Ongile Yraola to strengthen the squad and, most importantly, purchased two highly talented playmakers from underperforming teams: Emenon Ulibarri from Echegoyan FC and Unax Alchourron out of the relegated Astograth University. Both are over 30 but will certainly be a boon to what was a somewhat fragile midfield. Ibarbe’s strength continues to be its defence, highly disciplined and second only to Sporting Iturributa’s in terms of least goals conceded.

ImageImage
Antiguoko FC, est. 514
Ground: The Enclave (45,058), Antiguoko Image
Colours: Red and white quarters, red shorts and socks
Major rivals: Gesterlake FC, Royal Arexa (all historic)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Yogutz (dairy)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 13.8 M
Seasons in the First Division: 13 of 39

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Ubelteso Erra, aLBa Image Hats Lizondo, aCBa Image Eyande Osamiz, aCBa Image Hanot Benaza ©, aRBa Image Kusko Ibarrondo, aDMa Image Kaiet Okariz, aLMa Image Petrarch Karaiskakis (NPH), aRMa Image Thierry Cailleux (HIN), aAMa Image Uzuri Borthagaray, aCFa Image Edur Ustarroz, aCFa Image Mazuste Igerabide

Bench: aGKa Firmo Lerendegi, aGKa Hanot Echeto, aLBa Garikoitz Keheiye, aCBa Otsando Erramundeguy, aCBa Yatsu Mimendia, aCBa Adon Aburto, aRBa Urtsua Bengoa, aDMa Sendoa Gangoitia, aLMa Erramun Notzadal, aRMa Lizar Tafaya, aCMa Urtungo Kereyazu, aAMa Iker Baraza, aCFa Kaiet Izurrategi, aCFa Aurken Erenio, aCFa Gogo Soraire

Manager: Image Ikatz Ansotegi, 5th season in charge
Club reputation: Combative, tireless. Pride of the city and the region.
Fans’ expectation: Top-half finish
Pundits’ prediction: 8th of 20
Notes: Antiguoko FC have been enjoying some successful years, but the sale of their star striker Olentzaro Karazatorre has now installed some significant nervousness at the renovated Enclave. Everyone knew they couldn’t hold onto Karazatorre much longer, but Antiguoko are still hurting and bracing themselves for a difficult season having lost their top scorer. In the wake of the transfer, trusted manager Ikatz Ansotegi has unveiled a flurry of signings, including established Astograth University forward Mazuste Igerabide and Ituraitz midfielder Kaiet Okariz, but uncertainty continues to reign as the start of the season approaches.

ImageImage
Sporting Arkamo, est. 542
Ground: The Bells (43,505), Arkamo Image
Colours: Brown and gold stripes, brown shorts, gold socks
Major rivals: Akialden Marauders (The Arkamo Derby), Izarloka FC (regional), Lermendia FC (regional)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Barrertze (lifestyle)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 12.8 M
Seasons in the First Division: 11 of 39

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Lino Kaberle (STL), aLBa Image Haitz Erriest, aCBa Image Erauso Teyitegi, aCBa Image Gorosti Biskert, aRBa Image Freek Lamaars (ESH), aLMa Image Piarres Santurtun, aCMa Image Opilano Ubaldi ©, aRMa Image Xalbador Achabalastra, aAMa Image Gaston Urdingio, aCFa Image Damyan Nifterik (ESH), aCFa Image Berasko Korradi

Bench: aGKa Sesuldo Esteinou, aGKa Oxel Echaburu, aLBa Luki Istekahandy, aCBa Loiola Echepare, aCBa Zarles Berhongaray, aCBa Fermin Chirizola, aRBa Kusko Isaurralde, aDMa Ixona Landeta, aLMa Iaki Agerrebengoa, aCMa Michaut Agos, aRMa Gora Ezpeleta, aAMa Bichincho Zabalaga, aCFa Altzibar Elia, aCFa Oihan Behelaborde, aCFa Atzo Kampo

Manager: Image Hanni Andikola, 2nd season in charge
Club reputation: Underdogs who still can't believe they've made it. Wholesome countryside support. Do a lot with little.
Fans’ expectation: Top-half finish
Pundits’ prediction: 9th of 20
Notes: Sporting Arkamo have enjoyed a quite pre-season while moving back into The Bells following its extensive renovations, which have nearly doubled the previous capacity and installed top-of-the-line amenities. It represents a major long-term investment in the club, and what’s best for them is they practically didn’t pay for it – the FAF included its funding as part of state preparations for the Copa Rushmori, to much eyebrow-raising considering the president of the FAF is also former president of Arkamo and the stadium didn’t end up hosting the Copa. For the most part they’ve managed to avoid scrutiny, however, given the bigger story of the national team’s abject failure on the pitch, and have made some minor signings in defence. Hanni Andikola clearly trusts this squad as he heads into his second season in charge, though he’s managing a time-bomb: several starters are close to retirement, and talented teenage goalkeeper Lino Kaberle is due to return to Sporting Iturributa once his loan is done at the end of the season.

ImageImage
Echegoyan FC, est. 530
Ground: Silanes Park (55,140), Echegoyan Image
Colours: Green and white stripes, green shorts and socks
Major rivals: Blue Mountain Range (The Echegoyan Derby), Miners FC (local)
Major honours: Image 3 First Division titles, Image 1 Royal Cup, Image 1 Ides of March Cup
Main sponsor: Enersuntsu (alternative energy)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★★ / Youth system ★★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 13.9 M
Seasons in the First Division: 37 of 39

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Perucho Garabieta ©, aLBa Image Bardol Sayaberemborde, aCBa Image Arnalt Larra, aCBa Image Garikoitz Abaria, aRBa Image Arrosko Zugazti, aDMa Image Dabi Teyagorry, aLMa Image Ereinkor Ybarrola, aRMa Image Echeberri Herrekalde, aAMa Image Aingeru Edera, aCFa Image Zabal Alkatena, aCFa Image Peyo Isamendi

Bench: aGKa Albi Gorostar, aGKa Itzaina Hegichussy, aLBa Lehoi Uribeondo, aCBa Zeruko Echeberria, aCBa Baleren Zarrasbeitia, aCBa Koldobika Orbegozo, aRBa Agoztar Kalorra, aDMa Marchot Uris, aLMa Oinaz Kamon, aCMa Balasi Erke, aRMa Bardol Arabaolaza, aAMa Gau Urunaga, aCFa Xefe Solaegi, aCFa Petrigai Orneta, aCFa Indar Burukuya

Manager: Image Opilano Errotabehere, 2nd season in charge
Club reputation: Hardy, tough, always up for a fight. Cheating bastards to many. Top team long ago, now on the margins.
Fans’ expectation: Top 6
Pundits’ prediction: 10th of 20
Notes: Echegoyan FC have just barely survived an atrocious season that saw them scraping past Astograth University on the final matchday to avoid relegation. It was a thrilling finale, to be sure, but not one befitting a club that supposedly wants to challenge for the title. The issues have been diagnosed as being mainly with management rather than with the squad and, given that Errotabehere did decently in his bid to save Echegoyan from relegation, they’re expected to bounce back into the midtable. Nevertheless, changes have taken place: Emenon Ulibarri, the team’s treasured playmaker, has marched off to Royal Ibarbe, defensive midfielder Dunixi Izambizaga has joined Oyardo FC, and forward Asentzio Raskin has hung up his boots. New signings include journeyman winger Ereinkor Ybarrola and Astograth Uni’s Dabi Teyagorry. It’ll take a lot to convince the faithful of Silanes Park that the team is definitely on the rise after so many up-and-down seasons, but not getting involved in the relegation battle would be an immediate improvement over last years.

ImageImage
Gortz United, est. 561
Ground: Itsasargiberria Stadium (43,315), Gortz Image
Colours: All lavender
Major rivals: Gortz Academy (local)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Henrik (Polarian finance)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 9.5 M
Seasons in the First Division: 21 of 39

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Yuango Hernera, aLBa Image Osoitz Haukiartze, aCBa Image Anselmo Sinagra (JUE), aCBa Image Yasone Zubiate, aRBa Image Balasi Lakar ©, aDMa Image Abarrotz Sakona, aCMa Image Errapel Insunza, aCMa Image Esmail Wilhelm (ESH), aLMa Image Gasteiz Yrisarri, aRMa Image Zohiartze Gorrachetegi, aCFa Image Anter Genaga

Bench: aGKa Charan Iroz, aGKa Orzaize Chaneke, aLBa Gartzen Boneta, aCBa Artizar Moriega, aCBa Endira Ibarburu, aCBa Erruki Giyamondegi, aRBa Marz Kachola, aDMa Mayu Karreras, aCMa Aioro Arangena, aCMa Leheren Goyhenespe, aLMa Maurin Zabale, aRMa Arixo Usay, aAMa Mederi Marien, aCFa Ibon Herrea, aCFa Urbasa Aldanondo

Manager: Image Eneko Madariaga, 1st season in charge
Club reputation: Resourceful, scrappy, fight to the end. Wring the last few years out of old players.
Fans’ expectation: Mid-table finish
Pundits’ prediction: 11th of 20
Notes: Piarres Erke arrived at a wobbly, relegation-threatened Gortz United and left them in 8th place, their best finish in the First Division in nearly 25 years. His surprise signing by Athletic Club Olarria means the task is now upon the largely unproven Eneko Madariaga to continue on the path of providing midtable stability for a club that has been bleeding money over the last few years and, after nine seasons, still struggling to be comfortable in the top flight. One bonus is they’ve completed a big stadium expansion, but doubts remain over whether they’ll be able to reliably fill it out – budget cuts already meant they had to scale back several of the planned upgrades. To their credit, they have been clever on the transfer market, getting cheap deals on good players who’ve suddenly found themselves out of favour: Eshani midfielder Esmail Wilhelm out of the relegated Bakartirla Buccaneers, left winger Gasteiz Yrisarri from Olarria and, most notably, right winger Zohiartze Gorrachetegi, a veteran starter for Iturributa United who’s been cut by Justin Vauxhall. Gortz certainly have the tools to mount a successful midtable campaign, the question is whether it’ll all come together under an inexperienced manager after having a highly competent one in Erke.

ImageImage
Basabe Old Boys, est. 516
Ground: New Beltzura Stadium (46,000), Basabe Image
Colours: Red shirt, white shorts, red socks
Major rivals: Basabe Youth (local), Athletic Club Basabe (local), Oyardo FC (regional), Dockyard Oaks (local)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: KAT (steel)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 9 M
Seasons in the First Division: 11 of 39

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Oinatz Lissarrage, aLBa Image Inge Beriain, aCBa Image Benat Yabar ©, aCBa Image Elatzar Kasuriaga, aRBa Image Nikola Gainkerain, aDMa Image Diegoche Yauregizar, aDMa Image Luki Aldalur, aLMa Image Diegoche Ulbina, aRMa Image Kiliz Peyran, aAMa Image Garchot Dirassar, aCFa Image Petrigai Errezarret

Bench: aGKa Hanni Uribarri, aGKa Loren Salazar, aLBa Deunoro Hala, aCBa Gomesano Mediano, aCBa Barea Bolea, aCBa Pierres Legaza, aRBa Gorbea Gogenola, aDMa Hotz Garza, aDMa Eder Peleretegi, aLMa Alesander Iriso, aRMa Bide Izarriaga, aAMa Matin Muruzeta, aAMa Laurgain Garakoch, aCFa Yake Garracho, aCFa Hanni Angiano

Manager: Image Ixidor Bernales, 5th season in charge
Club reputation: From a massive city with very fractured support. An alright team, but many suspect they could do a lot better.
Fans’ expectation: Mid-table finish
Pundits’ prediction: 12th of 20
Notes: Basabe Old Boys continue to cruise along, and are looking forward to another mid-table season with hopefully minimal complications. The biggest news was their sale of promising winger Anchoka Oyhantkabal to Royal Rumiatzi, in a complicated operation that saw Kiliz Peyran and youngster Alesander Iriso move the other way. Peyran is a First Division veteran and briefly played for the Astograthian national team, while Iriso is an interesting prospect for the future; overall, a good deal in fans’ eyes. Elatzar Kasuriaga also arrived to strengthen the back four, among other signings. There is some worry about their depth in attack, as ageing forward Petrigai Errezarret accounts for a significant portion of the team’s goals and an injury to him could be catastrophic, but Old Boys seem to simply be hoping for the best. It’s not broken yet, so why fix it?

ImageImage
Blue Mountain Range, est. 518
Ground: Ximun Orieta Sporting Ground (34,000), Echegoyan Image
Colours: All sky blue
Major rivals: Echegoyan FC (The Echegoyan Derby), Miners FC (local)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Weaver, Smith & Wrangler (Taeshani apparel)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★ / Training facilities ★★★★ / Youth system ★★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 9.6 M
Seasons in the First Division: 36 of 39

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Arano Ilaria, aLBa Image Markel Kortayarena, aCBa Image Anartz Ugeruaga ©, aCBa Image Yurdan Yaurreche, aCBa Image Yake Gurina, aRBa Image Eder Eskariz, aDMa Image Keop Osa, aDMa Image Goizeder Abadia, aLMa Image Urgutz Barnachea, aRMa Image Ubendu Sakierain, aCFa Image Oihan Iraeta

Bench: aGKa Leheren Burunzangaray, aGKa Atze Labadie, aLBa Lerchun Sarre, aCBa Urbasa Albina, aCBa Garoa Iasuralde, aCBa Anaia Bizkaino, aRBa Nuxila Dezabaleta, aDMa Todor Biota, aDMa Ekain Dirube, aLMa Gorka Urtaran, aCMa Koldo Repide, aRMa Harri Larrabide, aAMa Mayorga Muniakas, aCFa Diagur Echebes, aCFa Image Jacky Abatantuono (JUE)

Manager: Image Frantz Ormache, 2nd season in charge
Club reputation: Ultra-defensive, ultra-physical. Ugly tackles, ugly football. Extremely consistent. Reviled by most but wildly popular in Taeshan.
Fans’ expectation: Finish above Echegoyan FC
Pundits’ prediction: 13th of 20
Notes: There is no team as reliably mid-table as Blue Mountain Range, who enter their 36th First Division season having never finished in the top 5. Last season was, however, one of the rare instances in which Echegoyan FC ended up even lower than them, which was cause for significant delight and celebration among the sky-blue faithful of the city – they’ll take what they can get. This season is looking quite similar to the last, which was itself similar to the one before, and so on: deny the opposition, boot it forward to score on the counter or from a set-piece. Signings include goalkeeper Arano Ilaria, picked from the relegated Royal Association, a two-player deal from Antiguoko in Yake Gurina and the tireless Todor Biota, and the nostalgic return of hometown hero Nuxila Dezabaleta, long-serving right-back for Urbizania Wanderers come to wind down his career at the club he grew up in.
Last edited by Astograth on Mon Dec 21, 2020 3:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Astograth
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1498
Founded: Feb 04, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Astograth » Wed Aug 26, 2020 5:42 pm

Image
The Astograthian Football League
Season 684 Preview – Part 3

ImageImage
Urbitzo FC, est. 526
Ground: Champion Lane (22,180), Urbitzo Image
Colours: Blue with white sash, blue shorts, white socks
Major rivals: Oyardo FC (local)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Okinaga (watercraft and motorcycles)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★ / Training facilities ★★ / Youth system ★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 8.1 M
Seasons in the First Division: 2 of 39

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Urtzi Dolagaray, aLBa Image Hartz Isuregi, aCBa Image Gilen Kaparra, aCBa Image Ichaso Medinabeitia, aRBa Image Sugoi Iniurrigarro, aDMa Image Alain Anderika ©, aCMa Image Oskarbi Iturriarte, aLMa Image Agosti Suaso, aRMa Image Gasteiz Legaza, aAMa Image Polentzi Bizagirre, aCFa Image Edorta Aniasko

Bench: aGKa Bilbo Bolibar, aGKa Erruki Garramendi, aLBa Gauargi Almirantearena, aCBa Mayorga Amorrosta, aCBa Kepa Egigorry, aCBa Hurko Gobeo, aRBa Yanpier Oyakarizketa, aDMa Anakoz Sagasti, aDMa Ruisko Zarazua, aCMa Marchel Echasenage, aLMa Berdaitz Olhagaray, aRMa Bordat Moroy, aAMa Urdin Ugaldea, aCFa Xabat Anzoleaga, aCFa Seber Akordagoitia

Manager: Image Yeremi Belaustigetigoitia, 3rd season in charge
Club reputation: Jealous of rival Oyardo's prior success, anxious for some of their own. Looked down upon - 50 years to get in the top flight?
Fans’ expectation: Finish above Oyardo
Pundits’ prediction: 14th of 20
Notes: Last season was quite the ride for Urbitzo. In what was their first time competing in the top flight, they were on track to finish within the Challengers’ Cup places until past the halfway point, when the wear and tear of the inexperienced squad saw them drop down to a still very respectable 12th. In this pre-season, some of their best players have been poached away; Urbitzo responded by signing several others that are far from flashy but are well established and proven in their roles. These include winger Gasteiz Legaza, with past spells at Antiguoko and Gortz; left-back Hartz Isuregi, who has been a dependable utility player for Ituraitz and the two Iturributan giants; and, most significantly, former national team midfielder Alain Anderika from Sporting Iturributa, who has been immediately honoured as team captain in recognition of his talent and trajectory. In experts’ opinions, this is still a team largely made up of Second Division players and their form will depend mostly on manager Belaustigetigoitia – but there’s an added, huge incentive for Urbitzo: Oyardo are now in the league. For the first time, the East Anzar Derby will take place in the First Division of Astograthian football, and each team would like nothing more than to see the other relegated.

ImageImage
Miners FC, est. 515
Ground: The Lieutenant (14,700), Echegoyan Image
Colours: Red with black sash, black shorts, red socks
Major rivals: Echegoyan FC, Blue Mountain Range (all local)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Ondraka (hardware)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★ / Training facilities ★★ / Youth system ★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 6.3 M
Seasons in the First Division: 8 of 39

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Baladi Ordoki, aLBa Image Pierres Kenitagoya, aCBa Image Bide Galkeran, aCBa Image Argider Obieta, aRBa Image Haitz Elosu, aDMa Image Gaitzka Ituzarriaga, aDMa Image Lauaxeta Amas, aLMa Image Antso Biteri ©, aCMa Image Gilamu Mazondo, aRMa Image Haitz Uriz, aCFa Image Anchoka Alagibe

Bench: aGKa Giro Insausti, aGKa Yaunzuria Andikoechea, aLBa Eztebe Pinedo, aCBa Loiola Orieta, aCBa Yoseba Andeza, aCBa Azibar Marrokin, aRBa Ganix Bigorra, aDMa Alatz Larraza, aDMa Xabier Appathie, aCMa Mendebal Yugo, aLMa Yon Echaurren, aRMa Aztore Goyos, aAMa Pello Salduberes, aCFa Axular Mendiberry, aCFa Totakoxe Akutain

Manager: Image Argider Gorriaran, 3rd season in charge
Club reputation: The odd-men-out of Echegoyan, forever yo-yoing between divisions. Small club, very close to their loyal supporters.
Fans’ expectation: Avoid relegation
Pundits’ prediction: 15th of 20
Notes: In surviving for another year, Miners surpassed expectations last season. Now, however, there are extensive doubts regarding whether they can keep it up. The club is racking up debt, their best players have been slowly picked away and, although they’ve signed decent replacements such as Bide Galkeran and Lauaxeta Amas, they are exactly that: decent. Not good, and it may simply not be enough to avoid the drop in what is sure to be a cutthroat season. The situation is particularly dire in terms of strikers: goalscoring is the team’s biggest weakness, and the only reinforcement is 33-year-old Totakoxe Akutain from Iturributa United. In fans’ eyes, a not insignificant amount of money has been forked over for a has-been with bad knees to sit on the bench, and manager Argider Gorriaran will be feeling the pressure from the start.

ImageImage
Gesterlake FC, est. 507
Ground: Castle Hill (48,861), Gesterlake Image
Colours: Yellow shirt, dark blue shorts, yellow socks
Major rivals: Royal Arexa (The Twin Cities Derby), Berlasko FC (The Gesterlake Derby), Antiguoko FC (historic)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Astek (technology)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 6.8 M
Seasons in the First Division: 25 of 39

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Otsoa Sanyorenti, aLBa Image Haitz Araistegi, aCBa Image Iparragirre Yabar, aCBa Image Birila Taiyade, aRBa Image Frederik Goikoechea ©, aLMa Image Yanpier Aroix, aCMa Image Franchizko Irrazabal, aRMa Image Charan Karrikaburu, aAMa Image Yuli Nikoularena, aCFa Image Sabin Laza, aCFa Image Aner Bermeyiyo

Bench: aGKa Ezkerra Bibankotz, aGKa Yeremi Subasnabar, aLBa Bakar Gerrikabeitia, aCBa Luken Almirantearena, aCBa Sugoi Urenia, aCBa Enetz Paternain, aRBa Ubarna Urrutigoity, aDMa Balesio Zubiarrain, aLMa Laurin Aricheta, aCMa Ubelteso Amilaga, aRMa Iraunkor Kotabarren, aAMa Ayande Pagola, aCFa Matai Agerregaray, aCFa Mendiko Zoko, aCFa Eguntsenti Belazkez

Manager: Image Anaut Eskape, 1st season in charge
Club reputation: Top flight mainstay, but their best years are behind them. Strong support. Inoffensive, popular with advertisers.
Fans’ expectation: Avoid relegation
Pundits’ prediction: 16th of 20
Notes: Gesterlake are having a hard time dealing with the fact that they’re now a lower-table team. Poor decisions across several years have led them first to relegation, now back into the top flight to struggle for a third season in a row. They’ve got a new manager in Anaut Eskape, who’s eager to prove himself in the First Division, but the squad has remained pretty much the same. One exception is goalkeeper Otsoa Sanyorenti, brought in from Blue Mountain Range. If he and his defence can avoid the leakiness of last season, Gesterlake may have a chance, since they’re quite competent in attack. Something to look forward to is the expanded and renovated Castle Hill stadium, the earnings from which may allow the club to turn things around if they can just stay in the First Division a bit longer.

ImageImage
Ituraitz Victory, est. 496
Ground: Ituraitz Sporting Ground (63,000), Ituraitz Image
Colours: Blue shirt, white shorts, blue socks
Major rivals: Ituraitz FC (The Ituraitz Derby), Ximun Orieta FC (local)
Major honours: Image 1 Royal Cup
Main sponsor: Petromok (oil & gas)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 6.6 M
Seasons in the First Division: 29 of 39

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Larendi Erroz, aLBa Image Silban Elichagaray, aCBa Image Hanni Anchea, aCBa Image Gartzen Beraun, aRBa Image Kaxen Arabehere, aDMa Image Umea Lukastegi, aDMa Image Aitzol Nanklares, aLMa Image Gartzi Abaroa ©, aRMa Image Totakoxe Ansolidoa, aAMa Image Omar Mahir (ESH), aCFa Image Mikelatz Idaberry

Bench: aGKa Gunutz Sagarribay, aGKa Mendebal Beheran, aLBa Aratz Iarritu, aCBa Manu Amosain, aCBa Goren Elizabe, aCBa Ilari Beola, aRBa Odon Echauren, aDMa Aresti Echabarri, aDMa Gasteiz Mendiberri, aLMa Chordon Ytuarte, aCMa Elorri Yurramendi, aRMa Loramendi Kuruchelar, aAMa Sugoi Mendia, aCFa Iban Anchordoki, aCFa Ler Eleskagaray

Manager: Image Yaunti Echekopar, 2nd season in charge
Club reputation: Venerable. Respected but pitied. Massively popular in their city, no matter the lack of success.
Fans’ expectation: Mid-table finish
Pundits’ prediction: 17th of 20
Notes: Victory have spent the last five seasons dodging relegation, and what every fan wants to know is when this suffering will end. Not soon, judging by the board’s actions. Ageio Osinde, a promising right-back, is off to Royal Rumiatzi for a lump of cash, which has been promptly spent on a pair of backup wingers tossed away by better clubs and not much else. Yaunti Echekopar faces his second season in charge with basically the same squad as last time, and will almost certainly be once again involved in the relegation battle. The only consolation is that it seems several other clubs are in an even tougher position – you don’t have to be the best, only the fourth worst!

ImageImage
East Railway, est. 503
Ground: Narbaitza Memorial Stadium (17,930), Rumiatzi Image
Colours: Grey and black stripes, grey shorts and socks
Major rivals: South Factory (The Workers' Derby), Athletic Club Rumiatzi (local)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Valrauncion! Come to Rumiatzi (noble cause)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★ / Training facilities ★★ / Youth system ★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 5.4 M
Seasons in the First Division: 8 of 39

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Gogo Abin, aLBa Image Egoitz Laiseka, aCBa Image Lander Kahe, aCBa Image Diegoche Hetagoyena, aRBa Image Antso Ozaran, aDMa Image Poz Basualdo, aDMa Image Dabi Elizondo-Egozkarra, aLMa Image Ilazki Oleaga, aRMa Image Hibai Akerra, aCFa Image Yeremi Zalazar ©, aCFa Image Tipi Eguaras

Bench: aGKa Goren Tamborindegi, aGKa Urbez Altera, aLBa Zuzen Sandra, aCBa Zigor Urmeneta, aCBa Xefe Bessouat, aRBa Lizar Kastanklares, aDMa Guchi Oyea, aDMa Aide Usano, aLMa Ubarna Maturana, aCMa Kismi Galainena, aRMa Errando Zufiaurre, aAMa Aire Echegoyen, aCFa Ostots Burukuya, aCFa Zilar Echekahar, aCFa Cherran Iturricha

Manager: Image Obeko Mundutegi, 5th season in charge
Club reputation: Working-class and proud of it. Substantial support from rail workers and enthusiasts nationwide. A bit of a yo-yo club.
Fans’ expectation: Avoid relegation
Pundits’ prediction: 18th of 20
Notes: East Railway made the news this transfer window for allegedly attempting to sign Valrauncion, the world-famous Starblaydi elf who also plays for Krytenia sometimes. The bid was assumed by many to be either untrue or a joke, but the club have apparently confirmed it via the slogan on this season's shirt, which begs Valrauncion to "come to Rumiatzi". They have forgone valuable sponsor income to do this, which some suspect may be a clever way of increasing sales and brand awareness through virality - or maybe, actually, convincing Valrauncion. Either way, East Railway are, in many pundits' opinions, the best of this batch of promoted clubs - even better positioned than Second Division champions Oyardo FC. Despite a difficult financial situation, they’ve been able to make two massive signings thanks to the sale of starlet Xurdin Eskurdia to Sporting Iturributa: forward Tipi Eguaras and midfielder Dabi Elizondo-Egozkarra, both well established at Urbizania Wanderers. It’s been 23 years since East Railway last competed in the First Division, and they won’t be going out without a fight.

ImageImage
Oyardo FC, est. 571
Ground: The Willows (45,300), Oyardo Image
Colours: White and red stripes, black shorts and socks
Major rivals: Basabe Old Boys (regional), Urbitzo FC (local), Urizaharra FC (regional)
Major honours: Image 2 Royal Cups
Main sponsor: MaksiMerk (supermarkets)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 5 M
Seasons in the First Division: 24 of 39

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Ganix Aranchetbehere, aLBa Image Diegoche Inzagi, aCBa Image Biryayo Yoldi, aCBa Image Eusko Aldabe, aRBa Image Bixincho Karabia, aDMa Image Dunixi Izambizaga, aLMa Image Distiratsu Zoloa, aCMa Image Baladi Treko, aRMa Image Edur Bayarri, aAMa Image Ion Iturri, aCFa Image Berriochoa Iriart ©

Bench: aGKa Apal Karranza, aGKa Onbera Sayaberry, aLBa Pierres Kelada, aCBa Erruki Irasegi, aCBa Anaut Saldise, aCBa Yuaneizu Kantera, aRBa Perucho Garaikoechea, aDMa Erlantz Erasun, aLMa Ler Espilondo, aCMa Urbez Elola, aCMa Yurgi Oronio, aRMa Iraunkor Mendania, aAMa Tipi Yarlegi, aCFa Iraunkor Alama, aCFa Ekhi Udondo

Manager: Image Ubelteso Etzpuru, 2nd season in charge
Club reputation: The most popular and successful club in the vast regions of Lake Anzar and eastern Astograth. Longing to recover the luster of decades past.
Fans’ expectation: Avoid relegation
Pundits’ prediction: 19th of 20
Notes: Oyardo FC won the Second Division in style last season, but have made some unpopular decisions in this transfer window that cast doubt on their ability to stay up. The sale of Yaizki Gamino and Bide Izarriaga has gutted their midfield, in fans’ opinion, and although the signings of Dunixi Izambizaga from Echegoyan FC and Baladi Treko from Royal Rumiatzi are exciting, they’re judged to not be on par with what they’ve lost – and have little resale value, besides. The gap between Second and First Divisions has been seen to widen in recent years, and it’s likely the second-tier champions will face a hard challenge in staying up even with the incentive of playing against their historic rivals, Urbitzo FC.

ImageImage
Athletic Club Rumiatzi, est. 505
Ground: Gotorlekua (42,000), Rumiatzi Image
Colours: Blue and white stripes, blue shorts and socks
Major rivals: Royal Rumiatzi (The Rumiatzi Derby), South Factory, Astograth University, East Railway (all local)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Rumikola (soft drinks)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 3.8 M
Seasons in the First Division: 31 of 39

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Adon Salbidia, aCBa Image Ekhi Saraza, aCBa Image Larendi Iboa, aCBa Image Gaizka Oyenard, aLMa Image Mantzio Nayarro, aCMa Image Polentzi Haitsagerre, aCMa Image Yeremi Latzabe, aRMa Image Ioritz Larregay, aCFa Image Echachu Urtazu, aCFa Image Aurre Oyamburo, aCFa Image Benat Uriburu

Bench: aGKa Hodei Libieta, aGKa Unax Iregi, aLBa Yakobe Aranguren, aCBa Izaskun Eskurdia, aCBa Hitz Sistiaga, aRBa Argider Ormachea, aLMa Donostia Urkia, aDMa Ander Zelayes, aCMa Oskitz Anta ©, aRMa Gaitzka Retegi, aAMa Ruisko Laurnagaray, aCFa Garin Goyen, aCFa Bidari Mendigoechea, aCFa Ximun Iun, aCFa Sandaili Ubiyos

Manager: Image Tzemeno Iyarraz, 3rd season in charge
Club reputation: Historically powerful and traditional rival of Royal Rumiatzi, but long since sidelined. Still enormously popular despite never winning a national title.
Fans’ expectation: Avoid relegation
Pundits’ prediction: 20th of 20
Notes: Athletic Club Rumiatzi have been promoted back into the top flight through the Second Division playoffs, and they have their work cut out for them in surviving the relegation battle. The revival of the Astograthian Football League has seen them become something of a yo-yo club and, like their fellow promoted clubs, have fallen prey to striking while the iron is hot and selling off their best talent now, when they think they can get the most money for them. The income from the transfers of Balendin Betonazko to Iturributa United and Leheren Goyhenespe to Gortz United could, indeed, be vital for the club to balance the budget, but more vital would be staying in the top tier. This is a tough proposition when your best player is 32-year-old Yeremi Latzabe, a centre midfielder who was on the bench for two Royal Cup victories with Royal Rumiatzi and then spent several middling years in middling clubs. Manager Tzemeno Iyarraz will need to pull off something truly special.

User avatar
Astograth
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1498
Founded: Feb 04, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Astograth » Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:14 pm

Image

The Astograthian Football League
Season 684 Review

The 39th season of the Astograthian Football League is now concluded.

First Division
Going in to this season, the favourites to win the First Division were Sporting Iturributa, still basking in the glow of their three championships in a row, and if not them then Lele Manguele’s carefree Royal Rumiatzi were seen as well-poised to reach for the title. Both stumbled, and when they did it was an unexpected combination of teams that picked up the pieces.

Urbizania Wanderers, under the leadership of manager Eriz Bakaikoa and boasting the strongest midfield in the league, were the first to stake their claim, seizing the lead early on and holding it by narrow margins as Sporting Arkamo and Royal Ibarbe capitalised on the top teams’ slow start and a favourable fixture schedule. A Wanderers home loss to Athletic Rumiatzi even allowed Sporting Arkamo to lead the league for four matchdays, before their own home loss to Miners FC led to Iturributa United taking the top spot. United, having rebuilt their squad for this season under new Brenecian manager Justin Vauxhall, tore apart hated rivals Royal Rumiatzi in a landmark 5-0 away win to solidify themselves as title contenders after so many fruitless years. Forward Lukas Bright joined with wingers Fangti Pikolaugh and Lukasz Adalmek to form a devastating attacking trio, backed by a dynamic midfield in Beltza Urkizo, Connor Macdonald and Gunutz Yriberri. The defence, long a problem for United, found its form this season and turned into a valuable asset even going forward, mainly through Timurian left-back Zeydel Abidin Birkan.

As the season neared its halfway point and United battled Wanderers at the top, Sporting Arkamo were sunk down the table by a 3-1 loss to Athletic Club Olarria, who proceeded to take their place in the battle for the title and IFCF spots. With a relatively modest squad, manager Piarres Erke was able to replicate and exceed his prior success with Gortz United, structuring one of the league’s most efficient sides: a pair of deadly strikers in Pachi Lakumetz and Olentzaro Anseotori, excellent delivery through Ubelteso Peruchena, Amber Docherty and Dabi Biuret, and a solid defence that remained the least-beaten until deep into the season.

If a turning point for the season could be singled out, it would be Iturributa United’s loss and draw against Ituraitz Victory and Sporting Arkamo, which gave Wanderers the opening they needed to establish a four-point lead. They would hold onto the top, against all challengers and through a 2-2 draw with United, for the next 13 matchdays. On the 14th, MD 36, they dismantled Sporting Iturributa by three goals to nil, and United subsequently received the bill for their earlier derby victory: Iturributa United 1 – 6 Royal Rumiatzi. With two matches to go, Wanderers’ now eight-point lead was unreachable.

Their success throughout the season was attributed to combining the second-best offense with the third-best defence in the league: Wanderers regularly pummelled their opposition and kept a clean sheet in the process. The team’s standout star and First Division Player of the Season was no doubt Valladar national team winger Alexis Durmisi, who scored an impressive 16 goals and led the team in assists, a crucial outlet for their attack. Taeshani defensive midfielder Yoshimi Hirahito, Wanderers’ other star signing, was voted 3rd Best Player of the Season and was key at controlling the team’s tempo and possession-based play, in conjunction with captain Ibon Irisarre. Aire Epherra, the team’s main striker, sliced through opposition defences seemingly effortlessly, and was crucial in both scoring 25 goals and playing in Durmisi, Gero Sorrosua and Churio Aragolaza. At the back, Farf goalkeeper Dieje Ibrelaná again earned plaudits for his mature talent despite being only 22, and veteran defenders Urre Remondegi and Zohiartze Urkia oversaw the consolidation of younger partners Eriz Mugiro and Aire Kobelas. Urbizania Wanderers were the last champions before three years of domination by Sporting Iturributa, and in confident fashion they have finally regained their crown.

In their last match of the season, at home in Cherketzo Arena, Wanderers received their seventh First Division trophy in the indignant faces of that day’s away team, Royal Rumiatzi. They’d earned a 1-1 draw which, coupled with Iturributa United’s surprise 3-1 loss to East Railway, meant Rumiatzi finished in second place. The end result was deceptive, of course: 6 points off an already-decided title was the closest they’d been to it all season. Lele Manguele’s team plays exciting football, no one will argue that, but they’ve earned a bit of a reputation as a glass cannon: they can deal it but can’t take it, and either win fantastically or fail catastrophically, as seen with their 5-0 loss and then 6-1 win against Iturributa United. Rumiatzi got off to a very slow start, and were almost a third of the way into the season when they picked up their form, annihilated Miners FC 8-0, and rose into IFCF contention. However, just as they got into gear, an injury took out Euran striker Martin Blessed for the next two months; the Knights languished in 6th place as a result, failing to replace his prolific skill. When Blessed returned he did so with a vengeance, scoring four in a 6-1 vanquishing of East Railway. His goals, a stunning 27 in just 29 matches played, slowly dragged Rumiatzi back into the fray and ultimately a runner-up finish, with the top Challengers’ Cup spot. Lele Manguele unexpectedly held onto his job through all of this, and his silver tongue is likely to afford him yet another chance at the title next year.

The slip from 2nd to 3rd hardly registered at Iturributa United. The title was assumed all but lost after the 2-2 draw with Wanderers on MD 34, but the 6-1 loss to Rumiatzi was a brutal blow sowing doubt throughout the club. If not for that, this would go down as a decent season and a promising start to Justin Vauxhall’s tenure, a solid starting point from which to finally win back the championship.

Athletic Club Olarria remained strong throughout the season, keeping within five points of Wanderers up until the last month and a half of the league, when the strain of the season and a lack of depth caused them to droop down to 4th. Nevertheless, this equals their best-ever finishes in the First Division, qualifies them for the Challengers’ Cup for the first time of the IFCF era, and is a fantastic success for the club after coming in a dismal 10th the year prior.

Coming in 5th, Ituraitz FC struggled all season to find their form. Erratic from week to week, Bob Partridge’s Gorriaka were especially poor in derbies, including a 3-0 loss to Ituraitz Victory that no one saw coming. They picked up steam toward the end of the season, having a much better second than first half, but a 1-1 draw in the Ituraitz Derby on the penultimate matchday effectively ended their chances of overtaking Athletic Club Olarria and qualifying for the Challengers’ Cup. Erphinstatdt Tstinstaphensteitd, though a capable centre midfielder, was not the smash success of a signing they’d hoped for, and exciting striker Olentzaro Karazatorre had a solid but not outstanding first season scoring 13 goals – the same as seasoned veteran Lastur Orkola. Another sensational season from Isidra Corvey, who even topped the club’s scoring charts with 16 goals, elevated the rest of the team – but one player can only pull so much weight. Ituraitz have significant issues in defence, and the retirement of club legend, captain and centre-back Baleren Narke, is as good a time as any to do a makeover in that department.

