Thistles - With the retirement of Harris I only have 2 more players who came with the original squad, 34 year old legendary striker Marcus Griffiths and 33 year old defender Dale Evans. Whlst both made some apperances in the season just gone, I can't see either of them doing so in the Championship given their declining stats. The rest of the players have come through the youth system since my time as manager (and in fact the above two players also came through the Merthyr youth system, just before my time).
Also, despite me having Australian / Portuguese nationality, and having both English and Scottish staff, all youth players have been Welsh, with no 2nd nationalities at all, which is a little disapointing. Currently all of my senior squad have been capped at either U19 or U21 level (most at U21 level), but I am yet to have a player get a full international cap (except for ex-player Danny Wyatt, who got called up shortly after he left the club and has 2 caps)
Okay, I've not played much since my last update. I've got to Christmas in 2013 and being professional is helping because I can train my players alot more. I started with 2 losses in the league, but since then I've gone 16 games (currently) unbeaten taking me top. The cups haven't gone too well, only remaining in the Norfolk Senior Cup.
Couple of my players have passed 150 appearances for the club which a nice landmark.
No worries in terms of my job though, even with 0% wages confidence.
I'm starting this with Knaphill, as with so many others in the challenge, they're a local team. Funny thing is, I've played at the grounds for quite a few of the teams in their league, but can't wait to get going with this. Surely the most difficult challenge out there, but I trust, one of the most satisfying once you achieve anything.
Last edited by Mike_Cardinal; 29-11-2009 at 23:44.
Reason: Changed my mind about which team to be!
I'm halfway through my first season in the Championship, and am currently achieving my goal of staying out of the relegation zone... just!
However, I've had two pieces of news I wanted to share which I thought just couldn't wait.
The first bit of news is some bad news (sort of), after a fantastic start to the Championship season by star striker Mark Quinn (5 goals in the first 3 games) the inevitable happened... Quinn offer too good to refuse
I say it was only sort of bad news because after having the $8.1M offer from Birmingham accepted I offered him out at $9M, and got a few more offers at the mew price, including one from Galatasaray which was accepted. Strangly though, despite this being more than the $8.1M which the chairman saw as too good to refuse, he allowed me to decide whether or not to accept it, so, given Quinn is only 21 and has a 5 year contract, I delayed the decision until the last day of the transfer window and then declined, meaning Quinn is mine at least until the next transfer window!
The 2nd piece of interesting news was that, after waiting 15 seasons, not one but 3 of my players were called up to the senior Welsh side - International Call Up
Whilst ex-player Danny Wyatt has managed 2 Welsh caps since he left Merthyr, this is the first time any of my current players have been called up, let alone 3 players being called up at once. I'm unsure whether it's due to the players having had a year of training in state of the art facilities, being at a higher profile (Championship) club, or there simply being an injury crisis in the Welsh national side, but both Quinn and Swann have now won 2 caps each, and with both of them in their early 20s, who knows what the future holds for them (probably something much bigger than playing for Merthyr, but I'll be delaying that as long as possible)
End of season update isn't far away, but if I don't get it done in the next day or 2 it might have to wait a few weeks due to travel plans
$8M (AUD) is a lot, but given I've already the youth and training facilities are already state of the art (due to board takeover), and there is no need to expand my 10k capacity stadium as yet, money does not mean as much to me as it would otherwise - I'd rather see him go in a year or 2 for nothing than lose him now for $8M.
However, as requested, here are the best current Merthyr players:
Best Merthyr Player: Mark Quinn - 158 league games, 73 goals, 23 assists, 22 MOM, 7.04 average rating
At 21 he is by far the best player Merthyr has ever produced. Now valued at $6.75M (although have received offers of $9M for him), the star striker has already been capped twice (for 2 international goals) and has been named in the League Two and League One Players Select in his 5 year career so far. Whilst I know I won't be able to hold on to him forever, I'm going to hold on for as long as I can (thankfully he is on a 5 year contract, and seems happy to stay so far)
Best Merthyr Goalkeeper: Chris Thompson - 428 league games, 522 conceeded, 135 clean sheets, 6 MOM, 1 goal, 6.82 average rating
The 26 year old keeper has been a part of the senior side since he came through the ranks as a 16 year old, and has managed just under 500 apperances to date (keeping him on track for the 1,000 apperance challenge). His career stats don't make for great reading, but I play an attacking style which can often see me conceed 3 or 4 goals (especially this season!), so they are a little misleading. He has also been named in the League Two and League One Players Select.
Best Merthyr Defender: David Swann - 317 league games, 19 goals, 11 assists, 14 MOM, 6.88 average rating
The 24 year old central defender has been a key player to come through the youth system, especially given that most other Merthyr youth defenders have been useless! With decent stats in all the key areas, I was hoping he could lead the Merthyr defence for years to come, but he has recently refused to renew his contract and wants to move to a bigger club. With his contract running out at the end of next season, and my next best central defender now 32, I hate to think what might happen to the Merthyr defence in a couple of years. He has also been capped twice by the Welsh senior side.
