View Full Version : [FM09] In Maidenhead No One Can Hear You Dream
Welcome to my journal following the trials and tribulations of my time in lower league management. I’ve been an LLM in FM for a number of years and really enjoy working with tight budgets and rubbish players :) , but this will be the first time that I’ll be posting my ups and downs on this forum so any encouragement will be greatly appreciated.
I’ve set up the game with the following with FM09:
· 9.3.0 Database
· All divisions in England, Germany, Scotland and Spain
Starting off with a playing reputation as a Sunday league footballer, I decided that the best I could possibly do with such a reputation would be to start at rock bottom and work my way up. To start I decided to go with Maidenhead Utd, a team with no real tradition in league football having only been promoted from the Isthmian Premier League to the Blue Square South in 04/05 and struggled in the league since. From doing some background research on the team (thanks wikipedia!) its claimed that Maidenhead’s home ground York Road is the oldest football venue in the world being continuosly used by the one team. Pretty impressive, and with almost 140 years of history behind the club (with little to show for it) I think its high time that this changed and that the Magpies fans have something to shout about in the future.
So, my grand plan for Maidenhead United is to firstly get the team into the Football League within five years, build on this and establish Maidenhead as a solid Premier League club in the future. Thinking big never seemed to do Shankly or Clough any harm so why not think BIG! So fingers crossed that the Maidenhead Board are a patient and forgiving lot and give me the time to build on my plans of greatness for their team. If not, well it’ll be down to the job centre in search of another sleeping midget to mould into the next big thing… but lets hope that won’t be happening anytime soon. I guess its time I started and to get onto the thing that your reading this for - Maidenheads progress from season 08/09 to who knows!!!
Season 08/09 (Blue Square South)
Media Predication: 16th
On Day 1 it was clear to see that Maidenhead were a club with far too many overpaid players on the books and the rot had set in with the clubs finances, but it looked like I would have to live with financial turmoil and no transfer budget for the foreseeable future as the players sucking the life out of the club were on long contracts.
From the pre-season friendlies arranged I could see that there was some talent in the squad and thought that a mid-table finish would not be beyond my players. But to really challenge in this league it would be down to my two trusty scouts to come up with some bargain players I could get my hands on. By the start of the season I had managed to recruit four extra players – Jay Richardson and Amadou Kouman were both drafted in on free transfers while a young winger from Tobermore Utd (Neil Lamont) came in on loan to beef up the squad.
By October it was looking like it was going to be a long hard season lying in 18th spot with only two wins under my belt it seemed that promotion could be put to the back burner for the season. But soon enough the team that everyone thought would struggle slowly started to click and we picked up the odd win here and there to push ourselves into a more comfortable position of 12th by the beginning of December. By the start of January I had managed to pick up a couple of more bargain signings – most notably Andrew Callaghan and Marvin Homand – players that would hold their own in League 2. With these extra players Maidenhead were able to go on a run of 12 wins out of 15 just after the new year to put the team into pole-position in the shake-up for promotion in what had become an incredibly tight BSS season.
Once at the top the Magpies were not to be knocked off, although a run of three shaky draws in the final stretch of the season threatened Maidenheads top ranking. The dribbling ability of Lamont and the goals from Pacquette and Kouman throughout the season insured that Maidenhead were not to be denied the league title, claiming the prize on the second last day of the season with a 3-2 win over relegated Bishop’s Stortford.
The dream of league football is still on course and Maidenhead now go into uncharted territory for the club next season.
Finished: 1st (Promoted)
Cup Competitions: Nothing to write home about, dumped out in the first round of the FA Trophy and Conference League Cup. Best run came in the FA cup reaching the Fourth Qualifying Round.
Fan’s Top Player: Richard Pacquette – 15 goals (7.06 Av)
Top Signing: Neil Lamont – 17 assists (7.30 Av) on loan from Tobermore Utd.
End of Season Finances: 150k in debt :/
Season 09/10 (Blue Square Premier)
Media Prediction: 22nd
After a shock league title the previous season it was no surprise that we were tipped for the drop back down to the BSS. But as before I worked my two scouts to the bone and once more they came up with the goods. I also had the luxury of ‘trimming’ the playing staff budget by negotiating smaller wages and releasing all the dead wood in the team. This would allow me to bring in some extra players while keeping the wage bill under control. At least if I was relegated I would have some cash to rebuild the team!
My main concern was to beef up a lightweight midfield and once more signed a number of bargains during the close season including Neil Lamont permanently. My top signing had to be a young 19 year-old Danish keeper Martin Hansen who came in on a free transfer, I managed to sign him while Sunderland were on the lookout so hopefully he can form the backbone of the side in future years.
As predicted by the media the Magpies certainly did struggle in the opening games. Losing 1-2 to Rushden and scraping two draws against Woking and Gateshead to get some points on the board early, it looked like a tough year was ahead of me. Suddenly in the fifth game of the season we picked up our first win of the season at home to Histon, setting us on a five match unbeaten run, without conceding a single goal, which moved us up into fourth place in the BSP and it was looking like a season similar to last year could be on the cards. After this it proved that our form became very uneven and we slowly settled into the upper reaches of mid-table by the half way point clear of relegation but well away from the promotion race. The Board were delighted with the mid-table performance, but I felt that we were letting some soft goals in mainly due to the lack of defensive options to partner Homand in central defence. I picked up Martin Clarke on a free transfer who had recently been released by Bradford City during the transfer window. Two Irish strikers were also drafted in for free as backup to Cooke and Pacquette up front.
The signings seemed to blend well with the other squad members and our form improved enough to be in the shake-up for the last play-off spot in the division with six games remaining after a convincing 2-0 win over 3rd place Mansfield to be within three points of 5th place. Disaster struck in the next game against top of the table Wrexham where three of my top players (Binns, Cooke and Lamont) limped off during the game. Although we managed to secure a 2-2 draw with the Welsh side our form dipped considerably and quickly dropped out the race for 5th spot eventually winding up the season in a very respectable 9th place, and the title of the leagues overachievers for the season :).
Like before I’ll be hoping that this is a springboard to bigger and better things next season. A handful of shrewd signings to add to the squad will go a long way to achieving this, hopefully the Board can supply me with a small amount of cash in the summer transfer market now that the clubs financial crisis has been stabilised.
Cup Competitions: Worse than awful, knocked out in the opening round of every cup entered. Thankfully for me this was always against BSP teams – AFC Wimbledon, Crawley & Forest Green respectively. The Board were slightly disappointed with our performances in these competitions which is fair enough, as we didn’t even manage to score a goal in the cups this year!! Now that we’ve settled into the BSP we can concentrate a little more on cup success next season.
Fan’s Top Player: Marvin Homand, the fan’s favourite scored five goals from defence and put in two Man of the Match performances (7.01 Av)
Top Signing: Jack McLeod – voted the Signing of the Season in the BSP – signed on a free transfer. Four goals, ten assists and three Man of the Match performances (7.14 Av).
End of Season Finances: Looking much healthier at 65k in profit. Fingers crossed for a small war chest come the summer.
Season 10/11 (Blue Square Premier)
Media Prediction: 16th
With the promising start made with Maidenhead the Board were confident that we could stay in the BSP and were looking for a mid table finish from the team. I on the other hand was far more confident that we could push on from 9th spot and start challenging for promotion this year. Maybe this was a little premature of me, when the Board asked me for my expectations for 10/11 I said ‘promotion!!’ being ever the optimist. Bad move I think – my status went immediately to Under Pressure Manager and the Board were looking for nothing less than promotion :( . To make matters worse my fiscal management from last season counted for nothing and I was left to search for more bargain bin buys when I was given zero funds from the profits generated from last year. Grrr!
Brought in three solid squad players into the team before the beginning of the season, more so to add depth rather than strengthen the first team. Dean Keats looking like the best of the bunch, another free signing after being let go by Peterborough. At 16-1 the bookies seemed to think we could be the surprise package again this season and went into the opening day with high hopes.
The season began well with a solid 1-0 away win to Burton, however it soon transpired that this was going to be a very inconsistent year with the Magpies and ultimately frustrating. With our strike force misfiring throughout the season it was impossible to know what Maidenhead team was going to turn up from match to match. For example, one weekend I enjoyed a great 1-0 win over the eventual BSP champions (Notts Co.) only for us to lose 0-1 to relegation candidates, Northwich, the following week!
For the entire season the team yo-yoed through the lower half of the division between 11th and 17th place, never being in the promotion shake-up nor a relegation battle. Not surprisingly the Board were breathing down my neck once it became clear there would be no chance of promotion. The honeymoon was well and truly over and things would started to get pretty serious from there on in! To try and improve matters I brought in two freebies before the end of the January transfer window – striker Anto Flood and midfielder Darren Pead in the hope that these two could add a bit of spark to the team. Results improved slightly near the end of the season after a total revamp of tactics which actually gave Maidenhead back to back wins for the first time in the season. The league table statistics say it all really for a season that never got started – Won 15 Drew 15 Lost 16. Altogether average and unexciting.
Just as the season came to a close in June League 2 side Grimsby offered me a chance to manage in the league. They looked like a decent side albeit short on confidence at the moment, having a bad season finishing 19th in the division, and no transfer funds available to bring players in. I decided to think about the offer in the off season and get back to them at the beginning of the 2011/12 season. Should I stay or should I go??
Cup Competitions: Very so-so. I did what was asked of me in all cup competitions, so the Board couldn’t have been too displeased. But once more the draws weren’t kind to Maidenhead and each draw resulted in an away fixture against tricky opponents. We finally made it to the 1st Round of FA Cup giving Peterborough a run for their money before they scored in the dying minutes to win 2-1. A good win also came against Notts Co. in the FA Trophy only for us to be dumped out in Round Two against the BSN top team Fleetwood 2-0, more inconsistencies.
Fans Top Player: Left back Iain Campbell was the surprise choice of the fans this year, although any player selected as Player of the Year would have been a surprise considering the performances I got out of the team. (6.99 Av)
Top Signing: None really, can’t say that any of the signings brought in this season lit up the BSP. Hopefully they’ll just need a season to blend in with the rest of the squad.
End of Season Finances: Although the match day attendances dropped from last season, Maidenhead were left in a healthier financial state for the second season in a row. Finishing up €100k in the black is a pretty good situation from the mess that I found the club in two years ago. But I won’t be holding my breath on, whisper it, some petty cash for transfers in the summer.
A steady few seasons there. You must've been disappointed to finish lower in the league than last year? Or do you feel that your team are better for it and can use that experience to try and claim a play-off spot next year? As for leaving...i'd say stick it out. As you said in your opening post..."my grand plan for Maidenhead United is to firstly get the team into the Football League within five years, build on this and establish Maidenhead as a solid Premier League club in the future." Something which is still possible and would be a great achievement.
