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129 flags

When you play Hattrick, you play two matches a week that contribute to your training. One is in the weekend, that’s the competition match (and during the end of season, when the competition is over, there are friendlies) and the other one is in the middle of the week. When you’re still playing in one of the Cups, it’s a cupmatch, otherwise it’s a friendly.


Both the competition and the cup are interesting matches from a competitive standpoint, the friendly less so, it’s actually only good to maximize your training. That’s why managers in Hattrick try to “spice it up” a little. They organise non-official Cups (outside of Hattrick, but using the friendly matches in Hattrick), they play with their friends and some have decided they would like the visit the whole Hattrick world. In other words, they collect (chase) flags.

In Hattrick you have 129 leagues (128 “countries” and HTI) and you can invite them at your home or visit them. If you can calculate a little, you know you can collect 258 flags, 129 home and 129 away. There is even a page within Hattrick that shows the flags of the different countries you played with, both home and away. And there are some tools to make logo’s with your flag collection!

I got hooked to flag chasing the first time I played Hattrick, so when I restarted Hattrick I immediately started again. My old team and therefore my old collection were lost, I had to start from zero.

Lucky for me, shortly after I restarted the second teams were introduced and I have to be honest, this has made the flag chasing a lot easier. Not entirely a bad thing, because some teams in rare countries (countries with very few users) were asking real life money to play a match with them and even then had a long list of people waiting to be able to play with them. Nowadays, the rare countries still exist, but at least there are a few second team owners there that will gladly play a friendly match with you.

In order to organise a friendly international match, you have different tools available. I’m pretty sure I have used them all.

You can go to a team’s page and challenge them. You can make up to 25 challenges. Then you wait for them to accept, refuse or organise a match with someone else. Best is to check whether or not the manager is still active and if he has played international friendlies in the past, as you can only make 25 challenges, you need to make them count.

Another possibility is to exchange flags. If you are a second team owner in a rare country yourself, you can promise another manager that you will play his first team while you play against his second team. It does work well, but from time to time things can go wrong or the other manager can be dishonest and you end up with nothing.

Then you also have managers that “manage” the flags of teams in rare countries. If you give them a “prize” (you promise them to let them manage your second teams flag for example), they will get you a flag. This also works well, but sometimes the manager of the rare country team doesn’t log in and you get screwed too.

There are also managers that “manage” flags from teams in rare countries and want nothing in return. They either tell you that they have certain flags to give away and you can choose or they organise a lottery, where you can sign in, and if you’re lucky you get drawn. This works equally well as the previous method.

And last but not least (and lately my prefered method): you can select which country you would like to play in the Friendly Pool and then wait for another team to play against you. This is a nerve wrecking method, as you usually only get a match on Monday evening or Tuesday morning while the window for international friendlies closes on Tuesday at 18.00. But that can be said about the other methods as well and it has one huge advantage: you put your team in the pool and you wait, no big effort needed!


Last season I realised I was close to the 129 home or away flags (you have played all leagues either home or away) and there were even enough friendly matches left to get all 129 flags away. The last flags I was missing were even easy ones! And so I did, the last friendly match from last season I visited Ireland and now I have a complete away flag collection, all 129 flags. Next up: all flags visited as well and then, who knows, do the same with my second and third team!


5 years and counting

OMG, I just realized I have been playing Hattrick for the second time for just over 5 real life years! I’m not yet at the same point as the first time around, when I lasted almost 7 and a half years, but we’re getting there. And contrary to what I predicted in 2013 when I restarted, Hattrick is still around!


And suddenly I realize that what I initially wanted to do (keep a blog about my new team and my second team) didn’t last that long: only 6 posts on the first team, only 1 post on the second team, the last post dating back to the end of 2013. I also recently started the Hattrick United site for the third team, but nothing has changed, it’s still the standard setup (yes indeed, you can now have up to 3 teams in Hattrick, more about that later).

Strangely a lot of things did happen in those 5 years: to by first team, to my second team and to my third  team, to Hattrick in general, even in real life. So plenty of topics that I could have written about …

But still, 5 years and counting. The 17th season of my first team coming to and end. For my second team that’s the 16th season and my third team has only existed for the past 4 seasons.

I just finished reading my 7 previous posts and it all comes back to me. The fun I had over the past 5 years, the decisions I had to make, the mistakes I did make (again). All those stories are only in my head now, I could have shared them.


