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Thread: Better than Brian Clough?

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    Default Better than Brian Clough?




    Hartlepool United Football Club is an English association football club based in Hartlepool, England. The club has played in League One since winning promotion in the 2006–07 season. Hartlepool play their home games at Victoria Park, which is situated on Clarence Road, Hartlepool. The club was founded in 1908 as Hartlepools United Football Athletic Company. Their main local rivals are Darlington F.C., who have historically been in the same league as Hartlepool United.

    Hartlepool is known for its association with Brian Clough who began his managerial career at the club in 1965 and is widely considered to be one of the greatest English football managers of all time. Under Cyril Knowles' management the club won promotion to the Third Division in 1990. Hartlepool's greatest moment occurred in 2005 when they narrowly missed promotion to the The Championship.

    The club has received media attention in recent years when the team mascot "H'Angus the Monkey" was elected mayor during the 2002 Hartlepool Council election. The club also receives popular attention due to its vocal support from the presenter of Sky Sports' Soccer Saturday, Jeff Stelling.
    Last edited by Northernpilgrim; 20-07-2012 at 23:38.

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    Last edited by Northernpilgrim; 22-06-2012 at 01:00.

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    Last edited by Northernpilgrim; 22-06-2012 at 01:01.

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    Promotion to the Championship for the first time in the club's history wasn't on the agenda, but a stonking 35 goals in the league from James Brown, 42 in all competitions, kept us in contention for the title from the off. Massive changes for the Championship, because I felt the squad had too many passengers and not enough quality.

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    And how it was achieved.


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    And the evidence of my 2012 summer reshaping


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    So, a bit about my plan for this career. My plan is to replicate the path taken by Brian Clough, and to have exactly the same number of games in charge of each club. I will resign and wait for the relevant job to become vacant if it's not available, but will put pressure on the manager through the media and expressing an interest if he looks vulnerable. I aim to achieve everything Brian Clough did in his career, but if I'm offered an international job, or I get sacked without reaching the right length of time, it'll turn into a 'what might have happened' career. Enjoying life at Hartlepool, but know I'll be leaving them this season, one way or another, as BC only managed them for 84 games. So, 38 Championship games to get the 9 wins and 4 draws I need to emulate the great man. But as I'm chasing the Derby County job, I'll need to do rather better than that!

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    Excellent season in League 1 and some nice signings to. Looking forward to this with Hartlepool being a side rather local to myself.

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    Preseason and August 2012. Solid enough start but a disappointing cup defeat


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    September results were disappointing, with no wins at all, but on the positive side, only 1 defeat. We led 2-0 in that game as well, so it's obvious where the problems lie. Solving them? Well, that's another matter.


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    A mixed but decent enough October
    Last edited by Northernpilgrim; 24-06-2012 at 20:56.

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    Nobody will be better than Brian Clough.

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    My record with Hartlepool is far better than his was. Not that that says anything, but my challenge is about beating his record at each club in terms of games won from the same number of maches, as well as winning the same trophies he did. So far, so good. I'm ahead of schedule on matches won at Hartlepool, and have a promotion which he didn't get. Cloughie was a legend, and if I can get anywhere close to his career I'll be delighted. I actually think the spell at Derby is going to give me the most trouble, as he achieved a lot in a short time, whereas at Forest he was there 18 years.

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    A nice win away to Coventry there.

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    November results. Two tough games to start, but 2 fantastic wins to get us back on track to finish the month

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    Thanks for the kind words SRL. Coventry are struggling in the league, but away form has been an issue, so am delighted with the result there. More than halfway to the 9 wins required from 38 games, and only 17 played. 4 from the next 16 will take me past Clough's record. Brighton and Huddersfield both in good form, so pleased to get 2 more wins there.
    Last edited by Northernpilgrim; 27-06-2012 at 21:52.

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    League table at half way. Brian Clough's Hartlepool points total from 84 games passed after just 69 games.