Best Merthyr Midfielder: Jason Puncheon - 469 league games, 35 goals, 145 assists, 24 MOM, 6.97 average rating
There are no star midfielders in the side, but I've picked 30 year old Puncheon due to his many years of solid service (into his 14th season at the club). No standout attributes, but him being the first choice corner taker for most of his career and being re-trained to play on the wing has seen him lead the club assists charts for the last 11 seasons, with a record 27 assists in the 2021/22 season. He has twice been part of the League Two Players Select, twice voted Supporters Player of the Year, and has the honor of being one of only 3 club favoured personnel. Has also managed a re
(Next) Best Merthyr Striker: Daniel Hudson - 364 league games, 108 goals, 74 assits, 28 MOM, 6.97 average rating
Another striker, he has been the main striker in the team until Quinn's came into the side. At 27 years of age and at his peak, he is probably not at the same level as 21 year old Quinn, but is easily the next best striker in the side (with the reserve strikers not being no where near the standard of these two)
I decided that seeing as it's amateur level, I'd better stay close to home, so looked at the London based Spartans South league. Now obviously, it has to be somewhere I can easily get to. Therefore the second best team in the league, below only the mighty Bedford Town Reserves, it'd have to be. Cockfosters. Infamous end station on the Picadilly Line which thankfully passes close to my house.
My first friendly was against a team that are in fact within walking distance of my house, Kentish Town. Unfortunately my prestigous neighbours were in the 9th league, so WAY too high for me to set my sights.
Club News 09/10 Obviousley not much to report here, being it first season etc. Only news was that four players were released the day I took charge.
So, here we go, the big challenge begins. I wasnt expecting much from my opening season, with me barely having played Football Manager and really struggling to get to grips with it, but instant success often isnt how these challenges go.
I decided id play an attacking 442, wide, direct passing and a quick tempo with lots of closing down to try and really get into the opposition. Well, it certainly worked at home, where we were unbeaten during the entire season, with 10 wins and 10 draws in 20 games, but unfortunatly it was our poor away form that destroyed our chances of promotion. With just 2 wins and 14 points on the road with finished a respectable 12th in the league, 9 points from a playoff spot. Interesting however is the fact that we scored the second most goals in the league, but conceeded the joint third most. That is obviousley what we need to address if we are to progress.
Onto the players, and they did quite well - the goalkeeper, Paul Moore is reasonable and despite a high conceeding stat I think he did better than that and often was not at fault.
The defence were a slight worry, despite the fact that they had most of the highest ratings in the squad, bizzarely. They arent a bad bunch, but we really lack a quality right back and a centre back. The left back, Ross Poole is a decent little player, and centre back Neil Ogden was comfortably our player of the season. Lee Harrison at right back did a decent job but his jumping of 4 always has me worried.
In midfield I was pleased, left winger Paul Roome is probably our best technical player, and had a good season, chipping in with 5 goals and 7 assists, whilst on the right, Kevin Wood had a good season also, 7 goals (majority penalties) in just 18 appearances was impresive. The centre of the park was bossed nicely by attacking midfielder Kevin Adams, whilst young defensive minded partner Billy Morris did a sturdy job in his 38 appearances.
Upfront was a tough one to call, I thought Peter Stephens would be our best player, but he wasnt. He dissapointed and only managed 7 goals all season, including an alarming figure of just 3 in 36 league starts. His partner Jason Skelton did a decent job, being our top scorer with 10 goals.
For the youths, im especially looking for a central defender and a top striker.
Also what was alarming was the HUGE number of red cards I recieved, 8 red cards in just 40 games meant I got the most in the division, whilst also worrying is just how many penalties there were, I got 11!?! Whilst other sides such as Champions Gornal, scored 16 penalties!? What on earth is going on here? I conceeded a huge 15 penalties which cost us plenty of points. It needs to be sorted.
Onto the cups, and how dissapointing - I was involved in the one, the FA Vase where we actually did very well, getting through 4 rounds (knocking out 3 Level 9 sides) before succumbing in the 3rd round Proper to Bethnal Green 2 - 1.
Still onwards and upwards - expecting to merely improve next season.
Predicted Finish: 16th Actual Finish: 12th - League Table FA Vase: 3rd Round - Knocked out away at Bethnal Green
Top Scorer:Jason Skelton(10) Top Assists':Peter Stephens (11) Highest Av. Rating:Neil Ogden (39 Apps, 7.17 Av.Rating) Most MOTM: Neil Ogden (5) Yellow Cards: Jordan Dennison (11) Next Season Aim: Top 10 Finish
Season League Position Achievements
Shawbury United Pre and Early Season Update 2010/11
So, after the 12th place finish last campaign where could we compete next season? I was looking at a top 10 finish, but I knew Id need a decent intake of young lads to bolster the squad. Firstly, however:
Club news, and surprisingly for this early on in this challenge there was quite a bit - firstly was the fact that two players were released at the back end of last season - First out the door was right winger Lewis Barrie who unimpressed in 2 appearances last season, whilst attacking midfielder Robbie Williams followed him, he did nothing to impress in his 15 (13 from the bench) Appearances last campaign.
Secondly was the biggish news that the club was being tookover - chairman Peter Duffin stepped down, and local man Tim Scott came in to fill the void, unfortunatly though no funds were invested. A very uneventful first ever takeover for me on FM.
And lastly the biggest news of the entire year, the youth intake. I was delighted with what I got, a big amount, 9 players, and some real quality in there. Lets take a look:
Alex Woodward - looks a decent left winger, with some pace and good crossing and dribbling stats. Would be first choice but the fact that Paul Roome was one of our best players last season.
David McMenenemey - He might have a ridiculous second name, but he too looks competant - I started him first game and he dissapointed, but he will certainly get more chances.
Gary Jones - Unfortunatly another right back, but he also looks good and a different type of player to young David. He got a chance and played very well, but senior player Harrison keeps his place for now.
Joe Bradley - Looks the best of the lot to me, very impressive and is a first teamer. Composed on the ball he is one of our best players already. If only he had a bit more pace he would be unstoppable.
