Basically, i decided that i wanted to give myself an ultimate challenge in Fm10, something which would give me huge satisfaction and make me feel like iv'e really achieved something on the game, as opposed to "winnin the league with liverpool" or "winnin the champions league with madrid spendin £90million", which nearly anybody can do.
I decided to push my home town Runcorn Linnets into the BSN as a challenge, i edited nothing else like budget or linked clubs, and set about on starting a new game.
What to say... Runcorn are currently north west counties, and the squad certainly reflects this... even if half of them are just regens. None of the players are capable of playing at BSN standard, and first thing i did was set about releasing every single player in order to free up my wage budget, and confirmed to the board that i would be "bravely fighting relegation". To my shock horror, at this point i realised the board were only providing me with a wage budget of £500 and wernt budging, and at this point i realised just how hard this was about to become.
The club has a crippling 750k debt which is being payed back at 5k a month which sounds very little, but trust me this adds up, and as explained above my wage budget was duly restricted because of this to just 500. Signings
I loaded the french leagues, but due to the complete lack of any reputation held by the linnets, i found it increasingly hard to attract any sort of half decent talent, and after much thought, i accepted that i was going to play a 4-1-2-2-1 formation, with one holdin mid, 2 centre mids, AML AMR and a centre forward. I knew that under no circumstances would i be able to attract the calibre of players to be able to become a lower league Arsenal style team, so straight away i set my sights on signin three hard working midfielders with high work rate, teamwork and stamina in order to get in the oppositions faces and close them down, even if they couldnt kick a ball. My deep defensive line meant i could sign slow defenders as strikers rarely will get behind me as the line drops as soon as posession is lost, and i set my sights on signing big strong aerial centre backs to keep the middle tight. Together this with 2 tricky wingers, Shabbazz Baidoo and Benoit Lestavel, i felt like the team was taking shape. Unfortunately, things didn't work out like that. The plan of big aerial defenders didnt work, and in the end i signed anybody i could get in the 2 centre back positions, and a random goalkeeper just to be able to field a side. Season 2009/2010
The season started really hit and miss. Throw in a couple of 4-0 defeats, and a few last minute goals conceded resulting in losses, and i could tell it was going to be a long hard season. Nevertheless, 10 points from 10 games and i was hovering around 17th and was reasonably pleased i wasn't rock bottom. My captain Scot Wells epitimised the hard work ethic i based my team around, and i knew that providing that i kept a clean bill of health i stood a minimal chance of keeping the team up. However, due to my budget, i could only sign 11 players, and unfortunately as injuries and suspensions developed, i found myself in games playing 4 or 5 greyed-out players and as a result suffered the consequences in terms of results. Mid season however, things picked up, the defence tightened up and the goals started coming, via a great loan signing by the name of Rory Boulding who was scoring for fun. My January, i found myself sitting 12th, and was even looking 10 points ahead at the playoffs, wondering what if. Together with this, i had a great FA Cup run which saw us progress unexpectedly to the First round to draw exeter at home which had a great day for us financially even though we lost the game 1-0, despite that moral was extremely high. I was however, about to come back to earth with a big bang.
Boulding got injured, Wells was out of form and my wingers weren't cutting it. Added to that, the defence was picking up suspensions and greyed out players in defence somehow don't provide the strong hardmanship i had earlier in the season. After january, i won only 3 games, and survived in the end by just 8 points which was only achieved as Boulding came back from injury to rescue my season.
I survived... and that was my primary aim. Together with this, i kept a tight budget and managed to get my bank balance to around 50k, after a board takeover cleared the debt. I knew that the next season, deep down i really wanted to win promotion, or at least challenge for the playoffs, but realistically i would just be greatful to survive. With a nice balance though, and the new director approving of Wigan Athletic as a parent club, i looked to next season for progression, and the plan for me was to once again survive, increase the bank balance even more so in my third season i would be able to afford good players and force a title push.
Pre season had arrived, and i welcomed the break, in order to scout around and find any players i could who would add extra dimensions to the team. At the end of the last season, i released all but 5 players to reduce the cost of wages over the summer, and was pleased that the 5 people i kept hold of gave my a steady core to build upon... and let's be honest it's 5 more players i had than the same point last season. My aim here was simple... i wanted some consistency this season, i wanted once again, to survive, but at the same time keep the club turning a profit, as im a firm believer that it would pay dividends, and after turning the clubs finances round in the first season and keeping the club up, i would be rewarded... oh how wrong i was.