Good read so far :thup:
Decent read you should be aiming for playoffs this coming season. Also for me the title of this thread is the best one so far. Good luck dude.
Thanks for the feedback guys! Its great to see that they're are a few people interested in my progress at LLM.
Raware, thanks for the encouragment, solid seasons they certainly were but I do kinda feel that I could be pushed out of the Maidenhead job during the summer and thats whats got me worried. If I stick around next season I'll ceratainly have to be pushing for a play-off spot. I've never managed to get a team into the League from the Blue Square North/South so it would be great if I could do this.
Acid Burn, great to hear you like the title, was looking for something that might stand out from the rest of the threads on the forum, sounds like I made the right choice.
Season 11/12 (Blue Square Premier)
Media Prediction: 19th
In the hope that I could curry some favour with the Maidenhead Board (after last years atrocious showing) I decided to reject Grimsby’s offer of League 2 action and stay loyal to the Magpies. To be honest leafy Maidenhead compared to the greyness of Grimsby?? No contest. On an even more positive note the Board seem to be happy to suffer on with my slapdash management style and even stated that they would be happy to see the team consolidate our position in the BSP. Learning some lessons from last years calamitous decision to push for promotion I agreed wholeheartedly with our Chairlady’s lack of ambition. Naturally I’ll be disappointed if we aren’t challenging for promotion again, but that should keep the monkey off my back for the season.
So to match my ambitions I decided to have a long hard look at both my team and my tactics for this season. Due to lasy years complete lack of goals I decided to alter my 4-3-3 tactics to a more conventional 4-4-2 system, to have two out and out strikers up front hopefully doubling my chances. I’ve kept a tight reign on the club finances over the past three years also I felt it was time to beef up my squad and make sure I had some solid back up in all positions to deal with even the worst of injury crisis at the club. So out went the low low wage bills and in came a total of four players before match day one. Young ‘keeper Gareth Fox was first to be brought in as backup to Martin Hansen, Fox had recently been released from QPR and should mature into a solid League 2 player in a few years. Next in was Adan Newbury who was previously at Birmingham City. The 19 year-old had never made an first team appearance for the Brummies but it looked as if the kid had some good potential and could turn into the Maidenhead midfield general in the future. Next in was a real coup from Chelsea – Richard Weir – a young striker who had just moved into the senior set-up at Stamford Bridge. The 17 year-old agreed to a one year loan deal and would add some badly needed pace and composure up front. Luke Sharry was the final signing before the start of the season. This was a player I had my eye on for quite a while and looked like a real class act in the BSP for Northwich and Wrexham in previous seasons. Amazingly, Wrexham decided to release him at the end of last season, and I managed to pick him up on a free with little or no competition. At 21 and with over 70 appearances in the BSP he had the potential to be a vital member of the team.
After some solid results from pre-season the full season began with the now traditional slow start against Cambridge Utd. Richard Weir scored on his full debut to ensure that Maidenhead left the Abbey Stadium with a point. A tough start to the season quickly got worse as the Magpies went down 2-1 to Kettering at home leaving us in 15th place. Flashes of deja-vu began to cross my mind as we sat in mid-table and the thoughts of another season of frustration were beginning to take hold.
It was obvious that Flood and Weir were in need of more competition in the forwards department, so I decided to take a gamble on an American journeyman called Jon-Paul Pittman who had been doing the rounds of several non-league clubs for several years without setting the world alight. My scouts recommended him highly so the free transfer was a gamble worth taking. I finally managed to find concrete backup at left-back on the same day too bringing in Craig James on a free transfer from Forest Green.
By match three things started to pick up with the teams first win at York Road, as the Magpies beat newly-promoted Salisbury 2-0. This was quickly followed by a great win over Grays Athletic 4-0. The recent signing of Pittman already looked inspired scoring a hat-trick on his full debut during the match. This was followed by a sensational 4-1 win over Lincoln and further wins over Southport and Woking. The partnership of Pittman and Weir was looking unstoppable with Craig Pead pulling all the strings in midfield. This good run of form brought the team to their highest league position ever of 2nd place after seven matches. Elsewhere cracks were starting to form in the team, mainly due to the major injury crises that developed as the season progressed. By the end of October Maidenhead were having to include a lot of the reserve squad for league matches as the team encountered long term injuries in several positions. At its worst, the Magpies were without seven first team players, the Pittman/Weir partnership was still converting the goals but at the other end of the field Maidenhead were unable to keep the ball out of the net resulting in a lot of draws and the odd loss away from home. By the end of October the team had slipped to 5th spot and struggling to stay in the promotion spots.
The worst performance was still to come when Burton Albion visited York Road at the start of November. Weir managed to cancel out an early Albion goal on 59 minutes and winger Neil Lamont managed to put Maidenhead in the lead on 65 minutes with a great individual goal. With the team leading 2-1 they decided to hit the self destruct button as Burton hit back immediately with two goals within 10 minutes of each other to win 3-2. In all honesty the Brewers should have gotten a couple more goals before the end. To compound the embarrassing performance Maidenhead had now dropped to 7th place and a hefty ten points behind leaders Dagenham & Redbridge.
The players did redeem themselves in the next match against the aforementioned Dagenham & Redbridge, recording a brilliant 3-1 win away from home. Andrew Callaghan taking all the plaudits for a quality display throughout the match and keeping us in sight of the top of the table.
Maidenhead’s form remained solid throughout the month of December. At the start of the month Maidenhead’s perennial bogey team Northwich Victoria snatched a 1-1 draw in one of the teams worst performances of the year. This was quickly followed by a convincing 1-0 win at home to Torquay and 2-0 win against table-proppers Farnborough Town keeping us just outside the play-off positions in 6th place. Maidenhead’s final match of the year would be away to Kettering Town who had taught the team a footballing lesson at the start of the season. Kettering had just taken top-spot in the BSP table the previous week so I was expecting to be ‘parking the bus’ and nothing else on our arrival at Rockingham Road. What resulted was the ultimate smash and grab victory from Maidenhead United. The Magpies did indeed ‘park the bus’ in front of our goal and frustrated Kettering to only a handful of long range shots throughout the match that never really troubled stand-in keeper Gareth Fox all too much. Then with two minutes into injury-time a mistake in the Kettering defence allowed Pittman to pick up the ball 25 yards out with an open goal to aim at grab the most unlikely of wins to seal a 1-0 victory over the title contenders.
At the turn of the year Maidenhead were placed in the very healthy position of 5th place seven points behind leaders Stevenage, and in contrast to last year the Board are delighted with the performances from the team. With only a few of the injured first team players still to return to first team duty the second half of the season is sure to prove a very interesting one for Maidenhead supporters. No doubt they will be keeping their fingers crossed the team can keep up the momentum of the first half of the season…
Oh, and what of Grimsby who came calling for me at the beginning of this season? Former Staines manager Dave Mehmet took over the role after I turned it down and it looks like Grimsby are doing well currently sitting in 6th place in L2.
The second half of the season didn’t get off to the best of starts against Salisbury, but this was no real surprise. Our away form this year has been nothing short of atrocious so far, in fact Maidenhead have only won one match away from home!!! Salisbury were also a team on the up and although we played well we couldn’t get the ball in the back of the net and lost 1-0. Our form for the next few matches was steady if not spectacular picking up plenty of points at home and even picking up our second away win of the year against Woking 4-2. Our injury woes raised its head again by the end of January. Weir, Flood, Hansen, Callaghan and the injury prone Pead all suffering injuries during the month. Injuries led to our first home defeat of the year too when a weakened Maidenhead team suffered a 2-1 defeat to promotion contenders Ebbsfleet.
Facing into the final stretch of the season it looked like a three-way battle for automatic promotion at the top of the BSP between Stevenage, Kettering and Dagenham & Redbridge. Maidenhead were in a good position for the play-offs occupying 4th spot, seven points behind 3rd place. Only four points separated 4th-7th place so our place was by no means certain with six games remaining. Looking at the fixture list I could see that with three home games remaining it was important that the team didn’t drop points at York Road, especially when our overall away form was so poor. Even one or two points away would put us in a great position to get into the play-offs.
These group of games couldn’t have started any better, an expected 2-0 win over Harrogate at home was followed by a spectacular 2-0 win over Wrexham in their own back yard! Our best away performance of the year saw Andrew Callaghan and Richard Weir score a goal apiece to stun the Racecourse Ground faithful. After that high the Magpies had to grind out two tough draws against Stevenage at home (1-1) and Torquay away (2-2). This meant that Maidenhead could secure a play-off place with a win against relegation bound Northwich at York Road. The Magpies raced into an early lead with Jon-Paul Pittman netting two goals early in the first half but as the match progressed Northwich gradually took control of the game and Adam Griffin scored for Northwich after 71 minutes. In a backs to the wall effort Maidenhead were able to hang on securing play-off football for the first time and consigning Northwich to relegation. With fourth place secured I decided to rest a number of my players for the final match away to Farnborough Town, the inexperienced team lost 1-0.
So Maidenhead had made it to the play-offs much to the delight of the Board but there was still a lot of work to be done if we were to be playing League football next season. Next up in the play-off semi-finals was Stevenage. They had given us the run-around in our two games earlier in the season, beating us 1-0 at Broadhall Way and securing a 1-1 draw at York Road. The first leg took place in front of a bumper 4,486 crowd at York Road and this was almost a carbon copy of the match played only a month or so ago between the two teams. Stevenage started strongly playing us off the park in the first half. Hansen kept the Magpies in the tie during that period and we were lucky to only be 1-0 down at half time. The boys in black and white started to get their act together in the second half and had a few good chances to equalise before Stevenage goalkeeper James Thompson pushed the ball into his own net from an Iain Campbell cross. With the tie all square, we would have to rapidly improve on our away performances.
And that we did!! In a sensational game against Stevenage Maidenhead pulled out all the stops in an effort to advance to Wembley. After a first half with lots of chances but no goals. Weir broke the deadlock for Maidenhead with a great individual effort after 62 minutes. But as ever Stevenage fought back harder than ever and equalised on 78 minutes from a corner. Maidenhead had their backs to the wall for the remainder of the match but the Magpies defence held strong to finish the 90 minutes all square at 1-1. Going into extra-time the team regrouped and started to generate a few chances for themselves and just before the change of ends Lionel Gelly cut in from the right to score a great goal fro 20 yards to put the Maidenhead in the driving seat. Two minutes later just as the referee was to blow for half-time Stevenage’s Tom Murphy stunned the black and white to make it 2-2. With 15 minutes to go it was anyone’s game and on 110 minutes it looked as if Stevenage would progress when Coskun Ekim got a third for the home side to make it 3-2. The Magpies had only 10 minutes to find an equaliser and kept pushing to find a third goal to bring the match to penalties. Amazingly with the last kick of the match Maidenhead were awarded a penalty when Lionel Gelly was taken down on the edge of the box and a penalty was awarded giving Maidenhead a lifeline. For a chance to equalise with the last kick of the game up stepped young right-back Andrew Callaghan and coolly converted the spot kick in the face of enormous pressure and bring Maidenhead into a penalty shootout. After four rounds of penalties the score was deadlocked at 3-3, last to step up for Stevenage was Rory Patterson who scored in regulation time already, but was unable to add to that tally in the shootout, skying his shot over the bar. Lionel Gelly, who already scored a goal and created a penalty for Maidenhead already, had the opportunity to become a Maidenhead hero and calmly slotted home to give Maidenhead an incredible 4-3 win to send the Maidenhead faithful into dreamland and a trip to the hallowed turf of Wembley.