Joe Evans - Young joe also has talent, but again suffers due to our senior left back Ross Poole looking very good. Definatly has potential however, and a free kick taking stat of 9 is handy. Will get a few appearances im sure.
John Head - I asked for a quality centre back, but unfortunatly I dont think he is the one. Hes not terrible but he lack of ability in the air really puts me off him. Will still get a chance.
John McKoy - Too short for a centre back, and unfortunatly for him my left side is strong. He will struggle.
Jordan Atkinson - I really like the look of this lad - good on the ball and a good little engine on him, is already making a bit impression in the centre of midfield and will be a regular.
Steve Reid - Another good prospect, and another who had made inroads in the centre of midfield, a good all rounder and one of the best passers at the club.
So all good, no great defender or striker but still very impressive, Bradley and Atkinson are the ones ive picked out.
Onto our early league form, and we are looking good - top of the league after 11 games, with an impressive 21 points, we are on for promotion. Still unbeaten at home, 26 games and running.
Through to my League Cup's 3rd round after a 1-0 win at home. Played my reserves for the most part to stop them moaning. One of them got sent off in the 56th minute but another one, a centre back, scored 5 mins later
Played 4 games so far drew my 1st game 1-1 and won my second game 2-1 the 3rd game was another draw but this time a 0-0. Now just played a cup game and you guessed it another draw so have the replay to look forward to!
After lurking and privately trying out the youth challenges, i've decided to give it a shot publicly. But I didnt expect to be doing it with such a fantastic database down to level ten!
Gave myself a run out with Hucknall on the original database, and now have decided to try my hands at the Level 10. All I ever do is the 'dafuge' type challenges of FM, and the only other games I tend to try are Luton (Current Hometown Club) and Anderlecht (Where I was born in Bruxelles and also my cousin ( Jonathan Legear) Plays for them), but I expect this to be amazingly harder!
Thought I'd stay Local and go for the town literally a minutes walk from my house's team Dunstable, but not the mighty Dunstable Town FC of the Spartan Premier D1 (is that correct?) Oh no! But their feeder club that a even few of my old schoolmates even play for, AFC Dunstable!
I shall give updates in a few minutes once i've worked out how to post links etc.
Right I think I've worked it all out so I'm gunnah give it a go. . .
Overview For those that are interested, or just curious, here is AFC Dunstable's website , and here is the in game overview.
I couldn't really tell you much about them, except they are a feeder club (not officially on the game) for Dunstable Town Fc and ground share with them.
Not much history for Afc Dunstable really and no claim to fames, unlike suprisingly Dunstable Town F.C, who actually do (well a few as far as I'm aware).
But here it is anyway : History
Well there's the brief round-up of the sleeping giants of South Bedfordshire, and here (me) is the fool who is going to take them to the dizzy heights of the Sparten Premier, and who knows? maybe further.
Squad updates to follow. . . .
P.S May Thank mrblade who made the database truely brilliant mate!
AFC Dunstable Squad Not really too sure what to expect , as i'm writing this as I look through the squad. . .
Keeper Ryan Vincent Looks best to start for me in goal this season. Got a bit of pace and can jump but is a bit eccentric at times by the looks of things and has pretty high aggression.
Centre Backs Steve Byrne looks pretty good for this level. Good marker and looks like he likes to get stuck in with 18 aggresion. May be a challenge to keep him according to the press and with alot of interest in him, he is probably my best centre back.
16 year old Gary Harding looks set to be second in command to Steve Byrne at the back. It's a case of sorting through the best of a bad bunch and came out with him. Not bad at tackling, can jump a little bit and isn't exactly a slouch. He's only sixteen so could come on quite a bit I hope.
Full Backs Right Back: Jerry Towers is the best out of the two natural out and out right backs at the club. No slouch and can cross a bit. Can also play wing back if required.
Mark Hackney is another youth product put into the first team. Great tackler for this level I suspect and has high teamwork, balance, work rate and fitness ratings. Maybe not one to get forward and ping a cross in but I don't think many people will get past him at this level.
Centre Mid First of the two youth products stuck in the middle of the park is. . . .
John Andrew is 16 years old and unless i've missed something, the best passer of the ball at the club with a rating of 8. That combined with good ratings of creativity, flair and excellent teamwork could work out OK in the middle.
Andy Goodyear is also sixteen and the second best passer of the ball with a rating of 7. Also can take an ok corner and can nip about abit with good workrate and pace.
Wingers Richie Jackson is yet another youth prduct from Dunstable. Left footed player that I have put on the right but is again the best crosser of the ball who can play on the right. But fantastically this boy has a top speed of 16 and acceleration of thirteen with good agility and balance.
Andrew Gadsby is a natural left footer playing on the wing. Again another pick from the bad bunch although he can nip about a bit and is armed with a pretty good long throw, which I may decide to use as a stoke-esque weapon.
Spencer Connely is a 6'4 man mountain who weighs in at just over 14 stone. Can finish and head a ball OK and can move a bit for a big guy, with good workrate.
Ashley Greenhouse is yet another youth product to start. He is fast, got amazing balance and can finish with an ok workrate. With his speed alone could work well and hopefully form a big man little man combo up-front with connely.
So there we go! Thats my first XI for a team I never thought id ever manage on FM in my life.
Will be interesting to see how the first season goes. Im not to sure where i've been predicted to finish , but staying up just to get the grips on things at this level would be good for my first season (and yes i know you cant be relegated at level 10! haha ).
I think My defence looks pretty strong but my midfield looks pretty weak and will be interesting to see how it hold up. I've got a feeling I may lose Byrne before the season starts aswell as Gadsby who has even more interest than Byrne now. But I feel i've got just as bad players to cover for them so it should'nt make so much of a difference although it would be a bit of a blow to lose Byrne.