The burning question everyone asked all season was ‘what the hell happened to Sporting Iturributa?’. And there’s no clear answer, but their three years of glory are definitely over. It took six matches for Sporting to get their first win this season, and from then on it was a long, tiresome series of narrow wins and losses, low-scoring draws, and their tried-and-tested brand of football that critics are now calling perhaps too tried-and-tested. Predictable, sluggish and reactive are some of the kinder adjectives used to describe Sporting this season, as they sank to lowly 6th place. Significant issues were revealed all over the squad: a lack of experience in defenders Gomesano Suhurt and Baiona Menduburu, the effects of age in Servet Misidjan, Xefe Larribe, Egoitz Laurnagaray and Aratz Anzizar, the evidence of a multiple-title-winning team slowly taken apart and sold away piece by piece. Still, the spoils of recent times mean the club is the richest in the country, and with a promising cadre of young players coming through, Sporting can look forward to bouncing back from this sooner rather than later. And despite all their troubles, Sporting Iturributa still reached the Royal Cup final, in what would be one more chance to celebrate. It would also be the last hurrah of two retiring legends: goalkeeper Aratz Anzizar and manager Zorion Legeren, in charge of the Chevrons for the last 14 seasons. Legeren, whom many agree to be the greatest Astograthian manager alive, bows out of the First Division more convinced than ever that his time is past, and Old City Stadium will not soon forget him.

Two teams that overperformed for long stretches of the season were Royal Ibarbe and Sporting Arkamo, and both held on in the fight for IFCF spots until the last quarter of the season. The wear of the season and general lack of experience triggered poor runs of form that wore them down into 7th and 9th places, but managers Mikel Aluztiza and Hanni Andikola have still made their mark by playing attractive, winning football with unfancied squads. Arkamo in particular made an impression by scoring the best and second best goals of the season, stunning football fans across the country.

The two biggest surprises of the season, in 8th and 10th place, were Ituraitz Victory and East Railway. Both clubs were expected to be slugging it out at the bottom of the table, given that Victory have spent the last five seasons just barely scraping by and Railway were coming in after more than two decades out of the top flight. For Victory, the season started off discretely, winning important matches against relegation rivals and then some horrific losses against Gesterlake and Urbizania Wanderers. They seemed headed for another finish somewhere in the lower half of the table. Then they played Ituraitz FC. Victory do not often win the Ituraitz Derby; most of them end in a heavy loss. For the oldest club in the nation, with nearly 190 years of history, it’s become a biannual ritual of hope and humiliation. So to win, and not just win but deliver a 3-0 hammering courtesy of Nanklares, Idaberry and Mahir, invigorated the entire team and its rabid fanbase. Lacking any great stars, manager Yaunti Echekopar forged some of his own out of tireless Eshani playmaker Omar Mahir, relentless centre-back Gartzen Beraun, the ancient one-time national team player Hanni Anchea and winger Totakoxe Ansolidoa. Through grit and inspiration, Victory battled to a lofty 8th place, and a whole 8 points from 9th: their best finish in 32 years.

East Railway were a more fragile team, having to rely on opportunist offense and tight defensive discipline to win crucial matches against Sporting Arkamo, Iturributa United, Athletic Club Olarria and even a local derby against Royal Rumiatzi. Striker Tipi Eguaras and deep playmaker Dabi Elizondo-Egozkarra, both signed on the cheap from Urbizania Wanderers, proved essential to the team’s success and some of the best value for money in the First Division. Its small but devoted fanbase is overjoyed to have not only survived but reached the tranquility of mid-table, and are hopeful that their season-long campaign, “Valrauncion, Come to Rumiatzi” is set to pay off the coming season.

Antiguoko FC, in 11th, had a perfectly OK season. They suffered no relegation scare, no horrible defeats, and pulled off some stunning upsets, including a 5-1 rout of Royal Rumiatzi at the Knights’ lowest point. Antiguoko fans have grown used to being comfortable participants of the First Division, and for many this is as good as they dare hope for – especially after losing talismanic striker Olentzaro Karazatorre. It has yet to be seen whether the board will take the gamble of aiming higher.

Further down, the tale is one of relegation troubles, sacked managers, explicable and inexplicable downturns, and some of the worst stadium food in the league.

Echegoyan FC and Blue Mountain Range both suffered early scrapes with the bottom of the table. Echegoyan, whose ambition is to return to the league’s top 6 teams, quickly ran out of patience seeing the team flounder in the lower midtable, getting slaughtered every other week. They moved to sack manager Opilano Errotabehere and replaced him with Urbitzo FC’s Yeremi Belaustigetigoitia, a fan favourite from his time as lead striker for Echegoyan. He quickly got the team back on track, but could hardly work miracles, and 12th place means another season of deep dissatisfaction for the three-time champions of Astograth. Meanwhile, Blue Mountain Range went the first 13 matches of the season winning only one, and were rock-bottom of the league together with Miners FC. Out went Frantz Ormache, in came young caretaker manager Machin Biskert. Under his leadership, BMR slowly but surely climbed out of the relegation zone to meet critics’ exact prediction: 13th place. Biskert may be here to stay, with that level of consistency.

Gortz United, Miners FC, Athletic Club Rumiatzi and Gesterlake FC all spent the season drifting around the lower third of the table, though none – with the exception of Gortz – suffered any lasting fears of relegation. AC Rumiatzi, expected to be the worst team in the league, put on some impressive football and rose as high as 11th place for some weeks; for them, the season was a surprise and a delight. For the rest, it’s caused or deepened some serious concern.

At the bottom of the table are three sides that not many expected to see relegated. Basabe Old Boys, projected to achieve a comfortable mid-table finish, were unrecognisable. A shambles in defence, manager Ixidor Bernales was let go about two-thirds of the season in, with the team just above the relegation zone. His replacement, the accomplished Zuriko Eliz who previously managed AC Olarria and BMR, failed to turn the team around. Worse, they dropped like a stone and were relegated with two matches to go after a 5-1 beating in Gortz. Eliz, needless to say, won’t be continuing next season.

Urbitzo FC, who pulled off last season’s biggest surprise by finishing 12th in their first foray into the top flight, were doing quite well for themselves until talented manager Yeremi Belaustigetigoitia was poached away by Echegoyan FC. The club quickly signed veteran manager Agoztar Gorstiaga, but the change was too dramatic too fast for a squad that had been moulded to Belaustigetigoitia’s precise specifications. Urbitzo spent long periods of the season at the very bottom of the table. Although they eventually managed to climb into 17th, the final stretch of the fixture list had them play for survival against AC Olarria, Ituraitz FC and Iturributa United. It was a nigh impossible ask, but they’ll be hopeful that their stay in the Second Division will be as brief as possible.

One consolation for Urbitzo is that their local hated rivals, Oyardo FC, did even worse. Ubelteso Etzpuru’s men got off to a tremulous start, picking up a win here and there, before nosediving all through the middle third of the season. Etzpuru was sacked and the club, under pressure, they hired Osasun Olagibe from Old City Central in the Second Division – a good manager for the Arexa-based club, but never tested in the top flight. The team bounced back briefly under new management, even beating Athletic Club Olarria, but the cracks could not be covered up and soon enough deepened. Beaten by Urbitzo in the second East Anzar derby of the season (Oyardo had won the first 2-1), they then failed to win crucial matches against Sporting Arkamo, Ituraitz Victory, East Railway, Echegoyan FC, Basabe Old Boys and Gortz United. Oyardo were last season’s Second Division champions and expected to make their home once again in the top flight, but that dream has evaporated for at least one more year.

Taldo Lehan                Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts
1 Urbizania Wanderers 38 21 13 4 82 32 +50 76 Champions / Copa de Campeones / Champions’ League – 11th CC/CL appearance
2 Royal Rumiatzi 38 20 10 8 100 51 +49 70 Challengers’ Cup – 18th GC/ChC appearance
3 Iturributa United 38 20 10 8 72 45 +27 70 Challengers’ Cup – 24th GC/ChC appearance
4 Athletic Club Olarria 38 18 13 7 61 43 +18 67 Challengers’ Cup – 2nd GC/ChC appearance
5 Ituraitz FC 38 19 8 11 66 53 +13 65
6 Sporting Iturributa 38 17 12 9 39 25 +14 63
7 Royal Ibarbe 38 17 11 10 42 36 +6 62
8 Ituraitz Victory 38 17 8 13 52 54 −2 59
9 Sporting Arkamo 38 13 12 13 59 63 −4 51
10 East Railway 38 13 9 16 39 50 −11 48
11 Antiguoko FC 38 12 11 15 59 49 +10 47
12 Echegoyan FC 38 13 7 18 55 58 −3 46
13 Blue Mountain Range 38 9 16 13 23 29 −6 43
14 Gortz United 38 11 9 18 38 48 −10 42
15 Athletic Club Rumiatzi 38 11 9 18 42 72 −30 42
16 Gesterlake FC 38 11 8 19 42 70 −28 41
17 Miners FC 38 9 14 15 31 52 −21 41
18 Basabe Old Boys 38 9 8 21 40 65 −25 35 ↓ 3-year run
19 Urbitzo FC 38 8 10 20 31 48 −17 34 ↓ 2-year run
20 Oyardo FC 38 7 12 19 39 69 −30 33 ↓ 1-year run

Image
CHAMPIONS
URBIZANIA WANDERERS

7th title


FAF Awards
At the traditional awards ceremony, held at Rumiatzi’s Kraitzaga Theatre once the season is concluded, the Futbol Astograthiko Federazioa presented the following awards, based on First Division performance. Local media consider these highly prestigious, and the definitive acknowledgement of the best in Astograthian football.

Player of the Season:
1. Image Alexis Durmisi (VLD) – 35 apps, 16 goals – Urbizania Wanderers
2. Image Martin Blessed (EUR) – 29 apps, 27 goals – Royal Rumiatzi
3. Image Yoshimi Hirahito (TAE) – 35 apps, 5 goals – Urbizania Wanderers

Young Player of the Season:
1. Image Loxjilo Exihosahar, LB (FFD), age 20 – 31 apps, 1 goal – Royal Rumiatzi
2. Image Lino Kaberle, GK (STL), age 19 – 37 apps – Sporting Arkamo
3. Image Aingeru Edera, AM, age 21 – 35 apps, 8 goals – Echegoyan FC

Manager of the Season:
1. Image Eriz Bakaikoa – Urbizania Wanderers
2. Image Piarres Erke – Athletic Club Olarria
3. Image Yaunti Echekopar – Ituraitz Victory

Golden Uri for Top Scorer:
27 – Image Martin Blessed (EUR) – Royal Rumiatzi
25 – Image Aire Epherra – Urbizania Wanderers
22 – Image Yasone Urdanibia - Royal Rumiatzi

Elmsvikur Trophy for Goal of the Season:
1. Image Xalbador Achabalastra – Sporting Arkamo, vs. Gortz United, MD 34, FT 1–1. Curling shot into the top corner from outside the box, after a deflected free-kick in the final minute of the match.
2. Image Berasko Korradi – Sporting Arkamo, vs. Echegoyan FC, MD 13, FT 3–0. Korradi pounces on a misplaced pass to rush past the defence, feint past the last man and round the goalkeeper, tapping the ball into an empty net.
3. Image Anchoka Alagibe – Miners FC, vs. Sporting Iturributa, MD 22, FT 1–0. A high ball from Hartz Uriz crosses the box and is volleyed on the run by Alagibe, to score his only goal of the season and win at Old City Stadium.

Team of the Season:
GK – Image Dieje Ibrelaná (FFD) – 38 apps – Urbizania Wanderers
LB – Image Zeydel Abidin Birkan (TMR) – 34 apps – Iturributa United
CB – Image Mogel Doyenard – 35 apps, 2 goals – Sporting Iturributa
CB – Image Zohiartze Urkia – 34 apps – Urbizania Wanderers
RB – Image Cheru Lizarza – 35 apps, 3 goals – Ituraitz FC
LM – Image Alexis Durmisi (VLD) – 35 apps, 16 goals – Urbizania Wanderers
CM – Image Yoshimi Hirohito (TAE) – 35 apps, 5 goals – Urbizania Wanderers
RM – Image Amber Docherty (KSK) – 33 apps, 4 goals – Athletic Club Olarria
AM – Image Azeari Duarte – 37 apps, 14 goals – Royal Rumiatzi
CF – Image Aire Epherra – 37 apps, 25 goals – Urbizania Wanderers
CF – Image Martin Blessed (EUR) – 29 apps, 27 goals – Royal Rumiatzi

Name                            Club                    Nat.   Apps  Gls
KARAISKAKIS Petrarch Antiguoko FC NPH 31 5
CAILLEUX Thierry Antiguoko FC HIN 31 5
DOCHERTY Amber Athletic Club Olarria KSK 33 4
MITSUSHIMA Ayuko Athletic Club Olarria HIN 0 0
ABATANTUONO Jacky Blue Mountain Range JUE 11 1
SINAGRA Anselmo Gortz United JUE 35 3
WILHELM Esmail Gortz United ESH 31 2
CORVEY Isidra Ituraitz FC BRE 36 16
TSTINSTAPHENSTEITD Erphinstatdt Ituraitz FC AUD 35 2
ISHIMODA Tomofumi Ituraitz FC HIN 12 3
MAHIR Omar Ituraitz Victory ESH 38 10
DE-WIT Marty Iturributa United AUD 38 0
BIRKAN Zeydel Abidin Iturributa United TMR 34 0
LECHIE Miriam Iturributa United BRE 33 4
MACDONALD Connor Iturributa United KSK 36 1
PIKOLAUGH Fangti Iturributa United CMT 34 12
ADALMEK Lukasz Iturributa United ESH 34 13
BRIGHT Lukas Iturributa United BRE 30 19
CARNEY Gareth Royal Ibarbe NPH 27 1
MUNUZO Hissho Royal Ibarbe HIN 31 1
NAPOLEONI Panfilo Royal Ibarbe JUE 31 2
MATHENY Konrad Royal Rumiatzi NPH 38 0
EXIHOSAHAR Loxjilo Royal Rumiatzi FFD 31 1
DASCHNER Lutz Royal Rumiatzi STL 32 2
BLESSED Martin Royal Rumiatzi EUR 29 27
KABERLE Lino Sporting Arkamo STL 37 0
LAMAARS Freek Sporting Arkamo ESH 33 0
NIFTERIK Damyan Sporting Arkamo ESH 32 9
COMPTON Minerva Sporting Iturributa KOR 33 2
MISIDJAN Servet Sporting Iturributa NPH 33 2
BLACKSDOVE-BEUKERS Ximun Sporting Iturributa AUD 35 4
IBRELANÁ Dieje Urbizania Wanderers FFD 38 0
HIRAHITO Yoshimi Urbizania Wanderers TAE 35 5
DURMISI Alexis Urbizania Wanderers VLD 35 16




Second Division
Like a bad weed, Ilazki Altzibararechuluaga and his Bakartirla Buccaneers just keep coming back to the First Division. Just one season after dropping to the second tier, the small island club have bounced straight back and in strong fashion, securing their promotion with two matches to go. The surprise of the season was the plucky Urizaharra FC, a humble regional side that have played 6 seasons in the top flight before, though to little success – and the last of which was 24 years ago. The third promoted side are Erribe United, who led the division for most of the season before a series of missteps and Bakartirla’s roaring run to the title dropped them into the playoff zone. Keeping their cool, they handily beat Royal Arexa in the semifinals and then Old City Central in a nail-biting affair at Grand Duke’s Stadium. Next season will be Erribe’s third in the First Division, after receiving a place in the top flight relaunch of 674 and playing there two years. This also marked another season of heartbreak for one-time Royal Cup winners Old City Central, who have reached 5 out of the last 7 playoffs but continue without ever seeing the First Division. Meanwhile, Astograth University, who were initial favourites to win the division and make their swift return to the top tier, failed to impress and finished in the very middle of the table. The future’s looking rough for the two-time champions of Astograth.

Taldo Biharran             Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts 
1 Bakartirla Buccaneers 46 26 9 11 59 31 +28 87 ↑ Champions / Liga B Champions’ Trophy – return after 1 year, SBCC/LBCT début
2 Urizaharra FC 46 23 11 12 59 40 +19 80 ↑ Liga B Champions’ Trophy – return after 24 years, 6th SBCC/LBCT appearance
3 Erribe United 46 22 11 13 52 38 +14 77 ↑ Liga B Champions’ Trophy – return after 9 years, SBCC/LBCT début
4 Iturributa Racing Club 46 19 17 10 64 50 +14 74
5 Old City Central 46 20 12 14 58 42 +16 72
6 Royal Arexa 46 21 9 16 54 47 +7 72
7 Dockyard Oaks 46 20 11 15 47 47 0 71
8 Ximun Orieta FC 46 17 17 12 55 46 +9 68
9 Sporting Olarria 46 19 10 17 50 44 +6 67
10 Garitzeta Racing Club 46 19 10 17 48 43 +5 67
11 Astograth University 46 19 8 19 47 37 +10 65
12 Royal Association 46 16 16 14 45 48 −3 64
13 South Factory 46 17 12 17 59 58 +1 63
14 Garitzeta FC 46 17 11 18 40 48 −8 62
15 Army United 46 15 15 16 73 60 +13 60
16 Sporting Ibarguren 46 15 13 18 34 41 −7 58
17 Lermendia FC 46 13 19 14 36 37 −1 58
18 Ichapeldun Mariners 46 14 16 16 42 52 −10 58
19 Rumiatzi 529 46 15 9 22 42 50 −8 54
20 FAS SC 46 14 10 22 43 67 −24 52
21 Mars Athletic 46 14 10 22 50 62 −12 52 ↓ 7-year run
22 Eagles FC 46 13 7 26 47 62 −15 46 ↓ 1-year run
23 Nabarrieta FC 46 9 16 21 37 59 −22 43 ↓ 2-year run
24 Biazterri FC 46 10 11 25 29 61 −32 41 ↓ 1-year run

Promotion Playoffs

Semifinals
Royal Arexa 0–1 Erribe United
Old City Central 1–0 Iturributa Racing Club

Erribe United 1–1 Royal Arexa (2–1 agg.)
Iturributa Racing Club 1–1 Old City Central (1–2 agg.)

Final
@ Grand Duke's Stadium, Rumiatzi
Erribe United 1–0 Old City Central



Second Division B
In the Second Division B’s East Group, a number of surprising candidates rose to challenge for the lead, including Cafundelense and Astograth Meat Commission FC. Ultimately it came down to Basabe Youth slowly but surely chipping away at Uertza Gymnastic’s lead and leapfrogging them into the Second Division after a brief one-year absence. In the West Group, the lead was a season-long battle between Ezkutia MFC and Gortz Academy, with the former triumphing and the latter narrowly dropping below the promotion playoff zone. In the grand final of the Second Division B, to decide the overall champions, Basabe Youth took the match to extra-time and scored twice on an exhausted Ezkutia to win 3-1, The promotion playoffs were the other way around, as the teams from the West – San Markez of Uidio and Ibarbe Sport – handily beat Uertza Gymnastic and Arbetsana Crossing across two legs.

Taldo Biharran B East            Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts
1 Basabe Youth 46 25 10 11 55 32 +23 85 ↑ Champions – return after 1 year
2 Uertza Gymnastic 46 23 11 12 54 38 +16 80
3 Arbetsana Crossing 46 20 15 11 57 35 +22 75
4 Cafundelense 46 22 9 15 47 40 +7 75
5 Astograth Meat Commission FC 46 18 16 12 42 31 +11 70
6 Saint Laida 46 20 8 18 46 53 −7 68
7 Uzio Blackstar 46 17 16 13 61 51 +10 67
8 Markiniz Union 46 17 15 14 51 44 +7 66
9 Sorokin's Old Boys 46 17 15 14 44 41 +3 66
10 Warrior Spirits 46 17 14 15 42 33 +9 65
11 Uriarte United 46 19 8 19 37 40 −3 65
12 Mauritza FC 46 18 11 17 46 51 −5 65
13 Letzama FC 46 17 11 18 46 43 +3 62
14 Berlasko FC 46 15 17 14 42 47 −5 62
15 Freedom FC 46 15 15 16 41 39 +2 60
16 Ariznabarra Castle 46 15 15 16 37 38 −1 60
17 Akialden Marauders 46 16 8 22 40 48 −8 56
18 Madarrierna FC 46 16 7 23 41 52 −11 55
19 Izarloka FC 46 14 12 20 47 56 −9 54
20 Ezkalmendia FC 46 12 16 18 29 42 −13 52
21 Athletic Club Basabe 46 13 13 20 37 47 −10 52 ↓ 11-year run in the Football League
22 Larrinoa Yellow-Green 46 12 15 19 39 48 −9 51 ↓ 11-year run
23 Langaraitz Rovers 46 12 12 22 35 54 −19 48 ↓ 11-year run
24 Akoztia FC 46 10 15 21 41 54 −13 45 ↓ 1-year run

West Group
Taldo Biharran B West       Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts
1 Ezkutia MFC 46 24 15 7 69 28 +41 87 ↑ return after 8 years
2 Ibarbe Sport 46 21 19 6 63 32 +31 82 ↑ will make Second Division début
3 San Markez 46 23 9 14 55 47 +8 78 ↑ return after 1 year
4 Gortz Academy 46 22 9 15 53 44 +9 75
5 Tzaramaga Rovers 46 19 14 13 49 46 +3 71
6 FK Aliantza 46 18 13 15 52 37 +15 67
7 Orontzo United 46 19 10 17 45 47 −2 67
8 Ibarriola United 46 19 9 18 36 40 −4 66
9 Goyardeliz United 46 17 14 15 33 32 +1 65
10 Omagoitia Rovers 46 18 11 17 51 40 +11 65
11 Bizkarra Castle 46 17 14 15 50 45 +5 65
12 Izurria Pirates 46 18 10 18 47 51 −4 64
13 Progress Athletic 46 16 13 17 51 44 +7 61
14 Uidio Mariners 46 15 14 17 44 42 +2 59
15 Ibarbe Youth 46 16 10 20 47 53 −6 58
16 Athletic Club Yungoitio 46 16 10 20 44 63 −19 58
17 Okerruri FC 46 15 12 19 50 56 −6 57
18 Chopbiren FC 46 14 14 18 54 55 −1 56
19 Guenaztia Electric 46 14 13 19 40 58 −18 55
20 Ertzanga FC 46 14 13 19 42 53 −11 55
21 Chinchartu Lehoi 46 14 11 21 41 58 −17 53 ↓ 11-year run in the Football League
22 Obodixo FC 46 14 9 23 43 56 −13 51 ↓ 1-year run
23 Naguaro FC 46 12 12 22 54 65 −11 48 ↓ 1-year run
24 Athletic Club Yokano 46 12 12 22 37 58 −21 48 ↓ 2-year run

Championship Final – East vs. West
@ Grand Duke's Stadium, Rumiatzi
Ezkutia MFC 1–1 Basabe Youth (1–3 AET)

Promotion Playoffs
San Markez 4–1 Uertza Gymnastic
Arbetsana Crossing 0–2 Ibarbe Sport

Uertza Gymnastic 1–0 San Markez (2–4 agg.)
Ibarbe Sport 1–0 Arbetsana Crossing (3–0 agg.)



Astograthian Development League – Honours Division

The Astograthian Development League, a joint FAF-Ministry of Sport venture, pits U21 teams across the nation in round-robin action. The top flight, or Honours Division, has been won by Royal Rumiatzi after an early lead by Sporting Iturributa – perhaps mimicking their senior counterparts – was squandered. Ituraitz FC, who are expected to take full advantage of this youth squad the following season, themselves dropped points until it was Rumiatzi who ran out the winners. And in Lele Manguele’s world, who knows how much value he might find in these title-winning youngsters.

Honours Division          Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts
1 Royal Rumiatzi 30 19 7 4 57 28 +29 64 Champions / Rising Stars’ Cup
2 Ituraitz FC 30 18 6 6 61 26 +35 60
3 Iturributa United 30 16 6 8 55 34 +21 54
4 Sporting Iturributa 30 15 7 8 33 25 +8 52
5 Urbizania Wanderers 30 14 7 9 54 35 +19 49
6 Blue Mountain Range 30 14 5 11 24 15 +9 47
7 Oyardo FC 30 12 5 13 33 35 −2 41
8 Echegoyan FC 30 11 7 12 45 44 +1 40
9 Astograth University 30 10 8 12 24 24 0 38
10 Bakartirla Buccaneers 30 10 7 13 27 44 −17 37
11 Antiguoko FC 30 10 7 13 29 43 −14 37
12 Garitzeta FC 30 9 7 14 40 47 −7 34
13 Miners FC 30 8 7 15 30 46 −16 31
14 Basabe Old Boys 30 7 8 15 26 43 −17 29
15 Ituraitz Victory 30 7 8 15 22 45 −23 29 ↓
16 Letzama FC 30 4 10 16 19 45 −26 22 ↓

Promoted: Royal Ibarbe, Sporting Arkamo





Image
The Royal Cup

One-legged ties. First and Second Division teams enter at the Round of 64, and the former are seeded for that and the following round. If clubs have a two-tier difference or greater, the lower-tier team will play at home.

Round of 64 (select matches)
Progress Athletic 3–8 Ituraitz FC
Bakartirla Buccaneers 1–0 Urbitzo FC
Elgandaba County 0–4 Sporting Iturributa
Urbizania Wanderers 4–0 Iturributa Racing Club
Landako Wanderers 1–1 East Railway (1–2 AET)
Oyardo FC 1–4 Lermendia FC
Nabarrieta FC 0–0 Miners FC (1–0 AET)
Athletic Club Rumiatzi 3–3 Rumiatzi 529 (3–3 AET) (3–2 pen.)
Royal Rumiatzi 1–0 Garitzeta Racing Club
Bizkarra Castle 0–1 Gesterlake FC
Sporting Arkamo 1–0 Old City Central
Goyardeliz United 0–1 Antiguoko FC
Freedom FC 2–2 Ituraitz Victory (2–2 AET) (0–3 pen.)
Saint Laida 1–1 Basabe Old Boys (1–1 AET) (6–7 pen.)
Iturributa United 2–0 FAS SC
Ezkutia MFC 0–1 Gortz United
Echegoyan FC 4–0 Dockyard Oaks
Kumatz Cheese 0–3 Royal Ibarbe
Royal Association 1–4 Athletic Club Olarria
Urizaharra FC 1–0 Blue Mountain Range

First Division clubs seem to have learned their lesson from previous editions of the Royal Cup, no longer fielding severely weakened sides in the early rounds. Only 4, as opposed to last season’s whopping 9, top-flight teams were eliminated in the Round of 64. Of these, Urbitzo were put out of their misery by eventual Second Division champions Bakartirla Buccaneers, league bottom-feeders Oyardo were caught unawares and roundly beaten by the second-tier Lermendia, and the also second-tier Urizaharra and Nabarrieta narrowly defeated Blue Mountain Range and Miners respectively. Ituraitz Victory and Basabe Old Boys didn’t have it easy either against the third-tier sides Freedom FC and Saint Laida, who both took them to penalties. Elsewhere, there was a rare cup derby played between Athletic Club Rumiatzi and Rumiatzi 529, with the former coming ahead in a nerve-wracking penalty shootout.

Round of 32 (select matches)
Obodixo FC 0–1 Iturributa United
Lermendia FC 1–1 Athletic Club Rumiatzi (1–1 AET) (1–3 pen.)
Erribe United 1–1 Sporting Iturributa (1–2 AET)
Ariznabarra Castle 0–2 Basabe Old Boys
Bakartirla Buccaneers 1–0 East Railway
Okerruri FC 1–4 Antiguoko FC
Astograth University 3–1 Royal Ibarbe
Echegoyan FC 2–0 Eagles FC
Gortz United 1–1 Urizaharra FC (2–1 AET)
Ichapeldun Mariners 3–4 Sporting Arkamo
Mars Athletic 0–4 Urbizania Wanderers
Markiniz Union 2–1 Ituraitz Victory
Nabarrieta FC 1–1 Athletic Club Olarria (1–1 AET) (2–3 pen.)
Sorokin's Old Boys 1–5 Royal Rumiatzi
Ituraitz FC 2–3 Ximun Orieta FC
Sporting Olarria 2–2 Gesterlake FC (2–4 AET)

The Round of 32 featured two glaring upsets for the two teams domiciled at the Ituraitz Sporting Ground. Ituraitz Victory lost their away tie against the tiny, third-tier Markiniz Union from Iturributa province, and the mighty Ituraitz FC were humbled in a 3-2 local derby loss against the “third team” of Ituraitz, Ximun Orieta FC. Meanwhile, Bakartirla Buccaneers continued taking scalps by beating East Railway in Kala and the now second-tier Astograth University eliminated Royal Ibarbe 3-1.

Round of 16
Markiniz Union 1–2 Gesterlake FC
Basabe Old Boys 1–1 Urbizania Wanderers (2–1 AET)
Gortz United 1–1 Echegoyan FC (1–2 AET)
Astograth University 0–1 Iturributa United
Royal Rumiatzi 0–1 Sporting Arkamo
Athletic Club Rumiatzi 1–1 Bakartirla Buccaneers (1–2 AET)
Ximun Orieta FC 0–2 Sporting Iturributa
Antiguoko FC 2–1 Athletic Club Olarria

With the field narrowing to just 16, at least one First Division side featured in every tie of this round and one triumphed in all of them – save for Athletic Club Rumiatzi, who had the misfortune of facing Bakartirla Buccaneers. The Buccaneers, even playing away, were a formidable opponent and fought hard to first equalise and then outright win in extra-time. Echegoyan FC also went to extra-time in their away defeat of Gortz United, Iturributa United did not in their away win over Astograth University, likewise Gesterlake FC in shutting down the fairy-tale run of third-tier Markiniz Union. Antiguoko FC pulled off a mild upset in knocking out Athletic Club Olarria, but the biggest stories were Sporting Arkamo stealing a brilliant win at Royal Rumiatzi and Basabe Old Boys desperately defending a draw against Urbizania Wanderers before beating them in extra-time.

Quarterfinals
Sporting Iturributa 1–0 Basabe Old Boys
Bakartirla Buccaneers 0–1 Sporting Arkamo
Gesterlake FC 1–0 Antiguoko FC
Iturributa United 0–1 Echegoyan FC

Bakartirla Buccaneers, who had faced and beaten top-flight clubs at every step of the cup so far, were finally knocked out by a penalty from Sporting Arkamo’s Berasko Korradi. Sporting Iturributa eliminated a resilient Basabe Old Boys with little fanfare, and Gesterlake FC pulled off a victory in their derby against the more favoured Antiguoko FC. The surprise of the quarterfinals was Echegoyan FC eliminating Iturributa United at Old City Stadium, a snap shot by Echeberri Herrekalde slicing across the box and past the reach of goalkeeper Konrad Matheny.


Semifinals
Sporting Iturributa 2–0 Echegoyan FC
Sporting Arkamo 1–4 Gesterlake FC

Sporting Iturributa had a troubled season, dropping far below expectations in the First Division, but their heads were on right at the time of playing a Royal Cup semifinal. With clinical precision and their trademark defensive excellence, goals by Larendi Gorriz and Xefe Larribe booked them a ticket to their 9th Royal Cup final. In the other tie, the obvious favourites were Sporting Arkamo: beautiful play, good results in the league, a number of great players. They faced, at home, the meager Gesterlake: placed 16 at the time, largely aimless, and whose best players were some a couple of rejects from Royal Rumiatzi and Ituraitz FC, plus Anyer Bermeyiyo, who’d long ago sat on every substitute bench in Ceni. Bermeyiyo scored a brace, bookended by Sabin Laza and Birila Taiyade, to crush a complacent Arkamo and reach Gesterlake’s first ever Royal Cup final.

The Final
@ Grand Duke's Stadium, Rumiatzi

For Gesterlake, this was the most important match of their history. It was their first real chance to win major national silverware – something other than those two Second Division trophies. Gesterlake is one of the twins of Twin Cities province, and their rival city Arexa had already won not one but two Royal Cups through Royal Arexa and Old City Central. The oldest of fans had been waiting since the very first cup – 50 whole years – for this moment. They were not the favourites, to say the least.

For Sporting Iturributa, this match was less important than any of the 6 Champions’ League matches they’d played that season, all of which held the promise of enormous riches and glory. After a dismal league performance, the Royal Cup would be a good consolation prize. The hangover from three years as champions had hit them hard, but the cup could save them some face and get them some international football through the Cup Winners’ Cup. It would also be the last, the very last, match of goalkeeper Aratz Anzizar and manager Zorion Legeren’s entire careers, and everyone at the Chevrons wanted a good sending-off.

Legeren, not about to change his style, lined up Sporting’s now classic 4-2-3-1. Gesterlake’s Anaut Eskape opted for 4-4-1-1. What followed was 90 minutes of tense gridlock, also described as ‘intensely boring’ by some neutral observers. Sporting’s game under Legeren has always been to control possession and cycle it, drawing out the opposition to . Of course, weaker sides such as Gesterlake will often attempt to park the bus, as also happened here, and Sporting’s usual recourse in that situation is to break through the flanks with their top-quality wingers and wing-backs, beating defenders through their combination of speed and skill. The problem was, Sporting doesn’t quite have the top-quality wingers and wing-backs it once did. Baiona Menduburu is not Cheru Lizarza like a 33-year-old Xefe Larribe is not a spry Ihazintu Malkorra. Coincidentally, Gesterlake’s best and most experienced players are on the wings. Espuru had noted this in Sporting’s visit to Gesterlake for the league, where a similar strategy stumped them into a scoreless draw. This had coincided with Sporting’s worst period, however, and on Gesterlake’s visit to Old City Stadium the Chevrons had handed them a confident 2-0 defeat. So for the Royal Cup final, Espuru doubled down.

With intense man-marking, tactical fouls, and setting the half-way line as the upper bound for the team’s attacking playmaker, Gesterlake sought to absolutely lock down their own half. Even Blue Mountain Range fans would blush, to pull that off - or even try it - in a cup final. Against Sporting’s best efforts, against the vision of Servet Misidjan, the delicate dribbling of Ximun Blacksdove-Beukers, the pace of Minerva Compton, Gesterlake cut them off or cut them down. And they were smart, drawing out the yellow cards slowly and spreading them around. They time-wasted from the first minute. They had no shame, and it got them to extra-time.

Frustration had been building in Sporting all through the match, and it burst into desperation in the additional half-hour. Young winger Eskuin Nekol, who’d been subbed on for Lauaxeta Lardaro, finally lost patience with right-back and captain Frederik Goikoechea’s antics during a throw-in. Getting in the face of Gesterlake’s captain, Nekol was baited into throwing a jab before anyone else could get to them. The red card and a bench-clearing argument between managers, referees and both squads wasted the better part of the next five minutes – all in Gesterlake’s favour, of course. A man down, Sporting’s anger could not translate into more effective play, and the match was dragged to a penalty shoot-out.

Aner Bermeyiyo got Gesterlake off to a flying start, before Blacksdove-Beukers equalised for Sporting. Yuli Nikoularena made it 2-1 for Gesterlake. Forward Larendi Gorriz skied his shot, and complained the penalty spot was uneven. Gesterlake were ecstatic, but Aratz Anzizar saving Franchizko Irrazabal’s ground-level shot promptly dampened their spirits. Xefe Larribe coolly blasted the ball into the top right corner to bring the series back to level terms, 2-2. Haitz Araistegi and Servet Misidjan both scored their shots, 3-3. The final penalty of the initial series was fired by Charan Karrikaburu, grazed by Anzizar’s fingers into the post – and into the net. 4-3. Gaitzka Gurina would take the last penalty for Sporting Iturributa, in a Grand Duke’s Stadium turned mad with indignation, elation, anxiety and boiling expectation.

Gesterlake’s goalkeeper, Otsoa Sanyorenti, had already won two Royal Cups going into this match. Both from the bench of Royal Rumiatzi, having played a couple of matches in the very earliest rounds of the competition. He’d been young then, now he was 32. He’d glided through a few more teams, keeping goal for Royal Ibarbe, for Blue Mountain Range. He never thought he’d get to a Royal Cup final again, never mind playing one. Suddenly he was facing down Gaitzka Gurina, a gem of the Astograthian national team, and in a split-second decision dove right. When his hand met the ball, Gesterlake FC won their first Royal Cup.

Sporting Iturributa 0–0 Gesterlake FC (0–0 AET) (3–4 pen.)