Only Ebbsfleet stood between Maidenhead and a historic entrance into the Football League, but Ebbsfleet had a great record against the Magpies and the form showed in the semi-finals would need to be maintained if the team was to stand a chance against the Fleet. The Wembley crowd of over 42,000 certainly didn’t bother Richard Weir as he opened the scoring with a now customary individual goal against an Ebbsfleet team who had so far been caught in the headlights of Wembley. Straight after the second half restart Burns was fouled in the Ebbsfleet box, and once more up stepped Callaghan to convert another penalty for Maidenhead to put the team within touching distance of League Football. These celebrations were short lived when Ebbsfleet’s Craig Stone scored only a few minutes after to make it 2-1. It was real squeaky bum time for the remaining forty minutes compounded by a penalty miss by Callaghan (he’s human after all) but the Maidenhead defence stood tall and when the full-time whistle rang out Maidenhead had finally become a fully-fledged Football League team for the first time in their 142 year history. Cue David Pleat style celebrations across the Wembley turf!!
Now that I had reached my goal of getting this team into League Two my next target of keeping this team in the League would start in earnest the very next day.
Finished: 4th (Promoted)
Cup Competitions: A real breakthrough season for the Maidenhead boys in the cup competition. The Magpies ‘away draw curse’ was still in evidence during the early rounds of the FA Cup, Conference League Cup and FA Trophy. Best Cup run was certainly in the FA Cup where we managed to get as far as the Second Round. A good 3-1 win over Gainsborough meant we welcomed the MK Dons to York Road, and they were given a real scare. They were delighted to leave Berkshire with a 2-1 win after being shocked by a Richard Weir opener after 14 minutes. Also met Board expectations in the FA Trophy reaching the 3rd round (going out 1-0 after a very disappointing display against Bournemouth) and losing away to Dagenham & Redbridge in the Conference League Cup quarter-final.
Fans Top Player: Right back Andrew Callaghan was the fans pick of the bunch this year and the young Irishman had a fine season with the Magpies. The 22 year-old contributed with 10 league goals and three assists. (Av. 7.18).
Top Signing: Richard Weir without a doubt. The Chelsea youngster broke all current records at York Road. Top goal scorer with 22 league goals and more Man of the Match Awards collected in one season than anyone else ever at the club with 9. I just hope I can get him back for next year if Chelsea are kind enough. (Av. 7.22)
End of Season Finances: Excellent! The stock keeps rising at Maidenhead. Although I beefed up the wage bill we still managed to record a very healthy profit with our decent cup runs, good league placing and an improvement in attendances (especially the first leg play-off against Stevenage) contributed to a €420k profit.
Season 12/13 (Coca-Cola League 2)
Media Prediction: 24th
So Maidenhead have finally made into League 2, hopefully this will be just the beginning of the adventure at York Road and that we can move onwards and upwards through the Football League. In preparing for the new division the Board decided to turn the team into a full-time outfit, something I was trying hard to do during the previous few seasons but I guess it’s a given that a team turns pro once your in the big time. With what I saw as a fairly decent squad of players the first thing I concentrated on before the opening day was to bring in a more professional group of scouts and coaches to the club. Hiring a new youth manager and two extra coaches I hoped this would mean I could start to develop a few young players and bring them up through the ranks in coming seasons which should bring a few players stats up over the year. Only made two signings during the close season, the first Joe Bennett a young left back as a free transfer. I was so impressed with the boy Weir’s performances from last year that I couldn’t resist bringing him back for another year at York Road. Thankfully Chelsea were willing to send him down for another 12 months. If he could perform half as well as he did the previous year I would be confident he can keep us in the Football League.
Our introduction to League football turned out to be a nightmare, after four games the team were rock bottom losing all four games to mid-table teams like Cheltenham, Notts County and Aldershot. Worse still we hadn’t even managed to score a goal in any of those games! This was evidence enough that we were severely lacking at this level so I knew that the team needed strengthening. Barry Molloy was brought in to act as midfield anchorman and Southampton’s Charlie Knight was brought in on loan to add some steel to the defence before transfer deadline day. It took a few games to pay off but John Paul Pittman had the honour of scoring Maidenhead’s first ever league goal in a 3-1 win over Exeter in mid September. Our poor form continued throughout September but our play began to improve as the new additions started to gel into the team. It was October before we recorded our second win of the season against Shrewsbury which set Maidenhead on one of their famous mid-season runs of good form. A super 12 match unbeaten run in the league saw us rise up the division to a high of 8th spot by December.
By new year it looked like we might be able to mount a surprise promotion push by squeezing into the play-offs in 7th spot, but in a very competitive division we were always just short of the promised land before our good mid-season form transformed into end-of-season inconsistency. Finding it tough to put back-to-back wins together we started to slide down the table again and out of the promotion race by the end of March. A 2-2 draw against Grimsby on the final day of the season saw the team finish in a respectable 14th – a solid if not spectacular start to life in the League, the season showed that with some shrewd signings and a bit of luck Maidenhead could easily be playing in a higher division in the not too distant future.
Cup Competitions: Playing in the JPT and League Cup for the first time I wasn’t expecting any miracles from the boys. In round one of the League Cup we came up against Championship Colchester who hammered us 2-0 (we were lucky to get nil!!). The JPT was no different, Kettering Town dumped us out 1-0 in the first round of that too. We had our best season in the FA Cup so far although reaching the third round for the first time and enjoying a famous 3-1 win over Barnsley in round two. We couldn’t repeat the trick against Cardiff and the Bluebirds scraped through 1-0. Overall a good cup season.
Fans Top Player: Barry Molloy. Was central to the teams successes, he stabilised the midfield when it was needed most at the start of the year. He was always committed and hard working, and because of this was listed as one of Maidenhead’s ‘Favoured Personnel’ after only one season.
Top Signing: Barry Molloy, as mentioned above his arrival to the club coincided with a massive change of fortunes to the clubs season. Getting him on a free transfer from Shrewsbury was easily the best piece of business done by Maidenhead this year.
End of Season Finances: Another good season on the finance front. With little or no change in playing personnel leading to a low level of wages and a huge rise in our average attendance meant that Maidenhead ended the season €620k in the black.
Season 13/14 (Coca-Cola League 2)
Media Prediction: 23rd
Another season where the experts expected us to struggle in the division. But I though we had some real quality to mount a serious promotion challenge this year with the players brought in from the summer break. This was a handful of top young talent that might make a dent in the first team during the season, the exception being 19 year old Gerald Carroll who for some reason had been released by Barnsley at the end of the season. After a bidding war between a handful of League clubs we managed to secure his signature for a hefty salary, hopefully it would be worth it. Mike Pears also added a big dent in the club finances becoming our record signing from Oldham for €22k, at only 17 I was gambling on him developing into a top class winger in 3-4 years time. The final addition was that of the ‘keeper Job Bulters on a free to replace Martin Hansen. Brondby had been showing keen interest in him for months and couldn’t refuse the player his dream move. I also pocketed 24k for my troubles – a club record transfer!! Loanee extraordinaire Richard Weir came back for a third season at the club and was developing into a quality asset.
And the season got off to an absolute flyer for the team, Carroll being the star of the show running rings around his opponents, scoring on his debut and bagging two goals after three victorious games which brought us up into 2nd spot. Our second away game of the season showed that this season was going to be far from a cakewalk as newly-promoted Stevenage brought us back down to earth with a 2-1 win. With my two main strikers Pittman and Weir not exactly firing on all cylinders it was up to the midfielders like Carroll, MacLeod and right back Callaghan contributing the majority of the goals for the team. Our away form developed into a shocking run of results and although our good home form kept the team in the play-off places by Christmas.
With the January transfer window I introduced another two new players to the Maidenhead team. Attacking midfielder Leopold Toty came in for free as backup to Carroll and Philip Helqvist was signed from Djurgarden for a whopping €40k. However, these two players were finding it tough to gel with the squad and the boost in performances I had hoped to get in signing the pair never materialised. The team were still winning a lot of home games but losing just as many away matches. By the beginning March we were 6th and still in a good position for achieving a play-off spot in what had developed into a ridiculously tight league. At this point only five points separated 4th and 12th place and everyone was beating everyone else, it seemed as if form counted for nothing in the league. By April we had managed to climb up to 4th after an unlikely win over our play-off rivals Tranmere at Prenton Park, Pittman scoring the only goal in a famous win. With five games remaining and in 4th spot it looked as if we could look forward to a play-off adventure. But, disaster struck, and we experienced a total collapse in form and performances. Picking up only three points out of the last available fifteen meant that our league position took a complete nosedive, and ended up in 8th spot on the final day needing a win against Accrington to have any hope of making the play-offs.
Result. 1-0 to Accrington. Final position 10th. Major, major disappointment. All that I can do is go back to the drawing board and dream it all up again for next season.
Cup Competitions: With all our efforts firmly focussed on the League our cup performances were mediocre at best. A first round bye in the League Cup kept the Board happy but a right seeing to from Wigan told the tale, losing convincingly, 3-0. The JPT faired no better, Luton kicked us up and down the pitch and went home with a 3-1 win in the first round. The FA cup saw our only win in cup competition once more. A good 3-0 win over Burton set up a second round match against York away from home. That rubbish away form stayed with us in the cup and were dumped out 3-2.
Fans Top Player: Andrew Callaghan was named for the second time in three years and the fans favourite contributed with a total of 8 goals in 45 matches. (Av. 6.90)
Top Signing: Gerald Carroll proved to be an inspired signing and at only 20 should develop into an even stronger player in years to come. The player contributed 11 goals and 7 assists in his first season with the Magpies (Av. 7.03)
End of Season Finances: Still looks rosy and this should mean I can dip into the transfer market further during the close season. A slight dip in attendances is a bit of a worry but if this levels off next year it shouldn’t prove to be a problem in the future. €750k in the black.