So, I decided to get some life back into my Hattrick blogs here at Hattrick United and my first aim is to write a post every two weeks. Let this article be the first one of many!


The second team

I already told you, amongst the features of the Platinum Supporter, the second team caught my eye straight away. I had always wanted to have a second team in a foreign country, although I knew it was against the rules. But now, it wasn’t anymore!


OK, there were rules involved (and of course the more expensive Platinum Supporter, although here I had a 50% discount for the first year, so I will be playing Hattrick for at least the next year;)). The rules were strict: no transfers between teams and it isn’t possible to buy a player that has ever played for the first team (or the other way round). These rules were pretty obvious, otherwise it would be possible to buy overprized players and thus send money from one team to another, aka, cheat! Also, it wasn’t possible to play friendlies. Strange, didn’t know why that would be impossible, but then it hit me: you could cause walkover matches! Lucky for us, a few weeks before the second teams were introduced, the HT team made walkovers impossible, whenever a manager would not field any player, a random line up would be created. Therefore, this rule was abolished.

On the 6th of April came the news, we were going to be able to apply for the team on Monday, at 15.00 Hattrick time. I expected a big rush at that moment and I was at work anyway with no way to log into Hattrick, so I would choose the second team’s country in the evening. I knew for sure that teams in smaller countries (maximum 3 divisions) would be very envied, so I choose to take a bigger league. Not a big league, like Belgium, but a league with 4 divisions. Three countries came to my mind: Al Iraq, Việt Nam and Pilipinas, all for some personal reason. Al Iraq was because I had been involved with their national team when they first came into the Hattrick World. I had helped as a scout for many seasons. I thought it would be a great way to help the country that was still remaining small. The second choice was because of my first foreign holiday in a faraway country, that happened in 1998. I loved Vietnam since and kept very good memories about that trip, where I did go all by myself but joined a group of international tourists. It was a holiday “outside” the usual path, I had learned a lot about that country in the 3 weeks I spent over there. The third country was a choice of my heart: my wife was born in the Philippines and although she came to Belgium when she was 8, she had learned me a lot about her country of birth. I knew we would be going there once (we are still saving on one hand, as I want the same type of holiday as in Vietnam, a big tour of the country and on the other hand we are waiting for our son to grow, so he can enjoy his ½ country of origin to the fullest), so why not start with a Hattrick team over there? But a choice had to be made and since I knew the people involved with Al Iraq the best (and most of them appeared to be still active), that was my final choice!

It took me some time to choose a name. As with my first team, I wanted it to revolve around a single theme. The first theme that came to mind was that of air travel (I’m very actively playing Airport City on Android), the team’s name would be a plane (A-380’s), the youth would be a small plane, the stadium would be called after airports and so on. When reviewing the other new teams, I remembered something: the national football team of Al Iraq was called ‘The Lions of Mesopotamia’. I had found my theme: lions. The first team would be ‘The Lions of Babylon’ (Babylon being located in Iraq) and I would choose ‘Al Babil’ as region. The youth team would be called ‘The Cubs of Mesopotamia’. The arena for the senior team would be ‘Savannah Grasslands’ (natural habitat of lions in Africa), for the youth it would be The Den (which I had to change in The Den Stadium in the end, as The Den was already taken). The only name I’m missing is one for the supporters club.

The activation of the second teams was scheduled between Monday 06/05 and Wednesday 08/05, Tjecken had said. He also said it would be done totally at random, without any particular order. I was at the office on Monday and since waiting for my second team didn’t mean I needed to do anything, I logged into Hattrick, followed the forum and waited for the activation, like a little child, and as it turned out, like a lot of other managers! Nothing till noon, not a word. Then, around 16.00, some people started saying ‘I got mine’ (seriously, because some had been joking about it before) and indeed, Tjecken opened a topic, Barbados (small league) would be first, then USA (big), then England (bigger) and then last test would be Germany (biggest league). After that, things would be ‘automatic’ and totally random, if all tests were successful. Still, people were asking ‘when will it be my league’, whilst others were guessing what the sort order of the activation was (it had to be season, no, it had to be number of divisions, no, it had to be … random?). Pretty funny, to say the least. Just before I finished work, my team was activated. I had a quick glance, I closed Hattrick, I would look at it further in the evening!


Here we are, we are now the manager of two teams and it’s all legal, no chance of losing the first team because of cheating! Suddenly, there is much more to think about and even much more to talk about. Lucky for us, Hattrick United also allows second teams from now on, so if you want to know more, here is where you’ll find more news about my second team from now on! The first article should be coming soon.