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    What should happen now then? If the Derby job becomes available before 84 games, should I apply? Or would that be against the spirit of the challenge? Personally, as my objective was to get more points (counting his as if they were 3 points for a win) than he did, and I've done that already, I'd have no issues moving early. Not sure what I think about the reverse though, getting to 84 games without the job being available? Who would stay with Hartlepool, who would resign and remain unemployed until Derby offer the job, and who would take another job entirely?
    Last edited by Northernpilgrim; 27-06-2012 at 23:47.

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    And would creating the vacancy by installing a human manager and resigning them immediately constitute cheating?

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    A great start. I think sticking with the team until the other becomes free is best option. As long as you complete your objective you could leave when the next team becomes open.

    Quote Originally Posted by Northernpilgrim View Post
    And would creating the vacancy by installing a human manager and resigning them immediately constitute cheating?
    May be only option as could take a very long time otherwise. I wouldn't call it cheating but enabling the challenge to continue.
    Last edited by Welsh Wizard; 27-06-2012 at 23:47.

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    December was a decent month, consolidating 10th place. Only disappoinment was that we failed to win the away game at Bournemouth, who are in the drop zone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Welsh Wizard View Post
    A great start. I think sticking with the team until the other becomes free is best option. As long as you complete your objective you could leave when the next team becomes open.



    May be only option as could take a very long time otherwise. I wouldn't call it cheating but enabling the challenge to continue.
    A very good point. I will take the Derby job if offered it before the 84 game mark, but will create the vacancy only at 84 games to continue the challenge.
    Last edited by Northernpilgrim; 28-06-2012 at 01:17.

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    Problem is if you don't get the job, they are less likely to sack a newer manager. So you may put yourself back.

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    January 2013 results, and a truly brilliant month for the Monkey Hangers

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    Quote Originally Posted by Northernpilgrim View Post
    My record with Hartlepool is far better than his was. Not that that says anything, but my challenge is about beating his record at each club in terms of games won from the same number of maches, as well as winning the same trophies he did. So far, so good. I'm ahead of schedule on matches won at Hartlepool, and have a promotion which he didn't get. Cloughie was a legend, and if I can get anywhere close to his career I'll be delighted. I actually think the spell at Derby is going to give me the most trouble, as he achieved a lot in a short time, whereas at Forest he was there 18 years.
    Beating his points total at his early clubs will be easy, since three points for a win didn't come into place until 1981.

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    Actually I meant I'd beaten the total as if he DID get 3 poins for a win

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    A poor February has seen us fall out of contention for the playoffs, but given that we're newly promoted, and face bottom of the table Coventry at home next, I'm optimistic we'll secure safety in early March

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    Quick note, due to a disagreement with the ref over his decision not to award Hartlepool a penalty in the Leeds game, I've been given a 1 match ban. Will be interesting to see whether my Assistant is a capable replacement or not, and it will also provide me with some food for thought as to whether I should take him with me when he time comes to head to Derby.

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    How the hell can I have a reputation of 'Regional', after getting a Hartlepool side predicted 15th in League 1 automatic promotion, then sitting 10th in The Championship after 34 games, despite being predicted a 24th placed finish. Given we've busted through the 50 point barrier already, if we finish in 24th this season I'll walk the 200 or so miles to Hartlepool in a monkey suit if it happens.


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    They aren't quite visible on the screenshot, but in 24th is Coventry with a paltry 17 points, 14 adrift of Hull in 23rd, 19 from safety, and 33 behind us. Think the monkey suit might be safe

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    I'm starting to find this season a chore. We're never going to challenge for the playoffs, with a capacity of not much over 7k I'm not generaing the revenue. I'm just waiting for the 84 games to be up, then resign and wait to see if Derby come calling.

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    Not the sign off we wanted. Holidayed my final 2 games in charge. Have reached the 84 league games managed by Brian Clough, but what a dismal way to go.