Season 14/15 (Coca-Cola League 2)
Media Prediction: 14th
After the disaster that was last season, I felt even more determined to get promoted this year. As usual the Board and media had little expectation of achieving this which suited me fine. My dabbling in the transfer market were the most expensive to date again looking to the future I invested a huge amount of money into the problem area of right midfield, almost €200k! Young Paul Underwood came in from Cambridge for a huge €150k and Michail Antonio from Rotherham for €30k, both right wingers. Josh Coulson was the second Cambridge recruit but costing a lot less at €0 and the Cambridge revolution was complete with the signing of back-up keeper Danny Potter on a free also. Barry Molloy went onto bigger and better things with Huddersfield.
Cup Competitions: Little to shout about this year, dumped out of the JPT and League cup at the first round. Did slightly better in the FA Cup, reaching the second round with a good win over Charlton in the first round. No more to say really.
Fans Top Player: Gerard Carroll continued to improve this season and is arguably one of the best players in the division now. Pushed further up front from last years midfield position Carroll contributed goals, assists and man of the match performances throughout the year to push the team into the playoffs. (Av. 7.27)
Top Signing: While no new signings lifted the roof off York Road this year the signing of young Swede Jonas Irestam for €26k could prove to be a very profitable piece of business. The 17 year-old will no doubt have some Premier League teams sniffing around before long and a payday windfall could be somewhere down the path.
End of Season Finances: Hmm, well although I’m still very much in the black on the finance front the ever decreasing attendances and ever escalating wage bill are something to be concerned about. €545k in profit.
I’ve been an LLM in FM for a number of years
I don't remember you ever being in the LLM forum.
well i've been playing CM/FM for over 10 years now and i've always been attracted to the lower league teams and enjoyed the challenge. But this is the first time I've ever had a post about one of my saves. Always wanted to have a post in the LLM manager section but was put off by the exclusiveness of that forum so I decided to post it here instead, thinking that this was for the more casual player :)
LLM isn't exclusive at all. There are a set of rules to follow in there just like any other forum.
Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the LLM forum and was always encouraged by what others were achieving with weaker teams, it just seemed that I would have broken some if not all of the forum rules by posting there :D SO my thinking was start in the career updates forum, if people like it then maybe I'll start posting a save on the LLM page.
That's fair enough then Prinny. LLM is a certain way of playing the game, but LLMers do get a bit touchy when the acronym is used by somebody who simply plays/starts in a lower league but doesn't follow the LLM ethics. ;)
Ah you see thats the reason I tried to stay out of there in the first place, it can be an easy place to cause offence :) Better to run amuck in the Careers Update Forum rather than offend the entire LLM gang!! I'll try to take on board any other issues that come up from this thread in the future, in preparation for a thread on the Lower League Management page!
Season 15/16 (Coca-Cola League 2)
Media Prediction: 10th
Okay this season is all or nothing… promotion or potential financial meltdown. The wagebill at the club is really starting to put pressure on the club finances and the ever decreasing local interest in the team isn’t helping matters with the income. Even though I decided that a few more signings were needed to go the distance and brought in a few freebies and loanees, including the ever present Richard Weir.
After a good start to the league campaign our away form, as ever, wasn’t up to the standard of a promotion push and we were way off the pace in mid table. Although the Board were happy with my performance during the first half of the year I was getting worried about the finances and what would happen if we couldn’t pull it together. Thankfully the away form started to improve after Christmas and we steadily moved up the table into the playoff positions. A serious injury crisis to my strikers meant that I might not be able to maintain the challenge, at one stage I had to go five matches in a row with one left winger up front because all my strikers were out injured! Thankfully by mid March Weir returned from the treatment table which coincided with a great run of form. From sixth place in March we finished the season winning six of the last eight matches. Richard Weir being the architect scoring ten goals in these eight games.
The season run in was as usual a tight affair, by the final match of the season we were in 2nd spot and needing a win to secure promotion, Losing was not an option and could have resulted in us finishing 5th. With a home tie against already relegated Bournemouth we were hot favourites for promotion but from past experience with this team they could bow under the pressure and have a nightmare. By half-time we found ourselves in real trouble 2-1 down and give away chances all over the pitch. Thankfully Richard Weir stepped up to take control of the game and ended up bagging an unbelievable five goals for Maidenhead to win 5-2 and finish 2nd.
Hopefully I can hang onto most of my best players and give staying in League One a real go for next year.
Finished: 2nd Promoted
Cup Competitions: A fantastic run in the FA Cup did wonders for the club coffers, especially with the fourth round glamour tie with Man United at home, €€€!!! Although United ran rings around us we managed to come away with a more than respectable 2-0 defeat. That wasn’t the only highlight of our cup campaign, Sunderland came to York Road in late August and left with their tails between their legs – receiving a 2-1 roasting from the Magpies
Fans Top Player: My one European scout unearthed another gem of a player this year, coming from the Netherlands this time. Erwin Brands came in as a free after being released by Helmond Sport during the close season. The right winger broke all assist records at the club, finishing the season with an impressive 24 assists!! His eye for goal could do with some improvement but at only 20 he should mature into a fine player for the club, and has already got the fans approval (Av. 7.22)
Top Signing: Erwin Brands (see above)
End of Season Finances: Oh dear oh dear, the large bonuses I had promised the squad for gaining promotion and had to be honoured. A massive €300k + was paid out at the end of the season causing a massive dent in the finances. Even with next years increased TV revenue it could be the case that the squad will have to be streamlined and performance bonuses will be a thing of the past. It appears that success can be a costly thing!! €95k in the black.
Well done - good luck in League One.
Well done Prinny
Very enjoyable read. KUTGW
cheers guys, this is the best I've done with a non league club since the days of Championship Manager, so I'm well pleased with the progress the team has been making. The best I could manage with any other BSN/BSS team previously was Leigh RMI in FM07 so this is a real surprise so far, hopefully the good run and keep going.
I'm halfway through my first season in League One now, so I hope to have a further update for you in the next few days.
Did you play Championship Manager yesterday? ;)
Did you play Championship Manager yesterday? ;)
Oh yeah, as far as I can remember you weren't able to play in the non-leagues back in the day when SI worked under CM. Its been a long time and this old brain seems to forget such things :D
Season 16/17 (Coca-Cola League 1)
Media Prediction: 22nd
Once more into uncharted waters, and main aim for this season is simply to stay put in this division for at least one season J. Thankfully, the mass exodus of players due to wage increases didn’t materialise. The exit of one of my top players, Philip Hellqvist, to Brighton for a record €250k allowed me to hang onto most of my other top players, the only other casualty was an under performing Joe Bennett, shipped out to Cardiff for €35k.
Overall we enjoyed a relatively comfortable season in League One, never threatening the top teams nor worrying about relegation. Better still, the team I’d assembled in League Two were more than capable of handling your average L1 team and causing an upset to the bigger teams on a good day. Richard Weir (he’s back on loan again) once again showed how valuable he is to this team and did amazingly well throughout the season bagging 21 goals, surely Chelsea will have to give him a run out in the first team soon. But for now I’m just happy to have him.
So having comfortably avoided relegation I hope that, with the right signings, we can brake the top ten or better and continue on up through the leagues. We’re one step closer to being a Premier League team :)
Cup Competitions: Déjà vu! An FA Cup run saw us renew rivalries with Man Utd at York Road, this time in the Third Round. The score was similar too with United finishing up as 2-0 winners. I’d take this kind of glamour tie every year in the cup if I could. Money, money money….
Fans Top Player: Barry Molloy’s League One experience proved vital in Maidenheads first season in the division, chipping in with three goals and a handful of MoM performances (Av. 6.93)
Top Signing: A quiet season in the transfer market saw more players go than come into the club. Only a few free transfers were made with a mix of lemons and hot prospects. If pushed James Mills look the most promising, the twenty year old made a handful of appearances at centre back and could be a regular in a couple of years.
End of Season Finances: Thankfully, my mindset of Maidenhead being a selling club halted the financial meltdown (due to last years success) helped stabilise the finances. Local interest in the club skyrocketed too, with York Road enjoying sell-out crowds during most league matches. We were still in profit by €250k by seasons end.
Season 17/18 (Coca-Cola League 1)
Media Prediction: 15th
With finances still a little shaky I didn’t want to start breaking the bank on transfers just yet, and from what I’d seen from last year I was confident that the younger players in the squad could develop further to mount a promotion challenge if possible. Maidenhead flew out of the traps this year, four wins out of four meant that we hit the top spot by September. We couldn’t sustain such form although and our away form quickly dropped off in the following weeks. After the first month or two of good form it was clear enough that the team hadn’t developed much further compared to last year and the start of the season had just been a purple patch. What had begun as a season where we might challenge for the League let alone promotion ended up being a carbon copy of the previous year, neither relegation bound or promotion chasing.
We have improved on our league position once more, but I do feel that the team has reached a glass ceiling in terms of what they can do, and it might take a major overhaul in the squad personnel before we can really push the club forward once more. Whether the finances, club facilities and stadium will allow this to occur is another matter.
Cup Competitions: Still unable to make any notable progress in either the JPT or League Cup, making the Third Round of the FA Cup became the priority. Two comfy wins over Rushden and Hednesford awarded us with another Third Round glamour tie, this time Liverpool at Anfield! A much stronger team than United's team from last years FA Cup the Reds tore us apart and easily won 4-1. But good experience for my team and a nice pay day to boot.
Fans Top Player: Erwin Brands has come on leaps and bounds since he first arrived at York Road and was awarded with the FTP award for the second time in three years. Topping the assist ranking in the league and improving on his goal scoring rate from previous seasons meant that he could soon become Maidenheads first Icon/Legend of my Maidenhead reign. (Av. 7.24)
Top Signing: Another tough year in the transfer market, losing more quality players than I could bring in. Sweden proved to be a good hunting ground once more. 17 year-old Filip Nilsson was picked up from Malmo for a tidy 55k and quickly established himself as a regular in the first team. A few years to mature should see him develop into a top player for the club (Av. 7.00)
End of Season Finances: The sale of Jonas Irestam was a huge financial boost to the club, bringing in a club record €550k for a player. Turning profit on players was what was keeping us in the black this year Mike Pears went to Southampton for €325k also and meant that we had increased our profits to €1.4million by May, easily the most profitable season we’ve ever had. Maybe that brand new stadium that’s needed isn’t as far away as I thought!
Consolidating yourself well. :thup:
Season 18/19 (Coca-Cola League 1)
Media Prediction: 14th
A decade in and still going strong at the club, and a season of real contrasts. Relegation battles, cup runs, league runs, prolific strikers and terrible defending were all key players in a memorable season. The season didn’t get off to a good start firmly rooted to the bottom of the table with eight matches gone, my defence were weaker than a wet paper bag. My biggest mistake was making young James Mills captain (which caused much upset throughout the team) and installing 20 year-old defender Andy Sargent as his defensive partner. Although Sargent was dropped after a handful of games the defence never really recovered. Thankfully, I had one player who happened to be in the form of his life. Ryan Holmes had been signed on a free the previous season and didn’t gel with the other players as quickly as I hoped, but hit the ground running this year. He scored an unbelievable 23 league goals before Christmas the only problem was my defence were conceding goals just as quickly as he could score them. However, he managed to single handedly drag us out of the relegation zone by the end of the year with four points to spare. Worse was to follow though, with Holmes refusing to sign a new contract for next season I was forced to sell him in the January window for the bargain price of €150k L. Leaving me with no form strikers and a moraless defence.