Image
CHAMPIONS
GESTERLAKE FC

1st title



Astograth (ASG) qualifiers
Champions’ League: Urbizania Wanderers
Challengers’ Cup: Royal Rumiatzi, Iturributa United, Athletic Club Olarria
Liga B Champions’ Trophy: Bakartirla Buccaneers, Urizaharra FC, Erribe United
Rising Stars’ Cup: Royal Rumiatzi
Cup Winners’ Cup: Gesterlake FC

Copa de Campeones: Urbizania Wanderers
Last edited by Astograth on Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Astograth
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1498
Founded: Feb 04, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Astograth » Sun Dec 20, 2020 3:12 pm

Image
The Astograthian Football League
Season 685 Preview – Part 1

Transfers
- Balendin Sorrekieta (Manager) signed for Bakartirla Buccaneers
- Xander Mcdrew (TAE - Manager) signed for Blue Mountain Range
- Eguzki Berriex (Manager) signed for Miners FC
- Ilazki Altzibararechuluaga (Manager) signed for Royal Ibarbe from Bakartirla Buccaneers
- Zuriko Eliz (Manager) left Basabe Old Boys
- Machin Biskert (Manager) left Blue Mountain Range
- Argider Gorriaran (Manager) left Miners FC
- Osasun Olagibe (Manager) left Oyardo FC
- Mikel Aluztiza (Manager) signed for Sporting Iturributa from Royal Ibarbe
- Zorion Legeren (Manager), who was last at Sporting Iturributa, retired from football aged 69

- Tehmina Palani (SRS - CF) signed for Sporting Iturributa from Brasta (SRS) for Đ1.42 M
- Telá Potos (TIO - CF) signed for Ituraitz FC from OMB (TIO) for Đ1.05 M
- Nolan Moore (TKT - RM) signed for Royal Rumiatzi from Port Tacassam FC (TKT) for Đ840 k
- Ohashi Kiichi (SQR - LM) signed for Sporting Iturributa from Calamari Wanderers FC (SQR) for Đ790 k
- Zhu Aiguo (YZH - RB) signed for Iturributa United from Yincheng Capitals (YZH) for Đ580 k
- Mike Sloah (SNL - CB) signed for Ituraitz FC from Jagomir City (SNL) for Đ420 k
- Sasha Kristine (CMT - RM) signed for Ituraitz FC from Tihon (CMT) for Đ420 k
- Julio Campana (JUE - CF) joined Ituraitz Victory on loan from AC Pomena (JUE)
- Iraitz Echekopaz (RB) signed for Blue Mountain Range from LygaHaven (HVY) as a free agent
- Zhao Yong (YZH - GK) signed for East Railway from Beian Athletic (YZH) as a free agent
- Fernando Armida (STB - GK) signed for Ituraitz FC from Penningworth United (STB) as a free agent
- Osfral Leruose (TIO - LM) signed for Ituraitz Victory from NFB (TIO) as a free agent
- Musko Uriel (LB) signed for Royal Ibarbe from Baywall Athletic (HVY) as a free agent
- Guy Reason (FFD - CM) signed for Royal Rumiatzi from Farfadillis (FFD) as a free agent

- Olentzaro Karazatorre (CF) signed for Pyathora Mariners FC (TKT) from Ituraitz FC for Đ3.26 M
- Arano Ilaria (GK) signed for Real Chinchinhua (TAE) from Blue Mountain Range for Đ2.63 M
- Soter Laborda (DM) signed for Lajuno (EUR) from Urbizania Wanderers for Đ740 k
- Emenon Ulibarri (AM) signed for Duke of the North (PAS) from Royal Ibarbe for Đ660 k
- Bichincho Zabalaga (AM) signed for CF Frantxizko-A (TEQ) from Sporting Arkamo for Đ660 k
- Aurre Laurnagaray (GK) signed for Stahlburg Rovers (NPH) from Athletic Club Olarria for Đ530 k
- Mederi Laskibar (RM) signed for Hutwich & Iduloren FC (KOR) from Ituraitz FC as a free agent
- Eskuin Nekol (LM) signed for AC Izotz Zubia (AUD) from Sporting Iturributa as a free agent

- Loiola Urpi (CB) signed for Royal Rumiatzi from Urbizania Wanderers for Đ1 M
- Altzibar Sarrible (CB) signed for Iturributa United from Athletic Club Olarria for Đ950 k
- Iracho Yeregi (DM) signed for Iturributa United from Urbizania Wanderers for Đ640 k
- Zeruko Echeberria (CB) signed for Antiguoko FC from Echegoyan FC for Đ530 k
- Ander Ametrano (LM) signed for Royal Ibarbe from Urbizania Wanderers for Đ500 k
- Zohiartze Orokieta (CB) signed for East Railway from Ituraitz FC for Đ460 k
- Gilamu Mazondo (CM) signed for Ituraitz FC from Miners FC for Đ460 k
- Dominix Birto (CM) signed for Athletic Club Rumiatzi from Iturributa United for Đ420 k
- Gareth Carney (NPH - LB) signed for Athletic Club Olarria from Royal Ibarbe for Đ390 k
- Mikelatz Idaberry (CF) signed for Erribe United from Ituraitz Victory for Đ390 k
- Garchot Dirassar (AM) signed for Royal Ibarbe from Basabe Old Boys for Đ390 k
- Gomesano Sedero (CM) signed for Sporting Arkamo from Royal Rumiatzi for Đ390 k
- Umea Goyanes (RM) signed for Gortz United from Bakartirla Buccaneers for Đ370 k
- Diegoche Yauregizar (DM) signed for Urbizania Wanderers from Basabe Old Boys for Đ370 k
- Ezkerra Echazarreta (CF) signed for Ituraitz Victory from Royal Rumiatzi for Đ360 k
- Loramendi Kuruchelar (RM) signed for Bakartirla Buccaneers from Ituraitz Victory for Đ350 k
- Yatsu Letamendi (CM) signed for Antiguoko FC from Ituraitz FC for Đ340 k
- Arixo Salayaran (CB) signed for Athletic Club Olarria from Sporting Iturributa for Đ340 k
- Agosti Irachet (LB) signed for Ituraitz Victory from Athletic Club Olarria for Đ340 k
- Aurken Maruri (GK) signed for Sporting Arkamo from Sporting Iturributa for Đ340 k
- Gau Urunaga (AM) signed for Sporting Arkamo from Echegoyan FC for Đ340 k
- Aurken Erenio (CF) signed for Sporting Arkamo from Antiguoko FC for Đ330 k
- Mederi Marien (AM) signed for Echegoyan FC from Gortz United for Đ320 k
- Apal Gerenio (RB) signed for Ituraitz Victory from Iturributa United for Đ320 k
- Markel Kortayarena (LB) signed for Gesterlake FC from Blue Mountain Range for Đ310 k
- Arnalt Bergerot (RB) signed for Bakartirla Buccaneers from Iturributa United for Đ280 k
- Urtungo Kereyazu (CM) signed for Echegoyan FC from Antiguoko FC for Đ280 k
- Bilinch Zumarraga (CF) signed for Athletic Club Rumiatzi from Erribe United for Đ270 k
- Pello Salduberes (AM) signed for Gortz United from Miners FC for Đ270 k
- Aratz Iarritu (LB) signed for Blue Mountain Range from Ituraitz Victory for Đ240 k
- Urtsin Belderrain (LB) signed for East Railway from Astograth University for Đ240 k
- Marz Kachola (RB) signed for Gesterlake FC from Gortz United for Đ220 k
- Elatzar Kobeaga (RB) signed for Iturributa United from Bakartirla Buccaneers for Đ210 k
- Zuzen Sandra (LB) signed for Bakartirla Buccaneers from East Railway for Đ200 k
- Baladi Treko (CM) signed for Miners FC from Oyardo FC for Đ200 k
- Xefe Bessouat (CB) signed for Antiguoko FC from East Railway for Đ190 k
- Petrigai Errezarret (CF) signed for Gesterlake FC from Basabe Old Boys for Đ190 k
- Ximun Iun (CF) signed for Erribe United from Athletic Club Rumiatzi for Đ180 k
- Luki Bringas (CB) signed for Gortz United from Bakartirla Buccaneers for Đ180 k
- Obeko Zabalegi (CB) signed for Ituraitz Victory from Astograth University for Đ180 k
- Eyande Osamiz (CB) signed for Urizaharra FC from Antiguoko FC for Đ180 k
- Hitz Sistiaga (CB) signed for East Railway from Athletic Club Rumiatzi for Đ170 k
- Lander Kahe (CB) signed for Echegoyan FC from East Railway for Đ170 k
- Adei Eiguren (RM) signed for Old City Central from Sporting Ibarguren for Đ170 k
- Yoseba Andeza (CB) signed for Bakartirla Buccaneers from Miners FC for Đ160 k
- Yon Zuasti (GK) signed for Echegoyan FC from Royal Ibarbe for Đ160 k
- Gasteiz Legaza (RM) signed for Miners FC from Urbitzo FC for Đ160 k
- Hartz Isuregi (LB) signed for Royal Ibarbe from Urbitzo FC for Đ150 k
- Lauaxeta Amas (DM) signed for Ituraitz Victory from Miners FC for Đ140 k
- Echekopar Urtazu (AM) signed for Miners FC from Urizaharra FC for Đ140 k
- Sugoi Iniurrigarro (RB) signed for Antiguoko FC from Urbitzo FC for Đ130 k
- Santikurtz Salamendi (CF) signed for Garitzeta FC from Urizaharra FC for Đ130 k
- Gogo Abin (GK) signed for Athletic Club Rumiatzi from East Railway for Đ120 k
- Urritz Duhau (CB) signed for Miners FC from Erribe United for Đ120 k
- Baiona Ordenanz (CB) signed for South Factory from Bakartirla Buccaneers for Đ80 k
- Garoa Iasuralde (CB) signed for Erribe United from Blue Mountain Range for Đ70 k
- Nikola Basto (LB) signed for Erribe United from Royal Ibarbe for Đ70 k
- Behe Tabar (CB) signed for Ichapeldun Mariners from Urizaharra FC for Đ60 k
- Belche Echebarria (CM) signed for Mauritza FC from Urizaharra FC for Đ30 k
- Donostia Urkia (LM) signed for Lermendia FC from Athletic Club Rumiatzi for Đ20 k
- Thomas Kaberle (STL - CB) joined Blue Mountain Range on loan from Sporting Iturributa
- Lino Kaberle (STL - GK) returned to Sporting Iturributa from his loan at Sporting Arkamo
- Xantalen Gastambide (CF) signed for Antiguoko FC from Sporting Iturributa as a free agent
- Ubarna Urrutigoity (RB) signed for Athletic Club Rumiatzi from Gesterlake FC as a free agent
- Barea Bolea (CB) signed for Athletic Club Rumiatzi from Basabe Old Boys as a free agent
- Diegoche Ulbina (LM) signed for Athletic Club Rumiatzi from Basabe Old Boys as a free agent
- Polentzi Bizagirre (AM) signed for Bakartirla Buccaneers from Urbitzo FC as a free agent
- Hitz Suardiaz (LB) signed for Blue Mountain Range from Bakartirla Buccaneers as a free agent
- Isidor Leibar (RM) signed for Blue Mountain Range from Ituraitz FC as a free agent
- Edorta Aniasko (CF) signed for East Railway from Urbitzo FC as a free agent
- Gorbea Gogenola (RB) signed for Echegoyan FC from Basabe Old Boys as a free agent
- Oinatz Lissarrage (GK) signed for Gesterlake FC from Basabe Old Boys as a free agent
- Hibai Alkorta (RB) signed for Gortz United from Astograth University as a free agent
- Aingeru Sayaz (RM) signed for Ituraitz FC from Royal Association as a free agent
- Ugutz Iturriche (RM) signed for Ituraitz Victory from Royal Rumiatzi as a free agent
- Ubelteso Amilaga (CM) signed for Ituraitz Victory from Gesterlake FC as a free agent
- Seber Akordagoitia (CF) signed for Ituraitz Victory from Urbitzo FC as a free agent
- Michaut Agos (DM) signed for Miners FC from Sporting Arkamo as a free agent
- Bidari Mendigoechea (CF) signed for Royal Rumiatzi from Athletic Club Rumiatzi as a free agent
- Iban Anchordoki (CF) signed for South Factory from Ituraitz Victory as a free agent
- Cherran Peluaga (CB) signed for Sporting Arkamo from Iturributa United as a free agent
- Otsoa Sanyorenti (GK) signed for Sporting Iturributa from Gesterlake FC as a free agent
- Goren Elizabe (CB) signed for Urbizania Wanderers from Ituraitz Victory as a free agent

- Urtsua Ulibarria (GK), who was last at Astograth University, retired from football aged 34
- Ospin Urbikain (RM), who was last at Astograth University, retired from football aged 33
- Yeremi Latzabe (CM), who was last at Athletic Club Rumiatzi, retired from football aged 33
- Argider Ormachea (RB), who was last at Athletic Club Rumiatzi, retired from football aged 33
- Adon Salbidia (GK), who was last at Athletic Club Rumiatzi, retired from football aged 34
- Ander Zelayes (DM), who was last at Athletic Club Rumiatzi, retired from football aged 38
- Ilixo Orria (CF), who was last at Athletic Club Yungoitio, retired from football aged 33
- Yosu Sanchotena (AM), who was last at Bakartirla Buccaneers, retired from football aged 37
- Yake Garracho (CF), who was last at Basabe Old Boys, retired from football aged 34
- Pierres Legaza (CB), who was last at Basabe Old Boys, retired from football aged 38
- Kiliz Peyran (RM), who was last at Basabe Old Boys, retired from football aged 33
- Nuxila Dezabaleta (RB), who was last at Blue Mountain Range, retired from football aged 37
- Ubendu Sakierain (RM), who was last at Blue Mountain Range, retired from football aged 33
- Lerchun Sarre (LB), who was last at Blue Mountain Range, retired from football aged 37
- Balasi Erke (CM), who was last at Echegoyan FC, retired from football aged 35
- Albi Gorostar (GK), who was last at Echegoyan FC, retired from football aged 33
- Agoztar Kalorra (RB), who was last at Echegoyan FC, retired from football aged 36
- Asier Amisano (AM), who was last at Erribe United, retired from football aged 36
- Elorri Karrika (CF), who was last at Erribe United, retired from football aged 36
- Gaitzka Minaya (CB), who was last at Erribe United, retired from football aged 36
- Manu Sagardoy (GK), who was last at Erribe United, retired from football aged 33
- Izotz Zoria (CF), who was last at Erribe United, retired from football aged 34
- Yurdan Biguri (CF), who was last at Garitzeta FC, retired from football aged 35
- Harkaitz Genichea (CM), who was last at Garitzeta FC, retired from football aged 36
- Manex Landarte (CB), who was last at Garitzeta FC, retired from football aged 33
- Abarrotz Usatorre (RB), who was last at Garitzeta FC, retired from football aged 34
- Gaxan Irusta (CM), who was last at Garitzeta Racing Club, retired from football aged 35
- Chartiko Lerate (RM), who was last at Garitzeta Racing Club, retired from football aged 37
- Haitz Araistegi (LB), who was last at Gesterlake FC, retired from football aged 33
- Eguntsenti Belazkez (CF), who was last at Gesterlake FC, retired from football aged 37
- Ezkerra Bibankotz (GK), who was last at Gesterlake FC, retired from football aged 36
- Artizar Moriega (CB), who was last at Gortz United, retired from football aged 37
- Arixo Usay (RM), who was last at Gortz United, retired from football aged 36
- Guchi Echelet (CF), who was last at Ichapeldun Mariners, retired from football aged 38
- Baleren Narke (CB), who was last at Ituraitz FC, retired from football aged 35
- Maule Oyage (GK), who was last at Ituraitz FC, retired from football aged 36
- Gartzi Abaroa (LM), who was last at Ituraitz Victory, retired from football aged 34
- Aresti Echabarri (DM), who was last at Ituraitz Victory, retired from football aged 33
- Odon Echauren (RB), who was last at Ituraitz Victory, retired from football aged 37
- Ler Eleskagaray (CF), who was last at Ituraitz Victory, retired from football aged 34
- Elorri Yurramendi (CM), who was last at Ituraitz Victory, retired from football aged 37
- Otsoko Ligorria (GK), who was last at Iturributa Racing Club, retired from football aged 37
- Anchoka Sages (RM), who was last at Izarloka FC, retired from football aged 34
- Bitor Elizaga (CB), who was last at Lermendia FC, retired from football aged 35
- Alatz Larraza (DM), who was last at Miners FC, retired from football aged 33
- Haitz Uriz (RM), who was last at Miners FC, retired from football aged 33
- Urdaspal Chalde (GK), who was last at Old City Central, retired from football aged 38
- Oskarbi Kuburu (CB), who was last at Royal Arexa, retired from football aged 34
- Osoitz Bidart (DM), who was last at Royal Association, retired from football aged 33
- Isidor Ytuarte (DM), who was last at Royal Association, retired from football aged 38
- Selatse Echandiz (LM), who was last at Royal Ibarbe, retired from football aged 33
- Atarratze Sumundegi (DM), who was last at Royal Ibarbe, retired from football aged 34
- Xantalen Luzarraga (CB), who was last at Royal Rumiatzi, retired from football aged 35
- Panpili Garikoche (CB), who was last at South Factory, retired from football aged 36
- Oihan Behelaborde (CF), who was last at Sporting Arkamo, retired from football aged 35
- Zarles Berhongaray (CB), who was last at Sporting Arkamo, retired from football aged 33
- Altzibar Elia (CF), who was last at Sporting Arkamo, retired from football aged 34
- Aratz Anzizar (GK), who was last at Sporting Iturributa, retired from football aged 36
- Mayorga Amorrosta (CB), who was last at Urbitzo FC, retired from football aged 33
- Alain Anderika (DM), who was last at Urbitzo FC, retired from football aged 34
- Erramun Bera (GK), who was last at Urizaharra FC, retired from football aged 33
- Zuzuarregi Elormendi (CF), who was last at Ximun Orieta FC, retired from football aged 35
- Andima Iburrusteta (DM), who was last at Ximun Orieta FC, retired from football aged 33
- Gartzea Letamendia (CM), who was last at Ximun Orieta FC, retired from football aged 37
- Adon Sarasibar (CB), who was last at Ximun Orieta FC, retired from football aged 33

Teams

ImageImage
Urbizania Wanderers, est. 523
Ground: Cherketzo Arena (53,200), Urbizania Image
Colours: All dark green
Major rivals: Ituraitz FC (competitive), Royal Rumiatzi (regional), South Factory (regional)
Major honours: Image UICA Champions’ Cup 43, Image 7 First Division titles, Image 7 Royal Cups
Main sponsor: Duchess Airways (airline)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★★★ / Youth system ★★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 29.9 M
Seasons in the First Division: 40 of 40

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Dieje Ibrelaná (FFD), aLBa Image Urre Remondegi, aCBa Image Eriz Mugiro, aCBa Image Zohiartze Urkia, aRBa Image Aire Kobelas, aDMa Image Ibon Irisarre ©, aDMa Image Yoshimi Hirahito (TAE), aLMa Image Alexis Durmisi (VLD), aRMa Image Churio Aragolaza, aAMa Image Gero Sorrosua, aCFa Image Aire Epherra

Bench: aGKa Iztal Zurriage, aGKa Marz Perurena, aLBa Gomesano Mekolalde, aCBa Xarles Sabatza, aCBa Arotza Durkudoy, aCBa Goren Elizabe, aRBa Bazkoare Echegoyenberry, aDMa Diegoche Yauregizar, aDMa Distiratsu Oniate, aLMa Frantzes Benzoa, aCMa Yurdan Mandiola, aRMa Bixincho Olate, aAMa Xarles Lazkano, aCFa Imanol Bethularan, aCFa Teyo Menbieye

Manager: Image Eriz Bakaikoa, 4th season in charge
Club reputation: Value skillful, beautiful football. Vibe of an intimate, local club despite massive success.
Fans’ expectation: The title
Pundits’ prediction: 1st of 20
Notes: Urbizania Wanderers won their their seventh league title in convincing fashion last time around, thanks to a tight defence, unforgiving striker Aire Epherra, and the best midfield in the league, starring Taeshani international Yoshimi Hirahito and the First Division’s Player of the Year, Valladar winger Alexis Durmisi. This off-season has been quiet at Wanderers, with the club preferring to keep its core team intact, making bank by selling off a number of bench players and replacing them with a new cadre of promising youngsters. Critics accuse manager Eriz Bakaikoa of complacency while others whisper that the wages commanded by the likes of Durmisi, Hirahito, Epherra and captain Irisarre have made the financial situation at Wanderers more delicate than they let on. Whatever the cause, there is still broad agreement that the reigning champions have a strong team across the board, with plenty of squad depth and no obvious weaknesses. Favourites to repeat their title win.

ImageImage
Royal Rumiatzi, est. 541
Ground: Knights' Stadium (70,000), Rumiatzi Image
Colours: White shirt, dark blue shorts and socks
Major rivals: Athletic Club Rumiatzi (The Rumiatzi Derby), Ituraitz FC (The Silver Derby), Iturributa United (political), Sporting Iturributa (political), Urbizania Wanderers (regional), Astograth University (local)
Major honours: Image 9 First Division titles, Image 8 Royal Cups, Image Cygnus Cup 25, Image Copa de Campeones 22, Image 1 Ides of March Cup, Image Aéropag Football Invitational 22
Main sponsor: Dukomm (telecomms)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★★★ / Youth system ★★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 28.4 M
Seasons in the First Division: 40 of 40

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Konrad Matheny (NPH), aLBa Image Loxjilo Exihosahar (FFD), aCBa Image Loiola Urpi, aCBa Image Selatse Yrigoy, aCBa Image Aztore Andia, aRBa Image Lutz Daschner (STL), aLMa Image Kiliz Gartzi, aRMa Image Nolan Moore (TKT), aAMa Image Azeari Duarte ©, aCFa Image Martin Blessed (EUR), aCFa Image Yasone Urdanibia

Bench: aGKa Egen Kortabarren, aGKa Milian Anibar, aLBa Paskal Layinde, aCBa Amuruza Leyarra, aCBa Lore Ameya, aRBa Ageio Osinde, aDMa Argider Eges, aLMa Anchoka Oyhantkabal, aCMa Gorosti Espos, aCMa Image Guy Reason (FFD), aRMa Mogel Darrikarrere, aAMa Lon Dumon, aCFa Bidari Mendigoechea, aCFa Mogel Galdiano, aCFa Gerazan Legazpi

Manager: Image Lele Manguele (FFD), 3rd season in charge
Club reputation: Rich, powerful, will settle for nothing but the best. Trophies are the goal, or heads will roll. Incredibly insecure over the lack of UICA/IFCF success.
Fans’ expectation: The title
Pundits’ prediction: 2nd of 20
Notes: The board of Royal Rumiatzi initially hired Lele Manguele, a man who had never managed any football team at any level, with the understanding that he would either immediately deliver them a league title or be sacked. This will now be Manguele’s third season at the helm of Rumiatzi. Trophies won? Zero. But he has twice guided them to runners-up in the league, and also lost a Royal Cup final – the silverware has been just within reach, enough for Manguele to convince the board to give him just one more chance. On top of that, the board have again reached into their coffers to strengthen an already very strong team: centre-back Loiola Urpi arrives from Wanderers, Tikariot wingers Nolan Moore from Port Tacassam, and a 19 year-old right-back from Farfadillis called Guy Reason, whom no-one other than Manguele has ever heard of. The last time he pulled out one of those it was the Galáctico-shortlisted Exihosahar, so they’ll trust him on this one too. The trio of Azeari Duarte, Yasone Urdanibia and Martin Blessed, combined with Manguele’s ultra-offensive style, remains the most formidable attack in Astograth.

ImageImage
Sporting Iturributa, est. 512
Ground: Old City Stadium (72,000), Iturributa Image
Colours: Crimson with gold chevron, crimson shorts and socks
Major rivals: Iturributa United (The Iturributan Derby), Royal Rumiatzi (political), Iturributa Racing Club (local), Royal Association (local-political)
Major honours: Image 6 First Division titles, Image 3 Royal Cups, Image Cygnus Cup 20, Image 7 Iturributan Premier Division titles, Image 5 Iturributan President's Cups, Image UICA Iturributan Club of the Century
Main sponsor: IB Investments (finance)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★★★ / Youth system ★★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 30.8 M
Seasons in the First Division: 25 of 40

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Lino Kaberle (STL), aLBa Image Minerva Compton (KOR), aCBa Image Mogel Doyenard ©, aCBa Image Gomesano Suhurt, aRBa Image Baiona Menduburu, aDMa Image Servet Misidjan (NPH), aDMa Image Gaitzka Gurina, aLMa Image Ohashi Kiichi (SQR), aRMa Image Xefe Larribe, aAMa Image Ximun Blacksdove-Beukers (AUD), aCFa Image Tehmina Palani (SRS)

Bench: aGKa Otsoa Sanyorenti, aGKa Udalaitz Altabegoiti, aLBa Barea Yaurregiberry, aCBa Oidor Lubiano, aCBa Erauso Zugasti, aCBa Echachu Oriza, aRBa Oxarra Nabarrete, aDMa Xurdin Eskurdia, aDMa Erruki Yauza, aCMa Lehoiar Oztolaza, aLMa Lauaxeta Lardaro, aRMa Matin Galarke, aAMa Edur Elizahalde, aCFa Larendi Gorriz, aCFa Egoitz Laurnagaray

Manager: Image Mikel Aluztiza, 1st season in charge
Club reputation: Refined, classy, value a slow and methodical style of play. Think very highly of themselves. The snobbish one of the two giants out of Iturributa.
Fans’ expectation: The title
Pundits’ prediction: 3rd of 20
Notes: After winning three league titles in a row, Sporting Iturributa seemed ready to grab their fourth on the trot. Instead, they tumbled all the way down to 6th place, and immediately after that lost the Royal Cup final to Gesterlake. The planned retirements of manager Zorion Legeren and goalkeeper Aratz Anzizar, two of the finest to ply their trade in Astograth, have gone ahead and been another hard blow to morale – but will perhaps prove to be a blessing in disguise. Mikel Aluztiza, once a successful centre-back for Sporting, has been brought in to helm the team after a strong stint at Royal Ibarbe. He oversaw some spring cleaning over the off-season: disgraced winger Eskuin Nekol was palmed off to, inexplicably, AC Izotz Zubia of Audioslavia, while several other players were shepherded off to greener pastures. In goal comes the young Siovanijan Lino Kaberle, who spent the last two seasons on loan at Sporting Arkamo. Large fees and large wages have also been paid for Squidroidian winger Ohashi Kiichi from Calamari Wanderers and for striker Tehmina Palani of Brasta, Squornshelan Remnant States; both are expected to start and bring some much-needed vigour to the team going forward. On paper, this is a highly proficient team that could well challenge for the title, though pundits are cautious considering the time it may take for a new manager and new signings to gel.

ImageImage
Iturributa United, est. 523
Ground: Old City Stadium (72,000), Iturributa Image
Colours: White with red sash, red shorts, white socks
Major rivals: Sporting Iturributa (The Iturributan Derby), Royal Rumiatzi (political), Iturributa Racing Club (local), Royal Association (local-political)
Major honours: Image 4 First Division titles, Image 3 Royal Cups, Image 2 Copas de Campeones, Image 3 Ides of March Cups, Image 7 Iturributan Premier Division titles, Image 3 Iturributan President's Cups, runners-up of UICA Champions’ Cups 39 & 52
Main sponsor: Badiola (vehicles)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★★ / Youth system ★★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 28.7 M
Seasons in the First Division: 25 of 40

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Marty De-Wit (AUD), aLBa Image Zeydel Abidin Birkan (TMR), aCBa Image Altzibar Sarrible, aCBa Image Miriam Lechie (BRE), aRBa Image Zhu Aiguo (YZH), aDMa Image Connor Macdonald (KSK), aCMa Image Beltza Urkizo ©, aCMa Image Gunutz Yriberry, aLMa Image Fangti Pikolaugh (CMT), aRMa Image Lukasz Adalmek (ESH), aCFa Image Lukas Bright (BRE)

Bench: aGKa Keop Karrikaberry, aGKa Gaueko Errekondo, aLBa Mayorga Orayen, aCBa Ostots Yerro, aCBa Gorka Ibatborde, aRBa Elatzar Kobeaga, aDMa Iracho Yeregi, aLMa Perrando Eyerart, aCMa Lapurdi Muruaga, aCMa Yaizki Gamino, aRMa Domiku Indurain, aAMa Gaizka Zubisarreta, aCFa Balendin Betonazko, aCFa Hitzeder Lizalde, aCFa Ubendu Usandizaga

Manager: Image Justin Vauxhall (BRE), 2nd season in charge
Club reputation: Frenetic, energetic, populist. Driven to excel at whatever cost. The rowdy one of the two giants out of Iturributa.
Fans’ expectation: The title
Pundits’ prediction: 4th of 20
Notes: Justin Vauxhall’s tenure at United got off to a good start last season, and would have gone down as a solid first year if it hadn’t been marred by a late-season 6-1 derby loss to Royal Rumiatzi, following which they further slipped to 3rd after chasing the title all season. For this season, they’ve brought out the wallet to sign some squad depth, a new starting centre-back in Altzibar Sarrible, and right-back Zhu Aiguo from Yincheng Capitals of Yuezhou. The signing of Zhu proved controversial, because it breaches the limit of 5 foreign players allowed per team (De-Wit and Adalmek exempted); the club argued that the league restrictions run afoul of labour laws favouring the free transit of Rushmori workers. The FAF are determined to resolve this in court, but a ruling has allowed Mr. Zhu to play as normal until proper judgement is emitted. Anyway, the strengthened defence is great news for United, but expectations are not high that they can break their now 11-year streak without a league title – especially if Sporting experience a resurgence.

ImageImage
Ituraitz FC, est. 577
Ground: Ituraitz Sporting Ground (63,000), Ituraitz Image
Colours: All red
Major rivals: Ituraitz Victory (The Ituraitz Derby), Royal Rumiatzi (The Silver Derby), Urbizania Wanderers (competitive), Athletic Club Olarria (regional), Ximun Orieta FC (local)
Major honours: Image UICA Champions’ Cup 47, Image UICA Globe Cup 45, Image 9 First Division titles, Image 6 Royal Cups, Image 4 Ides of March Cups, Image UICA Super Cup 44, Image Copa de Campeones 20, Image Aéropag Football Invitational 25, Image UICA Astograthian Club of the Century
Main sponsor: Chistorra Sarlange (charcuterie)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★★★ / Youth system ★★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 24.2 M
Seasons in the First Division: 40 of 40

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Bihar Raldua, aLBa Image Mirande Anibardo, aCBa Image Mike Sloah (SNL), aCBa Image Xuban Lechardoy, aRBa Image Cheru Lizarza, aLMa Image Isidra Corvey © (BRE), aCMa Image Gilamu Bengoechea, aCMa Image Erphinstatdt Tstinstaphensteitd (AUD), aRMa Image Sasha Kristine (CMT), aCFa Image Telá Potos (TIO), aCFa Image Lastur Orkola

Bench: aGKa Yake Galparsoro, aGKa Azubeli Arana, aLBa Asier Labiaga, aCBa Cherran Goyeche, aCBa Hurko Germain, aCBa Keop Ithurrart, aRBa Anchoka Alastre, aDMa Iparragirre Paldao, aLMa Orixe Mantinian, aCMa Gilamu Mazondo, aRMa Aingeru Sayaz, aAMa Yuaneizu Aranda, aCFa Iturri Barriola, aCFa Hurko Barreneche, aCFa Image Tomofumi Ishimoda (HIN)

Manager: Image Bob Partridge (EUR), 3rd season in charge
Club reputation: Successful, attractive, cosmopolitan. You either love them or hate them. The world champion 654-55 Ituraitz is widely regarded as the best Astograthian team of all time.
Fans’ expectation: The title
Pundits’ prediction: 5th of 20
Notes: Ituraitz FC have had a hard fall over the last few years, though Bob Partridge and his no-nonsense 4-4-2 have stewarded them back into decent shape. Last year’s fifth-place finish still falls short of Gorriaka’s ambitions, however. This pre-season, when foreign clubs came in asking after striker Olentzaro Karazatorre, an unamused Ituraitz put their price at twice what they’d paid for him. Clubs from Audioslavia and Nephara were interested but, surprisingly, it was Tikariot club Pyathora Mariners whom Karazatorre decided to join. The money’s all the same to Ituraitz, and they put it to good use on the transfer market: in come striker Telá Potos of Tioguldós, centre-back Mike Sloah of South Newlandia, and Sasha Kristine of Chromatika, along with Starblaydi youngster Fernando Armida as a rapidly maturing project for the future, and some local transfers for coverage. To fans, the loss of Karazatorre was a major disappointment, but the flurry of signings has got them excited for this season. Critics remain skeptical that the squad is competitive enough to win the title, with some weak links in defence and a very conspicuous Audioslavian that has yet to prove his worth in centre midfield. Isidra Corvey, now captain, remains far and away the best player on the team, and one of the finest in the First Division.

ImageImage
Athletic Club Olarria, est. 504
Ground: North Point Stadium (61,317), Olarria Image
Colours: Claret with sky blue hoop, claret shorts and socks
Major rivals: Ituraitz FC (regional), Sporting Olarria (local)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Amuarraina Errege (seafood)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 20.1 M
Seasons in the First Division: 29 of 40

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Ayuko Mitsushima (HIN), aLBa Image Gareth Carney (NPH), aCBa Image Ubarna Aizpitarte, aCBa Image Elatzar Zumaeta, aRBa Image Aberri Buruchaga, aDMa Image Artizar Bailo, aLMa Image Dabi Biuret, aRMa Image Amber Docherty (KSK), aAMa Image Ubelteso Peruchena, aCFa Image Olentzaro Anseoteori, aCFa Image Pachi Lakumetz

Bench: aGKa Maore Garaikoechea, aGKa Marchel Ekwekwe, aLBa Todor Berrioz, aCBa Aurre Lete, aCBa Alarabi Meabebasterrechea, aCBa Arixo Salayaran, aRBa Urdin Echaudi ©, aDMa Burni Larripa, aCMa Lon Eskardo, aLMa Xanti Izpura, aRMa Altzibar Ulbina, aAMa Inautzi Loaiza, aCFa Hats Chapartegi, aCFa Elatzar Lassa, aCFa Kaiet Echassandage

Manager: Image Piarres Erke, 2nd season in charge
Club reputation: Consistent, but can't break the glass ceiling of a title win. Feel they've paid their dues, yet overlooked and underrated.
Fans’ expectation: Top 6
Pundits’ prediction: 6th of 20
Notes: Athletic Club Olarria did very well in climbing to a 4th place finish last season, qualifying for their first foray into the Challengers’ Cup, with one prior, ancient, Globe Cup run to their name. Manager Piarres Erke took all the praise for this achievement, and doubts remain as to whether he can repeat it; his whole career is one of being underestimated, however. This pre-season the club have lost two important players in goalkeeper Aurre Laurnagaray – off to Stahlburg Rovers in Nephara – and their best defender, Altzibar Sarrible, bought by Iturributa United. The replacements are not ideal: promoting the second keeper, 23-year-old Ayuko Mitsushima, and signing Royal Ibarbe’s Nepharan left-back Gareth Carney. It doesn’t look quite like a squad that can challenge the rest of the Astograthian top 6, but if Erke can continue getting strong performances out of Peruchena, Anseotori and Docherty, they might yet pull off another IFCF qualification.
Last edited by Astograth on Tue Dec 22, 2020 9:04 am, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
Astograth
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1498
Founded: Feb 04, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Astograth » Sun Dec 20, 2020 5:45 pm

Image
The Astograthian Football League
Season 685 Preview – Part 2

ImageImage
Royal Ibarbe, est. 488/500 (disputed)
Ground: Erda Street (19,000), Ibarbe Image
Colours: Purple shirt, yellow shorts, purple socks
Major rivals: Ibarbe Sport, Ibarbe Youth (all local)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Zerrigela (finance)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★ / Training facilities ★★★★ / Youth system ★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 17.5 M
Seasons in the First Division: 17 of 40

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Edur Iun, aLBa Image Musko Uriel, aCBa Image Iraunkor Garasa, aCBa Image Hissho Munuzo (HIN), aRBa Image Galindo Beobide, aDMa Image Panfilo Napoleoni (JUE), aDMa Image Oxel Porkel, aLMa Image Ander Ametrano, aRMa Image Echahun Dacharry, aAMa Image Garchot Dirassar, aCFa Image Ixaka Lairihoy

Bench: aGKa Bitor Eiguren, aGKa Zilar Leskarboura, aLBa Hartz Isuregi, aCBa Teyo Otormin, aCBa Eyande Garika, aCBa Gauargi Aniorbe, aRBa Yurdan Echeberz ©, aDMa Chimich Jansson, aDMa Franchizko Biurrarena, aLMa Eusko Otazu, aCMa Chindoki Yano, aRMa Gaizka Lastarria, aAMa Unax Alchourron, aCFa Hustaz Urresti, aCFa Ongile Yraola

Manager: Image Ilazki Altzibararechuluaga, 1st season in charge
Club reputation: Small club, fans are fickle and wealthy. Gradually acquiring a wider base of support.
Fans’ expectation: Top 6
Pundits’ prediction: 7th of 20
Notes: Royal Ibarbe have steadily risen to consistently finish at or around 7th place – a very comfortable position from which to challenge for the top 6. Several managers have used the club as a springboard to the top clubs – now it was Mikel Aluztiza’s turn, off to Sporting Iturributa. His replacement, Ilazki Altzibararechuluaga, arrives at Ibarbe after spending 8 seasons at Bakartirla Buccaneers, promoting the tiny island club to the top flight once, twice and now three times, becoming a local legend in the process. Royal Ibarbe was Altzibararechuluaga’s boyhood club and, feeling the time was right, he’s left Bakartirla for a fresh start at what many pundits consider the dark horses of the Astograthian First Division. In this pre-season they’ve lost accomplished attacking midfielder Emenon Ulibarri, who’s left for a retirement run in the Pasargan league, but replaced him with the young Garchot Dirassar from Basabe Old Boys. Likewise, they’ve sold left-back Gareth Carney to AC Olarria, but arguably secured an upgrade in signing former NT player Musko Uriel from the Hayvish league. Ibarbe’s squad is low-key, defensively solid, and packed with a mix of proven veterans and emerging talents – combined with Altzibararechuluaga’s reputation for unorthodox methods and great results, they could be the season’s surprise package.

ImageImage
Sporting Arkamo, est. 542
Ground: The Bells (43,505), Arkamo Image
Colours: Brown and gold stripes, brown shorts, gold socks
Major rivals: Akialden Marauders (The Arkamo Derby), Izarloka FC (regional), Lermendia FC (regional)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Barrertze (lifestyle)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 13.9 M
Seasons in the First Division: 12 of 40

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Aurken Maruri, aLBa Image Haitz Erriest, aCBa Image Erauso Teyitegi, aCBa Image Cherran Peluaga, aRBa Image Freek Lamaars (ESH), aLMa Image Piarres Santurtun, aCMa Image Gomesano Sedero, aRMa Image Xalbador Achabalastra, aAMa Image Gaston Urdingio, aCFa Image Damyan Nifterik (ESH), aCFa Image Berasko Korradi

Bench: aGKa Sesuldo Esteinou, aGKa Oxel Echaburu, aLBa Luki Istekahandy, aCBa Loiola Echepare, aCBa Gorosti Biskert, aCBa Fermin Chirizola, aRBa Kusko Isaurralde, aDMa Ixona Landeta, aLMa Iaki Agerrebengoa, aCMa Opilano Ubaldi ©, aRMa Gora Ezpeleta, aAMa Gau Urunaga, aCFa Aurken Erenio, aCFa Umea Akerra, aCFa Atzo Kampo

Manager: Image Hanni Andikola, 3rd season in charge
Club reputation: Underdogs who still can't believe they've made it. Wholesome countryside support. Do a lot with little.
Fans’ expectation: Top-half finish
Pundits’ prediction: 8th of 20
Notes: Sporting Arkamo had a decent showing last time around, playing around the top of the table for a long stretch of the season before steadily dropping down to 9th. To avoid another slump like that they’ve taken to signing squad depth this pre-season, and have made some excellent transfers to that end. The three most notable are highly-rated centre midfielder Gomesano Sedero, gotten at cut-rate price after being discarded by Lele Manguele at Royal Rumiatzi; centre-back Cherran Peluaga, obtained from Iturributa United on a free; and young goalkeeper Aurken Maruri from Sporting Iturributa, to replace Lino Kaberle going the other direction. Sedero in particular has got the Arkamo faithful excited – there’s an atmosphere of expectation surrounding The Bells and what Andikola can accomplish off the back of last season.