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    Here is Brian Clough's League Record as a manager.


    For comparison my own Hartlepool league record is P84 W39 D20 L25 F158 A118 Pts137

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    So now begins the wait for the Derby job. Current manager Gordon Strachan enjoying a less than happy relationship with his chairman, so hopefully I'll get my chance soon.

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    Within days I'm linked with Birmingham City, but not as the favourite. Gordon Strachan, Derby's manager, also in the frame. Hope he gets it

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    I decided to risk forcing the Derby vacancy by replacing Gordon Strachan with a human version of himself and resigning immediately, and THIS happened:


    And the league table showing the positions of my old and new clubs.

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    I won't post an end of season update this time, but instead will concentrate on using the remaining 5 games to work out what needs to happen with my squad, as well as bringing in my backroom team, most of whom left Victoria Park the same day I did.

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    Nice one, wasn't sure if you'd get it after all that.

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    I think the promotion to the Championship, and then consolidating in the top ten until the end of January was too much for the Derby board. I toyed with the idea of trying to stay with Hartlepool, but I knew when I holidayed the game and we got hammered twice, that I was getting the team to over achieve. It looks like I'll have to do that at Derby too, as the finances are desperate, the squad is very large but short of quality. That said, the first XI are a bunch I'd expect to be in the hunt for promotion, there is just absolutely no backup. I've decided not to use my tried and trusted formaion in the last few matches this season, I don't want the AI getting too long to have a peek at it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Northernpilgrim View Post
    I decided to risk forcing the Derby vacancy by replacing Gordon Strachan with a human version of himself and resigning immediately
    Doing things like that makes me lose all interest in your save.

    It is your game so you can play as you please but that doesn't hold any interest for me personally.

    Good luck with the rest of your game.

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    The point was to see whether I could match Brian Clough's achievements in terms of win percentages, honours won etc at each of his clubs over exactly the same number of games. The Derby board were no likely to get rid of their manager, as they changed him only at the start of the season, and the finances mean they don't expect much above survival. The fact that they gave me the job says that I deserve the chance. If I can't match Clough's achievement of winning the league within 6 years, my save will come to an end. Everyone is entitled to their view, and thankyou for yours, but I sought people's opinions before doing it, and you didn't object then.

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    At least you're open about that.

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    I've got to be happy with the way preseason 2013/14 has gone

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    And my transfers this summer.

    As well as these, I released a whole host of players after the last game of last season

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    My current squad looks like this. Small but talented

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    Great pre-season. Hopefully injuries don't have a impact on the squad as it's looking good enough to have a outside chance of a challenge. Good Luck

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    Thanks Welsh Wizard. My aim for this season is promotion by any means possible. To complete my Derby section of the challenge, I need to win the title no later than 5 seasons in, as Brian Clough led them to a European Cup Semi Final before his departure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Northernpilgrim View Post
    Thanks Welsh Wizard. My aim for this season is promotion by any means possible. To complete my Derby section of the challenge, I need to win the title no later than 5 seasons in, as Brian Clough led them to a European Cup Semi Final before his departure.
    European semi final will be very hard to reach but I see getting promotion the hardest bit Prem money will ease the rest but still going to be tough good luck.

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    OMG. How is it possible for a shot to hit the crossbar TWICE, and not go in??

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    Getting to the Prem this season will depend on how the squad fare regards injury and suspension. I'm already having to use a left back from the under 18s, as I have no money for transfers and every loan the club are asking for a fee, even my Parent Club, which I haven't had happen before. Normally when I've been a feeder club, the parent club will loan a reserve for free. Not this time.

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    Here are our results from August to October 2013.