P.S.: In case you wonder, I actually wrote this during the summer, but never published it … Some information is therefore outdated, but what the heck!


The remarkable effect of doing nothing

I cannot say that my trip in the 6th League has been a very exiting one thus far, except for the match against the team that is now ranked 7th, I lost all my games and W.C. Brussels was ranked 8th.


Lucky me, my supporters also think that “we are not worthy of this division”, so although I’m losing some matches 10-0, they more or less remain calm, they are even still joining me at a rate of 7 per update!

Yet, each and every week I keep checking what can be done to minimise  the number of goals I take (no point in checking if I can win, I simply cannot), but that doesn’t help a lot, the best score being 4-1 so far and that was actually the first match this season against the team that promoted from 7th League.

This Sunday, I remembered around 13.45 that I had a match that started at 13.00! Oops, I forgot my line-up. I quickly logged in, not to see what I could do (I couldn’t do anything!), but to see how much damage was done. To my delight, I was only losing 0-1 and despite a 55% possession he only had two chances, one of which was a counter and I had 1! OK, not too bad.

Still, knowing from experience that the score can rather quickly turn from 0-1 into a 0-10, I kept on looking. The second half started, soon after we were already at 0-2, but then a miracle happened, we scored two goals and we’re 2-2. Unfortunately, the miracle didn’t last, in the 72nd minute, he scored another goal and the match ended in a 2-3 loss.


Still, just one goal difference, the best score this season. And this “doing nothing” had some remarkable side effects: the spirit of the supporters is now content (up 1), today’s update got me 8 new supporters (up 1) and because of my better goal difference, I now have taken 7th place (up 1) in the ranking. I wonder, should I forget my line up next week as well …


Learning again

As I told you already, I had been managing a team in Hattrick for 20 seasons, when I restarted. I think I know a lot (although I know also that I don’t know everything), but when it comes to the Youth Academy, the only item I didn’t look into in depth in the past, it soon became obvious that I needed to learn again how to do things and it was certainly not the same as running the senior team.


I knew it definitely added more fun to the game to have a youth team and although I hadn’t been that successful with it the first time around, I was hoping I could do better.

The name would be ‘The Pampers’, as with my original team (pampers being the “junior” version of toilets, of course). Their stadium would be called the ‘Potty Training Center’ (you have to get them out of the pampers one day, right?). I had always felt bad about the fact that I didn’t fully try out the street kids (the original 15 players you get when you open the youth academy) with my original team, so this time I would. Because of that, I knew I wouldn’t need a scout for at least the first 6 weeks (one player rotating on all positions), so that also meant I was OK with the one that came with the YA, that was perfect until I had a good view over my finances. When doing that rotating of players, I was very happy to see that two of those got 5 star as forwards and one even 6 stars! This was settled, we would go for scoring/passing training. Then, the week after that decision, two of them maxed out (only weak and poor scoring!) and the same week, after the friendly, the third one (6 stars) maxed out as well, with weak/weak scoring/passing?!?

Quickly, let’s read about the starring system in youth teams. OK, it looks like a potential forward gets 7 stars with passable/passable scoring/passing, that might explain things. Oops, it looks like I have some reading to do. I found some great articles on Hattrick and some websites with information (some of it outdated, but still valuable). I did learn a lot of things.

First, instead of hoping to get that one skill revealed, you could practice the trick of “skill revealing”. It is based on a simple principle: the trainer will reveal one actual skill based on primary training and one maximum skill based on the secondary training. An example: I have a player I want to know the actual defending skill, I set primary training to defending and field players in defense which have their defending skill already revealed (no one else, so if needed, you play with only 2 defenders, you only need to field 9 players to be OK). Result: I will know the defending skill of that particular player, I know how good he is now in defending.

Also, try not to maximize training, try to focus on one star player. The skill revealing already shows it, you don’t have to field 5 defenders if you are training defending. Of course, if there is more than one player that fits the training scheme, you should definitely add him to that line, but this one players needs your focus, the others

Another good tip was the training rotation you could apply for your star trainee. Let’s say he’s a goalkeeper. Of course, you will want him to max out in goalkeeping, but he also needs defending and set pieces, to become a good all round goal keeper, so you definitely want him to be the best he can get in those skills as well. Therefore, you will of course start with goalkeeping as primary and defensive positions as secondary, as this will also train the goalkeeper in defending. Once he maxes out in goalkeeping, you will play him as a defender (primary training: defending) and set him as set pieces taker (secondary :et pieces). And so on, until he maxed out on goalkeeping, defending and set pieces and only then will he be promoted (based on age of course!).