ImageImage
Antiguoko FC, est. 514
Ground: The Enclave (45,058), Antiguoko Image
Colours: Red and white quarters, red shorts and socks
Major rivals: Gesterlake FC, Royal Arexa (all historic)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Yogutz (dairy)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 14.7 M
Seasons in the First Division: 14 of 40

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Ubelteso Erra, aLBa Image Hats Lizondo, aCBa Image Zeruko Echeberria, aCBa Image Hanot Benaza ©, aRBa Image Kusko Ibarrondo, aDMa Image Kaiet Okariz, aLMa Image Petrarch Karaiskakis (NPH), aRMa Image Thierry Cailleux (HIN), aAMa Image Uzuri Borthagaray, aCFa Image Edur Ustarroz, aCFa Image Mazuste Igerabide

Bench: aGKa Firmo Lerendegi, aGKa Hanot Echeto, aLBa Garikoitz Keheiye, aCBa Otsando Erramundeguy, aCBa Xefe Bessouat, aCBa Adon Aburto, aRBa Sugoi Iniurrigarro, aDMa Sendoa Gangoitia, aLMa Erramun Notzadal, aRMa Lizar Tafaya, aCMa Yatsu Letamendi, aAMa Iker Baraza, aCFa Kaiet Izurrategi, aCFa Xantalen Gastambide, aCFa Gogo Soraire

Manager: Image Ikatz Ansotegi, 6th season in charge
Club reputation: Combative, tireless. Pride of the city and the region.
Fans’ expectation: Top-half finish
Pundits’ prediction: 9th of 20
Notes: Last season, Antiguoko were worried that the loss of striker Olentzaro Karazatorre might draw the curtains on their run as a mid-table team. To their delight, it was definitely a blow – dropping to 11th, their worst result in 6 seasons – but not the death knell some expected. Manager Ikatz Ansotegi has built a balanced squad featuring a few gems, such as attacking midfielder Uzuri Borthagaray and the winger pair of Karaiskakis and Cailleux, and has made sure not to fall behind the competition on the transfer market. Still floating on the income from the sale of Karazatorre, they’ve signed solid centre-back Zeruko Echeberria from Echegoyan and a slew of reliable squad players for depth. As key players like Cailleux and Borthagaray continue to mature, pundits reckon Antiguoko have enough in them to hover at or above the mid-table line.

ImageImage
Echegoyan FC, est. 530
Ground: Silanes Park (55,140), Echegoyan Image
Colours: Green and white stripes, green shorts and socks
Major rivals: Blue Mountain Range (The Echegoyan Derby), Miners FC (local)
Major honours: Image 3 First Division titles, Image 1 Royal Cup, Image 1 Ides of March Cup
Main sponsor: Enersuntsu (alternative energy)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★★ / Youth system ★★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 13.8 M
Seasons in the First Division: 38 of 40

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Perucho Garabieta ©, aLBa Image Bardol Sayaberemborde, aCBa Image Arnalt Larra, aCBa Image Garikoitz Abaria, aRBa Image Arrosko Zugazti, aDMa Image Dabi Teyagorry, aLMa Image Ereinkor Ybarrola, aRMa Image Echeberri Herrekalde, aAMa Image Aingeru Edera, aCFa Image Zabal Alkatena, aCFa Image Peyo Isamendi

Bench: aGKa Yon Zuasti, aGKa Itzaina Hegichussy, aLBa Lehoi Uribeondo, aCBa Lander Kahe, aCBa Baleren Zarrasbeitia, aCBa Koldobika Orbegozo, aRBa Gorbea Gogenola, aDMa Marchot Uris, aLMa Oinaz Kamon, aCMa Urtungo Kereyazu, aRMa Bardol Arabaolaza, aAMa Mederi Marien, aCFa Xefe Solaegi, aCFa Petrigai Orneta, aCFa Indar Burukuya

Manager: Image Yeremi Belaustigetigoitia, 2nd season in charge
Club reputation: Hardy, tough, always up for a fight. Cheating bastards to many. Top team long ago, now on the margins.
Fans’ expectation: Top 6
Pundits’ prediction: 10th of 20
Notes: Echegoyan are far fallen from their status as one of Astograth’s big teams, and facing the ignominy of having become a selling club. Finances aren’t great despite being among the most popular teams in the country. This means manager Yeremi Belaustigetigoitia, beloved for his time as the club’s lead striker, cannot afford to make the changes he most desires, and so is ill-suited to break into the top 6 – where the fans still believe they belong, despite all evidence to the contrary. Nevertheless, under Belaustigetigoitia’s proven hand, Echegoyan should be on course to an unspectacular but safe mid-table finish, far from the relegation scares of recent years. Striker Peyo Isamendi and playmaker Aingeru Edera, both 22 years old, are ones to watch at Silanes Park.

ImageImage
Ituraitz Victory, est. 496
Ground: Ituraitz Sporting Ground (63,000), Ituraitz Image
Colours: Blue shirt, white shorts, blue socks
Major rivals: Ituraitz FC (The Ituraitz Derby), Ximun Orieta FC (local)
Major honours: Image 1 Royal Cup
Main sponsor: Petromok (oil & gas)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 11.3 M
Seasons in the First Division: 30 of 40

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Larendi Erroz ©, aLBa Image Agosti Irachet, aCBa Image Obeko Zabalegi, aCBa Image Gartzen Beraun, aRBa Image Kaxen Arabehere, aDMa Image Umea Lukastegi, aDMa Image Aitzol Nanklares, aLMa Image Osfral Leruose (TIO), aRMa Image Ugutz Iturriche, aAMa Image Omar Mahir (ESH), aCFa Image Julio Campana (JUE)

Bench: aGKa Gunutz Sagarribay, aGKa Mendebal Beheran, aLBa Silban Elichagaray, aCBa Manu Amosain, aCBa Hanni Anchea, aCBa Ilari Beola, aRBa Apal Gerenio, aDMa Lauaxeta Amas, aDMa Gasteiz Mendiberri, aLMa Chordon Ytuarte, aCMa Ubelteso Amilaga, aRMa Totakoxe Ansolidoa, aAMa Sugoi Mendia, aCFa Ezkerra Echazarreta, aCFa Seber Akordagoitia

Manager: Image Yaunti Echekopar, 3rd season in charge
Club reputation: Venerable. Respected but pitied. Massively popular in their city, no matter the lack of success.
Fans’ expectation: Mid-table finish
Pundits’ prediction: 11th of 20
Notes: Ituraitz Victory were one of last season’s surprises, expected to be involved in the relegation battle but climbing to an 8th-place finish. Manager Yaunti Echekopar has overseen some thorough restructuring this pre-season, so that Victory might take advantage and cement themselves back in the mid-table. The squad has been thoroughly reinforced with numerous bargain signings, most notably Ugutz Iturriche on a free from Royal Rumiatzi, left winger Osfal Leruose from Tioguldós – also on a free – and centre-back Obeko Zabalegi, poached from second-tier Astograth University after they failed to promote straight back into the top flight. Their new striker is also promising 18-year-old Julio Campana, on loan from AC Pomena, Juvencus. It’s an exciting time at the blue half of the Ituraitz Sporting Ground, and hopes are high that they can repeat last season’s 3-0 drubbing of Ituraitz FC… or at least snatch a 1-0 win.

ImageImage
Gortz United, est. 561
Ground: Itsasargiberria Stadium (43,315), Gortz Image
Colours: All lavender
Major rivals: Gortz Academy (local)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Henrik (Polarian finance)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 9.6 M
Seasons in the First Division: 22 of 40

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Yuango Hernera, aLBa Image Osoitz Haukiartze, aCBa Image Anselmo Sinagra (JUE), aCBa Image Yasone Zubiate, aRBa Image Balasi Lakar ©, aDMa Image Abarrotz Sakona, aCMa Image Errapel Insunza, aCMa Image Esmail Wilhelm (ESH), aLMa Image Gasteiz Yrisarri, aRMa Image Zohiartze Gorrachetegi, aCFa Image Anter Genaga

Bench: aGKa Charan Iroz, aGKa Orzaize Chaneke, aLBa Gartzen Boneta, aCBa Luki Bringas, aCBa Endira Ibarburu, aCBa Erruki Giyamondegi, aRBa Hibai Alkorta, aDMa Mayu Karreras, aCMa Aioro Arangena, aCMa Leheren Goyhenespe, aLMa Maurin Zabale, aRMa Umea Goyanes, aAMa Pello Salduberes, aCFa Ibon Herrea, aCFa Urbasa Aldanondo

Manager: Image Eneko Madariaga, 2nd season in charge
Club reputation: Resourceful, scrappy, fight to the end. Wring the last few years out of old players.
Fans’ expectation: Mid-table finish
Pundits’ prediction: 12th of 20
Notes: This was a very quiet off-season at Gortz United, after an irregular season that saw them undergo some relegation worries and ultimately finish 14th. One would expect the board and manager Eneko Madariaga to be addressing this, but the rumours are the club is under significant financial duress, and simply remaining at their current level of activity already implies taking on loans they’re not sure they’ll be able to pay off. True or not, Madariaga is not shy on the mic about how much he trusts his squad, and pundits reckon that if Gortz can keep up the form with which they finished last season they could reasonably aim for the mid-table.

ImageImage
Blue Mountain Range, est. 518
Ground: Ximun Orieta Sporting Ground (34,000), Echegoyan Image
Colours: All sky blue
Major rivals: Echegoyan FC (The Echegoyan Derby), Miners FC (local)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Weaver, Smith & Wrangler (Taeshani apparel)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★ / Training facilities ★★★★ / Youth system ★★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 9.7 M
Seasons in the First Division: 37 of 40

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Leheren Burunzangaray, aLBa Image Hitz Suardiaz, aCBa Image Anartz Ugeruaga ©, aCBa Image Yurdan Yaurreche, aCBa Image Yake Gurina, aRBa Image Eder Eskariz, aDMa Image Keop Osa, aDMa Image Goizeder Abadia, aLMa Image Urgutz Barnachea, aRMa Image Isidor Leibar, aCFa Image Oihan Iraeta

Bench: aGKa Atze Labadie, aGKa Matia Kendagorta, aLBa Aratz Iarritu, aCBa Urbasa Albina, aCBa Image Thomas Kaberle (STL), aCBa Anaia Bizkaino, aRBa Iraitz Echekopaz, aDMa Todor Biota, aDMa Ekain Dirube, aLMa Gorka Urtaran, aCMa Koldo Repide, aRMa Harri Larrabide, aAMa Mayorga Muniakas, aCFa Diagur Echebes, aCFa Image Jacky Abatantuono (JUE)

Manager: Image Xander McDrew (TAE), 1st season in charge
Club reputation: Ultra-defensive, ultra-physical. Ugly tackles, ugly football. Extremely consistent. Reviled by most but wildly popular in Taeshan.
Fans’ expectation: Above Echegoyan
Pundits’ prediction: 13th of 20
Notes: BMR have spent the last 5 seasons finishing between 11th and 13th. They know their place and are quite comfortable there – especially if Echegoyan FC’s volatility makes for a juicy derby. The big news this season is they’ve again capitalised on their Taeshani fanbase by appointing Xander McDrew as manager, known around these parts for having played as a striker at Sporting Iturrributa decades ago. Taeshan also signed BMR’s goalkeeper, Arano Ilaria, off to Real Chinchinhua, which left a significant sum of money that the club are being careful about spending. Nevertheless, there were some interesting incoming transfers at BMR this pre-season, such as 18-year-old Siovanijan centre-back Thomas Kaberle, brother of goalkeeper Lino, arriving on loan from Sporting Iturributa, accomplished right winger Isidor Leibar joining on a free from Ituraitz FC, and right-back Iraitz Echekopaz coming in all the way from Hayvnwilde. No one expects BMR to do much better than usual – but they’re not expected to do much worse either.
Last edited by Astograth on Mon Dec 21, 2020 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Astograth
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1498
Founded: Feb 04, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Astograth » Mon Dec 21, 2020 1:12 pm

Image
The Astograthian Football League
Season 685 Preview – Part 3

ImageImage
East Railway, est. 503
Ground: Narbaitza Memorial Stadium (17,930), Rumiatzi Image
Colours: Grey and black stripes, grey shorts and socks
Major rivals: South Factory (The Workers' Derby), Athletic Club Rumiatzi (local)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Valrauncion! Come to Rumiatzi (noble cause)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★ / Training facilities ★★ / Youth system ★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 7.6 M
Seasons in the First Division: 9 of 40

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Zhao Yong (YZH), aLBa Image Urtsin Belderrain, aCBa Image Zohiartze Orokieta, aCBa Image Diegoche Hetagoyena, aRBa Image Antso Ozaran, aDMa Image Poz Basualdo, aDMa Image Dabi Elizondo-Egozkarra, aLMa Image Ilazki Oleaga, aRMa Image Hibai Akerra, aCFa Image Yeremi Zalazar ©, aCFa Image Tipi Eguaras

Bench: aGKa Goren Tamborindegi, aGKa Urbez Altera, aLBa Egoitz Laiseka, aCBa Zigor Urmeneta, aCBa Hitz Sistiaga, aRBa Lizar Kastanklares, aDMa Guchi Oyea, aDMa Aide Usano, aLMa Ubarna Maturana, aCMa Kismi Galainena, aRMa Errando Zufiaurre, aAMa Aire Echegoyen, aCFa Ostots Burukuya, aCFa Zilar Echekahar, aCFa Edorta Aniasko

Manager: Image Obeko Mundutegi, 6th season in charge
Club reputation: Working-class and proud of it. Substantial support from rail workers and enthusiasts nationwide. A bit of a yo-yo club.
Fans’ expectation: Mid-table finish
Pundits’ prediction: 14th of 20
Notes: East Railway was expected to be one of the weakest teams last season, and they surprised everyone by climbing to a comfortable tenth-place finish – including some priceless upsets over Iturributa United and neighbours Royal Rumiatzi. Obeko Mundutegi has built his team around the two pillars of defensive midfielder Dabi Elizondo-Egozkarra and striker Tipi Eguaras. This pre-season went a long way toward reinforcing that, spending big to add some interesting young talent to the squad, such as centre-back Zohiartze Orokieta – three-time champion with Sporting Iturributa – left-back Urtsin Belderrain from second-tier Astograth University, and Yuezhou goalkeeper Zhao Yong, on a free from Beian Athletic. East Railway are clearly ambitious, as demonstrated in their continued bidding for the services of Starblaydi and Krytenian superstar Valrauncion, but they’re still a small team from the capital with the challenge of becoming First Division regulars.

ImageImage
Gesterlake FC, est. 507
Ground: Castle Hill (48,861), Gesterlake Image
Colours: Yellow shirt, dark blue shorts, yellow socks
Major rivals: Royal Arexa (The Twin Cities Derby), Berlasko FC (The Gesterlake Derby), Antiguoko FC (historic)
Major honours: Image 1 Royal Cup
Main sponsor: Astek (technology)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 8 M
Seasons in the First Division: 26 of 40

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Oinatz Lissarrage, aLBa Image Markel Kortayarena, aCBa Image Iparragirre Yabar, aCBa Image Birila Taiyade, aRBa Image Frederik Goikoechea ©, aLMa Image Yanpier Aroix, aCMa Image Franchizko Irrazabal, aRMa Image Charan Karrikaburu, aAMa Image Yuli Nikoularena, aCFa Image Sabin Laza, aCFa Image Aner Bermeyiyo

Bench: aGKa Yeremi Subasnabar, aGKa Yon Iribarra, aLBa Bakar Gerrikabeitia, aCBa Luken Almirantearena, aCBa Sugoi Urenia, aCBa Enetz Paternain, aRBa Marz Kachola, aDMa Balesio Zubiarrain, aLMa Laurin Aricheta, aCMa Gaizko Sancholuz, aRMa Iraunkor Kotabarren, aAMa Ayande Pagola, aCFa Petrigai Errezarret, aCFa Mendiko Zoko, aCFa Aner Bermeyiyo

Manager: Image Anaut Eskape, 2nd season in charge
Club reputation: Top flight mainstay, but their best years are behind them. Strong support. Inoffensive, popular with advertisers.
Fans’ expectation: Mid-table finish
Pundits’ prediction: 15th of 20
Notes: Last season’s Royal Cup victory over Sporting Iturributa was Gesterlake’s greatest achievement in 178 years of history, their first-ever national trophy and one that will be long-remembered at the Castle City. But when everything’s settled, - when all the champagne is drunk, all the fireworks burst – what do they have? This team has spent the last 3 years struggling in the league, and there have been no massive changes to think this season will be different. Some signings have been solid, like keeper Oinatz Lissarrage and striker Petrigai Errezarret from Basabe Old Boys, as well as Martel Kortayarena from BMR. Fans, however, complain they’ve downgraded from previous keeper Otsoa Sanyorenti, that they’ve overpaid for 29 year-old-old Kortayarena, and that, while 33-year-old Errezarret is a good forward, they’ve already got two better starters ahead of him and other more urgent areas to cover. Gesterlake have a tough season ahead of them, and could easily find himself battling relegation if they slip.

ImageImage
Miners FC, est. 515
Ground: The Lieutenant (14,700), Echegoyan Image
Colours: Red with black sash, black shorts, red socks
Major rivals: Echegoyan FC, Blue Mountain Range (all local)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Ondraka (hardware)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★ / Training facilities ★★ / Youth system ★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 6.6 M
Seasons in the First Division: 9 of 40

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Baladi Ordoki, aLBa Image Pierres Kenitagoya, aCBa Image Bide Galkeran, aCBa Image Argider Obieta, aRBa Image Haitz Elosu, aDMa Image Gaitzka Ituzarriaga, aDMa Image Michaut Agos, aLMa Image Antso Biteri ©, aCMa Image Baladi Treko, aRMa Image Gasteiz Legaza, aCFa Image Anchoka Alagibe

Bench: aGKa Giro Insausti, aGKa Yaunzuria Andikoechea, aLBa Eztebe Pinedo, aCBa Loiola Orieta, aCBa Urritz Duhau, aCBa Azibar Marrokin, aRBa Ganix Bigorra, aDMa Errando Belastegi, aDMa Xabier Appathie, aCMa Mendebal Yugo, aLMa Yon Echaurren, aRMa Aztore Goyos, aAMa Echekopar Urtazu, aCFa Axular Mendiberry, aCFa Totakoxe Akutain

Manager: Image Eguzki Berriex, 1st season in charge
Club reputation: The odd-men-out of Echegoyan, forever yo-yoing between divisions. Small club, very close to their loyal supporters.
Fans’ expectation: Avoid relegation
Pundits’ prediction: 16th of 20
Notes: Eguzki Berriex has taken the reins of Miners FC with the mission of pulling them out of relegation anxiety and position themselves more firmly in the First Division – though their current run, going on its third year, is already their longest stint in the top flight. Berriex has taken the gamble of reinforcing an already ageing squad mostly with veterans, who certainly have the skill and experience to remain in the division – but do they have the body for it? Signings Gasteiz Legaza, Michaut Agos and Baladi Treko come together with Gaitzka Ituzarriaga and captain Antso Biteri to form a potent midfield, though Miners remain weak going on attack and are poorly prepared for an injury crisis. At least Treko, a journeyman whose playing history includes Eshan, Olarria, Urbizania Wanderers and Royal Rumiatzi, stands head and shoulders above everyone else at this end of the table.

ImageImage
Bakartirla Buccaneers, est. 589
Ground: Sovereignty Stadium (14,110), Kala Image
Colours: Black and red stripes, black shorts, white socks
Major rivals: None
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Visit Kala (tourism)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★ / Training facilities ★★ / Youth system ★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 6.2 M
Seasons in the First Division: 4 of 40

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Yasone Oyhenart, aLBa Image Zilar Sarries ©, aCBa Image Erramun Meonio, aCBa Image Harri Orkoyen, aRBa Image Arnalt Bergerot, aDMa Image Beat Achekonanea, aCMa Image Todor Echandi, aLMa Image Xarles Marzol, aRMa Image Larendi Elizate, aAMa Image Polentzi Bizagirre, aCFa Image Yatsu Ustarroz

Bench: aGKa Anakoz Amezkita, aGKa Oinatz Mendiondon, aLBa Zuzen Sandra, aCBa Yoseba Andeza, aCBa Errolan Gankiandia, aCBa Ubelteso Larreagola, aRBa Ubelteso Darkibel, aDMa Elatzar Gassiebayle, aDMa Pancheska Narbarte, aCMa Otsoa Isusi, aLMa Loramendi Errakalde, aRMa Loramendi Kuruchelar, aAMa Goi Urtea, aCFa Distiratsu Maiz, aCFa Zadornin Elizabe

Manager: Image Balendin Sorrekieta, 1st season in charge
Club reputation: Plucky, passionate, surprising. Small club from a small island. Low expectations, low pressure, happy to be here.
Fans’ expectation: Avoid relegation
Pundits’ prediction: 17th of 20
Notes: Manager Ilazki Altzibararechuluaga led Bakartirla to their first promotion to the top flight and then two more, a charmed period for the island club. Athough all good things must come to an end, Altzibararechuluaga has made sure to leave the club in trusted hands: those of assistant manager Balendin Sorrekieta, until recently a centre-back for the Buccaneers. Sorrekieta has set about making some praised signings, such as right-back Arnalt Bergerot from Iturributa United and Polentzi Bizagirre from relegated Urbitzo, and some controversial ones, such as the expensive purchase of 30-year-old Loramendi Kuruchelar from Ituraitz Victory. Under Altzibararechuluaga, one could always expect Bakartirla to punch above their weight, and pundits reckon they can avoid relegation on the back of last season’s impressive Second Division-winning run, but no-one can know for sure if Sorrekieta will replicate that magic touch.

ImageImage
Athletic Club Rumiatzi, est. 505
Ground: Gotorlekua (42,000), Rumiatzi Image
Colours: Blue and white stripes, blue shorts and socks
Major rivals: Royal Rumiatzi (The Rumiatzi Derby), South Factory, Astograth University, East Railway (all local)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Rumikola (soft drinks)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 5.6 M
Seasons in the First Division: 32 of 40

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Gogo Abin, aCBa Image Ekhi Saraza, aCBa Image Larendi Iboa, aCBa Image Barea Bolea, aLMa Image Diegoche Ulbina, aCMa Image Polentzi Haitsagerre, aCMa Image Dominix Birto, aRMa Image Ioritz Larregay, aCFa Image Echachu Urtazu, aCFa Image Aurre Oyamburo, aCFa Image Benat Uriburu

Bench: aGKa Hodei Libieta, aGKa Unax Iregi, aLBa Yakobe Aranguren, aCBa Izaskun Eskurdia, aCBa Gaizka Oyenard, aRBa Ubarna Urrutigoity, aLMa Mantzio Nayarro, aDMa Aresti Besoitaormaechea, aCMa Oskitz Anta ©, aRMa Gaitzka Retegi, aAMa Ruisko Laurnagaray, aCFa Garin Goyen, aCFa Bilinch Zumarraga, aCFa Ilari Zubiarrain, aCFa Sandaili Ubiyos

Manager: Image Tzemeno Iyarraz, 4th season in charge
Club reputation: Historically powerful and traditional rival of Royal Rumiatzi, but long since sidelined. Still enormously popular despite never winning a national title.
Fans’ expectation: Avoid relegation
Pundits’ prediction: 18th of 20
Notes: Athletic had a mediocre season last year, but did manage to not get relegated. How much of that was due to Oyardo and Urbitzo’s incompetence more than merit of their own is an open question. With the pre-season over, Athletic’s defence remains precarious despite signing a new goalkeeper in East Railway’s Gogo Abin and a starting centre-back in Basabe Old Boys’ Barea Bolea; it’ll have to be balanced by striker Aurre Oyamburo’s good form (12 goals last season) and the purchase of centre midfielder Dominix Birto, a 25-year-old long tapped for success but with little playing time at Urbizania Wanderers and Iturributa United. Perhaps at Athletic he’ll find the regularity he needs to emerge as a strong player – the club sure need it.

ImageImage
Erribe United, est. 586
Ground: Erkolantza Stadium (31,510), Erribe Image
Colours: Teal and white striped shirt, teal shorts and socks
Major rivals: Athletic Club Yungoitio, Chinchartu Lehoi (both regional)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: KIEE Import & Export (imports & exports)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 4.8 M
Seasons in the First Division: 3 of 40

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Herensuge Ondarra, aLBa Image Goizeder Lefer, aCBa Image Ilazki Lizalde, aCBa Image Garoa Iasuralde, aRBa Image Maore Lizaso, aLMa Image Haritz Tauregi, aCMa Image Xanti Ezeyza, aRMa Image Estebe Orkasita, aAMa Image Kepa Saligo, aCFa Image Berbiz Uhaldeborde ©, aCFa Image Mikelatz Idaberry

Bench: aGKa Behe Binion, aGKa Bladi Gorospe, aLBa Nikola Basto, aCBa Beila Tirapu, aCBa Lehoiar Kastesana, aCBa Urtzi Urus, aRBa Baraxil Urrutegoiti, aDMa Alatz Echechoury, aLMa Ion Mugeya, aCMa Ibon Etorena, aRMa Orkatz Itoiz, aAMa Giammarco Egimendi, aCFa Ximun Iun, aCFa Ximun Barona, aCFa Orti Riz

Manager: Image Andima Etchaleku, 5th season in charge
Club reputation: Fringe club from a fringe city, neither very renowned for football. Building a legacy
Fans’ expectation: Avoid relegation
Pundits’ prediction: 19th of 20
Notes: Erribe United return to the First Division for the first time in 10 years, for what will be their second stint there. The previous one came with the relaunching of the Football League, and they achieved an impressive 11th place in their début season thanks in no small part to the performances of one Gentza Bedigax. They proceeded to drop straight down to the second tier, and remained there until today. This will be manager Andima Etchaleku’, along with many players’, début in the First Division; though reinforced with some proven talent like BMR’s Garoa Iasuralde and Victory’s Mikelatz Idaberry, most of Erribe’s squad is proudly homegrown from Mendebal province. Pundits don’t expect great things from them, and tip them to be relegated right back, but this wouldn’t be the first time they’ve underestimated Erribe.

ImageImage
Urizaharra FC, est. 587
Ground: Kaizubia (30,582), Urizaharra Image
Colours: All dark blue
Major rivals: Oyardo FC (regional), Urizaharra Olympic (local)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Neaskor (tyres)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 4.6 M
Seasons in the First Division: 7 of 40

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Onbera Aispiolea, aLBa Image Igon Uliarte ©, aCBa Image Luix Lasota, aCBa Image Eyande Osamiz, aRBa Image Bero Treto, aLMa Image Domiku Rospide, aCMa Image Orkatz Yarza, aCMa Image Atzo Bonaza, aRMa Image Polentzi Lachika, aCFa Image Yokin Erdokiain, aCFa Image Chindoki Irastorza

Bench: aGKa Yulen Iphar, aGKa Mikelar Ezkieta, aLBa Errapel Inchauspe, aCBa Raitir Olazar, aCBa Eguntsenti Uriarte, aRBa Inge Oyaguren, aDMa Koldo Salbalzagaray, aCMa Arabante Goykochea, aCMa Baiardo Barnachea, aLMa Manex Uribelarrea, aRMa Baraxil Tabar, aAMa Ekialde Betanzos, aCFa Nahia Legarra, aCFa Diagur Baskones, aCFa Agosti Urri

Manager: Image Garin Algorta, 3rd season in charge
Club reputation: Literally the worst-performing team, point-for-point, in First Division history. Have never matched their massive support in the province.
Fans’ expectation: Avoid relegation
Pundits’ prediction: 20th of 20
Notes: Although Urizaharra were promoted with a strong runner-up finish in the Second Division, pundits are of the opinion that this was a fluke and the club is ill prepared for a run in the top flight – a tier they’ve had three stints in, but none in the last 25 years. Garin Algorta has never managed in the First Division, barely any of their players have any experience there either. Landing defender Eyande Osamiz, a veteran of Urbizania Wanderers and Sporting Iturributa, is certainly a major play but hardly enough to keep up with the competition. The rest of the league is already eyeing Urizaharra as an easy 3 points. Is their fate sealed or can the underdogs open a path of life?
Last edited by Astograth on Mon Dec 21, 2020 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Astograth
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1498
Founded: Feb 04, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Astograth » Fri Jan 01, 2021 3:41 pm

Image

The Astograthian Football League
Season 685 Review

The 40th season of the Astograthian Football League is now concluded.

First Division

Urbizania Wanderers, the defending champions, were the natural favourites to win the First Division. For most of the season, however, they stalked from behind as two others raced ahead. Lele Manguele’s Royal Rumiatzi, runners-up for the last two seasons, and Mikel Aluztiza’s Sporting Iturributa, multi-time champions recovering from a dip, came to early prominence as they each staked a strong claim on the title.

This year, Rumiatzi played Manguele’s unorthodox, ultra-attacking style better than ever. They utterly obliterated the league record of 105 goals in a season, set by themselves in Manguele’s first season, by scoring a mind-boggling 113 goals in 38 matches, an average of 2.97 per game. They also destroyed the league record for goal difference, which stood at +52 – also set by them in 683 – achieving a GD of +63. Their 77 points ties their own club record, set in the title-winning season of 637, when the league consisted of just ten teams and the competitive standard was much lower. Statistically, Royal Rumiatzi had one of the best league campaigns of any Astograthian club ever. They finished 3rd, worse than the two previous seasons.

Royal Rumiatzi exhibited excellence in attack and, unusually for Manguele’s style, defensive prowess as well. Defenders and midfielders and even forwards swapped positions fluidly: a well-oiled, well-trained machine that finally came into its own, and to the untrained eye would appear to be pure anarchy. It confounded opponents to suddenly spot centre-back Aztore Andia dribbling into their box while playmaker Azeari Duarte drifted behind him to receive a back-pass and deliver a floated cross into the box, finding winger Nolan Moore in the position of a centre-forward. If even one gear failed the entire thing could collapse horribly, as happened several times in the season - though fortunately, never for long. Highlights of the season included a shocking 6-1 win over Ituraitz FC, a heart-stopping 6-5 loss to Urbizania Wanderers and a 10-1 win over local rivals Athletic Club Rumiatzi. The latter of these tied the league record for largest win, with the same fixture from three years ago ending 9-0 and with Ituraitz FC’s season 638 victory of 10-1 over… Athletic Club Rumiatzi.

Euran striker Martin Blessed once again topped the league scoring charts with 28 to his name, matching the club’s record for most First Division goals in a season – Yasone Urdanibia and fellow Euran Sam Ashtree had also achieved it – though it falls one short of the league record of 29, by Julius Carrera of Sameba in 661. For his efforts, Blessed came third in the FAF’s Player of the Season award. In second was Azeari Duarte, nominally attacking midfielder and the beating heart of this Royal Rumiatzi. Everything seemed to revolve around Duarte, and the wily no. 10 evaded nearly every effort to neutralise him. It was the best season of his career. The league’s top assister and with a stunning 20 goals himself, he seemed to operate almost like a false 9 more than his usual role as an attacking midfielder.

For all their high-octane intensity, however, Rumiatzi could never consolidate themselves in the lead, entwined in a back-and-forth with Sporting Iturributa that they eventually slipped out of in the final third of the season. Their decisive derby losses against Sporting, and getting twice locked out by BMR, proved to be decisive as their title hopes were finally dashed on matchday 36, following a heavy 4-0 loss at Athletic Club Olarria. Lele Manguele may have finally realised his vision, but with three trophyless seasons

Sporting Iturributa kicked off their season in great form, leaving behind last season’s disappointments to blaze forward under new manager Mikel Aluztiza. The Chevrons soon seized the lead and held it, with brief interruptions by Royal Rumiatzi, from matchdays 11 to 27. Faithful to tradition, Sporting played tidy defensive football, with counterattacks not unlike those of Audioslavian Kontrapuntzeka. The back line of Minerva Compton, Mogel Doyenard, Gomesano Suhurt and Baiona Menduburu conceded just 26 goals in 38 games as Gaitzka Gurina and Servet Misidjan controlled the match in the midfield. Siovanijan goalkeeper Lino Kaberle, just 20 years old, performed to a high standard and quelled the fears that he’d buckle under the pressure of replacing the legendary Aratz Anzizar. Up front, new striker Tehmina Palani had a solid season, and together with attacking midfielder Ximun Blacksdove-Beukers – at times acting as secondary striker – accounted for fully half of Sporting’s goals. Squidroidian winger Ohashi Kiichi also went down as a great signing, as a constant threat down the left.

On matchday 27, Sporting’s scoreless draw with Antiguoko and Urbizania Wanderers’ trilling 4-3 win over Royal Rumiatzi meant the Wanderers pulled level with Sporting on 58 points and took the lead on head-to-head results. Slow but steady, Eriz Bakaikoa’s squad relied on its talented midfield, especially deep playmaker Yoshimi Hirahito of Taeshan, a strong defence marshalled by Farf keeper Dieje Ibrelaná, and the sheer goalscoring power of forward Aire Epherra and Valladar left winger Alexis Durmisi. Wanderers remained locked in a dead heat with Sporting, and Royal Rumiatzi not far behind, until the final stretch of the season. A smattering of losses and draws for all meant that on matchday 35, Sporting’s 4-0 win over Arkamo put them 2 points ahead of Wanderers, who’d lost 4-3 at Echegoyan FC. This stretched into a 5-point lead the next week after Wanderers’ 1-0 loss to Ituraitz FC. With two matches to go, it seemed like Sporting had the title in the bag. Theycould’ve sealed it with one to go if they beat Gesterlake, or if Wanderers dropped any points. The Chevrons lost, two goals to one, and Wanderers earned a difficult three points from their visit to Blue Mountain Range.

Sporting Iturributa thus held a two-point lead going into the last match, away to an Ituraitz FC that was battling for the last IFCF qualifying spot. Urbizania Wanderers would receive Royal Ibarbe at home. If Sporting won they’d be champions, or if Wanderers dropped any points at all to Ibarbe. The day of, Sporting immediately went down at the Ituraitz Sporting Ground; less than a minute after kickoff, Orixe Mantinian put Ituraitz 1-0 ahead thanks to a brilliant assist from Telá Potos. In Urbizania, Wanderers pummeled Ibarbe and were 3-0 up by half-time thanks to Yoshimi Hirahito, Churio Aragolaza and Xarles Lazkano. Into the second half, Alexis Durmisi made it 4-0 for Wanderers. Sporting desperately needed a way back into the match, and seemed to find it with a fine shot by Ximun Blacksdove-Beukers in the 69th minute, bringing the score to 1-1. The hope lasted little, however: in the 71st minute, Xuban Lechardoy headed in Sasha Kristine’s free-kick to make it 2-1 for Ituraitz. In Urbizania, Wanderers fans huddled around to listen to the match over in Ituraitz, careful not to let their excitement get too far ahead of them – they’d seen what Olympic Thessia pulled off in Mytanija. As the minutes wore on and both scorelines remained the same, however, the joy began to boil over. Ongile Yraola scoring one for Royal Ibarbe in the 93rd minute hardly registered. The whistle went in Ituraitz seconds later, in Urbizania a minute later, and Wanderers had won their 8th First Division championship.

For Ituraitz FC, the final matchday was also a major coup. After a poor start to the season – just 9 points from the first 10 matches – Bob Partridge’s side pulled together to crush Athletic Club Olarria 7-0 away and begin a climb that would see them hunting down Olarria’s fourth place, and the IFCF Challengers Cup spot that came with it. Olarria, who overall had a good season under the management of Piarres Erke, shone thanks to another year of great performances from wingers Dabi Biuret and Amber Docherty, as well as striker Olentzaro Anseotori and their cast of defenders, including new signing Gareth Carney and promoted goalkeeper Ayuko Mitsushima. Olarria’s form hit the rocks in the final matches of the season, however, while Ituraitz earned the full 15 points out of their last 5 games, cutting right through Olarria’s 7-point lead. Ituraitz, inspired by Brenecian captain Isidra Corvey, Tioguldosian forward Telá Potos, and the deadly right-wing combination of Cheru Lizarza and Sasha Kristine, went 2-1 up against Sporting Iturributa and waited for the result from Olarria’s North Point Stadium, where the home team were drawing 2-2 with East Railway. Docherty had equalised for Olarria at the same time Lechardoy had scored in Ituraitz, but the Olarrians were unable to score any more and the season finished with Ituraitz FC in a fourth place they’d bled and sweated for. Not quite the title they continue to dream of, but certainly a good stop on the road.

Justin Vauxhall’s Iturributa United were disappointed to finish in 6th. It is not an atrocious result, but not in line with the lofty expectations set at the start of the season. Performance in the big derbies was adequate – a win and a loss each against both Sporting Iturributa and Royal Rumiatzi - but finishing outside the IFCF spots, and below Athletic Club Olarria certainly won’t do. Fans and the board seem at a loss as to what else could be done to finally break this dry spell of now 11 years without a league title. At the very least, by league’s end they’d qualified for the Royal Cup final, and had that to look forward to. Brenecian forward Lukas Bright was the First Division’s second top scorer this season, and honoured with a place in the league’s Best XI. Zhu Aiguo from Yuezhou also impressed, and it would seem United won’t have to worry about a right-back in the near term – unless he attracts attention from abroad, of course. The dispute with the FAF regarding his registration and work status was also legally resolved in favour of Iturributa United, meaning that, for the league as a whole, Rushmori players will no longer count toward the limit of 5 foreign players.