As for pre-season, I havent got any friendlies schedualed except for the inter-squad freindly, so I may look into arranging a couple more quickly.
Further updates to come shortly. . .
Last edited by lutonmadhatter; 06-12-2009 at 02:24.
Reason: Greenhouse is an awful finisher , can't even get a shot off in two games
Up to February in my first season and doing alright in the league, but not great. However, just got a news message that a consortium is putting together an offer for the club. Should be interesting to see what happens (as long as they don't replace me as manager lol).
Through to the 3rd round of some cup or another. Got my best CM injured in the 6th minute. Typical I thought. Brought on a AMC and changed him to attacking playmaker. A minute later that sub gets an assist and I go 1-0 up No changes in scoreline after that.
Didn't really make any progress this season. Finished a couple of positions lower in the league, but did make it through a handful more rounds in the cups. A couple of regens came through at the start of the season and went straight into the first team so hopefully they'll develop nicely.
After trying Gundo's challenge last time I thought this would be a nice challenge as a follow-up. Have been reading this a lot during FM09, never took the time for it, now I will.
As I dont live in England I dont really have a local club Id like to take this challenge with. At first I thought of a club with the same name as my own club, Leek. But as a big Brighton & Hove Albion fan I just had to take a club in Sussex.
I want to start at the very bottom of the system, so it will be Clymping, predicted 18th in Sussex County D2. Just had a look at the squad. I played some matches with Tytherington, but even compared to them, this is total crap. And I love it
Quite a strange start to the first season. In the league we're 17th with only 1 win from 8 games. The strikers can't seem to find the net, while there are plenty of opportunities. Stats like '7 shots, 0 on goal' are fairly normal here. Got to figure that out first.
In the various cups it's all positive, still active in all of them. Even teams playing a level higher are being beaten, always by a single goal or after penalty kicks. I think I'm going to adopt the counter-style I use against bigger clubs in the league, see how that's working out. My defenders get 7+ every week, so that's ok.
The youth squad will not bring me some decent players soon. Only a decent goalkeeper and a striker (with just 2 star potential according to the reports) with finishing 8 looks nice, and has already played some matches in the starting line-up.
I got bored of the challenge after six seasons of Tier 10 football with Great Yarmouth Town. I decided to buy players (as the club went professional too, and expected me to win the league).
After 3 consecutive league titles, I have 'State of the Art Facilities + Youth Academy' with 'Top training facilities'. But I couldn't wait 3 more seasons to get the youth's I needed, then start training them. I was enjoying the game too much
CLYMPING - SEASON 1
Sussex County League Division 2
The first season started off with 3 0-0 draws in a row. The matches after that weren't going too well, after 15 games Clymping only managed to grab 3 wins. No real surprise there, as they were expected to finish close to the bottom of the table. After those 15 games points started coming our way. 3 consecutive 2-0 wins propelled us higher up the table, only to fall back again. The rest of the season was a bit like that. All these strings gave us a nice 11th place at the end of the season, something I was content with.
Compared to the league, the cups were all succesful. For the FA Vase, the board demanded a qualification for the 2nd Qual. Round, but we went on to the (regular) 3rd round, where Sevenoaks beat us after a replay. The Sussex Senior Cup was the shortest, after one win the 2nd round was the best we could do. Both Sussex Challenge Cup and Sussex Charity Cup were a huge success, as we managed to get through to the Semi Finals. Wealden and Whithawk proved to be serious stumbling blocks on these occasions.
As matches were played, the squad became more clear. Some players were underachieving, others just couldn't do better. I was happy with the players I got at the start, as I could play a squad with regular ages. There are some good 16 year olds, but I don't need them yet. The only one to make the starting lineup was Craig Chambers, a goalkeeper with lots of potential and decent CA. Another surprise was AMC Craig Davies' high stat on penalty taking (16). It was very helpful as spot kicks are quite common at this level.
Another good thing is the 2nd spot the U18's claimed in their first season. Propelled into the good position by some regular first team players, their strikers scored a lot of goals. We need them next year as the first team strikers proved to be really crappy players.
Next season we'll just see what the youth team can give us, and I'll use some of the U18 players more regularly to see if we can get a higher league position next year.
edit: Financially it was all ok, the prize money cancelled out the match day expenses to make sure we got a 7k profit over this first season.
In happy-happy-sad-sad-sad-land...Bipolarity rocks!
Re: The FM 'Give Youth A Chance' Challenge
Seaford Town has finally hit the wall
After consecutive promotions from Level 10 to Isthmian Premier Division, we needed two seasons there to get promoted into BSS.
Our story in the league so far:
09/10 : Sussex County D2, 1st (expectation: Win)
10/11 : Sussex County D1, 1st (expectation: Win)
11/12 : Northern Premier D1N, 2nd (expectation: Promotion)
12/13 : Isthmian Premier, 7th (expectation: Top Half)
13/14 : Isthmian Premier, 1st (expectation: Title Contender)
14/15 : Blue Square South, 18th - 4 points clear of relegation (expectation: Mid Table)
As you can see Im starting to hit a brick wall now. My youngsters cannot cope with the tempo of BSS - Defenders easily outrunned and skimmed, Attackers more easily picked up and marked.
I do really enjoy the challenge, but it is starting to get on my nerves now.