On the other hand we were starting to go on a bit of a JPT cup run and had stumbled into the semi-final of the competition by the time Holmes had fled to Dundee Utd. It was this semi-final tie with Kettering that seemed to turn our season around. A first leg win against Kettering seemed to reinvigorate Richard Weir, who was experiencing his very first goal drought in his career. Between the first leg and the second the team were finally starting to believe in themselves again and were still hanging onto the all important 20th place in the league. A 0-0 draw with Kettering in the second leg transformed the team, now we were on our way to Wembley everyone wanted to be in the team for a cup final and form shot through the roof. Three wins in six games meant that we could start to relax about our league position and enjoy the JPT final with Burnley.
In a tense final Burnley took an early lead before Godwin Chukwu deservedly equalised with 13 minutes remaining, bringing the game to extra time. But in the ninth minute of extra time Ritchie Weir slotted home the winner to claim the Magpies very first senior cup. An historic day in Berkshire! Our form continued to stabilise and eventually finished in 13th position. A bit of a step back from last years strong placing, but the cup win more than makes up for it. Maybe next year we can challenge for promotion and defend the JPT.
Cup Competitions: Apart from the aforementioned JPT the other cups brought little excitement. As usual we were dumped out of the League Cup in Round One with an appalling 3-0 defeat to Millwall of L2. Our annual run to the Third round of the FA Cup ended in a disappointing 3-0 loss to Ipswich.
Fans Top Player: Erwin Brands, the youngster has established himself as a firm favourite with the fans picking up this award for the third time, and its no surprise. He came out on top for the number of assists in the league for the second year in a row and some terrific performances during the season will mean he’ll be tough to hang onto over the next few years. (Av. 7.25)
Top Signing: Richard Weir. Okay so he’s been at the club for the past seven years, been the most consistent performer and scored almost 150 league goals in his time at Maidenhead, but for the first time we could finally call him our own. After Chelsea released the striker in the summer we immediately signed him up for a hefty weekly wage. To be fair he had his quietest season ever for the club (mainly due to the form of Holmes) and only chipped in with 10 goals, but one was to win my very first cup!! I think that’s worth signing of the season.
End of Season Finances: The club finances took a bit of a hammering this year mainly down to the ever increasing wage bill, but I guess this is necessary to get the players needed at this level. They say you got to spend money to make money! €1million in profit.
Tut tut tut... Euros in Britain. ;)
Tut tut tut... Euros in Britain. ;)
Ah force of habit, gotten too used to them being in the eurozone :D
Season 19/20 (Coca-Cola League 1)
Media Prediction: 14th
A big season ahead at York Road with the cup successes from last year we really have to build on it and really start making a push towards the business end of every competition we enter. None more so than L2 itself.
It seemed to be the year where things slowly started to click into place. A less than impressive start to the season meant it could have been another mid table year. By December we got our act together and the form improved dramatically and shot up through the league and was more than in the promotion shakeup by March. With Burnley running away with the league second place was up for grabs and we battled hard for the remainder of the season to secure an automatic promotion place come May. Unfortunately the form of Plymouth and MK Dons was just as good, the MK Dons pipping us both for 2nd place while Plymouth claimed 3rd. At least with 4th spot I could look forward to a first taste of the L1 play-offs.
This was as far as we would go this season although, Reading in the semi-final was a bridge too far for us. Well beaten in the first leg away from home, a 3-1 deficit was always going to be tough to turnaround. With Kamara scoring a brace for us to lead 2-0 in the return leg at York Road it looked like a miracle could happen as the match was set for extra-time. However disaster struck two minutes in injury time midfielder Alan Barr slotted home a tap in to ensure victory for the Royals.
Hard to take, but I’m encouraged by the performances shown by the lads this year, and another play-off appearance next year is more than possible. Time will tell if we’re ready for automatic promotion but I’ll set my sights a little lower for the season ahead.
Cup Competitions: Came pretty close to defending out JPT crown this year only to fall at the semi-final stage against a resolute Cardiff City, like last year I threw the lot at this competition and was left very dissapointed not to retain it. I also felt that I had a good chance to get into the Fourth Round of the FA Cup this year drawing L1 Chesterfield in the Third Round, not to be however. We were never in the game and deserved the 3-2 defeat that we got. As for the disaster that the League Cup continues to be? No comment.
Fans Top Player: Three in a row for Erwin Brands, and no surprise either. The lad had another fantastic season chipping in with 6 goals and 12 assists. His stock has risen to €750k I think its only a matter of time before Maidenhead hit paydirt transfer wise with this fella (Av. 7.22)
Top Signing: Ben Taylor. Relegated Kettering offered him to me in pre-season for a staggering €8k, I jumped at the chance. Became an ever present at left back, a player in the Dennis Irwin mode, reliable and consistent. Some major Championship teams started sniffing him out by seasons end. (Av. 6.93)
End of Season Finances: That ever increasing wage bill again. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to sell at least one top player a season to keep afloat these days. Nicklas Rosenberg was sent to Sheffield Utd for €325k. A stadium with just 4,500 capacity just isn’t practical at this level and with no scope to expand York Road, nor the finances to build a new stadium it appears that the financial struggles could continue for as long as we’re successful. Big dip in profits €55k in the black.
Hard cheese. "There's always next year".
Season 20/21 (Coca-Cola League 1)
Media Prediction: 6th
This was easily the strangest year I’ve had with Maidenhead in over ten years at the club. Media fancied us to perform well, so did the fans and the Board. But the team never got going throughout the whole year and were always inconsistent, with the team character seeming to flip on its head completely. My normally leaky defence suddenly became the meanest defence in the league while my usually free scoring attackers went on holidays for a season,. Stranger still by playing the most shocking of football we were never out of the top 6 all season, largely helped by the inconsistencies of the other clubs in League 1 this year. The team made a small surge at the end of the season and ended finishing third (we could have just as easily ended up midtable if the last two or three games didn’t go to plan) and feeling confident of succeeding in the playoffs. A 1-0 loss over Norwich away in the playoff semi-final didn’t look promising but a great 3-1 win at York Road saw us to another Wembley final, this time against Bolton. Once again, our forwards weren’t firing, and found ourselves 1-0 down by half time, thankfully Godwin Chukwu managed to equalise in the last quarter to take it to a very tense extra-time. With no goals after 30 minutes the game went to penalties, but for a second year running the playoffs proved to be our downfall. One missed penalty from five proved to be the deciding factor in Bolton going up and Maidenhead being left to think of what might have been.
With mounting debts due to player wages next season will certainly be one of big changes as most/if not all of my top earning stars will have to leave to keep the club afloat. Murmurs that I’m not going to sign a new contract at York Road have also been circulating, it would be a disaster if the Board decide not to offer me a new deal because of this!
Cup Competitions: Not a great year on the cup front. Got spanked in the first round of the JPT against L2 Millwall, my own fault for putting out an inexperienced team. Another fall at the third hurdle in the FA Cup, this time to the Championships Blackpool. Lets not talk about the League Cup… as usual.
Fans Top Player: That man again, Erwin Brands. Easily the most popular player at York Road and the fans showed there appreciation for the fourth year in a row. Now valued at over €1million, he’s easily the most valuable player at the club. Not a great season by his high standards but still able to earn the fans award. (Av. 7.10)
Top Signing: Raoul Schaken. Came in as a replacement for Ben Taylor at left back. Picked up on a free after Colchester let him go. Like Taylor he was pretty much first name on the sheet each week, reliable and consistent, some big clubs have shown an interest. I hope I can hang onto him (Av. 7.05)
End of Season Finances: Another tough year caused by the usual wages/small stadium conundrum. Some good sales (Kamara for €100k, Carroll for €250k, and Taylor for €275k) meant that the situation could have been worse. Even still we recorded our first loss in almost ten years, this could become much more common in the coming years. €75k in debt.
It's hard enough losing in the playoffs, never mind on penalties. :(
Season 21/22 (Coca-Cola League 1)
Media Prediction: 2nd
Notable Players In: Mikael Lundh (Orgryte) €95k, Emil Wannstrom (Djurgarden) €22k, Rasmus Nygren (Bromm…..) Free, Elio Esposito (Ivrea) €32k, Joakim Jallow (Djurgarden) €200k, Marcus Stenman (Landskroma) €130k.
Notable Players Out: Liam Hogan (Huddersfield), Godwin Chukwu (Hercules) €230k, Graham Collett (Sheff. Utd) €30k, Andy Sargent (Norwich) €170k, Shaun Folkes (Stoke) €130k.
Thankfully the Board were quick to offer me a new three year deal, so I could concentrate on the real business at hand – reconstructing the team! And this reconstruction came in the form of a Swedish revolution, my Swedish scout has been the best investment the club has ever made. A total of five of the seven transfers to come in during the season were from Sweden while a handful of big time first team players went onwards and upwards joining Championship teams for big fees. Better still, I felt the players I brought in were far superior and cost less to employ.
The media surprised me this year, installing the team as second favourites for the title. The Board seemed to be reading the papers in pre-season and also demanded promotion this year. No pressure so!!!
Thankfully the season got off to a flyer with the new team gelling well and enjoyed top spot for the majority of the first half of the year, with close challengers Southampton and Norwich briefly occupying the position from time to time. With things going well and looking positive on the promotion front we took that dreaded mid season slump in form. The unusual thing about the league this year was that nobody wanted to win it!! Even though our away form had gone to rot we still managed to be in the title shake up right up until the end of the season. In fact with five matches remaining any one of ten (10!!!) teams could still win the league, I’d never seen a championship like it. The fixture list was good to us at the business end, four of my last five matches being at home so hopes were high that I could pull off the promotion that was expected of me. Winning three and drawing the first of these four matches left me in second place just behind Chesterfield on goal difference, Notts Co a point behind in third and Norwich in fourth a point behind County.
Final day drama was guaranteed with the fixture list pitting the top four against each other in what would essentially become two cup finals for all four. Chesterfield travelled to County, while Norwich made the journey to York Road – both matches would play a huge part in a nail biting final day.