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    And the league table. As you can see, the 6-0 defeat was against a well placed Reading side, but the staff meeting I held immediately afterwards seems to have stopped it becoming a crisis

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    Quote Originally Posted by Northernpilgrim View Post
    So, a bit about my plan for this career. My plan is to replicate the path taken by Brian Clough, and to have exactly the same number of games in charge of each club. I will resign and wait for the relevant job to become vacant if it's not available, but will put pressure on the manager through the media and expressing an interest if he looks vulnerable. I aim to achieve everything Brian Clough did in his career, but if I'm offered an international job, or I get sacked without reaching the right length of time, it'll turn into a 'what might have happened' career. Enjoying life at Hartlepool, but know I'll be leaving them this season, one way or another, as BC only managed them for 84 games. So, 38 Championship games to get the 9 wins and 4 draws I need to emulate the great man. But as I'm chasing the Derby County job, I'll need to do rather better than that!
    You've not quite done what you stated you would do.

    I'm not seeking an argument, as I said before you're entitled to play the game entirely how you want to as it is your game and you paid for it. As I said before, enjoy the rest of it.

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    Indeed you are correct, Nobby, but I took the view that the Derby board weren't likely to replace their manager any time soon, as dure to financial constraints, his remit was basically to survive.

    I further took the view that my career should be about what Brian Clough achieved at each of his clubs, and finding out a little more on this was part of the appeal.

    I accept that some, yourself included, may see this as moving away from the original vision, but others (myself included), saw it as facilitating the challenge continuing.

    One thing is for certain, and that is that the Derby County element of the challenge is going to be by far the most difficult. I feel confident of getting out of the Championship in my first full season, but getting to the European Cup semi final before the 6 years is up? Given the poor financial health of the club, that's going to be my biggest challenge.

    As previously stated, if I'm sacked, or run out of time, the challenge is over, and I will officially not be a virtual match for Brian Clough.

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    UPDATE: Just loaded up to continue playing, and the game hadn't saved last time. As this has happened to me a number of times with FM12, I save after every match, so just the Blackburn game went. The replayed fixture was won 2-0 by us.

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    Results from November to January. Fabulous run of form until the very last game, against the team currently second

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    And the league table as it stands at the end of January 2014. Not quite a given for promotion, but very definitely ours to lose..

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    It's Wigan in second. I really must be more careful where I leave my mouse pointer!!

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    And my 2013/14 transfer activity.

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    Michael Higdon, my star player. Take a bow, son.

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    Going along very nicely indeed .

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    Where's your Mackay?

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    Thanks SRL88. Must admit I wasn't expecting to be in the top two quite so soon. Given the small squad, I thought we'd sneak up the able as the season progressed, and grab a playoff spot. Now, I think I'll be disappointed with anything less than the title. I realise what people mean now when they say that coming second is a disappointment, because there are no trophies for second.

    Deltablue, I guess what you mean is, where is my experienced player waiting in the wings to step forward into the managers shoes following the inevitable bust up between me and the board? Truth be told, I don't have many older players in the squjad, although several have reached milestones recently, 100 or 150 games for the club. Much of that is down to the money worries that have dogged Derby since their last relegation from the Premier League.

    Our fans are likely to be delighted at the sight of Nottingham Forest so close to the Championship relegation zone, but I personally would prefer to see them lurking around the fringes of the playoffs. It may be a long while until I take the Forest job (I've got the rest of nearly 7 years at Derby, followed by a spell at Brighton and a stopoff in Leeds to do first), but I'd rather they lost their manager to promotion to a bigger job, than see him get the sack. Their current manager? Why, Nigel Clough of course. Talk about history repeating itself! Is he trying to do the same as me, without the apprenticeship in the lower leagues or the fallout with his Chairman?

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    Derby hit 70 points in mid February by hammering third bottom Ipswich 4-1

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    We've now played 35 games, have 78 points, a 9 point lead over second placed Blackburn, and a 15 point cushion to third place, which at time of writing is Norwich. Our next opponents? Blackburn Rovers. They did the double over Derby last season before my arrival, I'm looking to do the same to them this time, having claimed the three points at home in October (the game I had to play twice due to a save error). Fingers crossed we can get a similar result at Ewood Park. For me that would almost kill them off as a threat, whereas defeat for us puts them right back in it. Not sure I'd go as far as to say a Championship 6 pointer, but close to it. Five games later and it really would be do or die for them.