And as you can see, the board has high expectations - I feel that it might be my way out the door if I cant produce results next year
Another thing: After flying high economically the 3 first seasons due to good cup runs, Im now loosing money rapidly. At the beginning of our Isthmian Premier journey we had 160k in the bank. Now, 3 seasons later? 28K
I'm still up for this, but now, thanks to a loss of interest in other saves, I'm up and running with Knaphill. Rather suicidally, I'm not actually aiming for success in the conventional sense in this challenge. Basically, I will be playing a system of flowing, attacking football from the offset, I am quite aware my players won't be able to do this very well, and I'd get by fine, or at least better in the league by lumping it instead, but I am quite interested to see if, several years down the line perhaps, I can build a decent football-playing side from scratch. I seriously doubt it, though! That's MY challenge though. Wish me luck, I'll need it...
Performance-wise my team has been performing well so far (2 seasons done)! We got 11th in season 1 and was in promotion spots for much of season 2 until we slipped up a bit at the end and finished 5th.
But I'm sensing a major problem: our expenses are a lot more than our income. I think this is due to the stadium - I purposely chose a club with a larger stadium (3500, 350 seated) but nobody comes to the matches so I think it is backfiring on me Is anybody else having this problem? At this point unless I get more fans pretty soon or get a big cash prize for performance in cups/promotion I will just keep bleeding money!
I am still around and determined to make it to the top flight, but have had not had regular internet access due to Christmas travel.
However, I am now back home and will be posting 2 season updates soon including a history making first season in the Championship! (as the seasons were completed some time ago the updates will likely be brief)
FM09 - Merthyr 2024/25 Season Update - Championship- Marky Mark!
2009/10 - BSS, 2nd - Promotion through playoffs! 2010/11 - BSP, 18th - Setanta Shield Qtr Final 2011/12 - BSP, 6th - Setanta Shield Qtr Final 2012/13 - BSP, 18th 2013/14 - BSP, 14th - FA Trophy winners! 2014/15 - BSP, 2nd - FA Trophy Semi-Final, FA Cup 3rd Round, Promotion through playoffs! 2015/16 - League Two, 20th 2016/17 - League Two, 13th, JPT S Quarter Final 2017/18 - League Two, 9th 2018/19 - League Two, 1st, FA Cup 3rd Round, League Two Champions! 2019/20 - League One, 16th, FA Cup 3rd Round, Carling Cup 3rd Round, JPT S Semi Final 2020/21 - League One, 21st, FA Cup 4th Round, Relegation 2021/22 - League Two, 3rd, FA Cup 3rd Round, JPT Winners!, Automatic Promotion! 2022/23 - League One, 3rd, FA Cup 3rd Round, Lost in playoff final 2023/24 - League One, 2nd, FA Cup 4th Round, Automatic Promotion!
2024/25 - Championship, 22nd, FA Cup 3rd Round, Relegation
This season was a struggle from the start, with the club never being far from the relegation zone, but at Christmas they were 3 points clear of the relegation zone, and hopefull of staying up. However a record equalling 5 losses in a row early in the new year saw me in the relegation zone, and despite fighting hard, with 2 games to go I was still 22nd, 2 points (and GD) away from saftey.
Rallying the troops, I managed to come from 2 goals behind to win 3-2 in the second last game of the season, but 21st placed Swindon also managed a gritty 1-0 win, still leaving me 2 points from saftey. In the last game of the season I went 2-0 up early, and saw that Swindon were 0-1 down, meaning that if things didn't change I would climb up to 21st! I conceeded a goal in the 2nd half, but still managed to win 2-1, however Swindon scored a late equaliser which saw both Merthy and Swindon finish on 43 points (10 wins, 13 draws, 23 losses), however my GD of -35 saw me relegated from the Championship in my first season... now to see if I can bounce back on my first attempt!
Mark Quinn was again the best Merthyr player for the season with an average rating of 7.09 and 15 goals, plus 2 caps and 2 international goals (although Daniel Hudson was actually the top goalscorer with 17 goals). As mentioned previously I rejected a $9M offer for Quinn, however, after being relegated I notieced that the had a relegation release clause of $2M! I quickly negotiated a new contract, and despite it giving him a substantial pay increase and changing it from a 5 year contract to a 4 year contract, I managed to change the relegation release clause to $68M - much better!
2025 Finances - Depsite being $12k per week under the wage budget and the Championship TV rights I still managed to lose money - around $1M, with ground maintenance being the single biggest expense... I guess maintaining state of the art training and youth facilities isn't cheap? Oh well, still have around $3.5M, so I can afford another 3 seasons of this before I have to start worrying.
Finally, since upgrading my youth facilities to state of the art the youth have been noticably better, but even then one managed to stand out above the rest this season... introducing:
Stuart Jackson - At 16 already has many key attributes in double figures, he looks to be a very handy central midfielder already... just a shame that that is already one of the strongest areas of the team, why can't I get some half decent defenders!!
New Club Records
Highest League Position: 22nd in Championship
FM09 GYAC - Merthyr 1,000 Apperances Challenge - 2024/25 Update (Record - Matthew Harris: 764 apps in 18 seasons)
Rob Simpson, DC, 32: 720 apps in 16 seasons
48 apperances this season, although his average rating of 6.44 is really quite embarrising. Despite this, the reason he is getting so many games is not so I can see him overtake Harris' record, but because there really are no better players to step into the side, despite Simpson now being 32. Should be able to break Matthew Harris' record next season if he stays injury free
Chirs Thompson, GK, 26: 500 apps in 10 seasons
Only managed 46 games this season due to some minor injuries, however after 10 seasons is averaging exactly 50 games a season, so if he can play on until he is 36 (quite possible) he is still on track to complete the 1,000 apperances challenge.
Disapointing to be relegated from the Championship at the first attempt (my second relegation in this GYAC challenge, and also in my FM career), but I have also completed the 25/26 season, and that update will also be posted shortly!