In 7th place was Gortz United. The season’s most surprising team equalled their best-ever finish, the last of which came in their golden decade of the 650s. Eneko Madariaga managed to turn an unfancied squad into a tight bulwark, making the most out of their limited resources and rekindling the passion of a disenchanted fanbase. Gortz were a constant thorn in the side of the league’s top teams, beating Iturributa United, Ituraitz FC, Urbizania Wanderers and Royal Rumiatzi, and holding Sporting Iturributa to two draws. Their day-to-day performance against other sides was less spectacular, but Gortz and Madariaga certainly made a name for themselves in their biggest matches of the year – and qualified for their first Royal Cup final ever. Royal Ibarbe, though somewhat disappointed that this wasn’t the year they broke into the top 6, are nevertheless pleased that new manager Ilazki Altzibararechuluaga was not a downgrade from Mikel Aluztiza, and guided them to another strong season. Rounding out the top half of the table were Blue Mountain Range, who under new Taeshani manager Xander McDrew seemed to stir and finally gain some ambition – perhaps spurred, in part, by Echegoyan FC’s misfortune. Ikatz Ansotegi’s Antiguoko FC, in 10th, continued a trend of mid-table consolidation - with some major scalps to their name, including victories over Ituraitz FC and Sporting Iturributa.

Finishing 11th, Sporting Arkamo had an irregular season, their good days largely coinciding with the days that striker Berasko Korradi and winger Xalbador Achabalastra were fit to play. Achabalastra, incredibly, scored one of the best goals of the season for the second year in a row, this time executing a brilliant dribbling run through the heart of Ituraitz FC’s defence. Immediately below Arkamo, on head-to-head results, were Ituraitz Victory, who failed to capitalise on last season’s good performances. One good news is that they’ve struck gold with the loan signing of 18-year-old Juven striker Julio Campana. He wasn’t the team’s top scorer or best player – both of those went to Eshani midfielder Omar Mahir, who pulled Victory through many a match – but Campana scored a good 10 goals and his talent can only grow. Victory are scrambling to figure out how they can convince AC Pomena to make the loan move permanent, but it won’t be easy.

Bakartirla Buccaneers and Urizaharra FC, 13th and 14th, both had good seasons considering the gloomy forecasts being made before the league kicked off. Both were promoted from the second tier last season and Urizaharra in particular were expected to be the First Division’s punching bag. Yet Garin Algorta, a nobody of a manager, marshalled a squad of nobodies (and Eyande Osamiz) to the best of their 7 seasons in the top flight. Urizaharra stand strong, and give fans hope that they can solidify themselves in the First Division. Likewise Bakartirla, who certainly don’t have a history of embarrassing themselves they way Urizaharra do, but had strong worries that understudy Balendin Sorrekieta would not live up to the high standards left by departing manager Ilazki Altzibararechuluaga. Down near the relegation zone, East Railway finished 15th after a season that saw them drift around the mid-table, never quite getting into a good run of form and noticeably dipping toward the end, but never running into serious threat of relegation.

Clubs that did suffer relegation troubles were Gesterlake FC, Athletic Club Rumiatzi, Echegoyan FC and Erribe United. Gesterlake sacked Anaut Eskape and brought in veteran manager Zuriko Eliz, who managed to stabilise the freefall and finish the season with relative calm. Athletic Rumiatzi were highly erratic under Tzemeno Iyarraz, who was given the boot in favour of former Athletic player Goi Salha, to not much improvement. Echegoyan FC, facing another disastrous season, came under fire for sacking club idol Yeremi Belaustigetigoitia, whom fans claimed needed more time and money to implement his vision. Echegoyan’s long-time U21s manager Cherran Zarranz took over to oversee another season already written off as unbefitting the club’s lofty status – but everyone’s seen first-hand what happened to Astograth University, and the anxiety of relegation ate at everyone. Erribe United, for their part, refrained from sacking Andima Etchaleku, showing some loyalty to the man who’d gotten them promoted, but required something of a miracle to be saved from relegation come the last matchday.

Miners FC, meanwhile, dropped to rock-bottom early on and hardly moved from there. Sacking Eguzki Berriex to bring in Zeruko Orregi changed nothing in the grand scheme of things, and the club draw the curtains on their sixth stint in the First Division – the first to last three seasons.

All four of Gesterlake, Athletic Rumiatzi, Echegoyan and Erribe could be relegated or saved on the final day of the league, in a complicated combination of head-to-head matchups and goal differences. Gesterlake and Athletic Rumiatzi would play each other, winner to stay up. If Gesterlake drew, they’d also stay up, and if they lost they needed Echegoyan to not win. If Athletic drew, they’d need Echegoyan to not win – and if they lost, they needed Echegoyan to lose and for Erribe to also not win. Echegoyan, who had a difficult tie away at Gortz United, would stay up if they won, or if they drew and Athletic Rumiatzi lost. Erribe United, who played at home against Ituraitz Victory, needed to win, for Athletic to lose and for Echegoyan to not win.

Things were off to a flying start in Gortz, as the home side’s Anselmo Sinagra put them 1-0 up against Echegoyan with 6 minutes played. This was immediately answered, in the following play, by Echegoyan’s Gorbea Gogenola. 1-1. The scoreline held until half-time, when Echegoyan were informed that Gesterlake were 1-0 up against Athletic Rumiatzi and Erribe remained scoreless against Victory. In Gesterlake and Gortz, the second half got off to a cautious start, before the final thirty minutes exploded with activity. On minute 63, Aner Bermeyiyo made it 2-0 for Gesterlake, and Leheren Goyhenespe scored 2-1 for Gortz. Erribe still scoreless. As it stood, Gesterlake and Athletic Rumiatzi would both stay up – but only if Echegoyan and Erribe both didn’t score.

In the 74th, Petrigai Errezarret scored 3-0 for Gesterlake. Gesterlake’s permanence in the First Division was all but secured, and Athletic now needed results elsewhere to hold. For good measure, Laurin Aricheta made it 4-0 a couple of minutes later. At the same time, in Gortz, Echegoyan’s 22-year-old attacking midfielder Aingeru Edera was writing himself into club history as a legend. Within three minutes he scored a brace, the second a wrong-footed flick past the keeper on the edge of the box. 3-2 to Echegoyan. They would stay up if the result held. It did, evaporating Athletic Rumiatzi’s chances with it, until Aioro Arangena equalised for Gortz in the 90th minute. 3-3. Athletic Rumiatzi were eliminated unless Gortz scored another, which Echegoyan made sure they didn’t, but with this draw Echegoyan would be relegated if Erribe scored… and that match was running late.

In Erribe, the start of the second half had been delayed 8 minutes by fans running onto the pitch, who were trying to accomplish exactly that. With all other results in and still 0-0, Erribe United depended on themselves alone to remain in the First Division. In the fifth minute of added time, a chip by Erribe’s Estebe Urkasita hit the arm of Victory’s Gartzen Beraun. Inside the box: penalty. Victory protested, more out of habit than conviction; they weren’t playing for anything other than 11th place at this point in the season. Echegoyan FC, still holding their heads over Arangena’s equaliser, were going mad with disbelief – players and fans alike. Erribe fans got ready to explode at Erkolantza Stadium.

This was the last chance. All else was over. Mikelatz Idaberry, Erribe’s top scorer and designated penalty-taker, set down the ball. With more time to think about it, this was maybe not the best choice, and it would come to haunt Idaberry, manager Andima Etchaleku, and Erribe fans in general for years to come. This was because Idaberry had only just this season been brought in from Ituraitz Victory, and he now stood across goalkeeper Larendi Erroz, Victory’s captain and one of the most veteran players in the entire First Division – one of the largest, as well. His outstretched arms seemed to cover the entire goal. They’d trained together for five years. Erroz pointed to his right, baiting Idaberry to kick where they both knew he was best.

Mikelatz Idaberry shot to Larendi Erroz’s left, where the goalkeeper’s chest met the ball, relegated Erribe United and kept Echegoyan FC one more year in the First Division.

Taldo Lehan                Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts
1 Urbizania Wanderers 38 23 9 6 81 45 +36 78 Champions / Copa de Campeones / Champions League – 12th CC/CL appearance
2 Sporting Iturributa 38 23 8 7 58 26 +32 77 Challengers Cup – 25th GC/ChC appearance
3 Royal Rumiatzi 38 24 5 9 113 50 +63 77 Challengers Cup – 19th GC/ChC appearance
4 Ituraitz FC 38 19 9 10 78 49 +29 66 Challengers Cup – 24th GC/ChC appearance

5 Athletic Club Olarria 38 19 8 11 67 47 +20 65
6 Iturributa United 38 15 14 9 65 51 +14 59
7 Gortz United 38 14 16 8 51 44 +7 58
8 Royal Ibarbe 38 16 8 14 50 39 +11 56
9 Blue Mountain Range 38 16 5 17 31 38 −7 53
10 Antiguoko FC 38 13 11 14 58 57 +1 50
11 Sporting Arkamo 38 10 16 12 51 59 −8 46
12 Ituraitz Victory 38 13 7 18 49 55 −6 46
13 Bakartirla Buccaneers 38 12 8 18 44 48 −4 44
14 Urizaharra FC 38 13 5 20 54 77 −23 44
15 Gesterlake FC 38 11 9 18 48 71 −23 42
16 East Railway 38 10 11 17 34 59 −25 41
17 Echegoyan FC 38 9 10 19 39 61 −22 37
18 Athletic Club Rumiatzi 38 10 7 21 54 102 −48 37 ↓ 2-year run
19 Erribe United 38 7 14 17 41 65 −24 35 ↓ 1-year run
20 Miners FC 38 8 10 20 27 50 −23 34 ↓ 3-year run

Image
CHAMPIONS
URBIZANIA WANDERERS

8th title



FAF Awards
At the traditional awards ceremony, held at Rumiatzi’s Kraitzaga Theatre once the season is concluded, the Futbol Astograthiko Federazioa presented the following awards, based on First Division performance. Local media consider these highly prestigious, and the definitive acknowledgement of the best in Astograthian football.

Player of the Season:
1. Image Alexis Durmisi, LM (VLD) – 35 apps, 16 goals – Urbizania Wanderers
2. Image Azeari Duarte, AM – 34 apps, 20 goals – Royal Rumiatzi
3. Image Martin Blessed, CF (EUR) – 34 apps, 28 goals – Royal Rumiatzi

Young Player of the Season:
1. Image Lino Kaberle, GK (STL), age 20 – 37 apps – Sporting Iturributa
2. Image Yokin Erdokiain, CF, age 20 – 31 apps, 11 goals – Urizaharra FC
3. Image Julio Campana (JUE), CF, age 18 – 37 apps, 10 goals – Ituraitz Victory

Manager of the Season:
1. Image Eriz Bakaikoa – Urbizania Wanderers
2. Image Mikel Aluztiza – Sporting Iturributa
3. Image Eneko Madariaga – Gortz United

Golden Uri for Top Scorer:
28 – Image Martin Blessed (EUR) – Royal Rumiatzi
22 – Image Lukas Bright (BRE) – Iturributa United
21 – Image Aire Epherra – Urbizania Wanderers

Elmsvikur Trophy for Goal of the Season:
1. Image Baiona Menduburu – Sporting Iturributa (H), vs. Iturributa United, MD 13, FT 2–1. The right-back, pushing into United’s half, receives the ball, nutmegs Pikolaugh and fires a looping shot into the inner side netting of the far post from nearly the touchline.
2. Image Xalbador Achabalastra – Sporting Arkamo (H), vs. Ituraitz FC, MD 14, FT 1–3. Achabalastra receives the ball from a throw-in and, through a series of lightning-fast feints and dribbles, skips past Bengoechea, Anibardo and Lechardoy to reach the six-yard box, beating Raldua at the near post.
3. Image Inautzi Loaiza – Athletic Club Olarria (A), vs. Blue Mountain Range, MD 22, FT 4–2. Loaiza picks up a brilliant through pass by Peruchena on the break, cuts into the box to get past Suardiaz, and deftly chips the ball over the keeper and into the far post.

Team of the Season:
GK – Image Lino Kaberle (STL) – 37 apps – Sporting Iturributa
LB – Image Minerva Compton (KOR) – 34 apps, 2 goals – Sporting Iturributa
CB – Image Gomesano Suhurt – 34 apps – Sporting Iturributa
CB – Image Eriz Mugiro – 30 apps, 3 goals – Urbizania Wanderers
RB – Image Cheru Lizarza – 34 apps, 1 goal – Ituraitz FC
LM – Image Alexis Durmisi (VLD) – 35 apps, 16 goals – Urbizania Wanderers
CM – Image Yoshimi Hirahito (TAE) – 36 apps, 2 goals – Urbizania Wanderers
RM – Image Sasha Kristine (CMT) – 34 apps, 11 goals – Ituraitz FC
AM – Image Azeari Duarte – 34 apps, 20 goals – Royal Rumiatzi
CF – Image Lukas Bright (BRE) – 33 apps, 22 goals – Iturributa United
CF – Image Martin Blessed (EUR) – 34 apps, 28 goals – Royal Rumiatzi

Name                            Club                    Nat.   Apps  Gls
KARAISKAKIS Petrarch Antiguoko FC NPH 36 4
CAILLEUX Thierry Antiguoko FC HIN 31 5
MITSUSHIMA Ayuko Athletic Club Olarria HIN 35 0
CARNEY Gareth Athletic Club Olarria NPH 32 2
DOCHERTY Amber Athletic Club Olarria KSK 28 9
KABERLE Thomas Blue Mountain Range STL 15 0
ABATANTUONO Jacky Blue Mountain Range JUE 9 2
YONG Zhao East Railway YZH 37 0
SINAGRA Anselmo Gortz United JUE 30 2
WILHELM Esmail Gortz United ESH 34 3
SLOAH Mike Ituraitz FC SNL 34 2
CORVEY Isidra Ituraitz FC BRE 38 8
TSTINSTAPHENSTEITD Erphinstatdt Ituraitz FC AUD 34 4
KRISTINE Sasha Ituraitz FC CMT 34 11
POTOS Telá Ituraitz FC TIO 38 15
ISHIMODA Tomofumi Ituraitz FC HIN 9 1
LERUOSE Osfral Ituraitz Victory TIO 31 6
MAHIR Omar Ituraitz Victory ESH 30 11
CAMPANA Julio Ituraitz Victory JUE 37 10
DE-WIT Marty Iturributa United AUD 38 0
BIRKAN Zeydel Abidin Iturributa United TMR 34 1
LECHIE Miriam Iturributa United BRE 33 1
AIGUO Zhu Iturributa United YZH 35 0
MACDONALD Connor Iturributa United KSK 34 1
PIKOLAUGH Fangti Iturributa United CMT 34 8
ADALMEK Lukasz Iturributa United ESH 35 6
BRIGHT Lukas Iturributa United BRE 33 22
MUNUZO Hissho Royal Ibarbe HIN 32 2
NAPOLEONI Panfilo Royal Ibarbe JUE 33 1
MATHENY Konrad Royal Rumiatzi NPH 38 0
EXIHOSAHAR Loxjilo Royal Rumiatzi FFD 27 0
DASCHNER Lutz Royal Rumiatzi STL 36 1
MOORE Nolan Royal Rumiatzi TKT 33 10
BLESSED Martin Royal Rumiatzi EUR 34 28
REASON Guy Royal Rumiatzi FFD 9 1
LAMAARS Freek Sporting Arkamo ESH 28 1
NIFTERIK Damyan Sporting Arkamo ESH 35 4
KABERLE Lino Sporting Iturributa STL 37 0
COMPTON Minerva Sporting Iturributa KOR 34 2
MISIDJAN Servet Sporting Iturributa NPH 34 1
KIICHI Ohashi Sporting Iturributa SQR 34 10
BLACKSDOVE-BEUKERS Ximun Sporting Iturributa AUD 33 14
PALANI Tehmina Sporting Iturributa SRS 33 15
IBRELANÁ Dieje Urbizania Wanderers FFD 38 0
HIRAHITO Yoshimi Urbizania Wanderers TAE 36 2
DURMISI Alexis Urbizania Wanderers VLD 35 16



Second Division

Basabe Old Boys were not expected to be relegated last season. Fortunately, they managed to retain a good core of First Division-quality players and proceeded to boss the second tier, taking the title with 11 points to spare. In second place, one-time UICA Champions’ Cup runners-up Garitzeta Racing came from behind to bump away Oyardo FC, San Markez, Old City Central, Ibarbe Sport and local rivals Garitzeta FC, all strong aspirants for direct promotion. The playoffs pitted two teams that had just been promoted to the Second Division – Ibarbe Sport and San Markez of Olarria – against two significantly more established sides: Oyardo FC and Old City Central of Arexa, both Royal Cup winners. Old City Central initially lost in Olarria but managed to turn it around on the home leg. In the other tie, Ibarbe Sport fought hard to pull off the upset against Oyardo, passing through on a narrow 3-2 aggregate win. The playoff final thus featured two clubs that have never played in the Astograthian First Division. For Ibarbe Sport, a very small team that débuted in the Football League just 11 years ago and earned their first promotion from the third tier just last season, even getting this far was a wild, wild dream. For Old City Central, a venerable club, traditional rivals of Royal Arexa and one-time shock winners of the Royal Cup, this was their fourth playoff run and their second consecutive final. Ibarbe Sport put up a good fight, all the way to extra time, but it was a goal by Adei Eguren that finally brought upon Old City Central the promotion they’d spent so many years labouring for.

At the bottom of the table, long-time followers of the Astograthian league will be surprised to find South Factory, founding members of the First Division in 634 and long-time regulars of the top flight – several international stars, such as Alexis Zeljeznicar and Baudouin Richelieu, took their first steps in Astograth at South Factory. After 9 years in the second tier, their longest ever, the historic club are experiencing an intensely dark period: their first relegation to the third tier. Will this be rock bottom or can they go lower still?

Taldo Biharran             Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts
1 Basabe Old Boys 46 26 9 11 74 45 +29 87 ↑ Champions / Liga B Champions Trophy – return after 1 year, 4th SBCC/LBCT appearance
2 Garitzeta Racing Club 46 23 7 16 60 45 +15 76 ↑ Liga B Champions Trophy – return after 3 years, 3rd SBCC/LBCT appearance
3 Old City Central 46 21 10 15 51 44 +7 73 ↑ Liga B Champions Trophy – will make First Division and SBCC/LBCT débuts

4 Oyardo FC 46 20 12 14 46 36 +10 72
5 Ibarbe Sport 46 20 12 14 48 43 +5 72
6 San Markez 46 21 8 17 52 48 +4 71
7 Royal Association 46 17 16 13 56 41 +15 67
8 Urbitzo FC 46 17 15 14 58 53 +5 66
9 Ximun Orieta FC 46 17 13 16 65 69 −4 64
10 Astograth University 46 17 13 16 52 55 −3 64
11 Sporting Ibarguren 46 18 9 19 49 48 +1 63
12 Garitzeta FC 46 17 12 17 41 46 −5 63
13 Dockyard Oaks 46 16 14 16 50 51 −1 62
14 Lermendia FC 46 17 10 19 40 48 −8 61
15 Sporting Olarria 46 14 17 15 43 42 +1 59
16 Ezkutia MFC 46 15 13 18 42 50 −8 58
17 Army United 46 16 9 21 67 66 +1 57
18 Iturributa Racing Club 46 15 12 19 46 53 −7 57
19 Royal Arexa 46 12 21 13 64 59 +5 57
20 Ichapeldun Mariners 46 16 8 22 43 59 −16 56
21 Rumiatzi 529 46 13 14 19 40 47 −7 53 ↓ 2-year run
22 Basabe Youth 46 14 11 21 43 54 −11 53 ↓ 1-year run
23 South Factory 46 13 12 21 44 54 −10 51 ↓ will make Second Division B début
24 FAS SC 46 12 13 21 46 64 −18 49 ↓ 2-year run

Promotion Playoffs

Semifinals
San Markez 1–0 Old City Central
Oyardo FC 0–2 Ibarbe Sport

Old City Central 2–0 San Markez (2–1 agg.)
Ibarbe Sport 1–2 Oyardo FC (3–2 agg.)

Final
@ Grand Duke's Stadium, Rumiatzi
Ibarbe Sport 0–0 Old City Central (0–1 AET)



Second Division B

In recent years, a trend has developed where one of the geographical groups wins the division championship, but the other group gets 3 out of the 4 promotion places. This continued this season, as Tzaramaga Rovers won the West Group on the final matchday – with some help from Athletic Club Yungoitio – and earned their first promotion to the second tier in the process. In the championship final they met Uzio Blackstar, a team with a long Iturributan history that tussled for most of the season with Freedom FC, also a storied club from Iturributa. In extra time of the final, Tzaramaga scored to win their national title, a fine piece of silverware to be long treasured in the years to come. In the promotion playoffs pitting the best of one group against the other, Eagles FC defeated Uidio Mariners to make a swift return to the Second Division. The same goes for Mars Athletic who, after just one year in the third tier, triumphed over FK Aliantza to occupy one of the second-tier spots; the one vacated by FAS SC, for example.

Down at the bottom, it was pandemonium as three clubs suffered their first relegation out of the Football League and into the wilds of regional competition. One of these sides was the historic Izarloka FC, founding members of the Football League in 634 and former First Division competitors, in 661 and 674. This is the furthest down any former top-flight team has ever fallen, and Izarloka sure won’t forget it.

East Group
Taldo Biharran B East            Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts
1 Uzio Blackstar 46 24 15 7 49 21 +28 87 ↑ return after 11 years
2 Eagles FC 46 22 14 10 59 38 +21 80 ↑ return after 1 year
3 Mars Athletic 46 22 12 12 55 37 +18 78 ↑ return after 1 year

4 Freedom FC 46 21 14 11 56 47 +9 77
5 Markiniz Union 46 19 15 12 49 35 +14 72
6 Cafundelense 46 19 14 13 58 50 +8 71
7 Sporting Uanka 46 17 14 15 50 45 +5 65
8 Saint Laida 46 17 14 15 47 46 +1 65
9 Berlasko FC 46 16 17 13 42 38 +4 65
10 Ezkalmendia FC 46 16 17 13 40 47 −7 65
11 Arbetsana Crossing 46 14 19 13 47 41 +6 61
12 Biazterri FC 46 15 16 15 43 47 −4 61
13 Sorokin's Old Boys 46 16 12 18 35 38 −3 60
14 Uertza Gymnastic 46 15 14 17 54 49 +5 59
15 Itzibarea Sports 46 16 11 19 50 62 −12 59
16 Ariznabarra Castle 46 14 14 18 51 56 −5 56
17 Letzama FC 46 15 11 20 35 49 −14 56
18 Warrior Spirits 46 12 17 17 44 48 −4 53
19 Akialden Marauders 46 13 14 19 45 50 −5 53
20 Mauritza FC 46 11 17 18 35 44 −9 50
21 Madarrierna FC 46 10 17 19 28 47 −19 47 ↓ 6-year run in the Football League
22 Uriarte United 46 12 11 23 36 46 −10 47 ↓ first relegation from the Football League
23 Izarloka FC 46 9 20 17 35 39 −4 47 ↓ first relegation from the Football League
24 Astograth Meat Commission FC 46 10 15 21 39 62 −23 45 ↓ 2-year run

West Group
Taldo Biharran B West       Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts
1 Tzaramaga Rovers 46 22 16 8 52 27 +25 82 ↑ Champions – will make Second Division début
2 FK Aliantza 46 23 12 11 45 35 +10 81
3 Uidio Mariners 46 22 14 10 55 43 +12 80
4 Bizkarra Castle 46 21 12 13 54 42 +12 75
5 Athletic Club Yungoitio 46 20 15 11 56 39 +17 75
6 Nabarrieta FC 46 19 15 12 60 42 +18 72
7 Ibarbe Youth 46 19 13 14 48 50 −2 70
8 Progress Athletic 46 19 13 14 43 39 +4 70
9 Gortz Academy 46 19 10 17 54 50 +4 67
10 Phoenix Athletic 46 19 10 17 48 46 +2 67
11 Chopbiren FC 46 17 14 15 55 46 +9 65
12 Echegoyan Railway 46 16 16 14 51 46 +5 64
13 Sporting Igerreitio 46 18 9 19 50 53 −3 63
14 Orontzo United 46 16 13 17 43 50 −7 61
15 Lanioa Youth 46 14 16 16 39 43 −4 58
16 Ibarriola United 46 16 6 24 49 69 −20 54
17 Eleven Men In Flight FC 46 13 15 18 37 46 −9 54
18 Goyardeliz United 46 15 8 23 33 43 −10 53
19 Izurria Pirates 46 14 11 21 36 48 −12 53
20 Ertzanga FC 46 14 10 22 41 47 −6 52
21 United Rail 46 12 13 21 33 43 −10 49 ↓ 1-year run in the Football League
22 Guenaztia Electric 46 11 15 20 45 52 −7 48 ↓ 3-year run
23 Okerruri FC 46 10 16 20 38 52 −14 46 ↓ 7-year run
24 Omagoitia Rovers 46 11 12 23 34 48 −14 45 ↓ first relegation from the Football League

Championship Final – East vs. West
@ Grand Duke's Stadium, Rumiatzi
Tzaramaga Rovers 0–0 Uzio Blackstar (1–0 AET)

Promotion Playoffs
Uidio Mariners 0–2 Eagles FC
Mars Athletic 1–0 FK Aliantza

Eagles FC 0–0 Uidio Mariners (2–0 agg.)
FK Aliantza 1–1 Mars Athletic (1–2 agg.)



Astograthian Development League – Honours Division

The Astograthian Development League, a joint FAF-Ministry of Sport venture, pits U21 teams across the nation in round-robin action. The top flight, or Honours Division, has been won in convincing fashion by Echegoyan FC, demonstrating that the beleaguered club still have one of the strongest academies in the country – could it be a light at the end of the tunnel? Last year’s winners Royal Rumiatzi achieved a strong runner-up season, while Blue Mountain Range gave chase to their Echegoyani rivals. Basabe Old Boys surprised by finishing 5th, while it was a disappointing season for the Iturributan teams.

Honours Division          Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts 
1 Echegoyan FC 30 18 4 8 52 38 +14 58 Champions / Rising Stars Cup – 2nd YC/RSC appearance
2 Royal Rumiatzi 30 15 8 7 50 39 +11 53
3 Urbizania Wanderers 30 15 6 9 43 32 +11 51
4 Blue Mountain Range 30 14 7 9 20 16 +4 49
5 Basabe Old Boys 30 13 6 11 29 38 −9 45
6 Ituraitz FC 30 11 11 8 43 30 +13 44
7 Sporting Iturributa 30 12 8 10 31 21 +10 44
8 Iturributa United 30 12 8 10 53 40 +13 44
9 Bakartirla Buccaneers 30 12 7 11 39 34 +5 43
10 Oyardo FC 30 10 11 9 44 45 −1 41
11 Astograth University 30 10 10 10 24 26 −2 40
12 Antiguoko FC 30 9 11 10 32 37 −5 38
13 Sporting Arkamo 30 10 6 14 40 46 −6 36
14 Garitzeta FC 30 7 12 11 28 37 −9 33
15 Miners FC 30 6 6 18 30 51 −21 24 ↓
16 Royal Ibarbe 30 2 7 21 13 41 −28 13 ↓

Promoted: Ituraitz Victory, Athletic Club Rumiatzi




Image
The Royal Cup

One-legged ties. First and Second Division teams enter at the Round of 64, and the former are seeded for that and the following round. If clubs have a two-tier difference or greater, the lower-tier team will play at home.

Round of 64 (select matches)
San Markez 1–5 Urbizania Wanderers
Erribe United 0–0 Astograth University (0–0 AET) (3–4 pen.)
Erretana United 1–0 East Railway
Athletic Club Yungoitio 0–1 Iturributa United
Army United 1–2 Blue Mountain Range
Antiguoko FC 3–0 Royal Association
Black Stallion 0–2 Ituraitz Victory
Urizaharra FC 2–2 Ibarbe Sport (2–2 AET) (2–3 pen.)
Goyardeliz United 1–0 Ituraitz FC
Rumiatzi 529 2–4 Royal Rumiatzi
Biazterri FC 0–0 Royal Ibarbe (1–1 AET) (3–1 pen.)
Echegoyan FC 2–1 Lermendia FC
Arbetsana Crossing 0–2 Bakartirla Buccaneers
United Rail 1–1 Gesterlake FC (1–1 AET) (1–3 pen.)
Guenaztia Electric 0–0 Sporting Arkamo (0–0 AET) (3–1 pen.)
Sporting Iturributa 0–0 Sporting Ibarguren (2–0 AET)
Miners FC 2–0 Urbitzo FC
Cafundelense 0–1 Athletic Club Olarria
Athletic Club Rumiatzi 0–1 Garitzeta FC
Gortz United 1–0 Basabe Youth

As is common in the Royal Cup, First Division sides did not have an easy time of it even in the Round of 64, their earliest entry point. Astograth University and Ibarbe Sport, both in the second tier, triumphed on penalties against Erribe United and Urizaharra FC respectively. Second Division B sides Guenaztia Electric and Biazterri FC did the same against Sporting Arkamo and Royal Ibarbe, while Gesterlake FC narrowly avoided suffering the same fate against United Rail. Athletic Club Rumiatzi went down to second-tier Garitzeta FC in normal time, but the worst humiliations were suffered by Ituraitz FC, shockingly eliminated in their visit to third-tier Goyardeliz United, and East Railway, knocked out of the cup by Erretana United, a non-league side.

A historic clash also took place this round, as Rumiatzi 529 and Royal Rumiatzi were drawn together; Royal Rumiatzi ran out 4-2 winners with two braces from Kiliz Gartzi and Martin Blessed. Rumiatzi 529 was founded in 658 as a revival of Rumiatzi United, historic rivals of Royal Rumiatzi, after United merged with Army to form Army United; this was the first time the two ‘rivals’ play each other in a national competition, at least in this incarnation.

Round of 32
Miners FC 4–0 Old City Central
Blue Mountain Range 2–0 South Factory
Astograth University 0–1 Bakartirla Buccaneers
Letzama FC 0–1 Sporting Iturributa
Iturributa United 2–0 Garitzeta Racing Club
Nabarrieta FC 1–0 Athletic Club Olarria
Garitzeta FC 1–4 Royal Rumiatzi
Guenaztia Electric 1–2 Gortz United
Ibarbe Youth 2–1 Antiguoko FC
Gesterlake FC 4–1 Ximun Orieta FC
Echegoyan FC 2–0 Oyardo FC
Ituraitz Victory 3–2 Ibarbe Sport
Erretana United 0–3 Urbizania Wanderers
Ezkutia MFC 0–2 Biazterri FC
Ezkalmendia FC 2–2 Goyardeliz United (2–2 AET) (1–3 pen.)
Basabe Old Boys 4–3 Dockyard Oaks

The Round of 32 saw a somewhat stronger showing from the top-flight sides, as Royal Rumiatzi, Urbizania Wanderers, Miners FC and Gesterlake all made short work of their opposition. However, Ibarbe Youth and Nabarrieta, both from the Second Division B, managed to embarrass Antiguoko and Athletic Club Olarria by knocking them out, climbing all the way to the Round of 16. They’ll be joined there by fellow third-tier Biazterri and Goyardeliz United, as well as Second Division leaders Basabe Old Boys.

Round of 16
Blue Mountain Range 0–1 Ituraitz Victory
Biazterri FC 1–0 Miners FC
Royal Rumiatzi 3–2 Basabe Old Boys
Goyardeliz United 1–2 Urbizania Wanderers
Gesterlake FC 1–0 Bakartirla Buccaneers
Nabarrieta FC 0–4 Iturributa United
Sporting Iturributa 0–1 Gortz United
Ibarbe Youth 0–1 Echegoyan FC

Many dreams were cut short this Round of 16, starting with BMR’s, courtesy of Omar Mahir in the 26th minute. Echegoyan, Iturributa United, Royal Rumiatzi and Urbizania Wanderers all knocked out lower-tier opposition, while Petrigai Errezarret scored the goal that defending champions Gesterlake needed to get past fellow top-flight team Bakartirla Buccaneers. Third-tier Biazterri FC, meanwhile, continued to impress and advance, eliminating a terrible Miners FC. Gortz United pulled off an upset at Old City Stadium, as Zohiartze Gorrachategi – once a Iturributa United player – scored early in the match to put them ahead of Sporting Iturributa, and Madariaga’s side had the discipline to wind out the clock.

Quarterfinals
Iturributa United 2–1 Urbizania Wanderers
Royal Rumiatzi 3–3 Gesterlake FC (3–3 AET) (2–4 pen.)
Gortz United 0–0 Echegoyan FC (0–0 AET) (5–4 pen.)
Biazterri FC 0–3 Ituraitz Victory

Ituraitz Victory finally ended Biazterri’s run with a commanding 3-0 win, goals by Ugutz Iturriche and two from Totakoxe Ansolidoa. Gortz United and Echegoyan FC played out a scoreless draw in normal time and then extra time, before Echegoyan’s Xefe Solaegi missed his penalty and allowed Gortz through to the semifinals. At Knights’ Stadium, Royal Rumiatzi and Gesterlake played out an exciting 3-3 draw. Gesterlake unexpectedly went 3-1 up by half-time, and Lele Manguele’s side clawed back two goals from Moore and Duarte. Neither side were able to break the deadlock until a penalty shootout, however, and defending champions Gesterlake pulled off a penalty win much like they did in last season’s final. In the round’s premier tie, Urbizania Wanderers equalised against Iturributa United through Aire Epherra, before United’s Lukas Bright slammed in the 2-1 not five minutes later. The Scarlet Band held strong to see off the league’s eventual champions.

Semifinals
Gesterlake FC 2–4 Iturributa United
Gortz United 1–0 Ituraitz Victory

Gesterlake, despite all their issues in the First Division, were thrilled to have reached the Royal Cup semifinals and dreamed of possibly repeating their title win. The draw pitted them against Iturributa United, the strongest candidates remaining and, unfortunately, Gesterlake’s desires were not enough when put against the rampage of Lukas Bright. Four goals by the Brenecian striker ripped apart Gesterlake’s defense, and installed United as the undisputed favourites to win the Royal Cup. In the other tie, Ituraitz Victory had the opportunity to reach their fourth cup final versus Gortz’s none, but in this regional derby it was Gortz who came out ahead thanks to a lone goal from Errapel Insunza.

The Final
@ Grand Duke's Stadium, Rumiatzi

For Gortz United, like Gesterlake the year before, this was the most important match of their history. It was their first real chance to win major national silverware – the culmination of so many years of toil, a dream that had been truly sparked by their promotion to the First Division back in the year 650. For Iturributa United, like Sporting Iturributa the year before, it was a chance to get something out of a disappointing season and earn some international football through the Cup Winners’ Cup.

On the surface, the situation was strangely similar to the last cup final: a club with no cups against one of the Iturributan giants, who were expected to win every cup. The differences were not minor, however. Gortz were a far stronger team than Gesterlake, and United were not the frustrated, unfocused side that Sporting had been the season before. Moreover, United knew they couldn’t underestimate a Gortz that had acquired a reputation for giant killing. In the league, they’d played a 1-1 draw and a 2-1 away win for Gortz.

At Grand Duke’s Stadium, the first half was even. Through high pressure and careful short passes, Madariaga’s Gortz were able to keep possession and force United to create openings in their lines, which Gortz took advantage of to come close through Wilhelm Esmail and a long shot by Abarrotz Sakona; Zohiartze Gorrachategi, who’d himself won a Royal Cup with United, constantly eluded Zeydel Abidin Birkan down United’s left flank. They couldn’t score while they had the advantage, however, and in the second half their high-pressure system broke down before they could get it properly going. Eshani winger Lukasz Adalmek put Iturributa United ahead in the 47th minute, and from there it was now United who calmly moved the ball in their own half, dominating the match through the triangle formed by Connor Macdonald, Beltza Urkizo and Gunutz Yriberry. It was quite unlike United to sit back on a result, but it worked against an increasingly desperate Gortz. When the lavender side was at its most exposed, in the 88th minute, Fangti Pikolaugh swung a low cross that found Lukas Bright onside and breaking through past Yasone Zubiate. Bright’s strike, his seventh goal in this tournament brought the Royal Cup home for Iturributa United, their second in five years.

Iturributa United 2–0 Gortz United

Image
CHAMPIONS
ITURRIBUTA UNITED

4th title



Astograth (ASG) qualifiers
Champions League: Urbizania Wanderers
Challengers Cup: Sporting Iturributa, Royal Rumiatzi, Ituraitz FC
Liga B Champions Trophy: Basabe Old Boys, Garitzeta Racing Club, Old City Central
Rising Stars Cup: Echegoyan FC
Cup Winners’ Cup: Iturributa United

Copa de Campeones: Urbizania Wanderers
Last edited by Astograth on Fri Mar 26, 2021 7:56 am, edited 4 times in total.