Things got off to a flyer at York Road, Joakim Jallow putting Maidenhead in front after 32 minutes and we were in dreamland ten minutes later when Maidenhead old boy Andy Sargent conceded a penalty for Emil Wannstrom to send us 2-0 up. Sargent popped up in a goal mouth scramble to pull one back for Norwich just before half time, but at the break things were looking rosy as the County/Chesterfield game was still scoreless. If things stayed the same we’d be champions! Norwich came out battling in the second half but we were able to withstand the pressure, always with one eye on Nottingham it looked like that match would end in stalemate. But in the 92nd minute disaster struck! Norwich finally got the equaliser, Hunt slotted home from the edge of the box. Heartbreaking…. The game at Meadow Lane did indeed finish 0-0 meaning Chesterfield won the league on goal difference, and County only managing 3rd spot. The silver lining meant that we gained promotion finishing 2nd but there was a discernable sense of disappointed around York Road knowing that it was a huge opportunity missed to claim the league.
So next year we hit the big leagues the like of West Ham, Sheffield United and Forest will be coming to York Road. That’s if I manage to have a team next year. All of my top players who are soon to be out of contract have flatly refused to resign for Maidenhead by the end of the season. Looks like a second major rehaul in as many seasons could be looming, although the Championship will be exciting I’m getting nervous about the future…
Finished: 2nd (Promoted)
Cup Competitions: I took my eye off the ball on the cup front this season with all efforts being pumped into the league campaign. My usual third round appearance in the FA Cup was achieved, but another disappointing effort on the JPT going out in the second round. Did I mention my League Cup campaign this year? No, I didn’t think so…
Fans Top Player: Mikael Lundh – signed from Orgryte for €95k over the summer break. My Swedish scout recommended him highly but couldn’t believe my luck when he came to the club and saw his stats! He’s Premiership class, at 18!! Contributed greatly with 15 assists and 8 league goals (Av. 7.22).
Top Signing: Mikael Lundh, see above.
End of Season Finances: Still in the red and by the looks of things only getting worse. Similarly the cost of gaining promotion, like going up from League 2, the squad bonuses is crippling me on top of the wages I’m paying. Hopefully the extra money gained from Championship TV money will even out the debt for next season. But its going to be a very lean year next season.
Very well done Prinny.
I love this thread, purely for it being my hometown :cool: Did a Maids save on 09, but not so far on 10, may consider it.
Thanks Nobby. Its been a long hard struggle through League One, and I'm glad to be out of it. With the results over the past few years I thought I'd reached my limit.
Good to hear your following the thread Suggy, gives me the encouragement to keep going with the club!! :D
More than halfway through my first season in the Championship now and I'm happy to report that things are going well so far. Should have another update by the end of the week.
Season 22/23 (Coca-Cola Championship)
Media Prediction: 23rd
Notable Players In: John Mitchell (Unnatt) Free, Paul Hanlon (West Ham) €70k
Notable Players Out: Claudio Quinteros (Coventry) €24k, Petr Sebek (Released), Raoul Schaken (Doncaster) €675k, Marcus Gustavsson (Leicester) €9k
Once more into the unknown. As per usual with my first year in a new division I decided to keep more or less the same squad as last season. Once again ongoing financial problems resulted in me having to sell a few good players to rival clubs in the league but I was confident that this group could stay up in the division. The big talking point at York Road pre-season was whether I would go to Premier League outfit when they offered me the job in early August. There was never a chance of me leaving, certainly not when I find myself in a brand new division!
It proved to be a very comfortable season by all accounts, hovering between 8th and 16th for the entire season I was never under threat of relegation nor the joys of promotion. Richie Weir had a storming first season in the Championship bagging no less than 23 league goals (and breaking the 200 mark of league goals for Maidenhead) and finishing top scorer in the league. He saved our bacon on many an occasion and struggled whenever he was out due to injury. We enjoyed our best results at home and recorded victories over eventual top six teams Blackpool and Bristol City. So all in all a very positive season, the cherry on top was the end of season announcement that Maidenhead would move into a new 19,500 all seater stadium by 2025/6. Perfect!
Cup Competitions: Another year where my eyes were firmly set on the League resulting in some awful efforts in the Cups. An embarrassing penalty shootout defeat to Stevenage was our lot in the League Cup first round. Managed to take Watford to a third round replay in the FA Cup before going down by 3-2 at Vicerage Road.
Fans Top Player: Delano Klomp, its taken a season or two for the Dutch midfielder to settle into the team properly, but was at the heart of the teams solidity this year. The bigger Championship teams are starting to take a look at him. (Av. 6.98)
Top Signing: Unsuprisingly, it was a very quiet year for players coming to York Road but young John Mitchell being the pick of the bunch. Released by Chelsea Mitchell was on loan at York Road the previous season and performed well. At 19 he should grow into a solid Championship player (Av. 6.97)
End of Season Finances: Although I managed to slash the running costs at the club in terms of wages, brought in extra revenue through transfers and the added bonus of extra TV revenue our first year in the Championship was financially disastrous. Losing money hand over fist I will have to pretty much transfer list the entire squad to make sure the club stays out of administration next year. The announcement of the new stadium seems to be a double edged sword, taking out a €25 million loan over 20 years means €300k will be going out of the club each month in repayments. This could mean administration before the stadium is ready to move into. €1.7 million in the red.
11th is a fine first effort in the Championship.
Season 23/24 (Coca-Cola Championship)
Media Prediction: 16th
Notable Players In: Francisco (Unatt.) Free, Luke Sharry (Unatt.) Free
Notable Players Out: Mikael Lundh (Aston Villa) €4.6M, Richard Weir (QPR) €2.3M, Delano Klomp (Birmingham) €100k, Ian Lovegrove (Derby) €20k, Adan Newbury (QPR) Free.
These next few years are going to be crucial to us. The loan debt has started to cripple the club almost completely and staying in this division seems almost impossible. Thankfully having highly talented players that I could sell off kept the club stable if unsuccessful. The sale of some key players shown above weakened the squad but the younger cheaper players that I brought in needed to gel quickly. With the €2 million plus I got from Weirs sale I was lucky enough to keep most of my good players (for now) that I could build around. To make matters worse a Board takeover looms over the club, so I might not even be around long enough to see the club through this crisis. All this before a ball has been kicked in anger!!
With all these off-field dramas going on I was expecting the team to seriously struggle, but I was pleasantly surprised. A slow start in the league gradually developed into another mid-table season. I also had to part with my star youngster mid-season when Aston Villa put in an offer for Mikael Lundh that the Board couldn’t refuse. Sounds mediocre but with the financial backing of a League 2 side the team easily held their own once again in the Championship. A 1-0 home win over runaway league champions Middlesborough proving to be the highlight. I’ll be delighted if we can do the same next year.
Cup Competitions: Another 2nd round exit in the League Cup ws quickly followed by a very poor effort away to Burnley in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. There’s always next year.
Fans Top Player: Francisco, this new arrival slotted into the team perfectly from the off and has become the rock at defence. Never made a mistake all season, great in the air, strong in the tackle. Contributed with 4 MoM performance and 2 league goals. (Av. 7.08)
Top Signing: Francisco – signed on a free, purely because I couldn’t find any other CB with a solid history and a realistic wage. So signing him was a stroke of pure luck on my part.
End of Season Finances: Selling our best players kept us out of administration which would have resulted in certain relegation. The Board also dropped the wage limits at the club, good for the finances but difficult for the manager. Year one of this crippling loan debt successfully passed. €1.6million in profit :)
Season 24/25 (Coca-Cola Championship)
Media Prediction: 16th
Notable Players In: Jamie Shaw (Queen of Sth) €55k, Boris Murphy (Hartlepool) €6k, Tomas Kadar (Unatt.) Free, Miroslaw Cichon (Legia) Free.
Notable Players Out: Emil Wannstrom (Birmingham) €375k, Joakim Jallow (West Ham) €450k, Liam Ellison (Norwich) €24k.
So once more we have more players going out than coming in, and it looked like I’d be counting on a skeleton squad and some clever loans for a good season. But I knew from the beginning that it would take a massive effort from this group to improve upon last year. The Board didn’t seem to think so although, the minimum the suits expected was a good midtable finish!!
From the get-go I could see this was going to be a nightmare year. I’d been unable to secure a decent striker since losing Richie Weir two years ago but my attacking midfielders were doing a decent job up until now. We couldn’t buy a goal before Christmas, and the back four were looking decidedly leaky. By October we were winless and seven points adrift at the bottom. The appalling results even had me considering my position at York Road, applying for a couple of vacancies with Derby and Blackpool, both which were unsuccessful. Needless to say the Board were far from happy and threathened me with the sack! It looked pretty ominous. Dropping my long standing keeper Edwards for long term backup Martin Holt payed dividends during the Christmas period going on an excellent seven game unbeaten run, including a three match winning streak, and got us back into contention with the clubs around us. In fact things were looking up by the end of January as we were on the up and up and in 20th spot.
But this seemed to be a purple patch more than a change in fortune. Our lack of goals were still causing major problems, and the fact that we were conceding so many goals so late in games showed me that we just weren’t good enough for this league anymore. The team battled hard all the way up to May, we were in the relegation zone for nearly the entire season but always tantalising close to safety. That is until the second last game of the season when a 1-1 draw with Bristol City finally put us out of our misery and relegation was confirmed.
Most players had lost complete faith in my ability to manage by the end of the season, some even flat out disliked me, my three-year contract was up with rumours of a replacement in the press. It looks like its going to be tough to turn this situation around if the Board decided to keep me on. I would have no complaints if they didn’t, I made a lot of mistakes this year, none bigger than not investing in a proven goalscorer, but I should also have worked harder to build a bigger team even if it was full of youth players. Well with lessons learned and fingers burned I’ll be remembering this season for all the wrong reasons, hopefully I’ll still be able to put these lessons into practice with Maidenhead…
Finished: 23rd (Relegated)
Cup Competitions: A welcome release from the league the club went on a small run in the FA Cup this year, getting further than ever before during my time at the club. A massive 1-0 win over Premiership Middlesbrough sent us into the Fifth Round to meet Stoke, also of the Premiership. Stoke weren’t going to make the same mistake as Boro though, we found ourselves 4-0 down within 30 minutes and in for an absolute hammering. We managed to steady the ship and pull one back before full time. Well beaten but happy with our progress here. League cup was another total disaster. I wish I could just avoid it every year!!
Fans Top Player: John Mitchell – this younster was my top signing from a couple of years ago and the fans decided to go with him, in what was a poor year in terms of performances. To be fair to the lad he did more than any other player to get us out of the mire. Always committed and regularly my star man in games he chipped in with seven goals and a couple of assists (Av. 6.89)
Top Signing: Mirolsaw Cichon – an absolute bargain bin buy from Polish club Legia. Getting a player of his talent for free was great, that he agreed to €200 a week in wages was unbelievable. A natural successor to Mikael Lundh on the left wing, no doubt this 18 year-old will follow Lundh into the Premiership at some stage.
End of Season Finances: Well the bottom of that high quality players barrell has well and truly been scraped at this stage, league position being the proof. A decent take on outgoing transfers again and the Boards decision to slash the wage bill meant that the club was financially stable by the end of the season. With a new stadium to look forward to next year, there should be a bit more cash to splash in the coming season… if the Board don’t send me to the job centre.