FM09 - Merthyr 2025/26 Season Update - League One (again) - Marky Mark!
2009/10 - BSS, 2nd - Promotion through playoffs! 2010/11 - BSP, 18th - Setanta Shield Qtr Final 2011/12 - BSP, 6th - Setanta Shield Qtr Final 2012/13 - BSP, 18th 2013/14 - BSP, 14th - FA Trophy winners! 2014/15 - BSP, 2nd - FA Trophy Semi-Final, FA Cup 3rd Round, Promotion through playoffs! 2015/16 - League Two, 20th 2016/17 - League Two, 13th, JPT S Quarter Final 2017/18 - League Two, 9th 2018/19 - League Two, 1st, FA Cup 3rd Round, League Two Champions! 2019/20 - League One, 16th, FA Cup 3rd Round, Carling Cup 3rd Round, JPT S Semi Final 2020/21 - League One, 21st, FA Cup 4th Round, Relegation 2021/22 - League Two, 3rd, FA Cup 3rd Round, JPT Winners!, Automatic Promotion! 2022/23 - League One, 3rd, FA Cup 3rd Round, Lost in playoff final 2023/24 - League One, 2nd, FA Cup 4th Round, Automatic Promotion! 2024/25 - Championship, 22nd, FA Cup 3rd Round, Relegation
2025/26 - League One, 4th, Carling Cup 4th Round, Promotion through Playoffs!
After just failing to escpae relegation last season in the Championship, and with largely the same squad as last season (with a few younger players making more apperances as I start phasing out several of my 30+ year old players), I was confident of bouncing back up to the Championship, however the season did not start well, with too many draws for my liking, and it was not until Christmas that I had secured myself in the top 6, however I was still a way off the top 2 and automatic promotion, which was my aim (and what I achieved 2 seasons ago). The 2nd half of the season cemented my place in the top 6, and whilst I ended 6th place clear of 7th place, I was also 6 points shy of 2nd place, and finished 4th, in the dreaded promotion playoffs.
My first playoff opponent was 5th placed QPR. The away leg was won 1-0 by Merthyr due to a Mark Quinn goal, though the side dominated (59% possession) and should have scored more. The home leg was also dominated by Merthyr, and despite Quinn missing an 8th minute penalty, the side still managed to score two first half goals (Quinn and Swann) to make it a 3-0 aggregate win and reach the playoff finals in very convincing fashion.
The final was against 3rd placed Derby, and in a fairly even game, it took a Derby own goal on the stroke of half time to give Merthyr the lead. Derby equalised in the 51st minute due to a penalty, and the match stayed 1-1 for quite some time, however an 83rd minute goal from Merthyr substitue Forde, and then another goal in the 4th minute of injury time by Hudson was enough for a 3-1 win and another crack at the Championship!
As per previous years, young striker Mark Quinn was again the best player this season, picking up his 3rd consecutive fans player of the year in a season in which he was League One top goalscorer with 32 goals (a staggering 13 goals clear of 2nd place) and part of the League 1 Players Select, as well as setting new Merthyr records for Top Goalscorer (38), Top League Goalscorer (32), Most Goals in a Match (5, although 3 of those were penalties - also a League One record) and Highest Average Rating (7.38) - what a star! I was going to say the best Merthyr player ever (probably true), but given he has only scored 122 goals (in 6 seasons) opposed to Marcus Griffiths 296 goals (in 20 seasons), I might wait another season or two before I make that call. He also earnt another 2 Welsh caps, bring his international tally to 4 caps and 2 goals at age 22.
Amongst all this god news though are two pieces of bad news. Firstly, my key central defender David Swann (another member of the League 1 Players Select this season) had been refusing to sign a new contract for the past 2 seasons, so finally, after the end of the January transfer window, I agreed to sell him to fellow League One side Burnley. However, as it turns out, Burnley got relegated this season, so whilst mighty Merthyr Tydfil will be again playing Championship football, Swann will be playing in League Two - serves him right! The transfer actually went through for $0, but with a 50% sell on clause, so hopefully he decides to move again soon.
The second bit of bad news is my finances. I lost just over $1M last season, this season the loss has increased to $2.6M, leaving my bank balance down to just under $800k, this first time it has been that low in many years - despite being well under the wage budget (coming into the start of my new Championship season I am now more than $12k per week under budget). The ground maintenance for the state of the art facilities are really hurting me!
Finally, I have yet another youth prospect to introduce, and this is one I'm quite excited about, not only because at 16 he already looks half decent, but because he is a defender! In fact, 4 of my 6 new youth players were defenders, finally!! Introducing...
Craig Bennett - Ok, not the best stats in the world, but double digits in some key areas, and at 16 probably better than one of my first choice full backs. With Swann leaving and vetran Simpon soon turning 34 I think Bennett will get quite a bit of game time next season.
New Club Records
Highest Attendance: 9,992 v QPR League One Playoff Semi Final 12.5.2026
Top Goalscorer: Mark Quinn - 38
Top League Goalscorer: Mark Quinn - 32
Most Goals in a Match: 5 - Mark Quinn v Crawley Town 3.3.2026
Highest Average Rating: Mark Quinn - 7.38 (45 apps)
Oldest Player: Marcus Griffiths - 35 years 342 days v Brighton (H) League One 13.9.2025
FM09 GYAC - Merthyr 1,000 Apperances Challenge - 2025/26 Update (Record - Matthew Harris: 764 apps in 18 seasons)
Rob Simpson, DC, 33: 764 apps in 17 seasons
44 apperances this season in another season interupted by minor injuries, but it was enough to draw level with Harris for the most number of total apperances for Merthyr. Desipte enetering his mid 30's, the departure of Swann will more or less guarentee him game time next season, and he may well reach 800 Merthyr apperances next season, not bad for a player that was never really that good.