User avatar
Astograth
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1498
Founded: Feb 04, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Astograth » Tue Mar 23, 2021 5:39 pm

Image
The Astograthian Football League
Season 686 Preview – Part 1 (The Contenders)

Transfers
- Lele Manguele (FFD) left Royal Rumiatzi
- Galeano signed for Royal Rumiatzi as a free agent

- Pristina Shine (EQS - CF) signed for Iturributa United from 1830 Cathair (AUD) for Đ3.42 M
- Victoire De Saint-Pierre (CMT - RB) signed for Royal Rumiatzi from Tihon (CMT) for Đ2.63 M
- Namakula Kawesa (BNJ - AM) signed for Sporting Iturributa from Tanrısal (PAS) for Đ1.68 M
- Julian Mann (EUR - AM) signed for Urbizania Wanderers from Port James Athletic (SCT) for Đ1.58 M
- James Cartlidge (MUR - RB) signed for Urbizania Wanderers from Villa (MUR) for Đ1.32 M
- Dana Hutchins (EFL - GK) signed for Iturributa United from Hellinic Rouge (PAS) for Đ1.16 M
- Robin Harrysson (GRF - RM) signed for Urbizania Wanderers from Estdal (GRF) for Đ1.16 M
- Jeremiah Ruiz (ETN - RM) signed for Sporting Iturributa from Birdingstone United (ETN) for Đ890 k
- Davidov Rominevskiy (TWI - CM) signed for Royal Rumiatzi from Port Tacassam FC (TKT) for Đ870 k
- Puristina Shinra (HIN - CM) signed for Ituraitz FC from 1830 Cathair (AUD) for Đ530 k
- Janne Toivanen (SVJ - CB) signed for Iturributa United from Savojars Vinge Virkaja (SVJ) for Đ530 k
- Alex Sharp (EUR - CF) signed for Royal Rumiatzi on loan from 1830 Cathair (AUD)
- Owen James (EUR - RM) signed for Sporting Iturributa on loan from Carsby (EUR)
- Intov-Rynyr Ump (QUS - CB) signed for Antiguoko FC from KFQ Planarjz (QUS) as a free agent
- Raj Gupta (ETN - LM) signed for Antiguoko FC from New Sarum (ETN) as a free agent
- Danni Reed (QOD - RB) signed for Blue Mountain Range from Nowy Orpington United (QOD) as a free agent
- Janei Azbelyov (SRS - RM) signed for Blue Mountain Range from Lublova Reds (SRS) as a free agent
- Daigo Coshan (TAE - CB) signed for Blue Mountain Range as a free agent
- Declan Davies (HVY - GK) signed for Gesterlake FC from Union Forge (HVY) as a free agent
- Martí Donat (TEQ - CB) signed for Gortz United from Acayocagua (TEQ) as a free agent
- Mastino Garofano (SVG - LB) signed for Ituraitz Victory from EDC Fossano (SVG) as a free agent
- Augustijn Kindvanevan (TSA - GK) signed for Ituraitz Victory from Tocigtuon Taun (TSA) as a free agent
- Guðmann Arentsson (GRF - DM) signed for Royal Ibarbe from Mühlrich (GRF) as a free agent

- Isidor Leibar (RM) signed for FC Avoncore (NAC) from Blue Mountain Range as a free agent
- Eder Eskariz (RB) signed for Wildeport Wanderers (HVY) from Blue Mountain Range as a free agent

- Peyo Isamendi (CF) signed for Ituraitz FC from Echegoyan FC for Đ1.16 M
- Ander Ametrano (LM) signed for Athletic Club Olarria from Royal Ibarbe for Đ950 k
- Teyo Menbieye (CF) signed for Echegoyan FC from Urbizania Wanderers for Đ950 k
- Ageio Osinde (RB) signed for Athletic Club Olarria from Royal Rumiatzi for Đ840 k
- Zeruko Echeberria (CB) signed for Urbizania Wanderers from Antiguoko FC for Đ830 k
- Petrarch Karaiskakis (NPH - LM) signed for Royal Rumiatzi from Antiguoko FC for Đ790 k
- Yuaneizu Aranda (AM) signed for Basabe Old Boys from Ituraitz FC for Đ750 k
- Gau Urunaga (AM) signed for Royal Ibarbe from Sporting Arkamo for Đ690 k
- Chindoki Irastorza (CF) signed for Athletic Club Olarria from Urizaharra FC for Đ630 k
- Seber Akordagoitia (CF) signed for Blue Mountain Range from Ituraitz Victory for Đ630 k
- Zilar Echekahar (CF) signed for Old City Central from East Railway for Đ610 k
- Gilamu Mazondo (CM) signed for Old City Central from Ituraitz FC for Đ590 k
- Barea Yaurregiberry (LB) signed for Garitzeta Racing Club from Sporting Iturributa for Đ580 k
- Osfral Leruose (TIO - LM) signed for Royal Ibarbe from Ituraitz Victory for Đ580 k
- Aurken Erenio (CF) signed for Garitzeta Racing Club from Sporting Arkamo for Đ570 k
- Pello Salduberes (AM) signed for Urizaharra FC from Gortz United for Đ530 k
- Aurre Lete (CB) signed for Echegoyan FC from Athletic Club Olarria for Đ500 k
- Altzibar Sarrible (CB) signed for Royal Ibarbe from Iturributa United for Đ500 k
- Goren Elizabe (CB) signed for Athletic Club Olarria from Urbizania Wanderers for Đ450 k
- Agosti Irachet (LB) signed for Athletic Club Olarria from Ituraitz Victory for Đ450 k
- Gunutz Yriberry (CM) signed for Gortz United from Iturributa United for Đ450 k
- Dominix Birto (CM) signed for Ituraitz FC from Athletic Club Rumiatzi for Đ450 k
- Amuruza Leyarra (CB) signed for Gesterlake FC from Royal Rumiatzi for Đ430 k
- Bazkoare Echegoyenberry (RB) signed for Urizaharra FC from Urbizania Wanderers for Đ430 k
- Alarabi Meabebasterrechea (CB) signed for Bakartirla Buccaneers from Athletic Club Olarria for Đ390 k
- Mikelatz Idaberry (CF) signed for Echegoyan FC from Erribe United for Đ380 k
- Polentzi Bizagirre (AM) signed for Ituraitz FC from Bakartirla Buccaneers for Đ360 k
- Yaizki Gamino (CM) signed for Urizaharra FC from Iturributa United for Đ360 k
- Oinatz Lissarrage (GK) signed for Basabe Old Boys from Gesterlake FC for Đ340 k
- Ekialde Betanzos (AM) signed for Royal Association from Urizaharra FC for Đ290 k
- Xanti Izpura (LM) signed for Ituraitz Victory from Athletic Club Olarria for Đ260 k
- Yatsu Ustarroz (CF) signed for Basabe Old Boys from Bakartirla Buccaneers for Đ250 k
- Sendoa Gangoitia (DM) signed for East Railway from Antiguoko FC for Đ250 k
- Belasko Elespuru (CF) signed for Lermendia FC from Garitzeta Racing Club for Đ250 k
- Matin Galarke (RM) signed for Miners FC from Sporting Iturributa for Đ250 k
- Nahia Legarra (CF) signed for Antiguoko FC from Urizaharra FC for Đ240 k
- Gasteiz Legaza (RM) signed for Basabe Old Boys from Miners FC for Đ230 k
- Milian Anibar (GK) signed for Royal Association from Royal Rumiatzi for Đ230 k
- Guchi Oyea (DM) signed for Antiguoko FC from East Railway for Đ220 k
- Baladi Treko (CM) signed for Ituraitz Victory from Miners FC for Đ210 k
- Donostia Urrea (LB) signed for Basabe Old Boys from Garitzeta Racing Club for Đ190 k
- Inge Oyaguren (RB) signed for Sporting Arkamo from Urizaharra FC for Đ190 k
- Gunutz Sagarribay (GK) signed for Astograth University from Ituraitz Victory for Đ180 k
- Aratz Iarritu (LB) signed for Antiguoko FC from Blue Mountain Range for Đ140 k
- Ortle Iturburo (CF) signed for Army United from Old City Central for Đ140 k
- Arabante Goykochea (CM) signed for Royal Arexa from Urizaharra FC for Đ140 k
- Gauargi Aniorbe (CB) signed for Urizaharra FC from Royal Ibarbe for Đ140 k
- Azubeli Arana (GK) signed for Antiguoko FC from Ituraitz FC for Đ110 k
- Kusko Isaurralde (RB) signed for Urbitzo FC from Sporting Arkamo for Đ110 k
- Etor Aranket (RM) signed for Iturributa Racing Club from Basabe Old Boys for Đ100 k
- Azubeli Ilardia (AM) signed for Iturributa Racing Club from Basabe Old Boys for Đ100 k
- Elatzar Gassiebayle (DM) signed for Royal Association from Bakartirla Buccaneers for Đ100 k
- Artzai Kasuriaga (CF) signed for Urbitzo FC from Old City Central for Đ100 k
- Santi Arankibia (DM) signed for Miners FC from Garitzeta Racing Club for Đ90 k
- Yoseba Andeza (CB) signed for Royal Association from Bakartirla Buccaneers for Đ90 k
- Oihenarte Sarro (DM) signed for Royal Association from Basabe Old Boys for Đ90 k
- Loren Salazar (GK) signed for Gesterlake FC from Basabe Old Boys for Đ80 k
- Oier Boloki (CF) signed for Ximun Orieta FC from Old City Central for Đ70 k
- Tomofumi Ishimoda (HIN - CF) signed for Bakartirla Buccaneers on loan from Ituraitz FC
- Gerazan Legazpi (CF) signed for East Railway on loan from Royal Rumiatzi
- Musko Uriel (LB) signed for Iturributa United on loan from Royal Ibarbe
- Edur Elizahalde (AM) signed for Old City Central on loan from Sporting Iturributa
- Balendin Betonazko (CF) signed for Old City Central on loan from Iturributa United
- Zeynel Abidin Birkan (TMR - LB) signed for Royal Ibarbe on loan from Iturributa United
- Ortle Fletcher (AM) signed for Astograth University from Old City Central as a free agent
- Ubelteso Amilaga (CM) signed for Athletic Club Rumiatzi from Ituraitz Victory as a free agent
- Asier Labiaga (LB) signed for Bakartirla Buccaneers from Ituraitz FC as a free agent
- Unax Alchourron (AM) signed for Bakartirla Buccaneers from Royal Ibarbe as a free agent
- Gaitzka Ituzarriaga (DM) signed for Basabe Old Boys from Miners FC as a free agent
- Deunoro Hala (LB) signed for Blue Mountain Range from Basabe Old Boys as a free agent
- Xefe Larribe (RM) signed for East Railway from Sporting Iturributa as a free agent
- Ekhi Iroz (CB) signed for Erribe United from Old City Central as a free agent
- Eguntsenti Uriarte (CB) signed for Garitzeta FC from Urizaharra FC as a free agent
- Oxel Porkel (DM) signed for Garitzeta Racing Club from Royal Ibarbe as a free agent
- Lastur Orkola (CF) signed for Gortz United from Ituraitz FC as a free agent
- Errolan Olabenaga (CF) signed for Ichapeldun Mariners from Basabe Old Boys as a free agent
- Garikoitz Keheiye (LB) signed for Ituraitz FC from Antiguoko FC as a free agent
- Gilamu Bengoechea (CM) signed for Iturributa United from Ituraitz FC as a free agent
- Lapurdi Muruaga (CM) signed for Miners FC from Iturributa United as a free agent
- Arotza Durkudoy (CB) signed for Old City Central from Urbizania Wanderers as a free agent
- Xefe Solaegi (CF) signed for Old City Central from Echegoyan FC as a free agent
- Churio Aragolaza (RM) signed for Royal Ibarbe from Urbizania Wanderers as a free agent
- Erruki Giyamondegi (CB) signed for Royal Ibarbe from Gortz United as a free agent
- Birila Taiyade (CB) signed for Royal Rumiatzi from Gesterlake FC as a free agent
- Gero Sorrosua (AM) signed for Sporting Arkamo from Urbizania Wanderers as a free agent
- Mogel Galdiano (CF) signed for Sporting Arkamo from Royal Rumiatzi as a free agent
- Yeremi Subasnabar (GK) signed for Sporting Arkamo from Gesterlake FC as a free agent
- Zilar Sarries (LB) signed for Sporting Iturributa from Bakartirla Buccaneers as a free agent
- Aketza Ibarguren (CM) signed for Urbitzo FC from Old City Central as a free agent
- Gaizka Lastarria (RM) signed for Urbitzo FC from Royal Ibarbe as a free agent
- Urbasa Albina (CB) signed for Urbizania Wanderers from Blue Mountain Range as a free agent
- Kiliz Gartzi (LM) signed for Urizaharra FC from Royal Rumiatzi as a free agent
- Kaiet Izurrategi (CF) signed for Urizaharra FC from Antiguoko FC as a free agent
- Sesuldo Esteinou (GK) signed for Ximun Orieta FC from Sporting Arkamo as a free agent
- Manex Uribelarrea (LM) left Urizaharra FC as a free agent

- Firmo Lerendegi (GK), who was last at Antiguoko FC, retired from football aged 36
- Dabi Biuret (LM), who was last at Athletic Club Olarria, retired from football aged 34
- Pachi Lakumetz (CF), who was last at Athletic Club Olarria, retired from football aged 34
- Todor Berrioz (LB), who was last at Athletic Club Olarria, retired from football aged 34
- Urdin Echaudi (RB), who was last at Athletic Club Olarria, retired from football aged 34
- Unax Iregi (GK), who was last at Athletic Club Rumiatzi, retired from football aged 34
- Yakobe Aranguren (LB), who was last at Athletic Club Rumiatzi, retired from football aged 34
- Mantzio Nayarro (LM), who was last at Athletic Club Rumiatzi, retired from football aged 36
- Gaitzka Retegi (RM), who was last at Athletic Club Rumiatzi, retired from football aged 32
- Diagur Echebes (CF), who was last at Blue Mountain Range, retired from football aged 36
- Hibai Akerra (RM), who was last at East Railway, retired from football aged 34
- Zigor Urmeneta (CB), who was last at East Railway, retired from football aged 32
- Arnalt Larra (CB), who was last at Echegoyan FC, retired from football aged 34
- Baleren Zarrasbeitia (CB), who was last at Echegoyan FC, retired from football aged 37
- Garoa Iasuralde (CB), who was last at Erribe United, retired from football aged 36
- Lehoiar Kastesana (CB), who was last at Erribe United, retired from football aged 37
- Ion Mugeya (LM), who was last at Erribe United, retired from football aged 37
- Iraunkor Kotabarren (RM), who was last at Gesterlake FC, retired from football aged 35
- Maurin Zabale (LM), who was last at Gortz United, retired from football aged 34
- Ibon Herrea (CF), who was last at Gortz United, retired from football aged 34
- Marty De-Wit (AUD - GK), who was last at Iturributa United, retired from football aged 39
- Giro Insausti (GK), who was last at Miners FC, retired from football aged 34
- Aztore Goyos (RM), who was last at Miners FC, retired from football aged 35
- Iraunkor Garasa (CB), who was last at Royal Ibarbe, retired from football aged 34
- Lutz Daschner (STL - RB), who was last at Royal Rumiatzi, retired from football aged 37

Teams

ImageImage
Urbizania Wanderers, est. 523
Ground: Cherketzo Arena (53,200), Urbizania Image
Colours: All dark green
Major rivals: Ituraitz FC (competitive), Royal Rumiatzi (regional), South Factory (regional)
Major honours: Image UICA Champions’ Cup 43, Image 8 First Division titles, Image 7 Royal Cups
Main sponsor: Duchess Airways (airline)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★★★ / Youth system ★★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 35 M
Seasons in the First Division: 41 of 41

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Dieje Ibrelaná (FFD), aLBa Image Urre Remondegi, aCBa Image Eriz Mugiro, aCBa Image Zohiartze Urkia, aRBa Image James Cartlidge (MUR), aDMa Image Ibon Irisarre ©, aDMa Image Yoshimi Hirahito (TAE), aLMa Image Alexis Durmisi (VLD), aRMa Image Robin Harrysson (GRF), aAMa Image Julian Mann (EUR), aCFa Image Aire Epherra

Bench: aGKa Iztal Zurriage, aGKa Marz Perurena, aLBa Gomesano Mekolalde, aCBa Xarles Sabatza, aCBa Zeruko Echeberria, aCBa Urbasa Albina, aRBa Aire Kobelas, aDMa Diegoche Yauregizar, aDMa Distiratsu Oniate, aLMa Frantzes Benzoa, aCMa Yurdan Mandiola, aRMa Bixincho Olate, aAMa Xarles Lazkano, aCFa Imanol Bethularan, aCFa Satordi Albi

Manager: Image Eriz Bakaikoa, 5th season in charge
Club reputation: Value skillful, beautiful football. Vibe of an intimate, local club despite massive success.
Fans’ expectation: The title
Pundits’ prediction: 1st of 20
Notes: Wanderers have been on a roll the last two seasons, winning back-to-back championships and reaching the Challengers’ Cup Round of 32, the best international performance from an Astograthian team in decades. For this season they’ve refreshed their midfield, already the best in the league, with the additions of Græntfjaller winger Robin Harrysson and exciting Euran playmaker Julian Mann, the latter in from Schottia. Murphtannian right-back James Cartlidge also arrives to join Wanderers’ star-studded starting eleven, the pillars of which have so far been Farf goalkeeper Diejé Ibrelaná, Taeshani midfielder Yoshimi Hirahito, Olibondeka forward Aire Epherra, and Valladar winger and two-time First Division Player of the Year Alexis Durmisi, all members of their national teams as well. Under Bakaikoa this side could well become the second to win three league titles in a row – and right after Sporting Iturributa first achieved it, too. Overconfidence may be a problem, however, especially in light of other clubs’ high-impact signings.

ImageImage
Royal Rumiatzi, est. 541
Ground: Knights' Stadium (70,000), Rumiatzi Image
Colours: White shirt, dark blue shorts and socks
Major rivals: Athletic Club Rumiatzi (The Rumiatzi Derby), Ituraitz FC (The Silver Derby), Iturributa United (political), Sporting Iturributa (political), Urbizania Wanderers (regional), Astograth University (local)
Major honours: Image Cup Winners' Cup 25, Image Copa de Campeones 22, Image 9 First Division titles, Image 8 Royal Cups, Image Aéropag Football Invitational 22, Image 1 Ides of March Cup
Main sponsor: Dukomm (telecomms)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★★★ / Youth system ★★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 33.7 M
Seasons in the First Division: 41 of 41

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Konrad Matheny (NPH), aLBa Image Loxjilo Exihosahar (FFD), aCBa Image Loiola Urpi, aCBa Image Selatse Yrigoy, aCBa Image Aztore Andia, aRBa Image Victoire De Saint-Pierre (CMT), aLMa Image Petrarch Karaiskakis (NPH), aCMa Image Davidov Rominevskiy (TWI), aCMa Image Azeari Duarte ©, aRMa Image Nolan Moore (TKT), aCFa Image Martin Blessed (EUR)

Bench: aGKa Egen Kortabarren, aGKa Xurdin Biyalain, aLBa Paskal Layinde, aCBa Birila Taiyade, aCBa Lore Ameya, aRBa Image Slobodan Vujovic (MYT), aDMa Argider Eges, aLMa Anchoka Oyhantkabal, aCMa Gorosti Espos, aCMa Image Guy Reason (FFD), aRMa Mogel Darrikarrere, aAMa Lon Dumon, aCFa Yasone Urdanibia, aCFa Bidari Mendigoechea, aCFa Image Alex Sharp (EUR)

Manager: Image Galeano, 1st season in charge
Club reputation: Rich, powerful, will settle for nothing but the best. Trophies are the goal, or heads will roll. Incredibly insecure over the lack of UICA/IFCF success.
Fans’ expectation: The title
Pundits’ prediction: 2nd of 20
Notes: Royal Rumiatzi gave unhinged, unproven Farf manager Lele Manguele one season to win the title. He ultimately lasted three trophyless seasons before getting sacked. Rumiatzi came agonisingly close in all three, breaking records and playing one of the most takilan, unusual, and fascinating styles ever seen in Astograth. To replace Manguele comes the Tamarindian-Astograthian known only as Galeano. A beloved former midfielder who featured in some of the highest points of Rumiatzi and the national team’s history, he has had a quietly successful managerial career, including a shock Royal Cup triumph with Army United and praiseworthy performances with Sporting Arkamo. He has brought sweeping changes to the team, switching to a far more conservative 5-4-1 formation that sees playmaker Azeari Duarte retreat into centre midfield and benches ageing club legend Yasone Urdanibia, leaving goal-machine Martin Blessed as the sole centre-forward. The wing-backs feature heavily in Galeano’s plans, and he has a lot to work with: Farf national team left-back Loxjilo Exihosahar and new signing Victoire de Saint-Pierre, a Chromatik right-back breaking into his own national team; solid replacement for Siovanijan and Teus legend Lutz Daschner. Other arrivals are Nepharan winger Petrarch Karaiskakis, from local outfit Antiguoko FC, bulky Twicetagrian midfielder Davidov Rominevskiy, from Tikariot’s Port Tacassam, and 17 year-old forward Alex Sharp, grandson of none other than Lee Sharp, on loan from 1830 Cathair. Goalkeeper Konrad Matheny was desolated to not make Nephara’s World Cup-winning squad, but that he was even in contention demonstrates how good Rumiatzi have it in goal. If this team can polish their defence just a bit they could well win the title, or will the changes have been too many too fast?

ImageImage
Sporting Iturributa, est. 512
Ground: Old City Stadium (72,000), Iturributa Image
Colours: Crimson with gold chevron, crimson shorts and socks
Major rivals: Iturributa United (The Iturributan Derby), Royal Rumiatzi (political), Iturributa Racing Club (local), Royal Association (local-political)
Major honours: Image Cup Winners' Cup 20, Image 6 First Division titles, Image 3 Royal Cups, Image 7 Iturributan Premier Division titles, Image 5 Iturributan President's Cups, Image UICA Iturributan Club of the Century
Main sponsor: IB Investments (finance)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★★★ / Youth system ★★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 28.2 M
Seasons in the First Division: 26 of 41

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Lino Kaberle (STL), aLBa Image Minerva Compton (KOR), aCBa Image Mogel Doyenard ©, aCBa Image Gomesano Suhurt, aRBa Image Baiona Menduburu, aDMa Image Servet Misidjan (NPH), aDMa Image Gaitzka Gurina, aLMa Image Ohashi Kiichi (SQR), aRMa Image Jeremiah Ruiz (ETN), aAMa Image Namakula Kawesa (BNJ), aCFa Image Tehmina Palani (SRS)

Bench: aGKa Otsoa Sanyorenti, aGKa Udalaitz Altabegoiti, aLBa Zilar Sarries, aCBa Oidor Lubiano, aCBa Erauso Zugasti, aCBa Echachu Oriza, aRBa Oxarra Nabarrete, aDMa Xurdin Eskurdia, aDMa Erruki Yauza, aCMa Lehoiar Oztolaza, aLMa Lauaxeta Lardaro, aRMa Image Owen James (EUR), aAMa Image Ximun Blacksdove-Beukers (AUD), aCFa Larendi Gorriz, aCFa Egoitz Laurnagaray

Manager: Image Mikel Aluztiza, 2nd season in charge
Club reputation: Refined, classy, value a slow and methodical style of play. Think very highly of themselves. The snobbish one of the two giants out of Iturributa.
Fans’ expectation: The title
Pundits’ prediction: 3rd of 20
Notes: Sporting Iturributa were bitterly disappointed to have lost last season’s title at the very last hurdle, felled by Ituraitz FC when they needed a win. Nevertheless, they had a stellar run, dominating the league for nearly half the season thanks to the incombustible energy of midfield duo Servet Misidjan and Gaitzka Gurina, defensive excellence of Lino Kaberle and Mogel Doyenard, and attacking talent of Ohashi Kiichi and Tehmina Palani. This year, manager Mikel Aluztiza has reinforced his squad with winger Jeremiah Ruiz from Ethane, a loan of promising Euran teenager Owen James, and the signing that broke the Astograthian internet: Namakula Kawesa, vice-captain of Banija, World Cup-winning attacking midfielder. World-class talent of her level has not been seen in the First Division in decades, and there is enormous expectation regarding what Sporting can accomplish with her in midfield. In response, Iturributa United have made their own marquee signing, and this season’s Iturributan Derbies are already being marketed as the biggest clashes in a generation.

ImageImage
Ituraitz FC, est. 577
Ground: Ituraitz Sporting Ground (63,000), Ituraitz Image
Colours: All red
Major rivals: Ituraitz Victory (The Ituraitz Derby), Royal Rumiatzi (The Silver Derby), Urbizania Wanderers (competitive), Athletic Club Olarria (regional), Ximun Orieta FC (local)
Major honours: Image UICA Champions’ Cup 47, Image UICA Globe Cup 45, Image UICA Super Cup 44, Image Copa de Campeones 20, Image 9 First Division titles, Image 6 Royal Cups, Image Aéropag Football Invitational 25, Image 4 Ides of March Cups, Image UICA Astograthian Club of the Century
Main sponsor: Chistorra Sarlange (charcuterie)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★★★ / Youth system ★★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 25 M
Seasons in the First Division: 41 of 41

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Bihar Raldua, aLBa Image Mirande Anibardo, aCBa Image Mike Sloah (SNL), aCBa Image Xuban Lechardoy, aRBa Image Cheru Lizarza, aLMa Image Isidra Corvey © (BRE), aCMa Image Puristina Shinra (HIN), aCMa Image Erphinstatdt Tstinstaphensteitd (AUD), aRMa Image Sasha Kristine (CMT), aCFa Image Telá Potos (TIO), aCFa Image Peyo Isamendi

Bench: aGKa Image Fernando Armida (STB), aGKa Yake Galparsoro, aLBa Garikoitz Keheiye, aCBa Cherran Goyeche, aCBa Hurko Germain, aCBa Keop Ithurrart, aRBa Anchoka Alastre, aDMa Iparragirre Paldao, aLMa Orixe Mantinian, aCMa Dominix Birto, aRMa Aingeru Sayaz, aAMa Polentzi Bizagirre, aCFa Iturri Barriola, aCFa Hurko Barreneche, aCFa Xantalen Bikandi

Manager: Image Bob Partridge (EUR), 4th season in charge
Club reputation: Successful, attractive, cosmopolitan. You either love them or hate them. The world champion 654-55 Ituraitz is widely regarded as the best Astograthian team of all time.
Fans’ expectation: The title
Pundits’ prediction: 4th of 20
Notes: Though Ituraitz FC remain a formidable team, their present run of 8 trophyless seasons is growing unbearable for fans of the most decorated club in Astograth, one of the greats of international football. Manager Bob Partridge has been given the ultimatum of at least a runner-up finish this season, such that they can finally make their début in the IFCF Champions League. To that effect, Partridge has brought in several signings, though none as flashy as those of his adversaries in the Big 5. The biggest name is Hinodejin midfielder Puristina Shinra from 1830 Cathair, whom the club confirmed was who they wanted and not the result of a typo; she will partner with Tstinstaphensteitd in Partridge’s orthodox 4-4-2. Other signings include experienced playmaker Polentzi Bizagirre and journeyman midfielder Dominix Birto, arriving to round out the squad and quell criticism that there are few good options on the bench. Ituraitz’s strength remains in going forward, with the talented – but ageing – Isidra Corvey and Sasha Kristine riding down the wings to assist cheeky striker Telá Potos and new forward Peyo Isamendi. Isamendi, a product of the Ituraitz academy, was discarded aged 20 by the club and picked up by Echegoyan FC, just before Partridge’s tenure; now back in the fold for a hefty price, he has much to prove.

ImageImage
Iturributa United, est. 523
Ground: Old City Stadium (72,000), Iturributa Image
Colours: White with red sash, red shorts, white socks
Major rivals: Sporting Iturributa (The Iturributan Derby), Royal Rumiatzi (political), Iturributa Racing Club (local), Royal Association (local-political)
Major honours: Image Cup Winners' Cup 28, Image Copa de Campeones 16 & 18, Image 4 First Division titles, Image 4 Royal Cups, Image 3 Ides of March Cups, Image 7 Iturributan Premier Division titles, Image 3 Iturributan President's Cups, Image runners-up of UICA Champions’ Cups 39 & 52
Main sponsor: Badiola (vehicles)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★★ / Youth system ★★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 26.5 M
Seasons in the First Division: 26 of 41

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Dana Hutchins (EFL), aLBa Image Musko Uriel, aCBa Image Janne Toivanen (SVJ), aCBa Image Miriam Lechie (BRE), aRBa Image Zhu Aiguo (YZH), aDMa Image Connor Macdonald (KSK), aDMa Image Beltza Urkizo, aLMa Image Fangti Pikolaugh (CMT), aRMa Image Lukasz Adalmek (ESH), aCFa Image Lukas Bright (BRE), aCFa Image Pristina Shine © (EQS)

Bench: aGKa Keop Karrikaberry, aGKa Gaueko Errekondo, aLBa Mayorga Orayen, aCBa Ostots Yerro, aCBa Gorka Ibatborde, aRBa Elatzar Kobeaga, aDMa Iracho Yeregi, aLMa Perrando Eyerart, aCMa Gilamu Bengoechea, aCMa Image Borna Marusic (MYT), aRMa Domiku Indurain, aAMa Gaizka Zubisarreta, aCFa Iraitz Algarin, aCFa Hitzeder Lizalde, aCFa Ubendu Usandizaga

Manager: Image Justin Vauxhall (BRE), 3rd season in charge
Club reputation: Frenetic, energetic, populist. Driven to excel at whatever cost. The rowdy one of the two giants out of Iturributa.
Fans’ expectation: The title
Pundits’ prediction: 5th of 20
Notes: Though Iturributa United won the Royal Cup last season, their second in five years, fans have become convinced that this is the Darkest Period in the club’s history due to not winning a league title in more than a decade. They geared up for yet another grim season with faint cries of ‘this year’s the year’, while the board secured solid signings in Eastfielder goalkeeper Dana Hutchins and Savojarnan centre-back Janne Toivanen. Everything changed, however, when on the last day of the transfer window an Iturributan club broke the Astograthian internet, again. Pristina Shine, world-renowed, World Cup-winning striker, who in her youth had graced the pitch of Old City Stadium, would be returning to wear the Scarlet Sash. Fans are beyond ecstatic, and certain that the prodigal daughter has come to lead them to championship glory. Given Sporting Iturributa’s signing of Namakula Kawesa, announced a few weeks previous, a new red-hot chapter in the country’s biggest rivalry has just been opened, as everyone awaits the clash of the titans. Shine’s return necessitated major changes, among them immediately handing her the captaincy, switching to a 4-2-2-2 formation that can accommodate two strikers, and trading left-back Zeynel Abidin Birkan for Royal Ibarbe’s Musko Uriel in a quick loan deal to free up a non-Rushmori registration spot. The one most unhappy about all this is gifted midfielder Gilamu Bengoechea, who joined on a free from Ituraitz FC after a frustrating year on the bench. He was promised a starting spot at United, but now he’s found himself forced out of the starting eleven. No one’s sure what this United is capable of – will they live up to the massive potential offered by a star of Pristina Shine’s quality, or once again fall short?

ImageImage
Athletic Club Olarria, est. 504
Ground: North Point Stadium (61,317), Olarria Image
Colours: Claret with sky blue hoop, claret shorts and socks
Major rivals: Ituraitz FC (regional), Sporting Olarria (local)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Amuarraina Errege (seafood)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 24.6 M
Seasons in the First Division: 30 of 41

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Ayuko Mitsushima (HIN), aLBa Image Gareth Carney (NPH), aCBa Image Ubarna Aizpitarte, aCBa Image Elatzar Zumaeta ©, aRBa Image Aberri Buruchaga, aDMa Image Artizar Bailo, aLMa Image Ander Ametrano, aRMa Image Amber Docherty (KSK), aAMa Image Ubelteso Peruchena, aCFa Image Olentzaro Anseoteori, aCFa Image Chindoki Irastorza

Bench: aGKa Maore Garaikoechea, aGKa Marchel Ekwekwe, aLBa Agosti Irachet, aCBa Goren Elizabe, aCBa Galindo Utesa, aCBa Arixo Salayaran, aRBa Ageio Osinde, aDMa Burni Larripa, aCMa Lon Eskardo, aLMa Izaskun Egiluz, aRMa Altzibar Ulbina, aAMa Inautzi Loaiza, aCFa Hats Chapartegi, aCFa Elatzar Lassa, aCFa Kaiet Echassandage

Manager: Image Piarres Erke, 3rd season in charge
Club reputation: Consistent, but can't break the glass ceiling of a title win. Feel they've paid their dues, yet overlooked and underrated.
Fans’ expectation: IFCF qualification
Pundits’ prediction: 6th of 20
Notes: Athletic Club Olarria narrowly missed out on Challengers Cup participation last season, finishing fifth by a single point. With Astograth’s rise in the ranks, if they can repeat that feat this year, they’ll be in – and the prize money will go a long way on the hard road to a title win. They’ve been very active on the domestic transfer market this window, signing a new left winger in Royal Ibarbe’s Ander Ametrano, a new striker in Urizaharra’s Chindoki Irastorza, just 21 years old, along with several other talented players - such as Wanderers reserve centre-back Goren Elizabe – intended to give the squad more depth, a common issue in recent years. One to keep an eye on is 19 year-old winger Izaskun Egiluz, just promoted from Olarria’s academy and already heralded as a future star. It can’t be overstated how important the extra IFCF spot is to Olarria, as the chances of breaking through the Big 5 slowly open up – they’d do well to take advantage.
Last edited by Astograth on Wed Mar 24, 2021 7:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
Astograth
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1498
Founded: Feb 04, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Astograth » Wed Mar 24, 2021 7:55 pm

Image
The Astograthian Football League
Season 686 Preview – Part 2 (The Midtable)

ImageImage
Royal Ibarbe, est. 488/500 (disputed)
Ground: Erda Street (19,000), Ibarbe Image
Colours: Purple shirt, yellow shorts, purple socks
Major rivals: Ibarbe Sport, Ibarbe Youth (all local)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Zerrigela (finance)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★ / Training facilities ★★★★ / Youth system ★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 18.6 M
Seasons in the First Division: 18 of 41

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Edur Iun, aLBa Image Zeynel Abidin Birkan (TMR), aCBa Image Altzibar Sarrible, aCBa Image Hissho Munuzo (HIN), aRBa Image Galindo Beobide, aDMa Image Panfilo Napoleoni (JUE), aDMa Image Guðmann Arentsson (GRF), aLMa Image Osfral Leruose (TIO), aRMa Image Churio Aragolaza, aAMa Image Garchot Dirassar, aCFa Image Ixaka Lairihoy

Bench: aGKa Bitor Eiguren, aGKa Zilar Leskarboura, aLBa Hartz Isuregi, aCBa Teyo Otormin, aCBa Eyande Garika, aCBa Erruki Giyamondegi, aRBa Yurdan Echeberz ©, aDMa Chimich Jansson, aDMa Franchizko Biurrarena, aLMa Eusko Otazu, aCMa Chindoki Yano, aRMa Echahun Dacharry, aAMa Gau Urunaga, aCFa Hustaz Urresti, aCFa Ongile Yraola

Manager: Image Ilazki Altzibararechuluaga, 2nd season in charge
Club reputation: Small club, fans are fickle and wealthy. Gradually acquiring a wider base of support.
Fans’ expectation: Top 6
Pundits’ prediction: 7th of 20
Notes: Manager Ilazki Altzibararechuluaga made a lasting impact at Bakartirla Buccaneers, and his arrival at Royal Ibarbe created high hopes around what he could do at this newly ambitious club enjoying their best decade in history. The long-term plan is to climb into the IFCF spots and build from there, and although last season’s 8th place was considered a setback, Altzibararechuluaga has taken care to reassure the board through a series of no-nonsense signings. Arkamo playmaker Gau Urunaga has been brought in to put pressure on starter Garcho Dirassar, Græntfjaller Guðmann Arentsson reinforces the team’s spine in defensive midfield, and Ituraitz Victory’s Tiog winger Osfral Leruose brings fresh blood to the left wing. The two biggest transfers were Timurian left-back Zeynel Abidin Birkan, arrived in a flash loan deal with Iturributa United in order to make space for Pristina Shine, and the signing of right winger Churio Aragolaza, man of vast experience with Urbizania Wanderers and the national team, on a free. In pundits’ eyes, this squad is a cut below the top 6 yet clearly a cut above the rest – not an uncomfortable position to be in, and if they don’t finish at least 7th may have cause to complain.

ImageImage
Gortz United, est. 561
Ground: Itsasargiberria Stadium (43,315), Gortz Image
Colours: All lavender
Major rivals: Gortz Academy (local)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Henrik (Polarian finance)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 11.9 M
Seasons in the First Division: 23 of 41

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Yuango Hernera, aLBa Image Osoitz Haukiartze, aCBa Image Anselmo Sinagra (JUE), aCBa Image Yasone Zubiate, aRBa Image Balasi Lakar ©, aDMa Image Abarrotz Sakona, aCMa Image Gunutz Yriberry, aCMa Image Esmail Wilhelm (ESH), aLMa Image Gasteiz Yrisarri, aRMa Image Zohiartze Gorrachetegi, aCFa Image Lastur Orkola

Bench: aGKa Charan Iroz, aGKa Orzaize Chaneke, aLBa Gartzen Boneta, aCBa Luki Bringas, aCBa Endira Ibarburu, aCBa Image Martí Donat (TEQ), aRBa Hibai Alkorta, aDMa Mayu Karreras, aCMa Aioro Arangena, aCMa Errapel Insunza, aLMa Giro Pelua, aRMa Umea Goyanes, aAMa Leheren Goyhenespe, aCFa Anter Genaga, aCFa Urbasa Aldanondo

Manager: Image Eneko Madariaga, 3rd season in charge
Club reputation: Resourceful, scrappy, fight to the end. Wring the last few years out of old players.
Fans’ expectation: Top-half finish
Pundits’ prediction: 8th of 20
Notes: Eneko Madariaga rescued Gortz from a relegation battle and next season took them to 7th place, their highest finish in 25 years, and their very first Royal Cup final. Excitement is growing around the renovated Itsasargiberria Stadium. The turnaround from mediocrity to maybe something more has been swift, and who knows – can they keep climbing? IFCF qualification maybe, like in their golden days? True to their style, Gortz’s starting lineup averages 31 years old, but the lower-pressure environment of the port city seems to suit many of them as they wind down their careers with one last hurrah. This is the stated goal of power forward Lastur Orkola, scorer of more than 170 league goals across 12 seasons starting for Urbizania Wanderers and Ituraitz FC. Signed on a free, he will lead Gortz’s attack in his last season before retirement. Centre midfielder Gunutz Yriberry, forced out of a starting spot at Iturributa United, is another of Gortz’s star signings and sure to take their possession play to another level. Not that it’s all veterans either: 20 year-old centre-back Martí Donat from Tequilo goes to show that Madariaga is keeping his mind on the future and an eye on the players that will get him there.