The board decided to give me a wage budget this year of £600, much to my devastation, as i was already spending £300 on the 5 players i had, which works out on average of £60 a head which is pushing it as it is. Anyway, on the high of last season i decided i could do it, and got rid of some of the "Core" players i had to lose spare wages, and get replacements on a lower wage, and as a result, lesser ability.
Robert Mccormick. I had heard a few sniffs around the forums, even mentioned in the same breath as nathan jarman, and playing a lone striker i really needed somebody who could lead the line but also finish his mums sunday roast. I took the risk on him, £0 offer with 50% of his sell on fee.
Christophe Hogard. Great signing, stumbled across him by pure accident, and his stats even at 35 suggest he could easily cut it out in League 2. He replaced Wells in the middle, and at the end of the season had league 1 clubs after him.
Together with a few loan signings (nobody of superior ability to note) which kept the workman like ethic of the team last season, i started this season much more prepared than the last, and this year at least i had 1 proper sub. Just to put it into context, i was releasing youth players on £5 a week contracts just to spare up some wages.
Lost the first game away to Telford 2-1, and even though they were predicted to finish around 7th, i was slightly dissapointed with the performance, Mccormick had a howler. After thsi however i beat Blyth, Vauxhall and Boston united, and was sitting 2nd after 4 games, then a 2-2 draw with Altrincham followed by a good win in the first qualifying round of the FA Cup, its fair to say my own team had startled me. Three draws followed, followed by a loss in the 2nd qualifying round of the FA Cup and a loss in the league and i dropped to mid table, but i was still really enthusiastic about the potential shown, and knew if i could tighten the backline up i could do something here.
Not forgetting, i was 50-1 to win every game, Runcorn are a northwest counties team, that means theyv'e effectively skipped 2 divisions to reach the BSN, so even against non league teams in qualifiers i was the big underdog, but we seemed to thrive on it. The next games were really inconsitent, a 0-0 draw to gainsborough, then a 4-0 loss to Northwich Vics, then a run of 5 straight wins was followed by a 6 game winless run. However, i turned it round against Blyth (i like playin them!) and went on a 5 game win streak, and this brings me to were im currently at.
The bank balance is sat at a healthy £150k, and im currently 2nd in the league, 4 points behind Alfreton who im just about to play, and am 8 points clear of the last playoff position. Im not gonna lie im absolutely delighted, Robert Mccormick has scored 20 goals in 26 games, and my wingers have got 8 assists each and the counter attacking tactic is working a dream. The season from here really could go upside down, but i know deep down that im in a title race here with 13 games to go. If i win Alfreton here, i will be 2nd in the league 1 point behind them with 12 games left and im smelling blood. 5000-1 to win the league, and im just wondering if linnets can pull off the biggest shock in the country right now. Peterborough and Port Vale have already been told were to go when they came in for me, as my aim is to take runcorn all the way to the top, but realistically i'd be delighted with the title and if i said otherwise i would be lying, but deep down i think playoffs is the likely result, which in itself would be no mean feat as i was predicted rock bottom. Wish me luck, and my next update will be at the end of the season, were i will provide more structure to the reports as if im honest i did the first season off records and memory, but now i will record each game as i go along, and im sure you can envisage how tense and excited i am about this run in.
Robert Mccormick worried me as he was saying that the media hype around him was affecting his game, i dropped him the games prior to this match and i struggled both 1-0 wins, so i knew i had a decision to make, and decided to put him in the starting 11 hoping he would let the speculation go over his head and do his talking on the pitch.
Win, and i would be 1 points behind League leaders Alfreton, lost and the title bid was affectively over and i would have to concentrate on the playoffs. Mccormick missed an earlty chance, which pushed Alfreton up a gear and they scored after 11 minutes, but then following a dissalowed goal for runcorn, and two penalty shouts turned down, Alfreton punished me and scored another. Mcormick pulled one back, but it finished 2-1, but we deserved at least a draw but could hold our heads high predicted last we got cheated out of a game versus top of the league.