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    Sadly we didn't win the Blackburn game. Our defence let us down, and we shipped goals for fun, going down 6-1. That means we've now conceded 12 goals in the two away games at our closest rivals. Given that we're the division's highest scorers, it's no secret where my rebuilding efforts will be concentrated over the summer. I've always been a 'you score 3, we'll get 4' kind of player, but even I draw the line at needing 7 to win an away game.

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    Anybody got any advice as to how to get back on track? After the previous 6 goal battering, I held a team metting saying if we kept going we could still get promotion. Can the same work again, or will the players take the attitude that they've heard it all before? I don't want to lash them, because we're still 6 points clear, and I need their confidence to stay high, especially as our run in has some tough games.

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    Promotion secured. Now to hold our nerve and win the title.

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    Next up we face Norwich City, and whilst we can't actually win the league with victory, we CAN ensure that we do it in the following game, in front of our own fans.

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    Great work getting promoted fella.

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    Well done going up already.

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    Cheers guys. I have absolutely no worries that we'll score enough goals in the Prem to give us a shot at staying up, but given that we've conceded more than a quarter of our goals in just 2 games, I'm seriously worried that we'll take a load of punishment in the goals against column. Wonder if I should consider ditching my 4-1-2-3 formation in exchange for something a little more defensive?

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    Title secured, with breathing space

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    And how we did it. Results from February to May 2014

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    Had a dodgy spell, losing 3 out of 4 at one point in March, including that 6 goal hammering at Blackburn, but 8 wins from the last 9 (and it should have been 9 out of 9, Hull got away with robbery), was just too much for the others to live with. Can't believe the press asking me in my last press conference whether I will renew Michael Higdon's contract, which expires this summer. 48 goals in 46 league games, 54 in 51 overall. He's injured himself in the last game, and out for 3 months, but how can I let that kind of goal threat go?

  77. #77
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    Nigel Clough has been sacked by Nottingham Forest just days after the season ended. As you can see from the League Table above, Forest survived only on goal difference. I only hope the next manager performs better!

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    Shortly after the season ends, this happens

    Normally this would have me heading for the exit door, but I still have to win the Premier League and reach a Champions League semi with Derby. That's going to be tough given our shocking finances. Almost £4m in the red, and losing more by the week. If the Premier League money doesn't come soon, Administration will.

  79. #79
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    Shortly after the season ends, this happens

    Normally this would have me heading for the exit door, but I still have to win the Premier League and reach a Champions League semi with Derby. That's going to be tough given our shocking finances. Almost £4m in the red, and losing more by the week. If the Premier League money doesn't come soon, Administration will.

  80. #80
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    Denied any interest in the Newcastle job.

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    Now I'm really feeling conflicted. Just received the following offer, which is bite your hand off brilliant, but I'm supposed to be mirroring Brian Clough unless I get sacked.



    Advice greatly appreciated. Stick with the plan of Hartlepool-Derby-Brighton-Leeds-Forest (with the possibility of managing any of the nations BC applied for), or say sod it, I've earned this, and go?

    I'm going to sleep on it, and check back in a couple of days for responses. I would like reasons as well as a decision if possible. Thanks in advance guys
    Last edited by Northernpilgrim; 16-07-2012 at 23:10. Reason: Wrong link posted

  82. #82
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    I would stick with your plan to be honest.

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    Deal. Despite the near £7m debt we're currently in, and the fact I've not signed anybody, but have released several who are not up to the Premiership, I'm going to stick with it. Clough took 2 seasons before he got Derby promoted, and only won the league the season before leaving, so this IS doable. I just need to stay up, avoid Administration, and hope Michael Higdon reproduces his Championship goalscoring form. If he can bag me 20 goals (doable, as he passed 50 this season), we might just have a chance.