ImageImage
Antiguoko FC, est. 514
Ground: The Enclave (45,058), Antiguoko Image
Colours: Red and white quarters, red shorts and socks
Major rivals: Gesterlake FC, Royal Arexa (all historic)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Yogutz (dairy)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 13.2 M
Seasons in the First Division: 15 of 41

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Ubelteso Erra, aLBa Image Hats Lizondo, aCBa Image Intov-Rynyr Ump (QUS), aCBa Image Hanot Benaza ©, aRBa Image Kusko Ibarrondo, aDMa Image Kaiet Okariz, aLMa Image Raj Gupta (ETN), aRMa Image Thierry Cailleux (HIN), aAMa Image Uzuri Borthagaray, aCFa Image Edur Ustarroz, aCFa Image Mazuste Igerabide

Bench: aGKa Azubeli Arana, aGKa Hanot Echeto, aLBa Aratz Iarritu, aCBa Otsando Erramundeguy, aCBa Xefe Bessouat, aCBa Adon Aburto, aRBa Sugoi Iniurrigarro, aDMa Guchi Oyea, aLMa Erramun Notzadal, aRMa Lizar Tafaya, aCMa Yatsu Letamendi, aAMa Iker Baraza, aCFa Nahia Legarra, aCFa Xantalen Gastambide, aCFa Gogo Soraire

Manager: Image Ikatz Ansotegi, 7th season in charge
Club reputation: Combative, tireless. Pride of the city and the region.
Fans’ expectation: Top-half finish
Pundits’ prediction: 9th of 20
Notes: Antiguoko have been quite happy to hover around 10th place for what is now the past eight seasons, and they seem to be enjoying it. Under the careful management of Ikatz Ansotegi, their signings this season have been nothing flashy, but reliable. 36-year-old defender Intov-Rynyr Ump, from Qusmo, brings heaps of experience across three countries to Antiguoko’s back line, and winger Raj Gupta from Ethane is also a fine addition to the team’s midfield, their best asset. Both were signed on free transfers to replace Zeruko Echeberria and Petrarch Karaiskakis, from which the club made bank selling to Urbizania Wanderers and Royal Rumiatzi – sensitive losses, but not irreplaceable, especially considering the inflated prices paid by top teams. The squad as it stands is trending old but remains well-balanced, and should serve Ansotegi well for another smooth season through the midtable.

ImageImage
Sporting Arkamo, est. 542
Ground: The Bells (43,505), Arkamo Image
Colours: Brown and gold stripes, brown shorts, gold socks
Major rivals: Akialden Marauders (The Arkamo Derby), Izarloka FC (regional), Lermendia FC (regional)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Barrertze (lifestyle)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 12.1 M
Seasons in the First Division: 13 of 41

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Aurken Maruri, aLBa Image Haitz Erriest, aCBa Image Erauso Teyitegi, aCBa Image Cherran Peluaga, aRBa Image Freek Lamaars (ESH), aLMa Image Piarres Santurtun, aCMa Image Gomesano Sedero, aRMa Image Xalbador Achabalastra, aAMa Image Gero Sorrosua, aCFa Image Mogel Galdiano, aCFa Image Berasko Korradi

Bench: aGKa Yeremi Subasnabar, aGKa Oxel Echaburu, aLBa Luki Istekahandy, aCBa Loiola Echepare, aCBa Gorosti Biskert, aCBa Fermin Chirizola, aRBa Inge Oyaguren, aDMa Ixona Landeta, aLMa Iaki Agerrebengoa, aCMa Opilano Ubaldi ©, aRMa Gora Ezpeleta, aAMa Gaston Urdingio, aCFa Image Damyan Nifterik (ESH), aCFa Umea Akerra, aCFa Atzo Kampo

Manager: Image Hanni Andikola, 4th season in charge
Club reputation: Reliable, well-managed club, do a lot with little. Wholesome countryside support. Rumoured to be favoured by the FAF.
Fans’ expectation: Top-half finish
Pundits’ prediction: 10th of 20
Notes: Arkamo are in a similar position to Antiguoko, consistently drifting around 10th place. In contrast to Antiguoko, however, their board have expressed greater ambition, and have been slowly increasing the pressure on Hanni Andikola to move them up somewhere closer to Royal Ibarbe, with an eye to eventually get into those coveted Challengers Cup positions. Andikola complains he hasn’t the budget, but he’s managed to wrangle two great free signings: forward Mogel Galdiano, a Royal Rumiatzi youth product plucked straight off their bench, and veteran playmaker Gero Sorrosua, 4-time First Division champion with Sporting Iturributa and Urbizania Wanderers, capped over 30 times for Astograth. Arkamo are good in attack and could shock the league with some luck, but it’s hard to look past their subpar defense.

ImageImage
Blue Mountain Range, est. 518
Ground: Ximun Orieta Sporting Ground (34,000), Echegoyan Image
Colours: All sky blue
Major rivals: Echegoyan FC (The Echegoyan Derby), Miners FC (local)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Weaver, Smith & Wrangler (Taeshani apparel)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★ / Training facilities ★★★★ / Youth system ★★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 11.1 M
Seasons in the First Division: 38 of 41

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Leheren Burunzangaray, aLBa Image Hitz Suardiaz, aCBa Image Anartz Ugeruaga, aCBa Image Yurdan Yaurreche, aCBa Image Daigo Coshan © (TAE), aRBa Image Danni Reed (QOD), aDMa Image Keop Osa, aDMa Image Goizeder Abadia, aLMa Image Urgutz Barnachea, aRMa Image Janei Azbelyov (SRS), aCFa Image Jacky Abatantuono (JUE)

Bench: aGKa Atze Labadie, aGKa Matia Kendagorta, aLBa Deunoro Hala, aCBa Yake Gurina, aCBa Image Thomas Kaberle (STL), aCBa Anaia Bizkaino, aRBa Iraitz Echekopaz, aDMa Todor Biota, aDMa Ekain Dirube, aLMa Gorka Urtaran, aCMa Koldo Repide, aRMa Harri Larrabide, aAMa Mayorga Muniakas, aCFa Oihan Iraeta, aCFa Seber Akordagoitia

Manager: Image Xander McDrew (TAE), 2nd season in charge
Club reputation: Ultra-defensive, ultra-physical. Ugly tackles, ugly football. Extremely consistent. Reviled by most but wildly popular in Taeshan.
Fans’ expectation: Above Echegoyan
Pundits’ prediction: 11th of 20
Notes: Blue Mountain Range are living their best life. Comfortably mid-table and with their ties to Taeshan stronger than ever, they’ve recently had the rare pleasure of finishing above rivals Echegoyan FC, not once but twice. Ahead of this season, manager Xander McDrew convinced close friend Daigo Coshan, formerly centre-back of the famously defensive Taeshan national team, to come out of retirement and sign for his BMR: when the news broke early in the transfer window it set off celebrations across the blue half of Echegoyan. Some have already dubbed Coshan the greatest BMR player of all time before the season’s even started! His talent, even in un-retirement, is greater than any they’ve seen since Daineri forward POWER. McDrew didn’t stop at Coshan either, bringing on board right-back Danni Reed from Quintessence of Dust and winger Janei Azbelyov from the Squornshelan Remnants. For once they’re not shirking on attack either: Ituraitz Victory’s Seber Akordagoitia is a major investment in squad depth, as backup for striker Jacky Abatantuono. Fans haven’t been this excited for BMR in ages, and absolutely cannot wait to kick Echegoyan while they’re down.

ImageImage
Ituraitz Victory, est. 496
Ground: Ituraitz Sporting Ground (63,000), Ituraitz Image
Colours: Blue shirt, white shorts, blue socks
Major rivals: Ituraitz FC (The Ituraitz Derby), Ximun Orieta FC (local)
Major honours: Image 1 Royal Cup
Main sponsor: Petromok (oil & gas)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 11 M
Seasons in the First Division: 31 of 41

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Larendi Erroz ©, aLBa Image Mastino Garofano (SVG), aCBa Image Obeko Zabalegi, aCBa Image Gartzen Beraun, aRBa Image Kaxen Arabehere, aDMa Image Umea Lukastegi, aDMa Image Baladi Treko, aLMa Image Xanti Izpura, aRMa Image Ugutz Iturriche, aAMa Image Omar Mahir (ESH), aCFa Image Julio Campana (JUE)

Bench: aGKa Image Augustijn Kindvanevan (TSA), aGKa Mendebal Beheran, aLBa Silban Elichagaray, aCBa Manu Amosain, aCBa Hanni Anchea, aCBa Ilari Beola, aRBa Apal Gerenio, aDMa Lauaxeta Amas, aDMa Gasteiz Mendiberri, aLMa Chordon Ytuarte, aCMa Aitzol Nanklares, aRMa Totakoxe Ansolidoa, aAMa Sugoi Mendia, aCFa Ezkerra Echazarreta, aCFa Gurutz Galzagorri

Manager: Image Yaunti Echekopar, 4th season in charge
Club reputation: Venerable. Respected but pitied. Massively popular in their city, no matter the lack of success.
Fans’ expectation: Mid-table finish
Pundits’ prediction: 12th of 20
Notes: Ituraitz Victory were left counting their money after a particularly successful off-season as a selling club, netting them nearly one and a half million diru. They off-loaded Akordagoitia, Leruose, Irachet and Sagarribay and cleverly replaced them with discounted options that should still be enough for their form not to suddenly drop. Left-back Martino Garofano is the first player from Savigliane to play in Astograth; the same goes for Sarian goalkeeper Augustijn Kindvanen, who is expected to succeed starter Larendi Erroz following his retirement at the end of this season. Xanti Izpura, brings valuable top-ish team experience to the squad. So does defensive midfielder Baladi Treko, journeyman defensive midfielder with underrated stints at Royal Rumiatzi and Urbizania Wanderers. Most important of all, Victory have managed to hang onto young prodigy Julio Campana, who at age 18 was already fulfilling all their striking needs and can only get better. So long as Yaunti Echekopar continues to guide them away from the dreadful years of relegation scares, Victory will count themselves fortunate.

ImageImage
Echegoyan FC, est. 530
Ground: Silanes Park (55,140), Echegoyan Image
Colours: Green and white stripes, green shorts and socks
Major rivals: Blue Mountain Range (The Echegoyan Derby), Miners FC (local)
Major honours: Image 3 First Division titles, Image 1 Royal Cup, Image 1 Ides of March Cup
Main sponsor: Enersuntsu (alternative energy)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★★ / Youth system ★★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 12.1 M
Seasons in the First Division: 39 of 41

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Perucho Garabieta ©, aLBa Image Bardol Sayaberemborde, aCBa Image Koldobika Orbegozo, aCBa Image Garikoitz Abaria, aRBa Image Arrosko Zugazti, aDMa Image Dabi Teyagorry, aLMa Image Ereinkor Ybarrola, aRMa Image Echeberri Herrekalde, aAMa Image Aingeru Edera, aCFa Image Teyo Menbieye, aCFa Image Indar Burukuya

Bench: aGKa Yon Zuasti, aGKa Itzaina Hegichussy, aLBa Lehoi Uribeondo, aCBa Lander Kahe, aCBa Image Kamil Zinkovsky (MYT), aCBa Aurre Lete, aRBa Gorbea Gogenola, aDMa Marchot Uris, aLMa Oinaz Kamon, aCMa Urtungo Kereyazu, aRMa Bardol Arabaolaza, aAMa Mederi Marien, aCFa Mikelatz Idaberry, aCFa Petrigai Orneta, aCFa Zabal Alkatena

Manager: Image Cherran Zarranz, 2nd season in charge
Club reputation: Hardy, tough, always up for a fight. Cheating bastards to many. Top team long ago, now on the margins.
Fans’ expectation: Mid-table finish
Pundits’ prediction: 13th of 20
Notes: Echegoyan are desperate. There’s no other way to say it. Last season, their survival in the top flight came down to Erribe United missing a penalty in the last minute of the last match (and Echegoyan proceeding to sign the kicker, Idaberry, set off its own firestorm in the media this off-season). This was the second time in three years that Echegoyan fought a relegation battle to the very end. If they don’t resolve the crisis they’re in they could easily find themselves in the Second Division, an unthinkable situation for the three-time league champions – they haven’t been relegated in almost half a century. Yet they themselves sent two-time champions Astograth University to the second tier, from which AU have then been unable to claw their way out – it’s all deeply unsettling to Echegoyan. What makes this worse is they feel they’ve tried it all: cycled through managers, built a decent, balanced squad that should by all rights land them in the midtable, and yet they still struggle, finishing below even hated rivals Blue Mountain Range. It’s not a situation either their dignity or their blood pressure can handle, and one of the two is bound to break sooner or later if they don’t right their course.

User avatar
Astograth
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1498
Founded: Feb 04, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Astograth » Fri Mar 26, 2021 3:40 pm

Image
The Astograthian Football League
Season 686 Preview – Part 3 (The Relegation Battle)

ImageImage
Gesterlake FC, est. 507
Ground: Castle Hill (48,861), Gesterlake Image
Colours: Yellow shirt, dark blue shorts, yellow socks
Major rivals: Royal Arexa (The Twin Cities Derby), Berlasko FC (The Gesterlake Derby), Antiguoko FC (historic), Old City Central (regional)
Major honours: Image 1 Royal Cup
Main sponsor: Astek (technology)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 7.9 M
Seasons in the First Division: 27 of 41

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Declan Davies (HVY), aLBa Image Markel Kortayarena, aCBa Image Iparragirre Yabar, aCBa Image Amuruza Leyarra, aRBa Image Frederik Goikoechea ©, aLMa Image Yanpier Aroix, aCMa Image Franchizko Irrazabal, aRMa Image Charan Karrikaburu, aAMa Image Yuli Nikoularena, aCFa Image Sabin Laza, aCFa Image Aner Bermeyiyo

Bench: aGKa Yon Iribarra, aGKa Loren Salazar, aLBa Bakar Gerrikabeitia, aCBa Luken Almirantearena, aCBa Sugoi Urenia, aCBa Enetz Paternain, aRBa Marz Kachola, aDMa Balesio Zubiarrain, aLMa Laurin Aricheta, aCMa Gaizko Sancholuz, aRMa Soter Duraniona, aAMa Ayande Pagola, aCFa Petrigai Errezarret, aCFa Mendiko Zoko, aCFa Aner Bermeyiyo

Manager: Image Zuriko Eliz, 2nd season in charge
Club reputation: Top flight mainstay, but their best years are behind them. Strong support. Inoffensive, popular with advertisers.
Fans’ expectation: Mid-table finish
Pundits’ prediction: 14th of 20
Notes: Gesterlake have had an odd few seasons since coming back from the second tier. Fans continue to think of themselves as a mid-table team, despite all the evidence to the contrary: constantly battling at the bottom of the table, sometimes barely scraping out of relegation. On the other hand, they won their first national trophy in the season before last’s Royal Cup and made last season’s cup semifinals – a rare burst of success that experts don’t expect will hold. The squad is brittle: great, consolidated strikers in Sabin Laza and Aner Bermeyiyo, yet an experienced but dreadfully slow defence. Goalkeeper Declan Davies has been brought in from Havynwilde to help with that, but there’s not much he can do if his back line falls apart - as it is wont to do. Overall, they should do well enough to avoid relegation but could easily find themselves in a complicated position.

ImageImage
Bakartirla Buccaneers, est. 589
Ground: Sovereignty Stadium (14,110), Kala Image
Colours: Black and red stripes, black shorts, white socks
Major rivals: None
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Visit Kala (tourism)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★ / Training facilities ★★ / Youth system ★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 7.5 M
Seasons in the First Division: 5 of 41

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Yasone Oyhenart, aLBa Image Asier Labiaga, aCBa Image Erramun Meonio, aCBa Image Alarabi Meabebasterrechea, aRBa Image Arnalt Bergerot, aDMa Image Beat Achekonanea ©, aCMa Image Todor Echandi, aLMa Image Xarles Marzol, aRMa Image Larendi Elizate, aAMa Image Unax Alchourron, aCFa Image Tomofumi Ishimoda (HIN)

Bench: aGKa Anakoz Amezkita, aGKa Oinatz Mendiondon, aLBa Zuzen Sandra, aCBa Harri Orkoyen, aCBa Errolan Gankiandia, aCBa Ubelteso Larreagola, aRBa Ubelteso Darkibel, aDMa Image Svetoslav Radozevic (MYT), aDMa Pancheska Narbarte, aCMa Otsoa Isusi, aLMa Loramendi Errakalde, aRMa Loramendi Kuruchelar, aAMa Goi Urtea, aCFa Distiratsu Maiz, aCFa Zadornin Elizabe

Manager: Image Balendin Sorrekieta, 2nd season in charge
Club reputation: Plucky, passionate, surprising. Small club from a small island. Low expectations, low pressure, happy to be here.
Fans’ expectation: Avoid relegation
Pundits’ prediction: 15th of 20
Notes: Last season, Bakartirla made their triumphant return to the First Division with a confident 13th place finish. Manager Balendin Sorrekieta proved himself an excellent successor to Ilazki Altzibararechuluaga and, though they remain underdogs, Bakartirla are no longer surefire candidates for relegation. Their robust signings over this off-season will certainly go a long way: left-back Asier Labeaga on a free from Ituraitz FC, veteran playmaker Unax Alchourron out of Royal Ibarbe, centre-back Alarabi Meabebasterrechea from AC Olarria and, most notably, Hinodejin firebrand Tomofumi Ishimoda on loan from Ituraitz FC, who will finally have a chance to show what he can do with a starter’s playing time. If they maintain their strong mentality and group cohesion, this Bakartirla could once again surpass expectations.

ImageImage
East Railway, est. 503
Ground: Narbaitza Memorial Stadium (17,930), Rumiatzi Image
Colours: Grey and black stripes, grey shorts and socks
Major rivals: South Factory (The Workers' Derby), Athletic Club Rumiatzi (local)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Zuanshi (Yue alcohol)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★ / Training facilities ★★ / Youth system ★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 7.8 M
Seasons in the First Division: 10 of 41

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Zhao Yong (YZH), aLBa Image Urtsin Belderrain, aCBa Image Zohiartze Orokieta, aCBa Image Diegoche Hetagoyena, aRBa Image Antso Ozaran, aDMa Image Sendoa Gangoitia, aDMa Image Dabi Elizondo-Egozkarra, aLMa Image Ilazki Oleaga, aRMa Image Xefe Larribe, aCFa Image Gerazan Legazpi, aCFa Image Tipi Eguaras

Bench: aGKa Goren Tamborindegi, aGKa Urbez Altera, aLBa Egoitz Laiseka, aCBa Image Amar Kovacevic (MYT), aCBa Hitz Sistiaga, aRBa Lizar Kastanklares, aDMa Poz Basualdo, aDMa Aide Usano, aLMa Ubarna Maturana, aCMa Kismi Galainena, aRMa Errando Zufiaurre, aAMa Aire Echegoyen, aCFa Ostots Burukuya, aCFa Yeremi Zalazar ©, aCFa Edorta Aniasko

Manager: Image Obeko Mundutegi, 7th season in charge
Club reputation: Working-class and proud of it. Substantial support from rail workers and enthusiasts nationwide. A bit of a yo-yo club.
Fans’ expectation: Mid-table finish
Pundits’ prediction: 16th of 20
Notes: East Railway coasted through last season on the back of midfield workhorse Dabi Elizondo-Egozkarra, reliable striker Tipi Eguaras, and formidable goalkeeper Zhao Yong: they finished 15th but managed to never get involved in the relegation battle. Their plan for this season is to do exactly the same thing. In order to keep up pace with the rapidly rising quality of the league, however, they’ve made some interesting signings financed by the sales of Zilar Echekahar and Guchi Oyea. Sendoa Gangoitia was a rotation option for Ituraitz FC for many years, Gerazan Legazpi arrives on loan from Royal Rumiatzi looking to make an impact up front, and is that…? Yes! Xefe Larribe, once upon a time winger for Pasarga’s Tanrısal, Apox’s Uxminster Athletic ,and the Astograthian national team, has landed at East Railway on a free after three seasons at Sporting Iturributa. He may be 35, but if the rest of the squad can give him enough space (and rest), he could prove decisive – especially in the big matches. They’ll have to step up their form from the end of last season or risk a quick relegation – nothing that manager Obeko Mundutegi hasn’t dealt with before.

ImageImage
Basabe Old Boys, est. 516
Ground: New Beltzura Stadium (46,000), Basabe Image
Colours: Red shirt, white shorts, red socks
Major rivals: Basabe Youth (local), Athletic Club Basabe (local), Oyardo FC (regional), Dockyard Oaks (local)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: KAT (steel)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 6.8 M
Seasons in the First Division: 12 of 41

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Oinatz Lissarrage, aLBa Image Inge Beriain, aCBa Image Benat Yabar ©, aCBa Image Elatzar Kasuriaga, aRBa Image Luis Badell, aDMa Image Eder Peleretegi, aDMa Image Gaitzka Ituzarriaga, aLMa Image Jules Loisel, aRMa Image Gasteiz Legaza, aAMa Image Yuaneizu Aranda, aCFa Image Yatsu Ustarroz

Bench: aGKa Hanni Uribarri, aGKa Zumar Hetagoyena, aLBa Donostia Urrea, aCBa Gomesano Mediano, aCBa Erroman Klaberia, aCBa Firmo Sorhondo, aRBa Igor Londoso, aDMa Hotz Garza, aDMa Luki Aldalur, aLMa Alesander Iriso, aRMa Bide Izarriaga, aAMa Errando Evans, aAMa Laurgain Garakoch, aCFa Andima Arainty, aCFa Hanni Angiano

Manager: Image Inko Arizmande, 2nd season in charge
Club reputation: From a massive city with very fractured support. An alright team, but many suspect they could do a lot better.
Fans’ expectation: Mid-table finish
Pundits’ prediction: 17th of 20
Notes: Another team in denial of their present state, Basabe Old Boys have bounced back to the top flight for the second time in five years, this time as Second Division champions. The gap between the first and second tiers is widening, however, and Old Boys are simply not the midtable staple they were for most of the past decade. Which isn’t to say they haven’t prepared themselves – they’ve spent almost 1.8 million diru on signings, but most of them have been judged to be second-rate, quantity over quality acquisitions. The exception to this is playmaker Yuaneizu Aranda, an Ituraitz FC youth product who’s arrived in Basabe after years of almost breaking into the regular starting eleven. He’ll have his work cut out for him in a squad otherwise devoid of star power, though, and Basabe are expected to be in the thick of the relegation battle unless inexperienced manager Inko Arizmande can pull off some magic.

ImageImage
Urizaharra FC, est. 587
Ground: Kaizubia (30,582), Urizaharra Image
Colours: All dark blue
Major rivals: Oyardo FC (regional), Urizaharra Olympic (local)
Major honours: None
Main sponsor: Neaskor (tyres)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 6.3 M
Seasons in the First Division: 8 of 41

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Onbera Aispiolea, aLBa Image Igon Uliarte, aCBa Image Gauargi Aniorbe, aCBa Image Eyande Osamiz, aRBa Image Bazkoare Echegoyenberry, aLMa Image Kiliz Gartzi ©, aCMa Image Orkatz Yarza, aCMa Image Yaizki Gamino, aRMa Image Polentzi Lachika, aCFa Image Yokin Erdokiain, aCFa Image Kaiet Izurrategi

Bench: aGKa Yulen Iphar, aGKa Mikelar Ezkieta, aLBa Errapel Inchauspe, aCBa Raitir Olazar, aCBa Luix Lasota, aRBa Bero Treto, aDMa Koldo Salbalzagaray, aCMa Atzo Bonaza, aCMa Baiardo Barnachea, aLMa Domiku Rospide, aRMa Baraxil Tabar, aAMa Pello Salduberes, aCFa Aznar Landaberria, aCFa Diagur Baskones, aCFa Agosti Urri

Manager: Image Garin Algorta, 4th season in charge
Club reputation: Have never matched their success to their massive support across Urizaharra province. Often the butt of jokes for this.
Fans’ expectation: Avoid relegation
Pundits’ prediction: 18th of 20
Notes: Urizaharra were almost universally expected to be relegated last season. Yet the club and its city rallied around their underdog status and punched above their weight to finish 14th, one of the surprises of the tournament. Although they’ve sold several of the bright stars that got them there, like striker Chindoki Irastorza, Urizaharra have landed Royal Rumiatzi’s long-time left winger Kiliz Gartzi - one of the biggest names to ever sign for the team. They’ve also managed to hold onto 21-year-old forward Yokin Erdokiain, voted last season’s second top young player, for at least one more season. One thing weighing heavily at the club this season is that next year will be the centenary of their foundation. They’re dead set on staying up so they can celebrate their hundredth anniversary in the top flight, but will the added pressure be too much?

ImageImage
Old City Central, est. 512
Ground: Berberana Aldasolo (17,082), Arexa Image
Colours: Yellow and black halved shirt, black shorts, yellow socks
Major rivals: Royal Arexa (The Arexan Derby), Gesterlake FC (regional)
Major honours: Image 1 Royal Cup
Main sponsor: GaureBet (gambling)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★ / Training facilities ★★ / Youth system ★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 5.2 M
Seasons in the First Division: 1 of 41

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Gartzen Oroz, aLBa Image Iturri Izpura, aCBa Image Atarrabi Ordax ©, aCBa Image Arotza Durkudoy, aRBa Image Noa Landeix, aCMa Image Gilamu Mazondo, aLMa Image Eyande Payeta-Urrutia, aRMa Image Adei Eiguren, aAMa Image Edur Elizahalde, aCFa Image Balendin Betonazko, aCFa Image Zilar Echekahar

Bench: aGKa Alots Yoraizat, aGKa Urtsua Echekoin, aLBa Loiola Larrechea, aCBa Mikolas Ochona, aCBa Erruki Lizarraga, aCBa Leizarraga Amiano, aRBa Ipar Migoya, aDMa Gilen Okariz-Egileor, aCMa Ager Irolartborde, aLMa Orti Gastanaga, aRMa Cherran Renteria, aAMa Koldobika Otegi, aCFa Xefe Solaegi, aCFa Kismi Larroude, aCFa Itziar Mugelar

Manager: Image Ilixo Akutain, 5th season in charge
Club reputation: Working-class, built by and for the fans. What they lack in resources they make up for in heart. Eager to overturn their historical inferiority with regard to rivals Royal Arexa.
Fans’ expectation: Avoid relegation
Pundits’ prediction: 19th of 20
Notes: Old City Central are a humble club, long overshadowed by local rivals Royal Arexa, who first came to prominence on a national level by beating Ituraitz FC to win the 674 Royal Cup, the first club from the second tier to do so. They expected that to translate into swift promotion, but although they consistently finished near the promotion places or even reached the playoffs, the First Division eluded them. One year turned into two, three, four, ten years. In the meantime, Royal Arexa were relegated to the second tier, promoted, and relegated back. The dream seemed to always slip out of their hands until finally this past season they reached the promotion playoffs final against even-greater underdogs Ibarbe Sport, and won an agonising 1-0 extra-time victory. At long last, Old City are in the top flight and they intend to stay there. They’ve taken out risky loans to pay for it, but they’ve shelled out significant money for East Railway striker Zilar Echekahar and Ituraitz FC’s midfielder Gilamu Mazondo, along with signing Wanderers centre-back Arotza Durkudoy on a free and the midfield duo of Edur Elizahalde and Balendin Betonazko, both on loan from Sporting Iturributa. Despite the good signings this remains a fragile, largely inexperienced squad, with virtually no depth and whose entire wages, 26 players put together, amount to less than Namakula Kawesa’s alone. Still, pundits have judged that their reinforcements should place just slightly better than Second Division runners-up Garitzeta Racing. It’ll be hard-fought battle to stay up.

ImageImage
Garitzeta Racing Club, est. 506
Ground: Letatzadur Stadium (33,605), Garitzeta Image
Colours: Black and orange striped shirt, black shorts and socks
Major rivals: Iturributa Racing Club (The Racing Derby), Garitzeta FC (The Garitzetan Derby)
Major honours: Image 1 Iturributan Premier Division title, Image 1 Iturributan President's Cup, Image runners-up of UICA Champions’ Cup 54
Main sponsor: Langaero (aerospace)
Infrastructure: Ground ★★★ / Training facilities ★★★ / Youth system ★★★★
Estimated squad value: Đ 3.7 M
Seasons in the First Division: 11 of 41

Starting Lineup: aGKa Image Zigor Marrorena ©, aLBa Image Barea Yaurregiberry, aCBa Image Polentzi Ayona, aCBa Image Bertol Mutuberria, aRBa Image Iracho Urtizbiria, aDMa Image Oxel Porkel, aDMa Image Oihan Echegorre, aCMa Image Sasoin Echeparen, aLMa Image Lizardi Alzet, aRMa Image Udalaitz Ursua, aCFa Image Aurken Erenio

Bench: aGKa Unax Yzpura, aGKa Oinaz Urdinarrain, aLBa Pachi Kaperochipi, aCBa Scott Oriz, aCBa Gaston Achaga, aCBa Anakoz Zubin, aRBa Izaskun Kintano, aDMa Anixi Roderiko, aDMa Aimar Goyzeta, aCMa Gorri Errarkin, aLMa Chanton Berakochea, aRMa Zoiartze Gamecho, aAMa Pierres Yauri, aCFa Ander Kamio, aCFa Azubeli Lazkano

Manager: Image Haitz Maistegi, 5th season in charge
Club reputation: Historically unremarkable, then had one of the most incredible, improbable runs in world football by reaching the UICA Champions' Cup final, representing Iturributa in their last season as an independent footballing power. Have since gone back to relative obscurity.
Fans’ expectation: Avoid relegation
Pundits’ prediction: 20th of 20
Notes: The club that no one expects to stay up this year are the ones that have been revealed to be long-time Unofficial Heavyweight Champions by the internet-famous Idiot Project; at time of writing they have yet to début in the Liga B Champions Trophy, where they will defend their UHC for the first time in decades. But Garitzeta Racing are a shadow of themselves, and although they managed to get promoted as runners-up of the Second Division it has been called a perfect storm of individual talent and managerial excellence, unlikely to repeat itself in the top flight. Not least because they’ve failed to make much of a splash in terms of top-tier-quality signings: Barea Yauregiberry and Aurken Erenio are decent players, but not ones to build a squad around. Oxel Porkel, in on a free, is more the type of player they need: a proven veteran of the game, 300 matches played in the First Division. In goal, the team still field a 36-year-old Zigor Marrorena, who once featured for the national team and could easily have moved to greener pastures when Garitzeta Racing yo-yoed across divisions. He refused and remains a one-club man, loyal to the end. Admirable as that may be, mentality alone is unlikely to keep them from relegation.
Last edited by Astograth on Fri Mar 26, 2021 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Astograth
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1498
Founded: Feb 04, 2011
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Astograth » Sat Mar 27, 2021 7:57 pm

Image

The Astograthian Football League
Season 686 Review

The 41st season of the Astograthian Football League is now concluded.

First Division
Sporting Iturributa and Royal Rumiatzi spent much of last season trading the lead back and forth, before eventually getting upstaged by Urbizania Wanderers. This season was similar – except defending champions Wanderers didn’t show up in the third act. Once again, there was drama up to the final minute of the season.

With their famously efficient defence and a new midfield now organised by Banijan World Cup winner Namakula Kawesa, Mikel Aluztiza’s Sporting Iturributa dominated the league. They held the lead, with one brief interruption, every single week from matchday 8 to 36. The highly anticipated Iturributan Derby, against Iturributa United, took place on matchday 18 and ended in a 3-2 win for Sporting: Squidroidian winger Ohashi Kiichi opened the score on 14 minutes for Sporting, ten minutes later equalised by United and Equestrian legend Pristina Shine; not to be outdone, Namakula Kawesa added one of her own to make it 2-1 at half-time. Right-back Baiona Menduburu, who last season scored the goal of the tournament in this same fixture, put Sporting ahead 3-1 in the 77th minute after a corner-kick scramble; Connor Macdonald’s 85th-minute goal put pressure on the Chevrons, but United couldn’t find their equaliser.

The second Iturributan Derby of the season was on matchday 37, the penultimate game of the league season. By then, Sporting held a single-point lead over Royal Rumiatzi, who the week before had beaten United 3-0; the circumstances of the title race led to accusations that United had thrown the match to keep Sporting from winning the league, especially since they could do so at the derby. Hours before the match, Rumiatzi beat Urizaharra 3-1, meaning they temporarily climbed two points above Sporting. Iturributa United, for their part, sat 3rd and played to defend their spot from Ituraitz FC and Urbizania Wanderers.

United’s home status meant Old City Stadium was mostly packed in a serious of furious, billowing white and scarlet. Baiona Menduburu, having unexpectedly become something of a specialist in this match, scored for Sporting in the 36th minute – his third in the last four derbies. His celebration, moving his hands to draw the shape of the chevron on his chest, incensed United’s fans and players to the point it kicked off a confrontation between the two squads, stopping play for a couple of minutes. Menduburu and two others came away with a yellow. In the second half, United took the upper hand and steadily wore away at Sporting’s concentration. In the 70th minute, a long ball by Gilamu Bengoechea found Fangti Pikolaugh on the wing, who crossed to Pristina Shine in the box. Shine touched it back for Connor Macdonald as he shot up the centre of the pitch to smash a goal past Lino Kaberle. Macdonald’s celebration, jogging up to Menduburu and drawing the sash on his chest, got them both sent off in the ensuing brawl. The match ended 1-1. Try as Sporting might, they could not break down United in the last twenty minutes of the match, energised by the knowledge that they were denying Sporting the championship.

Thus, with one match to go, the lead shifted to Royal Rumiatzi. The Knights, mustered by new manager Galeano, got the season off to a bumpy start, losing matches to Sporting Iturributa, Basabe Old Boys and Royal Ibarbe while only getting draws against Urbizania Wanderers and Ituraitz FC – all matches they needed to win to start mounting an effective title run. The team and its new formation would eventually click, however, and Rumiatzi would lose only a single match in the season after matchday 7. The team proved more than the sum of its parts, with few standout players in a squad of excellent performances. That said, Martin Blessed was a deadly striker, though not as prolific as under Lele Manguele’s insanely attacking ethos; wingers Nolan Moore and Petrarch Karaiskakis provided crucial goals and assists; Azeari Duarte was the heart of the team, though pulled back from his usual attacking midfield; his partner Davidov Rominevskiy proved vital in protecting Duarte and maintaining the team’s control of possession; the six-man defence was sublime, conceding just 25 goals in 38 matches – goalkeeper Konrad Matheny, runner-up Player of the Season, was especially decisive. Off the bench, youngster Alex Sharp made a great impression, coming on 12 times and scoring three goals in his first professional season; and Yasone Urdanibia proved he’s still got it, scoring 10 goals in 13 matches despite his age and injuries.

With dogged determination, Rumiatzi chased after Sporting Ituributa, their lead narrowing and widening back and forth over the course of season. 4 points, 5 points, 3 points, 1 point, 4 points… Nolan Moore scored the winner in their 1-0 away win over Sporting, putting the two on a perfectly equal head-to-head record. Rumiatzi held the better goal difference. On the ante-penultimate matchday, Urdanibia plus a Moore brace blasted Iturributa United 3-0; thrown match or not, it was a masterclass in possession and clinical attacking by the Knights against one of their biggest rivals. Then they beat Urizaharra, and the fortunate events of the Iturributan Derby providentially handed them a two-point lead.

On the final matchday, the title race became closely tied to the relegation battle. Simultaneously, Royal Rumiatzi would host Old City Central, who needed a point to save themselves from an outside chance at relegation. Sporting Iturributa would host Urizaharra, who themselves needed a win to guarantee their permanence – or to match however many points Echegoyan earned on their visit to Antiguoko, at least.

Centre-back Hanot Benaza would climb above all to head in a corner-kick in the 18th minute, putting Antiguoko 1-0 ahead against Echegoyan. The news eased Urizaharra, who rather than go for the win against Sporting could sit back and park the bus. Sporting, used to striking on the counter-attack, struggled to break through as their opponents doubled up marks on Namakula Kawesa and Squornshelan Confederate striker Tehmina Palani. Undaunted by the jeers of Old City Stadium, Urizaharra reduced the pace of the match to a foul-heavy crawl. At Antiguoko, Echegoyan seemed in no danger of coming back to win, and so long as that were true Urizaharra were safe with a draw. In Rumiatzi, Old City Central played at much of the same – they were completely safe unless they lost and both Urizaharra and Echegoyan won their matches. Yet at the stroke of half-time, minute 45+3, Old City’s Edur Elizahalde received the ball in the box with his back to goal, feinted a pass and shot the ball into the goal, putting them 1-0 ahead.

As things stood heading into the second half, Royal Rumiatzi would still be champions on goal difference. If Sporting Iturributa beat Urizaharra, however, they would be champions – unless Rumiatzi came back from 1-0 down to win. Echegoyan FC would be relegated, their first time in the second tier since 640, 46 years ago.

All six teams took this to be the existential struggle it was. Sporting Iturributa’s failure to beat Ituraitz FC in the last match of the previous season weighed heavy in their minds – but they didn’t have Namakula Kawesa back then. The Banijan playmaker put the team on her back and carried them through to the second half. She broke through the defence to set up Tehmina Palani for a shot in the 52nd minute, parried by Onbera Aispiolea and cleared by Eyande Osamiz. In the 60th minute, again Kawesa for Palani, this time just barely deflected past the post by Igon Uliarte. Echegoyan were themselves laying siege to Antiguoko, who played for nothing other than bragging rights – relegating a historic team was a rare badge. In the 70th minute, Echegoyan substitute Zabal Alkatena missed their clearest chance of the match, crashing the ball into the near post at point-blank range.

Desperation mounted as Sporting saw another title slip out of reach, as Rumiatzi pictured Sporting getting a last-minute winner, and as Echegoyan slumped into catastrophic relegation.