Finally, I would recommend using an external tool as Hattrick Youth Club. Like they say it themselves, they are much better than any Excel sheet (although I do like me Excel sheet), but they also have some added features that make them almost essential. I could write a whole article about it, but I’m simply going to mention the “twin” tool. It does indeed happen that youth players are actually a “copy” of an already existing (youth) player in Hattrick, when it comes to skills. If you happen to get such a player and Hattrick Youth Club recognizes him as a possible twin, you may end up knowing a lot about that player without having fielded him once!


Well, with what I learned in mind, I can now say that it’s getting better already. I practice the skill revealing (while rotating other players to see at their stars if I need to “reveal” them as well) and I try to focus one that one player that is worth it. I might actually have discovered him, we’ll see what the trainer has to say!


The First Weeks

Here we were, with a brand new team in Hattrick, but with the experience of about 20 seasons of playing Hattrick. Not that I did very well the first time around, but at least I could start over without making the same rookie mistakes I made back then! The new team was called R.W.C.D.M., as my first team was originally called and it was located in the 8th division, the VIII.1820 series. I also kept my alias, Mr_Clean and the history behind it!


The only thing I didn’t have any more was my old team, but the team W.C. Brussels still existed, somewhere in the 8th division, it had been demoted because of the bot cleanup that occurs every end of the season. Before that, it stayed for two more seasons in the VI.205 series after I left it, finishing 2nd the same season I left (not bad!) and 7th after it had been botified … It still holds the players I had when I left, with some crack heads added by botification, but as it is in the lowest division, it can be replaced any day now. Nothing to change about that, I made a decision during the summer and I still don’t regret it. But now, I had to concentrate on my new team, I also did choose to start over and I wouldn’t let things go down the drain.

First things first, let’s choose a training. Check the players you have first, crap, these really suck! Two of them are still “young” (22 years) and have passable wing and inadequate playmaking, they are “trainable”. Although it’s not that easy to do winger training, it is still one of the fastest trainings around, so my first choice was made: we go for winger training. Second, reinforce the team. I knew midfield was the key to success, so that’s where I invested most of my money, buying two 27 year old formidable inner midfielders. The ‘saved’ profiles come in handy, but there is also new function that allows you to search the transfer list for similar players that is a good addition. I now had the trainees and I had reinforced my midfield, the money I started with was almost up, I just needed a better trainer now. A passable coach with poor leadership would be enough to start with as I remembered, I had enough money left for that, 79.600 euros to be exact. Wait a minute, my current coach is passable and has weak leadership, … OK, looks like this changed as well then. Well, then I can still buy another inner midfielder!

Of course, Hattrick being a competition, I wanted to promote to the 7th division. The division I was in was quite simple, two other teams were human, 5 were bot teams. One of the managers of the human teams did not even bother to log in after receiving his team, so he was in reality an equivalent to a bot team. Unfortunately, I started in second position, 6 points behind the first and this team was clearly managed and there were only 6 matches until the end of the season. No way I could become first, therefore no way for me to directly promote to 7th division, I would need to count on the cleanup of bot teams and hope to move up. In the meanwhile, I could test my players without fear, I had to win easily, most of my opponents were bot teams anyway! And that would give me time to get acquainted with other things that might have changed since I left.

We now just started our second season with our first team, the first weeks are over, I’m in 7th division (due to the bot cleanup) and the team is growing (and has been renamed to W.C. Brussels again), the bad seeds have been removed (9 players were fired), trainees are popping, one of the 22 year olds is already formidable (didn’t I tell you winger training was fast?).


By the way, I finally managed to make a rookie mistake after all! When I was checking my next adversary in the second round Cup match, I knew I wouldn’t make third round. So the spare wingers could start training again, after only the best wingers got their training in between seasons. So, I started to put the players on the roster, spare wing back trainee 1, spare wing trainee 1, … Wait a minute, who are my two other wing trainees. I did have 8 (4 wingbacks, 4 wingers), right? Let’s check … Oh my god, no, it looks like I only had six and for some reason, during friendlies, two of them were the same as during the league game … Oh well, let’s hit the transfer list, I need two more trainees!