After rejecting an approach from Chester City in the BSP, i went to Hednesford away knowing i needed a win in order to get my form back on track if i was to have any chance of re igniting the title push, but the game finished 1-1 and the team was obviously still suffering from the defeat against Alfreton, both physically and mentally. A great 2-0 win against rivals Northwich Vics followed, which gave me a chance to congratulate the team and boost their morale, and after Alfreton lost their last 2 games against Telford and Blyth, the Linnets were 3 points behind with just ten games to go, and a in-form Mccormick determined to rally the troops all the way to the BSP. At this point i knew every little decision i made became more important, i couln't afford a bad team talk or a bad performance from the team, and i knew if we finished the season as we were playing, we would steal the title.
High flying stalybridge followed, and an early goal from my left winger Lestavel put us 1-0 up. A cagey end to the half meant linnets went in at the break 1-0 up, and i knew this game was ours to lose, but i could influence it at half time. With Vauxhall stil 0-0 with alfreton, i told the boys i was pleased with them and to keep going, and was hopin that we could hold on here and Vauxhall our neighbours could do us a favour. Mcormick responded to my praise before the game and grabbed himself a goal to make it 2-0, while at the same time Alfreton pulled ahead at Vauxhall, and thats how both games ended.
An expected and deserved loss to Corby followed by a solitary goal, However Alfreton had also lost at home to 21st placed boston 2-0 which meant the 3 point gap was still there, except the teams below had reduced the gap on me to 6 points between 2nd and 7th. I knew myself at this point, Gainsborough away, if i could just get my nose infront, to the top of the league i would stay there, but it would take 6 wins out of my last 8 games to do it, starting away to these who were sitting mid table, but had the aerial threat of luke beckett to deal with. An own goal by my keeper put me 1-0 down, and a second booking for my left back left us with just 10 men after 50 mins, but a delicate chip by my winger Delanys made it 1-1 and all to play for. Mccormick made it 2-1 after 70 minutes and the fans were going ecstatic, could the Linnets hold on to an outstanding comeback against a good Gainsborough side? Unfortunately it wasnt to be, as a 93rd minute goal, and a win for alfreton against high flying Altrincham meant it was another 2 point increase to the gap between myself and the leaders... NO WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A 97th minute goal for alty, meant they had drew with Alfreton 1-1! Fantastic, all of a sudden i knew deep down the last few games i had threw away opportunities, and i had to start pulling results in soon. A two week break followed the next game, and having looked at the run in for alfreton, they faced Fleetwood (3rd) Workington (4th) and Northwich vics and Corby Town, both strong mid table teams still to play, deep down i knew they were going to drop points, but it was me who needed to start picking them up. Droylsden (20th) were completely outplaying us, and we fell behind 1-0 to a penalty for handball, but got to half time and they nwere reduced to ten men for a professional foul, so in the dressing room i knew i had the chance to turn this around. I told the players we needed a result here, but to no avail. There was no response, and it seemed almost like the squad of 11 players of the same startin team all season had finally hit a brick wall, and as Fleetwood beat Alfreton 1-0, Alfreton were top on 64, Runcorn second on 61, and Fleetwood third on 60. No excuses, we needed wins, fast, and all of a sudden Fleetwood were the form team, and in my eyes are now the favourites despite playing catch up, had won their last 7 straight games. Hinckley at home, and we didnt create a single chance, got beat 2-0 and slipped down to third, and all of a sudden the title dream seemed a million miles away, but not just that, we were currently showing form of a relegation side, which left us in no position whatsoever should we make the playoffs. Two points behind fleetwood in 2nd and 6 points behind Alfreton in 1st, all we could now do is win our remaining games, and hope for the best. Home to Farsley, half time we dominated and were 2-0 up, as it stood, bottom club Tamworth were beating Alfreton 1-0, and Fleetwood were 1-0 up at home. Alfreton lost 2-0 and Fleetwood scored a last minute winner against Northwich vics which meant it was Alfreton 67 Fleetwood 66 runcorn 64 with 4 games to go, and me and fleetwood with far superior goal difference to Alfreton, but fleetwood 2 goals ahead of me. An own goal against a very impressive Solihull Moores team had me 1-0 down, but Mcormick chose the right time to end his recent drought to make it 1-1 with 40 minutes to play, whilst alfreton were being held and Fleetwood didn't have a fixture. A last minute winner from a greyed out replacement centre back stole a criminal 2-1 win against a brilliant Solihull team, and closed the gap to 1 point behind alfreton with Fleetwood in third on 66 with a game in hand, whilst i was on 68, and alfreton 69. I nervously watched the Corby vs Fleetwood game, and Fleetwood dominated, but the game stayed 0-0, until the 95th minute when CORBY scored a dramatic winner to put a twist in the title race once more, with nothing between the top 3 with 3 games remaining. Out of the 3 of us, Fleetwood have the easiest run in, whilst my hardest game is versus Workington at home who are 4th, and Alfretons hardest game is Northwich away last game of the season. I cant help but feel that if i win my 3 remaining games, the title is mine.
