So, where to begin….well, as some of you may or may not know I was the manager of Aston Villa here for nearly three real life years, and progressed Villa and developed them and even gained promotion via winning the title a few seasons back. Fast-forward to 2021, and after 14-months away from T100, I was appointed the new manager at Shakhtar Donetsk, a side sitting rock bottom in Division-4 with no real hope and very limited players, the odd half decent player here or there, basically a side in need of some TLC, which is for sure a challenge that I was well and truly looking forward to.

With that, the deals began to flow, and if any of you have seen me around other Game-worlds in SM then you’ll know that I do love a deal, or 20, and this was no different! Therefore, before we look at results and the near great escape, let’s take a look at the players in and out;


  • Zack Steffen (26 86)
  • Tete Morente (24 84)
  • Hamza Choudhury (23 85)
  • Xian Emmers (22 78)
  • Paxton Pomykal (21 77)
  • Denis Bouanga (26 87)
  • Chrish Fuhrich (23 82)
  • Allasane Ndao (24 82) *was 78 on arrival
  • Maksim Mukhin (19 80) *was 73 on arrival
  • Mathias Olivera (23 86)
  • Filip Benkovic (23 85)
  • Lucas Tousart (24 89)
  • Andreas Martin (22 82)
  • Aleksander Buska (18 74)
  • David Brooks (24 87)
  • Chituru Odunze (18 65)
  • Ismael Saibari (20 75)
  • Levant Mercan (20 75)
  • Patrick Burner (25 85)
  • Romain Correia (21 75)
  • Baris Yilmaz (21 77) *was 75 on arrival
  • Tanner Tessman (19 78)
  • Ghilsan Konan (25 86)
  • Antonio Nusa (16 70)
  • Augutin Obando (21 80)
  • Karol Swiderski (24 83)
  • Luis Abram (25 85)
  • Justin Che (17 75)
  • Jakub Moder (22 85)
  • Frankie Amaya (20 80)
  • Adrian Fein (22 83)
  • Marco Richter (23 86)
  • Aurelio Buta (24 85)
  • Trevoh Chalobah (22 82)
  • Emmanuel Dennis (23 87)
  • David Turnbull (22 84)
  • Cenk Ozkacr (20 76)
  • Lorenzo Colombo (19 76)

That’s a grand total of 38 new players into the club, which is quite mad considering the time frame of joining on the 3rd of July, but we knew we’d have to be busy in order to try and freshen up the side! We took some players from external and some from internal.

Now, let’s take a look at the key signings here, one ready to go and one prospect I am keen to see progress…

Emmanuel Dennis (23 87)

The Nigerian striker has been a revolution since arriving in Ukraine, with five goal involvements in eight games so far for a side that were crying out for a goalscorer, and its expected the big Nigerian forward will lead the line for the side in Division-5 next season and try to make a similar impact from the start of the campaign.

Tanner Tessmann (19 78)

The American, is one of a few US talents in the ranks at Donetsk, with Justin Che, 17, the latest to arrive who looks a tasty talent, but we’ve picked out Tessmann, as a potential prospect to watch as he has just made the move to Venezia in Serie-A in real life, and I believe he will really kick on with them, and could be a gem of a player added from FC Dallas where he was impressive in the MLS… watch this space…

As mentioned with the Ins there were a lot of outs, not really anyone of that much note left the club, we opted to shift on a number of ratings in order to develop the side long-term, with the likes of Cedric Soares, Paulinho, Seamus Coleman, James Tomkins etc leave. We lost one asset in Malvin Bard, who looks a lovely player, but gained three youths in that process, as we continue to develop our plans here.

Well, thats all the incoming players, let’s move onto the results….

When I took the club over we were sitting rock bottom with 12-games to go, with very little points, and then after initially losing our opening game 1-0 in a close encounter with PSV, in which their goalkeeper got a 9, and MOTM, which kind of summed up the task, but we dusted ourselves off and went again…

In my first 12 games, we won 6, drew 3, and lost 3, and narrowly went down by 2-points in the end, if only one of the draws were a victory, or even a lose that was close actually getting that win, but really it was always likely that we’d end up going down, but we knew we were doing the right thing in bringing down the age, trying to bring in talents and letting some older players that are better rated, but realistically for how long?!

It’s a true shame that we couldn’t amass enough points to complete what would’ve been the greatest of great escapes with 12 to go! But we have plans to progress and push back to Division-4 in the not so distant future…with that, what are the future plans?


So, I don’t have any intentions of leaving Ukraine or Shakhtar Donetsk, unless of course for whatever reason I was asked to…hopefully won’t come! We have a long term plan and look to try and develop via the internal market and continue to thrive and try and develop the squad, which I think we’ve done quite well at so far. We’ve even dipped our toes into the market again this last couple days, with Umar Sadiq a potentially lovely player coming, along with Lucas Tuta and Pedro Brazao.

We will always look to find those odd gems that get added, and are still external, and there are plenty still to come and still to be added, make no mistake about that, we’ve plenty we’d like to obtain! The plan is plain and simple, to build a sustainable, long term side that can develop and grow and eventually work its way back up the leagues and try get as high as possible, as quick as possible, but it is certainly no sprint and much more of a marathon to get there, and we won’t take any quick shortcuts with ratings or oldies to get there.

I’m enjoying it and have loved beating top sides in this division, i’m just gutted that we couldn’t quite do it, but the future is bright…the future is Orange…ah damn thats a copyright! haha

Here’s to the future….

Hope you enjoyed the read…if you didn’t then why did you get this far? hahahah!!!



FC Shakhtar Donetsk - Wikipedia
The future is coming…..The Justice Era …

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