Rumours of a comeback

I used to have a team on Hattrick, from the beginning of 2005. Last summer, I lost the team.

I cannot say it was by accident, lots of things were starting to be a drag, it just wasn’t fun anymore. Quite on the contrary even, more and more stuff were becoming a nuisance and I had to urge myself to log in week after week. In the end, I just stopped logging in, during 7 weeks, and on the 3th of September, I got the mail: my account had been removed due to inactivity. I could ask for a new team, if I wanted to. No, I didn’t want to.

Things like collecting flags, keeping up a competitive team, making sure the youngsters were getting the correct training scheme to have that one star, …, all of those were becoming really hard to do. But I knew that would happen, my team had been existing for about 7 years, 22 seasons, my flag collections were almost complete, only lacking the hard to get flags, my team was good for 6th division Belgium, but just not good enough to win in 5th division and by far not enough for 4th division and I had no real plan anymore. I was also generally displeased with the way things were going inside Hattrick. Alltid had died soon before, not the first time that HT’s took something over and ended up killing it. CHPP was finally opened up again, but the change of login procedure ended finishing off a lot of working and perfectly good CHPP tools. Flag chasing was becoming ridiculous. For example, lots of managers were complaining because of that one deal that ended up going wrong, while my feeling was trading was inherently dangerous business that was supposed to go bad from time to time. Another example: new managers in small countries immediately asking for a one year subscription to HT-supporter in order to arrange a few matches! Nothing was done to stop this. In the federation I was running, once the most fun, it was also becoming really hard to get prizes for the organisations we were running, while there were a lot of traders around that could easily give a flag away. And finally, the economy was no longer what it used to be, even with the changes HT’s made from time to time to get it back on track. In general, it felt like Hattrick was going down the drain and I didn’t want to be part of it anymore.

Last 19th of March, I got a re-invitation mail. Rumours of a comeback was the title. The mail was talking about major changes to Hattrick and to Hattrick Supporter. Really? Let’s have a look! I didn’t see much changes in Hattrick, but maybe you needed a team to see them :P, but they were right about Hattrick Supporter, it had changed a lot. The main change was that Supporter was now available in 3 different packages, a very basic one (Silver), a more complete one, that replaced the current Supporter (Gold) and then a complete one (Platina) and it was there that some changes were (to say the least) unexpected: unlimited Federation slots (before limited to 7), unlimited support to other teams (before limited to 8), access to Stage (the test environment where new changes are tested and/or released first, before that access was limited to CHPP developers, (ex-) volunteers, like GM’s, Mod’s and LA’s) and last but not least, a second team, that you could even get in a foreign country! All very promising, but it was the last one that did it. Finally, something I had always wanted, a team in a foreign country! So I did it, a new team was born. This time, with the knowledge already gathered last time, things were going to be different, at least at the start. The second team was for May anyway, so that gave me some time to get used to it again.

By the way, I’m still sure that Hattrick is dying. There used to be near to 1 million users in 2009, the last 3 years, it is steadily dropping, now we’re just over 500k, I predict it will drop below that magic marker by the end of the year. Lots of managers are no longer HT-supporter, the main income for Hattrick. To me, it’s not a question of “if”, it’s a question of “when”. But I won’t let that bother me anymore, like I won’t let other things bother me anymore, I will be playing Hattrick for myself from now on and I’ll enjoy it while it lasts. Who knows, maybe this time I will outlive Hattrick :)


R.W.C.D.M. failliet

Na de uitspraak van de rechtbank van Koophandel, werd beslist om R.W.C.D.M. failliet te verklaren. Dit is het gevolg van het gesjoemel van groeting, die in december vorig jaar is verdwenen en intussen schuldig is bevonden van gokken op grote schaal.

"Ik had de bui al zien hangen en heb beslist, samen met een groep investeerders, de club over te nemen", zegt Mr_Clean. "We hadden een akkoord met de spelers en het personeel, iedereen wou met ons meekomen."

"Alleen de naam R.W.C.D.M. mochten we niet meer gebruiken, dus hebben we het gewijzigd naar W.C. Brussels", voegt Mr_Clean hier aan toe.

"Dat de hoofdstad door die naamsverandering beloofd had het stadium op te kopen, heeft niets met de zaak te maken, maar heeft de beslissing wel gemakkelijker gemaakt", wou hij ook nog kwijt.