I'm with 10-3 on this one, I think your effort would be better suited to the Career Update Forum. I'm going to move it across there, if you have any issues you can contact either 10-3, Faramir or myself via PM Good luck with the game, I'll continue to check your progress in the Update Forum
I'm with 10-3 on this one, I think your effort would be better suited to the ?Career Update Forum?. I'm going to move it across there, if you have any issues you can contact either 10-3, Faramir or myself via PM Good luck with the game, I'll continue to check your progress in the Update Forum
The final three games were quite an anti climax, as deep down i had already accepted the fact that i would be reaching the playoffs, and despite the obvious delighted due to the fact i was predicted rock bottom, when you get a taste of a title chase, it just knocks the stuffing out of everybody, including the players. Two 0-0 draws against Eastwood and Workington, and loss against Nuneaton meant i finished 3rd in the league, and drew Nuneaton, the team who had just murdered me, and Alfreton drew Altrincham.
For the away leg versus Nuneaton, i could see the players were exhausted, and morale just wouldn't budge... when mccormick stops scoring, the team stops playing, and unfortunately that's what had happened. We started the game slow, and Nuneaton threw everything at us but just couldn't break us down, while we barely created a chance. They went 2-0 up by half time, and at this time i was already thinking about another darn season stuck in the BSN. We were lucky to finish the game just 2 goals down, Nuneaton could of had a cricket score that day, but nevertheless, 2-0 with a home game to play is an extremely achievavble game to turn around, get an early goal and they will be on the backfoot all game, however if i conceded its game over.
Before the game i told the lads they had to do this for the fans, and we started OK, but the killer blow came in the 34th minute, Nuneaton scored. 3-0 on aggregate and i was devastated. I roasted them at half time, and things looked slightly positive 2nd half but i knew an early goal was all i could possibly wish for and hope the team drives on, but unfortunately for us that "early goal" arrived in the 69th minute via my centre mid Thomas, but we couln't push on and missed a few sitters, Mccormick scored for us in the 85th minute to make it 3-2, but deep down i thought it was too late, but much to my delighted Mcormick struck against in the 94th minute to take it to extra time. He then scored in the 103rd minute to clinch the game, and the best comeback iv'e ever experienced on this game... roll on Alfreton in the playoff final!
I knew this final was ours, and how right i was. We deserved to win this game after what we'd achieved all season, and we started the game exactly as i would of liked. Half time it was 0-0 and Alfreton hadn't had a kick, the linnets were on fire and mccormick just needed a little bit of luck. Some more chances went by and i feared the worst, as FM has a habit if biting you on the backside when you do that. The game dragged out 0-0, and even went to extra time with no goals. I couldn't believe that my whole season, what i deserved, was about to be decided from the pen spot.
I had full confidence in my keeper, hes quality, but my pen takers i can't say the same, i had two players over 5+ attribute for pens, the rest were 2/3. Nevertheless in pens its 50/50 anybody can win and deep down i knew that.
Runcorn, with the penalty kick could score and cap off a memorable achievement against all odds and reach the BSP, up steps walker, takes a run up..................
I knew after that penality miss, we had lost it, but to be so close to BSP football attracting crowds from the likes of Luton, and Wrexham, i was absolutely devastated, but it was promising, we had the leagues top scorer mccormick, and a few other star french players on which i knew i could build upon, it just depended if the board finally eased up and my build up of finances paid off.