In the 86th minute, with the ground buzzing like a hornet’s nest, a poorly-struck clearance by Gauargi Aniorbe fell to Namakula Kawesa two paces outside of the box. She immediately struck a high shot so powerful it left the goalkeeper planted on his feet, but which dipped just slightly over the bar. Simultanteously, at Knights’ Stadium, Nolan Moore received from Martin Blessed and struck the ball with a subtle touch, right under the outstretched left arm of Old City Central keeper Gartzen Oroz. 1-1. The celebration was quick and muted – they needed another to be sure, immediately. It never came, though Oroz tipped a Blessed header in the 92 minute.

It all fell upon Sporting. They either scored and won the league, or they failed to. Urizaharra would not allow it. Inspired, feverish, they blocked every chance. When the whistle in Iturributa went, Royal Rumiatzi won their tenth First Division championship.

After 6 seasons of Urbizania Wanderers and Sporting Iturributa passing the championship between them, Royal Rumiatzi finally broke through. They owe much to previous manager Lele Manguele, his transfer acumen and comprehensive training, but it was Galeano who brought them the edge they needed – especially in organising the defence, one of the best Rumiatzi has ever fielded.

For Sporting, it was agony. For the second year in a row, they had the chance of winning the title on the final matchday and let it slip, all on their own. Still, this was an excellent campaign – their best of the last three. Namakula Kawesa set the league alight with her talent, winning the Player of the Season award and rapidly becoming a club icon.

For Old City Central and Urizaharra FC, the final matchday was one for the history books. With determination and organisation, if not beautiful football, both sides battled to the end to prevent relegation, for which both had been tipped at the start of the season. Old City went their first six top-flight matches without a win before finally defeating Sporting Arkamo away, and would improve dramatically over the course of the season, sticking with manager Ilixo Akutain through thick and thin. They went undefeated in their last five matches, recording vital wins over relegation rivals Urizaharra, Basabe Old Boys, and Garitzeta Racing, and heroic draws against both Royal Rumiatzi and Urbizania Wanderers. Urizaharra, meanwhile, saw their form dip through the middle of the season, but they managed to regroup and beat Garitzeta Racing and Basabe Old Boys, earning them some breathing room before holding Sporting to a draw - in the process deciding the championship. Urizaharra will now spend their centenary year in the top flight, and have celebrated the fact like one would a title.

For Echegoyan FC, this is the worst calamity in their history. It won’t be the first time they’ve played in the Second Division, but it is the lowest they’ve fallen since winning the First Division and establishing themselves as an Astograthian great, the glory years of extravagant managers, world-class players, high-level UICA competition and the repeated clashes with Polarian rivals East Franz Athletic. When Astograth hosted a World Cup, they were judged worthy of having a grand new stadium built. Now, as if fighting a curse, they have gone into the last matchday fighting relegation for the third time in four years. And they could only play with fire for so long before it burnt the house down. They follow Astograth University, another fallen giant, into the second tier, having themselves relegated AU in a brutal kill-or-be-killed clash several seasons ago. The disaster is large enough for the FAF to be grumbling to themselves – the top flight has now lost two of its champions, two of the most popular teams in the country, and one of its biggest derbies.

Speaking of the Echegoyan Derby, Blue Mountain Range had, for their standards, a magnificent season. Under Taeshani manager Xander McDrew and famed Taeshani centre-back Daigo Coshan, BMR put together their best defensive display in First Division history, conceding a scant 24 goals in 38 matches. Experts at locking down a stalemate and forcing their opponents into mistakes – mainly through Jacky Abatantuono and Janei Azbelyov – BMR flew high in the first half of the season, threatening the upper positions of the table and even taking the lead away from Sporting Iturributa on matchday 14, following a dramatic comeback victory in Olarria. Though they were delighted to see the hated Echegoyan FC relegated, BMR unintentionally (none would dare suggest otherwise) did everything they could do help their rivals – they drew and lost the two derbies and soundly defeated the other relegation candidates whenever they crossed. At different points of the season it seemed like BMR might even qualify for IFCF competition, but ultimately failed to maintain their momentum and finished a solid 9th, 8 points from the Challengers Cup.

Iturributa United and Ituraitz FC finished the season locked in a struggle for 3rd place – in the season closer, neither could get past the other in an uninspiring scoreless draw, and United finished above in the table thanks to their previous 2-1 win. United had an awful start to the season, including a 6-1 loss to Sporting Arkamo that very nearly got Justin Vauxhall sacked. They sat in the midtable at the half-way point of the season, before putting together one of the finest second half performances in First Division history. Though less prolific than in previous years, this was United’s best defensive record in six seasons, thanks to the hard work of centre-backs Miriam Lechie and Janne Toivanen, the versatility of full-backs Zhu Aiguo and Musko Uriel, and the experienced gloves of Dana Hutchins. Up front, Lukas Bright had a good season, but it was the returned Pristina Shine who stole the show, scoring 21 goals to be the league’s second top scorer and drive United to squeeze 40 points out of the last 19 matches, shooting up from 9th to 3rd place. The comeback has earned manager Vauxhall another season in charge, but the pressure to win the league is becoming inescapable.

Ituraitz FC also had a poor start to the season, losing important derbies to Royal Rumiatzi, Urbizania Wanderers, and Sporting Iturributa, land osing 3-0 loss to Gortz United. They rallied to win the city derby 2-1 against Ituraitz Victory and gradually climbed the table. Unlike Iturributa United, however, they did not experience a major renaissance in the second half. Consistent but unspectacular, it was performances from captain Isidra Corvey, striker Telá Potos and especially centre midfielder Puristina Shinra that allowed Ituraitz to be comfortable in the IFCF spots. 4th place is not bad, but once again they did not come close to the title. The board had issued manager Bob Partridge with the ultimatum of Champions League football or nothing, and so he will not be continuing after this season.

Urbizania Wanderers, the defending champions, finished a disappointing 5th. They got off on the wrong foot by losing the first match away to Second Division champions Basabe Old Boys, but quickly picked up steam. They were on the right track, looking like championship material only a few points off Sporting Iturributa. Once again their defense was tight, goalkeeper Dieje Ibrelaná was formidable, the midfield duo of Yoshimi Hirahito and Ibon Irisarre controlled the midfield, and new signing Julian Mann deftly organised attacks. Having to juggle a tight schedule, however, Wanderers chose to prioritise IFCF competition. They reached the Challengers Cup Quarterfinals before falling to Rülândeá Kôstä – a major achievement, the best international performance by an Astograthian club since the formation of IFCF. Fatigue and the need to rotate the squad, however, meant they couldn’t be at their best for league play, and Wanderers struggled to keep pace with Sporting’s lead as the season wore on. Alexis Durmisi and Aire Epherra, though still excellent, were not on the sublime level of seasons past, and Wanderers gradually slipped out of the title picture and toward the bottom of the IFCF spots. Heading into the final matches of the season they refocused on the league, especially after being knocked out from the Challengers Cup. Wanderers punched out Gortz United 4-0, took down Arkamo, Urizaharra, Antiguoko, drew with Old City and lost to Garitzeta Racing. Into the final matchday, a late goal from substitute Bixincho Olate allowed them to secure their fifth place finish Challengers Cup qualification, edging out Royal Ibarbe.

Royal Ibarbe, who just narrowly missed out on the Challengers Cup by finishing 6th, had a strong start to the season, immediately staking their bid to one of the IFCF spots or even – why not? – the title. Nevertheless, they were unable to replicate their excellent performances against the so-called Big 5, repeatedly falling short when they needed it most. Their squad depth was also revealed to be suboptimal, with a much worse second half hampered by injuries. If not for a 1-0 loss to relegation-threatened Gesterlake FC on the penultimate matchday, they would have made the Challengers Cup. Nevertheless, breaking into the top 6 is a great achievement by the squad and manager Ilazki Altzibararechuluaga. The signings of wingers Osfral Leruose and Churio Aragolaza were crucial, scoring 19 goals between the two of them; striker Ixaka Lairihoy couldn’t keep up, and should perhaps be up for replacement. Another high point was the stellar defensive record, buoyed by loanee left-back Zeynel Abidin Birkan, the midfield control of Guðmann Arentsson and Panfilo Napoleoni, and the brilliant season of centre-back Altzibar Sarrible, voted to the league’s Team of the Year.

Just below Ibarbe were Gortz United, certainly the surprise of the tournament. Eneko Madariaga’s team flew high for much of the season, looking like sure-fire candidates for a Challengers Cup spot in light of the poor form of Ituraitz FC, Iturributa United and Urbizania Wanderers. Lastur Orkola, title-winning veteran forward who started for Ituraitz and Wanderers, came to Gortz for one last season before retirement – and, as the kids say, proceeded to activate Beast Mode. He finished the season with 24 goals across 31 matches, the league top scorer, a force of nature that seemed capable of receiving any pass and turning it into a goal. Gortz’s best run of form was three consecutive matches in which they drew 1-1 with Royal Rumiatzi, beat Sporting Iturributa 2-1, and then handed Ituraitz FC a 2-0 loss. Then the wheels came off. An injury to Orkola meant he wasn’t available for Gortz’s 3-0 loss to AC Olarria, and then he wasn’t at his best as Gortz embarked on an eight-match winless streak that only ended on the last matchday, a 3-1 win over Gesterlake. By then it was too late – they’d dropped from 3rd place to 7th. An excellent season, but it could have been so much more – and next season they won’t have Orkola who, true to his word, will be hanging up his boots after one of the finest retirement performances Astograth has seen.

In the mid-table, Athletic Club Olarria were disappointed to never quite find their form, oscillating between brilliant victory and crushing defeat week-to-week. Manager Piarres Erke was missing his usual spark this season. Although the team’s attacking strength was lacking in general, forward Olentzaro Anseotori had a terrific year, scoring 18 of Olarria’s 44 goals – without him they would’ve had trouble climbing as high as 8th. His strike partner, Chindoki Irastorza, scorer of only 5 goals, attracted heavy criticism – an unfair scapegoating, in Erke’s opinion, considering the lad is only 21. Ituraitz Victory and Sporting Arkamo had relatively uncomplicated seasons, sticking around 10th place the whole season. For Victory this was cause for celebration, especially after their dramatic 3-2 derby victory over Ituraitz FC. Striker Julio Campana, author of 18 goals at only 19 years old, was voted Young Player of the Season, and it’s unlikely Victory will be able to keep him – it can’t be said they haven’t made the most of him in what time they’ve had. For Arkamo, on the other hand, this season was a disappointment; they’ve been pushing to climb higher and try to break into the Challengers Cup, so another season in 11th place doesn’t stir their growing ambition. Signings such as Mogel Galdiano and Gero Sorrosua, though they didn’t have bad seasons, failed to move the needle in the grand scheme of things. Manager Hanni Andikola has been let go and bidden well in his future endeavours.

Further down, Bakartirla Buccaneers pulled off another underdog surprise by reaching as high as 12th; Hinodejin forward Tomofumi Ishimoda was praised as key. Antiguoko FC and East Railway struggled at times, both lacking in defence and in attack. Gesterlake FC floated around the midtable before, once again, they collapsed in the second half and went tumbling toward relegation; they were lucky that the relegated teams were so much worse.

Beside the aforementioned Echegoyan FC, into the second tier go Garitzeta Racing and Basabe Old Boys. The latter two had miserable seasons, incapable of raising their heads above the waterline of relegation. Garitzeta Racing got as far as the Liga B Champions Trophy group stage and, although they lost their Unofficial Heavyweight Championship belt, accrued some valuable international experience and prize money. It may be some time before they get the chance to recover it.

Taldo Lehan            Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts
1 Royal Rumiatzi 38 23 11 4 65 25 +40 80 Champions / Copa de Campeones / Champions League – 15th CC/CL appearance
2 Sporting Iturributa 38 24 7 7 50 22 +28 79 Champions League – 19th CC/CL appearance
3 Iturributa United 38 20 8 10 59 39 +20 68 Challengers Cup – 25th GC/ChC appearance
4 Ituraitz FC 38 19 11 8 64 40 +24 68 Challengers Cup – 25th CC/CL appearance
5 Urbizania Wanderers 38 18 12 8 48 30 +18 66 Challengers Cup – 20th CC/CL appearance

6 Royal Ibarbe 38 19 8 11 46 29 +17 65
7 Gortz United 38 18 9 11 51 43 +8 63
8 Athletic Club Olarria 38 17 11 10 44 36 +8 62
9 Blue Mountain Range 38 15 13 10 29 24 +5 58
10 Ituraitz Victory 38 15 8 15 46 46 0 53
11 Sporting Arkamo 38 14 9 15 54 51 +3 51
12 Bakartirla Buccaneers 38 12 10 16 48 57 −9 46
13 Antiguoko FC 38 13 5 20 44 54 −10 44
14 East Railway 38 11 8 19 40 54 −14 41
15 Old City Central 38 11 5 22 42 58 −16 38
16 Gesterlake FC 38 12 2 24 45 76 −31 38
17 Urizaharra FC 38 10 6 22 43 61 −18 36
18 Echegoyan FC 38 7 14 17 34 54 −20 35 ↓ 46-year run
19 Garitzeta Racing Club 38 10 4 24 30 49 −19 34 ↓ 1-year run
20 Basabe Old Boys 38 6 11 21 38 72 −34 29 ↓ 1-year run

Image
CHAMPIONS
ROYAL RUMIATZI

10th title



FAF Awards
At the traditional awards ceremony, held at Rumiatzi’s Kraitzaga Theatre once the season is concluded, the Futbol Astograthiko Federazioa presented the following awards, based on First Division performance. Local media consider these highly prestigious, and the definitive acknowledgement of the best in Astograthian football.

Player of the Season:
1. Image Namakula Kawesa (BNJ), AM – Sporting Iturributa – 34 appearances, 12 goals
2. Image Konrad Matheny (NPH), GK – Royal Rumiatzi – 38 appearances
3. Image Pristina Shine (EQS), CF – Iturributa United – 38 appearances, 21 goals

Young Player of the Season:
1. Image Julio Campana (JUE), CF, age 19 – Ituraitz Victory – 33 appearances, 18 goals
2. Image Lino Kaberle (STL), GK, age 21 – Sporting Iturributa – 36 appearances
3. Image Yokin Erdokiain, CF, age 21 – Urizaharra FC – 25 appearances, 10 goals

Manager of the Season:
1. Image Galeano – Royal Rumiatzi
2. Image Mikel Aluztiza – Sporting Iturributa
3. Image Ilazki Altzibararechuluaga – Royal Ibarbe

Golden Uri for Top Scorer:
24 – Image Lastur Orkola, CF – Gortz United
21 – Image Pristina Shine (EQS), CF – Iturributa United
18 – Image Olentzaro Anseotori, CF – Athletic Club Olarria
18 – Image Julio Campana (JUE), CF – Ituraitz Victory

Elmsvikur Trophy for Goal of the Season:
1. Image Mazuste Igerabide – Antiguoko FC (H) vs. Blue Mountain Range, MD 36, FT 1–0. Igerabide receives the ball just outside the box, dribbles past one, two, three defenders and scores past the outrushing goalkeeper.
2. Image Azeari Duarte – Royal Rumiatzi (H) vs. Urizaharra FC, MD 18, FT 1–1. Duarte, slipping through the defensive lines, receives a pass from Petrarch Karaiskakis that breaks the offside trap and leaves him one-on-one with the keeper, whom Duarte drives past to walk the ball into the goal.
3. Image Julian Mann – Urbizania Wanderers (A) vs. Gortz United, MD 25, FT 3–5. A beautiful free-kick, curling and dipping to slip just into the upper corner.

Team of the Season:
GK – Image Konrad Matheny (NPH) – Royal Rumiatzi – 38 appearances
LB – Image Minerva Compton (KOR) – Sporting Iturributa – 35 appearances
CB – Image Aztore Andia – Royal Rumiatzi – 35 appearances
CB – Image Altzibar Sarrible – Royal Ibarbe – 37 appearances, 1 goal
RB – Image Victoire De Saint-Pierre (CMT) – Royal Rumiatzi – 34 appearances, 1 goals
LM – Image Ohashi Kiichi (SQR) – Sporting Iturributa – 35 appearances, 5 goals
CM – Image Puristina Shinra (HIN) – Ituraitz FC – 35 appearances, 5 goals
RM – Image Nolan Moore (TKT) – Royal Rumiatzi – 32 appearances, 7 goals
AM – Image Namakula Kawesa (BNJ) – Sporting Iturributa – 34 appearances, 12 goals
CF – Image Pristina Shine (EQS) – Iturributa United – 38 appearances, 21 goals
CF – Image Lastur Orkola – Gortz United – 31 appearances, 24 goals

Name                            Club                    Nat.   Apps  Gls
UMP Intov-Rynyr Antiguoko FC QUS 35 1
GUPTA Raj Antiguoko FC ETN 32 2
CAILLEUX Thierry Antiguoko FC HIN 33 3
MITSUSHIMA Ayuko Athletic Club Olarria HIN 35 0
CARNEY Gareth Athletic Club Olarria NPH 33 3
DOCHERTY Amber Athletic Club Olarria KSK 34 5
ISHIMODA Tomofumi Bakartirla Buccaneers HIN 30 12
RADOZEVIC Svetoslav Bakartirla Buccaneers MYT 20 2
COSHAN Daigo Blue Mountain Range TAE 34 2
REED Danni Blue Mountain Range QOD 34 1
AZBELYOV Janei Blue Mountain Range SRS 33 5
ABATANTUONO Jacky Blue Mountain Range JUE 37 8
KABERLE Thomas Blue Mountain Range STL 13 0
ZHAO Yong East Railway YZH 36 0
KOVACEVIC Amar East Railway MYT 16 2
ZINKOVSKY Kamil Echegoyan FC MYT 16 0
DAVIES Declan Gesterlake FC HVY 34 0
SINAGRA Anselmo Gortz United JUE 36 0
WILHELM Esmail Gortz United ESH 30 4
DONAT Martí Gortz United TEQ 14 0
SLOAH Mike Ituraitz FC SNL 31 1
CORVEY Isidra Ituraitz FC BRE 37 14
SHINRA Puristina Ituraitz FC HIN 35 5
TSTINSTAPHENSTEITD Erphinstatdt Ituraitz FC AUD 34 4
KRISTINE Sasha Ituraitz FC CMT 33 6
POTOS Telá Ituraitz FC TIO 34 14
ARMIDA Fernando Ituraitz FC STB 1 0
GAROFANO Mastino Ituraitz Victory SVG 33 1
MAHIR Omar Ituraitz Victory ESH 30 4
CAMPANA Julio Ituraitz Victory JUE 33 18
KINDVANEVAN Augustijn Ituraitz Victory TSA 0 0
HUTCHINS Dana Iturributa United EFL 32 0
LECHIE Miriam Iturributa United BRE 34 0
ZHU Aiguo Iturributa United YZH 34 1
MACDONALD Connor Iturributa United KSK 33 6
PIKOLAUGH Fangti Iturributa United CMT 34 6
ADALMEK Lukasz Iturributa United ESH 35 5
BRIGHT Lukas Iturributa United BRE 31 12
SHINE Pristina Iturributa United EQS 38 21
MARUSIC Borna Iturributa United MYT 13 0
BIRKAN Zeynel Abidin Royal Ibarbe TMR 33 0
MUNUZO Hissho Royal Ibarbe HIN 33 1
NAPOLEONI Panfilo Royal Ibarbe JUE 34 0
ARENTSSON Guðmann Royal Ibarbe GRF 35 1
LERUOSE Osfral Royal Ibarbe TIO 36 10
MATHENY Konrad Royal Rumiatzi NPH 38 0
EXIHOSAHAR Loxjilo Royal Rumiatzi FFD 34 1
DE SAINT-PIERRE Victoire Royal Rumiatzi CMT 34 1
KARAISKAKIS Petrarch Royal Rumiatzi NPH 32 8
ROMINEVSKIY Davidov Royal Rumiatzi TWI 33 5
MOORE Nolan Royal Rumiatzi TKT 32 7
BLESSED Martin Royal Rumiatzi EUR 34 17
VUJOVIC Slobodan Royal Rumiatzi MYT 8 0
REASON Guy Royal Rumiatzi FFD 15 0
SHARP Alex Royal Rumiatzi EUR 12 3
LAMAARS Freek Sporting Arkamo ESH 4 2
NIFTERIK Damyan Sporting Arkamo ESH 14 3
KABERLE Lino Sporting Iturributa STL 36 0
COMPTON Minerva Sporting Iturributa KOR 35 0
MISIDJAN Servet Sporting Iturributa NPH 33 1
KIICHI Ohashi Sporting Iturributa SQR 35 5
RUIZ Jeremiah Sporting Iturributa ETN 32 3
KAWESA Namakula Sporting Iturributa BNJ 34 12
PALANI Tehmina Sporting Iturributa SRS 34 14
JAMES Owen Sporting Iturributa EUR 8 0
BLACKSDOVE-BEUKERS Ximun Sporting Iturributa AUD 9 1
IBRELANÁ Dieje Urbizania Wanderers FFD 38 0
CARTLIDGE James Urbizania Wanderers MUR 30 0
HIRAHITO Yoshimi Urbizania Wanderers TAE 31 3
DURMISI Alexis Urbizania Wanderers VLD 35 8
HARRYSSON Robin Urbizania Wanderers GRF 34 6
MANN Julian Urbizania Wanderers EUR 32 7



Second Division

Urbitzo FC have done it again, winning the Second Division with a dominant performance for the second time in five years – the only two times they’ve been promoted to the top flight. If they can keep this form they could have a bright future in the First Division. Joining them will be Miners FC, back after one season relegated, so the city of Echegoyan will not be completely bereft of top-flight derbies. The promotion playoff winners were Athletic Club Rumiatzi, capping their strong league form with a narrow extra-time defeat of Royal Arexa – themselves aching to return to the First Division in order to face their rivals Old City Central.

Taldo Biharran             Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts
1 Urbitzo FC 46 29 9 8 67 34 +33 96 ↑ Champions / Liga B Champions Trophy – return after 2 years, 2nd SBCC/LBCT appearance
2 Miners FC 46 26 9 11 58 32 +26 87 ↑ Liga B Champions Trophy – return after 1 year, 7th SBCC/LBCT appearance
3 Athletic Club Rumiatzi 46 26 7 13 84 57 +27 85 ↑ Liga B Champions Trophy – return after 1 year, 5th SBCC/LBCT appearance

4 Ximun Orieta FC 46 22 12 12 44 35 +9 78
5 Royal Arexa 46 21 10 15 70 55 +15 73
6 Ibarbe Sport 46 20 11 15 55 54 +1 71
7 Sporting Olarria 46 18 15 13 60 54 +6 69
8 Oyardo FC 46 18 14 14 55 53 +2 68
9 Erribe United 46 19 10 17 59 47 +12 67
10 Royal Association 46 18 12 16 58 60 −2 66
11 Iturributa Racing Club 46 17 14 15 46 43 +3 65
12 Astograth University 46 17 11 18 36 40 −4 62
13 Dockyard Oaks 46 17 10 19 54 57 −3 61
14 Ezkutia MFC 46 16 12 18 50 51 −1 60
15 Army United 46 17 8 21 56 52 +4 59
16 Mars Athletic 46 18 5 23 44 52 −8 59
17 Sporting Ibarguren 46 17 7 22 43 53 −10 58
18 Eagles FC 46 15 10 21 39 52 −13 55
19 Lermendia FC 46 15 9 22 56 70 −14 54
20 Garitzeta FC 46 15 7 24 42 56 −14 52
21 Tzaramaga Rovers 46 13 13 20 45 52 −7 52 ↓ 1-year run
22 Uzio Blackstar 46 12 12 22 44 68 −24 48 ↓ 1-year run
23 Ichapeldun Mariners 46 10 15 21 43 58 −15 45 ↓ 11-year run
24 San Markez 46 11 8 27 34 57 −23 41 ↓ 2-year run


Promotion Playoffs

Semifinals
Ibarbe Sport 2–1 Athletic Club Rumiatzi
Royal Arexa 2–2 Ximun Orieta FC

Athletic Club Rumiatzi 2–0 Ibarbe Sport (3–2 agg.)
Ximun Orieta FC 1–4 Royal Arexa (3–6 agg.)

Final
@ Grand Duke's Stadium, Rumiatzi
Athletic Club Rumiatzi 1–1 Royal Arexa (3–2 AET)



Second Division B

Basabe Youth return to the second tier after confidently winning the East Group and an incredible Championship Final against FK Aliantza, which finished 2-2 in normal time, 4-4 in extra-time, and could only be decided on penalties. Aliantza make their own return to the second tier after 8 years. The historic South Factory, who made national news by falling to the third tier for the first time last year, make a rapid return. Landako Wanderers, in their first season in the Football League, shocked the division by getting to second place in the East and beating Uidio Mariners in the playoffs to be immediately promoted to the Second Division.

East Group
Taldo Biharran B East     Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts 
1 Basabe Youth 46 25 8 13 63 42 +21 83 ↑ Champions – return after 1 year
2 Landako Wanderers 46 23 6 17 51 46 +5 75 ↑ will make Second Division début

3 Uertza Gymnastic 46 21 12 13 58 47 +11 75
4 Berlasko FC 46 20 12 14 64 54 +10 72
5 Ariznabarra Castle 46 19 14 13 57 45 +12 71
6 Cafundelense 46 19 13 14 49 40 +9 70
7 Sporting Uanka 46 20 9 17 52 54 −2 69
8 Biazterri FC 46 18 14 14 48 36 +12 68
9 Markiniz Union 46 18 13 15 59 50 +9 67
10 Ezkalmendia FC 46 18 10 18 64 58 +6 64
11 Akialden Marauders 46 18 10 18 50 47 +3 64
12 Letzama FC 46 17 13 16 53 48 +5 64
13 Arbetsana Crossing 46 16 14 16 51 47 +4 62
14 Baker's Eleven 46 16 14 16 41 50 −9 62
15 Freedom FC 46 17 11 18 51 52 −1 62
16 Itzibarea Sports 46 17 10 19 49 57 −8 61
17 Ardina Steelworks 46 16 11 19 54 51 +3 59
18 Sorokin's Old Boys 46 14 15 17 44 48 −4 57
19 Sakana FC 46 16 8 22 42 54 −12 56
20 Warrior Spirits 46 13 17 16 39 45 −6 56
21 Mauritza FC 46 15 10 21 49 59 −10 55 ↓ first relegation from the Football League
22 Saint Laida 46 14 13 19 41 52 −11 55 ↓ 5-year run
23 Ziurko Sapphire 46 15 4 27 44 67 −23 49 ↓ 1-year run
24 Elgandaba County 46 13 7 26 45 69 −24 46 ↓ 1-year run


West Group
Taldo Biharran B West       Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts 
1 FK Aliantza 46 26 9 11 66 42 +24 87 ↑ return after 8 years
2 South Factory 46 23 16 7 63 40 +23 85 ↑ return after 1 year

3 Uidio Mariners 46 23 10 13 55 34 +21 79
4 Nabarrieta FC 46 21 8 17 53 48 +5 71
5 Bizkarra Castle 46 20 10 16 56 48 +8 70
6 Goyardeliz United 46 20 10 16 55 51 +4 70
7 FAS SC 46 20 10 16 62 47 +15 70
8 Lanioa Youth 46 18 12 16 44 44 0 66
9 Ibarbe Youth 46 16 17 13 55 48 +7 65
10 Progress Athletic 46 16 16 14 62 56 +6 64
11 Chopbiren FC 46 18 10 18 46 49 −3 64
12 Gortz Academy 46 18 9 19 49 51 −2 63
13 Izurria Pirates 46 17 10 19 51 56 −5 61
14 Rumiatzi 529 46 16 12 18 46 39 +7 60
15 Athletic Club Yungoitio 46 17 8 21 53 57 −4 59
16 Sporting Igerreitio 46 17 7 22 44 55 −11 58
17 Ertzanga FC 46 17 7 22 43 58 −15 58
18 Phoenix Athletic 46 15 12 19 45 48 −3 57
19 Ermarretza United 46 14 14 18 45 52 −7 56
20 Orontzo United 46 16 8 22 52 62 −10 56
21 Ibarriola United 46 15 9 22 54 68 −14 54 ↓ 4-year run
22 Echegoyan Railway 46 15 9 22 39 53 −14 54 ↓ 2-year run
23 Iron Olazar 46 15 8 23 47 63 −16 53 ↓ 1-year run
24 Eleven Men In Flight FC 46 12 13 21 41 57 −16 49 ↓ 2-year run

Championship Final – East vs. West
@ Grand Duke's Stadium, Rumiatzi
FK Aliantza 2–2 Basabe Youth (4–4 AET) (3–4 pen.)

Promotion Playoffs
Uidio Mariners 1–2 Landako Wanderers
Uertza Gymnastic 0–1 South Factory

Landako Wanderers 2–2 Uidio Mariners (4–3 agg.)
South Factory 4–2 Uertza Gymnastic (5–2 agg.)



Astograthian Development League – Honours Division

The Astograthian Development League, a joint FAF-Ministry of Sport venture, pits U21 teams across the nation in round-robin action.


Honours Division           Pld    W   D   L    GF   GA   GD   Pts
1 Iturributa United 30 18 6 6 60 33 +27 60 Champions / Rising Stars Cup – 4th YC/RSC appearance
2 Urbizania Wanderers 30 17 5 8 49 30 +19 56
3 Sporting Iturributa 30 14 9 7 32 23 +9 51
4 Royal Rumiatzi 30 14 8 8 49 32 +17 50
5 Blue Mountain Range 30 13 8 9 23 18 +5 47
6 Ituraitz FC 30 11 9 10 52 41 +11 42
7 Ituraitz Victory 30 12 5 13 36 34 +2 41
8 Astograth University 30 11 8 11 20 21 −1 41
9 Athletic Club Rumiatzi 30 11 7 12 35 39 −4 40
10 Bakartirla Buccaneers 30 10 8 12 28 37 −9 38
11 Basabe Old Boys 30 11 4 15 38 50 −12 37
12 Echegoyan FC 30 9 10 11 47 46 +1 37
13 Sporting Arkamo 30 10 5 15 25 30 −5 35
14 Garitzeta FC 30 6 13 11 27 35 −8 31
15 Antiguoko FC 30 7 8 15 31 58 −27 29 ↓
16 Oyardo FC 30 5 9 16 23 48 −25 24 ↓

Promoted: Royal Association, Erribe United




Image
The Royal Cup

One-legged ties. First and Second Division teams enter at the Round of 64, and the former are seeded for that and the following round. If clubs have a two-tier difference or greater, the lower-tier team will play at home.

Round of 64 (select matches)
Iturributa United 3–1 Erribe United
Izurria Pirates 1–0 Gortz United
Ximun Orieta FC 0–1 Blue Mountain Range
Basabe Youth 0–2 Old City Central
Goyardeliz United 1–4 Ituraitz FC
Madarinda Sunrise 1–2 Bakartirla Buccaneers
Lanioa Youth 2–2 Antiguoko FC (2–3 AET)
Cafundelense 0–2 Gesterlake FC
Miners FC 0–1 East Railway
Echegoyan FC 2–2 Royal Association (4–3 AET)
Ibarbe Sport 0–0 Sporting Iturributa (0–0 AET) (3–4 pen.)
Rumiatzi 529 1–1 Royal Ibarbe (1–1 AET) (5–4 pen.)
Urizaharra FC 1–2 Mars Athletic
Freedom FC 0–4 Royal Rumiatzi
Astograth University 0–0 Urbizania Wanderers (0–1 AET)
Garitzeta FC 1–1 Basabe Old Boys (1–2 AET)
Ariznabarra Castle 1–2 Sporting Arkamo
Athletic Club Olarria 1–0 Sporting Olarria
Saint Laida 0–2 Ituraitz Victory
Echegoyan Railway 2–1 Garitzeta Racing Club


Round of 32
South Factory 2–1 East Railway
Athletic Club Rumiatzi 1–0 Blue Mountain Range
Old City Central 1–3 Dockyard Oaks
Orontzo United 1–1 Antiguoko FC (2–1 AET)
Mars Athletic 2–0 Ituraitz Victory
Lermendia FC 1–0 Athletic Club Olarria
Urbizania Wanderers 0–0 Tzaramaga Rovers (1–0 AET)
Royal Arexa 2–2 Gesterlake FC (3–2 AET)
Ituraitz FC 5–0 Army United
Sporting Iturributa 2–0 Iturributa Racing Club
Rumiatzi 529 0–0 Sporting Arkamo (0–1 AET)
Izurria Pirates 2–2 Royal Rumiatzi (2–2 AET) (4–5 pen.)
Echegoyan FC 1–0 Urbitzo FC
Echegoyan Railway 3–2 Basabe Old Boys
Akialden Marauders 1–1 Bakartirla Buccaneers (2–3 AET)
Sporting Ibarguren 0–2 Iturributa United


Round of 16
Lermendia FC 2–0 Bakartirla Buccaneers
Ituraitz FC 2–0 Sporting Arkamo
Dockyard Oaks 1–3 Athletic Club Rumiatzi
Orontzo United 1–2 Iturributa United
Echegoyan Railway 0–3 Urbizania Wanderers
Mars Athletic 0–1 Sporting Iturributa
Royal Arexa 4–0 South Factory
Royal Rumiatzi 2–0 Echegoyan FC


Quarterfinals
Iturributa United 1–0 Lermendia FC
Athletic Club Rumiatzi 0–2 Sporting Iturributa
Urbizania Wanderers 1–2 Royal Arexa
Ituraitz FC 2–2 Royal Rumiatzi (2–2 AET) (1–2 pen.)


Semifinals
Iturributa United 1–0 Royal Arexa
Royal Rumiatzi 0–0 Sporting Iturributa (0–0 AET) (2–4 pen.)


The Final
@ Grand Duke's Stadium, Rumiatzi

Though neither team won the league, this First Division was oddly defined by the Iturributan rivalry. The signings of Namakula Kawesa and Pristina Shine were themselves an off-season derby, as Sporting and United each attempted to upstage the other. The first derby, a 3-2 victory for Sporting, was a showcase of tactical and individual brilliance, as both stars got on the scoresheet and the Chevrons clung to their league lead, confident this would be their year. The second derby was an incendiary affair of duelling egos and red cards, as Sporting accused United of letting themselves lose to Royal Rumiatzi to harm their title chances – and United further tripped up Sporting with a 1-1 draw, granting Royal Rumiatzi the lead with which they ultimately won the league.

To have a third Royal Cup final in the season is a special treat in a normal season, but in this one felt like the perfect capstone to another furious chapter of the biggest rivalry in Astograth. Iturributa United came in as the defending cup champions, smirking at how they’d tilted Sporting to the point that they’d lost the league all on their own. Sporting Iturributa came to Grand Duke’s Stadium red-faced, livid at both themselves and their adversaries. Manager Mikel Aluztiza, himself a lifelong Sporting man and frequently contemptuous of the Sash, stressed concentration to his squad.

On the pitch, it was a classic clash of United’s daring attacks and Sporting’s organised defence, the unstoppable force and the immovable object. United prodded at the Chevrons physically and mentally, knowing it was they who were desperate to save face by winning the cup. On 35 minutes, a shot by Pristina Shine was blocked by Lino Kaberle, struck on the rebound by Lukasz Adalmek, and this time caught by Kaberle. Kicked up the pitch, the ball reached Jeremiah Ruiz, then Namakula Kawesa. With a flick she skipped past her marker, Connor Macdonald, and assisted Tehmina Palani through United’s back line. From there, Palani found herself in a one-on-one, and knew what to do to open the score.
In celebrating, the forward pointedly avoided provoking her opponents – which, paradoxically, infuriated United. On the cusp of half-time, as they both lunged for the ball, United’s Lukasz Adalmek planted his boot on the outstretched leg of Sporting’s Minerva Compton. Intentional or not, the red card came out and the two squads faced off on the way to the dressing rooms. Sporting, with a one-player advantage and stressing discipline, refused to get drawn into another brawl – which, again, infuriated United. The tables had turned.

Until the 53rd minute, at least, when Sporting’s Gaitzka Gurina gave in to the bait set by his personal nemesis Beltza Urkizo. The United vice-captain had been needling Gurina all match with remarks about his family, minor jabs with his knuckles and studs. Then, while defending the ball, Gurina stuck out his arm and Urkizo flung himself against it, crying out and holding his face as if he’d been elbowed. The referee called a foul, at which Gurina finally blew up, blasting the ball straight at his rival, now definitely striking him in the face. Another red.

Iturributa United bore down on Sporting, looking for that equaliser. Fangti Pikolaugh hit the bar, Lukas Bright drove a low header that Kaberle barely caught. In their best chance, Pristina Shine dragged the goalkeeper far out of position and looped the ball over his head – defender Mogel Doyenard, standing on the goal-line, had to jump and head it away. They were relentless until, on the 80th minute, after Doyenard cut off another attack, Servet Misidjan surged up the pitch with the ball, United attempting to reform ahead of him. They expected a pass to Kawesa, or to Palani – to anyone. But Misidjan kept going, and pulled off a roulette dribble to get past Urkizo. Who knew Misidjan could do that? Then he passed to Kawesa, who took a run-up to the ball and kicked, but didn’t shoot. She grazed the ball, touching it to the side, then dove that way and took her real shot, gliding the ball into the spaces Hutchins couldn’t reach.

Two goals up, and Sporting Iturributa poured out all their rage of the past three seasons as they lifted their fourth-ever Royal Cup.

Iturributa United 0–2 Sporting Iturributa

Image
CHAMPIONS
SPORTING ITURRIBUTA

4th title



Astograth (ASG) qualifiers
Champions League: Royal Rumiatzi, Sporting Iturributa
Challengers Cup: Iturributa United, Ituraitz FC, Urbizania Wanderers
Liga B Champions Trophy: Urbitzo FC, Miners FC, Athletic Club Rumiatzi
Rising Stars Cup: Iturributa United
Cup Winners’ Cup: Sporting Iturributa

Copa de Campeones: Royal Rumiatzi
Last edited by Astograth on Sun Mar 28, 2021 12:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Advertisement

Remove ads

Return to NS Sports

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Chromatika, Conricsto, Eshialand, Google Adsense [Bot], Northern Benin, South Newlandia

Advertisement

Remove ads