Chris Thompson, GK, 27: 556 apps in 11 seasons
Managed an impressive 56 games this season despite missing 3 games through injury to stay on track to reach 1,000 games - can he really do it?
Took up this challenge with Farleigh Rovers in the Combined Counties League Division One.
Currently halfway through my second season after finishing 19th last season things started brightly as I lead the league through 15 matches (Mainly due to some immensely good youthies in midfield). However I made the great mistake of dreaming of success in this challenge and the rot has kicked in slipping to 5th.
Will do a bunch of screenshots once I complete this season.
After an immense failure in my first season, which at one point saw me get the dreaded vote of confidence this season was spectacular in comparison. The bonus of having a poor first season was the board just wanted us to learn from the experience in all competitions and boy did we learn.
Aided by some amazing youth prospects in midfield (an area I was already quite strong in) and a quality left back we started to look like a decent team. The lack of a quality striker is a big problem with my 16 year old Welsh lad a greyed out player such was the lack of depth up front.
I felt mid-table was a reasonable ambition but after 15 rounds, we were top. However, I learnt a lesson, do not dream of success in this challenge and we quickly went on a run of 7 games without a win. However after a mid to late season revival we were back in 2nd with 5 games to play but our challenge was swiftly crushed with just 2 points achieved to round the season out in a rather disappointing 7th.
well, you never know. Can't be that much difference between these leagues. Have you gone PT yet?
Any tips on tactics btw? Mine have got a bit stale. Playing a high pressing, closing down often, direct 442 because these players aren't going to handle anything too fancy. In a rut though so would wlcome alternatives
well, you never know. Can't be that much difference between these leagues. Have you gone PT yet?
Any tips on tactics btw? Mine have got a bit stale. Playing a high pressing, closing down often, direct 442 because these players aren't going to handle anything too fancy. In a rut though so would welcome alternatives
Club has gone semi-pro no control over that. Been playing a mixture of 4 1 2 1 2 and 4 1 2 3 always mark tight opposition strikers always attacking at home control defensive away.
well, you never know. Can't be that much difference between these leagues. Have you gone PT yet?
Any tips on tactics btw? Mine have got a bit stale. Playing a high pressing, closing down often, direct 442 because these players aren't going to handle anything too fancy. In a rut though so would wlcome alternatives
Looks like you were right cheshirelad half way through the season
These are the tactics I've used so far all season Home and away
I've also been using bubbabaytuna teamtalks which have worked wonders for me.
Here is my Squad Friar and Ludlow were at the club when I took over all the rest from youth
2009/10 - BSS, 2nd - Promotion through playoffs! 2010/11 - BSP, 18th - Setanta Shield Qtr Final 2011/12 - BSP, 6th - Setanta Shield Qtr Final 2012/13 - BSP, 18th 2013/14 - BSP, 14th - FA Trophy winners! 2014/15 - BSP, 2nd - FA Trophy Semi-Final, FA Cup 3rd Round, Promotion through playoffs! 2015/16 - League Two, 20th 2016/17 - League Two, 13th, JPT S Quarter Final 2017/18 - League Two, 9th 2018/19 - League Two, 1st, FA Cup 3rd Round, League Two Champions! 2019/20 - League One, 16th, FA Cup 3rd Round, Carling Cup 3rd Round, JPT S Semi Final 2020/21 - League One, 21st, FA Cup 4th Round, Relegation 2021/22 - League Two, 3rd, FA Cup 3rd Round, JPT Winners!, Automatic Promotion! 2022/23 - League One, 3rd, FA Cup 3rd Round, Lost in playoff final 2023/24 - League One, 2nd, FA Cup 4th Round, Automatic Promotion! 2024/25 - Championship, 22nd, FA Cup 3rd Round, Relegation 2025/26 - League One, 4th, Carling Cup 4th Round, Promotion through Playoffs!
2026/27 - Championship, 21st
At my second attempt at the Championship (after being relegated last time), after a long and fairly disapointing season I managed exactly what I was after, survival from the Championship, securing 21st place and the last non-relegation place in the Championship, with 2 more points than I achieved 2 seasons ago in the Championship.
Again striker Mark Quinn was the fans player of the year (4th year in a row), and this season proved once and for all that he is definitely the most talented player ever to have come out of the Merthyr youth system. In a team which struggled to 21st place, he was the standout player not only for Merthyr, but in the whole of the Championship, taking out the Championship Top Goalscorer (23 goals), being part of the Championship Players' Select, and managing the highest average rating in the Championship for the season (7.37). All of this meant he got a lot of attention, including the big 4, Real Madrid, AC Milan, FC Bayern, etc, but by lowering his asking price to zero, every bid I received was for zero, which meant no board accepting bids over my head... which is fine until his contract expired in June 2029, after then I could be in trouble.
Another sucess story was youngster Stuart Jackson, who came through the youth system last season. In just his 2nd season and at 17 he became a 1st team regular, and despite an average rating of 6.72, he picked up his first full international cap for Wales (as well as a heap of U21 caps). Already has several clubs interested in him, but still seems happy to renew his contract. Certainly one to watch for the future!
Another positive sign is that with my previous generation of first teamers now aproaching their early to mid 30s, I have had a new generation of players break into the 1st team, and I now have 5 of my starting 11 (7 of 16) 24 years of age or younger - bring on the future!