Season 25/26 (Coca-Cola League One)
Media Prediction: 4th
Notable Players In: Robin Zengin (Orgryte) €45k, Caspar Hansen (FC Nordsjaelland) Free, Staffan Andersson (Djurgarden) €130k, Eric Andersson (Orebro) €28k, Conor Clifford (QPR) Free, Gary McPherson (Aston Villa) Free, Jack Rodwell (Unnatt) Free, Sam Coleman (Derby) Free, Christopher Nilsson (Djurgarden) €55k, Jason Jeffers (Falkirk) €4k.
Notable Players Out: Rasmus Nygren (Chesterfield) €825k, Tamas Kadar (Swindon) Free, Francisco (Levante) €1million, Preston Edwards (Released), Jake Lovell (Released), Erwin Brands (Norwich) €250k, Joakim Astrom (Gillingham) €275k, James Mills (Shrewsbury) €18k.
Once more the Board have decided to trust my ability and give me a two year deal after the disaster that was last season. But I’m also delighted to be working in the brand new Maidenhead Stadium with a 19,500 capacity. I doubt we’ll be packing out the place just yet, but it really sets us up for a proper charge at League One and even the Championship in the future. Another total rehaul of the squad was needed again, and this one was probably the most dramatic of all. Of the starting 11 of Maidenhead’s first game of the season against Hartlepool only four of the team was playing at York Road last year.
We managed a 1-0 win in that game but results were very sketchy during the first part of the season. Inconsistencies and lack of goals (again) plagued us and by December we were rooted in midtable, with an unhappy Board and restless fans I had a job on my hands to turn things around. Automatic promotion was already dead in the water, the play-offs were my only hope.
By February we were starting to go places. The new players gradually built an understanding with each other, and once again a good run in the JPT gave us the confidence to start performing in the league too. My young signing Chris Nilsson was the main man up front and started really performing by then, he was banging in the goals and dragged us slowly up the table. We managed to squeeze our way into the top six five games before the seasons end and hung tight until the final day, finishing fifth.
So back to the play-offs again, they’ve proved a cruel mistress in many a past season to me, and this year they’ve thrown up a tie with Plymouth. Plymouth gave us the run around in both matches during the year and I wasn’t too confident of getting through this. The home tie up first Plymouth raced into an early lead before Nilsson grabbed one back. It wasn’t long before the Pilgrims were in the lead again, but once more we equalised shortly after before Gary McPherson grabbed the winner late on. 3-2 and first leg job done, I was expecting much worse to come when we travelled to Cornwall. On that particular day though Plymouth just didn’t turn up and gifted us the tie. Cichon and McPherson were both on target giving us a 5-2 aggregate overall.
Huddersfield were the surprise opponents in the final. Like us they scrapped into the play-offs and caused a major upset over MK Dons in the semis. Our good play-off form continued at Wembley and we took Huddersfield to town! We cruised through the match with little or no opposition McPherson, Rohmer and Nilsson were the toast of Maidenhead each scoring a goal for a convincing 3-0 win and play-off promotion came Maidenhead’s way once more.
Promotion. Its all I wanted this year winning ugly through the play-offs didn’t matter. Another year in League One might have cost me my job, I’m delighted that we could get back where we belong on the first time of asking.
Finished: 5th (Promoted)
Cup Competitions: Well it seemed the Board couldn’t care less about it. But one of my main goals this year was to win the JPT again. I felt this squad was big enough to challenge for the cup and promotion and I was proved right. With a relatively passage into the final we came up against league leaders Leicester. Although they got the first goal we showed them how to play in a final eventually coming out 3-1 winners. I really enjoy this competition
Fans Top Player: Gary McPherson – I might have got this chap on a free from Villa but it took a big wage to tempt him to the club. But it proved to be a nice piece of business and was key in winning promotion this season. A real winger in the classic sense beating players at will, and regularly delivering quality crosses. He contributed 7 goals and 7 assists this year to earn the FTP award in his first year. His value has already skyrocketed past the million mark. (Av. 7.22)
Top Signing: Christopher Nilsson – it took the young Swede a while to settle. But when he did he exploded onto League One. The striker managed to break the legendary Richie Weir’s record of league goals in one season in his very first year at the club. Even more remarkable was the fact that almost three-quarters of these goals were scored in the second half of the season. I’m really excited by what he can do next year. (Av. 7.22)
End of Season Finances: Finally, with the opening of the new Maidenhead stadium, and the odd sell out crowd during cup matches, our finances have started to take a turn for the better.
Season 26/27 (Coca-Cola Championship)
Media Prediction: 18th
Notable Players In: Lars Goran-Engelsson (Oster) €55k, Richard Weir (QPR) Free, Tobias Gustafsson (Elfsborg) €100k, Darren Clifford (Gillingham) €100k, Enrique Cano (Alicante) €85k, Dave Dickens (Charlton) €725k
Notable Players Out: Jason Jeffers (Bolton) €55k, Eric Andersson (Dijon) €100k, Boris Murphy (Swindon) €35k, Gary McPherson (Fulham) €2million.
Since winning the JPT and promotion it seems like I’m being linked with every vacant job below the Premiership and abroad, which is great but I think I’ll see how Maidenhead fair before considering any offers. The stadium revenue is now really starting to reap the benefits and I was able to strengthen in all areas of the squad, even Maidenhead legend Richie Weir returned to add to his record goals tally. All in all I was more than confident that we could surpass the media expectations of 18th this season.
However the season kicked off in a similar fashion to how my last stint in the Championship ended. We struggled for goals and form, it seemed that the players were finding this level very difficult and a relegation battle looked to be around the corner once more. Without ever finding myself in the bottom three I flirted with the drop zone throughout the season, but a change in fortune arrived after I decided to change my age old tactics of one up front to two. All three strikers found their form with this change and I operated a rotation policy to keep Weir, Nilsson and Englesson happy for the remainder of the year. The change suited the team down to the ground and the young players really started to mature. Even though I never went on a major winning streak performances improved all over the pitch and we gradually started to climb up the table.
Ending the season in 13th spot is far from spectacular, but consolation was always the name of the game this year. With more money to spend and my eye on some top young players I can bring in for next year I think the following few seasons should see us move away from being fearful of relegation to hopeful of promotion. Here’s hoping.
Cup Competitions: Nothing to shout about again this year. Knocked out in the Third Round against Birmingham in the FA Cup, while Swansea was our swan song in the League Cup this year… no further than round two again.
Fans Top Player: Enrico Cano – only signed during the January transfer window due to an injury to Miroslaw Cichon, the young Spaniard made the left wing his home and never dropped his form for the remainder of the season. He was the catalyst in the teams change in fortunes after Christmas and in only 25 odd appearances had the Maidenhead fans eating from the palm of his hand. (Av. 7.15)
Top Signing: Enrico Cano – signed from Alicante for a quick fix, he’s already become a key player in the team. Once more the bigger clubs in the Championship are looking to see if he can be tempted away from Maidenhead Stadium
End of Season Finances: Attendances continue to increase, and with it the revenue. It seems that never again will Maidenhead have to worry about going into administration again. The club are currently €6.5 million in profit, with this set to keep on going up.
Oh almost forgot to say, after applying to every two-bit banana republic over the past two decades a country has finally decided to give me free reign of their national team. Uruguay were suitably impressed with my talents to hand me a contract in preparation for the upcoming Copa America. Overall it looks like a really good squad, with most players competing in the top European leagues like Spain, Italy and France with the rest playing in top Brazilian & Argentinian sides. I was eased into the job with a handful of friendlies over Liechtenstien and Benin, both easy 5-0 wins. The Copa America takes place over the summer and in a group with Argentina, Bolivia and Peru I’m confident that we can go further in the competition
Copa America 2027
Group A: Colombia (Hosts), Mexico, USA, Ecuador
Group B: Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay
Group C: Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Venezuela
The Uruguayan FA were hopeful of a semi-final finish from the Copa America and with a relatively easy group I was fully confident that a good draw at the quarter-final stage would help me through to make sure expectations were met. Matches against Bolivia, Peru and Argentina in that order would tell the tale.
Game One: Bolivia: Essentially the whipping boys of the group, ranked 104 in the world, this should have proved to be the easiest of the three games. Bolivia went along with the script and were easily turned over by the Uruguayan team that looked very solid and skilful. Gonzales, Cordero and Fontana (2) all contributed to a good 4-0 win. Off to a good start.
Game Two: Peru: In the first round of matches Peru managed to upset the scorecard with a very good 1-1 draw with Argentina. Even though they were well down the world rankings they would have to be taken seriously after a result like that. And so it proved. Peru were a difficult nut to crack and gave as good as they got throughout the match. A piece of magic from Edgar Cordero of Villareal in the 71st minute won it for us. A close call but a 1-0 win meant six points and qualification to the quarter-final.
Game Three: Argentina: Argentina also enjoyed a 4-0 win over Bolivia in game two so this would decide who would top the table in Group B. Although my team had shown great quality in the previous two matches Argentina were exceptional and on a different par completely to Uruguay. 3-0 down by half time was embarrassing, hairdryer treatment was required. Even though we were never going to pull back from three down we did get one back to take the bad look off the score slightly. So, second spot in a group with Argentina and qualification is no disgrace, now who would it be in the quarter-finals? Oh dear, it’s Brazil!!!
Quarter Final: Brazil: As massive underdogs for this I decided the best thing to do was park the bus and defend for my life. But it seemed my boys had different ideas, although I set my stall out to defend Uruguay had all the possession and chances in the match. 20 year old Hugo Barbosa, winning only his third cap, was the star of the show. The left back scored a brace in either half to send us into the semi-final. I was delighted with such a big win, even more so that I’ve met my targets. I dare the UFA to sack me after this result.
Semi Final: Chile: After such a big win over Brazil, we were always going to be favourites over Chile. The comedown after the win against Brazil was evident throughout the match and we looked distinctly lacklustre throughout the game. Chile had the upper hand throughout the game and looked most likely to score. Thankfully our defence was able to weather the storm, but with no sign of my strike force being in any sort of goal scoring form it looked like my best bet would be to keep it tight and bring it to extra-time and possibly penalties. We got through the 90 minutes and our better fitness started to give us the upper hand in extra-time. On 104 minutes we broke the deadlock, centre back Leonel del los Santos rose high from a corner to head home a well executed set piece. Chile pushed hard in the final 15 minutes but Uruguay held firm and we progressed to my very first major final. I can’t wait!!
Final: Argentina: So it was to be Argentina again and after my last hammering I decided to change tack and take a more defensive approach. This didn’t seem to help much, we were played off the park again in the first half, 2-0 down after 45 minutes. The hairdryer worked much better this time and grabbed back a goal by Javier Sosa, with this we were in the ascendancy and all the chances were dropping to us. By the 78th minute a stern Argentinean defence could hold no longer and Fluminense’s Gregario Fontana levelled the game with a close range finish. Extra-time it was then.