  84. #84
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    Yeah, I'd stick with the plan

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    Yeah, I think so too. Any advice on how to reduce debts of £7m when you're under the wage budget (we were 11k per week over until I released a ruck of unwanted players at a cost of just under £3m) would come in handy. I think I have a squad of 14 or 15 players, and only 2 strikers. I need at least 1 more to be able to continue the brand of attacking football that got us the Championship title, but don't want to tip the club into Administration and risk losing my star players for peanuts, as happened to my real life club, Plymouth Argyle. It still rankles that Bradley Wright Phillips only fetched £200k. Should have been 5-7x that ammount. I'm not having this club raped like that.

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    You've come so far, would be a pity to leave when your plan is coming together

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    I will be continuing with the plan. I'm going to place all hope on getting four or five loan players in, and not spending any more on wages. If the money from the Premier League comes soon, I may have a little bit of wiggle room, but it's looking like it'll be almost none. The debt situation is concerning, although our finances aren't even described as insecure yet.

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    Before the start of the season, another job offer

    Rejected, of course. And the board have given me a massive wage budget increase, plus a £9m transfer budget. Seems they aren't concerned about the club's debt.

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    Here is my squad for 2014/15 - far too many in and out to list them all, it won't fit on one screen!
    Last edited by Northernpilgrim; 18-07-2012 at 22:46.

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    Odds on us winning the league have been quoted at 2,000-1. I'd say that's about right, and will be fighting to win the mini league of the bottom 4 or 5 clubs, and guarantee another season of Premiership football. Last season my first XI played as often as possible. This season, I'll be looking to play my strongest team against the weakest opponents. Many managers disagree with setting a points target and working out how to reach it. I feel that if I chase games I have no hope of winning, only to lose players for games I could win, that I'd be making a mistake. A well spent hour with a calculator may just keep us up. I have already decided on a points target (42), just need to work out where to get them from.

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    Why 42 you might ask? Well, traditionally 40 has been regarded as the safety mark, but sides have gone down with 40, so therefore I want a couple extra as insurance. Also, it divides neatly by 3 to give me 14 games to target wins from. Realistically, that's going to mean picking the 5 other teams I expect to finish in the bottom 6, beating them home and away, and picking up 4 other wins from elsewhere. It can be done, but I may have to change strategy if results from the early part of the season dictate that.

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    The fixtures have been about as unkind as they could have been though. We could easily be cut adrift at the bottom at the end of August.

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    All the best in the Premier League!

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    If we're still in the fight in the last 5 games, we have as good a run in as I could hope for though:
    West Ham (a)
    Swansea (h)
    Norwich(h)
    WBA (a)
    Burnley (h)

    All teams I expect to be down there with us, and therefore all winnable. I just hope the rest of the season we can pick up enough to give us a chance. Michael Higdon is going to need to have another cracking season. Don't know where his 50-odd goals came from, he's never got near that before. Must be this formation, as James Brown topped 40 at Hartlepool playing the same position in it. Shame we're so crap at keeping clean sheets

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    Cheers cerud, think I'm going to need more than luck!

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    Not the nicest of starts though.

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    You'll probably win the title

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    What an unexpected bonus in our first Premier League game

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    Really thought when Man Utd turned a 1-0 Derby lead into 2-1 to them, that they'd go on to hammer us, but the boys did me proud. Fergie had the cheek to say he didn't think we are cut out for the Premier League! I resisted the urge to respond, and will make my own judgement at Christmas. We have funds to bring in new players now if needed, as the PL money has cleared our debts and we're under wage budget, and should get sellout crowds most weeks.

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    Nice job putting Fergie's words back in his mouth! That'll keep the old boy quit for a bit

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