Now that I've survived a season in the Championship, lets see if I can consolidate next season! New Club Records
Highest League Position: 21st in Championship Average Attendance: 7,152 Most Games Lost in a Row: 6 - 2.3.2027 to 3.4.2027 Most League Apps for Club: Rob Simpson - 689
FM09 GYAC - Merthyr 1,000 Apperances Challenge - 2026/27 Update (Record - Rob Simpson: 809 apps in 18 seasons)
Rob Simpson, DC, 34: 809 apps in 18 seasons
Another 45 apperances this season sees Simpson reach over 800 apperances for Merthyr and grab the record. His stats keep on falling, but there is still not much competition for his central defence position, but with a batch of young defenders getting better and better, it can't be much longer until he loses his spot in the starting 11. Unlikely to reach 900, let alone complete the 1,000 apperance challenge, but still fairly impressive!
Chris Thompson, GK, 28: 605 apps in 12 seasons
49 apperances this season, but still averaging 50.4 games a season over his career, and amazingly still on target for 1,000 mark if he can stay injury free (and if he doesn't get poached of course)... can he do it?
WillC - Wishfull thinking, but I have just completed the 2028 season (in fact completed it before the 2027 summary was posted), so you'll soon be able to see if the first part of your prediction is correct
2009/10 - BSS, 2nd - Promotion through playoffs! 2010/11 - BSP, 18th - Setanta Shield Qtr Final 2011/12 - BSP, 6th - Setanta Shield Qtr Final 2012/13 - BSP, 18th 2013/14 - BSP, 14th - FA Trophy winners! 2014/15 - BSP, 2nd - FA Trophy Semi-Final, FA Cup 3rd Round, Promotion through playoffs! 2015/16 - League Two, 20th 2016/17 - League Two, 13th, JPT S Quarter Final 2017/18 - League Two, 9th 2018/19 - League Two, 1st, FA Cup 3rd Round, League Two Champions! 2019/20 - League One, 16th, FA Cup 3rd Round, Carling Cup 3rd Round, JPT S Semi Final 2020/21 - League One, 21st, FA Cup 4th Round, Relegation 2021/22 - League Two, 3rd, FA Cup 3rd Round, JPT Winners!, Automatic Promotion! 2022/23 - League One, 3rd, FA Cup 3rd Round, Lost in playoff final 2023/24 - League One, 2nd, FA Cup 4th Round, Automatic Promotion! 2024/25 - Championship, 22nd, FA Cup 3rd Round, Relegation 2025/26 - League One, 4th, Carling Cup 4th Round, Promotion through Playoffs! 2026/27 - Championship, 21st
2027/28 – Championship, 20th, FA Cup Sixth Round
After surviving in the Championship last season, I was hoping (although not really expecting) some improvement this season, however, despite topping the table after 3 games, most of the season was spent in the relegation zone, and come March I was still sitting there in 22nd place, due partly to star striker Mark Quinn being out for 2-3 months. However, Mark Quinn returned just in time, and Merthyr managed to string a couple of important wins together and reach the dizzying heights of 20th, just 1 point behind a Liverpool side burdened by debt (estimated value $79M, loan debt $247M). Interestingly enough, despite finishing one position higher than last season, I finished with exactly the same amount of points as last season (45 points).
For the 5th season in a row Mark Quinn was the Fans Player of the Year, with an average rating of 7.29, although due to injury he only managed 17 goals from 33 appearances, plus 3 international goals from 4 apperances. The bad news though is that with 1 year to go on his contract he is refusing to sign an extension (and has been refusing for the past few seasons), so I am resigned to selling the $6.25M striker after the winter transfer window, meaning that unless he changes his mind he will be leaving Merthyr in Jan 2029.
In addition to likely losing Quinn next season, I was also forced to sell 30 year old midfielder Richard Baxter after the summer transfer window just gone for $250k + 50% (club record). Whilst Baxter wasn’t the best player to pull on a Merthyr shirt, he did manage 575 appearances in 15 seasons, and will need to be replaced in the starting lineup.
Some good news though, this little piece of news - I had 13 youth callups plus 2 full international callups to the Welsh side, a club record, indicating that my youth side have some potential, although given how weak the Welsh youth (and senior) sides are it may not count for too much!
2028 Seasonal Best XI and Overall Best XI
Finances wise I again managed to make some money (largely due to reaching the 6th Round of the FA Cup), resulting in a bank balance of $1.1M – still a long way from the $9M had 5 or so years ago, but at least it has been increasing in recent seasons!
So, minor improvement in terms of league position, but it will be interesting to see how I go next season with the loss of one player (Baxter) and likely loss of key player Quinn half way though next season...
New Club Records Highest League Position: 20th in Championship Most Games Lost in a Row: 9 – 25.8.2027 to 19.10.2027 Most League Apps for Club: Rob Simpson - 727
FM09 GYAC - Merthyr 1,000 Apperances Challenge - 2027/28 Update (Record - Rob Simpson: 853 apps in 19 seasons)
Rob Simpson, DC, 35: 853 apps in 19 seasons
Finally had some competition for his spot in the starting XI, but still managed 44 appearances (13 as a substitute) and cracked 850 appearances for Merthyr – can he reach 900 apperances, and, dare we say it, 1,000 (given I’m still picking the team on merit, the later is extremely unlikely)
Chris Thompson, GK, 29: 658 apps in 13 seasons
53 appearances in another injury free season sees his career average rise to 50.62 games per season, and sees him stay on track to reach the 1,000 mark! Unfortunately, he is refusing to renew his contract, but with only one club interested in him, and another 2 years on his contract, hopefully he will change his mind!