By now Uruguay were out on their feet after the effort to get the all important equaliser. Three goals came quick, very quick. Argentina were 5-2 ahead by the end of the first half of extra time and cruising. Straight after the kick off it was 5-3 scored by Fontana again, could we stage the greatest comeback ever? In a word, no. Argentina weren’t finished with us yet and added the cherry to the Copa America title with one final humiliating goal. It finished 6-3 and Argentina go home the victors, and rightly so, they showed themselves to be a great team. But reaching the final was a great achievement, I’m delighted to be working with such a talented bunch, I have high hopes for these players. WC qualifiers up next and fingers crossed I can look forward to my first WC finals in 2030.
I think reaching the final is a pretty awesome achievement. Good luck taking them to the WC now! :thup:
Good read - well done on the fantastic progress with Maidenhead.
Thanks for the words of encouragement guys!
Crouchaldinho - certainly my biggest achievement so far in this save. So far on course for WC qualification so I'm hoping my Uruguayan team can match the real team of 2010 if we manage to get there :D
Thanks Kevhamster!! Its been an unbelievable rise through the leagues for me so far, never been able to do anything like this before in FM but the works not over yet, one more step on the ladder to go ;)
Season 27/28 (Coca-Cola Championship)
Media Prediction: 15th
Notable Players In: Thomas Noble (Bolton) Free, Ruben Longas (Espanyol) €180k, Timothee Calvet (Creteil-Lusitanos) €350k, Jonas Glavas (Enkopings SK) €400k, Stefan Lindholm (Landskrona) €250k.
Notable Players Out: Elio Esposito – Released, Jamie Shaw (Doncaster) €1.3M, Darren Clifford (Southampton) €325k
Hopes were high at the start of the season. For the first time ever I had the opportunity to bring in some good players without sacrificing my best players to bigger clubs. Shaw and Clifford were sold on because they didn’t want to stay at the club any longer. Even still I was very confident that we could challenge for promotion this year.
We got off to the best possible start – one defeat in the first ten games saw us sitting pretty in fourth ready for a promotion battle with the best the Championship had to offer. What happened after game ten was a complete disaster.
Our form collapsed, the strikers misfired, goalkeepers lost form, defensive blunders. From the top of the tree in September to the bottom six by Christmas it was the most spectacular fall in form during my 20 years here. It turned out to be a season long relegation dogfight instead of the glory-hunt of promotion.
Maybe it was because everyone was beating everyone else this season but a decent run in the final two months of the league meant I could finally put the fear of another relegation behind me to push up the table to eventually finish 11th. This was a position that in no way reflected our overall performance during the year which was awful. We only managed to avoid the bottom three by twelve points which tells the tale more accurately on the nightmare we had.
Another lesson learned, I won’t be feeling quite as confident of promotion again after this experience.
Cup Competitions: Nothing disastrous, but nothing major to write home about either. A good run in the League Cup (by our standards at least) saw us reach the fourth round. Portsmouth put us back in our place although and whipped us 3-0. The FA Cup brought no real excitement. We got a handy draw against Weymouth in the Third Round and were awarded with a money spinning home-tie with Middlesbrough again. There was to be no cup upset this time though, as they scrapped through with a narrow 0-1 win against us.
Fans Top Player: Sam Coleman – although we were atrocious at the back at times Coleman was a shining light throughout the season. Several MoM performances and so many goals scored from corners and set pieces he was a shoe-in for the award this year, it’s going to be tough to hang onto him for much longer. (Av. 7.15)
Top Signing: Stefan Lindholm – brought in as back-up to the Zengin/Coleman lynchpin at the back and made real progress throughout the season. Should establish himself as a real contender for a centre-back spot next season along with the usual two. (Av. 6.95)
End of Season Finances: The days of living on the breadline are very much over. We continue to lose money during the playing season, but parachute payments from TV money and Championship prize money keep us afloat. A quick sale of one of our top players for a hefty profit also boosts the coffers these days. €7M in the black.
The International Season 27/28
After the highs of the Copa America it was onto World Cup Qualification for 2030. The UFA are expecting us to qualify comfortably, something which is more than achievable. In fact I’m hoping to split the big two of Brazil and Argentina and go for 2nd spot if I can.
We got off to a flyer, a good 6-2 win over Bolivia was followed by a massive 2-1 win over Argentina (No.2 in the world now) in Montevideo. Our next fixture would be the toughest so far, away to Brazil, and we were played off the park this time. A 1-0 defeat wouldn’t do much damage, but losing badly to Colombia in Bogota would. We never got going in the game were 2-0 down before grabbing a consolation goal at the death. After four games we were in 6th spot. I was nervous.
A 3-0 friendly win over Honduras restored some confidence, which resulted in a hard fought 1-0 away win to the Paraguayans which got us back on track somewhat.
We rounded off the season with an easy 4-0 win over Venezuela at home. It really should have been so much more. 4-0 up in 30 minutes we failed to take any of our chances after half-time, I really hope goal difference doesn’t come back to haunt us on this one. So by July Uruguay were sitting in 4th spot just three points behind surprise leaders Chile, qualification is still on track but it’s proving tougher than expected.
You're well established in the Championship.
Cheers nobby! Well, I've been relegated before so I've learned not to get too complacent about life in this division.
Just about half way through next season now. It's looking like one of the more eventful seasons in quite a while whichever way it goes for me. Work commitments are slowing down my progress through the game so hopefully I can back to the thread within the next few weeks to let you all know what the 28/29 season holds
Season 28/29 (Coca-Cola Championship)
Media Prediction: 14th
Notable Players In: Marcus Avery (QPR) €28k, Stuart Spearing (Birmingham) €35k, Andy Cole (Crawley) €325k, Andy Brady (Man Utd) Loan, Obi Bazuaye (Arsenal) €1.4M, Patrick Zengin (Unatt.) Free
Notable Players Out: Thomas Noble (Sunderland) €325k, Robin Zengin (Fiorentina) €4.9M, Obi Bazuaye (Gremio) €2.4M
A relatively quiet summer in the transfer market, where I fleshed out the team with some squad players, more in the hope that I wouldn’t have to worry about relegation rather than for a promotion push. The Board were equally conservative about the teams chances and stated that a mid-table finish was the most that could be expected.
The season started off very slowly failing to record a single win in the first five matches, but importantly we weren’t losing (only one loss in the first 5) and our defence already looked far more solid this year. New goalkeeper recruit Patrick Zengin seemed to instil instant confidence to the back four and slowly but remarkably clawed our way up the Championship with a string of good results. By new year we had only suffered three defeats, sitting in third spot and with a real chance at promotion.
But all was far from rosy in the garden. The togetherness of the team that I had maintained for over 20 years started to rot away due to some very bad apples within the team, with everyone concerned at the situation renewing contracts became a nightmare. Our Chairman decided to retire allowing a long, drawn out takeover resulting in a transfer embargo. Unfortunately, this particular embargo didn’t apply to outgoing players. Our star player Robin Zengin was having a cracking season and started to attract a host of major clubs over Europe by midseason. After fighting hard to keep my star asset the outgoing Board decided to go over my head and accept a €4.9million offer from Fiorentina. At 22 I’ve no doubt he’ll go onto become one of the top defenders in the world in a few years. Terrible! At least the fans managed to buy back the club, so I kept my job.
With all this turmoil is was amazing that my small team could maintain their form, albeit our defensive strength was certainly weakened once Zengin was ripped from my grasp. The front-runners of Chesterfield and Sunderland eventually started to pull away while the chasing pack of Wednesday, Swansea and Preston started to reel us in. It came down to the last match of the season to ensure we could secure our first play-off place in the Championship. A lucky 2-2 draw against struggling QPR guaranteed us 5th spot.
Our form was all but shot by the end of the regular season. We were drawn against Sheffield Wednesday who ran rings around us home and away this season so hopes were far from high. But we got off to a perfect start when loanee Andy Brady put us in front at the Maidenhead Stadium before Staffan Anderson doubled the lead before half-time. But as always Wednesday grabbed a consolation late in the game that would be all in important in the second tie. And so it proved Wednesday were quick out of the blocks at Hillsborough and the advantage swung the Owls way, 3-0 down by half-time. We grabbed one back but never looked like getting back in the game really. Wednesday were deserving of their win and went on to win promotion.
So, an eventful year. But the bad vibes between players and their relationship with the club is going to take its toll in the summer and some major squad surgery is needed to get the feel good factor back in this group of players.
Cup Competitions: With our eyes firmly fixed on the Championship this year, the cup events took somewhat of a backseat in terms of importance. But that didn’t stop us going on a decent run in the League Cup. For the second year in a row we reached the fourth round before being dumped out by a far superior Everton team. In the FA Cup we got a real tough draw in the third round, at home to Man City. We were never in the game and went out 2-0 with little or no fight.
Fans Top Player: Sam Coleman – was the perfect foil for Robin Zengin, but showed that he was a class act in his own right this season. Not as successful going forward this year, his main contribution to the team was never putting a foot wrong and being unbeatable in the air. (Av. 7.13)
Top Signing: New goalkeeper Patrick Zengin came in and seemed to become a settling influence at the back. Was key in many of our wins throughout the year delivering great saves on an almost weekly basis. Spurs have already expressed an interest. I guess its only a matter of time until the Board go over my head again and sell him for a less than ridiculous price. (Av. 7.07)
End of Season Finances: Record income through transfers, big attendances and some hefty bonuses for finishing 5th in the Championship has left the club very healthy financially. €8.5 million in profit at seasons end.
The International Season 28/29
A marathon year with Uruguay at international level, with 9 games to get through in the season. And before we knew it we were back in a real battle for the top four spots a run of three draws (Chile, Brazil & Peru) and a loss (Argentina) meant that we were barely hanging onto the fifth play-off position from Peru with Colombia and Chile pulling away from us in 3rd and 4th. It was looking like this campaign could turn into a massive disappointment if things didn’t turn around fast.
Mercifully the fixture list was good to us and we have a relatively straightforward run in, and a good 3-1 win away to Bolivia got our hopes back on track and further two wins to round off the season were a must. The big one was at home to Colombia next and Uruguay had to get the result the hard way ruling the first half before almost throwing the game away in the last 10 minutes when Colombia decided to switch to the dreaded 4-2-4, it almost worked but we came away with a crucial three points and 2-1 winners. Last up were Paraguay, who proved to be easy opponents and comfortably recorded a 3-1 win in Montevideo. More importantly we moved up into the last automatic qualifying spot of 4th place as Colombia couldn’t come away from Brazil with a result.
Back in the driving seat in terms of qualification places but in such a tight group slipping up in any of next years remaining matches is not an option!
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